amazon sku
September 4, 2023 Last Updated

SKU Catalogs Guide: Generate & Manage Product Numbers on Amazon & Facebook Marketplace

Article at-a-glance:

- Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) numbers are unique identifiers used to track individual products within an inventory. In addition to product characteristics and location information, they offer greater flexibility than Universal Product Codes (UPC).

- Retailers can utilize SKU numbers in several ways, including efficient inventory tracking, streamlined organization, enhanced customer service, accurate inventory management, data-driven insights, scalability, inventory theft prevention, and supplier management.

- Discover how to create and manage SKU catalogs on Amazon and Facebook Marketplace for efficient retail inventory management.

Effective inventory management stands at the foundation of retail success, with the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) numbers at its core.

No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, SKU numbers are the key to unlocking efficiency, organization, and profitability.

This comprehensive guide explains why SKU numbers are crucial to retail operations. From creating unique SKU identifiers to efficiently managing your inventory, we’ll walk you through the essential steps that empower retailers.

What Is an SKU Number?

SKU numbers identify individual products within an inventory. E-commerce brands use these numbers to track stock levels, sales, and variants.

An SKU number is an alpha-numeric code used by retail stores to identify and manage products. It’s a unique identifier that facilitates efficient tracking and organization of products in a store’s inventory.

SKU numbers offer greater flexibility than Universal Product Codes (UPC), which are 12-digit codes used by manufacturers to identify products universally. Unlike UPC codes, SKUs can vary greatly between retailers and are often customized to suit a store’s specific needs.

The flexibility of SKU numbers allows retailers to include additional information, such as product characteristics and location information, to manage inventory more effectively.

SKUs can be created manually or generated automatically through inventory management or point-of-sale (POS) systems.

Here is a table of 6 SKU generator tools for online stores:

Primaseller SKU generator for inventory management.
3Dsellers customized SKU numbers for products, variations, and item details.
eComBusinessHub of the best free SKU code generators with an ultimate guide on SKU.
MRPeasy easy-to-use Excel template for generating meaningful SKU codes.
Gorgias free tool for structuring and scaling a new or existing SKU system.
Zoho Inventory tool that generates an SKU for inventory items based on the attributes and rules decided by the user.
A quick look at some of the SKU generator tools for online stores.

Facebook Marketplace SKUs vs Amazon Sellers SKUs

Facebook Marketplace SKUs and Amazon Seller SKUs are unique identifiers used by sellers for inventory management and internal tracking. They are customizable and free to create.

For Facebook Marketplace

Even though SKUs aren’t mandatory, they can greatly benefit sellers on Facebook Marketplace, especially if they offer many items.

Facebook Marketplace SKU is not customer-facing and is only used for internal tracking and inventory management purposes.

For Amazon

SKUs help Amazon, manufacturers, and distributors efficiently manage inventory, warehouse transfers, and order fulfillment. They enable tracking of sales trends, stock levels, profitability, and consumer spending habits.

Unlike Facebook Marketplace, Amazon requires sellers to generate and assign SKUs. In this way, they can match the items with their catalog product details.

Furthermore, Amazon sellers can list their products on other marketplaces quickly when using SKUs, which is especially important for sellers from China, the world’s largest exporter.

SKU vs UPC: What’s the Difference?

It’s recommended to have both a SKU number for internal management and a UPC code for external tracking and point of sale. Here is how you can differentiate the two.

There are two primary differences between SKUs and UPCs: their purpose and format. SKUs are internal codes used by sellers to track inventory. While SKUs may be associated with barcodes, it’s not mandatory for them to have one.

Meanwhile, UPCs are standardized 12-digit codes. It’s used by retailers and distributors for tracking externally at the point of sale.

A UPC consists solely of numbers, whereas a SKU can be either numerical or alphanumeric.

There is also a key difference in customization options – SKUs can incorporate unique product features, whereas UPCs are standardized and cannot include specific attributes.

Why Use SKU Numbers?

You are better equipped to navigate the complexities of the retail industry with SKU numbers at the core of your retail management strategy.

Retail management relies heavily on SKU numbers, and there are several compelling reasons to include them. Here are some key advantages to using SKU numbers:

1. Efficient Inventory Tracking: SKU numbers provide a structured and efficient way to track your inventory. With each unique code, stock levels, restocking needs, and product movements can be tracked precisely. By minimizing overstocking and understocking, you ensure you have the right products available to meet customer demand.

2. Streamlined Organization: With SKU numbers, you can categorize and organize your products systematically. The codes can include information about departments, categories, colors, and sizes. Thus, your inventory will be well-organized and easy to navigate, helping your staff locate products more quickly.

3. Enhanced Customer Service: Quick access to product information through SKU numbers empowers your staff to assist customers effectively. Your team can use SKU numbers to enhance customer service by checking stock levels, finding alternative products, or providing detailed product specifications.

