Confused by Jargon?

Every industry uses specific words and phrases; the export industry is no exception.

Below, we’ve developed a glossary of terms and phrases to help navigate your export journey. They were originally published in Export and Expand.

We hope you find them useful. If we’ve missed anything, please get in touch!

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary
Vince Lombardi
American Football coach

Export Glossary

A&P – Advertising & promotion

AdWords – A Google product that places advertising copy next to search engine results

Aged stock – Inventory which is close to its sell-by-date

Airway bill – A contract between a shipper and an airline stating the terms and condition of transport

Aisle end display – The shelf display at the end of an aisle (passage) in a retail outlet

Ambient (products) – Dry grocery products which do not require special storage conditions

Authority to spend – An internal procedure delegating expenditure approval

Awareness – A benchmark used by marketers to measure consumer knowledge or familiarity with a brand or advertising campaign

Export process

B2C – Business to consumer. A business model involving companies selling products for consumer use

Back margin – The margins made by a trade customer in rebates, discounts, promotions and other incentives

Bank guarantee – A bond from a financial institution covering debt repayment to a pre-determined value

Benefits – The strong points of a brand or product which are relevant to consumers, shoppers or customers

Bill of lading – A contract between owner of the goods and the shipper stating the type, quantity and destination of the cargo

Blind test – A research technique to test consumer reactions to a product without revealing its name or packaging

Blind preference – Consumer evaluation of different products where the name or packaging was not revealed

Bounce Rate – the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting only a single page

Bottom-up – A micro approach to forecasting

Brand ambassador – Spokesperson for a product

Brand awareness – A measure of a product’s recognition amongst consumers

Brand positioning – A marketing practise to give a product clear and defined values, make it attractive to the target audience and unique

Brand story – The history of a brand, how it was developed and the consumer needs it satisfies

Brand switching – When shoppers change from buying one similar product to another

Branding – The creation, design and naming of a product to appeal to customers

Budgeting – To allocate sums of money for business operations and project expenses

Business development – Sales and other growth creation activities

Business model – The way a business operates to achieve sustainable competitive advantage

Business plan – A blueprint containing commercial strategy, key financial objectives and milestones

Call to action – A graphic or text which stimulates a response from a shopper

Case study – A practical example of a particular strategy or commercial activity and its effectiveness

Cash flow – The quantity of money being transferred in and out of a business

Category – A group of products with similar characteristics as seen by consumers, shoppers or trade customers

Category penetration – A measure of consumer usage of a particular group of products

Central distribution costs – The fees levied by a retailer for delivery to their own logistics centre

Certificate of analysis – A document stating the ingredients and processing conditions for a raw material or pharmaceutical product

(Trade) Channel– A group of customers with similar profile and characteristics

Check out – The register or place of payment in a shop, or online

CIF Cost insurance freight – The price of a product shipped to a named port in the export market

(Product) Claims – On pack statements concerning a product’s features and benefits

Close to capacity – When a manufacturing plant is hard pressed to produce additional volume

Commercial invoice – Bill of goods from the seller to the buyer

Compelling selling story – A convincing commercial proposal about a product or category shared with a customer

Concept – A new product or brand idea

Consignment – The exporter ships goods to the buyer agreeing to receive payment only when the buyer has sold them

Consumer – The person who ultimately uses a product

Consumer home panel – A market research process that tracks household purchase behaviour

Consumer loyalty – A measure of how bonded consumers are to a particular brand

Conversion funnel – the different stages in the shopper’s journey leading to a purchase

Core consumer and shopper targets – The most important consumers or shoppers an organisation is aiming to please

Corporate brand – Company name

Cost-plus – A pricing measure where a fixed profit margin is added to the cost

(Channel and customer) Coverage – A measure of which trade customers or channels are serviced either by a manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler

Credit terms – The number of days of credit given to a customer before payment is due

Cross promotion – A sales promotion mechanic linking the purchase of one product to another

Customs duties – A charge levied by customs for the importation of specific commodities

(Trade) Customer – A commercial entity that buys product from suppliers and sells on to shoppers

Ecommerce path to purchase

Days outstanding – A measure of how quickly a business collects money after a sale has been made

Data visibility – Continuous access to important information

Dead zone – An area in a retailer where there is low shopper traffic and the sales of all items merchandised are low

Desk research – Research undertaken using publicly available sources in libraries, specialist databases or on the Internet

DDP – Duty delivery paid. The price of a product delivered to the buyer at a named place in the export market

