November 8, 2023

What is SKU in Shopify? How to Manage Your SKUs Effectively 

Unlock Shopify success with our expert guide on SKUs! Learn what SKU in Shopify is and master SKU management for a thriving online store. Start optimizing your inventory today
What is SKU in Shopify? How to Manage Your SKUs Effectively 
What is SKU in Shopify? How to Manage Your SKUs Effectively 

If you’re selling products on your Shopify store, you will understand that maintaining a well-organized inventory is crucial to your success. 

Shopify SKUs are a great advantage to inventory management especially if you’re selling hundreds or thousands of products in your store. 

In this guide, we will look at everything you need to know about SKUs on Shopify, how you can create SKUs, and how to manage them effectively. 

What is SKU in Shopify?

SKU is the short form for “Stock Keeping Unit”. It is a unique code that includes letters and numbers that provide information about a product. This could be the product size, style, color, manufacturer, brand, etc. 

SKUs are used by retailers to identify and track inventory for their stores. 

On Shopify, SKUs are used to identify products in a Shopify store. 

SKUs are not the same as UPCs. While UPCs are globally recognized by standard organizations, SKUs can be used by an individual online store. In other words, retailers can generate their own SKU. 

SKU can streamline the process of identifying products and tracking your inventory. You can avoid mixing up orders, losing track of your inventory, sending the wrong item to a customer, or running out of stock. 

With SKUs, you can also make it easy to return products and answer customer inquiries about specific items. 

How do SKUs work? 

As we already mentioned, SKUs are used to identify and track the products in your Shopify store. They consist of numbers, letters, and dashes. They are stored in the software database of an internal tracking system. 

You can easily generate SKUs for your products using SKU generators like TradeGecko. SKUs are unique identifiers which means no two products can have the same SKU. This makes them more effective than product titles when identifying and tracking products. 

Where are SKUs used? 

Businesses use SKUs to identify and track inventory in retail, warehouses, fulfillment centers, supply chain management, and so on. Here are common areas where businesses apply SKUs: 

Order fulfillment 

SKUs are used for identifying and picking up the correct product from warehouses when a customer places an order. 

The process of picking, packing, and shipping is faster and more precise thanks to SKUs. It ensures that the right product is shipped from the warehouse to the customer, minimizing errors.

Inventory management 

Keeping track of stock levels is easy for businesses thanks to SKUs. 

SKUs help to update an inventory system in real-time. So, you can know when a product is received, sold, or even returned. This can also help you know when to reorder products to avoid running out of stock or overstocking. 

Product identification 

SKUs help to differentiate between product variants. This can help you manage your products especially if you sell multiple variants of a product. You can know which, where, and how many product variants are available on warehouse shelves. 

Barcode labeling 

SKUs are typically encoded in a barcode for quick scanning. With SKUs, you can have your product scanned at various stages of inventory management from when the product is received at warehouses to when it is shipped. 

Tracking sales  

With SKUs, you can track your sales to know which product variants are performing well and which ones are not. This can help with overall decision-making and forecasting. You can know what products to stock in larger quantities, smaller quantities, or products to discontinue completely. 


SKUs are also as important during the receiving phase as they are in the returns phase. Thanks to the unique identification on your products, you can know where to put returned products in the warehouse. You can identify products to be liquidated or thrown away. 

How to create SKU codes on Shopify

With Shopify, you can easily generate SKUs for your product. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating SKUs on Shopify: 

Step 1: Log in to your Shopify account and go to Products

Step 2: Next, you can add a new product by clicking on the Add Product button or edit an existing product by clicking on the Product Title of the product. 

Step 3: Next, on the Product page, scroll down to the Variants section. 

Step 4: Go to the SKU column and input your SKUs. Lastly, fill in your other necessary fields and save changes. 

Let’s look at a simple way to create SKUs. Imagine you’re selling various sizes and colors of jean trousers and the name of the brand name is “Jeans & Me”. These sizes include small, medium, and large while the colors include black, grey, and army green. 

If you’re creating an SKU for an army green (represented as AG) small (represented as S) jeans trousers (represented as JT), it will look something like this: 

  • Brand - Product Type - Size - Color. 

From our example, the SKU could be: “Jeans & Me - JT - S - AG”.  

Tips for creating Shopify SKUs 

Here are beneficial tips that can help you create SKUs for your products on Shopify: 

  1. Keep it concise 

You want to keep your SKU concise while including relevant information. It should also be easy to read and understand without any complex codes. Generally, you can keep the SKU code characters under 16. 

  1. Maintain a consistent format 

When creating SKUs, it is important to maintain a consistent format. You need to ensure that SKUs follow the same format to maintain uniformity and make it easy for you and others to understand and manage inventory. 

  1. Include useful information 

Your product SKUs should include important information like the brand, the type of product, size, color, and material of the product, and any other relevant details. 

Each SKU should be unique to each product variant to avoid duplications and confusion when managing your inventory. 

  1. Avoid using special characters 

You should avoid special characters, spaces, and symbols, as this can cause problems when searching for products on Shopify. However, underscores and dashes are great for separating numbers and letters representing product details like color, size, and style. 

Avoid using SKU formats with 0 and 1 as this can be confused with letters O and I. 

  1. Use software tools 

You can utilize Shopify inventory management tools and apps to automate the SKU generation process and assist with creation and management. These tools can help you streamline your SKU processes. 

Managing your Shopify SKU 

Based on supplier stock, business strategies, and other factors, you can manage Shopify SKUs. In other words, you can add, edit, or delete SKUs as needed. 

If you have multiple product variants you want to edit, you can utilize the Bulk-edit feature on Shopify: 

  • Go to Shopify > Products
  • Next, click on the Product title of the product card of the specific product you want to edit and move down to the Variants section on the product detail page. 
  • On the Variants section page, check the checkbox on the variants you would like to edit. Then, click on Bulk edit 
  • Lastly, make changes to SKUs under the SKU column and Save changes.


SKUs on Shopify help businesses to identify, categorize, and track their products easily. Tools like Katana, SKUGen, and Zoho on Shopify can help you automatically generate SKUs for your products. 

With SKUs, you can improve your business’s overall efficiency, reduce errors, and improve performance in business. 

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