SKUs, or Stock Keeping Units, are the backbone of your inventory on Amazon. Any time you add another product to your line, it’ll need a SKU to act as a labeller. And if you’re new to Amazon, read on and RepricerExpress will show you how to set up SKUs in no time at all.
What Goes Into A SKU
You may think SKUs are just a random string of numbers and all you have to do is start with 001 and keep working your way up in increments of one. But it’s almost like a code and if you’re crafty about it, you can impart the following information into just a single SKU:
- Product: You can have letters as well as numbers in your SKUs (and even currency symbols!), so make good use of it. If you sell items that come in different colours, use the first letter of the colour’s name in your SKU as a quick identifying marker of that product. And if everything you sell is of the same colour, then use letters to differentiate between each product, like SW for sweater, P for pants and SN for sneakers.
- Price: As we mentioned before, you can use a currency symbol in your SKU, which is handy if you sell in different currencies. But as a baseline, you can work in cost into your SKU, as long as you don’t use decimals (they’re not allowed).
- Model: Let’s say you’d get forgetful using one letter to identify products by colour and you have too many or too few price variants to assign them adequately to items. Another trick you can use is to assign model characters to your products, such as 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, 2-B, etc.
- Date: Sometimes sellers want to keep track of their items based on when they bought or listed something, which is incredibly easy to do with a SKU. If you use six characters (two each for the day, month and year), then it’ll be really simple to tell how long your product has been on Amazon.
- Condition: Want a quick and easy way to refer to a new or used product? Work it into the SKU! You can use up to 40 characters, so there’s plenty of room to say if it’s ‘N’ (new), ‘U’ (used) or however else you can describe the condition of the item.
- Season: If your products differ seasonally, then starting off each SKU with ‘SP’, ‘SU’, ‘AU’ or ‘WI’, plus the year, will tell you how current or trendy that item is.
As we mentioned, Amazon will let you use up to 40 characters in your SKUs, so it’s a matter of just settling on what works best for you. If there’s only one rule we can advise all merchants to use, it’s to be consistent in what you do. For some, this will mean going alphabetically or in numerical order; for others, they’ve got their own system in place that will work for them and only them. Whatever you use, just make sure there’s a logic to it.
Final Tips and Tricks
If you’re ever on the fence about anything when it comes to SKUs, here’s our list of what to use and what to avoid.
- Short lengths will make it easier to keep organised. You can always lengthen them, but going shorter is the more difficult route. Best to stick with it right off the bat.
- Unique SKUs guard against each one bleeding into the others, and you potentially mixing them up. It’s no fun when you accidentally send out the wrong product.
- Letters that look like letters and can’t be easily mixed up with numbers.
- Spaces or really weird characters. Just stick with the basics of letters and numbers and (occasionally) a character like a currency symbol. The rest, you can skip.
- Beginning with a zero because it’ll cause problems on many different levels. Remember all the fuss with Y2K and how computer systems would go haywire? That fear is real when you start your SKU with a zero.