De-listing – When a retailer stops selling an item

Digital shelf – a measure of a brand’s online footprint

Direct marketing – A method of communicating directly with consumers

(Retail) Distribution – The number of shops (or other sales outlets) in a given area stocking a particular product

Distributor – A commercial organisation that buys goods from a manufacturer and sells them to retailers, hotels, restaurants and other trade customers. Some distributors have exclusive rights to sell a particular manufacturer’s products

Distributor agreement – A contract or business plan agreed between an exporter and a marketing partner

Due diligence – A detailed assessment of a business undertaken by a potential buyer prior to acquisition

E-Commerce – The sale of goods through the Internet

Eco – Environmentally friendly

Econometric model – A complex statistical formula used to forecast and predict business outcomes

Elevator pitch – A short introduction given to a new business partner about a company, its key products and their benefits

End customer – The final trade customer in a chain, typically a retailer or other outlet selling to shoppers

(Brand) Equity – The value of a product’s name, features, characteristics and personality as seen by consumers, shoppers and customers

Exclusivity – The sole rights to an activity

Ex-factory cost – The cost of a product as it leaves the place of manufacture

Extra-free pack – A product that contains additional volume to the standard pack but is sold at the same price

EXW Ex-works – The cost of a product as it leaves the place of manufacture

Export broker – An individual or company who facilitates international business transactions in return for a margin or commission

Export credit insurance – Risk management product to mitigate against non-payment

Export packing list – A document listing the seller, buyer, invoice number, date of shipment and quantity and size details

Export wholesaler – A commercial organisation based in the exporting country who sells and ships goods internationally

Export branding

Facebook audiences – A tool allowing advertisers to target ads to specific groups of Facebook users

Factoring – A financial transaction where a company sells its debts to another party in return for immediate payment

Factory efficiencies – Reduction in production costs

Features – The physical attributes of a product

Financial depreciation – The sudden drop in value of a currency

Financial goals – Revenue, profit and cash flow objectives

FOB – Free on board. The cost of a product including delivery onto a vessel at the port of shipment (but excluding international freight)

Focus group – A research methodology involving in depth consumer discussion

Food service – A trade channel including hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and other catering type customers

Forecast accuracy – The precision of preceding sales projections

Forecast variability – Uncertainty of a sales projection

FOREX – Foreign Exchange

Free stock – Goods supplied free-of-charge to a customer

“Front” margin – The difference between a retailer’s buying and selling prices

Fumigation certificate – A document proving the export goods have been disinfected

Functional (product) – Health products with specific or implied claims, often made from natural or unprocessed ingredients

GMO – Genetically modified organism

Goods and services – The product categories, brands and formats included in a sales agreement

Go-to-Market (model or strategy) – The way a business achieves competitive advantage regarding the distribution of its products

Gondola (display) – The shelf display at the end of an aisle (passage) in a retail outlet

Grey or parallel market – The legal trade of goods in distribution channels or countries which have occurred informally, without promotion by the manufacturer

GST – Goods and services tax

GTIN – Global Trade Identity Number. A product classification system

Export pathway

Halal – A product which is considered to be “clean” under Islamic law

Hanging unit – Display equipment containing product which is attached to a retailer’s shelf

Health certificate – A document used to verify the goods are fit for human consumption

Home market – The country where the exporter is based

HS codes – Harmonised system of product coding used by customs authorities to manage imports and exports

Import (Tariffs) – A tax paid on a particular class of goods

Importer – A commercial organisation who brings in products from overseas and sells them to third parties

Incoterms – Commercial trade terms agreed by the International Chamber of Commerce

Ingredients certificate – A document stating the full ingredients and processing conditions for a product

In outlet activation – The promotion of brands inside a retail store or other trade customer

In market study – Research conducted on the ground in an export destination

In store activity – Marketing activity carried out in a retail shop

Insurance certificate – A document verifying the goods are covered by insurance in the case of loss or damage

Intellectual property – Intangible assets like trademarks, patents and copyrights

Internal resource allocation – How monetary assets and staff are shared out within a company

International arbitrator – A person or body who resolves transnational disputes

Investment financing – The provision of capital to fund a business venture

Island displays – A large exhibit of product, usually found in the entrance or other high traffic flow area of a hypermarket or warehouse store

shopper marketing

Kosher – Food or premises which meet the requirements of Jewish law

Key account management (KAM) – A function within the sales organisation responsible for managing major trade customers

Keywords – words or short sentences typed into a search engine or retailer’s ecommerce site to uncover information

KPI – Key performance indicator. Benchmarks used by management for control

Landing page – the entry point for a website or a particular section of a website

