Best Practice Sku Format

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SKU basics

Background info

SKU is usually pronounced "skew".

A SKU is a unique ID for a specific unique product in your warehouse/store.

While you might edit your product title over the years, you'll be aiming to keep you SKU the same - so it's a good idea to start with a decent SKU format.

This is often overlooked at the start but skipping thinking about this early can result in issues later.

Key ideas

  1. Less is more : shorter codes are better
    People are going to have to manually type these codes for the life of the product - help them out :)
  2. Use unique SKUs
  3. Keep them short (5-15 is the standard length, up to 30 is ok)
  4. Don't use the product title in the SKU, use a summary code word or number.
    eg. instead of 'Summer Love Beach Basic Long Sleeved White Small Shirt' you could have 172772-WHT-S


Decide on a format before you start, and stick to it!

  1. Use CAPS
  2. Don't use spaces or non-alphanumeric characters
    This will help you integrate with other apps in the future, and any time you want to get into spreadsheets (eg. mapping sales forecasts, creating Purchase Orders, stock lists) you'll thank yourself for not having things like >, *
    Usually acceptable characters are: _ -
  3. Avoid confusable numbers/letters if possible (ie. I, O, L, 1, 0, l)
    Your warehouse crew will thank you
  4. Don't start SKUs with a zero

Logical structure

When thinking about how to create your SKU format, here's some ideas.

  1. If you sell configurable products, aim at having the product number first, then each sub-feature (possibly hyphenated).
    eg. 172772-BLK-XL, 172772-WHT-S, etc
  2. Keep key parts of the product human-readable. This is going to save you and your warehouse team a lot of time and stress.
    eg. instead of 'Summer Love Beach Basic Long Sleeved White Small Shirt' you could have 172772-WHT-S : you can easily read that code as White and Small, which is way easier than trying to remember or lookup eg. 172772-299237-12919373

You might want to include:

  1. Product code
  2. Color
  3. Size
  4. Brand
  5. Season (for eg. fashion)
  6. Other unique product attribute