It's easy to get lost in the alphabet soup and vernacular of our industry. Here are a few definitions of those you'll run across. This is a continuing article so as new terms are introduced, you can come back to reference them here.

Please contact us for anything you do not see and we'll be happy to include for the benefit of everyone!

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Manufacturer  -  Any company that goes to market with manufactured goods.

Factory  -  The facility that a manufacturer uses to produce partial or finished goods.

Wholesale Distributor (WD)  -  A company that purchases goods directly from many different manufacturers and houses them in warehouse locations. The WD then distributes those goods to jobbers and retailers at wholesale prices based on need. This process is termed 3-­Step Distribution (See Below).

Restyler  -  An installer shop that purchases manufacturer goods at wholesale prices and then installs those products and sells to dealerships. Also referred as a dealer expeditor. Depending on where the Restyler purchases the products (Buying Direct or from a WD), this process is also termed 3-­Step Distribution or 2-Step Distribution (See Below). The Unique position of this segment is the focus on aftermarket accessories for appearance and customization applicable to, but not limited to, late model vehicles.

Jobber  -  An installer/retail shop that purchases manufacturer goods at wholesale prices and then sells those products to consumers at retail prices. Also often referred to as a Retailer. Depending on where the Jobber purchases the products (Buying Direct or from a WD), this process is either termed 3-Step Distribution or 2-­Step Distribution (See Below).

Big Box Retailer  -  Term used to refer to national auto parts chains, such as AutoZone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly Auto, etc.

eTailer  -  An internet only Retailer.

Company Principle  -  An owner or officer of a company that has decision making authority.

Buyer  -  An employee of a company, be it a WD or Jobber, who is responsible for maintaining the inventory of a product for resale. This includes part information, pricing, inventory management, and purchasing. Sometimes refereed to as a Product Manager.

Product or Category Manager  -  Person responsible for reviewing and selecting products to add to a WD / Jobber / Retailer's product offerings. This position is often divided into categories, or market segments, such as Performance, Off Road, Truck & SUV, Tire & Wheel, etc. Product and category managers may be responsible for retail pricing, purchas­ing, catalog and website placement, and product data maintenance.

Manufacturer's Rep  -  A sales person that works for a manufacturer. A Manufacturer's Rep can work directly for a Manufacturer or can be employed by a Manufacturer's Rep Agency who in turn works on behalf of the Manufacturer. Typically, most Manufacturer Reps are assigned to a specific region and would call/visit the Manufacturer's customers, WDs and Jobbers, that are located in his/her region. While making those calls/visits, the Manufacturer's Rep typically presents new products with the Company Principle and/or Buyer, reviews any new Manufacturer policy changes, aids in Manufacturer related marketing discussions, trains in-­house sales staff and countermen about products, and may handle any accounting and warranty issues (if needed).

Manufacturer's Rep Agency  -  A Manufacturer's Rep Agency is a company that employs multiple Manufacturer Reps to represent a portfolio of Manufacturer clients. Manufacturer's Rep Agencies typically only work in a specific region and will represent multiple Manufacturers in that region.

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3-Step Distribution  -  This is a term for a distribution process. In 3-Step Distribution, (1) the Manufacturer sells to the WD, (2) the WD sells to the Jobber, (3) the Jobber then sells to the consumer.

2-Step Distribution  -  This is a term for a distribution process. In 2-Step Distribution, (1) the Manufacturer sells straight to the Jobber, (2) the Jobber then sells to the consumer. For Jobbers, this is referred to as Buying Direct.

1-Step Distribution  -  This is a term for a distribution process. In 1-Step Distribution, (1) the Manufacturer sells direct to the consumer. For Manufacturers, this is referred to as Selling Direct. For Consumers, this is referred to as Buying Direct.

Buy-In Requirements  -  The minimum purchase amount required (in dollars) for a Manufacturer or WD to open a new account with a new customer.

Payment Terms  -  The terms for which a customer will be billed. For example: Net 30 DOI (payment due 30 days from the date of invoice), Net 30/60/90 DOI (1/3 of invoice amount due 30 days of DOI, 1/3 due 60 days of DOI, 1/3 due 90 days of DOI).

Co-­Op Program  -  A program in which manufacturers partner with their distributors for various marketing programs. Costs for these programs are usually split with the manufacturer and distributor, or are paid for out of funds accrued based on a percentage of distributor's purchases.

Buy Back or Lift  -  Also known as a stock adjustment, this refers to when a Manufacturer or WD needs to buy back previously sold inventory from a customer, or buy inventory that is in stock from another Manufacturer or WD, because that inventory could not be sold at the intended sale price in order to make room for faster moving inventory within the customers business.

Lead Time  -  How long it takes for an item to ship after an order has been received by the manufacturer.

Field Destroy  -  The process of discarding or destroying defective merchandise by a retailer or distributor instead of returning it to the manufacturer. Typically an allowance is given to offset the cost of the goods destroyed.

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MSRP  -  Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price.

Jobber  -  An industry standard price point used to determine wholesale prices. Jobber price is typically between MSRP and WD price.

WD Price  -  Warehouse Distributor or Wholesale Dealer price. This is the price that WD's pay for products purchased directly from manufacturers.

Price Sheet  -  A list printed on paper, that lists part numbers, part descriptions, and pricing. There are typically different price sheets for the different levels of distribution.

Loadsheet or Setup File  -  An electronic file, usually in Excel or CSV format, that contains all of the information needed by a seller to load in a new part number, or change data on an existing part number. Typically this information is composed of some or all of the data in the PIES file.

