Upc Lookup : Walmart

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What SKUs are & why they’re important.

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The difference between SKU vs UPC vs Serial numbers

Have you ever looked at a price tag và wondered why on earth there are so many numbers and letters on it? What are they all for? One of those numbers sets is usually the SKU number (stock keeping unit). SKU numbers are unique to each store & allow the store khổng lồ keep track of each vật phẩm in inventory. SKU numbers can be anything you want to be but are most often about 8 alpha-numeric digits.

SKU vs UPC vs Serial numbers

There are quite a few numbers associated with products & inventory-keeping và it can be hard lớn tell what makes them all different. We know what a SKU number is, but what are the others & how are they different?

First, there’s the UPC number (universal hàng hóa code). The UPC number is the twelve-digit number that runs along the bottom of the barcode and, as the name implies, is a universal number. That means anyone with a barcode scanner can read the number. It also means that the UPC is not unique to a store. If two companies are selling the same item, those items will have different SKUs, but the same UPC.

Next, there’s the serial number. Serial numbers are chất lượng to each specific product & are most frequently used for electronics. (If you’ve ever had an issue with your laptop, you’ve probably encountered the serial number as you’ve given details lớn a help desk or customer service, for instance. It’s that number on the barcode tag on the bottom of your laptop.) Serial numbers are used khổng lồ track the ownership information of an item. They can also be used to track warranty information.

What bởi vì SKU numbers mean to retailers?

SKU numbers are important for every store lớn use because they make life way easier. Each SKU is recorded within your internal tracking system (which is hopefully an inventory management system and not a manual spreadsheet). Once within your system, SKUs will make it possible for you to record loss easily, make smarter inventory decisions, track the exact location of each item, increase the accuracy of your inventory and warehouse activities, and for your employees khổng lồ easily look up inventory khổng lồ help your customers. When done right, a SKU number can even tell an employee what thành phầm should be attached lớn your SKU.

True story: When I was working retail, a woman once came in with a danh mục of SKUs from the catalogue that she wanted to lớn buy, but no other descriptors. Coincidentally, our inventory management system also chose that particular hour khổng lồ go out. I was actually able lớn locate all 5 pieces she wanted lớn buy because our SKU numbers were well mix up lớn direct me to lớn the right items.

SKUs also enable some really amazing sale activities. For instance, SKUs are what are used to generate suggestions for other items you might lượt thích on a site. They are also used to run sản phẩm remarketing on a site like Facebook.

At the kết thúc of the day, SKUs take your physical items and turn them into pieces of data a computer can easily track. You really can’t eschew SKUs.

How vì You Generate SKU Numbers?

You can generate SKU numbers any way you want, but it’s probably easiest to use your inventory/retail management system. The length is up to lớn you, but vày take into consideration that your staff will need lớn be able to easily read and even remember SKUs. (Grocery cashiers, for instance, often kết thúc up memorizing swaths of produce SKUs in order to be able to ring faster.) You can also choose lớn use only numbers or letters – or vì a combination of the two.

When choosing digits, you could go totally random. However, it’s better khổng lồ imbue your digits with some meaning. By that I mean, segment the digits out to lớn refer khổng lồ certain things. For instance, if you have an 8 digit SKU, the first two digits could refer khổng lồ the nhà cửa category, the second two digits could refer khổng lồ sub-category, the third two could refer to sản phẩm color, & the last two can be the quality identifier.

There are a number of ways this can be done. First, if your inventory is simple enough, you may only need to specify a single category & combine it with a sequential set of numbers khổng lồ refer khổng lồ the item. Here’s a visual example of how that would be put together for a small pet store:

CategoryCodeItemCodeSKU Number
Dog Toys10Tennis Ball01210012
Rodent Accessories20Hamster Wheel00520005
Cat Food30Salmon Bites00130001

The item codes should be created in a sequential order (thus, each new cửa nhà you get in will just be assigned the next available number). The thành phầm codes can be reused in different departments, as well. So “012” could be used for Chicken Bites in the cát food department, even though it’s used for Tennis Ball in the Dog Toys department. (That Chicken Bites SKU, by the way, would be: ‘30012.’)

However, your inventory may get more complex. Here’s a quick danh sách of the aspects of an cửa nhà you might wish to lớn put into a SKU:

SupplierStore LocationDepartmentVariationItem TypeSizeColor

Let’s look at how a clothing store with men’s, women’s and children’s clothing might want lớn create a SKU.

When a SKU number is put together this logically, it becomes easy lớn see how a sales associate might be able to lớn take a number and figure out what nhà cửa it represents.

