Get to know the Industry Lingo
Congrats! You got a new job in sales!
And there is literally so much that everyone around you expects you to know that you think you might throw yourself into the sea.
I get it. You could learn on the job, ask questions, that’s good right?
Well, maybe not. With something as simple as the vocabulary that an industry uses, you can’t really ask questions because you don’t have the words to ask for more info about the things you don’t know. Frustrating.
And by not knowing the basics you are reflecting poorly, not only on yourself, but also on the company that hired you.
So, inspired by a sweet boy who annoyed me recently by not knowing the term SKU, I decided to compile this little mini dictionary.
WholeSale – The sale of goods by the case for resale by a private seller
Retail – the sale of goods by piece by a private seller (grocery store, clothing shop, deli) to the consumer.
Distributor – the company responsible for buying products from many different brands in HUGE quantities and then reselling them at a profit to many different Retailers. Distributors may also represent the brands they carry in a positive light to their prospective retail customers.
Rep – Short for Representative. A brand rep may work for one particular brand and be responsible for greeting buyers and retail shop managers and representing themselves, their company and the products in a positive light. A Rep working for a distributor may have to do this for several brands or coordinate with several individual brand reps as well as count inventory, record losses, take pictures, report back to brands regarding a products sales. In either case, a rep might be able to offer some hot deals of the day in order to make a buyer more likely to buy.
Case Stack – a Case Stack is a volume discount offered to a retailer by a rep. If the retailer is willing to take on 20 cases of a product at once, they will be able to do so for a 20% total discount.
Broker – A Rep who represents many brands but functions independently from any one distributor. A Broker is a third party hired by the brand to expedite sales and represent the products to a variety of retailers. In the food industry, a broker may be necessary to keep growth moving at a steady rate at a cost cheaper than their own sales team.
FreeFill – A 100% discount, usually given to retailers on a new placement as incentive to try it.
Turn Over – When a rep or broker who is not directly associated with the distributor that carries their product wants to give a retailer a discount on merchandise they do so by submitting a Turn Over for the retailer. Then it is up to the retailer to communicate to their distributor that they want to take the merchandise with the agreed upon discount. A retailer needs to give consent in order for the Turnover to ship. Turnovers generally expire one month after submission.
FullShip – When a rep or broker who is not directly associated with the distributor that carries their product wants to give a retailer a discount on merchandise they do so by submitting a FullShip for the retailer. Then it is up to the retailer to communicate to their distributor that they want to take the merchandise with the agreed upon discount. A retailer may not be required to give consent to the distributor in order for the full-ship to ship. Fullships ship out on the next available delivery date.
Draw Down – When a rep or broker who is not directly associated with the distributor that carries their product wants to give a retailer a discount on several pieces of merchandise, they can do so by submitting a Draw Down for the retailer. A retailer needs to communicate with their distributor in order to access the Draw Down and will be able to specify how many pieces of the total Draw Down order will ship at the next available ship date. They can do the same the following week, until the Draw Down is either used up or expires after one month.
SKU – SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. A SKU is each unique product. If you make granola bars and you have four flavors, each flavor is a SKU, so you have four SKUS. If you decide to expand your brand by adding two flavors of packaged granola, you know have six unique items; six SKUS.
MSRP – Stands for Manufacture’s Suggested Retail Price. This is the price for a product suggested by the company that makes said product. By ensuring that at least most retailers that carry a product use this price, you can ensure that the ‘Going Rate’ for the product remains true. One store selling the product for too much will cause sales to stall. One store selling the product for too little will dilute the value of the product in the eyes of the consumer.
COST – cost can either be the price that a distributor purchases units from a brand for. Or it can be the price that a retailer purchases units from the distributor for. It depends the the context of the conversation.
Margin of Profit – To sell a product for what you paid for it keeps you even, but in order to profit you always have to sell it for more than you paid for it. Distributors and Retailers each factor in their Margin of Profit when reselling goods.
Demo – a period of time spent in one store sampling and discussing a product with customers and employees in order to create both a bulk of immediate sales and a steady stream of future return customers.
POS – Point of Sales Machine that all retailers use. If they sell items with barcodes, the POS reads the bar code on items and displays previously input information about that item (brand, flavor, size)
Sell Sheet – a piece of paper (nice paper) with images of each SKU a brand offers along with barcodes and relevant product information and flavor text. Reps distribute these to buyers so that buyers can keep them on file if they do that sort of thing, Mostly, the barcodes are useful for entering the products into the POS before the actual delivery, this way sales can begin seamlessly.
That is quite frankly, everything I can think of. To be fair, I am definitely missing plenty of terms unique to the fashion or merchandise industry. My experience is mostly food. So if you know any good ones that I missed, please let me know in the comments and I will make an edit.