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Product Codes

Last updated 01/02/2021

How to leverage a logical and consistent method of coding of your products to maximize Cin7's inventory functionality.

Overview


To understand how products should be coded, it may be helpful to first understand how products are structured in Cin7.

In the diagram above, Products are the top level of the tree. Each Product has at least one Product Option. For the most basic product, there may only be one Product Option per Product; that's completely normal.

Often, one Product may have multiple Product Options. Product Options, sometimes referred to as variants, are variations of a product, either by color, size, weight, material - anything you like.

There is one further level a product can have, Size Options. Size Options are only relevant to "fashion products" (i.e., products that have multiple sizes like Small, Medium and Large and crucially, the price does NOT change for each option). Think of a t-shirt, for example. A t-shirt might have multiple Product Options (it can come in blue or red) and each of those Options will have multiple Size Options (i.e., S, M, L).

You'll see that the Cin7 product coding system follows the same pattern:

Each Product in the system will have a Style Code. A Style Code is a unique code that identifies each Product in the system.

Each Product Option will have a Code. The Code is the code you will be most familiar with; you might refer to it as a SKU. This is the unique code that distinguishes each Product Option.

For those with Size Options, sizes must also have a unique code (i.e., a Size Code).

All the codes are mentioned here are explained in more detail, with examples, below.

Style Code


The Style Code is a unique code that is related to each Product. The Style Code field can be found at the top of the Product details page, here:

If you have a Product with only one option, it is completely fine for the Style Code to be the same as your Code. In fact, if you create a product in the system and do not enter a Style Code, the system will automatically populate the Style Code with the Code for you.

In order to update your products in bulk, the Style Code must be populated and unique for each product.

Code


As mentioned above, the Code field is the standard product code you will be familiar with, often referred to as the SKU (or Stock Keeping Unit).

Let's have a look at some different examples of product codes.

The following is the chair product again, which has just one option. Note that the Code is the same as the Style Code in this instance.

Suppose the Chair was to come in different types of wood. Multiple Product Options would be created to support this:

Note how each Code is unique but related to the Style Code in a logical fashion. Each Product Option, for each type of wood, has a different price and cost.

Size Code


Size codes are only relevant for "fashion products". As mentioned above, fashion products have multiple sizes, but each size has the same price.

Let's use our example of a t-shirt that can come in "red" and "blue", and in sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL.

The Style Code is going to be "TS1", and the Code for each Product Option will be "TS1-R" and "TS1-B". For each of these Codes, Size Codes are needed:

TS1-R-XS
TS1-R-S
TS1-R-M
TS1-R-L
TS1-R-XL
TS1-B-XS
TS1-B-S
TS1-B-M
TS1-B-L
TS1-B-XL

Note how the codes above are formatted in a logical way, by adding each new stage to the code. In the Products page in Cin7, the product would look like this:

General Code Tips


What makes a good product code? A few key concepts to keep in mind:

  • Keep codes as short as possible and unique.
  • Try and keep a logical pattern to your codes; see the examples above.
  • Try and avoid special characters such as #, *, and &.
  • Don't use commas (",") in your codes; this causes issues when working with .csv files
  • Avoid having codes with leading zeros (i.e., 01234) as it can cause problems in spreadsheets

FAQs


Why is a Style Code necessary?

Cin7 has the capability of handling complex products in ways that no other system can offer. The Style Code helps keep your product data organized by implementing a consistent and logical coding scheme to suit all product shapes and sizes.

How do barcodes fit into all of this?

Barcodes will work in compliment to the coding structure above; see the Product Barcodes Help article for additional detail.

I don't have codes in Shopify. Do I need codes in Cin7?

Yes. Shopify does not require "SKUs" but Cin7 must have unique codes in order to function.