Contractual manufacturer to Online Brand – BagsRUs’ journey with Browntape

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For 22 years, Mihir Desai steered his company in the direction of contractual manufacturing. With focus on comfort, reliability and durability, each product is made combining the latest designs and functionality aspect in mind.

Being contractual manufacturers, top quality bags of different kinds were made by BagsRUs for various brands and corporates over the years. While the bulk production of bags kept happening, BagsRUs as a brand hadn’t made a foray into the retail industry.

From manufacturing to retail

BagsRUs had a number of reasons to stand out in the crowd:

  • Only the finest and most durable raw materials are used, based on national as well as international standards.
  • Designs were at par with most popular and unique designs.
  • Comfort and functionality was the focus for every product.
  • Rigorous and specific quality checks are done for every product.
  • Value pricing was a given.

BagsRUs experimented with different kinds of bags to expand product portfolio into chiller bags to store cold beer, shoe string bags, sari bags, shirt bags and so on.

Based on the above Browntape suggested BagsRUs foray into the ecommerce world. Within 6 months, it witnessed a giant leap in sales. And as is said, the rest is history. It has become an independent fashion brand loved by all and has come out with a number of new products since entry. All that with the help of Browntape!

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Becoming online brand BagsRUs

Mihir already had the following advantages:

  • Manufacturing – New products could be introduced and existing products could be tweaked according to industry demand.
  • Control on pricing – Since there was no third party involved, all the products could be priced in such a way that it gave value to the brand and the brand.
  • Quality – Only top quality raw material are used for each product, which ensures customers get what they pay for, thus keeping them happy.
  • Bulk products – Any product could be produced according to required numbers, thus keeping stock-out situations at bay.
  • Control on the supply chain – Again, due to the absence of middlemen, products could be sent directly to customer or marketplace as per requirement.

Browntape helped to enhance the above in making online brand BagsRUs:

  • Photography

Photography is one of the most important aspects in online selling. In the absence of the feel and touch factor, images of products grab customer eyeballs and impress them. They play a very important role in the customer’s purchase decision.

Also, online marketplaces have specifications about images and these have to be kept in mind for approval. Browntape’s inhouse photography team clicked images of the products in line with the specifications while also highlighting the unique features of each product.

  • Product Content

BagsRUs products are unique and innovative, and some of them have functionalities, which are difficult to highlight through images. For example, one interesting product was a duffel bag that could convert from a backpack into a sling bag by changing the strap. This was highlighted in the product description.

Descriptions were customised to suit each product and highlight unique features, incorporating SEO and keywords.

  • Product suggestions

Browntape gives constant directions about promising products that will help online sales based on market trends and demands.

  • Daily operations

The Browntape team handles the entire daily ecommerce operations for BagsRUs. Once the cataloguing is taken care of, the team proceeds to listing on the identified marketplaces. Based on the inventory and order management done by the team, BagsRUs team just has to keep the products ready and ship them as per customer orders.

  • Discounts and offers

Different marketplaces have different offers at different times. Also, understanding the pulse of the customer and the seller is important for this; seller should be able to fulfil the order once placed by customer. Browntape keeps track of these and decides the ideal ones for BagsRUs so that the right customers are reached at the right time.

Do you want your story to be the next Browntape success story? Contact Browntape today and we’ll  be happy to help you with your online selling operations.

Online selling requires a dedicated team and continuous efforts to see effective results. A good team and seamless set of processes are a must for smooth operations. Browntape Enterprise Services understands this and helps retailers to take their retail business online. Once on board, Browntape will handle all the daily operations while the retailers can focus on quality and variety of their products.

Building a Profitable E-Commerce Retail Business: A Dream or a Possibility?

Published by Browntape on iamwire.

The e-commerce industry in India has seen a tremendous growth in these last few years. It was valued at USD 12.6 billion in 2013 and is expected to be a USD 50 billion industry by 2023. The shopper base in India is expected to cross 100 million by 2016 and mobile commerce is expected to drive this growth. With so much scope for growth, e-commerce start-ups are still shutting down everyday. E-commerce giants, in spite of growing revenues are facing heavy losses that are widening each year.

