Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.
You’ll sometimes see the terms SKU and UPC used seemingly interchangeably, but there are important differences, particularly if you run a store or a business that sells products to consumers or other companies. In this guide, we’ll delve deeper into UPC vs. SKU, highlighting the main differences and outlining the use of different types of codes for sales, tracking, and inventory management. What Are SKU and UPC Codes? SKU and UPC codes are used widely in product sales. The acronyms stand for “stock keeping unit” and “universal product code.” What Is an SKU? An SKU is a scannable, alphanumeric code assigned to a product by a retailer. SKUs usually contain a combination of letters and numbers and are designed solely for internal use. Retailers and companies can come up with their own SKU number system or utilize software to generate SKUs. An SKU number used by different retailers will be different when selling the same product. The UPC will be the same. What Is a UPC? A UPC is a numeric, 12-digit code assigned to products across all retailers and vendors. The UPC is for external use among all retailers. The UPC doesn’t contain letters, it’s always 12 digits long, and it’s printed as a barcode. If two retailers sell the same product, the SKU will be different, and the UPC will be the same. The authority responsible for maintaining UPCs is GS1, the international organization that develops and maintains standards for unambiguously identifying entities such as products, documents, logistics units, physical locations, and more. UPC vs. SKU Comparison The key differences between SKUs and UPCs include: Length The UPC is always 12 digits long. The SKU can be any number of digits. Usually, an SKU is six to 12 digits long. Composition The UPC is numeric. The SKU consists of both letters and numbers. Use The UPC is used across all retailers. The SKU is designed for internal use only. Consistency The UPC is consistent across every retailer or business. The SKU is unique to the specific retailer or vendor. UPCs are generated randomly via a universal system. Cost SKUs are free. There is a charge for obtaining UPCs. Printing The UPC is printed as a barcode. The SKU can be printed as a singular code or with a barcode. SKU vs. UPC: When To Use Which Code When To Use SKUs The most common use for SKUs is to manage stock inventories efficiently. Retailers can use SKUs for inventory management and to track sales and collect and analyze data. SKUs are designed for internal use, and they’re used widely by eCommerce companies and store owners. Uses of SKUs include: Managing and organizing inventories: With SKU numbers, you can manage and organize your inventory in real time and with ease. Every product has an SKU, which can be scanned to bring up relevant information. Retailers can develop a system to create codes based on product categories, sizes, colors, or brands or use software or SKU generators to speed up the process. If you use SKUs, you should find it easier to track products, update your inventory, monitor stock levels, and locate products. Providing customer assistance: One of the most significant benefits of SKUs for companies that sell products to buyers in-store is enhanced customer assistance. Assistants can now scan codes to locate products, find various sizes or colors, and make recommendations if the product the client wants is out of stock. Collecting and analyzing sales data: SKUs provide access to useful information about sales, consumer trends, and buying habits. Retailers can utilize SKUs to gauge the demand for various types of products, monitor sales at different times of the year, and spot emerging trends to boost sales. When To Use UPCs UPCs are required for businesses and vendors looking to sell products on external platforms. If you want to sell on Amazon, for example, or you’re interested in pitching to retailers like Walmart, you’ll need to ensure that your items have universal barcodes. UPC stock can still have an SKU - one doesn’t exclude the other. It’s beneficial for retailers to maintain SKU number systems for internal inventory management. SKU vs. UPC vs. Serial Number The serial number is a unique code specific to the individual product. It’s common to use serial numbers to identify issues with electrical appliances and computers. If you report a problem or you need advice, for example, you may be asked to provide the serial number so that the manufacturer can track the item and access information about the owner, the date of purchase, and the warranty status. RN Code and EAN Code Registered identification numbers (RNs) are issued by the Federal Trade Commission to businesses and vendors in the US that manufacture, distribute, or import products governed by the Textile, Wool, and Fur Acts. As for European article numbers (EAN) and international article numbers (IAN), they’re used by companies outside of the US. UPC and SKU Tracking UPC and SKU tracking can be done manually, but more and more companies are choosing to take advantage of innovative software, for example, point-of-sale systems. Examples include Shopify, Lightspeed, Square for Retail, and Clover. Further Reading Finding the Best POS System for Your Small Business What Is a Sales Pipeline and How Do You Manage One? What Is an EIN Number?
