All About Amazon SKUs

If you own or work in any kind of retail or ecommerce business, you’re likely familiar with Stock Keeping Unit numbers – also called SKUs. But if you’re looking to get your products posted on Amazon, you may have seen something called an Amazon Standard Identification Number (or ASIN) and wondered if it differs from a regular SKU number. A SKU is a string of numbers and letters that represent each product in a seller’s inventory, are traditionally used to help keep track of stock and identify unique and specific items for sale. By this definition, an ASIN operates in the same way and is used to refer to items for sale in your online shop.  Because there is seemingly little distinction between the two – oftentimes sellers view Amazon SKUs as somewhat obtuse or confusing – so we’re here to help!

Having an Amazon SKU is crucial in order to have your products listed. So much so, that they’re required in order to have your products listed. If you do not create or provide an ASIN, Amazon will create one for you. But while this may sound like a simple solution, it is important to note that Amazon’s naming system could be fairly random and not mean much to you. If you take the time to create your own SKUs, you can use a naming convention or format that makes sense to you and conveys important information such as – brand name, size and color – within the SKU itself. Additionally, a secondary benefit to having an easily understood SKU naming convention is that sales reports will be easier to read and understand – giving you the ability to quickly act upon data and keep your high selling items in stock.

If you decide to go the route of creating your own ASINs, there are several things to consider:

  • How important is it to have the manufacturer identified in the SKU?
  • How many different versions of a particular item are you selling and what are the different specifications for those variants?
  • Is it important to list a date or condition in your product SKU?
  • Do you have items that are sold as a group or batch that would require a separate number to denote how many items are packaged together?
  • Are you the manufacturer of your products? If that’s the case, you may be required to pay some money and purchase unique product identifiers for your items before listing them on Amazon or other marketplaces.

If this seems overwhelming, a handy article going over the basics of SKU creation – and also has some handy information on other product identifiers like ISBN and EAN numbers – can be found here. If you're looking for a more general overview of how to sell on Amazon, check out our selling on amazon review.

ASIN numbers play a critical role in managing a product catalog on Amazon. Having the right system for tracking your inventory provides huge benefits, so it’s worth the time to understand all the elements that can go in to creating your own system.

Have a question about selling on Amazon? Ask us in the comments below !