E-commerce Product Management: How to name your SKU’s

Guest Post from our partner, SalesWarp.

When creating an online store and deciding how to easily manage product SKUs, there are several factors that can keep product management, fulfillment and replenishment clean and simple. Depending on your product line and number of products, a more complicated method of creating SKUs may help you keep your sanity in the long run. Taking the time to understand your products and how they will be fulfilled and planning for future growth is key to deciding what will work best for you in the long run.

If a product is unique to a manufacturer, i.e. only made by that manufacturer, use their SKU as your SKU.  

There are a number of benefits to this, including

  • Managing products without creating cross references between internal SKUs and vendor SKUs for:
    • Importing products
    • Importing inventory receipts
    • Importing pricing updates
  • Alleviating having to design and manage a SKU-naming architecture

On the flip side, you might have a valid reason for utilizing a more structured SKU naming architecture. If you have many products with multiple variations, which might be provided by multiple vendors, then designing a SKU code that is more defined and consistent may be in order.  

Take, for example, a Travel Mug that comes in multiple colors and sizes, and is provided by numerous vendors. The vendor for any given color could change at any time, so incorporating the vendor or their SKU into the internal SKU likely doesn’t make sense, but the SKU could be designed to be instantly recognizable.

Make the variations an intrinsic part of the SKU design.

TMPL12BLUE Travel Mug Plastic 12 oz. Blue
TMPL24BLUE Travel Mug Plastic 24 oz. Blue
TMPL12BLACK Travel Mug Plastic 12 oz. Black
TMPL24BLACK Travel Mug Plastic 24 oz. Black

Or, another example:  a Tee Shirt that comes in multiple colors and sizes. Separators could be incorporated into the SKUs to facilitate reporting, without being tied to character limits for specific variations. In the case below anything before the first separator is the Parent SKU. There is not character limit for the parent SKU portion. Anything between the first and second separators refers to the color, again not necessarily limited to two characters, and anything after the second separator refers to the size, but is not necessarily limited to any character length. Rollup reports could be created to illuminate sales at the parent SKU (all colors and sizes) level, at a parent SKU + color level, or at the most granular detail level of parent, color, and size.  

2112-BK-S Black Tee Small
2112-BK-M Black Tee Medium
2112-BK-L Black Tee Large
2112-BL-S Blue Tee Small
2112-BL-M Blue Tee Medium
2112-BL-L Blue Tee Large

Going this route would require you to set up each vendor with an Order SKU as a cross reference between their SKU and yours. An advanced order management solution like SalesWarp offers you the ultimate flexibility to incorporate any or all of the above methods, and others you are likely to devise, as well.

Information technology enables the growing complexity in order management. A seamlessly orchestrated order management system lets companies transform from simply filling orders to effectively leveraging inventory, maximizing internal and external resources and keeping order promises, which keeps customers happy. The right order management system helps you accomplish these goals by providing a single, unified view of supply and demand across all your networks. Want to learn more about how to build a smarter order management system? REQUEST A SalesWarp DEMO today. Or call 410-276-4600 for more details.