Introduction: What Does SKU Mean? The SKU, or stock keeping unit, is an alphanumeric code assigned to retail products. Using an SKU enables retailers to track sales and manage inventories efficiently. The primary use of SKUs is to identify products, but they offer a wealth of other advantages for vendors. Most articles discuss what SKU means in retail, but there are other industries in which SKUs can be helpful. For example, service-oriented businesses (e.g., auto repair shops) use scannable codes for intangible products. In this guide, we’ll explore how SKUs are used, highlight their benefits for vendors, and offer advice about how to set up an SKU number for each of your products or services. What Does SKU Mean in Retail? A retail stock-keeping unit is a scannable retailer code that provides information about products, tracking, and inventory. The SKU is assigned to a product that is part of an inventory. It will be an 8-symbol mixture of letters and numbers in most cases. The SKU definition outlines the code’s key characteristics: Scannability Uniqueness Letters and numbers Assigned to products to assist with sales tracking and inventory management Created by the retailer Used internally How to Set Up an SKU Number There are two main options for creating an SKU number. One is the necessary entering data manually, and the other is using software to create SKUs for you. Using the software is more efficient, and it can also be more accurate. If you choose to enter data manually, it would be paramount to devise a system for creating unique codes that make sense to you as the retailer. For example, if you own a shoe store, you may choose to use specific letters to signify the brand, following a letter or number to denote size, and another letter or pair of letters to describe the color. If you have a standard coding system, you will soon get used to generating new codes for different products, and your employees will be able to create and interpret SKUs quickly. Once you have either established a system to create SKU numbers manually or installed software, you can print product labels that will contain the SKUs, and use SKU and barcode generators. Best practice SKU guidelines are as follows: Keep SKUs short Use clear identifier codes Separate information with dashes Use a sequence of letters and numbers Avoid overcomplicating the system Avoid special characters Use abbreviations instead of words How Are SKUs Used? Whether you are just starting out, or have an established brand or store, SKUs have a wide range of uses. Here are some of the most common SKU purposes for retailers and businesses: Inventory Management One of the most important SKU uses for retailers is inventory management. If you have a supply of stock, or a busy store, you can use stock-keeping units to keep track of products sold, update orders, and issue reminders when stock levels are low, and you need to replenish the shelves or virtual aisles. You can also organize your store using "order by” SKU. Effective inventory management can save time and effort for retailers, and prevent customer disappointment if they try to order a product that is out of stock and minimize losses. It is essential to understand that administrative errors also play a role: By using an SKU on Etsy, for example, you can track overstock to prevent excess ordering, eliminate human error, and update stock levels in real-time. Sales Analysis An SKU is far more than a product identifier. Retailers can also use SKUs to collect and analyze sales data linked to product ranges, categories, or individual items. This enables vendors to spot trends and patterns, gain insight into consumer habits, and gauge product popularity. Retailers can use the data available to make well-informed decisions about stock ordering, promotion timing, and expanding product ranges to cater to new trends or changing customer habits. Enhancing Customer Experience Technology plays an increasingly influential role in customer experience. Take the straightforward example of going into a store and asking an assistant if they have a particular shoe in your size. In the days when an SKU was not available, the assistant would have to scour the shelves or go into the storeroom or warehouse and check for the relevant size. Today, they can simply scan the code and bring up information about stock levels and location. The customer gets an answer in a matter of seconds, and employees save a massive amount of time and effort. If the product in question is not available, the assistant can recommend similar products or a different branch where said size is still in stock. SKU numbers can also be beneficial for store planning and merchandising, as they enable retailers to design efficient, organized stores that make finding products easy and stress-free. Personalization and Product Recommendations If you shop online, you may have noticed that recommendations pop up regularly based on items you’ve looked at or bought previously. For example, the SKU on Amazon enables the retailer to show you similar products in the range. Is an SKU the Same as a UPC? SKUs and