You've started selling on Amazon, congratulations! Now you need to learn the acronyms and lingo.
You've joined the Facebook groups, subscribed to the Youtube channels, and even gone through part of Amazon Seller University.
Great job! That is more than most people.
But, you keep hearing industry jargon thrown around and you just aren't sure what it all means.
No problem, we are going to fix that today!
Below are 74.5 terms and acronyms you will hear thrown around from your fellow Amazon sellers.
Consider this your third party Amazon seller glossary.
I have included some definitions as well as relevant links when needed.
Let's dig in!
This stands for Advertising Cost of Sale. This metric is used to measure the performance of your Amazon Sponsored Products Campaigns. The equation is "Ad Spend" / "Sales" = ACoS
AMS stands for Amazon Marketing Services which was also called Advertising Console is a way for vendors to stand out and drive traffic to their listings.
API means Application Programming Interface. It is essentially how two different programs talk to each other. Allowing them to call or share data.
Amazon Standard Identification Number. Every product on Amazon has an identifier like this. Just a unique set of digits assigned to a product detail page. You may see people ask "What's the ASIN?" in jest on Facebook.
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Average Selling Price. This is a metric in your own account and mine, and every other seller's that shows the average selling price across a given period of time. It is in your Business Reports and looks like the image below.
At Time of Posting. This is often used when information is subject to change and may be accurate at the time it is posted. Could be related to a sale or a new piece of information that comes out.
7. AZ or AMZ
Amazon. In Facebook groups, like FBA Today, we talk about Amazon a lot. So, it makes sense to have some shorthand when referring to them.
Buy Box. This is the magical place where sales come from and the spot every seller covets. The Buy Box is the place on Amazon where the item that is currently selling resides above the one click purchase option Amazon pioneered. There are myths and legends about how the Buy Box is won.
what is know for sure that if you are priced competitively (within 2-5%), have good metrics, and are in stock, you should get a rotation into the buy box.
Business, Industrial, and Scientific Supplies. This is one of the many categories on Amazon. I don't see this acronym bandied about as much anymore but every now and again you will see it crop up.
No, not ! Brick & Mortar.
This often is referenced in wholesale discussions about the need of a brick and mortar location.
Buy One Get One. The things couponers dreams are made of!
Well, same goes for a ton of people practicing the art and science of arbitrage. Lowering your costs is one of the easiest ways to increase your margins.
Be On the Lookout. You may see this dropped in sarcasm to a really bad product or, if you join a mastermind or sourcing list or leads group you might see this in reference to a hot product or something with a ton of built in profit potential.
Best Seller Rank. This refers to the rank a given product has on Amazon. This rank is a snapshot in time of how well, or bad, a product is performing.
You can use tools like Keepa to see how the BSR fares over time to determine the velocity of a product or how well it sells over time.
If you are interested you can grab my Amazon Sales Rank Chart which is updated monthly as well.
Back to School. There are a lot of "seasons" to Amazon selling.
Back to school, Easter, Valentine's Day, New year, and Christmas, of course.
Back to school gets it's own acronym and you don't want to sleep on this "season"
Cashback. If you dabble in online arbitrage and even retail arbitrage you will want to know about cashback. You can shop through portals like Ebates and receive a percent of what you spend at a store back in cash.
I treat these like quarterly bonuses and i know some people who have been able to pay for car notes and even warehouse rent with the cashback they receive.
Credit card. You will find that lots of Amazon sellers run their business on credit cards.
This often allows for some flexibility in repayment and also the ability to get access to more funds than one may have in cash.
Secondarily though some sellers are incredibly good at getting huge sums of points which they use for cashback, travel, or even to pay off portions of their credit card balances.
CamelCamelCamel is a free online service that tracks product ranking and price history. It is the "not-so-great" Keepa, in my opinion and as of this writing (February 16, 2019) they are still recovering from some major database disruptions.
Cost of Goods Sold. A retailer's cost of goods sold is equal to the cost of its beginning inventory + the cost of its net purchases (the combination of these is the cost of goods available) - the cost of its ending inventory.
Drop shipping. This is against Amazon's terms of service in most cases. Drop shipping from a retailer like Walmart or target to an Amazon customer may get you in some hot water.
