Information to Include in a SKU:
- Product Identifier – Since every SKU has to be unique, use the UPC number or the ASIN as part of your SKU.
- Date Purchased/Listed – Use 2 letters for months, 2 numbers for the day and 2 numbers for the year. This can be used to let you know at a glance how long an item has been listed on Amazon.
- Location Purchased – Create two letter abbreviations for your sources. WM = Walmart, EB = eBay, for example. In case you forget, this can be a handy way to remember where your inventory is coming from.
- Your Cost – Use 4(or more) digits (no decimals) to represent your cost. 4995=$49.95, 0900=€9,00. You can even use an additional symbol for currency if you source in various currencies.
- Warehouse Location – If you’re fulfilling the item yourself, knowing where it is in your warehouse (or home) can make your life easier. Who hasn’t searched high and low for a product that needs to be shipped! Use a 2 or 3 letter/number code. DR=Dining Room, W1=Warehouse1, for example. Just don’t go moving things around too much!
- Condition – Use a one or two-letter code to identify the condition of the item. N=New, VG=Very Good
Putting it All Together
Say you bought a brand new baseball glove from the Salvation Army for $13.50. It’s being stored in your spare bedroom and you’re listing it today, May 31st, 2012. Here’s what your SKU would look like:
That’s ASIN-Date-Purchase Location-Purchase Cost-Storage Location-Condition. And all in 30 characters! And, according to Amazon, a SKU can be up to 40 alpha-numeric characters. That leaves room to spare!
The value of naming SKUs in this way is that it lets you see a ton of information about a product in one place. No more searching databases or hunting for receipts. Make a habit of naming your SKUs in a way that’s valuable to you. Once you start, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it!
And I’d love to know how you name your SKUs. Leave a comment here to share your ideas.