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Best Practices for Creating a SKU value
Best Practices for Creating a SKU value

Crafting concise and consistent identifiers

Michael Goldmeier avatar
Written by Michael Goldmeier
Updated over a week ago

When creating a new SKU, you should keep in mind the requirements for each channel, your ability to identify SKUs, and the ease of exporting/importing data. Some people prefer that all SKUs start with the brand or vendor they're attributed with. Some people have a number of product groups that vary by color and like to keep the color somewhere in the SKU value. Please keep in mind that SKUs are immutable in Zentail. Once a SKU value is saved in Zentail, it cannot be changed.

Based on our conversations with our clients, our understanding of each marketplaces' requirements, and our own experiences, here are our Do's and Don'ts:

Do the following

  • Standardize your SKU values across integrations. This means, if your product is "medium123shirt" in one place, the same SKU should be named "medium123shirt" everywhere. Learn more about the importance of standardizing your SKUs here: Standardize your SKUs.

  • Keep the SKU length under 36 characters
    - The most significant constraint is Amazon- who has a 40 character limit on SKU length. In some cases, Zentail will add "+MF+" at the end of your SKU value to create a merchant fulfilled version within Amazon's Seller Central.

  • Use numbers greater than 10,000 or include a letter in the SKU.  Don't use smaller numbers as SKU values because they can be mistaken for a SKU ID on Magento.  

  • Make it something you can readily identify
    - i.e. University of Maryland gear all begin with "UMD_"


Avoid the following

Some channels and spreadsheet softwares use auto-formatting that can convert your SKUs to something other than intended.  To avoid potential issues, avoid the following.

  • Avoid leading zeroes
    - When exporting or importing data, leading 0's can get dropped if not formatted properly
    - Example: 01234567 can become 1234567

  • Avoid leading periods or decimal points
    - A leading decimal point, followed by numbers, can incorrectly add a leading 0
    - Example: .112233 can become 0.112233

  • Avoid unnecessary characters in SKU values such as apostrophes, quotes, double quotes or brackets.
    - Ex Bad SKU: "Nike'sgreenbuckethat"[]>
    - Hyphens and underscores are fine, provided they occur in the middle of the SKU, as opposed to being the first or last character.

  • Avoid double spaces, or two spaces in a row
    - Example: XYZ  123 and become XYZ 123

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