UPCs are often talked about in the same articles discussing eCommerce and stock inventory management, but they are not the same. An SKU is a unique code, which is generated by the retailer. A UPC (Universal Product Code) is an external code used for tracking. The UPC will be the same for a single product, regardless of its vendor. UPCs only contain numbers, while SKUs are usually made up of numbers and letters. Further Reading What Is an EIN Number? Our Top Picks for Inventory Management Software 60 Retail Statistics to Help You Build Your Business SKU Number Examples The following example shows how a garden retailer creates and uses SKUs for products, including different types of lawnmowers. As you can see, the retailer uses codes for the type of mower, color, and size. Category Code Item Color Code Item Size Code SKU T-shirt A1 Blue B3 L 011 A1B3011 T-shirt A1 Green B4 L 011 A1B4011 T-shirt A1 Yellow B5 M 012 A1B5012 T-shirt A1 Black B6 M 012 A1B6012 T-shirt A1 Blue B3 XL 013 A1B3013 Every retailer uses its own system or software to generate codes used internally. This means the team should be familiar with the coding system.
Cash is slowly disappearing from the US market, and the way customers interact with merchants and complete transactions is changing. Adapting to the new reality can be quite a challenge for small businesses, especially when competing against well-funded large companies. However, instruments such as Venmo for Business help small enterprises keep up with changes and consumer trends, giving them the chance to provide a better experience to their clients. So, can you use Venmo for your business? Yes - and you should! In this guide, we’ll tell you more about this incredible tool. What is Venmo? Launched in 2009, Venmo is certainly not among the most recent startups around. However, the company has been restlessly developing since its launch and established itself as one of the most progressive payment getaways around, prompting PayPal to acquire it in 2013. What sets Venmo apart from other merchant services is that it retains its social aspect. The company, which was originally envisioned as a platform for musicians to sell songs or merchandise at their gigs, is today accepted by over 2 million merchants in the US. Venmo is an innovative merchant solution that employs peer-to-peer technologies for online financial transactions. More recently, the platform has started to allow users to hold a balance on their account, while also introducing business features such as invoicing options. Venmo Personal vs. Business Account: What’s The Difference? Today, over 83 million people have downloaded the Venmo app and are using it for handling payments. Whether you have used the platform before or not, it is important to understand the difference between Venmo’s personal and business accounts. A Venmo personal profile gives people a simple and secure way to make payments to their friends and peers. Unlike other payment services, Venmo proposes a highly interactive, social network-like platform that allows users to send and receive transactions immediately, split a bill, or share necessities. Venmo for Business is not so dissimilar to a Personal account, and if you have been using Venmo for a while, you will be instantly familiar with its interface. However, it also includes features purposely designed with the needs of businesses in mind, including: Online sales Point of sale transactions Touchless payments Venmo credit card transactions Tax considerations Venmo invoicing and receipts options Safe and trusted transactions Can You Use Venmo For Your Small Business? Small business banking can be tricky, so many people look for an easy-to-use, accessible, and intuitive solution. Here is where Venmo for Business can help. To begin using Venmo for your small business, all you need to do is set up a business account. You can then start accepting Venmo business transactions - regardless of whether you are running a brick-and-mortar store or an eCommerce business. Venmo for Small Businesses: What To Expect No matter what type of venture you are running, choosing the right merchant service is just as important as selecting a good checking account for your business. Depending on your merchant service, you will build a different relationship with your customers and benefit from different features. From providing low transaction fees to offering invoicing and supply purchasing, Venmo is considered by many to be the best option for most businesses. But is it the right one for you? Let’s take a closer look. Venmo Business Fees Merchant services are extremely helpful for small businesses, but they come at a cost. With that in mind, business owners need to find the right compromise between cost and functionalities. While Venmo for Business isn’t free, the cost of this service is designed to fit any small business’s budget: It allows payments by credit card, debit card, and bank transfer. There is no set-up fee. There are no monthly fees. There are no fees associated with online purchases and sending money back to users. Credit card transfer fees are 3%. Debit