Amazon Terminology, Acronyms, Abbreviations – A Complete List

Amazon Terminology, Acronyms, Abbreviations – A Complete List

Amazon is a complicated world. Even for seasoned sellers, it’s difficult to keep up with all of Amazon’s terminology, acronyms and abbreviations.  Not only is the Amazon ecosystem highly dynamic, it also has its own unique vernacular.  While many might think they know or understand Amazon, we are always surprised by the number of things that maybe they don’t know.  For instance, if you don’t sell on Amazon, you probably have no idea that an ASIN or Amazon Standard Identification Number is synonymous with a SKU.  Perhaps you have been offended when you heard someone talk about “CRaP”, when in reality it’s a commonly used Amazon acronym for products where Amazon “Can’t Realize a Profit”.  To address this, we have put together a comprehensive list of Amazon Terminology, Acronyms, and Abbreviations to help both neophytes and experts should they stumble across an unfamiliar Amazon reference. 

A

A+ = A+ Content

Manually created through A+ Detail Page tab in Vendor Central from custom templates. The A+ content appears on detail pages below the bullets and above Product Description.

A9 Algorithm

The A9 algorithm is Amazon terminology for a complex and highly proprietary search function on Amazon that serves up a set of product results in response to keywords that are typed in by the user. 

AAP = Amazon Advertising Platform

Amazon terminology for Marketing programs on other platforms to drive traffic to Amazon.

ACoS = Advertising Cost of Sale

ACOS is measured as a percentage showing you how much a sale costs you in advertising money. The lower the ACOS, the better an ad is performing. ​ ACoS = Ad spend / Ad sales​.

AL = Allocated

A replenishment term – used for Amazon private label.

AMG = Amazon Media Group

AMG is a program that runs ads outside of Amazon and on Amazon devices like the Kindle to drive traffic to the site.

AMS = Amazon Marketing Services

AMS is advertising on Amazon to increase rankings and impressions.  Advertising is used to drive impressions on the Search Results Page.  Learn more about Amazon Advertising Strategies

AOV = Average Order Value

Average sales price for an ASIN for a determined time period. Because of Amazon’s fluctuating buy box price, ASP is an average view of the product’s price. ​ AOV = Sales / Orders. ​

ARAP = Amazon Retail Analytics Premium

ARA is an analytics tool on Amazon Vendor Central.  It is typically priced as a % of gross sales on Amazon and sold thorough an Amazon Vendor Manager.

ASIN = Amazon Standard  Identification Number

A 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier Amazon Terminology assigned by Amazon for product identification.  An ASIN is further delineated as a Parent ASIN or Child ASIN whereby SKU’s of different sizes, colors, flavors, etc. can be grouped together on a listing typically with the ASIN having the highest projected volume identified as the Parent ASIN. For example, with shoes, a parent is the style (Nike Jordan) where the child is the individual size/colors with the Style (Red, Size M).

ASP = Average Sales Price for an ASIN

Average sales price for an ASIN for a determined time period. Because of Amazon’s fluctuating buy box price, ASP is an average view of the product’s price. ​ Ordered revenue/ordered units​.

AVS = Amazon Vendor Services

Amazon Vendor Services is vendor-funded support service which provides a Brand Specialist at Amazon to support a Wholesale (1P) business on Amazon. Learn More about Amazon Vendor Services and Mistakes to Avoid.

Amazon Born to Run Program

A Self-Service program in Amazon Vendor Central where a merchant submits a request to Amazon requesting a full amount of inventory to drive product consumption over a specified period.  Any excess items at the end of the period can be returned to the merchant or they can provide Amazon with a 25% discount on any items remaining in inventory. Learn more about the Amazon Born to Run Program.

Amazon Coupons

Amazon coupons are dollars or percentage off offers that appear on the product detail page of an item.  Coupons require a checkbox selection in order to receive the discount.

Amazon FBA Fulfillment Fees

Fulfillment by Amazon is a flat fee per unit depending upon the size and weight of the product. 

Amazon Margin Guarantees

Amazon Margin Guarantees provides Amazon with a guaranteed target to hit a specific PPM that protects them if they need to price match.  Learn More about Amazon Margin Guarantees.

Amazon Promotions

Amazon promotions are incentives on specific products consisting of a percentage off, free shipping, or a buy on, get one (BOGO) offering.

Amazon Referral Fees

Amazon’s Fee for listing products on Amazon Seller Central.  It’s calculated as the greater of the referral fee percentage or per item minimum referral fee. 

Amazon Seller Fees

Amazon Seller Fees consist of an Amazon Referral Fee, a Fulfillment Fee based upon the size and cube, and a Storage Fee based upon the footprint for items held inventory over 30 days.

Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brands are Amazon ads that typically appear across the top of a search results page on Amazon.  It features a brand logo and up to 4 product listings. Ads are sold on a cost per click basis through Amazon Marketing Services.  Learn more about Marketing on Amazon.

Amazon Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display Ads, previously known as Product Display Ads, appear on an Amazon Product Detail Page.  They are part of Amazon’s Display Advertising Program, DSP. 

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Brands are Amazon ads that typically appear across the top of a search results page on Amazon.  It features a brand logo and up to 4 product listings. Ads are sold on a cost per click basis through Amazon Marketing Services.  Learn more about Marketing on Amazon.

Amazon Storage Fees

Amazon Storage fees are based on the daily average cubic foot volume for space that inventory occupies at an Amazon Fulfillment Center.  The fees var depending upon time of year, with a higher cost/cubic foot from October to December when space is at a premium for holiday shopping.  Learn more about Amazon FBA Fees

Amazon Subscribe & Save

Amazon Subscribe & Save is Amazon terminology an automatic delivery program where shoppers can save between 5% and 15% on items when they enroll in a replenishment program. The discount is funded by the Merchant.

Amazon Trade Terms

Amazon Trade Terms are Amazon terminology for Co-op fees.  They negotiated between Amazon and the Seller, paid by the Seller and calculated as discounts off wholesale price for Amazon 1P Sellers.  They typically include: Co-op, returns, damages, customer service.  Freight might or might not be included in the terms depending upon negotiations.   Learn more about Amazon Annual Trade Term Negotiations

Amazon Warehouse Deals

Amazon Warehouse Deals refers to products that have been returned, damaged, used, or refurbished.  They are typically in “good” condition but because they are no longer considered “new” they are offered at a deep discount.

B

BOL = Bill of Lading

A type of proof of delivery. It is required by a carrier at time of pickup.

BOPIS = Buy Online Pick-up in Store

An eCommerce term referring to the shopping model whereby consumers buy directly from brands or retailers and pick the item up at a retail location.

BR = Basic RP

Replenishment term – used for manual orders or high-priced items.

Best Deal Promotions

Promotions running up to 2 weeks that appear on Amazon’s “Today’s Deals” page providing increased visibility for the Merchant.

Brand Analytics

Brand Analytics is an analytics tool on Amazon Seller Central.  It offers data including keywords, market basket analysis, click and conversion, share, search terms, demographics, etc.  It is available at no charge to Brand Registered Marketplace Sellers.

Brand Code

Brand-specific code linked to Vendor Code and Brand Name.  Links an ASIN to a vendor, brand name, and brand store. Brand store is at blue link at the end of the product title on the detail page.  This makes coupons easier to create by grouping ASINs by brand in VC and ensures the ASIN(s) show in the brand’s store page (link on detail page underneath title).

Brand Name

The brand name currently written on the product’s packaging. This should be changed each time packaging changes to avoid receiving issues caused by a title/brand name/packaging conflict.

Brand Registry

Amazon terminology for a program developed to give brand owners increased control of their listings on Amazon.  It allows trademarked brands to have direct influence on the detail pages with regarding to images, content, configurations, etc.  The program also helps brands control listings of counterfeit goods.

Brand Store

A form of enhanced brand content utilizing Amazon templates to tell a brand story.  It is typically used to drive conversion and/or increase average order size when a shopper clicks on a Sponsored Ad.

Browse Nodes

Browse Nodes are Amazon terminology for the lowest-level product category (Department) on site that an ASIN can appear. Shown on the detail page at left side of search and on some detail pages at top left of the white space (e.g., Home > Kitchen and Cooking > Utensils > Sporks).

Buy Box

Refers to the featured listing on a detail page using Amazon terminology.  Typically, the buy box is an Amazon Prime listing and offers the lowest price.  Maintaining the Buy Box is critical to maximizing sales.  

Buy Box %

In order to win the buy box a product must be in stock, available for purchase for other reasons, and the lowest price. ​ Number of page views where a product appeared in the buy box / total page views of that product​.

C

Chargebacks

Amazon Chargebacks are fees levied by Amazon for Operational deficiencies for vendors selling Wholesale to Amazon.  Chargebacks can occur when there are PO confirmation and ship window delays, Receiving Issues related to barcodes or label content, Prep Issues when products received and do not comply with Amazon bagging and carton requirements, ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice) not being sent correctly from Vendor Central, and Transportation Issues related to failure to comply with routing request setup requirements. 

COGS = Cost of Goods Sold

The cost to manufacture a product. It might or might not include terms.

CPC = Cost Per Click

CPC is the amount of money you spend every time someone clicks on your ad. ​ CPC = Spend / Clicks​.

CPM = Cost Per Thousand

The cost per thousand impressions/views from an advertisement​.  Total impressions / 1,000​.

CRaP = Can’t Realize a Profit

This is specific Amazon terminology related to products that Amazon identifies as having low profit values, being unprofitable or items “at-risk” of being unprofitable.

CTR = Click Through Rate

Ratio between ad clicks and its impressions. A high CTR is generally better, indicating your ad is compelling enough for shoppers to click-through. ​ CTR = Clicks / Impressions​.

CVR = Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of shoppers who have clicked on your ad and purchased. ​ Ordered units divided by glance views​.

CX = Customer Experience

A term encompassing the multiple interactions that factor into the customer’s experience with a brand or retailer.

Confirmation Rate

A low confirmation rate indicates lost sales to Amazon, as there is a demonstrated customer demand that Amazon is ordering to that the vendor cannot meet. ​ Units Confirmed/Units Ordered​

Content

Content on Amazon refers to both visual and written content that appears on a Product Detail Page or a Brand Page.  It includes title, bullets, description and enhanced brand content on the Product Detail Page and additional visuals and written content typically telling the brand story on a Brand Page.  Learn more about Content Strategy.

Custom Enhanced Content

Manually created through A+ Detail Page tab in VC from custom templates. Appears on detail pages above Product Description.

D

DP = Detail Page

A Detail Page is the listing page where an ASIN is sold on Amazon.com. It is also referred to as a Product Detail Page and may contain a single ASIN or a parent ASIN with variations (child ASINs).

DSP = Demand Side Platform

Targeted advertising programs off Amazon that drive and retarget consumers based upon demographics and shopping behavior.

DS = Drop Ship

Drop ship refers to a scenario where the product is fulfilled and shipped by a third party rather than directly by Amazon. 

DTC (or D2C) = Direct to Consumer

An eCommerce term referring to selling products directly to customers, bypassing any third-party retailers, wholesalers, or any other middlemen.

E

EBC = Enhanced Brand Content

Below the fold content on the Detail/Listing Page.  Referred to as Enhanced Brand Content for Seller Central sellers and A+ content for Vendor Central sellers.

F

FBA = Fulfilled by Amazon

A fulfillment solution in Amazon terminology offered to Third Party Sellers whereby Seller-owned product is shipped and stored at an Amazon fulfillment center until it is sold to the consumer.  Amazon picks, packs and ships the order.  

FBA Fees = Fulfillment by Amazon Fees

FBA Fulfillment by Amazon Fees are variable fees levied by Amazon for warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping products under the FBA Model. 

FBM = Fulfilled by Merchant

An Amazon 3P/Third-party selling model where sellers manage their own product inventory, picking, packing, shipping as well as customer service or it is managed through a third-party logistics company.  Also known as MFN or Manufacturer Fulfillment Network.

FC = Fulfillment Center

Refers to Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers used to fulfill orders to consumers.  A Fulfillment Center location for FBA sellers is determined by Amazon at the time an order is created in Seller Central or in the case of Wholesale Orders, it is determined by Amazon and identified on the Purchase Order.

FFP Program

Amazon’s packaging program to encourage packaging that delights customers, eliminates waste and ensures product arrive intact and undamaged.  It offers FFP, Frustration-Free Packaging, the highest level of packaging certification by Amazon.  Learn more about Amazon Packaging Certification Requirements

FT = Fast Track

A glance view weighted in stock metric for Amazon.  In order to get a fast track offer, the ASIN must be in stock, win the buy box and be prime eligible. ASINs with Fast Track generally have higher conversion. ​ Number of glance views with a fast track offer/total glance views​.

Fill Rate

Fill rate measures the quantity that was shipped vs identified as being shipped.   Units Received/Units Confirmed​.

1P = 1st Party Seller

Amazon Wholesale or 1P.  Products are sold through the Vendor Central Platform.

Fulfillment Fees

FBA Fulfillment Fees are the fees charged by Amazon to pick and pack products as part of the Fulfillment By Amazon program.  The fees are flat for parcels under a certain size. Over-sized goods are charged a flat fee plus a cost/additional pound. Learn more about Amazon FBA Fulfillment Fees.

G

GV = Glance View

Number of times an ASIN is viewed. This is calculated on a child ASIN level; parent ASINS do not generate glance views. ​

H

Hidden Search Terms

Backend terms searchable by customers.  Open text search terms (limited to 500 characters) that show an ASIN in site search whenever a customer searches for a word in the Search Terms string.

Hybrid Selling

Hybrid Selling is Amazon Terminology for a blended selling model.  A Hybrid Selling Model for brand manufacturers involves selling as a 1P seller through Amazon Vendor Central as well as selling as a 3P/FBA/Marketplace seller.  Learn more about Hybrid Selling on Amazon and Is Hybrid Selling Right for Your Brand.  

I

IPI = Inventory Performance Indicator

An Amazon IPI score combines the past three months of sales, inventory levels, and costs into a single rolling metric. When an IPI gets below a certain threshold, sellers will be subject to storage limits which might hinder their ability to add new inventory or create new items.

ITK = Item Type Keyword

A set of search keywords chosen by a vendor, from a list Amazon maintains, that show an ASIN in search when a customer searches for any word(s) in the ITK string.

Impressions

Impressions refer to the number of times your ad has been displayed. ​ 

L

LBB = Lost Buy Box

The buy box can be lost to another merchant due to various reasons, most commonly where we are not the lowest price, or we are out of stock. Lost buy box directly correlates to lost sales, as there are captive consumers on the detail page ready to convert but are buying from another merchant. ​ Number of glance views where we lost the buy box / total glance views​.

Lightning Deals

Lightning Deals  are promotions in Amazon Terminology lasting up to 6 hours that are available in both Vendor Central and Seller Central.  Lightning Deals will appear in Amazon’s Lightening Deals category providing an opportunity to target deal-targeted shoppers. Program eligibility requires the following: Amazon sales history, a rating of at least 3 stars, prime eligibility, the product must be in new condition.  

M

Merge

After which one ASIN disappears from site. The ASIN that is being merged becomes the same ASIN as the ASIN being merged with. 2 types of merges are possible: 1) Retail-to-retail: Combining a vendor-owned ASIN and all of its data (including reviews) into/with another vendor-owned ASIN, 2) 3P to Retail: Combining a 3P ASIN with a vendor-owned ASIN because the 3P ASIN is not using the correct UPC/GTIN or, is using the UPC/GTIN but the Offer was created with a different ASIN.

MAP Pricing (MAP)

Manufacturer’s Advertised Price.   A brand can require authorized resellers to not sell below MAP.  Oftentimes, products being sold below MAP are secured by unauthorized resellers.  

MFN = Manufacturer Fulfillment Network

An Amazon 3P/Third-party selling model where sellers manage their own product inventory, picking, packing, shipping as well as customer service or it is managed through a third-party logistics company.  Also known as FBM or Fulfillment by Merchant.

N

NIS = New Item Setup

Creation of a new item on Amazon.

NP = New Product

Replenishment term – after the first order has been received, RP code will switch to PR.

NR = Non-Replenishment

Replenishment term – possible for items to be deleted from catalog.

Net PPM = Net Pure Product Margin

A measure in Amazon terminology of Amazon’s profits after selling a product, including vendor funded coop – base, marketing discretionary fund (MDF), damage, freight, promotional funding, price protection, etc. A large gap between PPM and net PPM indicates high coop.​ (Product Revenue – Product COGS + Vendor Funded Coop)/Product Revenue​.

New Product

Replenishment term – after the first order has been received, RP code will switch to PR.

O

OB = Obsolete

This is a Replenishment Term identifying that an item has been discontinued.

OS = Off Season

Replenishment term – item is not currently in season, can be used to temporarily unpublish an item that will be back in stock during a hallmark holiday or specific time of year.

Offer

A quantity of an ASIN (or Amazon SKU) sold at a price.  A 3rd party seller wishes to sell an existing Retail ASIN, and creates an offer using the same ASIN. If the UPC/GTIN doesn’t exist on Amazon, the only offer will be the new 3rd party ASIN. Amazon’s best practice is to ensure all offers of the same unique product use the same ASIN and Product ID (UPC/GTIN). If they aren’t, a merge may be recommended.

Ordered Product Sales

Customer sales, also referred to as ordered revenue​.

Ordered Revenue

Customer sales, also referred to as ordered product sales (OPS), revenue, or product revenue​.  Ordered units * ASP​.

Ordered Units

Total number of units ordered by the customer over selected reporting period​.

P

PDP = Product Detail Page

A Product Detail Page is the listing page where an ASIN is sold on Amazon.com. It is also referred to as a Detail Page and may contain a single ASIN or a parent ASIN with variations (child ASINs). 

PPM = Amazon Pure Profit Margins

A measure of Amazon’s profit margins after selling your product​.  In Amazon terminology, Pure Profit Margin is the same as net profit margin.  (Product Revenue – Product COGS) /Product Revenue​.  Learn more about Amazon Margins.

Page Views

Number of times your ASIN is viewed. This is calculated on a child ASIN level; parent ASINs do not generate glance views. Page view percentage indicates how many page views your SKU/ASIN received relative to total number of page views for all your products. ​Number of page views for an ASIN / total number of page views for all your products​.

PR = Planned Replenishment

Replenishment term – used for items that are automatically reordered.

Prime Day

Prime Day is Amazon terminology for a major shopping day created by Amazon.  It typically occurs in mid-July.  Learn more about Amazon Prime Day.

PVR = Provisions for Receivables

Provision for Receivables are temporary credit memos, i.e. holds, that Amazon places on a Wholesale account related to forecasted payables due to Amazon.

R

ROAS = Return on Ad Spend

ROAS and ACOS are both indicators of the amount spend on PPC ads in relation to the revenue generated from ads. ​ ROAS = Ad sales / Ad spend​.

repOOS = Replenishable Out of Stock

% of glance views going to replenishable, out of stock items.  Number of glance views marked as replenishable but was out of stock/ total glance views.

S

SC = Seller Central

The Amazon platform used for Amazon Marketplace Sellers, often referred to in Amazon terminology as FBA, due to the high percentage of those who leverage Fulfillment by Amazon.

Sell Through %

Percentage of your inventory that you sold through in a specific time period​.  Ordered units / (Units on Hand + Units Received).

Session %

This metric is an indicator of how often customers are viewing your ASIN in their sessions​.  Sessions of one SKU/ASIN with at least one-page view / total number of sessions for all products​.

Sessions

Visits to your PDP within a 24-hour period. A user may view pages multiple times in one visit, resulting in more GVs/Page views than sessions. Storefront or browse node visit is not counted as a session. ​

Shipped COGS

Shipped cost of goods sold​.  It is the retail price on Amazon less direct Amazon Selling fees.

Shortages

Refer to charges by Amazon to Wholesale Accounts whereby inventory received is identified as less than the quantity of the Purchase Order.  The Wholesale Seller must refute these charges by submitting a ticket to the Help Desk and providing a signed Bill of Lading and other proof to get reimbursed for the variance.  Learn More about Amazon terminology related to Shortages

T

3P = Third-Party Sellers or Amazon Marketplace 

Products are sold through the Seller Central Platform.  They can be shipped from Amazon Fulfillment (FBA), Fulfilled by Merchant, or Fulfilled by a 3PL or third-party logistics company.

3PL = Third Party Logistics Company

A third party that assembles, preps and/or ships products on behalf of a seller. 

U

Unit Session %

Number of units purchased relative to number of customers who viewed the product​.  Number of units / number of sessions. ​

UPC = Universal Product Code

A machine-readable code to identify a specific product.  It consists of 12 numeric digits that are uniquely assigned to a product.

V

VC = Vendor Central

Vendor Central is the platform used for an invitation-only program where Amazon cuts purchase orders and sends them to the Merchant.  Merchants will work with an agency or manage their own Vendor Central Account as part of their relationship with Amazon. Also referred to in Amazon terminology as 1P or Wholesale.

VLT = Vendor Lead Time

The amount of time it takes for a vendor order to be picked, packed and received by Amazon.

Weeks of Supply (WOS).

Variations

Listing 2 or more ASINs on the same detail page that share at least 1 common attribute like size, color, flavor for ease of finding similar products. Each variation consists of a parent ASIN with 1 or more “child ASINs” that have been variated under the parent (on the same detail page).  Variations or variated ASINS share reviews across all listings on the detail page. 

Vendor Code

An Amazon-created code (e.g. EMCW9) used to identify a unique vendor of an ASIN or group of brands. Any ASINs created in an account containing a Vendor Code will automatically be linked and have their Brand Code linked to that Vendor Code.

VM = Vendor Manager

The Vendor Manager is the owner of a category or categories at Amazon for Wholesale programs.  They are responsible for managing full category scope, including P&L performance and end-to-end vendor management, which requires development of new strategic vendor relationships, driving negotiations, managing growth levers and ensuring paramount operational and logistical performance.  Learn More about the role of Vendor Managers.

VPC = Vendor Powered Coupons

Amazon Coupons are available to both Amazon Vendors and Sellers.  The offers appear on the Product Detail Page in the form of a digital coupon.  Offers include percentage off, dollars off, BOGOs, Free Shipping, Social Media promo codes, or Giveaways.  For Marketplace Sellers, the account must be a Professional Seller Account, it must be in good standing, and it must have at least a 3.5 Seller Feedback Rating.   Discounts are funded by Vendor/Seller.

W

WOS = Weeks of Supply

The number of weeks of supply to determine cover.  For Wholesale Merchants, the Amazon Replenishment Team will determine weeks of supply.  For Marketplace Sellers, they are responsible for managing their own inventory. Inventory Available plus Inbound/Average Units Sold per Week.  

Is Hybrid Selling on Amazon Right for Your Brand?

Is Hybrid Selling on Amazon Right for Your Brand?

Our latest insights YouTube video covers the important questions brand manufacturers need to ask, as well as benefits to consider before adopting a hybrid (1P/3P) selling model on Amazon. Andrea Leigh, Ideoclick’s VP of Strategy and Insights, discusses the four elements to consider when adding a 3P/FBA channel. The Amazon expert also covers the three main benefits brands can achieve when adopting a hybrid approach to selling on Amazon.

Tune in here.

Amazon hybrid selling model
Access our Amazon Negotiations Tracker Tool

Access our Amazon Negotiations Tracker Tool

Amazon vendors have been asking for help strategizing and managing their negotiations with Amazon. If you haven’t already closed Annual Vendor Negotiations (AVN), here’s a summary of everything we’ve previously published on the topic.

Articles

5 Major Pitfalls to Avoid When Negotiating with Amazon

How to Not Get Eaten Alive During Your Annual Amazon Negotiations

Podcast

The Jason & Scot Show episode on Negotiating With Amazon

Videos and Infocasts

Video commentary on margin guarantees

Negotiations Tracker

We have developed a handy negotiations tracker that can help you organize your current terms, Amazon’s ask, and plan your response. You can also calculate your total cost to serve as a percentage and dollar value to help you stay on your toes while negotiating.

Download Vendor Negotiations Tracker

Amazon Annual Negotiations – Common Missteps to Avoid

Amazon Annual Negotiations – Common Missteps to Avoid

If you’re a vendor with Amazon, it’s that time of year again: annual negotiations. Here are a few big mistakes that are often made in negotiating with Amazon, along with tips on how to avoid them!  

1. Not knowing your cost to serve Amazon

Amazon only includes selected terms in their email asks for a reason – hoping you’ll forget about the other terms they aren’t mentioning. Example: The email might mention the MDF and damage allowance, but not the freight allowance. As a result, the vendor doesn’t include the freight allowance when assessing their total cost to serve and signs up for more increases than they would have.  

We recommend creating a comprehensive list of your current terms with Amazon…or you’ll wind up paying more than you should. Make sure you use a tracker, like the one you can download via this link, and fill out relevant data in advance. When you have this on-hand while talking with Amazon, you can instantly determine how different terms can affect your total cost to serve. 

2. Signing up for unlimited funding, such as Margin Guarantees and CRaP allowances 

Instead of asking for back-payment for lost profits, or to keep CRaP items alive, Amazon has designed a new agreement type – Margin Guarantees. In addition to signing up for unlimited funding, these agreements will drive a disproportionate amount of sales to items that are lower profit for you.  See our video where we provide our perspective on margin guarantees, as well as some alternatives. 

3. Responding too quickly 

Unless Amazon is threatening to stop orders, stalling can’t hurt. If you’re not a top brand in your category, they may de-prioritize your negotiations. Several mid-market clients last year stalled long enough that Amazon simply extended their current terms for another year. Ask a great many questions, request supporting data from Amazon, and let them know you need time to review with your leadership.  

4. Trying to keep your CRaP alive 

If you haven’t already transitioned away from sub $10 price points on Amazon, you’ll want to start doing it now. You need e-commerce-friendly pack sizes that ship profitably for both you AND Amazon (and Walmart.com, Target.com, etc.) Let’s face it, soon, all sub $10 items will be sold in two+ packs online. If multi-packs don’t make sense for you, consider bunding different complementary products together. Also, request MOQs to be put in place for your sub $10 price point items. 

5. Not being vocal 

Many situations may exist in which it’s important to tell Amazon that you’re dissatisfied: Is Amazon holding your cost increase proposal hostage? Threatening to CRaP out half your assortment? Copying your product with Private Label? Putting Private Label ads on your pages?Annual negotiations are a great time to remind them of these issues. 

Current clients should contact their client success team with questions. If you’re not already a client and want to learn more about our Amazon managed services offerings, please contact us! Contact Us

Amazon Packaging Certification Requirements: How to Comply and Avoid Related Chargebacks

Amazon Packaging Certification Requirements: How to Comply and Avoid Related Chargebacks

Staring September 3, 2019, Amazon will require compliance with updated packaging guidelines: SIOC (Ships in Own Container, or minimum Tier 2) certification for larger products, or retail vendors will receive a $1.99/unit chargeback.  Here’s what you need to know to comply with Amazon’s Packaging Certification Requirements / Frustration Free Packaging Requirements:

As a 1P manufacturer selling on Amazon, you are well-aware of the many compliance guidelines and standards that must be met to utilize its platform … and that they are subject to change! Amazon packaging certification requirements may be complex, but it helps to understand all the related terms and the process for receiving certification.

Since Amazon will begin charging fees associated with non-compliance of Frustration-Free packaging on September 3rd for larger products, it’s important to get the packaging right, and start the process very soon. The testing and certification process can take up to several months, depending on the number of ASINs being certified. 

Although Amazon’s packaging guidelines are admirable from a climate and customer perspective, they may soon create significant headaches and chargebacks for those who weren’t early-adopters in certifying products under Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging

The Basics

Here’s a quick guide to the acronyms and terms you’ll see when navigating this program:  

Which Products Are Affected? 

The Frustration-Free Packaging/Ships in Own Container chargeback is applied only to packaged products that have not been certified as Tier 1 or Tier 2 (FFP or SIOC) and are greater than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or greater than 20 pounds. The chargebacks will not apply to some product categories, such as the Pet category. However, manufacturers in all categories can watch the progress of this program and presume that something similar down the road may be implemented…so best to get ready now! 

Which Products are Unaffected (for now)?  

The following ASIN classifications are currently unaffected:

  •       ASINs that have any Hazmat classifications (ex. ASINs that include Lithium Ion batteries)
  •       ASINs in Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh, or media 
  •       ASINs with its longest side less than 9″ or its shortest side less than 0.375″ or its median side less than 6″ (These are the minimum dimensions required to certify as Tier 1-FFP or Tier 2-SIOC).
  •       ASINs that are at least eight months old (i.e. more than eight months from the date the ASIN was set up) and have shipped fewer than 250 units in the trailing twelve months
  •       ASINs that are packaged for shipment to Amazon (ex. master carton) in an orientation that nests or interlocks the individual selling units to maximize freight cube efficiency 
How Much is the Chargeback? 

The chargeback will be $1.99 per unit. To help you estimate the cost of the impending charge until certification is received, Amazon has been assessing SIOC chargebacks (in waived status) to indicate which ASINs are impacted.  To see what your fees are likely to be, go to the general operational performance tab in Vendor Central and click on the SIOC tile. You can see detail into the chargeback data under the “view defect list” under “Total Chargebacks” on the operational performance tab in Vendor Central (example below).

Once you’re in the detail page, filter by chargeback type – SIOC and click “apply” (see below).

Why is Amazon doing this?  

Amazon Packaging Certification requirements are necessary because, in Amazon’s own word, the mission is “to optimize the overall customer experience by collaborating with manufacturers worldwide to invent sustainable packaging that delights customers, eliminates waste, and ensures products arrive intact and undamaged.” 

In addition to addressing environmental issues and improving the customer experience, Amazon is continually working to reduce prep and shipping costs. Overboxing items is expensive, in both labor and materials. Also, this could help Amazon fit more packages in a truck, which equates to a supply chain efficiency boost.   

Amazon has three levels of packaging certification for its vendors: 

Tier 1: Certified as FPP – Frustration-Free Packaging  

  •       No overbox required 
  •       Minimal damage/defect rates 
  •       No Amazon prep required 
  •       Easy open for the customer 
  •       Minimal packaging 
  •       Curbside recyclable packaging materials 

Tier 2: Certified as SIOC – Ships in Own Container 

  •       No overbox required 
  •       Minimal damage/defect rates 
  •       No Amazon prep required 

Tier 3: Certified as PFP – Prep-Free Packaging 

  •       Overbox is required 
  •       No Amazon prep required 
  •       Minimal damage/defect rates 

Note that product packaging smaller than the minimum dimensions of 9” long, 6” wide, and 0.375 high can only qualify for Tier 3 as it will require an Amazon overbox. Additionally, Hazmat classified products will not be eligible for any level of certification. 

The ultimate goal for vendors is to achieve Tier 1 certification. Although, items certified at Tier 2 will avoid the SIOC chargeback as well.

Refer to these official guidelines to find Amazon’s definitions and parameters for each requirement.  

