What are SKUs?
How PIM Helps in
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Management

In this Article

If you are an eCommerce business, you’re already doing a great job putting out some of the best products in the marketplaces. But have you ever stopped thinking about how good or bad you might be doing regarding SKU management? Unfortunately, most e-Commerce businesses do not know the best practices and are getting it wrong in SKU management, which is costing them.

According to a recent study, the average eCommerce business is losing out on significant potential revenue because of poor SKU management. It’s easy not to think of it as much until you decide to do some calculations. The root cause of this problem is that many businesses approach SKU management as an afterthought. Some think their ERP system will manage the SKUs, so they believe they are doing it the best way. Even worse, some businesses use manual methods, making it even more cumbersome and draining for the employees assigned these tasks.

This casual approach can lead to all sorts of problems down the road. For example, your stores may end up with duplicate SKUs or SKUs that are too similar to one another. This can make it difficult for customers to find the right product and lead to inventory issues. You can also end up with no longer valid SKUs because they’ve been discontinued or superseded by newer products. The bottom line is that managing SKUs is a valuable task requiring the right SKU system to help you manage your SKUs better while paying attention to detail.

The most efficient way to manage SKUs for modern e-Commerce businesses is through PIM software.

Let’s examine how an eCommerce PIM software can simplify everything about SKU management. We start by understanding SKUs.

What are SKUs? Stock Keeping Unit Explained

What is SKU? SKU stands for stock keeping unit, a alphanumeric unique code that identifies products within an inventory system. Manufacturers use SKUs to track individual items throughout the production process effortlessly, and retailers use them to keep track of stock levels and sales. Any business dealing in many products will find a valuable SKU use. Each SKU is designed to be unique to a specific product. And because each SKU is unique, it provides an accurate way to track specific items within the inventory.

When a product is sold, the SKU is entered into the inventory management system to deduct it from the total stock. In addition, SKUs are often used for barcoding, which allows products to be scanned quickly and efficiently at the point of sale. As managing inventory can be a complex and time-consuming task, SKUs are unique and SKUs help to streamline the process and ensure that products are always available

pim dam publish large catalogs with sku

The Importance of Creating SKU Numbers in eCommerce

For e-Commerce businesses, SKUs are essential for many reasons. First, SKUs can play a huge role in helping keep track of your inventory, as we have already seen from the introduction. You can quickly and easily see how much of each item you have in stock by assigning a unique SKU to each product. This is especially important for businesses that sell products in different sizes or colors, as it helps them avoid selling out of certain items.

How SKUs are Used & Benefits of Using SKUs

SKUs can also help track sales data. Analyzing the sales data associated with each SKU can help you identify which products are selling well and which ones need to be improved. Finally, SKUs can help you optimize the shipping and fulfillment processes by using shipping software that integrates with SKU data. This ensures that your products are always shipped to the correct customer. In short, SKUs are an essential part of any e-Commerce business. Without them, it would be difficult for businesses to keep track of inventory, sales data, shipping, and fulfillment processes.

easy sharing of images with PIM

SKU Code Examples

Let’s say you are selling computers. A computer unique SKU code might include information about the type of computer, the processor, and the color. Below is an example of what an SKU representing just one computer among thousands might look like:


This SKU represents a black PC laptop with a 12″ screen and an Intel Core i5 processor. The “L” in the SKU indicates that it is a laptop, while the “BK” indicates the black color. Similarly, other letters and numbers can be used to indicate different colors. For example, “W” might indicate a white color, while “RE” could indicate a red color.

SKU vs. Barcode vs. Universal Product Code (UPC codes)

Many people confuse SKUs with being the same thing as barcodes. But they are not the same. A barcode is a visual representation of data that machines can read, while an SKU is a unique identifier assigned to an item. Barcodes track inventory and pricing information, while SKUs track product metadata such as size, color, and style. While both barcodes and SKUs can be used to track and manage inventory, different SKUs serve purposes and are not interchangeable. 