Everyone wants to get on to the e-commerce wagon today, but it is clear that the e-commerce pie is not one that is up for sharing. It is a game of survival by all means. Smaller players without deep pockets are facing the heat, and eventually burning out. So, the question remains. Is it really possible to build a profitable e-commerce business in the current scenario? While there is no miracle method to this, here are some points that we feel could lead to sustainable profitability.

Keep an Eye on the Bottom line

Most e-commerce companies today work on the premise that profits will become important only after a certain scale is achieved. While this is an unconventional method of doing business, it is not exactly a sustainable one. The topline might be important in order to raise money from investors, but the bottomline is more important if the business wants to become self sustainable. While its counterparts in India are struggling, Alibaba in China has been able to consistently make profits. The basic reason is simple. Alibaba understood its customers from the get go and created a business model that was profit driven instead of revenue driven.

Focus on the Profits

Simply put, a company is said to be making profits when it is earning more money than it is spending. At a transactional level, you could say your products are selling at a profit, if your product’s selling price is more than the cost price.

In an e-commerce business, the cost per transaction is twofold. It includes:

  1. The cost of the product (manufacturing/procuring)
  2. Operational costs in delivering the product to the customer.

The operational costs in ecommerce include at least the following:

  • Real estate costs – Rent for warehouse, office/shop, electricity, water, etc.
  • Human resources – Employee salary, CA/lawyer charges
  • Logistics – Courier charges, packaging charges, etc.
  • Marketing – The heaviest spend of the lot, in order to get the attention of your customers.

In today’s e-commerce world, the maximum spend for any company is towards the human resources and marketing. Just in the 2 months leading up to Diwali, Flipkart and Snapdeal spent over Rs. 200 crores on marketing. While both companies saw a surge in their sales during the 2 months, it is not clear if either made a profit out of the same.

Even at a smaller scale, an e-commerce business needs to keep in mind the operational costs while pricing their products. To reduce the effects of operational costs, an e-commerce business should look at increasing the number of transactions as much as possible. For an e-commerce website, increase in transaction is again, directly proportional to the marketing spend. Sounds like a vicious circle doesn’t it?

But there is a way out

Many brands that are selling on their own e-stores also sell on marketplaces today. Basics, a popular retail brand, which has been promoting their online store heavily, has also listed its products Flipkart. Popular online brands like Chumbak, Cbazaar and Happily Unmarried, who are doing well with their own e-stores, also have presence on top marketplaces. Young Indian brands like Rangrage that are gaining popularity on their own e-commerce websites, also list their products on marketplaces like Snapdeal, Flipkart etc.

While listing your products on marketplaces doesn’t exactly rule out marketing spends completely, it exposes your brands to the millions of loyal customers that have already been acquired by the said marketplaces, for no extra cost. Being present on as many online channels possible increases sale prospects and thereby revenue.

Take Advantage of Multi Marketplace Customers

While selling on multiple marketplaces exposes you to multiple customers, it also requires work. According to expert sellers, a loss leader strategy works best for the short run. Pick out 10-15% of your catalog where you feel the demand is high, and keep your prices super competitive. While you might make very small profits at a transactional level, your reputation and star rating as a marketplace seller will increase and lead to further sales of other products.

Your reputation on a marketplaces is very important. Pay special attention to it. Treat your marketplace customers the same way you’d treat your loyal or repeat customer. While it might look like a very small thing, sending emails to your customer at every step of the order process helps greatly in impressing them. It might be a good idea to automate these processes by investing in a good multi marketplace management software for the purpose.

Successful multi marketplace sellers also send brand material and personal notes to customers to create brand awareness. In the long term, customers who have been served multiple times turn into loyal customers for the said brands. Also, selling on marketplaces puts you directly in touch with actual customers, who you can shift to your own websites with coupons, email marketing, etc.

