What is an SKU

(Stock-Keeping Unit)?

SKU Definition

A stock-keeping unit, or SKU, is a product code (alphanumeric serial numbers) used to identify finished goods that are sold to customers. SKU codes are used to monitor item locations, stock levels, pricing, and additional product details. SKUs can also be managed with scannable bar codes that are printed on product labels.

Additional Information

SKUs often contain information related to a product or service encoded into itself. Items commonly contained within SKUs include:

  • Vendor or Supplier
  • Category and Subcategory
  • Product Specification(s)


Is SKU and barcode the same?

SKUs and barcodes are not the same. SKUs are alphanumeric codes that vary in length and are unique to individual retailers and manufacturers. Barcodes, on the other hand, are universal numeric codes that have a fixed 12-digit length.

*Source: https://www.shopify.com

How are products assigned a SKU?

A SKU or “”stock keeping unit”” is an alphanumeric number (varying in length) that companies use to differentiate products and track inventory levels. Products are assigned different SKU numbers based on various attributes such as price, manufacturer, color, style, type, and size.

*Source: https://www.shopify.com

What is the difference between UPC and SKU?

While products are assigned different SKUs by different companies, the UPC (universal product code) is a number that remains fixed for a product regardless of the company that is selling it. Companies can create their own SKUs internally; however, barcodes must be administered and managed by GS1 US.

*Source: https://quickbooks.intuit.com

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