UPCs codes, short for Universal Product Codes, are 12-digit barcodes for tracking trade items in retail stores. They consist of a unique numerical pattern that identifies a specific item, making it easier for online retailers to manage inventory and process sales.

SKU example

How to use SKUs to Drive Marketing Campaigns in Retails Business

While SKUs may seem like nothing more than tedious numerical code, they can be a powerful marketing tool. Businesses do SKU analysis to gain insights into which products are selling well and languishing on store shelves. This information can then create targeted marketing campaigns that maximize sales. For example, a business might promote a product with low sales numbers to boost its popularity. Or, a business might offer discounts on slow-moving items to clear out excess inventory. SKU generators can help you generate stock-keeping units in bulk.

You can create bundles and kits around certain SKUs and promote them as a special offer. This is a great way to increase the average order value and get people to buy more products.

You can also use SKUs to target different segments of your audience. For example, you might want to create a promotion around a new product line aimed at millennials.

Or you could use SKUs as part of a loyalty program or rewards scheme. This is a great way to keep customers returning and buying more from you.

product sku marketing

PIM for SKU Management

PIM is widely known for product information management. But it just came to our attention that many businesses don’t realize they can use PIM to manage SKUs comfortably. They only associate PIM with descriptions, templates, organizing images, videos, etc. So let’s make it clear: Yes, PIM can manage SKUs.

Let’s see how PIM can help streamline and optimize the SKU management process.

1. PIM reduces SKU coverage gaps

SKU coverage gaps refer to when a product is unavailable for purchase due to out-of-stock inventory levels. SKU coverage gaps can significantly impact businesses, as they may lead to lost sales and disruptions in the supply chain. They can lead to lost sales, reduced customer satisfaction, and increased operational costs. PIM reduces the coverage gaps by consolidating product data from multiple sources and making it available in a central repository. This efficient maintenance of product listings makes it easier to keep tabs on what’s available and what’s not.

A sound PIM system that delivers on this function considers historical sales data for each SKU, projected demand, and lead times.

2. Identifying and onboarding trending products, fast

You can use PIM to identify and onboard new and trending SKUs quickly. You need to input the criteria you’re looking for, and PIM will do the rest. It’ll give you a list of the latest and most popular products that match your criteria.

Once you have your list of new and trending SKUs, you can quickly onboard them again using PIM. You must input the necessary product information, and PIM will take care of the rest. It’ll create the product listings and ensure that all the information is up-to-date and accurate.

This is a great way to stay on top of the latest trends and ensure that your business always offers the latest and most excellent products. It’s also a great way to identify new product opportunities.

3. PIM simplifies SKU data

You can create a centralized PIM database where all your SKUs are stored. This makes it easy to keep track of SKUs and makes it easier to make changes when needed. Instead of updating each SKU individually, PIM allows changes in one place and will automatically apply those changes to all the affected SKUs.

4. PIM can keep track of SKU changes

Things can quickly get messy when you’re dealing with a large number of SKUs. Product information can get scattered across different systems, and it can be challenging to track all the changes happening.

With PIM, you can easily track which SKUs are being discontinued and which ones are being replaced. This saves time and reduces the chances of errors.

5. PIM improves SKU accuracy

PIM can help you improve the accuracy of your SKUs by automatically matching them to the correct products in your inventory. This means that you’ll never have to worry about mismatches again, and you can rest assured that your customers are seeing the correct information when they view your product listings.

6. PIM improves SKU visibility

Visibility is critical when it comes to SKU management. You need to be able to see all of your products, and you need to be able to see them in a way that makes sense for your business.

PIM can help you improve your SKU visibility in several ways. First, the fact that PIM can consolidate all product data into one central location makes it easy to see all products at a glance, which is essential for inventory-related decisions.

PIM can also help you create customized views of your product data. This means that you can see your products the way you want to see them, which can help identify trends and make decisions about what products to carry and what products to phase out.

