A SKU number, otherwise referred to as a stock-keeping unit, assigns numbers and letters in the form of a code that can be scanned by a register or scanning device to identify a specific product. Products are labeled with a SKU number before they hit the shelves in stores.
A SKU number is comparable to a product or part number because of its ability to identify specific products sold in retail stores. SKU numbers are used to calculate inventory, ultimately tracking the number of sales of a product and identifying the need to re-order. When consumers know SKU numbers, they can easily identify products to purchase at a later date by providing the information to a sales clerk.