Stock Keeping Unit (SKUs)

A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is an alphanumeric combination of eight or more characters that are scanned by a barcode reader. SKUs are frequently represented by bar codes or QR codes. Each item, as well as the location where it is sold, will have its own distinct SKU (but should not be confused with UPC barcodes)

Stock Keeping Unit or SKUs are used to manage inventory levels by retailers, catalogs, e-commerce suppliers, service providers, warehouses, and product fulfillment centers. Scannable SKUs and a POS system ensure that it is straightforward for managers to determine which goods need to be refilled. When a consumer purchases an item at the point-of-sale (POS), the SKU is scanned, and the POS system removes the item from inventory while also collecting other data such as the selling price.

An SKU code for a product provides the opportunity to better organize and manage inventory as it is shipped and sold. This efficiency is particularly important for businesses that handle large volumes of products, whether they are being shipped to a retail outlet or to a wholesaler who will then supply multiple outlets.

Many businesses now have portable scanners that allow salespeople to verify back-of-the-store inventories by simply scanning a floor sample.

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