card transaction fees are 0%. Seller fees are 1.9% + $0.10. The transfer limit for Venmo’s person-to-person transfers is $4,999.99 per week. How Do I Use My Venmo Business Account? So, how do businesses use Venmo? Once you are sure that the fees involved with a business Venmo account work for you, it is time to look at the ways in which you can use your account. These include: Online stores can run most business transactions through Venmo. Your store can accept online orders. It can also offer touchless business transactions. You can use Venmo in your store by pairing it with an approved POS system. Venmo also offers merchants a QR Kit that allows them to use QR technology for payments, thus streamlining customers’ and suppliers’ transactions. Setting Up a Venmo Account for Business: An Overview If you are ready to set up your Venmo business account, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it and start accepting Venmo transactions: Find and download the Venmo for Business app. Verify your business through the One Time Passcode system. Accept the terms and conditions. Create a business profile by tapping on the profile picture. Add details about your business, including brand customization, logos, and products and services offered. If you already have a personal Venmo account, you can add a business profile by simply navigating to the “Create Business Profile” button and following the instructions. As with all good merchant services, Venmo is accessible via an Android/iOS app or your favorite web browser. Benefits of Using Venmo For Your Business When choosing between Venmo and other merchant systems, you might need to draw a list of the pros and cons of each. Start from these benefits and features of Venmo for business: Fees are competitive, and there is no cost for debit cards, setting up your account, and completing online purchases Venmo allows for quick money transfers. The weekly transaction limit is $4,999.99 for person-to-person transfers, while combined weekly spending limits are $6,999.99. If you have used Venmo before, you will be familiar with the interface and functionalities. The software makes completing financial transactions easy and engaging. Venmo is one of the few merchant payment services that fully support cryptocurrencies. Of course, Venmo might not be right for all businesses, and you should keep in mind that transaction limits can affect your business's operations. Plus, Venmo is only available in the US, and not all companies will accept payments made through this system. Final Words Venmo is one of the most popular merchant services in the US. It provides easy, intuitive, and functional solutions for small businesses while keeping fees competitive. While Venmo for business might not be the ideal choice for all businesses, it is certainly appreciated by a massive number of business owners across the US, and for a good reason. If the weekly transaction limits are not a problem, we can heartily recommend this service to any small business owner. Further Reading The Best Business Credit Cards on the Market The Best Free Payroll Software for Small Business What Is Petty Cash in Accounting?
In the US, there are two main ways to earn a wage. These are earning a salary and getting paid hourly. There are pros and cons of both ways of running payroll. In this informative guide, we’ll discuss salary vs. hourly pay in detail, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages and explaining how both systems work. What Is a Salary? Most people who have a job in the US are salaried employees. A salary is an annual wage paid monthly, biweekly, or weekly. So, how do salaries work? If you receive a salary, you’ll get consistent payments in exchange for working a set number of hours. The amount of money you earn, the number of hours you work, and the frequency with which you get paid should all be outlined in your employment contract, while the payroll schedule and information about bonuses and tax deductions should be explained in your company’s employee handbook. Many employers operate a salary range for different jobs and levels of seniority. The salary value will usually reflect industry averages and the level of experience. Salaries can vary hugely, depending on the type of job, the sector, the level of demand for skilled employees, the level of experience and expertise, and the position within the company. To calculate your yearly salary and turn it into monthly or weekly payments, your employer will take the total sum you earn in a year and divide it by the number of weeks or months to produce a total for each week, fortnight or month, depending on how often you get paid. This figure will represent your earnings before deductions. What Is Hourly Pay? Hourly pay, also known as hourly wage or rate, is the amount of money you earn per hour of work. Hourly pay is an alternative to a salary. Rather than earning a set amount per year for working a fixed number of hours, people who are classed as hourly employees earn money per hour. If you work more hours, you’ll earn more. Let’s take a look at an hourly rate example: If you have an hourly rate of $40, and your employer wants you to work for 40 hours one week, they will pay you $1,600. Your earnings will be calculated by taking the hourly rate or wage and multiplying it by the number of hours you work. Your employer should pay you for every hour you work. Differences Between a Salary and Hourly Pay The way employees are paid can affect how much they earn for the work they do. Here are some key factors to consider when weighing in on hourly wage vs. salary: Exempt vs. nonexempt jobs One of the most important differences to understand between a salaried employee and a worker with an hourly rate has to do with the category of exempt versus nonexempt jobs. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs the majority of jobs in the US. Under this law, exempt jobs don’t receive overtime pay. If your job is classified as nonexempt, you’re entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours per week in a single week. Overtime pay is 50% higher than your standard pay rate. Most salaried employees are exempt, which means they don’t earn extra money for overtime. However, if a salaried employee is classed as nonexempt, their employer must pay overtime wages in line with the FLSA. This is designed to protect worker rights. Hourly workers are nonexempt, which means employers must pay them overtime in line with federal guidelines for salary vs. hourly pay. If an hourly worker works over 40 hours in a given week, they must be compensated at a rate of 150% for any extra hours. This means that if an employee has an hourly rate of $20 and they work 50 hours in a single week, they’ll be paid $20 per hour for 40 hours and then $30 per hour for the extra 10 hours. Set hours Before the beginning of the onboarding process, employees who have a salary will sign an employment contract, which outlines how many hours they’re required to work per week. They’ll have fixed hours every month and receive a fixed payment every week, fortnight, or month. It’s more common for hourly workers to have a more flexible schedule since they may not be guaranteed set hours or a minimum number of hours per week. Some hourly workers have weeks or months that are much busier or quieter than others. Payment rules There are rules for hourly workers as well as salaried employee rules. Hourly workers must be paid the minimum wage, which varies from state to state. Salaried employees earn a wage based on a minimum annual compensation figure. The total for the year is divided by the number of payments to produce the weekly or monthly wage value. If an employee has a salary of $120,000, which is paid monthly, they’ll be paid $10,000 per month before deductions, such as taxes. From January 2020, all salaried employees who earn less than $684 per week ($35,568 per year) must be classed as nonexempt. Flexibility Hourly workers generally have more flexibility than salaried employees, who are required to work a set number of hours per week, every week. Job security Given that both salary nonexempt and hourly workers are compensated for working overtime, the main difference between their statuses is, in fact, in the job security level. If you have a salary, your job is likely to be more secure. If you’re an hourly worker, employers can reduce your hours relatively easily. Pros and Cons of a Salary Are you considering making a switch from hourly pay to a salary? If so, you should know that, in addition to the benefits of a salary, this type of pay also has some disadvantages. Pros of a Salary Regular payments: With a salary, you know how much you’re going to earn every month. Employee benefits: Most salaried employees have access to a benefits package, which may include health insurance and sick days, for example. Job security: Salaried employees enjoy better job security. They are guaranteed a set number of hours and receive fixed payments for their work. Career opportunities: If you have a salary, you may find that you have better opportunities to progress within the company than an employee with an hourly rate. Cons of a Salary Overtime: Most salaried employees are exempt, which means they don’t receive overtime wages, even if they work more than their allotted hours. Hourly workers and nonexempt salaried employees are paid for overtime at a rate of 150% for every additional hour over the standard 40 hours per week. Less flexibility: Salaried employees have to stick to a schedule and are required to work a set number of hours per week. Hourly workers are likely to enjoy greater flexibility. Holidays and leave: Some salaried employees may be limited in terms of when they can take paid holiday or time off compared to hourly workers. There is less autonomy when you’re a salaried employee. Work-life balance: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult if you work long hours. If you have a salary and work set hours, you may also find it harder to switch off and separate your work and personal lives. Pros and Cons of Hourly Pay Just as there are advantages and drawbacks of having a salary, hourly pay has its pros and cons. Pros of Hourly Pay Flexibility: Hourly work often offers greater control over your schedule and more flexibility than a salaried role. Overtime wages: Hourly workers are classed as nonexempt, which means entitled to overtime wages. Hourly workers will receive time and a half for every hour they work over 40 hours in a single week. Work-life balance: Hourly workers may find it easier to separate their work and personal lives and find a healthy work-life balance. Control: People who have an hourly rate usually have more control over their schedules and when they take time off than salaried employees. Time for other interests: Some hourly workers may not work as much as salaried employees. This means that they have time for other interests and activities. Cons of Hourly Pay Fluctuations in earnings: Salaried employees know how much they’ll get paid every week or month. With an hourly rate, there’s less certainty as income can fluctuate. Some people may have months or prolonged periods when they work more or less than usual, and their income may rise and fall. Lack of stability: Job security can be an issue for employees on hourly pay, as employers can reduce their hours more easily. Benefits: Salaried employees usually have access to better benefits than hourly workers. If you’re on an hourly rate, you may have to fund your own healthcare insurance and forgo pay if you want to take holiday days, for example. Hourly Wage vs. Salary: Which Is Better? When looking for a job and analyzing various options, it’s important to think about what would suit you best. Here are some factors to consider: Your hourly rate: If you have a very high hourly rate and your skills are in demand, you could earn a lot more by being an hourly worker than a salaried employee. Overtime: If you have worked long hours without compensation before, you may be reluctant to do it again. If this is the case, you may wish to opt for hourly work or look for salary nonexempt positions. Benefits: For many employees, benefits are an important draw when choosing a job or a company to work for. It’s worth noting that salaried employees usually have access to better benefits packages. Flexibility: Some people want to find more flexible roles that give them greater control over their schedules, while others prefer the certainty of set hours and fixed earnings. Job security: Job security is essential for many employees who have bills to pay, a mortgage, and a family to support. Salaried work is often more secure and consistent than hourly work. Financial need: Many people who are looking for a job will need to ensure they earn a certain minimum amount of money per year. However, this may not always be the case. If you’re in a comfortable financial position, or you are only looking for part-time work, hourly work may suit you better.
For two years, eCommerce sales in the US have been flourishing, as people stayed home to avoid crowded areas.
The eCommerce sales boom of the past two years, for both retail and wholesale platforms, has impacted practically all companies with an online presence - Nike included. The sports apparel giant has seen strong demand from North America lately, with its share price rising by 5% and its fiscal third-quarter results topping all analysts’ estimates. These results are promising, but Nike still did not give a full-year forecast because of the uncertainties caused by inflation, war, and obstructed supply chains. The situation with China also remains unclear, as many Chinese consumers continue to boycott Western brands, including Nike. The Chief Financial Officer at Nike, Matthew Friend, commented on these uncertainties: “We are focused on what we can control. There are several new dynamics creating higher levels of volatility.” As supply chains got disrupted during the pandemic, Nike prioritized some markets over others, allocating more products to North America, as its biggest market. Despite these challenges, Nike’s sales grew by 9% in its third quarter. However, sales in Greater China decreased by 5% compared to the previous year. It is clear that the pandemic has significantly impacted Nike’s business: The company has had to adapt to new challenges and uncertainties. But thanks to strong demand from North America, it has been able to weather the storm and continue growing. Despite all the challenges, Nike’s sales results topped all analysts’ estimates. It reported a net income of $1.4 billion for the three months ending on February 28. Its sales rose to $10.87 billion from $10.36 billion the previous year. “Nike’s strong results this quarter show that our Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy is working as we invest to achieve our growth opportunities. Fuelled by deep consumer connections, compelling product innovation, and an expanding digital advantage, we have the right playbook to navigate volatility and create value through our relentless drive to serve the future of sport,” said John Donahoe, Nike’s CEO. As things stand, Nike is likely to keep its spot among the top activewear retailers; however, the effect ongoing inflation will have on its shoppers remains to be seen.