SKU for eCommerce websites

One of the biggest fears that online and offline retailers face is having to deal with deadstock. You have a pile of products that are lying around in your warehouse previously undetected when they could have been yielding revenue instead.

This is exactly why you need to use SKUs for inventory management. You should have a systematic approach to recording and tracking your inventory to ensure that every single product is accounted for and you’re not losing money on items that have fallen through the cracks.

What is SKU?

The best way to increase inventory turnover and minimize deadstock is to implement inventory identifiers. The SKU number is just one of the many methods that you can use for your business. It is also one of the most common ones. In this post, we’ll talk about what it is exactly and how you can use it for your Strikingly ecommerce store.

What is a SKU?

First, we need to find out what does SKU stand for. Stock Keeping Unit or SKU (pronounced as “skew”) is a 6-9 character alphanumeric code that is used to identify a particular product from all others in an inventory.

They are also called item numbers, model numbers or product codes. It is important that your inventory management system is able to identify the product they are referring to when you call the code up so you can identify the status of the inventory - e.g. in-stock, delivered, etc.

One thing to note about SKUs is that they are not universal. They are meant to be identifiers that are unique to a particular store or company. This ensures that you don’t get your inventory mixed up with other businesses or business units if you are running several different stores.

Also, the alphanumeric code is not just a random combination of numbers and letters. They have to stand for something that essentially describes the product they are meant to identify.

What SKUs are NOT

Knowing the SKU meaning isn’t enough, we should also what an SKU isn’t. Many people tend to mix up SKUs with UPC bar codes. UPCs are universal product codes and as the name implies, they are not necessarily unique to a particular store. They are universal codes attached to a given product issued by the Global Standards Organization.

UPCs identify a product’s manufacturer and the item and are usually numeric rather than alphanumeric. An Adidas t-shirt, for instance, will have the same UPC regardless of which retailer sells it but it will have a different SKU depending on the seller.

SKUs are internally assigned and are used to make data entry and inventory management within a store easier. UPCs are used by manufacturers to identify their products.

What SKUs contain

Within this seemingly random combination of letters and numbers, you can find information about the product it represents. This includes the product type, manufacturer, brand, model, color, size and warranty terms among others. Similar products share the same SKU.

For instance, going back to our Adidas t-shirt example, 10 pieces of this t-shirt in the same print and size can have an SKU that looks similar to this: ADI-VN-RED-36. SKUs are meant to be easily understood by staff and also scannable through the internal barcode scanner for easier monitoring.

Why Are SKUs Important?

Now that we know what is SKU, it’s time to know why this is vital. SKUs allow retailers to manage their inventory systematically. If you’re running multi-channel sales channels, SKUs help you keep track of your inventory, providing you with information that you need to plan sales campaigns or replenish items when they run out of stock. This identifier provides you with information about any product in your inventory, making items easier to locate in your warehouse.

Assigning SKUs on your inventory also minimizes human error related to the pricing and stock take. This ensures that orders will go out accurately and in a timely manner. When orders are served properly and service levels are up, customers are happy. Satisfied customers turn into loyal buyers.

Once you have assigned SKUs to your inventory, you can now proceed to do a batch import of your products into your Strikingly online store.

Setup Your Ecommerce Store

Now that you understand the fundamentals of SKU, it’s time for you to build your own ecommerce website. Having your own online store can help you raise revenue and increase your market visibility in the long run. But considering the huge amount of pre-operational costs you have to spend, allotting more time and money into your online store can be an exhausting process.

Luckily for you, Strikingly is a website builder that allows users to create their own even without prior technical knowledge in coding or web development. And the best part is, creating a Strikingly account is free and going Pro isn’t going to break your bank.

After making your own Strikingly account, you can head over to your Dashboard and “Create New Site”. This will prompt you to choose among the many website templates Strikingly has.

Select a template

Image taken from Strikingly product

Make sure to select the template that fits the required visuals of your shop. You can always change your templates later.

If you’re still not too satisfied with the look and functions of your ecommerce website, you can change its style, layout, and background. Don’t panic about choosing the wrong buttons as Strikingly’s features are user-friendly and can be learned in just a matter of minutes.

Once you’re comfortable with the buttons, tools, and features, apply adjustments as necessary. Users can easily judge your shop based on appearance alone, so make sure that your site is easy to navigate, user-friendly, and well-organized.

How To Add Products Into Online Store

The heart of every ecommerce websites is, of course, the products that you sell and the relationship you create with the people who buy them.

After choosing your website template, click on “Add New Section” on the left-side menu then from “Store & Products”, choose “Simple Store”.

Import products

Image taken from Strikingly product

There are two ways to add products to your online store. The first one is by importing products from CSV. At the upper right corner of the window, there is an icon with three dots, click it and choose “Import Products”.

Clicking that will prompt the window that you see on the image above. From that window, you can click the link that leads to the tutorial on how to import products. You can also download the CSV template. This is the template that you would use to list your products.

Following some of our mentioned stock keeping unit examples, you can categorize your products based on model, color, and size. Adding these options into each of your products can help you manage your inventory and set up SKUs for management purposes.

If you choose to import products by uploading a CSV file, make sure to follow the instructions that Strikingly has provided to ensure a seamless upload.

The second method is to add products manually. Doing this means that you have to add the products one-by-one onto Strikingly’s editor. While that sounds a bit tiresome for you, doing that would actually help you visualize what buyers would see in your shop.

Add products to store

Image taken from Strikingly product

To add new products to “Store”, then “Products”. It will prompt you to a new window but just click on “Add New Products”. It will then lead you to select the product type, so just choose whether you’re selling physical goods, services or digital products. For this example, we will use physical goods.

From the image above, you can see the setting used to add products to your ecommerce website. First, add the product name. Make sure that it is specific and spelt correctly.

The add a product description. In this section, you can add special features of a product, or outline its dimensions and weight. You can also add short instructions on how to use the product.

Add an eye-catching image. Make sure to select a high-quality photograph where the subject is the product alone, in simple background.

You can then add options based on your set SKU for your inventory. You can add color, size, or model options. You can also specify the amount of inventory you have left on your stock. Add more options as necessary.

Add shipping information

Image taken from Strikingly product

After adding your products, you can assign them to their respective categories. You can add categories by going to “Store”, then “Categories”, and finally “Add Categories”. After setting it up, each added category will show up on the drop-down menu you see on the image above.

Finalizing Store Settings

Store settings

Image taken from Strikingly product

To finalize your store, add payment channels to make online purchases more convenient for your buyers. You can also improve the buying experience by sending them alerts or emails whenever there is an update about their order/s.

SKUs are very important tools for inventory management. They help in tracking your stocks and managing inventory whenever a new purchase is made, or when replenishing your stocks. When you set up an ecommerce website with Strikingly, you can add products with unique SKUs to make the shopping experience better for both you and your clients.