Inventory SKUs (pronounced “skew”) stand for Stock Keeping Units and are used by retailers to both identify inventory and keep track of inventory movement or changes in product stock levels over time.
It is basically a unique combination of numbers and letters assigned to each product in a retail store. As a retail owner, inventory SKUs give all of your products a single type of code to help you keep track of certain details for a specific product including price, product information (colour, size, features, etc.), quantity, and manufacturer. SKUs are often associated with vendors or supplier barcodes but can they can also be converted into scannable barcodes and printed on to product labels.
A retail POS system is the software that holds all of this inventory information so that you can track what you’re buying, how much stock you’re carrying and whether stock movement matches what you’ve sold. Whenever you’re looking for a new retail POS system make sure to check if the software will allow you to use your existing SKUs and also generate consecutive SKUs for new products. This is particularly important if you integrate to other non-POS systems (e.g. accounting systems) based on your SKU names.
SKUs vs GTINs
SKUs should not be mistaken for Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) or Universal Product Codes (or UPCs). SKUs are internal codes used for products that are unique to a retail business. On the other hand, GTINs or UPCs are the same for a product – no matter who/what store sells it.
How Are SKUs Made?
Each retail store has a unique and specific process in place for choosing SKUs. This method is usually easy to understand and follow for retail staff.
POS systems can help you create SKU codes based on a format that works for your business. For example, your SKU code can have a specific prefix or suffix together with a number that increases consecutively. For example, a SKU for your business might be FD-2340-GR. Others use shortcodes within their SKUs as an easy hint to staff so they don’t need to memorize numbers.
How Are SKUs Used?
Inventory management: Inventory/stock-takes should be done at regular intervals in retail; both for tax purposes and to ensure accurate inventory levels.
When each product is assigned a unique SKU, inventory availability is easier to determine throughout the year. And when it comes time for a stock-take, SKUs make it easier to reconcile stock levels – so that actual inventory levels match inventory counts in your retail POS or inventory management system.
Making use of SKUs can help store owners identify reorder points and a minimum threshold – so when inventory hits a certain level, they are made aware that a new purchase order needs to be placed.
These internal codes also help you identify the products that move faster. Meaning you only have to re-order when you really need to – resulting in reduced inventory holding costs.
Better Customer Experience
Have you ever walked into a store and seen a pair of shoes or a t-shirt that you liked – but it turned out that you needed a different size? In this case, retail employees usually scan the item’s barcode or label to see if they have your size in stock, either in the back stockroom or at a different location.
This instance explains how SKUs are used within a retail system to improve customer experience. When products share a traceable type of code, you and your staff can more easily identify stock levels quickly so that more time is available to actually assist customers.
Easier To Identify Profitable Products
SKUs are generally the easiest way for retailers to filter for specific and detailed product reporting – e.g. identifying bestsellers and underperforming products by their SKU. When you combine this with merchandising and product categories or tags, business owners can more easily see the effectiveness of their store’s product mix or product lines.
Identify Inventory Shrinkage
Inventory shrinkage in retail can be defined as the difference that exists between the inventory quantity in a retailer’s POS system and the actual inventory in that store. In other words, it consists of the stock/product/inventory that goes missing due to human error, theft, damage, miscounting, etc.
Inventory management is key to minimizing shrinkage in retail. As stated in an inventory shrinkage article published by Forbes, “Without an active inventory process, you do not realize your losses until it is too late.”
And properly designed and implemented inventory SKUs are central to any good retail management system. They are key to modern retail operations since they are necessary to share and track inventory information between different locations, systems, and sales channels.
Did you find this article helpful? We will be posting more inventory management tips in the upcoming weeks.
For those of you who don’t know, Google My Business is a powerful tool that allows retail businesses to connect with local shoppers.
And posts on Google My Business is a promotion tool that helps optimize a store’s business listing and increase foot traffic.
Put simply, it is an easy and free way to promote your business locally.
I’ll explain more below.
What are Google My Business Posts?
Google My Business posts is a feature that allows you to share content about your store on Google Search and Maps. It is similar to any other social media platform like Twitter or Facebook.
As a store owner, you are able to share news, promotions, events, and new products with shoppers. It posts directly to your Google My Business listing – so existing and potential customers can see your content directly in search results.