PIM can also help you generate reports about your product data. These reports can provide insights into what SKUs are selling and what is not, which can help you make data-driven decisions about your inventory and your business as a whole.

7. PIM can enforce data integrity

What does it mean to enforce data integrity? It means that you can be sure that the data in your system is accurate and up-to-date at all times.

This is crucial for eCommerce companies because it ensures that customers see the most current information while browsing your product catalog. It also helps to prevent discrepancies between your online and offline inventory.

pim solution

Attributes of a Great PIM Solution for Effective SKU Management

Not every PIM solution out here can manage SKUs with high efficiency. Yes, some PIM software can be excellent in product information items such as descriptions but perform poorly in SKU management. It’s also important to note that not all PIM solutions have features that are built for SKU management. So look out for the following attributes when shopping for a PIM that can also let you manage SKUs without struggling.

1. User-friendly

A good PIM should be user-friendly. In other words, it should be easy to use. This will make it easy to input and manage data associated with each SKU.

The PIM should be intuitive and logical. It should be easy to find the SKUs you need. The interface should be clean and uncluttered. Everything about the PIM should be easy to navigate, from the main menu to the individual screens.

If you’re not happy with the current PIM you’re using, then it’s time to consider switching to something better designed for SKU management, like Catsy PIM and DAM.

2. Ability to handle a large number of SKUs

You need a PIM that can handle a large number of SKUs. Remember, your business is growing, and with that growth comes the increased need for a streamlined process for managing your SKUs. You can’t afford to waste time sorting through disastrous PIM that can’t handle large numbers of SKUs, as this will be an immense pain.

On the other hand, a PIM that can handle large numbers of SKUs will make your life a lot easier. The PIM you use should handle many SKUs and automate the process in a way that coordinates smoothly with your workflows.

3. Integration with other systems

A good PIM for SKU management should also integrate with the organization’s other software. For example, if a company uses an accounting application, the PIM system should be able to share the SKU data with the accounting software to avoid duplicate data entry. In addition, integration with e-commerce platforms is essential for companies that sell online. Keeping product listings accurate and up-to-date across all channels can be difficult without seamless integration.

It’s also a good idea to look for a PIM that has an API. That way, you can customize it to fit your specific needs and make it integrate with your systems without a hassle.

4. Simple interface

The best PIM for SKU management should have a simple interface that doesn’t require a lot of clicks or steps to get the job done. You can quickly add new items, edit existing items, and view data in various formats. It should be intuitive and logical, so you can find the SKU you’re looking for without spending hours trying to figure it out. This is crucial for efficient SKU management because the more time you spend fiddling with your system, the less time you spend on actual work.

And it’s not just about finding the correct information—you also need to be able to add and edit information easily. So the interface should be responsive as well.

5. Powerful search and filtering capabilities

When you’re looking for a product, the last thing you want is to waste time scrolling through a list of results that’s miles long. Imagine you’re the inventory manager for a major retailer. You’re responsible for tracking every product in the store, from clothes to electronics to home goods. It’s a lot of responsibility and would be impossible without a powerful search capability.

With a powerful search capability, you can quickly find the SKU you need, whether you’re looking for a specific item or just scanning through to get an idea of what’s available. It’s an essential tool for managing your SKUs.

You need a PIM with a robust search engine capable of finding the correct product information quickly and easily. As your number of SKUs grows, the search capabilities of your PIM become increasingly important.

A good search tool makes it easy to find and identify specific items in your inventory, which is crucial for day-to-day operations and long-term planning. You can quickly locate items that need to be restocked, identify slow-moving items, and make better decisions about what to order in the future. It should also be able to return relevant results in a matter of seconds so that you can make quick and informed decisions about your products.

6. Reliable customer support

It is essential to ensure that the PIM system you choose is backed by reliable customer support in case you have any questions or problems. However suitable a PIM might be, it’s possible that it could experience downtime from time to time. When this happens, you want to be sure that the provider will offer timely support and help you get back to work.

