What is a SKU?

Point of Sale (POS) Glossary

SKU is an acronym for stock keeping unit. An SKU is used by a business to track their inventory. They are generally 8-12 characters long, begin with a letter, and are unique to each company.

An SKU is different from a UPC. UPCs are universal and are issued by the Global Standards Organization and identify a manufacturer and item. SKUs are designed by individual businesses to represent important information about merchandise.

Some things a merchant might build into their SKU include customer type, sizes, colors, and more. What they choose to incorporate into their SKU architecture is unique to their business.

A robust point of sale system can help merchants encode SKU into a barcode, associate SKUs with UPCs, and more. Depending on the store procedures, the POS register would scan these barcodes as customers are checking out.

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