Below, I have compiled information regarding basic e-commerce operations; focusing specifically on listing products. The following information is not specific to one company, however, is a collection of general best practices. Hopefully, this post will shed some light on how products are listed, organized, and the functions of each section in a listing.
What is a SKU?
A SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), is an alphanumeric identification of a product. SKUs are used for tracking inventories, purchases, and record keeping.
Product SKU Categories
Generally speaking, the products that many businesses stock can be identified as belonging to one of a number of Product SKU Categories. Before creating or adjusting any SKU, it is essential to first determine which type of SKU you will be working with. Below you will find descriptions of some common Product SKU Categories.
- Part Number SKU
Products belonging to the Part Number Product SKU Category are identified as being any product that is being created with the Part Number being the focus of the listing. A listing designed for a Part Number SKU focuses on the Part Number associated with the product. Part Number Products and listings are created to capitalize on opportunities for customers to find products when they know and are searching for a product by its specific part number rather than searching for it based on vague information.
- Model SKU
Products belonging to the Model SKU Category are identified as being any product that is being created with the model of the product being the focus of the listing. Unlike a listing designed for a Part Number SKU which focuses on the Part Number of the specific product, a listing being created for a Model SKU focuses on the model of the product that the product works with. Model Products and listings are built to capitalize on opportunities for customers to find products when they know and are searching for a product by the specific model it works with rather than searching for it based off of the product Part Number.
- Parent SKUS
Products belonging to the Parent SKU Category are identified as being any product that is being created for the purpose of internal inventory control. While Parent SKUs are not listed on marketplaces for customers to directly purchase, they are a critical component to an inventory system.
- Allow Receiving Departments to quickly identify which products are coming in.
- Allow Inventory Departments to quickly identify which products are going out.
- Control on-hand inventory levels.
- Are an essential component of product kitting assignments.
- SKU Standards
Generally speaking, the products that most companies carry can be identified as belonging to one of a number of Product SKU Categories. Before creating or adjusting any SKU, it is crucial to first identify which type of SKU you will be working with. Below you will find a description of some Product SKU Categories used in most e-commerce businesses.
What is a Title?
To put it simply, Titles are the headline elements at the top of a product page. The title field clearly identifies what product is being listed.
How is it used?
Titles display on product pages and also typically appear in search results on search engines (Google, Bing, etc..), as well as online marketplace search results (Amazon, eBay, etc..). It is vital that titles be as descriptive and concise as possible to ensure that customers can quickly understand what the product is.
While the Title Field is obviously read by customers, it also plays an essential role in how search engines understand what the product is. As a result, it is important to make sure that titles are as unique and descriptive as possible while adhering to Title Standards.
What is Weight?
The weight field merely specifies how much a particular product weighs. Be sure to know what different countries use for weight measurements.
How is it used?
The weight field often communicates with shipping software which creates an appropriate shipping label for each package based on size and weight. As a result, it is important to ensure that product weights are entered accurately to ensure we you are not overcharged for shipping costs or creating shipping labels with insufficient postage.
What is MSRP?
Market Suggested Retail Price, or MSRP, is the price a customer can expect to pay for a product when shopping with most retailers.
How is it used?
The MSRP Field is used to show customers what they can expect to pay for a product if they were shopping elsewhere. On most product pages, they include a “Dealer Price” next to “Our Price” to give the customer a better understanding of the value that they are receiving when they choose to shop with you.
What is Cost?
The Cost Field specifies how much a company pays for a given product. Generally speaking, Cost is determined based off of product availability, product demand, and on hand quantities. Product Cost is often determined by a Procurement team.
How is it used?
The Cost field performs two main functions. First, it tells a Receiving & Procurement team how much to pay for a particular product. As a result, it is essential to make sure Cost Fields are always entered correctly and updated as directed by the Procurement team. An incorrect entry in the Cost Field that goes unchecked can quickly lead to thousands of dollars in overpaid products.
Second, the Cost Field is used to determine the price that a company sells its products for. Sell prices are often based off of a formula that takes product costs, profit margins, and other factors into consideration. To ensure that this process is simple, many online marketplaces feature a tool that enables MSRP and Discount Pricing to be automatically generated.
Pretty much self-explanatory, the quantity of an item stands for the amount of the product you have. Although, there are three areas to pay attention to.
Items which are currently available to be purchased.
Products which do not have any items which are currently available to be purchased.
Items which have been sold, however, are not readily available (need to be purchased to satisfy previous orders).
This could be the date the item was created, released, or added to the marketplace.
The company which created the product.
Is the product new, used, or refurbished?