A Stock Keeping Unit, or SKU is a unique identifier used for products. It is essential to have a SKU on every listing you intend to import into ChannelGrabber as it allows us to recognise which products are the same, regardless of where they're listed, and which ones are different.
Simply put, if you assign the same SKU to a product on eBay and to a product on Amazon then ChannelGrabber knows to manage those products together. The system can then deduct stock from one sales channel when an item is sold elsewhere. Magic!
General SKU Advice
It’s important to pick a good SKU. A few simple rules that can help you with this:
- Every different product should have its own unique SKU. It’s best to not even recycle SKUs from products you no longer list.
- SKUs should be reasonably short to avoid confusion. Amazon’s limit is 40 characters, while eBay’s is 50.
- Try to avoid using spaces as they might not be accepted by all systems, instead use a dash ( - ) or an underscore ( _ ) to separate words.
- Avoid starting a SKU with a zero, as this can cause problems if you want to export your product data into a CSV file (some spreadsheet programmes drop leading zeros, meaning your SKUs would display incorrectly).
It’s useful to make your SKU descriptive of your product if it is going to be customer facing, or used to sort inventory. Use the same format for all of your descriptive SKUs, and try and make them as informative and concise as possible. Here are a few examples of products and good SKUs. Remember, each variation of a product is unique and should therefore have its own SKU.
- A Black, Nike T-shirt in size large might be NIKE_T_(BLK)_(L)
- While the same T-shirt, but in blue and a medium would be NIKE_T_(BLU)_(M)
- A black Eastpak Padded Pak’r Rucksack could be ESTPK_PD.PKR_RUK_(BLACK)
For more detail, feel free to check out our other guide on Understanding SKUs
Assigning SKU’s on Amazon
Fortunately, SKU functionality is built into the Amazon platform. When you list an item, there is an optional Stock Keeping Unit field which you can fill out. If you did not set a SKU then Amazon will have assigned a SKU for you, and there is no way to change a SKU on Amazon once the item has been created.
If you have already listed your products on Amazon, the only way to modify this field would be to delete the listing and then relist the product, a real hassle! Most people instead choose to use the Amazon SKU on their ebay and webstore listings.
Assigning SKUs on eBay
To access the Custom Label field, you will need to be subscribed to eBay’s free Selling Manager tool, which you can access here: http://pages.ebay.co.uk/selling_manager/
Once installed, please do the following:
1) Log in to your eBay account & click "My eBay" and then select “Selling”
2) Once on your Active Listings screen, you need to click the blue "Customise" link just above the listings table and on the right hand side of the screen
3) Select "Custom label" and then click Apply:
4) You will now see a column called Custom label with an "Add" link next to each product
5) Click the "Add" link for each listing you would like to add a SKU to, type the SKU and then click Save. This adds a SKU to a single item, or a parent SKU to a variation item.
If you have any variation listings, the process is slightly different :
1) Click to Revise the listing:
2) Click on the "Add/Edit Variations" link that is near the top of the revise listing page:
3) Continue past the first two pages without making changes, until you get to the page labelled “3. Review your Variations” and you will see the Custom Label (SKU) column for your variations. Copy or type the SKU you would like to use for the variation(s) inside the Custom Label field:
4) Once you have added your SKUs, continue through the next couple of pages then click the Save button on the bottom of the fifth page.
Assigning SKUs on Other Marketplaces
SKU functionality varies from platform to platform, but all marketplaces and webstores that we integrate with do support having unique SKUs per product/variation. If you're unsure, please check with your webstore provider, or if you're an EKM webstore user, check out our other guide here: Adding or Amending SKUs on EKM
We hope you found this challenge useful :)