SKU (stockkeeping unit) definition

Contributor(s): John Schickling

SKU (stockkeeping unit, sometimes spelled "Sku") is an identification, usually alphanumeric, of a particular product that allows it to be tracked for inventory purposes. Typically, an SKU (pronounced with the individual letters or as SKYEW) is associated with any purchasable item in a store or catalog. For example, a woman's blouse of a particular style and size might have an SKU of "3726-8," meaning "Style 3726, size 8." The SKU identification for a product may or may not be made visible to a customer. SKU numbers can sometimes be seen in online e-commerce sites.

An SKU is not the same as a product model number from a manufacturer, although the model number could form all or part of the SKU. The SKU is established by the merchant.

This was first published in September 2005

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