eCommerce Lingo - A Glossary of Electronic Commerce Terminology

Author Justin Smith
by Justin Smith, CEO
Updated June 13, 2017

In the age of technology, business models and sales tactics are ever-changing. The internet is no exception to this! Selling trends that emerge today might be best practice tomorrow. If you are looking to break into the digital realm of eCommerce, these are a few terms to get accustomed with to give you a solid starting point.

eCommerce

The process of buying and selling online or electronically. This term may refer to online retail as a whole, or more specifically the transaction type.

Affiliate Marketing

This is a 3-party marketing process when a publisher and an advertiser join forces to market to the consumer. A company/website takes on the task of promoting a service or a specific product. This is the role of the publisher. They use any form of banners, ads or links and creatively market the product or service to the user, or in this case the consumer. The advertiser is the party with the product. They pay the publisher, which is often a  marketing firm, a fee or an arranged commission from everything sold.

Brick and Mortar

A business that has a physical store that customers can go to rather than just having an online presence.

Business to Business (B2B)

The process of selling services or products to another business, which typically then sells to the consumer.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

The process of selling services or products directly from the business to the consumer.

Call-to-Action

Typically a slogan or phrase, this is the action you are persuading the user to take. Sometimes it can be "shop now, buy today, get a quote," or typically anything that leaves the audience with something to do. The call-to-action is often the instruction on what to do next, such as placing an order or inquiring further.

Conversion

Arguably one of the most crucial part of eCommerce. The conversion is the process of transforming or "converting" the user to a customer. This is not always a financial transaction. Often, the conversion takes place when a visiting user requests a quote, fills out a contact form, or places an order. It can be revenue driven, but not necessarily. The conversion depends solely on what your organization has decided to track.

Conversion Funnel

The conversion funnel often referred to as a "sales funnel," is the path the visitor takes until the end conversion. It is called a funnel, because there is a larger surface area for users to enter the conversion funnel (meaning there are multiple entrance points) but it still takes users to the same end point or conversion.

Conversion Rate

The number of visitors who transformed into paying customers divided by the total number of visits to the page overall.

Cookies

These are text files sent to a user's browser related to how the customer interacts with the website. Often users will get a pop-up that requests that the user "shares cookies." After confirmation, the information in these text files is sent back over to the server, based on how the user responded and interacted with the site.

Cyber Monday

The Monday after Black Friday. Historically, this day has more deals and discounts than any other day of the year. Some claim in the last few years that Cyber Monday has exceeded Black Friday in overall sales.

Domain

The main page or main URL for a website. This is often the "homepage" or root portion of the web address.

Ebay

One of the most popular eCommerce sites that allow sales to occur between consumers in an auction format. In this particular site, one consumer takes on the role of "seller," and the other user is the "buyer." There are many online merchants who also sell through eBay as an alternative sales channel to their own site.

Email Marketing

Engaging your audience with products and services promoted through email. These email lists usually consist of users that have signed up or expressed an interest in the site or organization.

Ecommerce SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) services with strategies focused on eCommerce businesses. Typically a strong strategy targeting product pages, category pages, and other content within the online store.

Gateway

Also commonly referred to as the "payment gateway," this is the platform that processes payments for online purchases. This term also applies to regular brick and mortar stores that process credit card payments. The gateway processes the transfer of data from the user's bank to the website for the transaction to occur.

Google

The leading provider of search engines, Google uses an algorithm that gathers search results for keywords that users type into the search field and organizes them based on the best possible matches. Google also provides businesses with products and services such as Google Analytics and Google AdWords which are digital marketing tools that are used to expose the visibility of a product or service.

Google AdWords

An advertising service that allows business to set a budget and then runs the promotions that you have written. Ads are typically composed of SEO keywords.

Google Analytics

One of the most widespread analytics service on the internet. Google Analytics tracks and reports website traffic into graphs and charts for easy access to traffic trends over designated periods of time.

Google Keywords

Trending words or phrases based on what users are searching for within Google. Keywords are often tracked and used throughout ads and other marketing tactics. Matching keywords from a search are displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)

Also commonly referred to as "the code" of a website, HTML is a language that structures a web page or application. HTML can adjust syntax, font, layout, images or links throughout the page. HTML can also be manipulated by the user to manipulate the page function to behave a specific way or to change the overall look.

Inventory

The amount of products and the types of brands that retailers have in their stock.

JavaScript

A script language in the code that makes web pages interactive.

Keyword Ranking

Specifically where your site ranks with a certain keyword on a search engine results page.

Landing Page

The page that displays after clicking on a link. Typically, this page is the response to the "call-to-action." Sometimes it is products for sale, but often it can be requesting a quote or becoming a subscriber. Often times Google Analytics tracks landing pages for conversion rate purposes. It is the "end" of the conversion funnel.

Metrics

A metric is a measurement, when dealing with SEO and analytics, that evaluate items such as revenue, keyword rankings, website traffic or referrals.

Mobile Commerce

The process of buying products or services on a mobile or wireless handheld device.

Niche

Goods or services tailored towards a specialized industry, or a select product.

Organic (Traffic)

The way users find a website through a search engine query. The results populate based on relevance to the search query. Google or other search engines arranges results based on page rankings, so higher-ranked pages appear closer to the top. Users that have found sites this way are said to have found it "organically."

Page Rank (PR)

Measures where a page is ranking with Google or another search engine. Higher ranked pages are closer to the number one spot.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

Pay-per-click marketing is a form of "buying" site visits to increase traffic. Essentially advertisers pay for ad placement. A common form of PPC marketing is through search engines or search engine optimization. It is vital to select keywords that are ranking well to obtain a larger search volume and get more users to click on the ad.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is the process of enhancing websites to increase the visibility of the site and gain rankings. SEO is a form of digital marketing that uses Google and other search engines to bring users to a website by organic listings.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The page that lists all the results from a search query within a search engine. Search engines list relevant terms by analyzing the query and the site to provide the best match.

Shopping Cart

An eCommerce shopping cart is the contents of what a user has added to his online order. All the products appear as a mass order on the page or in this case "in the cart."

Traffic

The visitors on a website and the number of pages that they visit and interact with.

Trends (Traffic)

The fluctuation of traffic or a specific period. Trends can be based on many factors such as season, time of day, or relevancy of product based on fads.

Transaction

Purchasing an order online from a business or other seller.

Upselling

Offering deals on similar products or showing related products in hopes to get users to buy additional items along with their purchase.

Wholesale

The distributor or manufacturer, this is the party that sells directly to retailers.

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