Amazon FBA is a great business, and like most businesses it has a number of abbreviations you’ll need to learn if you want to succeed. It can all be a bit difficult, so this week we decided we’d devote to the most commonly used abbreviations. Now you have them all in one place and you can refresh your understanding, or perhaps actually find out what some of them mean in the first place.
SKUs are Stock Keeping Units. All kinds of businesses have their own SKUs; IKEA has SKUs, each separate car part and spare has its own SKU, Walmart has SKUs (and you can look up to check availability). An SKU lets a business see where products are – in stock, out of stock, sold, whatever.
An FNSKU is simply a particular type of SKU, the Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit, the code for a product in Amazon. If you sell through FBA you’ll need an FNSKU to identify both what the product is, and the fact that it belongs to you and not to another vendor. Typically, it will go on a bar-code somewhere on your product.
An ASIN also identifies product; it’s the Amazon Standard Identification Number. However, it only specifies the products; if several different sellers have the same product available, the ASIN will apply to all of them. The FNSKU, on the other hand, will apply only to one particular seller’s stock of this product.
A UPC is a Universal Product Code. You could think of it as a version of the ASIN that you can use on any store or marketplace. You’ll need to have one for each of your products to sell on Amazon. However, it won’t identify the product as yours, so your stock can get mixed up with other sellers’ inventory.
Underneath the UPC you’ll find the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), or the EAN (European Article Number), or, for books, the ISBN. These are all specific types of GTIN, and you’ll be encoding it as a bar-code.
How do you get an FNSKU, by the way? It’s simple – go to “manage inventory” in Seller Central, make sure FNSKU is ticked in your preferences, and either print out your labels, or take a screenshot/PDF to send to your supplier. You can also ask Amazon to code your products (but they’ll charge for it, of course – another 55 cents on top of your other product fees, for each unit they label).
Now let’s go on to marketing your products, with PPC or Pay Per Click advertising. This comes with more abbreviations. First, you need to understand the CTR or Click-Through Rate, the percentage of shoppers who see your ad and click on it. You also need to know the CPC, Cost Per Click, which is what you will pay to Amazon (or Google, or another ad vendor).
To work out whether your ads are working, you can look at ACOS, Advertising Cost On Sales. This shows you how much you spend on ads for each dollar of revenue you make. You can also look at the same figures the other way around, that is, ROAS or Return on Advertising Spend – the income you get per dollar that you spend on advertising.
And finally, you need to understand the difference between FBA and FBM – Fulfilled by Amazon (Amazon delivers) and Fulfillment by Merchant (you deliver).
If you have that lot memorized, you’ve got everything you need to succeed in FBA. But I wouldn’t put it past Amazon to invent another few just to make your life difficult, so keep checking back!