SKU Number Tips

You can reuse SKUs.

Some people will tell you not to reuse SKUs ever — but the truth is, as long as you wait for a few years or so (after multiple total catalogue refreshes and completely selling all items attached khổng lồ that SKU) you can certainly reuse your old SKU numbers.

The store I worked for in college did this with no hiccups. In fact, the only reason I ever realized that they reused SKUs after a number of years is because one customer decided lớn return an công trình she bought 12 years previous & had never worn. The cống phẩm still had the tags & the old SKU number, which corresponded with a new công trình when I typed it into our system.

The first 2-3 digits should represent the highest category.

Use the first few digits of the SKU number to represent what is the highest category of importance about the cống phẩm to you, & work into the more chất lượng features of the item. (And once you’ve locked your formula in, always write your SKUs in the same order.)

Think of it as the opposite of how you identify where you’re from. That is, when identifying your hometown, you start most specific and get more broad. I’m from Trumbull, Connecticut, in the United States, which is on the North American continent on planet Earth. A good SKU number goes the opposite direction, essentially identifying planet first and town last.

Avoid beginning the SKU with the number 0.

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You shouldn’t start your SKUs with 0s, mainly because some data storing software may interpret that 0 as literally nothing. That is, when told lớn store the number “012345,” the software will read it as “12345.” It’s just best to lớn avoid putting yourself in that situation altogether. (This tip is a solid data storage tip in general. Try to avoid starting data with 0’s.)

Do begin your SKU with letters.

Starting your SKUs with letters is an easy way to help them stand out in a spreadsheet filled with other numbers. It provides an easy visual cue that that’s the beginning of a SKU number, rather than a continuation of the number in the cell before it.

Avoid using letters that look like numbers.

It’s a good best practice lớn avoid using letters that can be confused with numbers or even other letters (‘I’ can look lượt thích ‘1’ và a lowercase ‘L’, for instance).

Your staff will (fairly often) have khổng lồ type SKUs in by hand & you really want khổng lồ make this process as quick và easy for them as you can.

If you don’t want khổng lồ completely cut these numbers và letters out of your system, you should ensure that you use sectioned SKU numbers in which some sections are only ever letters & some sections are only ever numbers. IE, a SKU that looks lượt thích this: BLE-134. Your staff will know that ‘O’ is the letter và not a zero if they see it in the alphabetical section in that case.

Don’t use any of the manufacturer numbers within your SKUs.

In general, it’s recommended that stores avoid reusing the manufacturer numbers as or within their SKU numbers in order khổng lồ prevent confusion. SKUs are meant khổng lồ be quality to each business, so go ahead & honor that. Of course, the easiest way khổng lồ avoid using any of the manufacturing numbers is khổng lồ have a set formula (as mentioned in the previous section) for generating SKUs in place, rather than lớn approach SKU creation haphazardly.

Don’t overload your SKUs with meaning.

Finally, while you bởi want to infuse your SKUs with meaning, you don’t want lớn overload them. For instance — you don’t want to kết thúc up creating a 32 digit SKU because you wanted to get every last piece of detail you could into the number. It’s better lớn forsake some detail in the name of ease of memorability and fitting the number on your tags.

So pick which 2-3 aspects of items matter most for you when dividing up your warehouse or store floors và then let the item’s specific identifying number at the kết thúc of the SKU vày the rest of the lifting.

And if you really need to lớn fit more than 3 aspects of detail in, keep the individual codes as short as possible. For instance, if you work with nine manufacturers, assign them a single digit 1-9, rather than abbreviating their name into a 2-3 letter code.

Avoid using dashes and periods.

While you can technically include certain symbols và punctuation marks in your SKU numbers (e.g., “.”, “-“, “_” & “/”), it’s best to avoid them. Characters lượt thích period & dashes may cause issues when printing barcodes. 

Using SKUs to seamlessly sell on multiples channels

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Another advantage of having a solid SKU number system is that it makes it easier lớn sell on multiple channels.

A growing trend retail today is the rise of “See what’s in store” a capability that lets retailers showcase their in-store inventory on the web, so cusotmers can browse their catalog before heading khổng lồ the store.

You can use a solution such as Pointy, a Vend add-on that allows you khổng lồ display your in-store products on Google without manually re-entering your inventory data. Once you’ve created a Google My Business account & verified your business, all you have to do is connect Vend và Pointy, and your stock will automatically be displayed on your Business Profile on Google search and Maps when consumers tìm kiếm for your business name or, potentially, for a sản phẩm that you have in stock.