Within Thrive Inventory by Shopventory, the main difference is that a barcode can be re-used with multiple variants, while SKUs must be unique.

Furthermore, each sales channel we integrate with may have its own rules when it comes to how they handle SKUs and Barcodes. In order to keep your inventory orderly and syncing properly though, SKUs must be distinct when using Thrive Inventory.

If you need to, you can generate a SKU number for any variant that doesn't already have one right in the SKU field in the Variants & Defaults section. Otherwise, there's also a bulk task where you can assign a unique SKU to any product in your inventory without a SKU number. Both of those options are outlined here.

A visible barcode is simply the graphical representation of a number. When you're printing a tag or label (from the SKU or Barcode field) it will end up looking like the scannable "barcode" you are used to seeing below:

Note: The Barcode and SKUs fields can be different, but in the above example, whether you are printing from the SKU or Barcode field, the result will be the same.

Each POS handles these a little differently.

BigCommerce: supports SKU and barcode
Clover**: supports SKU and barcode

PayPal Here: supports barcode only

Square: supports SKU only

Shopify*: supports SKU and barcode
WooCommerce: supports SKU only

*Only the Barcode can be scanned at the Shopify POS.
**Our barcode will map to the "Product Code" in Clover.

Even if your provider doesn't support a field, you can still use it internally in Thrive. Both SKUs and Barcodes are optional.

Bonus: These fields also enable you to track commissions or serial numbers!

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