In today’s episode, I want to demystify Amazon for you. You might be selling on Amazon now, thinking about it, or in discussions about it. You may have heard lots of terms, phrases, and acronyms that you don’t understand. I want to give you the ultimate A to Z guide to explain common Amazon terms and acronyms simply.
I’ve written an accompanying blog post, so you can listen along, or read, whatever suits your learning style the best.
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Welcome to the bring your product idea to life podcast. This is the podcast for you if you're getting started selling products, or if you'd like to create your own product to sell. I'm Vicki Weinberg, a product creation coach and Amazon expert. Every week I share friendly practical advice, as well as inspirational stories from small businesses. Let's get started. Hello. So in today's episode, I want to demystify Amazon for you, because you might be selling on Amazon now, it might be something you're thinking about, perhaps you're in discussion about it, and you might have heard loads of terms and phrases that you just don't understand. Um, lots of acronyms, you just don't know what they mean. And so what I wanted to do in this really brief episode is give you the ultimate A to Z guide. So I'm going to talk you through lots of terms and phrases and acronyms you'll hear around Amazon and explain to you exactly what they mean in a really simple way, um, to make life easier for you. So this might be one of those episodes that you prefer to actually read, so there is a blog post to accompany this. Um, I think that would also be useful even if you do listen to this episode. And by the way, I hope you still do listen because I, um, depending what type of learner you are. I mean, I know that I, am better understanding things when I hear them rather than read them. Um, and of course we all are different, but it might be that you want to listen to this episode and then go and bookmark the blog post so you can refer back to it easily. So with absolutely no more ado or waffle from me, I'm going to get straight in and talk you through my A to Z of Amazon. So the first one is A9. So A9 is the name of the Amazon algorithm and I covered the algorithm in another episode. So I'm not going to go into great detail now, but basically the Amazon algorithms' main goal is to show the customer the most relevant products, whatever it is they've typed into the search bar and they're searching for. So A9 analyzes every listing in really great detail. It figures out what the listing is about, it looks at the sales history, it looks at other performance metrics. So reviews is something that gets looked at here, and then decides which listings they're going to show you. And I should say that A9 also does all of this in like nanoseconds, which is pretty incredible. So if you hear someone talk about A9, that's what they mean. It's basically Amazon's way of deserving which product listings go on the front page when a customer makes a search. The second thing I'm going to talk about is A plus content. This is quite a hard one to describe, um, because it's something you need to look at visually. But essentially, A plus content is that additional content you might see when you scroll down a product listing on Amazon. So this is extra descriptive content, and the type of things you might see are large images, some infographics, some extra text, there's sometimes a comparison table at the bottom of A plus. This is something that's available to all sellers who have Amazon's brand registry. Don't worry, I will talk about brand registry when I get to the Bs. And it's definitely something worth considering if you're selling on Amazon because it just provides a way for you to add extra information to your product listings. Um, and, you know, make them look really professional and help you stand out from everyone else. The next one I want to talk about is API. API stands for Application Programming Interface. This is something that you, by the way, may never ever come across, but I wanted to mention it just in case you do. And it basically is a way for, in a simple term, it's a way for computers and different systems to communicate with each other. So, for example, you may need to set up an API between Amazon and your distribution centre if you wanted your distribution centre to manage your orders, and rather than it all go via email, you wanted it to connect up. So perhaps so your stock is aligned and all orders go through automatically. For example, that's just one of the ways you might use API. You also might use it if you were using a third party, um, applications such as jungle scout, perhaps to request reviews or to track how well you're selling or anything like that. So if you want to fight, get another application to connect with Amazon, you do that via what is called an API. The next one I'm going to talk about is ASIN or ASIN, depending how you say it. So this is a unique 10 character alphanumeric identifier for a product on Amazon. It always starts with a B0 and yes, it has 10 characters and is linked to a unique SKU or EAN or ISBN, basically a unique product code. And it is used by Amazon as a reference to manage your products. This is an attribute that is assigned by Amazon. So when you set up a product listing, you would tell Amazon the SKU if you wanted to, and you would provide the EAN or the ISBN code unless you had an exemption. And the ASIN is something that Amazon attributes to your product. Something that makes it