4. Reduced Errors: SKU numbers reduce errors. These codes minimize miscounting, misplacing, and misidentifying products. Besides saving time, this accuracy can also prevent costly mistakes that can hurt your business.

5. Data-Driven Insights: SKU numbers facilitate data collection. You can gather valuable information about sales and product performance. With this data, you can make informed decisions about restocking, pricing strategies, and product promotions.

6. Scalability: SKU numbers adapt to new products and multiple locations and sales channels as your company grows. SKUs with additional identifiers are more efficient and consistent.

7. Inventory Theft Prevention: SKUs are crucial for identifying missing items in cases of theft or shrinkage. You can detect discrepancies and prevent further losses by maintaining a comprehensive record of SKU codes.

8. Simplified Supplier Management: SKU numbers simplify interactions with suppliers. With them, you can communicate precisely what you need, reducing the chances of ordering errors.

Using SKU numbers in your retail operations is a strategic move that can significantly impact your bottom line. Businesses use SKU numbers to monitor stock levels, reduce errors, and analyze sales data.

Writing & Managing SKU Numbers

Creating and managing SKU numbers involves a strategic process tailored to retailer unique requirements.

The SKU number typically includes information about the manufacturer or brand, product name or identifier, color, and size. By using this structure, you can quickly get a sense of what the product is all about.

How to develop customized SKUs:

  • Choose a Top-level Identifier: Select the first two or three digits or characters for your SKU to represent a top-level identifier. This could be a department, store category, or supplier, helping you identify product groups and their locations within your store.
  • Identify Unique Features: In the middle section of the SKU, include dimensions, colors, item types, and subcategories relevant to your product. Ensure clarity and avoid numbers that look like letters.
  • Include Sales Channels & Variants: If applicable, include identifiers that distinguish products sold through various sales channels. This simplifies inventory management, helps tracking sales and understanding customer preferences.
  • Sequential Numbering: Assign sequential numbers to your SKUs to distinguish between older and newer items, or connect them to supplier product numbers if necessary. Organize your products using logical numbering.

Retailers can develop a robust SKU numbering system tailored to their inventory management needs by following these steps.

You can create your own Amazon SKU following a structured format. A recommended format includes supplier/manufacturer, product type, date, condition, purchase price, and additional digits.

I. How to Choose a Top-Level SKU Identifier?

An inventory system uses SKUs to identify and track individual products. Their purpose is to facilitate efficient inventory management from the time products are entered into inventory until they are sold.

A top-level identifier is crucial to creating an effective SKU numbering system. The importance of selecting a top-level identifier for categorizing products:

  • Clarity and organization: A top-level identifier clarifies the type or category of a product. You and your staff can quickly identify where items belong.
  • Efficient Location Tracking: Combined with a store or location identifier, it facilitates efficient tracking of product locations, allowing you to locate items more easily.
  • Sales Analysis: You can segment sales reports by category or department, identifying areas for improvement.
  • Future Expansion: An SKU framework with store or location identifiers prepares you for growth across multiple stores or sales outlets.

Examples of top-level identifiers:

  • Departments: Broad categories within your store, such as “Clothing,” “Electronics,” or “Home Decor.”
  • Store Categories: In-store sections, such as “Men’s Apparel,” “Kitchen Appliances,” or “Outdoor Furniture.”
  • Suppliers: Add identifiers for different suppliers if you source products from multiple manufacturers or distributors.
  • Locations: You can track inventory and sales by store if you operate multiple physical locations.

With the right top-level identifier, your SKU numbering system aligns with your store’s structure and objectives, enhancing efficiency and organization.

II. How To Assign Unique Identifiers?

By incorporating unique identifiers into your SKU system, you make it easier to manage, categorize, and locate specific products within your inventory.

In the middle section of SKU numbers, you can assign unique identifiers that provide detailed information about your products. Here are some examples of unique identifiers:

How to use the middle section of SKU numbers for unique product features:

  • Size: Use codes like S, M, L, XL for clothing and specific dimensions for other items.
  • Color: Use codes such as BLK for black, BLU for blue, or name colors.
  • Sales Channels: Differentiate between IN (In-Store), WEB (Online), or AMZ (Amazon).
  • Variants: Use V1, V2, and V3 codes for different versions of your products.
  • Subcategories: Using numerical codes within your product range will help you create granular inventory breakdowns.

III. Why Should You Use Sequential Numbering?

Using sequential numbering for SKU codes enhances the functionality of your inventory management system.

The role of sequential numbering in SKU codes:

  • Product Age Tracking: Use sequential numbers to track products’ ages. Having lower sequential numbers for older items aids in stock rotation and reduces the risk of selling outdated items.
  • Simplified Inventory Updates: Assigning the next sequential number streamlines the process of adding new products to your inventory management system.
  • Ease of Identification: Sequential numbers simplify the process of identifying and distinguishing products.
  • Ordering and Restocking: Sequential numbers help you locate low-stock items and replenish them quickly.

