All you need to know about an SKU

A guide to understand SKU and why is it important for a seller

by Swati Bucha on 06/04/2017
Any seller would have heard the term SKU. A lot of people would even pronounce it as “skew”. In case you are new to this term, an SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. It is an identification code which is used to track a product for inventory purposes. It sometimes provides details about a product such as colour, size, fit and other variations. An SKU is unique to the company, so the same product would have different SKUs if sold by different companies, but they would have the same UPC (Universal Product Code). An SKU helps in categorising the products easily, measure accurate inventories which lead to improving stocks management. For example, as a seller on an e-commerce marketplace like, you would like to sell a t-shirt in diverse sizes and in different colours, then each size and colour combination would have an exclusive inventory and therefore its own SKU.

What is a product SKU and why is it important?

It is important for sellers to know about Stock Keeping Units as it is usually formed and allocated by the sellers. An SKU helps in stock keeping and tracking individual inventories easily. If you or your system can uniquely identify an item, it is easier to know the whereabouts of a product within your inventory. It also serves as a shorthand for longer item descriptions. Instead of entering an entire name or a description of an item, you can use a much shorter item number in the form of an SKU. This may probably speed up the process of data entry and inventory management.

If you want to create a system that's easier to work with and uses your own item numbers, here are some of our recommendations:

Make unique SKUs – SKUs should be unique, so you should probably never use an SKU again for a product you don’t sell anymore.

Keep the SKUs short – SKUs mostly will be maximum 30 characters long. If it is longer than 30 characters then it becomes hard to interpret.

Avoid spaces or special characters – Use simple characters make it simple and easy for your understanding.

Avoid product title in the SKUs – Use short and brief descriptions for the product title, not the SKU.

Never start your SKU with a zero – Never use “0” in the beginning of SKU as the Excel spreadsheet will strip out the 0 and mess everything up.

If you are a seller on, we hope this article will help you better understand an SKU and the importance of creating it properly. However, if you have not yet registered on Amazon, click here.
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