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Automatically generate SKUs with Square for Retail

Who is this article for?
This article is for business owners and team members with item creation permissions who are automatically generating SKUs on items with a Square for Retail Free, Plus, or Premium subscription. Learn more about custom permissions and setting up your team with Square for Retail.

About SKUs

A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is an internal identification number that consists of a unique series of letters and numbers, often referred to as a “SKU number” and/or “product code.” Assign unique SKU numbers to products in order to identify items within their point of sale and inventory management system. The SKU number is usually visible to customers, whether it be on the item label, price tag, or included in the product description on your online store.

In Square Dashboard, you can automatically populate SKUs for future items that you create and generate missing SKUs for existing items.

In Square Dashboard or the Square Retail POS app, you can create new items with auto-generated SKUs.

Before you begin

To automatically generate SKUs, you need to have access to your Square Dashboard. To create new items with auto-generated SKUs, you need access to your Square Dashboard or the Retail POS app.

SKUs aren't different from GTINs. The ability to auto-generate GTINs for item variations is unavailable. Since product manufacturers set GTINs, Square for Retail does not support automatic GTIN generation.

Step 1: Enable Auto-generate SKUs

  1. Sign in to your Square Dashboard and click Items & orders > Items.

  2. Click Settings > Inventory.

  3. Toggle on Automatically generate SKUs.

SKUs will automatically populate when you create new items or add item options and variations to existing items.

If your device is offline or does not have a stable internet connection, SKUs will not automatically generate and the Generate SKU button will not appear, even if the setting is enabled.

Step 2: Generate missing SKUs

  1. Sign in to your Square Dashboard and click Items & orders > Items > Item library.

  2. Click the Actions drop-down menu and select Generate SKUs. Your access to the item library may be limited for several minutes while the update takes place.

  3. Click Generate SKUs to confirm you’d like to auto-generate SKUs for all items missing SKUs.

  4. All item variations missing SKUs will receive their own unique SKUs. If all of your item variations already have SKUs, you’ll see a pop-up confirming there are no more SKUs to generate.

  5. If applicable, click Done.

Generate missing SKUs by printing labels

You can also auto-generate SKUs when creating a barcode label.

  1. Sign in to your Square Dashboard and click Items & orders > Items > Item library.
  2. Click the Actions drop-down menu and select Print labels.
  3. On the Create labels screen, click Add item and select which item you want to print labels for or click Select multiple items to choose more than one item.
  4. Once you select the item(s), click Create Labels.
  5. From here, if any item variations are missing SKUs, you’ll see a pop-up allowing you to either Continue without SKUs or Generate SKUs. Click Generate SKUs to auto-generate SKUs for the item variations missing them.
  6. From here, choose Print labels or Download PDF.

Step 3: Create new items with auto-generated SKUs

You can create new items with auto-generated SKUs in Square Dashboard and from the Retail POS app on an iOS device, Square Register or Square Terminal.

Square Dashboard

  1. Sign in to your Square Dashboard and click Items & orders > Items > Item library.
  2. Click Create item.
  3. View the auto-generated SKU under Variations.
  4. Click Save.

Retail POS app

  1. Open the Square Retail POS app on an iOS device (including connected Square Stand), Square Register, or Square Terminal.
  2. Tap ≡ More > Items > All items.
  3. Tap Create item.
  4. View the auto-generated SKU under Price and inventory.
  5. Tap Save.
If you delete an item, the same auto-generated SKU will not populate a second time for newly created items ― even if the item variation(s) they were associated with are deleted.

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