The UPC Database allows you to look up a product by its UPC code or by its SKU number. If the product's barcode contains 8 or 12 digits, it is an SKU number. Entering this number on the UPC Database site gives the item’s description, its manufacturer and other details.
An SKU or Stock Keeping Unit number is used by manufacturers and retailers for inventory control by assigning a number to the item that identifies it as a distinct type of item for sale, along with all of its attributes that distinguish it from other items, such as color, size or weight.
A retailer often assigns an SKU that is different from the one assigned by the manufacturer to match its own inventory needs. This allows the item to be tracked through an electronic point-of-sale system. By tracking the item by number, inventory managers immediately know the quantity of items on hand by comparing the number of the units sold to the number received. This technology is seen on retailer websites that offer a "check availability" feature, which tells the user how many units of an item are available in a store location. It also identifies items that are selling quickly and allows staff to know when items need to be reordered.