When selling on e-commerce platforms like Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop and adding products, you may need to fill out SKU numbers. So what is an SKU? In this article, we will elaborate on what SKU means, how important it is for your business, how to create your own SKUs, and how to use BigSeller to manage your SKU and inventory across Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop.

What is SKU in Shopee/Lazada/TikTok and How to Create SKUs?

What is SKU?

You may not know what SKU means if you are just starting your business journey. SKU, which stands for Stock Keeping Unit, is a unique identifier for each of your products that helps you differentiate one product from another as well as makes it easier to track inventory.

Most SKUs tend to be 8 to 12 characters long and usually come out in the combination of alphabet and numeric that helps the seller quickly understand the specific data of their products like the size, color, brand, style, and others.

Every product you sell needs a unique SKU. It’s not enough to have one SKU for a product with multiple variations. Each variant of a product should have different SKUs. In the case of the t-shirt, you’d need a unique SKU code for different colors and sizes.

SKU number example:
Here is what a set of SKUs might look like for Nike Sport t-shirts - which comes in 2 colors and 2 sizes - look like:
Parent SKU:
       
NKT123
SKUs:
        NKT123-RED-M
        NKT123-RED-L
        NKT123-GRN-M
        NKT123-GRN-L

NKT123 which means the product code for these Nike Sport t-shirts, RED for red color and GRN for green color, M for size medium and L for size Large.


Why should sellers use SKUs?

You might be curious about what is the purpose of setting an SKU? Now check the following 4 benefits of using SKUs for your business.

1. Product Identify

Every product selling online has a unique SKU. Sellers can easily know which product is which when seeing an SKU, which can avoid the scenario of the wrong shipment. Usually only the seller knows what a SKU means because the seller is the one who created the SKU number.

2. Inventory Management

SKU numbers enable accurate and detailed inventory management, which is the core function of an SKU system. With an SKU, sellers can track inventory levels, turnover, and flow. They can set inventory levels and timeframes using the information gathered from sales, which can act as triggers for initiating or stopping inventory orders.

For example, when using BigSeller ERP to manage your inventory across Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop, you will need to first set SKUs for your products. The inventory and purchase management functions in BigSeller help sellers reduce phantom inventory, prevent stockouts, and predict when to order new products.
What is SKU in Shopee/Lazada/TikTok and How to Create SKUs?

3. Sales Analysis

SKUs allow sellers to collect data that allows them to analyze to determine product popularity or view seasonal and cyclic sales trends in their different customer segments. This analysis grants them the ability to stock inventory that coincides with trends in consumer behavior.

4. Customer Assistance

Because no two products have the same SKU number, SKUs may be the only systematic way for a seller to identify a specific item or customer order. For this reason, SKUs are also useful for creating sales efficiency and customer satisfaction.


How to create SKU numbers?

Because SKUs are made for internal use and are created by individual businesses, there is no fixed standard for making an SKU number. SKUs may be customized to meet the needs of vendors and customers. But there are some proven ways that can help you create a good SKU system.

1. Stay Simple. Use letters, numbers, and dashes if possible. Also, avoid spaces, slashes, and dots, which some platforms and systems don't handle well.

2. Keep them short. But you need to make sure you can identify which item it is via an SKU number. It usually starts with the brand logo, then follows the product's attributes(types, colors, sizes, etc.). For example, here is what a set of SKUs might look like for Nike Sport t-shirts - which comes in 2 colors and 2 sizes - look like:
Parent SKU:
       
NKT123
SKUs:
        NKT123-RED-M
        NKT123-RED-L
        NKT123-GRN-M
        NKT123-GRN-L

NKT123 which means the product code for these Nike Sport t-shirts, RED for red color and GRN for green color, M for size medium and L for size Large.

3. Make them unique. Each SKU should be unique and be used for a unique product. Don’t reuse SKUs from previous seasons.

4. The same item in multiple platforms/stores should use the same SKU.

5. Never start an SKU with a zero. When you work with SKUs in Excel, it drops the first character if it’s a zero, which causes problems. For example, your SKU is 0NKTS123-Red-M, it may be read as NKTS123-Red-M.

6. Avoid ambiguous characters. Letters such as I, L, and O are easily confused with numbers 1 and 0.

7. Don’t confuse them with other identifiers, like model numbers, GTIN, etc.


Where to fill in SKU numbers?

1. Manually key in from Seller Center

When adding products or importing products to Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop from the Seller Center or App, sellers can fill in the created SKUs.

What is SKU in Shopee/Lazada/TikTok and How to Create SKUs?

2. Quickly generate SKUs using BigSeller

Bulk Edit in BigSeller supports sellers to enter a Parent SKU and then one-click to generate SKUs for different variations.

What is SKU in Shopee/Lazada/TikTok and How to Create SKUs?


Conclusion

SKU(Stock Keeping Unit) is a unique identifier for each product that every seller should use for managing the inventory. There are no fixed rules on creating SKU numbers. SKU is important for business. If you don’t have time to manage your SKU and inventory, you can find BigSeller to help you.
 

Click here to sign up free for BigSeller, a multichannel management system for Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop sellers.

How to use BigSeller to manage your inventory