SKU sequential numbering enhances inventory management and contributes to better stock control and sales optimization.

IV. Why You Need to Add SKU Numbers to Your Inventory Management System

By integrating SKU numbers into inventory management systems, you will be able to maintain accurate records, gain valuable insights, and enhance the efficiency of your operations.

You can streamline your retail operations by adding SKUs to your inventory management system. This section discusses the importance of this integration:

  • Efficient Tracking: SKU numbers help you accurately track your inventory levels, minimizing the risk of too much or too little stock.
  • Inventory Accuracy: Using automated inventory systems that include SKU integration ensures accuracy and reliability of inventory records.
  • Faster Reordering: Integrated systems can trigger reorders automatically as stocks fall. This prevents product shortages and ensures smooth replenishment.
  • Sales Insights: Utilizing data based on SKUs allows you to analyze sales patterns more effectively. By identifying which products are performing well, you can make informed merchandising decisions.

SKU Number Examples

To help you understand how SKU numbering works, here are some illustrative examples:

1. Simple Top-Level Identifier System:

  • Category: Dry Grocery
  • Category #: 01
  • SKU Numbers: 010000, 010001, 010002
  • Category: Pet Food
  • Category #: 02
  • SKU Numbers: 020000, 020001, 020002
  • Category: Snacks
  • Category #: 03
  • SKU Numbers: 030000, 030001, 030002
  • Category: Canned Soda
  • Category #: 04
  • SKU Numbers: 040000, 040001, 040002
  • Category: Candy
  • Category #: 10
  • SKU Numbers: 100000, 100001, 100002

In this example, the first two digits represent product categories, followed by sequential numbering.

2. Versatile Two-Identifier System:

  • Category: Jeans (01)
  • Style: Flare-leg (12)
  • Size: Medium (M)
  • SKU Numbers: 01120001M
  • Category: Dress Pants (09)
  • Style: Flare-leg (12)
  • Size: Large (L)
  • SKU Numbers: 09120001L

In this example, SKUs with two identifiers combine product and category features to create unique codes.

3. Supplier Identifier System:

  • Supplier: ABC Electronics (ABC)
  • Product #: 12345
  • SKU Numbers: ABC12345

Here, the SKU is based on the supplier’s identifier and product number.

SKU Catalogs: Boost Your Sales with These 6 Strategies for Success

Managing SKU catalogs on platforms like Amazon and Facebook Marketplace becomes crucial for maximizing sales. These strategies will help e-commerce brands improve product visibility, performance and conversions.

  1. Relevant keywords are essential for enhancing search visibility and ensuring your products appear in relevant customer searches. A thorough keyword research and understanding of search trends can help e-commerce brands optimize their SKU catalogs.
  2. Product variations should be organized logically, with the main product group being the “Parent” and variations being the “Child”. Choosing the right category and providing complete and accurate product information, including titles, descriptions, key features, images, videos, pricing, and fulfillment options, is essential.
  3. Product descriptions communicate the value of your products to potential customers. Make sure your descriptions are concise, easy to understand, and effectively convey your unique selling point. Create a connection and drive desire with language and tone that resonates with your target audience. Checking for duplicate listings and merging them can help maintain a clean catalog.
  4. Getting potential customers’ attention and making a good first impression is critical in online shopping. Make your product stand out with professional photography. Images that show features and important details will help customers understand what they can expect.
  5. Maintaining accurate product availability and preventing customer disappointment requires regular SKU updates. Keep your digital product catalog up-to-date by removing sold-out products and adding new inventory promptly.
  6. Regularly monitoring market trends and competitors’ pricing ensures your products remain competitive. Make sure you price your products strategically to maximize sales. Experiment with discounts, promotions, or bundling options to increase conversions.

Using these tips and strategies, you can optimize your SKU catalogs, maximize sales potential, and stand out in an increasingly competitive e-commerce market by following the best practices outlined in this guide.

Ignite Your Retail Success with AmpiFire & Boost Sales!

Retail management relies heavily on SKU numbers to organize, track, and identify inventory effectively. Retailers can increase sales, streamline operations, and improve customer service by tailoring SKU systems.

With a robust inventory management system, these numerical codes become powerful business optimization tools.

Effective retail management goes beyond inventory management. E-commerce brands looking to boost their online presence and drive sales should also consider content marketing.

With AmpiFire, e-commerce brands can create engaging and persuasive content that resonates with their target audiences.

Schedule an appointment to learn how you can leverage AmpiFire’s expert help and harness the full potential of hyper-targeted content marketing to grow your store.



Related Post