Stock Keeping Unit or commonly known as SKU is the number or reference number that is used to keep track of inventory goods.

Wikipedia explains it as follow:

“In the field of inventory management, a stock keeping unit (SKU) is a distinct type of item for sale, such as a product or service, and all attributes associated with the item type that distinguish it from other item types. For a product, these attributes could include manufacturer, description, material, size, color, packaging, and warranty terms. When a business takes inventory of its stock, it counts the quantity it has of each SKU.

SKU can also refer to a unique identifier or code that refers to the particular stock keeping unit. These codes are not regulated or standardized. When a company receives items from a vendor, it has a choice of maintaining the vendor’s SKU or creating its own. This makes them distinct from Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which are standard, global, tracking units. Universal Product Code (UPC), International Article Number (EAN), and Australian Product Number (APN) are special cases of GTINs”

Where are SKUs used?

  • Warehouses
  • ETailers
  • Retailers
  • Product fulfillment centers
  • Brick and Mortar Stores
  • Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, Etsy

Generally, as long as you need to keep track of your inventory for sales purposes and you need to uniquely identify that specific good, you’ll most likely need to use a SKU reference number.

Click here to see the difference between UPC, SKU and the Serial Number.