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What Does Shopify SKU Mean, and How Can You Efficiently Handle Your SKU Management?


What Exactly Is SKU In Shopify?

What Is the Significance of SKU Shopify?

How Does an SKU Function?

What Does an SKU Code Look Like on a Printed Label?

Where Companies Employ Stock Keeping Units (SKUs)

Other Locations Requiring Inventory Management and Tracking

How to Add an SKU to Your Products in Shopify: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tips for Managing SKU Codes on Your Shopify Store's Inventory Tracking

How to Obtain a Shopify Product SKU

Final Reflection

In the realm of e-commerce, particularly on a platform as massive as Shopify, efficient processes are paramount for store merchants. With statistics indicating that over 6 million websites rely on Shopify to operate their online stores, it becomes evident that streamlined procedures are essential. One crucial aspect of this process is understanding and effectively utilizing SKU, which stands for Stock Keeping Unit, to manage inventory.

While SKU Shopify may not be a necessity for small shops with fewer than ten products, it becomes increasingly valuable when dealing with stores housing hundreds, thousands, or more items. In larger stores, SKU codes provide a seamless way to keep track of a vast inventory, especially when products have lengthy titles that can be cumbersome to manage manually.

In the e-commerce environment, SKU are essentially a necessary tool for business owners. We've put together a thorough tutorial with helpful recommendations that will be covered in this post if you're interested in finding out how to create SKU numbers in Shopify.

What Exactly Is an SKU In Shopify?

SKU in Shopify serves as a distinctive identifier assigned to products, including their various variants, contributing to effective inventory management for online merchants. This unique code comprises a combination of numbers and letters and is assignable to the products within your Shopify website. SKUs play a pivotal role in swiftly identifying specific product attributes within your online store.

SKUs prove invaluable for tracking several essential elements, some of which include:

  • Manufacturer


  • Brand


  • Styles


  • Sizes


  • Color


  • Product details


  • Pricing


  • Product code


  • Product variant code


  • Categories

It's important to note that an SKU, which stands for "stock-keeping unit," differs from a model number. These codes are distinct and tailored for the efficient management of inventory by online store owners. They facilitate the seamless tracking of inventory levels and enable internal sales reporting. The "Sales by product variant SKU" report can be employed to delve into sales analysis.

Furthermore, it's worth clarifying that SKUs are not synonymous with barcodes or UPC (Universal Product Code) codes. While barcodes are globally unique and issued by recognized standards organizations, SKU codes are designed for the convenience of your online shop, simplifying inventory management. For precise inventory tracking and reporting, it's advisable to employ unique SKUs for each product variant, ensuring accuracy throughout the process.

What Is the Significance of SKU Shopify?

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) in the context of Shopify is of paramount importance for various reasons that greatly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of an e-commerce business. Below, we delve into the significant reasons why SKU Shopify is vital:

Efficient Inventory Management: SKU Shopify plays a pivotal role in streamlining inventory management. It is much simpler to keep track of the amount, location, and status of products in your online store when each product or variant has a distinct SKU given to it. This is especially important for companies that offer a large variety of options and a diverse product catalog.

Accurate Order Fulfillment: When customers place orders on your Shopify store, having distinct SKUs for each product variant ensures that the correct items are picked and shipped. This minimizes the risk of shipping errors, customer dissatisfaction, and the associated costs of returns and refunds.

Data Analysis and Reporting: SKUs enable granular data analysis. By tracking products with unique SKUs, you can generate detailed reports on sales performance, identify top-selling items, assess the popularity of certain variants, and make data-driven decisions about your inventory, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Effective Stock Replenishment: With SKU Shopify, you can easily determine when products are running low or out of stock. This proactive approach allows you to reorder products promptly, preventing situations where popular items are unavailable to customers.

Enhanced Organization: SKU numbers can be used to group products based on several characteristics, including the maker, brand, size, color, and more. It is simpler to locate certain items within your inventory thanks to this categorization, which also streamlines product administration.

Customer Experience: A well-organized inventory and accurate order fulfillment contribute to an improved customer experience. Customers appreciate receiving the correct products promptly, leading to higher satisfaction and increased chances of repeat business.

Marketing and Promotion: SKU data can be utilized for targeted marketing campaigns. You can identify which products or variants are prime candidates for promotions or discounts based on their performance and demand.

Multi-Channel Sales: If you expand your e-commerce presence to multiple channels, such as Amazon, eBay, or brick-and-mortar stores, SKU consistency across platforms ensures uniformity in product management and inventory tracking.

