What are SKUs?
How a PIM can help in
SKU Management for Content
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 to think about how good or bad you might be doing when it comes to SKU management? Unfortunately, the majority of e-Commerce businesses are getting it wrong in SKU management, and this 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 that their ERP system will manage the SKUs, and so they carry on believing they are doing it the best way. Even worse, some businesses use manual methods, making it even much more cumbersome and draining for the employees that are 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 You can also end up with SKUs that are no longer valid because they’ve been discontinued or superseded by newer products. The bottom line is that managing SKUs is a valuable task that requires the right system that will help you to better manage your SKUs 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 PIM software can simplify everything about SKU management. We start by understanding SKUs.
What is SKU? SKU is a “stock keeping unit,” a unique code that identifies products within an inventory system. Manufacturers use SKUs to track individual items throughout the production process, and retailers use them to keep track of stock levels and sales. Any business that deals in many products will find a valuable use for SKUs. 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 the managing of inventory can be a complex and time-consuming task, SKUs help to streamline the process and ensure that products are always available when customers need them.
The Importance of SKUs 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 that come in different sizes or colors, as it helps them to avoid selling out of certain items.
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.
Let’s say you are selling computers. A computer SKU 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 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
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 can be read by machines, while 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, they serve different purposes and are not interchangeable.
How to use SKUs to Drive Marketing Campaigns
While SKUs may seem like nothing more than tedious numerical code, they can be a powerful marketing tool. Businesses can analyze SKU data 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 run a promotion for 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.
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.
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 comfortably manage SKUs. 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 the various ways PIM can help to streamline and optimize the SKU management process.
1. PIM reduces SKU coverage gaps
SKU coverage gaps refer to the period when a product is not available for purchase due to out-of-stock inventory levels. SKU coverage gaps can have a significant impact on 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 quickly identify and onboard new and trending SKUs. All you need to do is 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. All you need to do is input the necessary information about the products, 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 make sure that your business is always offering 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 database in PIM where all of your SKUs are stored. This makes it easy to keep track of SKUs and makes it easier to make changes when needed. Instead of having to individually update each SKU, PIM allows changes in one place and will have those changes automatically applied to all of 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 keep track of all the changes that are 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 are 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 when they’re browsing your catalog. It also helps to prevent discrepancies between your online and offline inventory.
Attributes of a Great PIM Solution for 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.
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.
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 with 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 not only handle a large number of SKUs but also 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 other software that the organization uses. 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. Without seamless integration, it can be very difficult to keep product listings accurate and up-to-date across all channels.
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’re spending 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 it would be impossible to do 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 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 you can make quick and informed decisions about your products.
6. Reliable customer support
It is essential to make sure that the PIM system you choose is backed by reliable customer support in case you have any questions or run into any 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 all the resources a company has at its disposal, and they are often used to track inventory levels, customer orders, and production processes. It’s this robustness of ERPs that makes some businesses assume they can use them to comprehensively manage SKUs. 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 good practice for companies to refrain from using ERPs to manage SKUs, and instead consider using a product information management (PIM) system to generate the SKUs automatically and also manage them.
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 the process of creating SKUs is typically automated.
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 the fact 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.
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, competition is stiff, and you don’t want to let poor SKU management kill your business.
Wondering how Catsy PIM 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.