E-Commerce Sellers: Have You Learned Your Amazon Seller Slang?
If you were planning on visiting a foreign country for an extended period of time, do you think learning the language would be an important part of getting around? Well, Amazon FBA is an exotic country all its own for sellers looking to turn a profit. Likewise, if you don’t speak the Amazon language (“Amazonian” is taken, so we’ll call it… Amazese?), you will soon find yourself lost and a bit confused.
Fear not, weary traveller. We’re here to not only give you the Amazon seller tools you need to find your next successful product, but also to serve as your translator. If you’re new to selling through Amazon FBA you have enough challenges on your plate. The last thing you need to be drowned in are acronyms and perplexing vocabulary. Below, we’ve assembled an Amazon seller glossary to help you navigate the wonderful words of e-commerce.
Amazon Seller Terms You Should Know
3PL – Third-party logistics. A company that accepts your shipment directly from a foreign manufacturer, checks for quality, then forwards it to Amazon warehouses on your behalf.
If you have a very large inventory (5,000 units for example), it is going to take you a while to sell them all. This means storing at an Amazon fulfillment center will get expensive. Using 3PL, you can send a set amount of ready products to Amazon every month to pace your inventory management.
ACOS – Advertising cost of sale. This is a metric you will want to become familiar with if you want to measure the success of your ad campaigns.
ACOS = total spent on ads ÷ total sales generated from ads
Alibaba – The largest product sourcing website on the internet. Alibaba helps sellers find factories all over the world (mostly in China). For many sellers, this is a great place to start when looking into sourcing. Better for orders of 1000 units or more. Those with smaller orders are suggested to check out AliExpress.
ASIN – Amazon Standard Identification Number. Amazon’s internal code assigned to each, unique product. This 10 digit identifying code is used in many of Helium 10’s Amazon research tools.
To find an ASIN, click on an Amazon product and scroll to “product information”, then to “additional information.”
ASINS are useful when using Helium 10’s Amazon product and keyword research tools like Cerebro or Keyword Tracker.
ATOP – “At time of posting.” You may run into this term on Facebook when someone is asking about or explaining the price of an item at the time of posting.
B2B – Business to business. Defines a transaction made between two businesses (ex: manufacturer to wholesaler or wholesaler to retailer).
B2C – Business to consumer. Transaction in which a business sells products or services directly to the customer.
Back-end (of your seller account) – Product information that is not public-facing. Your back-end is the behind the scene sandbox where you enter keywords and other information to help your product rank. This includes foreign language words and misspelled words that you don’t want to be consumer-facing but still want to rank for.
BOLO – “Be on the lookout.”
Brand Registry – Status that helps Amazon identify successful brand owners. Brand registry often comes with perks like enhanced brand content capabilities.
BSR – Best Sellers Rank. Every Amazon product is publically assigned a BSR. In many cases, this is a good indicator of how well a given product is selling within a category. Keep in mind, BSR’s exist in categories and subcategories.
Buy Box – Every product page on Amazon has a box on the far right of the listing prompting you to “Add to cart” or “buy now.” Amazon usually determines whose product occupies the Buy Box by sales or by rotating different sellers. You always want the Buy Box. When someone hits “add to cart” you want to make sure it’s your product.
Use Helium 10’s Amazon seller tools to boost your product ranking, drive more sales, and become king/queen of the Buy Box.
Child – A variation of a product (different colors, finishes, sizes, etc.) A child is a subtype of a broader product family (known as the “parent”). For example: One of the products you sell is a bicycle helmet. The bicycle helmet is your parent product, whereas the red bicycle helmet you offer would be the child variation.
COGS – Cost of Goods Sold. How much you paid for your product (materials, factory fees, and labor).
Conversion rate – How well you sell. If 100 people look at your page and 10 people buy your product, you have a 10% conversion rate.
What causes a low conversion rate? Un-optimized product listing, out of stock inventory, poor Amazon customer reviews.
What causes a high conversion rate? Well-written product listing, quality photos, competitive pricing, PPC ad campaigns, among several other strategies highlighted in Freedom Ticket Week 7.
CPC – Cost per click. This is the amount of money you pay for every one person who clicks on your ad. This is an important metric to keep an eye on, as advertising costs can quickly spiral out of control. If your CPC is too high, you will have a hard time profiting from your Amazon ad campaigns.
CTR – Click-through rate. How many people that see your Amazon ad actually click on it. If 100 people saw your ad, but only 5 people clicked on it, your CTR is 5%. Use CTR to gauge how well your ad is performing.
D2C – Direct to consumer marketing. When a company markets or promotes a product/service to their consumers without needing a middleman to do so.
Disposal – When a customer returns your product to Amazon, you can either have the item shipped back to you or Amazon will “dispose” of it. Amazon doesn’t literally throw them away, but rather auctions them off in bulk with unwanted items from other sellers.
Alternatively, you can have Amazon ship returned items back to you personally (for a fee) to avoid having your products out in the wild and where there is risk of having them knocked off.
Dropshipping – When a product is shipped straight from supplier to buyer.
EXW – Ex Works. You pay the costs of transportation from the factory to warehouse.
FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon. Amazon stores and ships your product for you using their network of fulfillment centers around the world.