In conclusion, SKU Shopify are crucial for efficient, data-driven, and customer-centric e-commerce operations. It empowers businesses to manage their inventory effectively, minimize errors, make informed decisions, and ultimately enhance the overall shopping experience for customers. By implementing SKU strategies, online merchants can optimize their processes, boost sales, and maintain a competitive edge in the dynamic world of e-commerce.

How Does an SKU Function?

SKUs find their home within the database of an internal tracking system's software.

Their primary role lies in swiftly pinpointing products within your store, tracking items that exist outside the inventory, and monitoring a product's location within a warehouse.

Computer systems and e-commerce developers prefer SKUs as unique identifiers because they are simpler to use than other data points like product titles.

In the realm of development, SKUs prove invaluable when dealing with similar items, especially within upsells and cross-sells.

A typical SKU comprises a combination of letters, numbers, and dashes.

While small stores with limited inventories may sport straightforward SKU numbers, more intricate SKUs come into play for extensive inventories housing thousands of products or more.

It's worth noting that SKU codes are designed to be human-readable, and you don't require specialized software to comprehend them (although software can certainly assist).

What Does an SKU Code Look Like on a Printed Label?

SKU code exists on a printed label

Observe that the structure of an SKU code differs from that of a UPC. An SKU code can be as lengthy as deemed necessary by the product owner. Conversely, a UPC is constrained to just 12 characters.

Where Companies Employ Stock Keeping Units (SKUs)

Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) are utilized by businesses to identify and monitor inventory in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Retail Stores


  • Online Stores


  • Warehouses


  • Printed Catalogs


  • Online Catalogs


  • Fulfillment Centers

Other Locations Requiring Inventory Management and Tracking

In the realm of eCommerce, SKUs assume a pivotal role and grow in importance as your product catalog expands. These alphanumeric or numeric codes can be manually or automatically assigned to products at various stages of the inventory management process, facilitating the following aspects:

Inventory Receiving: SKUs come into play during product receiving, allowing you to swiftly identify and tally your incoming inventory. They provide critical information about the quantity and variants of products as they find their place on warehouse shelves.

Cross-Channel Sales: When dealing with cross-channel sales across various platforms like Amazon, eBay, and offline sales, SKUs are indispensable. They ensure synchronization between your online store and other marketplace sales, providing a unique internal identifier for transactions.

Order Fulfillment: SKU codes are crucial during the picking, packaging, and shipping processes. They enable precise identification of products, streamlining order fulfillment, making it faster and more accurate, and ensuring that customers receive the correct orders promptly.

Returns: SKUs play a significant role in the return process. With the product's identification readily available, you can determine where to place returned items in the warehouse and whether they should be liquidated or discarded. This facilitates efficient handling of returns while keeping your inventory records up-to-date.

Creating Shopify SKU Codes

Generating SKUs for products in Shopify is a straightforward process. Select the desired product within your Shopify store, input the SKU code of your choice, and click "Generate SKU." Shopify will then generate a unique SKU for the product, simplifying inventory tracking and marketing.

Creating SKU Codes with a Fixed Format

It's essential to establish a consistent format for your SKU codes to enhance tracking. Consider initiating SKU codes with letters rather than numbers for better clarity. Employ a dash to separate the letter sequence from the number sequence. For instance:










This ascending numerical order simplifies tracking. Avoid using the number '0' in your SKU to prevent confusion with the letter 'O.'

Determining the Number of Codes Needed

The number of SKU numbers required correlates with your product count. Larger inventories in retail or online stores may necessitate longer codes. However, strive to keep your Shopify SKU codes concise for readability and understanding.

Striking a balance between comprehensibility and sufficiency in code length is advised since excessively long or complex SKU codes can make inventory management more difficult.

How to Add an SKU to Your Products in Shopify: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps if you're unsure how to add a variant with an SKU to your products in Shopify:

Sign in to access the admin area by first logging into your Shopify account.

Products Menu: There is a menu on the left side of the page. Select "Products" from the menu.

Add a New Product: To add a new product listing, choose "Add a New Product" next.

Go to Inventory by scrolling down until you see the "Inventory" section on the new product page.

You can enter your SKU code in the "Inventory" section's input box, which is marked "SKU."

"Enter your unique SKU code into this field.

Save Your Changes: After correctly inputting the SKU number, be sure to save your changes by clicking the "Save" button.

Creating SKUs with a Simple Format:

Here's a straightforward approach to crafting SKU codes, using the example of a product named "Melancholy Thistle Cologne - 30ML." The SKU in this case might be organized as follows:

Name of the company (such as "Melancholy Thistle")


Product Name, such as "Cologne"


Size, such as "30ML"

To make your SKU codes even more comprehensible, consider using an underscore or dash to separate the alphanumeric parts, as shown below:

    SKU: Melancholy_Thistle_Cologne-30ML"

By employing this method, you ensure that employees always recognize that letters appear to the left of the underscore or dash, while numbers appear on the right side. This clear separation minimizes confusion, especially for smaller stores with a limited product range.