unique, something that's different between a SKU and an ASIN, is you can have two ASINs. So for example, you might have your product listing set up twice because you want to offer fulfillment by Amazon, which we'll cover and fulfillment by yourself. And so you would set up the product twice with the same ASIN, but crucially a different SKU. Um, one would be for you to fulfill and one would be for Amazon to fulfill. I promise that's not as complicated as it sounds, but just know that you can have, to a sense, for that purpose and all of the reviews, the sales history, the image, the text will be aligned across to do. Our next B is brand registry and brand registry. It's a free program where you can verify your brand to access enhanced analytics. Brand protection features and other features on Amazon. So for example, if you have brand registry, you get extra advertising options. You get to use a plus content and a brand story, which is something we've spoken about earlier. It is completely free to apply. And all you need to do is have a registered trademark in the country in which you're selling. So for example, if you're listening from the UK, as long as you have a UK registered trademark, you can apply for brand registry on Amazon in the UK. The next thing I want to talk about is something else you can have if you have brand registry, and that is a brand store. So you can think of a brand store as a mini website just on Amazon. So you can have all of your products here with links to buy them, you can have extra information, you can put videos in there, you can have a page all about your brand, you can do all kinds of things in a brand store. And if you sell a range of products, I particularly think this is a super useful thing to have. Next thing we're going to cover is brand story. So I mentioned A plus content earlier. So A plus content is that additional content I mentioned that you would see on a product listing that gives you lots more information about that product. A brand story is also a type of A plus content, but this would apply to all of the SKUs across your brand. So this is where you might share information about your brand values, about the founders, about your mission, your goals, whatever it is, but it's information that's brand specific, not products. specific and it sits above the A plus content on your listings and again you do need brand registry in order to have this. Next we're going to talk about browse nodes. So browse nodes are basically a numerical code which are used to identify an Amazon product category. So you probably know that When you list your products on Amazon, you have to choose a category. Each category has a code, which is also called a browse node. You won't hear this talked about very often. The only time this might come up is if you decide to use a flat file upload, which is basically a spreadsheet. Add your products to Amazon. You will be asked to provide the browse nodes. Um, handily, if you do this, they will tell you which one to use. It will be in the sheet. But if anyone asks you for a browse node, that's basically what it is. It's the code that identifies the correct category. Our next B is BSR, which sells, stands for bestseller rank. So this is basically information you can see on any product listing on Amazon that says how well that product ranks in a particular category. Um, personally, I do know that people will sometimes want to list in certain categories over others because they feel they have a better chance of ranking higher. But honestly, I don't think that many customers actually look at this ranking. So while it, you know, is nice to know where you, where you rank among all the other similar products on Amazon, um, as long as you're happy with your sales, personally, I wouldn't get too upset about this. The next thing I want to talk about is bundles. So these are single items that can be identified with different ASINs and are sold together as a single offering. So at the moment in the UK, if you want to sell bundles. So you want to sell groups of products. You do have to set them up as groups of products. So you'd have to set up a separate bundle listing. If you're fulfilling orders yourself, this is obviously really easy. If you are fulfilling orders via Amazon, you would need to send the products in your bundle into Amazon. Packaged up as a bundle. If you are selling products in the U. S. you can, they actually have a virtual bundle tool now where you can create bundles of any products in your catalogue. Um, it's super easy to set up, um, works really well. And I mentioned this because what usually happens is anything that's offered in the U. S. ends up being offered in the U. K. in sort of 6 to 12 months. So hopefully sometime in 2024 we'll have the option to easily sell bundles in the U. K. too. My final B is buy box. So the buy box is the area on the Amazon product detail page where customers click an orange button and add the product to their shopping cart. So it usually says buy now or add to cart. Buy box is something that can be an issue when you first start selling on Amazon because you don't always have it and that is really annoying. Um, people can still buy your product, but unfortunately, without the buy box, you can't do any advertising. And of course, you've probably heard me say advertising on Amazon is a great way of getting those fair sales. So if you don't have the buy box, um, unfortunately, the only things you can really do are trying to get sales and reviews. Um, that's the only way around