eCommerce Shipping Glossary

What To Expect:

Glossary of Acronyms: For common terms, programs, and agencies used in shipping and fulfillment.
Glossary of Shipping and Logistic Terms: For understanding the language in the industry.

Glossary of Acronyms


3PL - Third Party Logistics

  • A company that provides logistics services to handle various aspects of the supply chain, including transportation, warehousing, and distribution.

ASN - Advanced Shipping Notice

  • A notification sent by a supplier to a buyer or retailer in advance of a shipment's arrival, providing details about the contents and expected delivery.

BOL or B/L - Bill of Landing

  • A legal document issued by the carrier, providing details about the shipment, including the type of goods, quantity, and terms of transportation.

COD - Cash on Delivery

  • A payment method in which the customer pays for the goods at the time of delivery.

DDP Shipping - Delivery Duties Paid

  • International designation which determines that the duties are to be paid by the shipper.

DDU Shipping - Delivery Duties Unpaid

  • International designation which determines that the duties are to be paid at the point of delivery; the buyer is responsible for paying customs duties, taxes, and fees.
  • Alternatively referred as Delivered-at-Place (DAP)

DDU (usps) - Destination Delivery Unit

  • The post office location where mail carriers originate from to deliver letters and packages.

DG - Dangerous Goods

  • Items that need to be called out on the label and packaging as they can have a flash point, or liquid that has flammable content and needs to be handled differently than non-DG packages.

DIM? - Dimensional Weight

D2D? - Door 2 Door

EDI - Electronic Data Interchange

  • A computer-to-computer exchange of business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notifications, typically used for seamless data transmission between trading partners.

ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning

  • A software system that integrates various business functions and processes, including inventory management, finance, human resources, and more, to streamline operations and data management.

ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival

  • The anticipated time when an overseas shipment is expected to arrive at its destination based on various factors like distance, traffic, and weather conditions.

ETD? - Estimated Time of Departure

FOB - Free On Board

  • This term indicates that the seller is responsible for the cost and risk of delivering goods to a named port of shipment.

FIFO - First In, First Out

  • An inventory management method where the oldest inventory is sold or used first to minimize spoilage or obsolescence.

FTL - Full Truckload

  • A shipment that occupies the full capacity of a truck, typically used for larger quantities or shipments that require dedicated space.

HAZMAT - Hazardous Materials

  • Goods that pose potential risks to health, safety, property, or the environment during transportation, requiring special handling, documentation, and compliance with regulations.

HS? - Harmonized System

HTS? - Harmonized Tariff System

JIT - Just-in-Time

  • A production and inventory management strategy used in a supply chain where goods are manufactured or received just in time to fulfill customer orders, minimizing the need for excess inventory.

LCL - Less Than Container Load

  • A term used in ocean freight for shipments that do not fill a full container and are consolidated with other shipments in a shared container.

LTL - Less Than Truckload

  • Refers to shipments that do not require a full truckload and are combined with other shipments to optimize transportation costs.

NDC?(usps) - Network Distribution Center

  • The NDC network consists of strategically located automated facilities that serve as centralized mail processing and transfer points for designated geographic areas, including Area Distribution Centers (ADCs), Sectional Center Facilities (SCFs), and auxiliary service facilities (ASFs).

OMS - Order Management System

  • Software or system that manages and tracks customer orders, inventory levels, and order processing in eCommerce operations.

PIM - Product Information Management

  • A system or software that centralizes and manages product-related data and information, ensuring consistency and accuracy in product listings across various sales channels.

PO - Purchase Order

  • A document issued by a buyer to a seller, specifying the products or services to be purchased, quantities, prices, and other terms and conditions.

POD - Proof of Delivery

  • A document or digital record that confirms the delivery of goods to the consignee and includes relevant details like date, time, and recipient's signature.

QC - Quality Control

  • The process of inspecting and verifying the quality and compliance of products with established standards and specifications.

RFID - Radio-Frequency Identification

  • A technology that uses radio waves to identify and track items or products, commonly used in inventory management and supply chain tracking.

RMA - Return Merchandise Authorization

  • The process of authorizing and managing product returns from customers, including returns due to defects or dissatisfaction.

