The difference between UPC, SKU and the Serial Number's

The difference between UPC, SKU and the Serial Number's

Find out how to create efficiency through barcodes




A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a store specific number that is valid only at the store that the product is being sold at. The SKU would be the same across the same store in multiple locations.

The SKU number is determined by the owner of the store or management. Often the UPC is used as the SKU number in smaller businesses as a number is already associated with the product.

Serial Number


A Serial Number is a number that is assigned to one exact product. The serial number allows the manufacturer or business owner track the ownership and warranty information of the product. Unlike a UPC and SKU’s that is the same for multiple(s) of the same product, serial numbers are always unique to each individual item.

Serial numbers are often seen on electronic products, vehicles, bikes and more.




A Universal Product Code (UPC) is a number or code that is unique to a product, yet universal. This means that the same number or code is used anywhere the product is being sold.

Purchasing the same product from multiple stores would show the same UPC  would be valid in other stores.

Examples of a UPC code include the number printed on a Pepsi can or on the box of a cereal container.

Manufacturers set the UPC, and obtain this number or code from regulative authorities or a manufacturer’s association. This regulates what product is registered to the UPC code.

Bar Codes


SKU, Serial Numbers, and UPC can each be printed or listed on a barcode. Barcodes are then printed on or punched into the item, which allows the tracking of the product.


Need to know more about labeling? Check out these great insights and start creating more efficiency. 



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