Amazon’s SKUs and ASINs are crucial to understanding how Amazon thinks and works. Here’s our quick explainer.

The world of the Amazon can be full of opportunity, but unfortunately for the new seller, it can also be full of technical jargon. Two terms, in particular, can leave many newbies scratching their heads: Amazon’s ASIN and the SKU. Understanding what they are and how to use them will be crucial to your success.

ASIN

The Amazon Standard Identifier is a unique number which Amazon uses to identify all products on its marketplace. It is a critical component of its search function and means that, whether customers are searching by category or by the product name, they can return the exact product they are looking for.

The easiest way to find the ASIN is in the address bar just after the product name. You’ll need to make sure your product has the correct ASIN to ensure it appears in all the right searches. Different Amazon marketplaces will have different ASINs for the same products, so if you are selling across multiple marketplaces, be warned that each of your products could have multiple ASINs attached to them.

You may also be able to find the ASIN listed at the bottom of the page under ‘additional information’. However, if you are selling multiple products, an ASIN finder software may be useful. A tool such as Synccentric allows you to import your product identifiers. It then heads out to retrieve those ASINs for you.

Searching for an ASIN is also a good way to find out how much demand there is for a product. If a product you plan to sell needs an ASIN this is great news. It means the product is unique, and you’ll have the field more or less to yourself. On the other hand, if nobody else is selling the product it could also mean that there is no demand for it.

If you are selling a unique product you will need to create your own ASIN. To do this you will need your Global Trade Item Numbers which can generally be found at the bottom of the barcode. If you’re selling an item and don’t know the GTIN you can source it directly from them. If you’re manufacturing your own items, you’ll need to register your product.

Once you have these numbers, Amazon will use them to create and match up to their own unique ASINs.  

SKU

Stock keeping units is a global term and SKUs are used by Amazon to manage their inventory. It allows them to identify items and track their location. If you don’t have an SKU, Amazon will create one for you. But, this can create problems. If Amazon creates an SKU, it is working for their internal purposes and theirs alone. It can create problems for you looking to identify the product and manage your own stock.

Again, different marketplaces will use their own SKUs so you could have several unique SKUs in your system for the same products, making stock management a nightmare.

Instead, you can create your own SKU number. There are several SKU generators online and they allow you to tailor your number in such a way that it provides key information about your product. You can use a combination of numbers and letters to convey details such as:

  • Manufacturer
  • Country of origin
  • Condition
  • Price
  • Color

This will then be a number that is not only easier to keep track of but gives you and your staff a lot of information about the products at just a glance.

If you are using an order management system, this can automate many processes which might previously have taken hours. By filtering your products by ASINs and SKUs, you can instantly see all your products selling across your active marketplaces. You can see what orders have been filled, which orders are still pending and where you may need to order stock.

Using a software tool can increase visibility across your entire inventory and delivers the key insights you need to improve your performance. A system like FeedbackWhiz, for example, will show you the status of each order and it can also drill down into the product reviews and feedback information to identify key trends which could help you to sell more efficiently and effectively.

Understanding the difference between SKUs and ASINs and the ways in which Amazon uses these numbers can help you be more successful not only in your sales efforts but in your inventory management and customer service.