What are the Benefits of Google My Business Posts?
Posts on Google give retailers the ability to communicate with shoppers so they are better informed when making purchasing decisions. Which means that local businesses are able to:
Engage shoppers with attractive content (photos, videos, GIFS etc.)
Promote any new sales, products, or events
Improve shopper experience with relevant and timely information
Communicate directly with local shoppers
How Does it Work?
For each post, business owners can include text, call-to-action buttons, and/or photos or videos to promote their store. There are four different GMB post types including:
What’s New: Share general information about your retail business. For example, you can give shoppers an inside look at your Halloween displays and merchandise.
Events: Promote any upcoming events that you are holding. Each event requires a start time, end time, and a title. It is also good practice to include a photo/video,an event description, and a call to action button leading to a landing page for your event.
Products: Store owners also have the option of promoting any products or new merchandise. For example, a pet store could promote their new range of dog food. Keep in mind that product posts require a title and photo/video.
Offers: According to Google, 50% of shoppers are looking for promotions and discounts when searching for a business online. So provide shoppers with information on the latest sales and promotional offers. Offers will appear at the top of your business listing on both Google Search and Maps.
These posts require a title, and start/end dates. It’s also good practice to include photos/videos, descriptions, coupon codes, and terms and conditions of the offer. The call-to-action button “View” will automatically appear on all Offer posts.
Some Important Things to Note
GMB posts disappear after 7 days unless you set another shorter time frame. This is why it is important to post consistent and relevant content.
It is a good idea to include GMB in your marketing strategy. Place the same importance on GMB posts as you would on other social platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
Google provides insights on your posts – including how many views each post got. It also tells you how many users clicked on a link in a post
We hope you found this article helpful!
Would you like to learn how to attract local shoppers on Google?
Good news – we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.
If you are not making use of digital marketing tools, you are missing out on a huge chunk of customers!
Shoppers are now searching for retail businesses like yours online. According to Google:
3 out of 4 customers now use a search engine to find a business.
7 out of 10 customers made a purchase from a business they found using a search engine.
This is why digital marketing strategies are essential for retailers who are looking to drive foot traffic and sales.
To learn more about the benefits of digital marketing for retail stores, click here.
Below are three strategies you can leverage to build an online presence and attract more shoppers.
3 Online Marketing Tactics that Increase Foot Traffic
1) Local Directory Listings
Local search results present a huge opportunity for retail stores; according to Google, 80% of people now use a search engine to find local information.
This is why local directory listings are so valuable to retailers as a digital marketing tool – they help optimize your retail business for local search (or local SEO). In simpler terms, they help you be found locally by making your retail store appear in search results.
Directories feature business information such as your address, contact information, store hours along with other useful features such as customer reviews, images, videos, and preferred payment options.
Not only do local directories help you appear higher up in search results – they also help your business stand out among big box stores and online retailers.
As mentioned above, most retail stores haven’t optimised for local search while online competitors can’t compete with your store locally. Meaning – there is a competitive edge you can gain by focusing on local SEO.
To learn more about the basics of SEO, click here.
The following are some online directories that will help you get noticed in local search results:
Google My Business
Bing Places for Business
2) Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS)
Buy Online, Pick Up In-store or BOPIS (also commonly known as click and collect) takes advantage of consumer shopping habits to drive foot traffic.
To summarize, BOPIS drives foot traffic while offering several advantages to retailers including:
Higher rates of impulse purchases
Decreased shipping costs
Lower return rates
3) Google Local Inventory Ads
Google Local Inventory Ads are one of the most important digital marketing tools that retailers can leverage to drive foot traffic. This is because LIAs give retailers the unique ability to display a store’s in-stock merchandise – at the exact moment that a relevant local search is made.
When a shopper makes a relevant product search, and that product is available at a local store, they will be shown a local inventory ad with an “in stock” label.
Once that shopper clicks on the ad, they will be taken to the Local Storefront page. Here, they will be given more information about the product and your physical store including other in-stock inventory, current promotions, store location, and hours.
So by implementing Google LIAs in your digital marketing strategy, you will be able to target local shoppers and drive relevant traffic to your store!
We hope you found this article helpful!
Would you like to learn more about how to increase your retail store’s online presence?
Good news- we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.