All You Need to Know About Amazon SKU Number

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Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by Chris Panteli

What Is Seller SKU On Amazon

If you are considering selling through Amazon as a smaller business, you might be struggling to get to grips with all the technical terminology involved in the company’s seller services. 

One of the most (initially) confusing aspects of selling through Amazon is understanding how SKU numbers work. 

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. But what does that actually mean and what is the purpose of an SKU number in terms of using Amazon as a seller? 

This is your complete guide to Amazon SKU numbers, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know about SKUs on Amazon!

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What Is An SKU Number on Amazon? 

What Is An Sku Number on Amazon? 

We’ve already explained that an SKU number on Amazon is related to a Stock Keeping Unit. However, there is much more to Amazon’s SKU numbers. 

SKU numbers have been developed in retail to allow the companies to keep an inventory of their warehouses and stock. Basically, these numbers are intended to facilitate inventory management. 

An SKU number is an alphanumeric code that is assigned to each of a seller’s products and any variations of those products.

Sellers can choose the alphanumeric sequence of their own SKU code, but it must remain consistent across all of the seller’s products. 

In traditional retailing, an SKU is located by scanning the physical barcode on a product, but e-commerce businesses like Amazon enter the SKU into their system instead. 

Using SKU numbers allows retailers to keep track of how many products from different sellers are being sold on a regular basis. 

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It is important to note that an Amazon SKU differs from the UPCs (Universal Product Codes) also used to identify Amazon products. 

The main difference between these two alphanumeric codes is that SKUs are designed for internal use by the company whereas UPCs are for external use.

For example, if a product were sold both by Amazon and another company, it would have the same UPC number, but the SKU code would be different. 


Another type of Amazon code not to confuse with your SKU is the FNSKU. 

FNSKU stands for Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit. It’s different from the standard Stock Keeping Unit code because this code is exclusively assigned to products that Amazon ships through Fulfillment or Amazon FBA. 

During your Fulfillment process as an Amazon seller, which involves being given access to Amazon’s logistics network, your products will be assigned an FNSKU number to link each of your products to your business.

This is very important because other Amazon sellers may be selling the same products, and if yours are not identified as belonging to your business, you might not get the money that you’re due. 

What Does An Amazon SKU Include? 

While an SKU is an alphanumeric code that might not seem to contain much information on the surface, each combination of letters that make up an Amazon SKU code contains crucial information for identifying and tracking products. 

Each Amazon SKU code should contain the following information: 

  • Product type, color, and size categorization 
  • Information that facilitates packing and shipping
  • Details for multi-channel inventory management 
  • Identification of where you are selling the product (in this case, Amazon Marketplace, so you would include a letter combination such as ‘AM’

Amazon SKUs are limited to 40 characters, so you will need to make sure that the letters and numbers you choose fit within this character allowance. 

Examples Of Amazon SKUs 

If you’re still not sure what an Amazon SKU should look like, we’ve come up with a few examples to help you get the idea: 

Silicone spatula, blue, model number 1: 1=SS-01-B-AM

Silicone spatula, orange, model number 1: 1=SS-01-O-AM

Silicone spatula, pink, model number 2: 1=SS-02-P-AM

In these examples, you can see that the product type, the color identifier, the model number, and the marketplace through which the product is being sold are all contained within the code. 

Self-Generated Vs. Amazon-Generated SKUs 

Often, sellers that sell their products through Amazon choose to create their own SKUs. However, there is also the option of having Amazon generate an SKU for your products. So, which option is generally considered to be better?

If you decide to generate your own SKUs, you can enjoy certain benefits. Creating your own SKU codes allows you to make decisions based on the information you have about your products and how well they are selling.

For example, you can group items together that have been selling in larger quantities. 

You can also create collections within your own inventory so that products are more easily identifiable to you.

An example of this would be if you wanted to create a Fall 2022 catalog of your products. Incorporating the alphanumerical combination ‘F22’ in your SKU would help you to easily see which products belong to this catalog or collection. 

Finally, generating your personal SKU codes means that you can effectively standardize the reporting of your sales, meaning that you can track your sales in terms of product type, season, and other variables. 

On the other hand, if you choose to let Amazon generate SKU codes for you, you get to skip all the hard (and fairly boring) work of assigning identifiable SKU numbers to a large range of products.

The problem is that Amazon-generated SKUs won’t have a clear meaning to you, making it more difficult for you to keep track of your sales, especially if the same product is being sold through more than one amazon store.

In this case, Amazon will assign a completely different SKU to the same product in a different store, which can get very confusing. 

One way to assign your own SKU codes without having to spend hours assigning them manually is to use an online tool like QuickBooks Commerce, which is a tool designed to generate SKUs for each product in your catalog quickly in a way that still allows you to search for them and categorize products meaningfully. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is SKU Rationalization?

When sellers on Amazon talk about SKUs, they often mention them in the context of SKU rationalization.

SKU rationalization is the process of using metrics such as sales data and the cost of storage to assess the profitability of a specific product (identifiable by its SKU code).

The calculations made using these metrics is called rationalization and it helps merchants to decide whether they should continue to restock and sell a product or, alternatively, discontinue it if it’s not profitable enough for the business to supply. 

What Is SKU Proliferation?

SKU proliferation is different from SKU rationalization. Proliferation in relation to SKUs is the process of expanding your inventory by adding more products, thus adding more Stock Keeping Units.

The decision to do this should be based on sales data. For example, a best-selling product might benefit from being stocked in a wider range of colors, and each color will require a new SKU. 

What Is The Difference Between ASINs And SKUs?

We have established that SKUs are different from UPCs and FNSKUs, but how do SKUs compare to ASINs?

An ASIN is an Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is a combination of letters and numbers and it is created when Amazon adds a unique product to its catalog.

The ASIN can then be used to find the specific product for which it was generated.

You can have multiple SKUs for a single ASIN because an SKU is basically an offer on a unique product, while the ASIN is the identifier for the product itself.

SKUs are used solely for inventory management purposes while ASINs can be searched within Amazon’s search function to identify unique products. 

How Can I Find My Amazon SKU? 

If you are an Amazon seller trying to find one of your own Amazon SKUs (for example, for the purposes of managing your shipments), the best place to start is by going to the Shipping Queue.

From there, you can click on ‘Track Shipment’ on the right-hand side of the relevant shipment.

Under the ‘View Shipments’ tab, you can find a button labeled ‘Download SKU List’. When you click on it, you can find the SKUs for all of your shipments.

Do Books Have SKUs?

Yes, books, like all products sold through Amazon, have an SKU. However, in the case of books, the alphanumeric code is referred to as an ISBN.

This is not a different kind of code altogether, but a specific kind of SKU. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. 

Final Thoughts 

An SKU is an alphanumeric code used by Amazon to manage warehouse inventories. They help both Amazon and its sellers to keep track of which products are being sold. 

SKU codes contain information about individual products, including product type, color, model number, catalog, and more.

These codes can be generated either by Amazon or by the seller, with the latter allowing for easier identification, especially across multiple stores. 

If you are considering selling through Amazon, consider the benefits of self-generated SKUs vs. Amazon-generated SKUs and look into SKU-allocation tools to help you with the process.

What Is Seller SKU On Amazon

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