If you plan to use this business model i would highly suggest you read over the terms of service.
European Article Number. The equivalent to a UPC code across the pond.
You'll even find these on products here in the US when manufacturers ship the same items to Europe that they sell here.
Employer Identification Number.
This is a unique number given to you by the IRS to for your business entity so it can be easily identified. It can be used for reporting taxes and may also be asked for if you look to open wholesale or trade accounts.
This pertains to customer feedback on your Amazon storefront. If it is on a product, like a private label item, it is called a review.
Many, many times people will shorten Facebook to FB. It gets typed so much it just has to be shortened.
This means that an item is stored, picked, packed, and shipped to an Amazon customer by an Amazon employee. This is the program a lot of people use in their own Amazon business so they do not have to store inventory in their own home/warehouse/storage unit.
24. FBM or MF
Fulfillment by Merchant or Merchant Fulfilled.
This means that an item is stored, picked, packed, and shipped to an Amazon customer by a third party seller. You may see this with a lot of very large book sellers and it becomes quite popular in Q4 when it gets too late to ship Christmas items into an Amazon warehouse to be sold.
These are the warehouses third party sellers send their inventory to be stored. When the item sells it is picked, packed, and shipped from these locations.
Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit.
This set of digits will be what you print and place on your products that allow a picker to identify your product so that the correct items is pulled when a sale occurs. These codes will be unique to your inventory so if an item is misplaced or returned the item will track back to your seller account.
This doesn't seem to be talked about as often but if you are running a business it's not a bad idea to know what this is. Essentially this is a document that showcases the business activities and financial performance of a company.
For What It's Worth.
This is often written when someone is giving advice and they are not sure if it will be helpful or not.
Gift cards are often used by those in the arbitrage community to increase the ROI (return on investment) and leverage their purchasing power by buying gift cards at a discount. There are several marketplaces that offer discount gift cards.
There are certainly other markets as well but these are probably the most popular.
Gross Margin Return on Investment.
This one is boring so i am going to share the Investopedia.com definition.
"A gross margin return on investment (GMROI) is an inventory profitability evaluation ratio that analyzes a firm's ability to turn inventory into cash above the cost of the inventory. It is calculated by dividing the gross margin by the average inventory cost and is used often in the retail industry."
Global Trade Item Number.
This can be a 14 digit number that identifies a product. It can also be an umbrella term for UPC's and EAN's.
Most often in the Amazon Seller community it is referred to when discussing getting a "GTIN Exemption" which is what many sellers will try to do when bundling or bringing a private label item to Amazon only to forego the fee of getting a UPC for their product.
Here is what Amazon requires for a GTIN Exemption:
We require the following information and documents for a GTIN exemption request. Review the list before submitting your request:
- Support letter from brand owner, manufacturer, or publisher to prove that they do not provide a GTIN for the products or
- Sample product title and images of all sides of your product and the packaging of the product for that brand or publisher.
Support letter from the brand owner, manufacturer, or publisher.
Once you provide a support letter that meets the following criteria, we will make a decision within two business days:
- Is clear and readable.
- Includes issuer's name and contact information.
- States explicitly that they do not provide a GTIN for all their products, products that you sell, or that they accept customized products and do not have a GTIN.
- Includes your physical address, phone number, and email address or website address.
- Must be in English or the marketplace's local language.
They also have a template you can use here.
Health & Beauty Aids.
This is kind of an old school term i don't believe I see very often. HBA refers to the gated category of health and beauty which is now broken up into Health & Personal Care as one category and Beauty as another category.
Hard to Find.
This refers to something that is, obviously, hard to find. This may be used when someone is talking about a discontinued item or an item that may be in high demand but low volume. This often happens during the holiday selling season (Q4).
This is a cloud based software program that many sellers use to list, research, and track the profits and losses from Amazon. The software includes a ton of features including profitability reports, velocity reports, accounting, and inventory management. A subscription will also get you a scanning app for retail arbitrage called Scoutify.
I know I'm only scratching the surface of what it can do.