FBM – Fulfilled by merchant. You are in charge of storage and shipping logistics. FBM gives Amazon sellers more control but requires more resources to be a viable business model.
FOB – Free on board. Factory pays for shipping and insurance until it reaches a given destination.
Feedback – Seller feedback and product feedback.
Seller: People rate you as a seller. This comes more into play if you are an FBM seller. Shipping issues, poor customer service, warranties, etc. Keep this above 98%.
Product feedback/reviews: Specific feedback about a product. Keep this above 4.
FNSKU – Special barcode assigned by Amazon that helps match products with the correct sellers within the Amazon system.
Freight forwarders – People that handle all your freight needs. Shipping documents, clearance, and logistics. The middleman between you and your factory.
FWIW – “For what it’s worth.”
Hijacker – Someone that tries to sell a fake or knock off version of your product on Amazon. They may attempt to steal your images or duplicate your listing to take sales away from you. Use Helium 10 Alerts to catch hijackers in the act and put an end to others piggybacking on your success.
Impressions – Instances when your product listing is visible to a shopper. If you see a sponsored Amazon ad for a lawnmower when you’re searching for gardening supplies, the lawnmower listing just got one impression.
Keywords – The words that are relevant to your product. It’s important to do your Amazon keyword research so you can capture the largest possible audience for your product.
Landing cost – Total of everything to get your product to the Amazon warehouse. Manufacturing, shipping, taxes, fees. This is what you pay for your product to be READY TO SELL.
Listing – Your product page on Amazon. This is where customers land when they click on your product. They will see your product photos, description, features, reviews, and price. This is also where the Buy Box resides.
LTL – Less than truckload shipment. If you have a smaller shipment that won’t fill an entire truck, it may be shipped with other sellers’ items. Be aware, this is usually more expensive.
MOQ – Minimum order quantity. The minimum quantity a factory will make for you. These aren’t always firm, don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you are sourcing within the US, MOQs are usually higher.
MSRP – Manufacturer’s suggested retail price. If you are a private label seller, this is the price you recommend something be sold for. This is usually more of a sales tool, not what you will actually sell the product for.
Multi-channel fulfillment – Amazon will ship your products to other marketplaces (Ebay, Shopify). This is a great way to connect accounts and get your product out there (for a fee).
OOS – “Out of stock.”
PPC – Pay per click advertising. This is an advertising platform designed to bring in more customers to your product pages. You, the seller, are charged a fee every time someone clicks on one of your ads. Having a PPC strategy is crucial to driving traffic, increasing your ranking, and your success on Amazon as a whole.
Helium 10 has recently announced a NEW Amazon PPC tool specifically designed to simplify and streamline your PPC campaigns in one convenient place. Note, you must be a Helium 10 Elite member to access the closed beta at the time of writing this article.
Prime – Amazon’s subscription service that offers one or two day shipping for products along with access to movie and book libraries.
Profit Margin – Selling price minus your cost to make and sell a product. (including all fees and manufacturing costs). If you are at all interested in running a successful Amazon business as a private seller, your profit margin should be your top concern. Aim for 20% or higher.
Q4 – Holiday period in the US (October-December) when business noticeably picks up for most.
ROAS – Return on ad spend. Use this metric to measure the success of different ad strategies. Keep those returns high!
ROI – Return on investment. Sourcing and shipping your product costs money. Running ads for your product on Amazon costs money. Your return on investment measures how much money you’ve made against how much money you have spent. Shoot for 150% or more.
Sessions – Visits to your Amazon page. More specifically the time they spent in one period on your page.
SC – Seller Central. This is your home base on Amazon as a seller. Seller Central is where you interface with the Amazon marketplace and select options for your product listing, ad campaigns, and other logistics.
SKU – Stock keeping unit. Usually you assign this number, but Amazon may assign one for you. This is an internal identification code to organize each product and variation within your inventory. We suggest creating SKUs that are easy to differentiate. You can use your SKU to sort products by size, color, and manufacturer.
TACoS – TOTAL advertising cost of sales. Where your ACoS measures your ad spend against sales generated from ads alone, your TACoS measures your total ad spend against your overall revenue (everything) giving you a much clearer picture of your business’s health.
They also go great with salsa.
TIA – “Thanks in advance.”
Ungated/gated- Certain product categories are restricted to Amazon sellers; these are gated.
Most categories are ungated, meaning you already have permission from Amazon to sell in that category.
YAY – An exclamation you will become familiar with when you finally understand what all these acronyms mean.
Now there are plenty more terms from the Amazon ecosystem than what is listed above. However, this should serve as a handy reference to keep bookmarked if you stumble onto any dangerous-looking acronyms on your Amazon path. At Helium 10, we believe in equipping sellers with the tools they need to be their own boss. Part of that journey is the jargon.
E-commerce guides like this are only a fraction of what is offered in Freedom Ticket, the most comprehensive Amazon seller course available to entrepreneurs. Join Amazon legend Kevin King as he gives you a no-nonsense, week-by-week look at how to sell on Amazon FBA. These are just a few examples of (out of nearly 100) modules included in the Freedom Ticket Amazon seller course:
- Basic business requirements
- How much money do you need to start selling on Amazon?
- Cash flow spreadsheets
- How to find the right products to sell
- Sourcing overseas
- How to optimize ads to work in your favor
What’s next? Freedom Ticket awaits…