Confused by EAN, ISBN MPN and SKU?
There are some pretty fundamental differences between trading online and in a bricks and mortar store. A physical store allows you to buy and sell by sight and not have to have an integrated POS / stock management system, though I highly recommend it.
Trading online requires integrating your store to your accounting system or inventory system if you want to keep on top of your transactions and have some time to breath whilst your business is growing. No good having and amazing business if all you are doing is admin and processing sales and orders.
Likewise if you are trading on Takealot, when loading new products you will see fields to enter for barcodes, sku’s (stock keeping units) and once created there are Takealot fields for TSIN and something called PLID. Sounds like a lot of work and I’ll just ignore it and just update everything manually right? Wrong!!!
If you don’t get your sku’s and barcodes sorted when you are loading products, you end up doubling up updating product in all your systems, and this means no integration and manual processing at night and over weekends. Great if you love your computer and have no friends, not so great if you like getting some time out with friends and family.
Online carts often such as Shopify and WooCommerce often don’t have a requirement for sku or barcode and in some cases allow you to duplicate the sku or barcode across different products. Note ideal for managing your products.
Its not all Greek, I put together a few tips to get you going in the right direction so you stock can be easily controlled, updated and integrating with a few clicks.
- Barcodes – known as ISBN, EAN or UPC are 13 digit numbers which are represented by the barcodes you are familiar with stamped onto products in the stores. These barcodes are required if you are selling your product into other retailers, and can be purchased from the consumer council.
If you leave your barcode blank on your Takealot loading sheet then Takealot will assign a TAL barcode to your product when creating in Takealot
If your product has variant in colour, length or size, each variant must have a unique barcode.
You are able to update the product barcode if a supplier gives you the incorrect information about a product or it changes at a later date – simply change it in your POS, ecommerce store and update Takealot. Take note if you are scanning products on your POS that you could potentially have the same product with 2 different barcodes in your store if this occurs.
- SKU – Stock keeping units allow you to assign a logical unique descriptor to your product to identify it easily. SKU’s can take many forms, from 4 digit numbers such as 1073 to more complex SKU’s such as BGF-123-ZX72-BL to represent the product range, supplier, mode, dimension and colour etc.
Variant sku’s will often just have the colour or length suffix to indicate the variant such as Glove-L, Glove-M and Glove-S for each of the variants.
SKU’s are generally not scannable as barcodes and tend to be more descriptive or logical to read.
SKU’s can be updated in your ecommerce store or Takealot after creating the product, though it is not recommended to update the sku of a product.
- PLID – this is the Takealot product listing ID # which is used in Takealot API to identify the product. You will see this in website address. This is assigned by Takealot and is used if you are working with the API.
Variant products have the same PLID and simply are a variant of that PLID
- TSIN – this is the Takealot product internal identifier and is assigned by Takealot when a product is created. It is used internally by Takealot and cannot be changed at a later date.
- MPN – manufacturer Part Number – this is a number assigned to a product by a manufacturer and is not essentially for online trading or trading on Takealot.
Why is getting your barcodes and SKU so important?
If you want to have any form of stock control and integration between your accounting system, ecommerce cart, ordering and Takealot, then developing a sound sku system is essential to ensure you are minimizing your data entry time and driving stock management. Its super easy to run a report or orders using sku’s or barcodes, not so easy using the product descriptions.
The ShopGlu Takealot connector uses either your sku or barcode fields to link products between Takealot and Shopify and WooCommerce and ensure smooth flow of orders and updated stock information to save you time and keep your online business running smoothly. Chat to us if you want to find out how we can help.