Tips for Managing SKU Codes on Your Shopify Store's Inventory Tracking

When it comes to effectively managing SKU codes for inventory tracking in your Shopify store, consider the following best practices:

  1. Example of a Bad SKU Format vs. Good SKU Format:

Bad SKU Format: Avoid overly complex or unclear SKU formats like the one shown in the example.


Good SKU Format: Opt for a clear and structured format for your SKUs.

  1. Put Your Code on Products and Product Descriptions:

Start your SKU with the first letter designating the product type, then add pertinent information like color. For instance, "MSB-115" could be the SKU for blue men's sneakers.

  1. Group SKUs by Categories:

Categorize products and label them accordingly. For example, plain women's shirts in various colors could have SKUs like PWB-111, PWP-112, PWW-113, and PWR-114.

  1. Avoid Special Characters:

Stick to numbers or a combination of numbers and letters in your SKU codes. Refrain from using special characters, symbols, or spaces, as they can cause issues in searching for products and compatibility with software. Dashes and underscores, however, help separate attributes like style, color, and size.

  1. Keep the Length Short:

Aim to keep your SKUs concise, ideally under 16 characters. Depending on your product range, even shorter formats like 4 to 8 characters may suffice.

  1. Keep SKU Numbers Simple and Understandable:

Ensure that your SKU format is intuitive for your staff, aiding in order picking and packing. Every character in the SKU should have a clear purpose.

  1. Keep it Unique:

Maintain uniqueness among your SKUs within Shopify for effective tracking and sales reporting. Each product variant should have a distinct SKU. For instance, if you sell a T-shirt in various colors, each color variant should possess its own unique SKU.

Example SKU Formats:

Juanita's Apparel Store: Juanita uses a ten-digit numeric format (####-###-###) to represent brand, style, and size, separated by hyphens. For example, SKU 4225-776-3234 might indicate pants with the brand 4225, leg style 776 (boot cut), and waist and length measurements of 32x34.

Karl's Wooden Pen Shop: Karl employs an alphanumeric format (########) to categorize his wooden pens by wood type, ink color, and point size. For instance, WAL_BLK_25 could signify a walnut pen with black ink and a 2.5 mm point.

FAQ: What Tools Can Generate SKUs in Shopify?

Several tools are available to automatically generate SKUs for various e-commerce businesses, including:











These tools can simplify the SKU creation process, enhance organization, and improve inventory tracking.

How to Obtain a Shopify Product SKU

As an online retailer, you might have encountered products with SKUs assigned to them, while others lack this identification. To clarify, let's explore what an SKU is and how you can acquire one for your products.

Understanding SKU (Stock Keeping Unit):

An SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, serves as a unique identifier designated by retailers to individual products. It's a crucial tool for inventory management and tracking.

What Does SKU Mean on Shopify?

On Shopify, an SKU is a distinct identifier assigned to each product within your store. It is automatically assigned when you create a product, but you retain the flexibility to modify it as needed via the admin's Product Details page. This feature is particularly useful when manually inputting inventory into your Shopify store or migrating products from another platform.

Advanced Uses of SKUs in Shopify:

SKUs in Shopify offer various advanced functionalities, including:

Tracking Product Variants and Options: SKUs can effectively manage and differentiate between product variants, making it easier to handle diverse product lines.


Multi-Channel Selling: They enable synchronization across various sales channels, ensuring consistency and accurate tracking of transactions.


Sales and Performance Analysis: SKUs aid in analyzing sales data, allowing you to identify top-performing products and make informed decisions.


Inventory Management: Maintaining a unique SKU for each item simplifies physical inventory counts and alerts you when products are running low or need restocking.


Recommendation Engine: SKUs can suggest comparable items to customers, enhancing the shopping experience.

Final Reflection

Indeed, Shopify offers the capability to generate product SKUs, a feature that holds considerable value for businesses. The significance lies in the facilitation of streamlined inventory tracking, ensuring that businesses are well-equipped to maintain the right products in stock consistently.

Our comprehensive guide aims to equip you with a thorough understanding of stock-keeping units (SKUs). We encourage you to embrace the guidance provided when embarking on the implementation of your SKU system.

While the world of e-commerce is brimming with exciting facets, it's important to recognize that SKU management plays a pivotal role. Beyond the routine tasks, it serves as the linchpin for operational efficiency. It empowers businesses to maintain a clear inventory overview, make data-driven decisions, and elevate the overall shopping experience for customers. In essence, SKU management is the unsung hero of a well-organized and prosperous e-commerce venture.

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