University - Information About Products

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)

A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a unique number that is used to identify a billable item in a company’s inventory. By using these number and letter combinations, companies can keep track of the quantities they have in inventory, and they can manage inventory effectively with the use of computerized systems, rather than having to keep track of everything manually.

SKUs are usually unique to the companies where they are used. This means that an identical product can have different numbers if it is handled and sold by different companies.

A company can assign a SKU number to a physical item, such as a set of plates. These numbers can also be used to identify services and more intangible entities, like warranties, creating a system that can be used for tracking and billing.

When a SKU is assigned, the number reflects the smallest possible unit that a store will stock. In a warehouse, this is typically a box that contains multiples of the same item, while individual stores would assign a number to each individual item.

This can be confusing for consumers because boxes and single items will often have the same number assigned. While the difference between a box of something and a single item is usually obvious in the store, it can be trickier when ordering products online or over the phone.

SKUs are typically printed in barcode format on product labels so that they can be read by a barcode reader, making it easier to track and manage inventory. While Amazon also assigns a special listing ID to each item, it is recommended that sellers do not rely upon this system for organizing or retrieving items. Rather, it is the suggested practice to assign a specific seller’s SKU for each item listed. Sellers may also create a bulk listing with SKUs attached.

Adding a SKU to a Listing

The seller can add the SKU to an item at the same time that it is being added to the inventory by following these two steps:

  1. During the “Create a Listing” process, sellers will be asked to input various details about their items such as condition, quantity, and price. One of these fields will be the SKU.
  2. Sellers can input any valid string of digits as the identifying label for that particular product. Sellers should use a systematic process for choosing and designating these SKUs in order to keep their inventory well-organized and easily navigable.

Note: These tags are completely optional, and the seller can choose not to use this form of identifier if it is not relevant or convenient.

The SKU can consist of numbers, letters, or a combination of both. Sellers should input these labels carefully to ensure that no confusion arises in the process. This identifier will not be repeated for any other listing, and any attempt to create any additional listings using a replicated SKU will result in an error. Alternatively, if the seller attempts to add the same item with two different SKUs, there will be two separate listings created for the same item.

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