SKU Number Meaning

A SKU is something we all come across in our daily lives as we shop in retail stores or online, but not everyone is aware of the SKU number meaning. SKU means stock keeping unit, a string of letters and numbers that vendors use to keep track of inventory.

Merchandise is often tagged with different types of codes; SKU numbers are specific to the retailer, but may contain letters or numbers that represent the manufacturer, too. Since the SKU is determined by the retailer’s preference, the letters or numbers that are the most meaningful can be used.

In this SKU number example, AK-JKT-YEL-10, “AK” could represent manufacturer, Anne Klein, “JKT” could mean jacket, YEL stands for the color, yellow, and 10 stands for size 10. When creating a SKU, the retailer wants to indicate brief information about the product to help with organization. When the SKU number is scanned by a register or searched in a database, additional descriptive information is often available such as the supplier, costs, expiration dates, etc. depending on the type of product.

Difference Between UPC and SKU

sku number meaningA UPC, on the contrary, is a code that is not chosen by the retailer. A manufacturer can apply for a UPC from its local GS1 office to represent his product and that UPC will remain constant no matter who sells that item. For instance, many furniture stores across the nation sell Ashley Furniture products. If a consumer wants to compare prices, he need only look up the UPC number to see a list of stores that sell the same item. That item will be the same no matter where it is sold but may be priced differently from one retailer to the next.

Both the UPC and SKU number are scannable and will relay information to a database to update inventory information in a storefront, ecommerce store, warehouse, distributor and drop shipping facilities. A SKU number is also different than a serial number; serial numbers are unique to an individual product item and are useful for servicing warranties after the sale occurs.

Scanning SKU numbers upon the arrival of merchandise updates the inventory count of each item. When that item is scanned again (or processed online), the item is then removed from inventory. At the same time, the sale price updates the financial records to reflect sales by product. By keeping track of SKU numbers and quantities of each item, the business stays on top of inventory quantities to make sure there is always enough in stock to meet customer demand.

The extensive reports available in SOS Inventory software allow your business to perform deep analyses of product performance from the time product SKU numbers are scanned through delivery to the customer.  Products may be tracked by SKUs, serial numbers, lot numbers, and UPC to meet the need of the business. Upon arrival from the supplier, inventory counts can be updated instantaneously by scanning the information.

The SKU number meaning is simplified with proper tools to record and organize them, ultimately saving your business time and money.

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