July 14, 2024

Mastering Inventory Management: An In-Depth Look at SKU Numbers

Inventory management is an integral aspect of successful retail business operation. Surprisingly though, the average US retail business reportedly operates with an inventory accuracy rating of just 63%, highlighting the crucial role of meticulous inventory management. One effective solution for this common problem is the utilization of SKU numbers. Let’s delve into the importance of SKU numbers, what they are, and how to find them.

Understanding SKU Numbers

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), pronounced ‘skew’, is an alphanumeric code assigned to each product for identification purposes. Each unique SKU, typically consisting of 8 to 12 characters, provides specific details about the product. These details may include the brand, item type, color, or the department where the product comes from.

SKU numbers exist across both brick-and-mortar retail locations and eCommerce platforms. It’s important to note that SKU numbers will vary from one business to another due to different product assortments and individual organization systems. SKU numbers are indispensable for businesses aiming to streamline inventory management and optimize sales.

The Significance of SKU Numbers

SKU numbers are instrumental in enhancing the customer experience. They provide customers with a precise method of identifying the product they desire, thus simplifying the shopping process. SKU numbers also facilitate efficient inventory management by enabling businesses to track sales and predict demand for various products.

With SKU tracking, businesses can identify fast-selling items and replenish stock in time for peak seasons. They can strategically group these products in a ‘best sellers’ section to stimulate additional sales. Furthermore, SKU numbers help maintain store organization, ensuring retailers are aware of which items might be running low.

How to Locate a SKU Number on a Product

Identifying SKU numbers is fairly straightforward. Here are three popular methods:

  1. Check the product itself: Look for the barcode, typically found on the back or bottom of a product. The SKU number is often printed below this barcode. If it’s not there, continue to explore other parts of the product. Manufacturers may occasionally place the SKU number in less obvious locations, such as inside a flap on a box.
  2. Clothing or toys: SKU numbers are often found on a price tag or sticker attached to the product.
  3. Shelf display: Some retailers display SKU numbers on the shelf label where the product is located.

If an exhaustive search yields no SKU number, it’s possible that the item has not yet been assigned one. However, the SKU number may still be located on the business’s website.

Locating SKU Numbers Online

With the growing prominence of eCommerce, many businesses are attaching SKU numbers to their online product listings. Check the product page on the company’s website, where the SKU number is usually listed alongside the product. However, not all businesses adhere to this practice. Some businesses track their products using the manufacturer’s barcode rather than their SKU system.

Other businesses, like Amazon, combine the manufacturer’s barcode with their SKU number to create a unique identifier, known as an FNSKU.

What If There Is No SKU Number?

Many businesses use SKU numbers for internal tracking purposes and choose not to share these with customers. If you can’t find the SKU number on the product or the business’s website, check the sales receipt. In some cases, SKU numbers are confined to this document.

However, if the SKU number is nowhere to be found, it’s likely that the company doesn’t use them. If SKU numbers are important to your shopping experience, you should communicate this to the business, either requesting them to implement SKU numbers or considering switching to a company that does.


SKU numbers offer an effective solution to maintaining inventory accuracy and improving overall business efficiency. As a customer, if you find that a business isn’t using these codes, suggest that they do. It’ll benefit both parties by simplifying product identification and purchase processes. Keep exploring our website to find more informative articles on a wide range of topics that are sure to captivate your interest.

Editorial Team

iDeal BlogHub's Editorial Team delivers high-quality, informative content across multiple niches. Led by an experienced editor-in-chief, their expertise spans industries to provide unique perspectives.