How to work with SKUs in Shopify

Using stock keeping units (SKUs) in a product catalogue is common practice for most e-commerce businesses that have stock management in place. We understand how important it is for our users to have a flexible system to output SKUs of each order, since each business has a different way of managing stock.

In this article we’ll explain various ways to set up SKUs for your products in Expivi in order to work with your Shopify shop. Since Shopify is a closed platform, we sometimes need to work in different ways to be able to create the output we want. 

Note: the mentioned methods 1-3 will only output the SKU as text in the order details. This means that it’s not possible to use the SKU for your stock management automation system without custom development work. 

Method Pros and cons
1. Use the SKU of the main product Pros:

  • Each variation will have the same SKU

Cons:

  • Limit of 100 variations (but there’s a solution for this)
  • Not possible to have individual SKU for components of the product
  • Shopify receives the SKU output in a textfield
2. Use separate SKUs for each component of the product Pros:

  • Separate SKU for each component of the product

Cons:

  • Long string of SKU output 
  • Shopify receives the SKU output in a textfield
3. Create a new product for each configuration Pros:

  • Easy way to add SKU to a product configuration
  • Using presets

Cons:

  • Separate product for each possible combination of a configuration
  • Shopify receives the SKU output in a textfield
4. “Bundled product” Pros:

  • Stock level of each SKU can be changed after a complete order
  • All SKUs of ordered products will appear in the order details

Cons:

  • Appearance as bundled product
  • Stock level of individual main product can’t be changed
  • Custom coding required

Use the SKU of the main product

Scenario

Each unique product will have its own SKU. Each variation of the product will contain the parent SKU.

This method could be considered the most common method of using SKUs in Shopify and it is also common practice for most e-commerce businesses.

How to

When you enable the “Save Variant SKU” option in the settings of the Expivi Shopify app, you’ll need to add the SKU to the product that’s been linked to the 3D product. Whenever a customer configures the product and adds this to the cart, a variation of the main product will be generated. This variation will have the same SKU as the main product, but with a different variation SKU.

Every time a customer creates a unique configuration, a new variation SKU will be created. Removing this variation from the product is not recommended, as this product will not appear in the order history in your store anymore.

More info on this page: https://knowledge.expivi.com/knowledge-base/website-integration/shopify-how-to-use-main-the-product-sku-for-variations/

Shopify doesn’t allow each product to have more than 100 variations, but we’ve created a work around for this. Read more about this solution on this page: https://knowledge.expivi.com/knowledge-base/website-integration/shopify-how-to-avoid-the-100-variations-limit/

Use separate SKUs for each component of the product

Scenario
Each main product is actually a bundled product consisting of multiple components, each with its own SKU.

This method is useful when your product consists of multiple components and each component has its own SKU. The SKU output will contain a long string of SKUs.

How to

For this method to work we will need to add the SKUs to the 3D model on the Shopify platform. More info on adding SKUs to the 3D model can be found here: https://knowledge.expivi.com/knowledge-base/setuppricing/setting-up-sku-pricing/

When you have set the SKUs for the various options, it is necessary to enter the key value of each option. Use a coherent name, as this will be used in the Expivi Shopify app settings.

Once done, go to the Shopify backend and navigate to the Expivi Shopify app settings, and find the product that’s linked to the 3D product. If you haven’t done so, create a product first and link this product to the 3D product.

Make sure to uncheck the “Copy main product SKU” option and enter all the key values you’ve created earlier in the “SKU Attributes”, separated by a comma.

If done correctly, whenever a customer places an order, the order detail will contain a line of the custom generated SKU. Depending on how many key values you’ve entered, this SKU could be a long line.

Create a new product for each configuration

Scenario

Each variation of the product is a separate product in your Shopify store.

This method is useful when you want to have a unique SKU for every configuration. This makes it possible to use SKUs for the product that correspond with the components of the product.

Another advantage of this method is that you can create presets for each configuration, so that when a customer navigates to the product, the configuration will be preloaded.

How to

Create a product for each variation you’d like to create and enter the corresponding SKU, e.g. Red Chair Metal Frame, RDCHMEFR.

Go to the settings of the Expivi Shopify app, link the corresponding 3D model with the product and hit “Save”. After saving, scroll to the linked product and click on the “Configure” button.

On the next screen you can create the corresponding preset (Red Chair Metal Frame).

Use the bundled product functionality to get multiple SKUs

Note: this method requires custom coding. Contact our team for instructions.

By using this method, it is possible to update the stock level of a product, when a customer orders the product.

Scenario

If you have a main product that consists of multiple parts that has its own SKU, it is possible to use this method to add all parts of the main product to the cart as separate product items. When a customer completes the order, all different parts will be added to the order. The stock level of each individual part will be adjusted automatically as well, but the stock level of the main product will not be adjusted.

To make this work, it is required that all parts are listed as individual products in Shopify with its own SKU. In the 3D model of the main product, all options that relates to these parts, need to have the exact same SKU as the individual products in Shopify. When the main product is added to the cart, the Expivi Shopify app will add all the parts with the corresponding SKU to the cart too.

How to

Make sure that all parts are listed as a separate product in Shopify with its own unique SKU.

In the Expivi backend, make sure that all attribute options of the 3D product will have the same SKU (use the “key” field for this). For more complex products, we need to use Script Engine in combination with Pricing Matrix to achieve this.

By adding custom code to the theme files of the Shopify store, you can use this bundled feature product. For further instructions on how to achieve this, contact our team.