MAP  -  Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) for a product.

Unilateral Price  -  The minimum sales price for a product. Also called a Colgate Policy. A unilateral pricing policy allows a manufacturer to set a minimum retail price, and refuse to sell to someone who sells below the minimum price.

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ACES  -  Stands for Aftermarket Catalog Enhanced Standard. Created by Auto Care Association, ACES is the standard for the management and exchange of automotive catalog applications data (vehicle fitments). With ACES, suppliers can publish automotive data with standardized vehicle attributes, parts classifications and qualifier statements.

PIES  -  Stands for Product Information Exchange Standard. Created by Auto Care Association, PIES is the management and exchange of product attribute information in the vehicle aftermarket industry. Product attributes include part numbers, product descriptions, weights, dimensions, UPC codes, digital assets, and pricing.

PIMS  -  Product information management system is the software platform for managing all the information required to market and sell products through sales channels. SEMA Data's PIMS system manages and distributes product data.

YMM  -  Year-make-model referring to vehicle's model release year and badged name by the car manufacturer. For example, 2010 Ford F-150.

Life Cycle Status Code  -  Allows manufacturers to convey part status (active, discontinued, superseded, available while supplies last).  When a part is discontinued, perhaps it is now exempt from MAP polices, and can be discounted to clear out remaining inventory.  Also, could be applied to a stock adjustment.

VCdb  -  Vehicle Configuration database is a fully normalized, relational database, that is used in conjunction with the Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES). The VCdb contains light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles, powersports, off-highway, and equipment configurations and attributes for vehicles, powersports, off-highway, and equipment sold in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. The database is available as a paid subscription from Auto Care.

PCdb  -  Product Classification database is a fully normalized, relational database, that is used in conjunction with the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES), Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and Internet Parts Ordering (IPO). The PCdb is a product classification hierarchy, which standardizes product terminologies in a coded manner. The database is available as a free subscription from Auto Care.

PAdb  -  The Product Attribute database is an Auto Care industry standard reference database to be used in conjunction with the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES). The PAdb standardizes the way product-specific performance and physical attributes are exchanged between trading partners. The database is available as a paid subscription from Auto Care.

API -  An application programming interface is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other using a set of definitions and protocols. An information exchange is usually between a "client" and "server." The API sending the request is called the client, and the one sending the response is called the server. The most common API type is a "pull" or REST API.

XML  -  Extensible Markup Language is used to describe data. The XML standard is a flexible way to create information formats and electronically share structured data. Both the ACES and PIES file exchange are delivered via XML as part of the standards.

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B2B (Business to Business)  -  The term "business-­to-­business" was originally coined to describe the electronic communications between businesses or enterprises in order to distinguish it from the communications between businesses and consumers ("business-­to-­consumer"). It eventually came to be used in marketing as well. Today it is widely used to describe all products and services used by enterprises. Many professional institutions and trade publications focus much more on B2C than B2B, although most sales and marketing personnel are in the B2B sector.

B2C (Business to Consumer)  -  Business-­to-­consumer (B2C, sometimes also called Business-­to-­Customer) describes activities of businesses serving end consumers with products and/or services. While all retail sales are technically B to C, in most cases this phrase is used to describe companies that participate in online retail sales, either through marketing to the consumer or selling directly to the consumer. B to C can also be used as a marketing term to describe communication from a business to the potential customer through marketing, advertising and public relations.

BOPIS or OTO (Buy Online, Pick up In Store, Online to Offline)  -  Offering BOPIS/OTO has grown as shoppers become too busy to browse items in-store and are more comfortable buying online but like the safety and shipping cost reduction when they pick up the item from a store versus having packages left on their doorstep. BOPIS/OTO also allows retailers to blend the online and in-store experience to engage with customers while offering a more convenient way to shop. Variations from BOPIS would be BOPAC (buy online, pick up at curb), BORIS (buy online, return in store), and ROPIS (reserve online, pick up in store). Each strategy requires planning to execute an experience that would engage and excite the customers to continue coming back. Learn from large retailers like Target, Home Depot, Walmart and grocers to see how you want to put a program together for your customers.

Traditional Media  -  This term usually describes print (magazines and newspapers), radio and television outlets. When working on marketing, public relations or advertising campaign, traditional media refers to anything outside the digital realm.

Digital Marketing  -  At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. Using these online media channels, digital marketing is the method by which companies endorse goods, services, and brands.

Social Media  -  Refers to the use of web and mobile based technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, allowing the creation and exchange of user-­generated content. In contrast with traditional media, which involves one-­way communication, social media encourages two-­way interaction. Social media includes everything from peer-­to-peer networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn), to video sharing services (YouTube, Vimeo) and photo sharing sites (Flickr, Google Photos). Some social media applications are designed to promote content creation, distribution and interaction by blending all of the above (Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok). Finally, location based social media utilizes mobile devices and social media to promote brick-­and-­mortar companies, by encouraging consumers to check in at locations to earn points and discounts, write reviews, etc. (Yelp, Google Maps).

Jobber Trade Show  -  A regional show that typically hosted by a WD. The WD will schedule the date and time, schedule the manufacturing partners that they want to exhibit, and then bring in their best customers to meet the manufacturer reps.

Parts Search or Look-Up  -  This phrase is used to refer to an online application that is used to look up vehicle parts based on year, make & model.

PR  -  Public Relations. Using the news, enthusiast or trade press to carry positive stories about your company, products or services; cultivating a good relationship with local and national press representatives. In the new media era, PR can also include direct interaction with the consumer and brand management through social media channels.

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