it. And I appreciate it, that's a really hard thing to do. When you don't have the buy box and you can't advertise, it's one of the things that Amazon seller support, and we'll talk about them later, aren't or can't help you with. Um, but in every single case where I've worked with someone who hasn't had the buy box, the moment they've got a sale. They've suddenly had the buy box. So don't lose hope if this is you, um, if it's something that you don't have at the moment and you can always contact me and I can help you come up with some ideas on how you might get that. The next thing I'm going to talk about is a C and that is a child ASIN. So what a child ASIN means is, it's a product listed under a parent ASIN and we'll talk about parent ASIN a bit later and it's basically a variation. So you can think of a parent ASIN like an umbrella, so let's say you were going to sell socks, and you sold your socks in different colours and different sizes. So the sock in size 4 in pink would be a child ASIN, as would the size 5 in pink, and the size 4 in blue, and the size 5 in blue, and... All of the other options would be what is called a child ASIN. You heard me mention this one earlier and that's EAN. So the EAN is the international article number. So it's basically your barcode number. That's a really easy way to think about it. You can use different numbers. You might not have an EAM for your products. You might have a GTIN. I'm not going to use that in this glossary because it'll get really confusing, but basically this is an identifier that you've registered with GS1. That's the only place you can now buy barcodes from. You register your products with GS1 and you get your barcode numbers or EAN and you provide these to Amazon when you set up your listing, unless you have some sort of exemption that means that you don't need to. My next E is EBC, which stands for Enhanced Brand Content. So this is basically the equivalent of A plus content that is available to Amazon vendors and when we get down to these, we'll talk a bit more about that. My final E is EFN and what EFN means is the European Fulfillment Network and the way this works is that you can choose to have all of your stock stored in the UK in a UK Amazon distribution center, but you can set up product listings in other European countries and Amazon will fulfill those orders using the stock based in the UK. That is the simplest way of explaining that. Which moves us on nicely to FBA. So FBA is where, again, you send your products into Amazon for them to store and deliver to customers on your behalf. And the standard FBA, or fulfilled by Amazon, is where you send in your products, again to a fulfillment center in the UK, and your UK orders are all fulfilled using that FBA stock. FBM, or fulfilled by merchant, means that you are fulfilling orders yourself, so you're listing your products on Amazon, but when an order comes through, you are distributing it yourself, whether that's from your home, a fulfillment center, or however you do it. And this leads us on very nicely to Pan EU or Pan EU FBA and this basically means that you're holding FBA stock in the UK and at least two other countries in the EU. And then if you are doing that, you can then fulfill all the other companies in Europe from these three distribution centers. Well, actually from two distribution centers, because, um, unless you're doing EFN, you can't use your UK stock to fulfill the European orders. So you have to hold stock in two different European countries, and then you can fulfill orders in all of the European countries from these warehouses, these Amazon warehouses. Um, there are lots of VAT and tax implications of doing this. So I'm, this is designed just to tell you what the terms mean. If you want a bit more information on how it works and how that would work for you and what the tax implications are, then I definitely recommend looking into this a bit more. There are lots of different options for fulfilling orders in Europe and it's definitely something to look into in detail before deciding. My next P is parent ASIN. So as I mentioned earlier when I spoke about child ASINs, this is, you can think of this product as an umbrella, it's not actually a product, it's kind of a placeholder that groups products together. So if you have a product that has different variations, a parent ASIN is something you set up, it's not an actual product, it's just a holder under which all of those child ASINs or variations sit. Next P is Prime. So Prime, as you probably know, is Amazon's subscription service for free delivery. And if you have Amazon Prime, then you also get other things like Amazon music and video and, um, all kinds of other good things. I've had it for so long, can't even tell you what I have. So if people talk about Prime, that is what they're talking about. And if you fulfill your orders by FBA or fulfilled by Amazon, which is where Amazon, so, um, stores and delivers orders for you, then customers who have Amazon Prime can benefit from that because they get free next day or sometimes same day delivery. Moving on to R and my only R is ROAS, which is return on ad spend. So this basically describes how much revenue you get in return for your advertising budget. Um, so it's basically a way of saying for every pounds you spend on advertising, how much are you making in sales. That's the easiest way of describing that. That is the measure that I use when I'm managing advertising on Amazon. Um, you don't have to use that. Um, you can use ACOS or actual cost of sale, but ROAS is something that most people use to sort of measure how well ads are performing. My first S is Seller Central. So Seller Central, which you may have heard of, is the portal that you use to sell on Amazon. So the first thing you would do if you were looking to sell your products on Amazon is set up a Seller Central account. Next is Seller Support. So Seller Support is basically Amazon Seller's Customer Service. I guess you could call it that. I'm not going to say any more about them. I've recorded episodes before on approaches to handle Amazon customer service. I think the only thing I will say is, um, it's probably not what you would expect. Um, but know that if you have an issue, seller support is who you can go to. My next S is shipping plan. So what this basically means is if you are sending stock into Amazon for FBA, so for Amazon to fulfill for you, you need to set up what is called a shipping plan. And this is basically where you tell Amazon what products you're sending in, how many of each, how big they are, what they weigh, how you're sending them in, you know, so how many boxes. And you put all that information in, you generate some shipping labels, and then you're all ready to send your stock into Amazon. A SKU, spelt S K U, is something that I mentioned earlier and this is the way of identifying your stock. This is probably familiar to you, um, you probably or possibly use SKU codes for your products now, if you're selling on Amazon. My best, I don't know if this is an advice episode, but I would say if you have SKU codes already and you use the same ones on Amazon, that'd be really helpful, particularly if you are planning on linking up with another system to align your stock, for example. And my final S is Sponsored Products. So Sponsored Products is what some people will be referring to is when people talk about Amazon's advertising portal, which is actually called a campaign manager. Um, but lots of people will talk about Amazon sponsored products. You'll hear me talk about it as well. And that is basically Amazon advertising. Um, there's lots of things you can do other than sponsored products. So you can do sponsored brand ads where you're showing a range of your products. There's all kinds of other advertising available, but if someone mentioned sponsored products to you, what they're talking about is Amazon advertising. Variations we have covered, I think, when we were speaking about parent ASINs and child ASINs. So variations is, as I said, when you're selling a product and you have different sizes, colours, flavours, whatever, you know, whatever it is of the same product. Vendor Central, and I promise we're almost there, Vendor Central is very similar to Seller Central, and this is for sellers who are using the Amazon Vendor Programme. And the way Amazon Vendor works is that you, Amazon take orders from you to buy your products from you directly. Um, they buy those products from you that you still manage the product listing and any advertising and everything else, but they are shown as sold by Amazon. So you're selling your products to Amazon. They then retail them on Amazon with the listings that you set up and for whatever price they decide and you can, you know, set your RRP with them and then that's how that system works and RenderCentral works slightly differently to sell essential. Um, but that's what that's system is called. And my final final one is a Vine. So Vine is an Amazon programme where sellers can register their products to receive reviews from verified product testers. I believe to be a vine product tester, you have to already be buying a lot on Amazon and reviewing a lot on Amazon. And it's not just volume, but also writing like really good quality reviews as well. And if you are someone who's doing that, you might get invited to be a Vine reviewer. And this basically means that you have the opportunity to have products for free in exchange for a review. And as a seller, it means that you are offering your products for free. So you might say to Amazon, I will give you 20 products that you can send to Vine reviewers. Amazon will then say to their pool of Vine reviewers, we've got 20 of these, who would like to review one? And they get sent them and then they leave a review. Um, you also pay a fee to do that, I should mention. And there is no guarantee that they will leave you a positive review. So it's not about getting good reviews, it's about getting reviews. Although of course, if you've got a great product, which I'm sure you do, then you should get a great review as well. So that is my fairly quick run through of lots of Amazon terms that you may or may not have heard of and what they mean. Um, had to take lots of breaths while recording this. That's an awful lot to say. I don't know if I've missed anything. I... Ask my Facebook group, for example, for examples, I asked some clients for things. Um, I use some of the ones that I know that I came across when I started. Um, so hopefully I've covered most of them. I'm sure I've missed out a few. If there were any Amazon terms that you have heard of and you're thinking, I really don't know what that means. Please just send me a message and I can let you know. So thank you as always for listening and I will see you again next week. Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode. Do remember that you can get the full back catalogue and lots of free resources on my website vickiweinberg. com. Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next week.