LC – Letter of credit. An official letter from a financial institution guaranteeing payment for a specified amount and date

Lead times – The time taken from receipt of an order to delivery

Legal description (on a product) – A statement describing a product’s key features, usually printed on the packaging

License or franchise – The grant of usage rights to a third party for an organisation’s brand name, design, recipe, manufacturing technology or sales system for a fee

Listing (or slotting) – The agreement by a retailer to stock a particular product

Local operating company – A subsidiary company in an overseas country

Long – An expectation that an asset will rise in value

(Brand) Loyalty – A measure of how bonded consumers are to a particular brand

sales promotion cost, trade spend analysis

M&A – Merger and acquisition. The buying, selling and integration of companies

Main category shelf – The aisle or location in a store where a particular group of products are merchandised

Margin – The difference between the buying and selling price

Market returns – Goods delivered to a trade customer for sale but not accepted (usually for quality reasons)

Market share – Sales of given brand divided by the category total. A measure of brand strength

Marketing – The discipline of promoting and selling products

Marketing expenses/spend/support – Advertising and promotional expenditure

Merchandising – The activity of promoting goods specifically through their display in retail and foodservice outlets

MBA – Masters in Business Administration

MNC – Multinational Corporation

Mock up – A prototype product or packaging

Modern trade – Large, centrally run, chain retail groups, often present in multiple countries

Money back – A sales promotion mechanic offering the product free if the shopper is dissatisfied

National brand – A famous trademark product sold across the entire country

Net gain – The overall sales improvement after both positive and negative effects have been included

Net profit margin – A measure profit generation as a percentage of the selling price

Net promoter score – A market research technique to assess product satisfaction

Objectives – The commercial or financial goals of an organisation

OEM – Original equipment manufacturer; a contract manufacturer

Off-take – A measure of how often a product is purchased by shoppers

Open account – The exporter sends goods to the customer before payment is due

Opinion leader – A person or customer whose views are held in high esteem

Out-of-stock – Non-availability of product

OTC – Over the counter. Medicines sold directly to the shopper without a prescription

Packaged goods – Grocery products that are packed for sale

Period of agreement – The length of a contract

Performance rebate – A discount paid by a supplier to a customer on achievement of a sales target

Planogram – A shelf layout indicating what products are stocked and where they are displayed

PO – Purchase order

POS data – Point of sale data. Sales data which is sometimes shared by retailers with suppliers

Portfolio – Product range belonging to a company

POSM – Point of sale material. Signage placed in a shop or other trade outlet to advertise a product

PR – Public relations

Pre-registration (of imports) – Obtaining prior approval to import

Press release– A document issued (by a company) to the media (announcing a new product launch)

Price discounting – Reducing the shelf price of a product

Price per kg/ml – A measure of price relative to weight or volume

Price sensitive – A measure of how shopper purchasing behaviour shifts in response to price adjustments

Private label (or Own label) – A product sold by retailers with their own brand name or label

Pro forma invoice – An invoice prepared by the seller before shipment detailing the goods to be sold, their specifications and value

Product appeal – The evaluation of a commodity’s physical characteristics

Product benchmarking – The process of comparing similar products to identify differing ingredients, claims and manufacturing process

Product brand – The name or trademark of a commodity

Product description – The features of a commodity, for example flavour or aroma

Product efficacy – A measure of a commodity’s performance or satisfaction as seen by consumers

Product lifecycle – The commercial lifespan of a particular item

Product proposition – The key features and benefits of an item

Product push – Selling what the manufacturer can make, not necessarily what customers want

Product satisfaction – A measure of a commodity’s performance or satisfaction as seen by consumers

Product sourcing – Management of where commodities are produced and purchased

Product specification – The physical parameters of a commodity as designed by its manufacturer

Promotional activity – Tactics undertaken by a manufacturer to stimulate product purchase

Promotional advisors – In store demonstrators or sales staff

Prompt to purchase – The stimulation of a shopper to buy an item

Purchase frequency – A measure of how often a product is bought

Purchase intent – The probability of an item being bought

Trading terms
category dynamics

Qualitative research – focus group or in depth research technique that allows open ended questions; useful for understanding ‘why?’

