If you have ever shopped in any major chain store (or even most small retail establishments) you will probably know what a bar code is and what it does. When the cashier scans the bar code of a product at purchase it not only tell the consumer the price they will pay but also controls inventory levels.
But what if you only stock a handful of products or do not want to invest in a barcode scanner?
I came across this same predicament when I opened up my store: From The Stash. At From The Stash I mainly sell used items which do not come with their original packaging. However, my e-commerce platform, ecwid, wanted me to integrate SKUs.
What was I to do?
I created my own sku/inventory tracking system. Using my own custom system I am able to at a glance see what products I have in stock and (most importantly) be able to find the product I need without much difficultly.
Make your sku easy to remember. I use the brand name followed by a set of numbers. For example a Bum Genius diaper would be BG followed by the number I recieved it. Example BG001, BG002 etc.
Leave space for expansion. I use three digits for my number system. Do I ever think I will have 999 diapers from one brand? No. But I do not want to have to reevaluate my sku system.
Be Flexible. I made a mistake early on and accidentally doubled up on AC006. Instead of trying to fix it later (and subsequently messing up all the following numbers) I just added a AC006b instead. It’s my inventory system and I can do what I want :).
The most important tip I have is: have fun with it.
Your business is your time to make the decisions you want and make it easiest for you. No one will work as hard on your business as you will so make sure you pick a system that works best for you. Even if others may find it strange.
How do you track you inventory? Do you have a custom sku program?