According to Browntape’s category managers, people who have their presences on the right mix of marketplaces seem to do better in terms of revenue and profits than people who concentrate solely on their own online stores. The marketing and running costs of multi marketplace selling is lesser and the sales generated from marketplaces, especially during deals and sales are much higher. But the profitability that they add for each business is different and the more hands-on a brand is, the better success they achieve online.

Building a profitable e-commerce company definitely looks possible, and in a fairly short period of time. The trick is to utilize the opportunity and exposure that existing popular marketplaces present and building the business slowly and steadily, with a cautious eye on the bottom line of the business.

The Hard Truth: Is Your Business Going to Do Well Online?

There is a lot of buzz around e-commerce and online selling. And though a few retailers are trying to fight the e-commerce giants, the reality is that brick and mortar retail is slowly moving over and giving way to e-commerce. Market research and advisory firm Technopak estimates the Indian e-commerce market to grow from USD 1 billion, or about 0.2% of overall market, to USD 56 billion, or 6.5% of the total market by 2023.

So, you have decided to take your business online and have raised or set aside a capital for the same. But, is taking the e-commerce route going to guarantee profits and business growth? To answer this question, you will have to answer the following 6 questions:

1. What are you Planning to Sell?

Whether you are a retailer trying to expand your business online or a potential entrepreneur who is thinking about building an online only business, the first thing you need to figure out, is the product you will be selling and hence, the category you will be venturing into.

If you are already retailing a product, start by understanding if your product will do well online. While niche products like gardening tools and even diamond cutting blades are being sold online, products like Floor tiles and washbasins might not have too many takers online. Fashion is the fastest growing brand online, with over 400% growth expected by 2016 and electronics and mobiles together contribute over 53% of the total Indian ecommerce GMV. So if you are into apparel or electronics and still not online, hurry up. Competition is mounting.

Kids products, books, jewellery, health and personal care products and home décor are other popular categories online. If you are not already a retailer, look at your options. Are you looking at importing products from abroad? If so, have you got your import license yet? Can you strike a good deal with a manufacturer or distributor in your network? Are you a product creator yourself? Give this question a lot of thought. Your entire e-commerce strategy will have to be based on the category you choose to venture into.

2. How High Up in the Food Chain are You?

Are you a manufacturer? That’s good for you. This means you have direct access to your product and the leverage to price it the best. If you are a wholesaler or distributer of branded products, even better. If you are the dealer or end retailer, you might have a bit of a problem in being able to price your product competitively while being profitable.

Online selling is very much about scale at the end of the day. As a manufacturer or wholesaler, you might have access to more stock than a retailer. This also plays to your advantage, when you participate in deals and offers run by the marketplaces. Hence, the higher up the distribution chain you are, the better for your online business.

3. Where are you Planning to Sell?

Are you looking at getting your own online store or want to start selling on multiple marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc? If you are just getting started with e-commerce, it might be a good idea to start selling on different marketplaces before starting your own online store. This will save you tons of money on the marketing front and also expose you to the millions of customers these marketplaces already have.

The right marketplace mix is not a one-size-fit-all. You need to work it out based on the category of products you will be selling. If you were to go by recent trends, luxury goods and highly priced desi products don’t do too well on mainstream marketplaces.

Some brands like Chumbak and India Circus are doing quite well on their own e-commerce stores, but smaller brands seem to be getting more sales through niche marketplaces like Craftsvilla, Itokri, Jaypore, etc. While apparel and accessories do very well on Myntra, Jabong, Fashionara and Snapdeal, electronics sell well on Ebay and Shopclues. It will take some trial and error to figure out which mix works best for your brand. Be patient and keep trying.

4. How is the Competition in your Product Category?

If your chosen category is unique or niche – like power tools or women’s lingerie – and has very few merchants, you might have a better edge at the marketplace. If you have exclusive distribution tie-ups with international brands, you might even get some extra promotions and push from the marketplaces.

