What are SKUs?

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. In retail, it refers to a distinct type of product and all the attributes with the product that distinguish it from other products. 

on-shelf-skus

For example, on the picture above, each shade of nail polish will have a different SKU. Another way to think about it is that each SKU is associated with a bar code (in fact, some may refer to SKUs, bar codes, and unique identifiers as the same).

Why Does It Matter?

SKUs are extremely important for inventory management by retailers and consumer goods companies. Both retailers and CG companies will pay close attention to the number and position of SKUs on shelves, number of items per SKUs on shelves, as well as position of SKU's in the store, as all of these factors have a critical impact on sales. 

What Are the Challenges?

While reporting on SKUs, it is extremely important for consumer goods companies, especially during product launches, retail store audits, or inventory management visits, to report correctly. In the nail polish example above, there are close to 30 different SKUs in the small portion of the shelf present on the picture alone. And reps will have to report on every single one of them (for some brands, it can be hundreds of SKUs per store) at each visit. Without the right tools, the process can be tedious, long, and error-prone. Most brands invest in a field execution system to empower field reps to report on SKUs faster and with minimal manual entry in order to prevent errors.

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