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Running a business

How to create SKU numbers

What are SKUs?


SKU is short for stock keeping unit; it is also sometimes known as the product code (not to be confused with a barcode).


If you are selling products, it is important to set up your inventory management software correctly, and one of the most important parts, if not the most important part, of this setup is the product SKU.

Why do SKUs matter?


Coding your products correctly makes it easy for you and others to find, search and reference products from lists, invoices, order forms, etc. Find out more about why SKUs are important.


Every variation of the product should have its own unique SKU. It acts like an abbreviation of the product details.

Download your Free SKU Code Generator!

Easily keep your product catalog organised.


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Examples of good SKUs


If you’re selling novelty coffee mugs and they come in three different colours, then the SKUs might look something like this:


Coffee mug, red, Model No.1 = CM01-R


Coffee mug, white, Model No.1 = CM01-W


Coffee mug, blue, Model No.1 = CM01-B


In this example, we have used the colour variant, which distinguishes the items, as the last value in the SKU. By suffixing the SKU with the variant, we make the SKU easy to comprehend whilst still grouping together all the coffee mugs with CM01 for ease of use.


Let’s do a slightly more complex example. This time we’ll add in a couple of variants, i.e. season, product name, product type, size and colour.


Summer 2012, gecko tee, small, red = S12T-Gec-RS


Summer 2012, gecko tee, medium, red = S12T-Gec-RM


Summer 2012, ladybird tee, small, white = S12T-Lad-WS


Summer 2012, ladybird tee, medium, white = S12T-Lad-WM


In the example above we have provided each of the variants with a unique, but easy to understand, SKU.

Create and assign SKUs (stock keeping units) for all your product variants

with this SKU generator

SKU best practices


Create SKUs that work for you. Make them simple enough so others will understand them. Use the first area of the SKU to group the products together and use the last part, after the dash, for the unique values.


Once you have your SKUs set up correctly you should find it much easier to manage orders and product lists. QuickBooks Commerce's order management system keeps to these best practices, and we expect that each variant has its own unique SKU.


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