Marketplace Jargon Buster

23 Jan 2017 4 min read

Whether you’re new to the scene or an old hand at buying and selling online, the terminology is ever-changing and can be confusing. Beat the competition and deepen your understanding with our handy guide.


Let’s start with something which is completely vital to online retail. Receiving reviews from your customers is referred to as ‘feedback’ and is the best way of communicating to potential buyers the quality and reliability of your products. Alternatively, if you’re buying online, always look for customer feedback as this is the least biased and easiest way of finding out what a product is like in real life. There may also be advice about delivery speeds which will be helpful if you need your items in a hurry.

Seller Rating

Many sites grant users a ‘seller rating’. This is an easy way for customers to see at a glance how reliable you are likely to be as a seller, and many users will make a decision about which product to buy based on this rating. These ratings are likely to be granted on a mixture of how you interact with your host site (how long you take to respond to sales requests, send parcels out, etc), and your average customer feedback rating. If you feel that your seller rating is unfair, or not representative of the kind of service you are providing, there may be an appeal process, so check the seller section of your chosen site.


There are lots of websites which make it easy for you to sell to your customers without having to go through a website of your own (or alongside it). However, this comes at a price, and this is known as commission. Commission is usually calculated as a percentage of the value of the products you sell. In return, you get greater exposure to potential customers by going through a bigger platform with more traffic.

Proxy Bidding

You may be familiar with the idea of bidding for products on an online auction like eBay, but did you know that you can have a program do the hard work for you? This is known as proxy bidding and when the service is available, you simply have to enter your maximum bid and let the technology do the hard work. It will then let you know whether or not you’ve won when the bidding closes.


When selling high-value products online by auction, setting a reserve price can be a good idea. For a small fee, setting a reserve price means that if no-one bids higher than the amount you suggest, you don’t have to sell.

Fulfilment by Amazon

Packing, addressing and sending dozens of parcels can get very time-consuming very quickly. In response to this, Amazon have set up a service called Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) which can do the heavy lifting for you, meaning you can focus on making your products and growing your business. All you need to do is send your inventory to a FBA centre, and they store, pack and send parcels on your behalf as the sales come in. They charge only on a pay-per-use model, meaning there isn’t a minimum requirement for the quantity of product you produce.


These appear in various forms all over the internet, and are a really useful way of finding out information or having questions answered. Websites such as Amazon and eBay have forum sections (for example the eBay Community discussion forum), where users can post their own questions, which then receive responses either from other users or from customer service representatives. You might have to set up an account to participate, but they are free of charge, so if you come across any jargon we haven’t busted for you here, or have a problem with your online buying or selling experience, these forums are the place to go.


In our article about how to write a perfect eBay listing title, we looked at how abbreviations can be used to convey information about your item, whilst staying under the limit of 80 characters. Here’s some of the most commonly used examples;

BIN – Buy It Now
BNIB – Brand New, In Box
BNWT – Brand New, With Tags
NWOT – New Without Tags
EUC – Excellent Used Condition
HTF – Hard To Find
NBW – Never Been Worn
S/O – Sold Out
VGC – Very Good Condition

Important Note

The way you access Parcelforce services through eBay has changed. If you usually access our services through the eBay shipping platform, you will find that this option is unavailable from Friday 30th June 2017. But you can still access our special eBay rates through Paypal – click here to find out more. There are no changes if you access our services on, at a Post office® branch or depot.

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