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Product Codes

Last updated 05/10/2017

Coding your products correctly is fundamental to a great inventory system. Cin7 has a logical and consistent method of coding, which is explained in detail in this article.


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

In the diagram above, you can see that 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 colour, 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', by which we mean products that have multiple sizes like Small, Medium and Large, but crucially the price doesn't 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 - S, M, L.

You'll see that our 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 - maybe you 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 - 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.


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

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

Here we can see our 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. We could create multiple Product Options to cater for this:

Note how each Code is unique but related to the Style Code in a logical fashion. Each Product Option - 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,XL.

Our Style Code is going to be 'TS1', and our Code for each Product Option will be 'TS1-R' and 'TS1-B'. For each of these Codes, we need Size Codes:


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? We have a few basic pointers:

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


Why is a Style Code necessary?

Cin7 has the capability of handling complex products in ways that no other system can offer. To keep your product data organised we've created 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 - take a look at our separate article on Product Barcodes.

I don't have codes in Shopify - do I need codes in Cin7?

Yes, Shopify doesn't require 'SKUs' but Cin7 must have unique codes for the system to function.