Inventory SKUs: Retail Management 101

Inventory SKUs: Retail Management 101

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.

product label

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.

retail POS system

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. 

inventory management

Re-Stocking Products

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. 

skus make for easier stock replenishment

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.

identify stock levels quickly

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 best sellers and underperformers

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.

SKUs help reduce inventory shrinkage

Did you find this article helpful? We will be posting more inventory management tips in the upcoming weeks.

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#SKUdefination #whatareSKUS #inventorymanagement #retailPOS #cloudPOS #pointofsale #builtforretail

Retail Marketing: Attract Local Shoppers with Google My Business Posts

Retail Marketing: Attract Local Shoppers with Google My Business Posts

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. 

google my business posts

What are the Benefits of Google My Business Posts?

local shopper

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?

google search

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.

#retailmarketing #googlemybusines #digitalmarketing #localseo #foottraffic #googleposts #posts #benefitsofGoogleposts

Retail Marketing: 3 Digital Marketing Tactics That Drive Foot Traffic

Retail Marketing: 3 Digital Marketing Tactics That Drive Foot Traffic

Are you looking for a cost effective tool to drive footfall to your store? 

Then you should consider targeting shoppers online with digital marketing tactics. 

The Importance of Digital Marketing for Retailers

Many retailers disregard the importance of digital marketing. In fact, only 44% of local retailers have claimed a Google My Business Listing

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 seo

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
  • Yelp 
  • Yahoo Local 
  • Bing Places for Business
  • MerchantCircle
  • Yellow Pages
  • Foursquare
  • Manta
  • Angie’s List
  • Citysearch

2) Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) 

shopper buying online

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. 

This omni-channel strategy draws on the fact that shoppers prefer to see the physical product in person but want the convenience of browsing online. In a recent survey, 50% of shoppers stated that they decided where to make a purchase based on whether a store offered BOPIS options

BOPIS is increasing in popularity as more and more retailers are adopting the strategy in order to remain competitive in the age of Amazon. And it is a tactic that seems to be working – according to the Business Insider, 68% of US consumers have made multiple click and collect purchases

Retailers adopting BOPIS strategies are also reaping the benefits – 85% of shoppers made additional purchases when picking up an order in-store

To summarize, BOPIS drives foot traffic while offering several advantages to retailers including: 

  • Higher rates of impulse purchases  
  • Decreased shipping costs 
  • Lower return rates
  • Satisfied shoppers

3) Google Local Inventory Ads

foot traffic

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.

According to Google, shoppers prefer and act on location based ads

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.

#digitalmarketing #foottraffic #builtforretail #increasefootfall