Complex Search — High SKUs

Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store, have an online business, or operate a combination of both, you’re likely using SKUs. Managing complex search features with a large number of SKUs can be challenging. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the pain points associated with SKU management and ways you can improve your processes.

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What are SKUs?

A stock-keeping unit (SKU) is an inventory-tracking tool for business owners. Each item in the store is assigned a distinctive SKU, making it easy to keep track of how many are sold and when an item needs to be restocked. SKU data is also a valuable analytical tool for tracking purchasing trends over time.

Each SKU is unique and contains a combination of numbers and letters. Unlike UPC barcodes—12-digit numerical codes chosen by manufacturers and used universally—SKUs are created by merchandisers and can be tailored to fit their needs. For example, businesses can use SKUs to manage products by color, size, brand, or other distinctions.

Each SKU is unique and contains a combination of numbers and letters. Unlike UPC barcodes—12-digit numerical codes chosen by manufacturers and used universally—SKUs are created by merchandisers and can be tailored to fit their needs. For example, businesses can use SKUs to manage products by color, size, brand, or other distinctions.

Why Managing Many SKUs is Challenging

While SKUs help to eliminate confusion and streamline operations, managing a large number of them can present several challenges:

Using Different Marketplaces

Many online stores utilize several marketplace outlets beyond their own website, such as eBay or Amazon. Managing SKUs and inventory between multiple marketplaces can be tricky.

Updating Inventory

From the backend, keeping all those SKUs updated with inventory information can be a juggling act for administrators, particularly when a business relies on different platforms for inventory management, accounting, and online sales. Administrators often must transfer data between systems manually, making it time-consuming to keep the numbers synchronized.

Product Organization

Organizing large numbers of products in a database or eCommerce site can also become a time-consuming challenge for business owners. If SKUs are not organized well, particularly in an online store, customers will have trouble navigating the site and finding what they need—even if it’s there.

Ensuring Ease of Search

Online stores must also make sure the search function works well. Customers may be looking for products with specific attributes (for example, a car part for a particular make and model). To make sure they can find what they need, business owners have to create SKUs for each distinctive product and make sure they’re tagged properly so they will come up when customers type in those keywords.

Enabling Speed

Even if an eCommerce site has great organization and an exceptional search setup, they will still lose customers if the search feature is slow to respond. Online stores with many SKUs need a server powerful enough to ensure fast search. And the speed of the entire store is essential, too—you won’t even have a chance to show how fast your search is if your homepage takes forever to load.

What to Ask When Selecting a New Vendor

When you’re managing a large store, looking for a new eCommerce platform can be an overwhelming process as you consider both current needs and future possibilities. Here are a few questions to ask as you evaluate possible vendors:

Does the platform meet your current requirements?

Take stock of your current needs—how many SKUs you’re juggling, what your customers’ expectations and needs are, and how many employees you have to help manage the platform. Look for a vendor that can satisfy those requirements and isn’t too complicated for your staff to handle.

Can it adjust to your existing workflows?

Find a platform that allows you to customize the environment around your existing processes, rather than trying to force your business into a new framework.

Is it scalable?

Every business hopes to grow, so look for a platform that’s able to scale up with you.

Is it user-friendly?

If you don’t have a team or individual to manage it, look for a platform that is user-friendly. If you choose a platform that requires a dedicated team to manage, it will drain resources from your business’s other needs.

Can they offer advice and 24/7 technical support?

Choosing a provider that can offer customized advice and round-the-clock technical support will save time and help keep your business running smoothly.

Want to get more expert-backed tips on starting a successful business online?

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