35. IMO or IMHO
In My Opinion & In My Humble Opinion
These aren't so much seller acronyms but you will see these on a regular basis. Many people, myself include will use these acronyms to qualify their statement as an opinion and not necessarily a fact.
The dictionary defines IP as "a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc."
Usually when referred to in an Amazon seller community it is due to a complaint that a brand owner or third party company a brand hires has made a complaint to Amazon that a seller is infringing on a brands intellectual property.
These often need fought but can usually be won if you have the proper documentation. In the recent years these kinds of complaints have become a serious thorn in the side of the collective third party seller community.
International Standard Book Number.
You should see this on every print book you have purchased. A unique number is assigned to every edition and variation of a book. If you sell books on Amazon this is typically what you can with an app to find out the details and to check if it is profitable to sell or not.
Long Term Hold.
This is the practice of buying an item and holding for a long time before selling it. A good example might be purchasing Halloween costumes at a steep discount after the holiday and holding them until the next year to sell.
Less Than Truckload.
This refers to shipping inventory on pallets that do not take up an entire trucks trailer. You must have at least 150 pounds of inventory and you can choose to use Amazon Partnered Carriers or your own carrier.
I know some larger sellers will use brokers who can move their inventory quickly and some will even use Uber Freight as they are breaking into the shipping industry and seem to be losing money to gain a foothold in the market.
Minimum Advertised Price.
Simply put, this is the minimum price that a retailer or third party Amazon seller may advertise a product for. So, if you agree to MAP pricing and your brand owner or distributor states that you may not sell a product below $15 you would be breaking your agreement if you sell for $14.99
Minimum Order Quantity.
The MOQ is typically the smallest amount of a product a supplier will allow you to order from them.
This number is often negotiable but may increase the price per unit if it needs to be decreased.
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.
The price at which a manufacturer suggests their price should be for a product. This, of course, is often not the price the end consumer pays or what you sell a product for.
A great example would be what the MSRP of a car is and what is actually paid once all the negotiations happen.
Month To Date.
This may be used when discussing sales numbers, units sold, or just about any other metric in your business that can be quantified on a month to date basis.
For example if the date is July 15 then month to date would be from July 1st through July 15.
Marketplace Web Service.
This is the integrated web service API that allows software programs like Tactical Arbitrage or Inventory Lab to "talk" to Amazon and gather data both about products and even your account.
You may often see discussions regarding MWS keys or credentials.
This refers to the art and science of looking for products online instead of in-store to resell on Amazon. There have been tons of tools and softwares created over the past few years to make this process easier and more efficient.
Order Defect Rate.
Instead of putting this in my own words i will directly quote Amazon on what order defect rate means.
"The Order Defect Rate (ODR) is a key measure of your ability to provide a good customer experience. It includes all orders with one or more defects (defined below) represented as a percentage of total orders during a given 60-day time period.
An order has a defect if it results in negative feedback, an A-to-z Guarantee claim that is not denied, or a credit card chargeback. Our policy is that sellers maintain an ODR under 1% in order to sell on Amazon. An ODR above 1% may result in account deactivation.
There are three components of ODR:
- Negative Feedback Rate
- A-to-z Guarantee Claim Rate
- Credit Card Chargeback Rate"
Out Of Stock.
OOS can refer to your own inventory being out of stock. It may also refer to a store being out of stock when you are doing retail arbitrage or online arbitrage.
Over The Counter.
OTC refers to over the counter medication, vitamins, supplements, etc. You may see this term used when someone asks if they need any special license to or certificate to sell things like Tylenol, Advil, or other over the counter medications.
Profit & Loss.
Specifically a profit & loss statement. This is a financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses incurred during a specified period, usually a fiscal quarter or year according to Investopedia.com
Pack refers to how many items come in a multi-pack of a product on Amazon. You will often see examples of this in the grocery category and the health category with vitamins or pain relievers.
Here is an example of a pack (PK) of 3.
This is when someone buys an existing product and packages in their own brand or has a product manufactured from scratch for their brand.
You can also create a private label by using a co-packer which is a company that will make a food product for you. There are also companies that will make vitamins and supplements with your brand on them.
Lots of different methods to private label products.
Private Message or Profit Margin.
