Stock Keeping Units (SKUs)

Last Updated: Apr 12, 2019 09:25AM PDT
Great product management starts with stock keeping units (SKUs). SKUs are unique identifiers assigned to each variant you sell, helping you account for each piece of inventory as you scale your operations.

Note: This article applies to both our Stitch X and Stitch Classic Versions.

Note: To add SKU numbers to existing variants in bulk, use the Custom ID CSV.

Why use SKUs?

SKUs help you reduce operational overhead and increase sales opportunity in several important ways:
Automate Multichannel Integration When you integrate multiple channels, Stitch can automatically link (Auto Link) channel inventory to Stitch inventory by SKU.
Standardize Your Product Catalog Having a shared reference language helps your team search, find, and sell your products—especially across a mutli-vendor product catalog.
Expedite Wholesale Selling Wholesale buyers are accustomed to quoting SKUs when they buy. SKUs speed up quote to cash—with fewer mistakes and without exposing your supply chain.

Common conventions

Unlike barcodes, SKUs should be human readable and unique to your company. There are two common formats:


All-numeric SKUs are easier to pick and read aloud when taking or placing orders. Each group of digits captures a specific aspect of an item:
In this example, 4000 signifies the brand, 513 signifies the straight-leg style, and 32/34 is the size.

Note: Segment all-numeric SKUs with dashes or underscores. Spreadsheet software converts all-numeric SKUs into scientific notation, overwriting your actual SKUs upon import back into Stitch.


Alphanumeric SKUs clearly identify items at a glance without additional reference codes. In this example, the item is easily identifiable without special training:
Alphanumeric SKUs tend to be longer, which can complicate picking and packing.

Tip: Follow a convention that works for you. Make it simple enough so that others will understand it.

SKU length

Stitch supports SKUs up to 255 characters in length, but most of our integrated partners require much shorter lengths.

Limit SKUs to no more than 32 characters—the maximum supported across most platforms.

To maintain compatibility with most 3PLs, limit SKU length to no more than 16 characters.

Tips for creating SKUs

  • Never start a SKU with a 0. Excel and other spreadsheet software removes leading zeros.
  • Separate all-numeric SKUs with dashes or underscores.
  • Keep it simple. Stick with numbers, capital letters, and separators such as dashes or dots.
  • Don’t reuse SKUs from previous seasons.
  • Avoid ambiguous characters (ex: letters O, I and L)
  • Don't use spaces, accents or symbols.
  • Avoid spaces, slashes, quotes, parentheses, ampersands, spaces, and non-standard characters.
  • Don't use a manufacturer's part number for your SKU. This exposes your supply chain and doesn't scale across multi-vendor product catalogs.