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Product SKU Best Practices?

Having moved into Dear from Vend, I've run into several issues that seem to have not been discussed. I'd like to run it by you all, see what your experiences have been, and maybe build a list of things to look out for with each integration? These big data systems don't really like to talk well :) 


To clarify, I'm dealing with product code / SKU issues between the Dear and Vend integration. 

I've learned:

  • no leading zeros - not a big deal, the ones I have are legacy codes from previous POS systems that I'm happy enough to clear out
  • no non-alphanumeric characters - this seems strange to me as many of my product SKUs included dashes. The integration strips these characters when the product information goes from Dear to Vend though, which has created a bunch of duplicate products in Vend for me. 
Product Families / Variants - this isn't a code thing, but just a word of warning. Pulling variants from Vend to Dear did not work smoothly. Many have the UPC code in both the product code and the barcode field in Dear. Many have duplicates. I'm doing a lot of cleaning now, then will be republishing all of my inventory from Dear to Vend to hopefully have a clean list moving forward. Ugh.


My next integration I want to set up is to WooCommerce; I only have the one, clean install of Woo with no products currently, so I'm hoping this will go much smoother. If anyone has some tips and trick to watch for, I'm all ears though!!

1 Comment

We use a 6 digit SKU that we assign sequentially when we add a new SKU. For example, if the last SKU# used was 135412, the next one will be 135413. We've tried all kinds of SKU methods in the last 30 years of business, like making the numbers mean something, and this is by far the best method for us. The numbers are meaningless and therefore no chance of running out of permutations (i.e.. if last digit was attributed to a variable, what if you end up with more than 10?). Two, by having it constantly 6 digits, it's easy to spot errors on spread sheets. For reporting, we use Brand, Tags and Categories to sort products how we want.


You can use any number of digits, however, I highly recommend 7 or less because it's easier to memorize when needed. We used 6 because currently we own 2 manufacturer UPC prefixes. The first digit is either a 1 or a 2 corresponding to the first 6 digits of the UPC code, the following digits corresponds to the next 5 (we leave out the check digit at the end for SKU purpose). If you don't have a lot of SKU's, I would recommend 5 digits.


Hope this helps.

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