Typically you will see this in Facebook groups and it will mean private message. As in "Hey! PM me."
Sometimes you may see this referring to profit margin. Since this is another finanical term we will use the Investopedia.com definition again.
"Profit margin is one of the commonly used profitability ratios to gauge profitability of a business activity. It represents how much percentage of sales has turned into profits. Simply put, the percentage figure indicates how many cents of profit the business has generated for each dollar of sale. For instance, if a business reports that it achieved 35 percent profit margin during the last quarter, it means that it had a net income of $0.35 for each dollar of sales generated."
Pay Per Click.
PPC is in reference to advertising. When you advertise your products on Amazon using the native advertising platform inside of Seller Central you are using a per per click system.
This means that for every click your product gets you will be charged for it. This is usually very inexpensive but as the market matures and more people use PPC to advertise their products the cost will get higher over time.
As of this writing though it is still a pretty safe investment to pay for advertising on the Amazon platform.
January - March
April - June
July - September
Also, the busiest season of the year with huge sums of product selling on Amazon and online in general.
October - December
This software is used by tons of individuals and small business owners for general accounting, account reconciliation, and to create profit & loss statements.
It easily connects to TurboTax if you want to handle your own taxes as well.
RA is the art and science of scouting stores like Walmart, Target, Kohl's, and any other brick & mortar location that has products you can potentially resell on Amazon.
60. Return Pallets
Return pallets are simply big product lots full of Amazon returns that can't be re-sold as new after going through Amazon's return review process. These are then either sold as used, sold in big lots to liquidation companies or sent to charitities.
Return on Investment.
Let's turn to Investopedia once again.
"ROI tries to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment. The result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.
The return on investment formula:
ROI = (Current Value of Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment"
Seller Central is where you will manage inventory, reconcile shipments, create PPC campaigns, find business reports, see news from Amazon, and much, much more.
Stock Keeping Unit.
This is a product identification code that is displayed as a machine-readable barcode that helps you keep track of inventory.
This refers to the folks who handle support for sellers when the need arises. Often the conversations about seller support are not necessarily positive
TA is a software for Amazon sellers to help with online arbitrage, Amazon to Amazon Flips, Book flips, and even Wholesale manifest price checking.
Tactical Arbitrage has a ton of features built in and always seems to have more on the way.
I also have a Tactical Arbitrage Review and Quick Start Guide you can check out to learn how to use the software.
Not Amazon related, per se. However you will see this often when someone asks a question and wants to thank people for their answers.
The Wholesale Formula.
This is a course that opens annually for enrollment. It is considered by many the best wholesale training on the market.
You will likely see lots of talk about this course around the time they open every year.
Would You Like to Know When TWF Opens Again?
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You may not see this term used often but when it is it's typically talking about the layout or look of how a user interacts with a software or program that is used.
Universal Product Code.
A UPC is the standard product identifier in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, & other countries.
It is normally shown as a barcode on products. You've seen it every time you go grocery shopping.
This can be anyone who may do work for you without being in your office or physical location.
Often this refers to someone who is overseas that does work for you.
And that's all I have to say about that.
You may also see this written out as Wally World on occasion. There may also be some fun "People of Walmart" jokes that get thrown around.
The wholesale topic is brought up often. It's a model that many sellers enjoy due to not having to buy in smaller quantities and not having to drive around to stores to pick up inventory.
Your Mileage May Vary.
This term does not usually mean actual mileage. Instead, when someone offers advice, a BOLO, or some other help to another person they may qualify their statement with YMMV to let them know that they may not receive the exact same results.
Year to Date.
Much like month to date from earlier this refers to any measurement that may be for the current year to date. Typically measurements of sales, profits, income, or expenses in the Amazon seller community.
For example if it is July 15th than YTD would be January 1 through July 15
OK, here is where I need to ask for some help.
Surely, I have missed a term or two that may get tossed around any seller forums or Facebook groups.
Please drop any I may have missed in the comments below. It would be great if we crowd-sourced the most complete Amazon Seller Glossary on the intertoobs.
I also would like to thank the good people of the FBA Today Facebook group who helped me gather terms I forgot to add. You guys (and girls) are the best!