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Do you want to know how to properly create your product ids? Are you wondering how it can affect your business in a positive way?

As most of you know, product id numbers also known as “part numbers”, “model numbers”, “product codes”, SKUs, etc. Product ids are important to uniquely identify products that you put into your inventory.

Having proper product ids allows you to effectively account for its activity and status inside your inventory. Item numbers also serve as a shorthand for longer product descriptions. Instead of entering an entire name or description for an item, you can use a much shorter item number. This speeds up the process of data entry and inventory management.

For example:
VC010009 means: 01 (necklace); VC (Vintage Collection); 0009 (the 1st necklace from this collection).
SC10-EuF = Scented Candle 10 – Eucalyptus, Full size.

This may sound very easy but you should also know the dos and don’ts when making product ids. Here they are:

Using a few letters from the beginning of your item description at the beginning of your part number will make it much easier to look up items in pick lists.

Do not use letters that can be confused with numbers. The most common digits are O0, I1, and L1.

Avoid using a supplier’s serial number or part number for your part number. If you have new suppliers in the future, or the supplier changes their number, it becomes difficult on your part.

Do not load item numbers with meaning; do not try to use the item number to describe your product. This will only make your numbers longer and more complicated. Save this information for the item description.

Ideally, product ids should be 4-8 characters max. Keep item numbers short, but not so short that they could be mistaken for other numbers (i.e., quantities).

Consider using a few letters. Letters will help further distinguish your item numbers from other numbers, and they will greatly increase the number of possible item numbers you can have while keeping the overall item number length as short as possible.

And finally, do not use characters that might confuse people. For example, using a comma in your item number might make it look like a quantity or price. Using a “/” can result in Excel formatting your part number as a date.

Symbols such as “<“, “>”, and “*” can have unintended consequences when moving data between Clearly Inventory and your spreadsheet program. Try to keep your item numbers simple and alphanumeric where possible.

If you want to learn more, check this video by my friend Renae Christine of Rich Mom Business:

I hope you learned from this post. If you have more tips, please let us know in the comments.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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