Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between UPC and SKU

barcodeUPC vs  SKU

UPC and SKU are codes that are assigned to products. But these two codes stand for different things. UPC or known as Universal Product Code is a standardized bar code that gives a vivid description of the products. On the other hand, SKU or Stock Keeping Unit is a specific number assigned by the store or the company for keeping a tab on the stock and also the price of the various products.

While UPC is considered to be a universal code the SKU is not universal. SKU is only applied to the products and services for in house mechanism.

The Universal Product Code is the exact number code affixed to a product, wherever it is sold. A product that is bought from one store if taken to another store will not have a change in the UPC. On the contrary, A retailer or a store or company affixes SKU to identify the products.

Stock Keeping Unit is unique to the companies or retailers. An identical product may have different SKUs if sold by different companies.

Another difference that can be seen between the two is that SKU comes with an 8 digit number and the UPC comes in 12 digit codes. Characters and letters are not used in UPC but only numerals are used. On the other hand, SKU is a string of alpha and numeric characters.

SKU helps in keeping track of the stock of the products very easily. But through UPC one cannot know what stock is left. UPC only gives details about the products like its price, contents, manufacturers and so on.

While the Stock Keeping Unit is beneficial to the company or stores, the Universal Product Code is of help to the customers.

Summary

1. UPC or known as Universal Product Code is a standardized bar code that gives a vivid description of the products.
2. SKU or Stock Keeping Unit is a specific number assigned by the store or the company for keeping a tab on the stock and also the price of the various products.
3. Stock Keeping Unit is unique to the companies or retailers. An identical product may have different SKUs if sold by different companies.
4. SKU comes with an 8 digit number and the UPC comes in 12 digit codes.
5. Characters and letters are not used in UPC but only numerals are used. On the other hand, SKU is a string of alpha and numeric characters.


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2 Comments

  1. That is not a valid UPC code graphic shown above. UPC codes are 12 digit numbers (11 assigned digits plus a 1 digit checksum). UPC codes show a single digit to the left of the bar code, two groups of 5 digits each under the bar code, and a single digit to the left of the bar code. See real examples at:

    http://www.barcodingfonts.com/barupc.htm

  2. hmm.. well at Kroger we can the barcode (UPC) to get the product count and other information. The UPC is also used for ordering. So I guess the scan gun is converting the UPC info into SKU form and then displaying that. Though, i can’t really see a reason to have 2 different sets of numbers. Essentially your just filing information under a number. Isn’t it easier to just keep the same number in both instances?

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