Items in GroovePacker are recognized and kept track of by their SKU. In other words the SKU is the "unique identifier" for each item. If a SKU that's never been imported before is imported as a line item in an order, a new product record is created and any data available for the new product is saved. The name, sku and barcode are available this results in a product that is ready to scan.
It is possible in some systems to have a line item in an order that has no SKU at all. Ideally this shouldn't happen, or should only happen for items like coupon codes, since inventory systems and other apps rely on the sku, but depending on how your shopping cart or order manager handles products it may be quite easy to create products with no SKU. When an order is placed for these items they find their way into the order manager and from there they will be imported into GroovePacker during the order import.
When an item without a SKU is encountered, GroovePacker assigns a number SKU starting with T-SKU (for temporary sku). The product name is temporarily used to identify the item. From that point on the previously SKU-less product will automatically be associated with that T-SKU. This prevents new product records from being created each time that SKUless item is imported with an order. This solution is temporary, but it makes it easy to identify which items require a sku in your online store and it prevents the same item from creating a new product record each time it is found in an order.
The fix for not having a SKU for an item in your store is usually as simple as adding a SKU for that item. Once the sku has been added in your store all orders placed for that item will reference the sku and it will move to the order manager and then to GroovePacker as expected. The TSKU items that were previously created in GroovePacker can be removed and the orders that contained them can be removed. This is the best solution if you are still in the setup phase. If instead, you have scanned many orders that contained the TSKU it may be better to leave the TSKU item in place and then add the real sku to it, after it has been added in your online store. Going forward the real sku will be properly identified. You can even drag the new sku before the TSKU in the sku field found on the products page. Doing this will allow the real sku to display in lists and in scan and pack.
Can I just add the new SKU in GroovePacker?
It is possible to make add the SKU in GroovePacker, but unless you also add it to the product catalog in your store, it will not resolve the issue. Ultimately the sku needs to be found where the order is created. If the store which generates the order has no SKU defined, it passes the null value (the lack of sku), to the order manager, which then passes it to GroovePacker. We are not able to identify it since it's the SKU that is the "unique identifier". This is when the TSKU gets assigned in GroovePacker
Do all my items need SKUs?
If your product is tracked as a separate inventory item it should have a SKU. If a SKU has not been assigned to each variant in your shopping cart you'll want to add one. Each size and color of a style should have a sku. So, if you're selling shirts and you have a two sizes, each with two colors, you'll have 4 SKUs. Often the size and color abbreviations will follow the style code. So for example CREW-LG-BLK would represent the Large, Black Crew shirt. If you have a number of crew styles you might include a number with the style code. Using all caps across all platforms and apps is advised.
It's also possible that you have unique barcodes assigned to every item, and adding SKUs might be overwhelming due to the number of items in your inventory. In this case it is fine to use the Barcode as both the barcode and sku. The only disadvantage is that purely numeric barcodes are not easily recognized, but many times this is less of a concern than coming up with thousands of unique skus.
How can I add SKUs for many items in my online store? (adding SKUs to your online store in bulk)
Usually the quickest way to get SKUs assigned to everything is to:
1- export your full product catalog from your store. This article explains the process with shopify: Export Products from Shopify to CSV for use in GroovePacker
2- open the file in excel, google sheets or open office. Given the option you want to have it treat all data as text, which prevents truncating barcodes etc.
3- In the "variant SKU" column of the exported file you should find a SKU for every purchasable item. If it's missing, it should be added here.
4- Once completed and saved, this file can be imported, adding your new SKU data to your catalog.
After that is done, new orders generated by the store should pass the sku for each item, which will ultimately get passed to GroovePacker allowing proper identification of the item, and if the sku is to also be used as the barcode, it will permit creation of the barcode as well.
Before importing the new orders that contain the sku, you should first delete any unscanned orders from GroovePacker, and then delete any TSKU items. To quickly delete the TSKU items: Search for TSKU in the products section should give you a list. You can then select them (using select all) and then set their status to inactive. Once inactive you can view the inactive list, select them there, and then delete them using the edit drop down. This is helpful because by deleting the TSKUs before importing the new orders you can be sure that if any new TSKUs are found after, they must be related to items that still require a SKU.
If you have unscanned orders in your online store and you are not planning to delete the TSKU items and orders from GroovePacker It's important that you leave the T-SKU associated with the product so that it will continue to be recognized properly by the orders that still contain it, but it's no problem to add your new sku to the product in GroovePacker. To make your SKU the primary SKU, simply add it to the SKU list in the product window and then drag your SKU to the first position. The color should then change indicating it is now the primary SKU.