However, categories like electronics and accessories are very popular in India due to ease of access and low price. Due to this, Hundreds of sellers end up competing for the same product undercutting each other, even if that leads to minimal profit.

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The only way you can survive this amount of competition is if you have the leverage to price your product very low. Which brings us to the next question.

5. How Low Can You Go with the Pricing?

How you price your product is the single most important factor in driving sales online for your brand.  According to Boston Consulting Group’s recent report, over 30% online buys are driven by best prices and discounts. The recent success of Diwali discount sales also go to prove this point. With over a lakh sellers in the scene, the only way for any merchant to stand out is by giving the best price. Marketplaces also give extra promotions and home page real estate for people who are open to giving better deals and discounts.

While it might not make sense to sell products in a loss, a low margin high volume strategy might work better in your favour.

6. Do You Have a Dedicated Team to Handle E-commerce Operations?

Let’s say your product category is good, your pricing plan is rock solid and your marketplace strategy is near perfect. You will still need an experienced, dedicated team to handle your e-commerce operations. Your products need to be photographed well and be given good product descriptions. They have to be listed on various marketplaces and be monitored from time to time.

When orders come, the products need to be packed the right way and shipped through a good logistics provider. It is impossible for one person to handle everything effectively. If you have the budget, it is a good idea to invest in building a dedicated team that can run the operations for you.

Another way to go about this would be to take the help of professionals who know how the e-commerce market works. Goa based startup, Browntape, is one such company that providesend to end solution for enterprises who want to take their businesses online with a limited budget.

So here it is, the straight forward and hard truth. Your business definitely has a chance to do well online. However, it is not as simple as plugging and playing. Selling online takes dedication, patience and a lot of hard work. With the right strategy and team, your business can succeed online. Even if you have no knowledge of online selling, you can successfully ride the e-commerce wave by partnering with the right solution providers.  Go on and take your business online. It is about time.

Better Order Management: The Secret to Your Success in Online Retail

Although the modes of retail have changed drastically over the years, the concept remains the same – the sale and purchase of goods or services from a business to an end-user. What once used to be chains of physical stores and multitudes of storehouses to provide for each of them is now steadily becoming online mega-stores, websites and apps. Transactions are happening at a much faster rate than they used to, as new markets keep being discovered. But a basic tenet of sales stands the test of time and technology: better order management results in better sales. Here we give you a few good reasons why you should drop everything else and start making your order management better.

How Better Order Management

Leads to Better Sales

1. It Helps You Deal with the Growing Number of Sales Channels

It is imperative that adding new sales channels in your arsenal means that your business is growing steadily. But new sales channels come with their own set of problems. New sales channels mean integrating them to the existing inventory, making sure that the warehouse is stocked to provide for the new customers, managing shipping through new sources and territories, etc. Having a multi-channel order management system goes a long way in integrating and managing your new sales channels. Even when your business grows to an extent that you are seriously contemplating a dedicated website or even a mobile site, an order management system will be your best friend while adding new sales channels.

2. It Drastically Reduces Errors in Shipping, Packing and Inventory

A growing business also means a growing amount of paperwork. Invoices need to be printed, shipping labels need to be organised and correct orders need to reach the customer in time. For a small sales channel or two, this can probably be done manually. But this will take you only a small way. After that, you need automated assistance to curb confusion, manual errors and oversights. An order management system automatically prints your correct invoices, takes care of shipping labels and updates and tracks inventory till the end of an individual sale process.

3. It Helps Avoid Overstocking and Under-stocking

A delicate balance connects a warehouse to the sales channel. A healthy warehouse is a ‘well oiled’ warehouse where products keep moving and getting replaced. Mistakes in inventory management lead to understocking and overstocking – case one where there is demand for the product but it is out of stock in the warehouse, and two where the product is eating up space in the warehouse but is unable to move because of lack of demand. Avoiding both cases requires stringent planning and foresight. With the data that is recorded with an order management system, the job of strategizing a bulk sales cycle becomes much more clinical and efficient, thus avoiding under-stocking and overstocking.

4. It Reduces Staffing Costs

Better order management, and employing an order management system reduces staffing costs. This is quite easy to understand – since an order management system is the virtual brain of your business, it takes care of various areas of operation like reception and recording or orders, transitioning them to the warehouse, updating and tracking inventory, managing customers through automated emails, printing shipping labels and invoices, etc. This means that instead of employing individuals or teams to handle these jobs, you can rely on a trusted order management system.

5. It is the Key to Customer Satisfaction

Like we said in the introduction, however evolved the modes of retail are than before, the key to success still remains customer satisfaction. Better order management results in a tight ship, where every order is taken care of with due diligence. A customer is kept informed of the status of his/her order throughout processing, and is never kept in the dark. Since the internal systems and links between the inventory and sales channels is strong, unpleasant situations like back ordering and out-of-stock don’t arise and the customer can be sure that their order reaches them in time. Result, the customer is satisfied.

To know more about better order management and other queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-retail solution providers, and we are always happy to help.

How to Manage Your Offline and Online Stores Together.

Although with every passing year, the realization that one can not only survive, but also thrive solely on the basis of an online ecommerce business, is gaining impetus among online business owners, owning and operating a ‘real’, offline store still holds its own value. We have not (yet) entered a virtual age so drastic for offline stores to become obsolete, but at the same time, it has become an absolute prerogative for an offline store owner to have an online presence. So how does one go about merging the physical and virtual world together? The inner workings of the physical store and the virtual store differ drastically, though there are places where they coincide. To attain maximum efficiency out of your outfit, it is necessary that you carefully evaluate this online-offline relationship and lay down processes that bring out the best of both worlds.

Online and offline stores, both have their own place in the commercial market. It is important, as a first step, to recognize the advantages and limitations of both. A physical store is the traditional choice for a business operator. While a physical store gives you the opportunity to be able to actually ‘sell’ a product to your customer, it limits your geographical and demographical range while increasing your display and rental costs. An online store is more impersonal and extremely competitive, but this competition is negated by the fact that your target market size increases many fold, in the online world. Working with both online and offline stores requires a few adjustments to your business practices. Let us look at 3 major issues you can improve on to make your online-offline business a success.

Working Online-Offline Together

1. Synthesize Your Technology

You may have different philosophies for the basic functions of your online and offline stores, but in the end, they serve the same purpose – selling your product. So, even though you might want to segregate the day to day marketing and operational procedures for each, they should both stem from the same root. This root can be an interactive inventory management system like Browntape. In Browntape, you can list and treat your physical store along the same lines as your multiple online stores. All your sales, from all your channels, both offline and online, will reflect in your final tally. The inventory will come from one source for all your channels and the profits will be reflected in one column. Thus, it is better to treat the system like a tree with each channel, offline or online, as its branch. Here are a few ways with which you can integrate your online and offline channels using technology.

 

  • Listing all your stores, offline or online, on Browntape. Browntape recognizes both offline and online stores as channels, and funnels all the transactions from each into one database.

  • Combining mail order delivery for online and offline stores.

  • Issuing a common purchase order for online and offline stores.  

 

2. Bridge the Gap Between Offline and Online

A few years ago, the idea of online sales was in its inertia phase, with people preferring to see the goods they were buying. The situation has turned upside-down now. A typical customer prefers buying from the comfort of his/her home. We prefer to read the reviews of other customers, see the seller rating, discuss the product online and make impartial comparisons while buying a product. If the offline store has to survive in a situation like this, it has to make a few changes in its operation. The business owner can incorporate many of the above-stated features in his/her offline store to make a hybrid shopping experience for the customer. Other ways of bridging the gap are, allowing customers to pick up online orders from your offline store, letting customers scan the product QR code to read online reviews, etc.

3. Offline-Online Marketing

You can combine both your offline and online forums to compliment each other in terms of marketing strategy. By understanding the mechanics of offline and online marketing, you can make the most of your business. If, during the course of your analysis you realize that your online revenue stream is much larger than the offline one during a certain time period, you can employ methods like discounts or free gifts on online purchases and market them through your offline store. Another way is to give out offer codes on the next purchase only to the customers who visited the offline store. An important thing to do is collect the online details like email addresses of your offline customers too, and add them to your customer database. This way, a one-time, primarily offline customer becomes an online asset.

 

These were some tips on effectively managing your online and offline stores. For any queries or more information, get in touch with Browntape. We are leading manufacturers of multi channel inventory management systems, and we understand the Indian ecommerce market. Let’s make your online business a success!

 

5 Signs You Need an Inventory Management System

It is natural to think twice before investing in an inventory management system. Traditional methods of order management have worked for you until now, so why shouldn’t they in the future? As an independent online seller, most of your time and strategic efforts are involved in managing and operating your business and servicing your customers. Why would you want to put extra time and money to invest in another piece of technology you don’t know much about? The answer is that because it makes your life easier. Inventory management systems are specifically designed for online sellers such as yourselves so that they can delegate and automate most of the repetitive and mundane tasks while enjoying an ease of access and efficiency in their operational processes. Read on if you want to be convinced about the importance of inventory management system in your online sales process.

When Should You Go for an Inventory Management System?

1.When You Are Up to Your Neck With Work

An inventory management system gives you the ability to control the complete expanse of your online business through one console. This is especially true if you go for a multi channel inventory management system, through which you can consolidate your business from all your online stores into one portal. The benefits of having everything under one dashboard are immense. This means ease of access, less clutter and more order in your operations. It also means that every change in your inventory, personnel or product catalogue will be recorded and stored, drastically reducing any margin of error. With multiple user access systems, all your employees can be able to access the console and efficiently carry out their responsibilities.

2.When its Getting Difficult to Manage Your Customers

Inventory management systems can also play a big role in helping you manage your customers. With automated email notification services integrated within the software, your customers receive timely emails regarding the status of the product they ordered. This means, every time you change the status of a particular order on your console, for example from ‘Order Received’ to ‘In Transit’, an automated email in sent to your customer. The system also helps you match the right order with the right customer by making all your data easily accessible.

3. When You Are Spending too Much Time on Printing and Packing

Printing, packing and dispatching are some of the most mundane tasks that an online seller has to take care of. But what if there was system that could help you efficiently manage them and reduce mistakes? This is exactly what an inventory management system does. It creates and prints customized, branded invoices and shipping labels, creates barcodes, SKU codes, basically, everything short of actually packaging the product. And who knows, in some time it will be able to do that too! Using an inventory management system in your packaging and dispatching process reduces the operation time by half! What else do you need?

4.When Your Catalogue is Starting to Get Unmanagable

Inventory management systems can help you effectively manage your catalogues and purchasing processes. They allow you to create, classify and edit product information, brand assets, specifications and pricing. At the same time, they let you configure kits, upsells and cross sells. Multi channel inventory management services go a step further and give you the power to edit and maintain catalogues on multiple online stores through a single portal.

5.When You Don’t Know What Your Operational Strategy Should Be

A good inventory management software also consists of a strong analytics suite in its dashboard. It continuously feeds and records important data relating to the sales and purchases of your products online, inventory changes, catalogue changes and profits. It consolidates and processes the data and presents it to you in the form of graphs, charts and other user friendly analytic tools. You can even feed customizable metrics in some software so that the reporting is done on areas you specifically wish for. All this goes a long way in enhancing your business strategy and helping you make informed business decisions.

In conclusion, Inventory Management System is like a little Genie in a bottle for you. It takes care of your front end, back end and everything in between. So where do you look for your very own inventory management system? Get in touch with Browntape to know more about the benefits you can reap with inventory management systems, or sign up for our 30 day free trial. We are the leading multi channel inventory management software developers and vendors in India and we will be glad to help you out in your online business endeavors.

What are SKU Codes and How to Create Them

When it comes to keeping track of inventory, one of the most common methods employed is assignment of a Stock Keeping Unit, or SKU code to individual products. An SKU is a unique item, such as a product or a service, as it is offered for sale that embodies all the attributes connected with the item that distinguish it from other items. These attributes might include but are not limited to the brand, size, colour, manufacturer or warranty. Thus, a code that holds all this information about an item gives it a unique stature in your inventory, which means that tracking and recalling a particular item becomes easy. Also, since the code holds all the relevant information about the item, someone adept at reading the code can know everything about the item without having to go and check ‘the side of the box’.

There are a few other systems that incorporate codifying products for tracking purposes, like the Universal Product Code, or Global Trade Item Number, which utilize barcodes to identify with unique products in a database. The key factor with SKU is that a retailer gets the freedom to create his/her own SKU codes and incorporate them in the inventory system without having to adhere to a larger tracking scheme. With SKU, a retailer retains the flexibility of controlling the size of their inventory, changing manufacturers or wholesalers without the hassle of a system overhaul. Of course, the key here is that the SKU codes must be well created. That is, the user must be able to access all the relevant information about the product without confusion or misinterpretation through the code. So how does one go about creating good SKU codes? Let us find out through the 5 hard tips that follow.

How to Create Good SKU Codes

1. Make Your Own SKU Code

Try not to incorporate the manufacturer/wholesaler code within your SKU code. It might seem like a good idea to just pick up the manufacturer’s code and add a few prefixes/suffixes to create your own, but it’s a bad practice. In this case, you would have to completely overhaul your coding system in case you change your manufacturer or wholesaler. It’s too much hassle.

2. Decide What You Want Your Code to Say

Decide what information you want to access through the SKU code. There is no point loading the code with information you are never going to require. The main purpose for creating SKU codes is that you have an identifier with which you can visualize a unique product. Hence, use enough information for a successful identification of an item, but no more. For example, if the year of manufacture is irrelevant for a particular set of items, do not incorporate it in the code. It will just eat up space and would be prone to misinterpretation. Store this information under the product description tag, instead.

3. Use the Cascade Method

Create codes that are logically decipherable. For example, if you are planning to sell electronic equipment from different brands, first create a cascade chart for your information. How a cascade chart works is – start off by taking the largest set of information about your item first – in this case, ‘Electronic Equipment’ – and call it set ‘E’. Then you take the next most relevant subset, for example, ‘Laptops’. Let us call that set ‘L’. Then you ask, what brand does this laptop belong to? What model does it belong to? And so on. Keep adding attributes till you can uniquely identify that particular laptop in your warehouse using only the code. Stop adding the questions as soon as this unique identification is possible.

4. Fonts and Characters

Beware of confusing characters, or homoglyphs – O and 0, I and l, etc. It might sound trivial, but the font you use to print your codes play an important part in making sure that the reader is not confused. Our advice is to use bold, serif fonts that clearly define most characters without confusion. Try not to use symbols in your SKU codes. Even though it might seem like a good idea to use the ‘/’ to create breaks within your code, you don’t want Excel auto formatting the numbers, confusing them with a date. Other characters like $ and @ are too confusing and cause formatting errors all the time.

5. Use an Inventory Management System

Use an inventory management system to store and track your SKU codes. It’s just a better way of doing things. Most of your work becomes automated, your tasks are simplified and your formats are saved and notated for future reference. As compared to storing your codes on Excel files, which are prone to corruption, damage and confusion, inventory management systems give you a cleaner, more efficient perspective at the state of your warehouse.

Thus, we come to the end of our advice on SKU codes and how to create them. SKU codes are such an important part of your inventory management that you have to take proactive steps to create them efficiently. For further queries and assistance, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online inventory management system providers, and are always happy to help. Good luck with your sales!