Are you listing an item on Facebook Marketplace, and want to know what a ‘SKU’ is?
Here’s the truth. SKUs can be an incredibly useful tool to keep better track of what you’re selling, but aren’t necessarily needed for most people.
So, in this article I’ll break down what exactly a SKU is, when it should be used, and how it can benefit you as a seller.
Let’s get started!
What Is A SKU On Facebook Marketplace?
SKU stands for ‘stock keeping unit’, and is an organizational tool that allows sellers to keep better track of their products.
Typically, these are short codes you can use to quickly identify a product (or its attributes) to keep better track of your inventory. While SKUs are not required on Facebook, they can help sellers, particularly if they have a large catalog of items that they’re selling.
As someone that sells on Amazon, I’d like to share an example SKU that my company uses, to illustrate how they can be beneficial. For this example, the SKU I’ll be using is ‘KIN-W-6TO12-CATDIDIT-FBA’, and the product was a baby bodysuit.
Now, let me break down the different parts, to show how it was helpful:
- ‘KIN’ stood for Kinacle, which was the brand name of the product.
- ‘W’ stood for ‘White’, which was one of the colors we offered
- ‘6TO12’ was for the size, 6 to 12 months.
- ‘CATDIDIT’ was the name of the design.
- ‘FBA’ means it was fulfilled by Amazon – Amazon was the one shipping it to customers, not us.
By structuring our SKUs this way, it was easy for employees to tell what the product was straight away, without needing to actually look up the item. Once you knew the SKU format, you could easily identify any product from the SKU alone.
Thankfully, there are no official standards that you have to follow for SKUs – though each one should be unique for each product that you’re selling, including variants like color or size. Some sellers like to use the same SKU that the manufacturer provides to make it easier to reorder, which I’ll talk more about in a moment.
However, you are free to structure them in whatever way makes sense for you.
Other Reasons That SKUs Are Used
We’ve already discussed the benefit of SKUs in terms of an organizational tool. But did you know that there are other uses for them as well?
While these alternate reasons may not benefit smaller sellers who only sell on Facebook Marketplace, they can be very beneficial for high-volume sellers, selling across multiple marketplaces, with a large catalog of products.
1. Easier Reordering
The first reason why people may prefer to use SKUs, is that it makes it easier to reorder units from suppliers.
If suppliers use their own unique SKUs, many sellers opt to simply use whatever the manufacturer provides as well. That way, when you’re using order tracking and inventory management software, you can deliver purchase orders to suppliers without needing to really do much extra.
For sellers with a large variety of products, this saves an unbelievable amount of time – as you don’t have to manually look up each individual item prior to reordering.
Of course, if you prefer to use your own SKU format, you can always keep a spreadsheet with your SKU and the manufacturer’s SKU as well. Plus, many inventory tracking solutions have this functionality built into it.
2. Tracking Sales
If you format your SKUs similar to how I do it, it can also be a very useful tool for tracking sales!
For example, my SKUs track the Brand name, color, size, design, and fulfillment channel. By knowing the different values, I can simply run a search for all the sales I’ve made with a certain part of the SKU in it, and instantly be able to generate reports for it!
This makes it trivial to know which designs are selling, which new colors are performing well, and so on.
While again, you may be able to track this information already through spreadsheets or inventory tracking software, working it into your SKU makes it a lot quicker and easier – even if you only are using something basic to track sales.
3. Permanent Identification For Products
Finally, using a SKU allows you to permanently identify which product is which in your catalog.
When selling online through sites like Facebook Marketplace, you may wish to try out different titles or descriptions when listing your items. For many marketplaces like Amazon for example, there is even software available that can automatically split test different product titles, and choose the winner once there is statistical certainty – directly leading to more sales!
However, if you are regularly changing your titles, then tracking products by title name can be difficult and hard to organize.
Therefore, using a permanent product attribute (such as its SKU) allows you to make other changes to the product listing without getting confused.
SKUs Vs UPC Codes
When selling, you may have heard of something called a ‘UPC code.’ But is this the same thing as a SKU?
Nope! In fact, they’re completely different.
UPC codes are the bar code numbers you’ll find on different products that you list – at least in North America. In Europe and the rest of the world, they use a similar barcode called an EAN instead.
We all know what barcodes are – when they are scanned, it corresponds with a 12-digit number for UPC codes, and a 13-digit number for EAN codes.
For Facebook Marketplace, they aren’t really needed. Instead, they are most beneficial when selling things at a retail store, since scanning a barcode allows you to quickly register it in your POS system.
SKUs allow you to better track and organize your inventory, and are particularly useful for larger sellers.
However, you don’t need to pay much mind to them if you are simply selling the occasional item on Facebook Marketplace.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s taught you a little more about how SKUs are used in business.
If you have any other questions about SKUs or Facebook Marketplace, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help!
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister