This is the 3rd post in the series on “Business Terminology every online seller should know” and today we’ll be covering eBay & Amazon. If you missed out on the previous two posts, you can find them by clicking on these links:
I put eBay & Amazon together as these are the 2 most important selling platforms for us online sellers. Even though this list is geared more towards newbies, I’m sure that it wouldn’t hurt even experienced eBay & Amazon sellers to repeat some basics.
There are hundreds of specific terms used on both eBay & Amazon – I won’t be able to cover them all so what I’ve done is picked the most popular ones, the ones that I regularly get asked about, to clear things up once and for all.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Personal account – this is the “standard” account most people open when registering with eBay for the first time. A standard account allows you to buy and sell both used and brand new products on eBay.
Business Account – this is the account most sellers will upgrade to when they start to work seriously on an eBay business. Having a business account on eBay DOES NOT mean that you have to be a registered business. This is only a “Business” account in eBay’s sense and will allow you to qualify for various advanced selling tools and more! You can upgrade a personal account to a business account BUT you can’t change it back to personal after that.
eBay Shop – a paid, monthly subscription service which allows you to have your own shop within eBay’s eco-system. Shop owners get a certain number of free listings each month, based on their shop subscription level.
Years ago normal and shop listings were separated but nowadays, all listings are the same in search results. But owning a shop gives you more branding opportunities, options to create product categories, use the Promoted Listings feature and more!
Auction Listing – the “original” listing format eBay was started with. You start a listing with an opening price and let buyers bid against each other. The highest bidder wins the auction and gets the item after paying for it.
Fixed Price Listing – also called Buy It Now (BIN) listings. These are listings where you set the target price you want your item to be sold for. With fixed priced listings there is no bidding going on and you can sell multiple units of the same item from the same listing (with auction listings you sell just one item).
Best Offer – an additional feature you can use with your BIN listings. Best Offer means that buyers can negotiate the price with you – they can submit a lower price offer and then you can decide to accept it or reject it. You can also set a minimum acceptable Best Offer amount in your listing settings (to avoid total time wasters who want to buy items way below the market’s average price).
Reserve Price – when you use the Auction Listing format, you can set a reserve price. This means that item will be sold ONLY if bidders reach or exceed your reserve price. Usually this is used when listing very rare, expensive items, such as luxury jewellery or antiques.
In general though I do not recommend using a reserve price as that puts off a lot of bidders. People usually bid on auctions in the hope of grabbing a bargain but what’s the point if the seller has put a reserve price on it?
Obviously sometimes you don’t want to risk selling valuable item cheaply. In cases like these, I recommend listing the item as a BIN listing with the Best Offer feature enabled. This way you can set your desired target price but at the same time, negotiate with buyers who are seriously interested in your item.
Good Til’ Cancelled – a listing format which allows you to keep listings live for as long as you want – they never end! As long as you keep your stock levels up, these listings will never end and will simply automatically renew every 30 days, which means you pay the insertion fee once every 30 days, no matter how many sales you make from that listing per month.
Why are GTC listings so important? Because you can retain your sales history for many months and even years! Sales history plays a crucial role in eBay’s search ranking system – the more sales you have accumulated, the higher chances of getting those top search positions. For this reason most listings you see on eBay nowadays from Business sellers are in the GTC format.
Sales History – amount of sales any particular listing has accumulated over the whole time it has been active. You can check Sales History for any listing you want by clicking on the SOLD link right above the price:
The Sales History page will show how many items this listing has sold and it will even show more details for the last 100 transactions. This is very handy when you need to do market research on colours/styles/sizes etc. as you can easily calculate which product variations are most popular amongst buyers.
Power Seller – it’s a program within eBay that rewards sellers based on their sales and seller performance. There are various Power Seller levels, each requiring different achievements. These requirements are different from one regional eBay site to another so make sure to check your eBay website and seller dashboard to see what you need to do to get Power Seller status.
Top Rated Seller (TRS) – this is basically next level Power Seller status. While becoming a basic (Bronze) Power Seller level is quite easy, to become a TRS you’ll need to maintain perfect seller performance scores.
This means that you have to offer exceptional customer service, keep late deliveries down to a minimum, resolve cases with problematic buyers etc. I have summarised all this in my TRS requirements article.
TRS listings get higher placements in search results, the ability to qualify for Premium Service status and increased trust from buyers.
eBay Premium Service – another benefit of getting Top Rated Seller status as only TRS seller listings can qualify for eBay’s Premium Service status. If you’re a TRS you can get Premium Service status by offering:
- 1-day or same-day dispatch
- One FREE shipping option (can be a slow one)
- One EXPRESS shipping option (1-2 days, can be a paid option)
- 30 Day returns policy
Qualifying listings will get the Premium Service logo in search results.
Best Match – this is the default search result sorting option you get when you search for any product on eBay. Obviously customers can still sort listings by lowest/highest price and other info but most people don’t, they just stick to the default Best Match.
Best Match basically shows the most relevant search results based on many, many factors and our aim as sellers is to do everything we can to get higher positions in that Best Match search. The higher your listing appears in search results, the more views and sales you’ll get.
Cassini – eBay’s own search engine algorithm that sorts listing results for Best Match. Basically you can think of it as Google – when you search for something on Google, it gives you the most relevant pages out of millions of options.
The same thing happens on eBay when you search for a product. Of course – Cassini is nowhere near as advanced as Google’s algorithm and as we have witnessed in the past, quite often it is glitchy and shows weird results in search but it is what it is.
There are many factors that determine your listing’s ranking, like:
- Sales history
- Listing title
- Click Through Rate
- Conversion Rate
- TRS status
- Premium Service status
- FREE Shipping
Of course, no one knows the exact formula and how the algorithm works but in my opinion the most important elements are Sales History, Price and Conversion rate.
Promoted Listings – this is a relatively new feature on eBay where you can pay eBay a percentage of the item’s price when it gets sold IN EXCHANGE for higher search rankings.
This is a good method to advertise brand new listings and get those sales in quickly to grow your Sales History. However this will work only with items that are in high demand and not so well with rare items OR items in very crowded categories, like jewellery, where thousands of listings are competing for the exact same keywords.
Click & Collect – a delivery option that is becoming more and more popular. Click & Collect means that you, as a seller, will send the package to an Argos or Sainsbury’s store so that customers can collect it at a time that is convenient to them.
I strongly recommend you offer Click & Collect to your customers as it has shown to increase conversion rates.
Product Identifier – is a unique number used to identify a specific product. For example, books have a special ISBN number that catalogues and identifies each title. Then there are EAN codes which are the most popular product identifiers – every product you buy in a shop will have a unique EAN number.
Variation – when a product has multiple colours, sizes, styles etc., variations are used so that buyers can simply select which product version they want to buy from a drop down menu.
When you sell items with variations, you can set a different price for each variation as well as upload different images so that buyers know exactly how each one looks.
Variations can also be built in a multi-level structure which means – you can have Size & Colour variations for customers to select Size and then Colour. And eBay will track inventory for each variation so you don’t sell an item you don’t have in stock anymore.
Gallery Image – this is the main image that is show in search results and the first image in the listing.
It’s very important to create an interesting Gallery image so your listing stands out in search. In the past, many sellers used all kinds of graphics, text, logos to create gallery images that stand out but that’s no longer allowed on eBay (some are still doing it though).
So what you want to do is use creative photography to make your gallery image unique. It can be a different background to what others are using, or different set-up (outdoors for example), or a combination of both.
What you want to do is search on eBay for the product you sell and just check out what kind of gallery images others are using. Then, create something that is DIFFERENT so that it stands out in search!
Most people nowadays shop visually – they just quickly browse through the images in search results and click on the listings that they like the gallery image for. So do not underestimate how important this is!
Seller Hub – your main seller dashboard in eBay. In Seller Hub you can create and manage listings, dispatch orders, check traffic, sales and much more!
You can go to seller hub by clicking on this link OR when you login to your eBay account, hover over My Account and click on Selling.
I personally have just bookmarked the direct link to Seller Hub so each time I go to eBay, I go to Seller Hub automatically.
Global Shipping Programme – this is a shipping scheme that allows sellers to sell internationally without worrying about the logistics. All you have to do is enable the Global Shipping option for your listing and eBay takes care of the rest. If an international customer buys from you, you’ll send the item to a local (UK/US – depending on where you are) address and then it will be forwarded to your customer.
GSP is a quick and easy option to expand to international customers, however, as I revealed in my recent Global Shipping Programme article, it may not suit everyone and is over-priced for small/cheap products which can easily be sent via Royal Mail or USPS (in the US) at a fraction of the cost.
Basic Seller Account – just like on eBay, you can sell on Amazon with a Basic, free seller account. If you have an Amazon account as a buyer, you can simply sign-up for selling with the same details.
With a Basic seller account you’ll pay a fee for each product you sell on Amazon + a variable closing fee (similar to the Final Value Fee on eBay) and you will have limited account features.
Pro Seller Account – this is a paid subscription that costs £25 + VAT per month. With a PRO seller account you only pay the Variable Closing Fee for each sale and you don’t pay a fixed fee on every sale like a Basic Account owner does.
A Pro account also offers many additional features like Gift Wrap options and others.
If you’re serious about selling on Amazon, you should get the PRO account. The subscription will be recovered when you sell 35 items per month plus of course you’ll get additional benefits and features.
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) – is a fulfilment service offered by Amazon itself. It works in a way that you send your products to Amazon’s warehouse and they will take care of item storage, dispatch and shipping for you, for a fee of course.
The biggest advantage of using FBA is that Prime customers will get FREE shipping on products you store in FBA, which greatly increases your conversion rates and sales. And just the fact that you use FBA actually increases your sales as many people (including me) prefer to order items that are fulfilled by Amazon as that equals quick and guaranteed hassle-free delivery options.
You can use FBA for your Amazon as well as eBay and eCommerce sales!
Amazon Prime – a premium Amazon buyer account which gives access to:
- FREE one-day delivery
- Prime Video (a similar service to Netflix)
- Prime Music (a similar service to Spotify)
- And more!
European Marketplaces – when you sell on Amazon, you also get access to specific European Amazon websites:
You don’t need a separate account to sell on these European Marketplaces! When you sign up for your Amazon seller account, just make sure to tick the checkbox that says: “Sell on all 5 EU marketplaces”.
This does not mean you have an obligation to sell there, it just gives you more options when you want to expand internationally.
Sponsored Products – just like we have Promoted Listings with eBay, on Amazon we have Sponsored Products. But it works in a different way than on eBay – on Amazon you create Pay Per Click (PPC) ads for your products and pay for each click delivered.
If you have worked with Google Adwords before, it will be very easy to understand how this works. The concept is exactly the same but it’s easier because you don’t have to write ads – your product listings are used instead. So you just have to select keywords, set bids and monitor your ad performance.
Buy Box – it’s basically an Add to Basket button that is shown on any product page. But it is not granted automatically for all listings. For example, if multiple sellers sell the same product, the Buy Box will be awarded to just one seller – based mostly on lowest price (but not only that). So the seller who “owns” the Buy Box will obviously make most of the sales for that item.
But even when you are the only seller for a product, Amazon does not grant the Buy Box automatically in all cases, it may instead just show the “See All Buying Options” link from which you can then select to add that item to your cart.
The Buy Box is a rather complex topic that I can’t properly explain in a few short paragraphs. If you want to learn more about how it works, check out my Easy Auction Business video course where I have a dedicated video on the Buy Box and how to get it for your listings.
Seller Central – this is basically your Amazon seller dashboard (just like Seller Hub on eBay). When you login to your Amazon seller account, you’ll automatically go to Seller Central where all the information and tools are presented:
- Inventory management
- And many more!
What I like about Seller Central is that EVERYTHING is located in one place unlike on eBay where you sometimes how to wonder where one tool or setting is. Also, Amazon shows “?” in many places throughout Seller Central which, when clicked on, will open up a specific Help page for that function/tool. This is VERY handy when you’re starting out and don’t know how everything works.
EAN code – also known as European Article Number. It’s a 13 digit unique product identification code used to build up the entire product catalogue on Amazon.
Unlike on eBay where there are dozens, hundreds and even sometimes thousands of listings for the exact same product, on Amazon there’s only ONE listing for each product. If more than one seller sells that product, all offers are listed on that one product page.
This obviously makes search results and the whole Amazon product catalogue much cleaner as there aren’t countless duplicate listings.
If you want to sell your own brand products on Amazon or unique unbranded products that no one else sells, you’ll need to get a EAN number for that product. The only genuine and legal way to obtain these numbers for selling on Amazon is via the GS1 membership. Check out my EAN guide here for more information on how it all works.
And that’s it for today. As always, if I have missed something out, please leave your suggestions below in the comments box so I can add it to the list.
Next week, on Wednesday, we’ll have the 4th and final post in this series, covering the most important terminology used in the eCommerce world.
So stay tuned for that!