Quantitative product tests – Testing a commodity using a large sample size so the results are statistically significant

R&D – Research and development

Raw materials – Ingredients and packaging costs

Rebate – An incentive payment from a manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler to a trade customer, like a retailer

Receivables – Sums of money owed by customers

Regional operating unit – A company or group of companies established in an overseas market to manage business operations, usually across a defined geographic area

Repeat purchase/rate – Secondary or subsequent purchase of a product by a shopper

Representative office – A subsidiary company in an overseas country that just exists to conduct research. A representative office cannot invoice customers

Retail – The sale of goods through shops or online

Retail audit – A market research process that tracks shopper purchase behaviour in retail stores or online

Retail selling price – The price paid by the shopper

Risk management – Action to mitigate against business uncertainty

ROI – Return on investment. A measure of profitability

Sales forecasting – The process of predicting future purchases from customers

Sampling and demonstrations – A sales promotion activity conducted to drive trial purchase of a product

Secondary placements – Additional displays of a product in a retailer, besides those on the main shelf

Segmentation – The process of classifying customers into distinctive groups for the purpose of deciding who to target

Sell by date – The expiry date marked on a product

Sell-thru – The on-going purchase and use of product in the market by shoppers and consumers

Sense check – Validate through cross reference or comparison

Sensory (test) – A research technique to evaluate a product’s physical properties like aroma, taste, flavour and after-taste

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Increasing the internet traffic to your web site or product page on an ecommerce site

Service offerings – Solutions and systems offered by a supplier in addition to the products sold

Shelf life – The length of time on a product before it expires

Shelf placement – The place and position on a retailer’s shelf where a product is merchandised

Shelf strips – Markings or branding on a retailer’s shelf designed to attract shopper’s attention

Shelf visibility – The measurement of a product’s standout on shelf

Shopper – The person who buys a product

Shopper marketing – The discipline of promoting and selling products across sales channels and store formats

Shopper trial – A measure of what percentage of shoppers initially purchase an item

SKU – Stock keeping unit. A single product item

SMART – Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, Timely

SME – Small, medium enterprise

Social media – Websites and applications that allow users to share content continuously

Steal or cannibalisation – The negative impact on a company’s existing SKUs when a new line is launched

Stock and order system – A method of inventory management and replenishment

Stock cover ratio – A measure of inventory compared to the forecast

Stock up – Buying product that will not be consumed (or sold on) immediately

Stock management – The process of controlling inventory levels

Stock out – When there is a shortage of product to sell

Strategy – The key activities a business follows to achieve defined objectives

Supply chain – The processes involved in manufacturing, distributing and selling a product

Target (audience) – The group for whom a product is intended

(Sales) Targets – The commercial objective(s) agreed between two parties

Template – A file which serves as a starting point for a new document. A business plan template for example has sections on financial objectives and key strategies

Territory – The countries, regions, cities, channels and customers covered in a sales agreement

Test market – Trial sales period for a new product in one or more outlets

Top down – A macro approach to forecasting and budgeting

Trade-ables – A list of requirements prepared in advance of a negotiation

Trade distribution (or penetration) – A measure of how many outlets stock a particular brand or product

Trade finance – Monetary instruments for supporting business transactions

Trade price list – A document issued by a manufacturer to trade customers listing product costs

Trademark – Words or symbols which have been legally registered to represent a company or product

Traditional (trade) channels – Old style retail and catering outlets that are typically independently owned and sometimes family run

Traditional media (or Mainstream advertising) – TV advertising, magazines, newspapers or billboards

Trial (purchase) – First time for a shopper to select and buy a new product

Trial sized packs – Smaller unit size products designed for trial purchase

U&A – User and Attitude. A market research process that explores consumer or shopper consumption or buying habits

Up-front payment – A payment made by a customer before receiving the goods

Up-selling – Encouraging the purchase of a higher priced item

URL – Uniform resource locator. Web site address

USP – Unique selling proposition. The distinctive features of a brand

Usage occasion – The reason(s) for consuming a particular product

Users – Consumers who have tried and use a particular brand

Consumer pricing
cost & margin breakdown

Value chain – The major activities and costs of bringing a product to market

Value for money – Customer’s assessment of whether a product is worth the money spent on it

Variables – A list of potential concessions prepared in advance of a negotiation

VAT – Value added tax

Visual identity – How a business presents itself internally and externally

Weight certificate – A document certifying the gross weight of a shipment

Wet market – A traditional market with many vendors selling meat, seafood, fruit and agricultural produce

Wholesaler – A commercial organisation that buys goods from a manufacturer and sells them to retailers, hotels, restaurants and other trade customers. Wholesalers typically do not have exclusive rights to sell a particular manufacturer’s products.

Wobbler – A small piece of point of sales material on shelf which moves to attract shopper attention

Working capital – Capital of a business tied up in daily operations for example inventory

Write off – When the value of excess goods, materials or packaging are absorbed by the business as an expense