Last Updated on 18th April 2018

Unless you’re using drop shipping as your sole means of fulfillment, you’re going to need to institute some sort of an inventory system to help keep track of your wares. Stock Keeping Unit numbers (SKU) offer many significant advantages in this regard. In addition to helping you maintain control over your inventory, they can convey product information at a glance, expedite warehouse procedures, and facilitate quality control. Here’s how to create SKU codes to sell your furniture online.

Decide Upon A Format

Interestingly, they can be formatted in any way you see fit. However, it’s important to stick to whatever format you decide upon so your procedures remain constant throughout your supply chain. Further, settling upon a standardized format when you start a furniture business makes the system easier to maintain as your sales and inventory grow. In most cases, you’ll employ a four to eight character alphanumeric string. Lets say you’re creating a SKU for end tables. Each variation you carry should have its own code, although the SKU for all of them should begin with the designation “ET”. Starting with letters relating directly to the product makes it easier to discern what it relate to at a glance. With that said, you’ll want to avoid using letters that could be mistaken for numbers, such as “O”, “I” and “l”.

Institute A Coding System

In addition to furniture categories, you’ll also want to have notations for manufacturers, model names, colors, and perhaps size. This makes it easier to develop simple identifier codes. Manufacturer names can be reduced to two letters, sizes can be “S, M, L & XL”, colors can be reduced to two-letter designations as well, such as “br” for brown, “rd” for red and “gy” for grey.  The goal is to keep the code as short as possible, while providing as much information as possible about the item.

Mind Marketplace Standards

If you’re also selling on Amazon, or in some other online marketplace, keep an eye on the SKU standards they prefer so your products can be carried seamlessly. As an example, Amazon limits SKUs to 40 characters. Some automated inventory and point of sale systems also have specific guidelines for SKUs. If you make every effort to conform to these, your numbers are more likely to remain intact across all platforms.

Other SKU Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Never start a number with a zero.
  2. Avoid part numbers and manufacturer serial numbers. These can change and throw your system off track.
  3. Keep description information to the essentials; type, size, color, and manufacturer.
  4. Avoid characters such as “/” or “*” since these symbols may be mistakenly read as formulas in programs such as Excel. Including commas could make some software mistake your SKU for a price or a quantity.
  5. Keep them as short as possible
  6. Use identifier codes for colors and sizes
  7. Use dashes as separators
  8. Use numbers and letter as sequences
  9. Do not spell out words

Advanced Practices

In addition to type, size, manufacturer information and color variations, some retailers also include the date the item is posted on their site as well as pricing information. If you’re dealing with a large inventory, some experts recommend including warehousing information along with UPC codes to help keep closer track of items.

Essential to contemporary inventory control systems, learning how to create SKU codes to sell your furniture online will reduce your accounting woes and make it easier for your employees to locate products quickly when customers have questions. Data entry for inventory management is simplified with the use of SKUs as well.

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