How SKUs are created
To take advantage of SKU codes, they need to be added in your POS and inventory system.
This doesn’t have to be complicated when you use an automatic SKU generator, sometimes included in the till software or ecommerce platform. If it isn’t, there are free tools online like Zoho SKU Generator and Katana where you can create and download SKUs to a spreadsheet uploadable in your inventory system.
Alternatively, you can manually decide on the SKUs and add them one-by-one if the product library isn’t too big. There are no universal requirements for its composition, but here’s a typical pattern that many SKU systems follow:
- First 2-3 characters: Product category, department or supplier
- Next few characters: Product attribute #1
- Next few characters: Product attribute #2
- Last characters: Product-identifying number
The last ‘identifying number’ ensures that products sharing the same characteristics in the first part can have a unique, sequential number to differentiate them.
Based on this, you could create the following code:
Category: Paper = PA
Brand: Epson = EP
Type: High-gloss = HG
Sequence identifier = 04
= SKU: PAEPHG04
The most important thing about SKU structure is to be consistent with its logic, so it’s easier to understand them without checking. Knowing, for example, that “01” at the end means the colour black means you might not need to look up its meaning while handling stock.
Once the SKUs are attached to their corresponding items in the inventory library, they will be associated with all the details of that item’s profile including the barcode (if you have added a barcode to the profile).