ERP vs. PIM for SKU Management

Whether companies can create SKUs within their existing ERP has been around for some time. It’s informed by the reality that most companies rely on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to help manage their businesses across different functions. As you might already know, ERP systems are designed to provide a comprehensive view of the company’s resources. They often track inventory levels, customer orders, and production processes. This robustness of ERPs makes some businesses assume they can use them to manage SKUs comprehensively. But there is a challenge. Let’s see why.

If you have used ERPs extensively as an eCommerce business, then you may have noticed that most ERP systems do not have the ability to create and manage unique SKUs for each product. In fact, let’s just put it more bluntly and say that you’ll not come across an ERP that can achieve this at scale. As a result, it’s now becoming an increasingly best practice for companies to refrain from using ERPs to manage SKUs. Instead, consider using a product information management software (PIM) system to generate and manage the SKUs automatically.

Most importantly, never forget that PIM systems are designed specifically to manage product data, so the best will naturally include features that make it so easy to create and maintain accurate SKUs. Second, using a PIM can help reduce the risk of human error, since creating SKUs is typically automated.

catsy pim for sku management

Why choose Catsy PIM for your SKU management?

There are good reasons why so many retailers have changed to Catsy PIM software, and one of them is that Catsy is super good in SKU management. It offers the most comprehensive and user-friendly platform on the market, making it easy to keep track of your SKUs and make changes as needed. A powerful search functionality ensures that you can quickly find the information you need when you need it. And because the software is constantly updated with new features, you can be confident that you’re getting the best possible value for your investment.

Key Takeaway

SKU is a subtle element of e-Commerce, so important that failure to manage SKUs efficiently can easily bring down your business without noticing. You will realize when it’s too late. So don’t take the risk of trying to insist on manual methods, spreadsheets, or ERP systems to manage SKUs. Don’t force your ERP to manage SKU – it’s not optimum. Remember, the competition is stiff, and you don’t want to let poor SKU management kill your business.

Wondering how Catsy PIM and DAM software works to deliver world-class SKU management? Take a free demo.


If you have a large number of SKUs, using a product information management (PIM) solution will help you manage SKUs much better than an excel sheet. With PIM’s single source of truth, you can speed large product catalogs to marketing channels accurately and consistently. These core aspects improve customer experiences and enable you to ensure product content is 100% accurate every time. 

A SKU is a universal product code that can be used to identify all information related to a product: from product category to inventory level, all the way to digital assets and product descriptions. Product content in a SKU includes product images, digital assets, product attributes, physical products descriptions, and other marketing material. 

SKUs and barcodes serve different purposes. A SKU is an internal identifier used by businesses to manage inventory and track products. On the other hand, barcodes are scannable symbols that represent the SKU or other product information. Barcodes are typically used for point-of-sale transactions and inventory management, while SKUs provide a more detailed and specific identification system for internal operations.

Yes, SKUs can be leveraged to drive marketing campaigns effectively. By associating specific SKUs with marketing initiatives, businesses can track the performance of individual products or variations. This data can help optimize marketing strategies, target specific customer segments, analyze sales trends, and make data-driven decisions to enhance overall campaign effectiveness and ROI.

When selecting a PIM solution for SKU management, consider key attributes such as flexibility, scalability, ease of use, integration capabilities, data governance features, and support for customization. Look for a PIM system that allows seamless SKU creation and management, facilitates efficient workflows, enables bulk updates, provides data validation and enrichment tools, and offers comprehensive reporting and analytics functionalities to track SKU performance and make informed business decisions.

What are SKUs? How a PIM can help in SKU Management for Content
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What are SKUs? How a PIM can help in SKU Management for Content
SKU Management via PIM is critical to ensure accurate content reaches every channel that a brand sells on. Get the complete guide to SKU Management here.