Steps to Follow for Certification 

1. Testing 

To achieve certification at any of the levels, your primary ASINs must be tested with a third-party ISTA certified lab or APASS Lab according to desired Tier. For Tier 1 and Tier 2 testing, the ISTA6-Amazon (SIOC) test must be performed. For Tier 3 certification, the INSTA6-Amazon.com overboxing test method must be performed.  

After testing, you must submit the resulting ISTA6 packaging test report along with the enrollment and certification process through Vendor Central.  

Refer to this Amazon testing page to ensure that you are employing the correct test methods and report templates, which vary depending on weight and dimensions of the packaged product. This page also has an extensive video library illustrating the different test methods.  

2. Enroll and Certify 

Once testing is complete, enroll and certify your ASINs, following the process that is specified in this document. Note that the previous Amazon Packaging Certification enrollment portal is no longer operational. To enroll and certify your ASINs, you must now use the “Contact Us” function under “Support” in Vendor Central.

Primary ASINs must be individually certified, but secondary ASINs can be bulk certified. Secondary ASINs are those that retain the primary ASIN’s same shape, packaging design, material composition and have very similar sizing. See the form-factor certification rules for determining primary versus secondary ASINs. Each primary ASIN being enrolled needs its own enrollment template submission. 

3. Redesign, if necessary 

If you are unable to achieve packaging ISTA-6certification, you may want to consider a packaging redesign to comply and certify. This Amazon packaging design page and the APASS network should be helpful.  

Additional Tips 

If you haven’t already started working towards compliance, start now!  This process could take a while, and in the meantime, you’ll soon start incurring chargebacks.

Don’t attempt to short-cut the process. You must follow Amazon’s enrollment requirements properly. For example, use the required template for enrolling each primary ASIN (follow the example shown on the second tab of the spreadsheet). Amazon has even published very specific requirements for the naming convention when saving the enrollment template.  

Use Amazon’s published videos designed to help you with the process:  

          Walkthrough of the Vendor Enrollment Template

          Completion of the Vendor Enrollment Template for testing and certification 

          Vendor Enrollment ASIN detail assistance

          Packaging test method videos can be found when you scroll to the bottom of this page

It’s likely that this program will eventually be rolled out for almost every vendor on Amazon. For any future product launches where Amazon may be a sales channel, FFP/SIOC requirements must be evaluated.

Ideoclick is here to help. Contact your Ideoclick Client Success Manager if you have additional questions. If you aren’t a client, contact us to learn more about how we provide the full spectrum of operational and marketing services to build brand velocity on Amazon.  

How to Prepare for Amazon Prime Day

How to Prepare for Amazon Prime Day

Now that the Winter King has been slayed, it’s safe to say that Summer is coming. Of course, with Summer upon us, it’s time to get ready for Amazon’s Prime Day. If you not aware of Prime Day, we will let you on a secret – it’s a big deal and is expected to be even bigger this year. While Amazon has not announced the date, based on prior years we can expect Prime Day to he held on the second Tuesday of July. Here are some things to consider as you plan for this event: 

Promotions: Last year we observed a wide performance mix for clients that ran Lightning Deals. Categories such as Toys, Electronics, Luxury, Kitchen, Soft Lines, and Gifts did well. Others like consumables experienced less than stellar sell-through in most cases. If you are planning on running a Lightning Deal, keep in mind that all deals must be run at a minimum of 20% off and all ASINs in the deal must have 3.5 stars or better. On top of the discount you give to the customer, Amazon will charge you a merchandising fee of $500 for deals that run on Prime Day and $300 for deals that run during Prime Week. For those choosing not to run Lightning Deals, we recommend running coupons to help drive conversion during this high traffic period, especially if your product is a good fit for Subscribe and Save.   

Marketing: As with promotions, how you choose to set your AMS strategy should be dependent on the category of products you sell. The same categories that are a good fit for Lighting Deals are also a good fit for an increased AMS budget on Prime Day. Other categories should instead focus on leveraging the increased traffic on Amazon both pre and post Prime Day and set budgets accordingly. Additionally, incorporating a cross-channel marketing strategy in order to drive traffic to your Amazon deals from other digital channels is a best practice that proved to perform well for clients during Prime Day last year.

Operations: Even the best promotional and marketing plans will if the right amount of product is not in stock on Prime Day.  We are advising our clients with Seller Central promotions to ship the needed inventory four weeks prior to Prime Day. On the Vendor Central side, Amazon’s inventory planning system will automatically consider the impact of all approved promotions and order accordingly.   

At Ideoclick, our marketing services team are expert strategists and help our clients efficiently leverage the increased traffic around Prime Day. If you are not already a client, reach out to us at info@ideoclick.com to learn about how we can help.