SCF - Sectional Center Facility

  • A processing and distribution center of the United States Postal Service (USPS) that serves a designated geographical area defined by one or more three-digit ZIP Code prefixes. The SCF routes mail between local post offices, Network Distribution Centers (NDC), and Surface Transfer Centers, which form the backbone of the network.

SCM - Supply Chain Management

  • The coordination and control of activities involved in getting goods from the manufacturer or supplier to the end customer, including transportation, procurement, and logistics.

SKU - Stock Keeping Unit

  • A unique identifier assigned to a specific product or item within a retailer's inventory management system.

SLA - Service Level Agreement

  • A contractual agreement that specifies the level of service or performance expected from a service provider in eCommerce and logistics.

TMS - Transportation Management System

  • Software or system that helps plan, optimize, and manage transportation operations, including routing, carrier selection, and shipment tracking.

WMS - Warehouse Management System

  • Software or system that tracks and manages various warehouse operations, including inventory management, order picking, and shipping.

WMS - Warehouse Management System

  • Software or system that tracks and manages various warehouse operations, including inventory management, order picking, and shipping.

Programs & Products

FBA - Fulfillment by Amazon

  • An eCommerce fulfillment service offered by Amazon, where Amazon stores, picks, packs, and ships products on behalf of third-party sellers.

FBM(Amazon) - Fulfilled by Merchant

  • A fulfillment method where the seller lists products on Amazon, but manages storage, packing, shipping of orders to customer, and customer support, either in-house or through a third party.

SFP(Amazon) - Seller Fulfilled Prime

  • A program offered by Amazon that allows sellers to display the "Prime" badge on their products, indicating that they meet Amazon's fulfillment and shipping standards to provide Prime-like delivery to customers.

MCF - Multi Channel Fulfillment

Reporting & Calculation Metrics

AOV - Average Order Value

COGS - Cost of Goods Sold

IPT - Items per Transaction

KPI - Key Performance Indicator

MOQ - Minimum Order Quantity

NOM - Net Operating Margin

P&L - Profit and Loss

ROI - Return on Investment

RFP - Request for Proposal

TTH - Time To Home

  • The amount of time it is taking a package to travel from warehouse to delivery door.

Agencies & Regulations

CMR - Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road

  • An international road transport agreement that establishes the liability and obligations of carriers in the movement of goods by road.

INCOTERMS - International Commercial Terms

  • A set of standardized terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce, defining the rights, responsibilities, and risks between buyers and sellers in international trade.

Glossary of Shipping & Logistic Terms


  • A company or individual that transports goods by sea, land, or air and is responsible for the safe delivery of the shipment.


  • A logistics practice where incoming goods are unloaded from an incoming trailer and then immediately loaded onto outbound trailers for efficient distribution.

Customs Clearance

  • The process of complying with customs regulations and obtaining permission to import or export goods across national borders.


  • A fulfillment method where a retailer does not keep inventory but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to a manufacturer, wholesaler, or third-party fulfillment provider who handles the shipping.

Freight Forwarder

  • A company that specializes in the management and coordination of international transportation and shipments on behalf of shippers.

Freight Rate

  • The price charged for transporting goods from one location to another, typically calculated based on factors like weight, distance, mode of transportation, and additional services required.


  • Large box to hold a bundle of packages, including both boxes and bags, used to transport larger amounts of packages at one time.

Last Mile Delivery

  • The final leg of the supply chain, where goods are delivered to the end customer's doorstep or specified location.


  • A flat structure, typically made of wood or plastic, onto which goods are loaded for ease of transportation and handling.


  • The process by which a mailer prepares mail so that it is sorted to the finest extent required by the standards for the price claimed. Generally, presort is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level to the highest level, to those destinations specified by standard and is completed at each level before the next level is prepared. Not all presort levels are applicable to all mailings.

Reverse Logistics

  • The process of managing the return, repair, or disposal of products from the point of consumption back to the manufacturer or proper disposal facilities.


  • To separate mail by a scheme or ZIP Code range; to separate and place mail into a carrier case; to distribute mail by piece, package, bundle, sack, or pouch. (Also see primary, secondary, and tertiary.)


  • A tax or duty imposed on imported or exported goods by a government, typically used to protect domestic industries or generate revenue.


  • The handling, storage, and management of goods in a warehouse or distribution center before they are shipped to their final destination.

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