The Ultimate Guide to Amazon SKUs
Selling on Amazon comes with its fair share of complexities, particularly when it comes to understanding the array of acronyms that go into listing your products. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed and confused after seeing terms like SKU, ASIN, FNSKU, and GTIN, you’re not alone.
These acronyms are often used to identify products and are necessary for most sellers on Amazon. SKU is one of the most common acronyms you’ll come across because the vast majority of sellers use them.
But what exactly are they, how do you create them, and what do they do for your products and brand? This post will tell you everything you need to know.
What Are Amazon SKUs?
SKU stands for “Stock Keeping Unit” and they are unique alphanumeric codes that run no longer than 16 characters and are used to track products for inventory and sales purposes.
Every product that’s sold on Amazon has a unique SKU code so that sellers can get a quick insight into the product that’s being sold and shipped. Usually, an SKU code includes attribution details that help identify the product in question. This might include codes that refer to the product’s size, color, shape, and style.
It’s kind of like Amazon shorthand. It allows sellers to quickly understand what product is under the spotlight.
What Seller SKUs Help You Do
Now that you know what an SKU is, let’s dive into what they actually help Amazon sellers to do.
There are several helpful benefits of an SKU.
Firstly, they help you obtain product information quickly, especially if your SKUs use codes relating to the product’s physical attributes. SKUs also help sellers understand sales quantities and how many units are still in stock versus how long a product has “sat on the shelf”.
One of the most significant benefits of SKUs is their ability to help sellers pick, pack, and ship orders as quickly as possible. The alphanumeric codes identify a product at a glance, helping sellers to effectively manage their inventory.
Without SKUs – or without using SKUs effectively – sellers can struggle to manage their inventory and can lose track of items. This can slow down the sales and shipping process and leave a dent in potential revenue. At Urtasker, we understand the importance of using SKUs correctly to reap the rewards they provide, which is why we help our clients optimize product listings for more sales.
An Amazon SKU Example
So what does an Amazon SKU look like in action?
Sellers can create different SKUs for their products based on how they list their inventory and what they’re selling. The building blocks of each seller’s SKUs may differ wildly depending on how they categorize and list their products.
For example, a store that sells shoes can create internal SKUs that help identify each pair based on specific details, like price, brand, size, and color. Blue, size seven Ugg boots in the classic style might have the SKU code UGG-CL-BLU-07, while a red pair might be UGG-CL-RED-07.
It’s up to Amazon sellers how they list their products, and most will come up with a consistent sequence they can use over and over again.
ASIN vs SKU: What’s the Difference?
If you’re already selling on Amazon or you’ve been looking into it, you’ve probably come across the ASIN acronym too. This is often used in tandem with SKUs, so it can get confusing about what each one is for.
While SKUs are codes for sellers to keep track of their products, ASINs (which stands for Amazon Stock Identifier Numbers) are unique codes for products sent in to Amazon’s warehouse.
Basically, an ASIN is Amazon’s version of an SKU and it helps them keep track of merchandise instead of leaving it up to sellers.
How to Create Seller SKUs on Amazon
At Urtasker, we encourage our clients to create their own SKUs for their products. It makes selling products and managing inventory that much easier. Luckily, creating unique SKU codes is fairly simple. In fact, sellers have two options:
- Create SKU codes manually
- Use an SKU generator or point-of-sale software
How to Create Your Own SKUs
Amazon sellers that choose to create their own SKUs (that is, without the help of an SKU generator) have more control over their codes and what identifiers go into them. If you decide to create your own, you might want to include letters and numbers that represent:
- The product’s supplier or manufacturer
- The type of item (for example, if you’re selling books, you might have the letters BK in there as an identifier)
- The date you sent the products to Amazon’s warehouse
- The condition of your product (for example, if the product is new, you might include the letters NW in your SKU to identify that)
- The number of the product in a batch
How to Use an SKU Generator to Create SKUs
If you don’t want to create your own SKUs, you can use Amazon’s “SKU Generator within WP-Lister”. This can be accessed through the Amazon tools tab on Seller Central.
There are two ways Amazon’s generator picks unique codes for products:
- SKUs based on the product’s title
- SKUs based on the product’s attributes and details
Sellers can choose which variant they want to use for their product. Bear in mind that all lowercase SKUs are automatically converted into uppercase.
The Pros and Cons of Amazon-Created SKUs
While automatically generating SKUs through the Amazon tool is quick and easy, it isn’t the best option for everyone.
The Pros of Using Amazon’s SKU Generator
- You can identify product groups and see which ones are performing the best because all SKUs are uniform in the way they are generated
- It’s easy to standardize SKUs for specific products across the board
The Cons of Using Amazon’s SKU Generator
- The SKU codes are likely to be meaningless to you and your staff because you haven’t had any input on how they’re generated
- If you run several different Amazon stores, Amazon will create different SKUs for each one even if the products you’re selling are identical. This can make it difficult to keep track of inventory across stores
Top Tips for Creating and Using SKUs
SKUs can be really helpful for Amazon sellers. They help identify products quickly and make it easy to keep track of inventory. However, if you want to reap the most benefits from them, there are some key things you should do.
Use Each SKU for Only One Product
Don’t confuse yourself and your team by using the same SKUs for multiple different product types. It’s best to use each SKU for just one product or product type, like sunglasses or phone cases or books.
Use the Same SKU For Identical Products
Many Amazon sellers have multiple stores that they sell similar products from. If this is you, make sure you use the same SKU for identical products you sell across each Amazon store. This will help you keep track of your entire inventory, rather than having to constantly add up sales from each individual store.
Keep It Consistent
Once you’ve set up a system for creating your SKUs, make sure you stick to it. For example, if you always add a couple of letters to identify your supplier first in your SKUs, make sure you keep it that way for every item.
Ensure All Employees Are In the Know
Your employees will be up close and personal with your SKUs often. Make sure they know the system well; you can write up a guide if you need to, and make sure your SKU process is easily accessible to everyone who needs it.
Changing an SKU
You might have haphazardly created SKUs for your products as quickly as possible when you set up your store. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, a lot of sellers do this. However, once you’ve got an established brand, you might decide you want to switch up your SKUs so they fit a more rigid process.
So can you change an SKU after using it for a while?
The simple answer is yes, but it can be a hassle. To do so, you have to delete the product from the Amazon.com catalogue and re-submit it with the new SKU you want to use. You should wait at least 24 hours before you add the new SKU. If you’re dead set on deleting SKUs from your inventory and replacing them with new ones, it’s best to upload a delete feed and go from there.
Make Your SKUs Work Harder For You
SKUs are an integral part of running an Amazon business. They help you identify your products quickly and keep a check on how much stock is coming and going from your inventory.
Creating an SKU is simple. You can either put it together yourself by using numbers and letters relating to the physical attributes of a product, or you can use Amazon’s SKU generator to automatically create unique codes.
Whichever way you decide to do it, make sure you’re consistent. This will help you streamline the sales and shipping process. Ensure you keep your staff in the know too – everyone who uses SKUs in your business should understand how they’re created and what each number and letter stands for.
By now, you should have an in-depth understanding of SKUs and their important role in selling on Amazon. Start creating yours today and see how much easier it is to manage your inventory in the coming months.
SKUs are a crucial back-end part of product listings. They make keeping track of your inventory easy and help your team better understand the selling process.
Find out more about how Urtasker can help you optimize your product listings and streamline your selling systems to dramatically increase revenue. Schedule a 30-minute call with our expert team today.