What is SKU number? & How to Create SKU code?

What is SKU number

Retailers use certain codes associated with the product to know what it is, what brand it is from, and other whereabouts associated with the store.

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit.

A unique code/number associated with the product, offered for sale, and has the attributes and information when scanned by a bar code reader.

These SKU codes help a lot in tracking the stock and supplies on that particular product in the store.

These SKU codes don’t concern brand, size, color, manufacturer or warranty. Due to these codes, you can have all the information of that product, without reading its packaging.

The best thing about SKU number is that you can make them yourself.

Why do SKUs matter?

Coding your products/inventories correctly makes it easy for you, and others, to find, search and reference products from lists, invoices, order forms etc.

Every variation of the product should have it’s own unique SKU.

You can attribute any product the desired code you want, but they should be well constructed. The art of SKU code making needs some tips.

Once you’re through with them, you can create SKU codes without any difficulty

How to make a good SKU numbers/ SKU code

1. Make your own SKU code/number

Don’t alter the manufacturer’s code, or the code already on the product by prefixing or suffixing something.

This can create a lot of confusion and you may end up regretting. The best way to generate an SKU code is to use completely different code from the manufacturer.

2. Only keep relevant information

Some retailers try to attribute way more information than needed to a product through SKU codes.

The key to having a good SKU code is to only fill required information.

Information like ‘year of manufacture’ is not really relevant. The excess information only leads to confusion.

You can add this under the description section, but in the code, it is irrelevant.

The basic idea of SKU codes is to gain maximum information from minimal codes, and if you’re adding information that is not needed, you’re messing with the idea of SKU codes.

3. Cascade Method

The codes should be created logically which could be deciphered easily without thinking much.

For example, you have to create an SKU code for an electronic item. You can start with “E”, which could be simple.

Then if you’re attributing it to a smartphone, you can assign “S”, then brand alphabet, which could be the first letter of the brand name, like “S” for Samsung, “A” for apple etc. you can further add smartphone model number.

If you see the code, it is logically made, and you can easily decipher the code. 

Limit the code as soon as you can able to recognize the product by the code. A further addition is meaningless.

4. Fonts and Characters

Use fonts and characters that don’t confuse you. Characters like 0 and O, | and I are confusing. You don’t want the reader to get confused. You can use a bold and clear font that could easily define the difference with similar looking characters.

Don’t use symbols in your SKU code. Symbols like @,#,* are irrelevant and cause confusing. Character ‘/’ can cause formatting problems in excel, making it difficult to organize.

Moreover, these symbols don’t really help much and add extra definition. While making such codes, simplicity and sensibility are the keys.

5. Inventory Management System

Using a software that is particularly designed for managing inventory is of great help. You can update the stock, supplies and orders without any tension.

These fully automated systems can keep track of everything, and since everything is recorded, you can easily calculate the end of day sales and many other important numbers.

This could also prevent any errors, corruption, and confusion because there are no excel files, only recorded data which can’t be manipulated.


If you are looking for comprehensive inventory management system, check out EMERGE App for free.