40 Common Acronyms and Terms used by Amazon sellers

40 Common acronyms and terms used by Amazon sellers

Have you ever been in a group of physicians or software developers and heard strange terms thrown around. You listen harder in an attempt to make heads or tails of the conversation. For a while, you might think you are in a foreign place. That is because every industry develops a language that is unique to it. The same is true for Amazon sellers. We have gathered a list of forty commonly used terms that Amazon sellers use. If you are starting out, these can help you understand what is being referred to.

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) – ASINs are assigned by Amazon. It is a unique number consisting of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify items. The ISBN for books is the same as ASIN. By now, Amazon catalog has probably assigned ASIN to almost any product available.  But if not then an ASIN is created when the item is uploaded to the Amazon catalog.

Back-ordered –This means the merchant does not have the inventory of an item but it is on order and expected to be in stock soon. Most products on Amazon are permitted to be listed as back-ordered. The merchant is allowed to accept orders for that item and ship once it is back in stock.

BMVD (Books, Music, Video, and DVD)  – Book, magazines, or other publications, sound recordings, video recordings, and/or other media products in any format. BMVD Products include subscriptions to magazines, book clubs, music clubs, and similar arrangements.  

Books, music, videos and DVDs
BMVD – Books, music, video, and DVD

Brand Registry – This is an Amazon program to protect the intellectual property of the sellers. Once a seller has registered a brand it is on record as that merchant’s property and makes it easier to protect the merchants’ brands from the copyright and trademark violation.

BSR (Amazon’s Best Sellers Ranking) – This is the rank that Amazon gives products based on their sales volume. Each category has its own ranking. The Sales Rank interval can be between 1 and 1 million plus. The smaller the number the better it is as a prospective product to sell.

Buy Box aka BB – The coveted prize of Amazon sellers. The box on the right of a listing that has the ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ buttons. Featured sellers compete for this position. It is the button most buyers click to make their purchase. A listing may have many sellers. Amazon, through an undisclosed algorithm, chooses which seller will be in the Buy Box. Inspite of the secrecy behind the algorithm, there are known factors that can help win the Buy Box.

Category – Pretty self explanatory. Amazon has many sub-categories for each category. Some categories are restricted to new sellers. Categories such as Beauty products and Toys are sometimes restricted.

COGS (Cost Of Goods Sold) – The cost of the inventory items that the merchants pay. These can be deducted when filing taxes.

Dropshipping – Dropshipping is the process of selling a product without carrying inventory or shipping the goods. The product manufacturer maintains the inventory and ships directly to the customer.

EAN (European Article Number) – A 13 digit code used to identify products in the European network. This is also known as International Article Number or IAN.

FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) – The seller ships his/her inventory to Amazon. Amazon then picks, packs, and ships it. Merchants do have to individually wrap the items and label them before shipping them to the fulfillment center. Amazon can charge fees for storage. FBA items automatically qualify for prime shipping which is 2-day shipping thus giving them a higher chance of winning the Buy Box.

FBA - fulfilled by Amazon is shipped with prime shipping
FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon is shipped with prime shipping

 FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) – This was previously known as MFN. This means that the item is being fulfilled by the merchant. The sellers, themselves, are picking, packing and shipping the order to the customer.

FBM - Fulfilled by merchant
FBM – some merchants choose to ship their own orders.

FC (Fulfillment Center) – A fulfillment center is Amazon’s warehouse where FBA merchants’ products are kept for immediate shipment.  This is where they are stored and then prepped and shipped once they are sold.

Feedback – Buyers are given a 90-day window to leave feedback on the merchants’ performance such as shipping speed, packaging, responsiveness, and professionalism. It is a public rating system and shows up under the merchants’ store name in the list of sellers. The rating can range from one star to five stars.

FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) – Merchants pack and mark each item of inventory with these numbers assigned by the fulfillment center. This enables the picker’s scanners to identify the product of the particular merchant for each sale.

Fulfillment Fee – The fee Amazon charges to pick, pack, and ship products that are sold through the FBA program.

Inventory – The merchandise that is physically available for sale.

