SKUs vs. UPCs

Ask many people what the difference is between a UPC code and a SKU identifier and they may answer that they’re the same thing. Ask why they’re important to small to-mid-sized businesses and you may get a shrug of the shoulders.

After all, isn’t selling products and keeping hot items in stock the most important aspects to operating a successful store. Who cares about how the item is rang up?

In reality there is a big difference between SKUs and UPC codes and merchants need to both know the difference and understand how choosing the right Point of Sale (POS) systems, like those offered by National Retail Solutions, is critical to business efficiency.

SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and UPCs (Universal Product Code) are both numeric codes for items. That’s pretty much where the similarity ends. A UPC Code is an individual tracking mechanism that is placed on every single item in your store. This system is only used internally and applied to each product, manually or digitally, that your store carries. A UPC, or Universal Product Code, as its name suggests, is a bar code applied by the company that makes the products. So UPCs are already found on every item in your store, and on the same items in different locations.

There’s not much for business owners to worry about with pre-embedded UPCs. How a business marks items with SKUs is a different animal altogether. The old way of employees marking every item with a SKU for merchants should be a remnant of the past. Placing SKUs across the aisles is a painstaking process. It may involve staff breaking down product traits, such as kid’s merchandise vs. adults, or different coats of paint, each with unique number sequences created by employees.

Using a POS system such as that offered by NRS, eliminates much of the process, if not altogether. NRS offers a suite of POS packages including many approachable premium features and add ons. Specifically, the NRS POS comes pre-programmed with thousands of UPCs that wipe out the need to dedicate staff to this painful process.

In addition, those merchants that continue to manually SKU items can upload them or add new ones anytime through the NRS POS system. This enables an easy turnaround at checkout, reducing a build up on long lines due to SKUs that don’t ring up properly. There are also no errors in tabulating sales, even for the largest purchases.

The Return on Investment (ROI) of an NRS POS SKU system is immediate. Employees can spend time at the register, helping customers and doing other important tasks rather than languishing in the aisles. The business runs much more smoothly, increasing revenue while saving money.

Not every POS company offers pre-programmed SKUs and upload capability. That’s why it’s important for business owners to due their due diligence in finding the best POS system for their store. The NRS POS includes cutting-edge technology and a comprehensive suite of packages. The company prides itself as a forward-looking organization, always seeking new ways to expand its offerings to help small to mid-sized companies.

For the reasons above and many more, NRS is the nationwide leader in providing POS systems to mom-and-pop bodegas, groceries, alcohol and tobacco establishments, and hardware stores. We offer superb customer service in English and Spanish, to serve business needs.