IP (Intellectual property) – These are brands that are owned by the merchants who sell them. Amazon has strict rules about intellectual property infringement. Sellers who violate IP rights of brand, trademark or copyright rules may end up being suspended for life. 

IPI (Inventory performance index) – This is a score Amazon assesses to encourage merchants to keep their merchandise moving. The formula of how they calculate is unclear. The range of the index is 0 – 1000. Amazon fines the merchants for falling below 400. At this time IPI applies to FBA sellers on Amazon.com only.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) – This is a unique 13-digit number that is assigned to every book in print. On Amazon, the ISBN of a book is the same as its ASIN.

ISBN - International standard book number
ISBN – International standard book number

MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) – This is the minimum price that the manufacturers of a product would expect resellers to sell for. It is used to keep value of the product. It is not always implemented by manufacturers.

Marketplace – Amazon Marketplace is an e-commerce platform owned and operated by Amazon. Third-party sellers can use this platform to sell their merchandise globally. At this writing Amazon has 16 marketplaces around the world. Fourteen of these marketplaces allow third-party sellers.

MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) – Some wholesalers require sellers to buy a minimum number of items in order to place an order. When merchants are negotiating with manufacturers for private label products, the manufacturers usually require an MOQ.

MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) – The big manufacturers with brand names always have a suggested price they expect their products to be sold for. Merchants may or may not sell at this price.

Net Profit – Final amount received after subtracting all the operating costs from the total inflow.

OA (Online Arbitrage) – Buying merchandise from online retailers and reselling on Amazon.

OOS (Out of stock) – I wonder what that means

PL (Private Label) – Many merchants buy generic products and put their own labels and logos with proper agreements with the manufacturer. Many manufacturers agree to do the labeling and packaging as well.  This also refers to the merchants creating and branding their own products. This can also be known as WL or White Label.

PPC (Pay Per Click) – This is an advertising strategy. Merchants pay for the ad when buyers click on the ad.

Pro Merchant – The seller account known as Professional Seller. It costs $39.99 per month plus a percentage commission for the sale of an item. If a merchant sells more than 40 items a month, this is the better option. The other option is the Individual Seller plan. The individual selling plan costs $0.99 per item sold plus a percentage commission. The commission depends on the category. Serious sellers opt for the professional plan.

Quarter – A quarter refers to a three-month period in the financial calendar. Each one-fourth of a year is typically expressed as Q1, Q2, etc. Q1: January – March Q2: April – June Q3: July – September Q4: October – December

RA (Retail Arbitrage) – Some merchants do sourcing locally and buy products from retail stores to sell on Amazon.

RAV (Report a Violation) – If a seller feels his or her IP has been stolen, they can submit a  complaint using the online form. If enrolled in the Brand Registry, a merchant can use RAV, a tool within the program to report patent theft and other IP claims.

Repricing & Repricers – Repricing is the way to maintain competitive prices for your items. Repricers are the software applications used to monitor the prices and adjust the prices to compete with other sellers. Alpha Repricer is one of the best Amazon repricers in the market.

ROI (Return On Investment) – The money a merchant makes above the investment he or she has made.

SC (Seller central) – Amazon Seller Central is the merchants dashboard where they can keep track of their orders, inventory, claims and other useful information. Only sellers have access to this interface through their own seller account.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The terms that merchants use in their listing, determines how well their products rank in searches done on Amazon or Google. The selection of choosing the most relevant terms is called search engine optimization or SEO.

SFP (Seller fulfilled prime) – When sellers who ship their own orders, offer expedited shipping they are defined as SFP

SKU (Merchant stock-keeping units) – This is a unique identification a seller assigns to each item.  It is a product identification code for a product. It is often portrayed as a machine-readable bar code that helps track the item for inventory. The SKU can have the key in it for size, color, location, etc. It is basically a method by which the merchant can keep track of his/her inventory.

UPC (Universal Product Code) – A 12 digit barcode that is found on almost all products in the retail world. It is one of the identification numbers that can be used to look up items on Amazon.

This may not be a complete list. For one thing, the language is constantly evolving. For example, FBM used to be MFN. As the marketplace evolves, Amazon policies change, and merchants need to communicate their thoughts on the subject. With all this selling going on who has time to say the whole thing. So an acronym is born.