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eCommerce Glossary

If you’re quite proactive in the ecommerce industry you’ll hear many terms and abbreviations relating to managing an online shop. Learning the meanings of these words will not only better help you to understand articles detailing tips and advice to make your shop as successful as you can, it will also help you to get an insight into the reasons why many ecommerce practices exist.



Abandonment refers to instances when a shop visitor leaves without completing an action that the shop owner desires. You will probably have heard the term ‘shopping cart abandonment’ during your time as a shop owner however abandonment can be in relation to any action- not just a shopping cart. It can be used to describe anything from failing to sign up to a mailing list to the popular abandoning a shopping cart.

Why do we have a term for this? Abandonment statistics can help sellers to understand customer behaviour and observe common points at which the abandonment occurs. Take a look at this guide for tips on how to deal with customer abandonment.



Analytics is one the the most commonly used terms in ecommerce and in general, website building. It refers to the collection and analysing of activity in regards to a website. It can collect information from a wide range of activity including basic data such as the number of visitors to a particular page to more in depth observations such as the amount of visitors that exit after seeing a pop up.

Why is this useful? Analytics provide an insight into how visitors behave before and during the time they visit a website. It can help a shop owner to understand the weak or strong points of their website, and make improvements (optimise) the shop to increase conversions.


Bounce rate:

The number of visitors that hit a page on a website and exit (bounce) without visiting any other pages.

Why do we have a term for this? Monitoring the bounce rate of a page can help to measure how effective the page is at encouraging users to continue browsing the site. If bounce rates are high on a certain page, something on that page could be putting customers off browsing the rest of the site. Check out this guide about improving your bounce rate.


Bricks and Mortar shop:

A retail business with a physical presence. i.e. A shop on the high street.


Business to business (B2B):

In both ecommerce and marketing B2B is a common term used to describe transactions or communications from one business to other businesses.


Business to consumer (B2C):

Similar to B2B, B2C refers to transactions and communications from one business to an end consumer. It is a simple way of differentiating between two target audiences (business and customer).


Call to action (CTA):

In ecommerce a call to action is an instruction that aims to prompt users to carry out an action immediately. For example, ‘add to basket’.

Why is there a term for this? A well- structured call to action can increase the number of customers that complete the desired action. The effectiveness of a call to action can be influenced by the language, colour, size and placement of it. Many shop owners will test the success of different call to action language and colours against others.


Click through rate (CTR):

Click through rate will often be discussed when measuring the success of an advertising campaign. It refers to the proportion of visitors that click a link to go to another webpage.

Why do we have a term for this? Measuring the click through rate can be useful when looking to measure the success of a hyperlink placement. If a certain link gets more clicks than another, a shop owner can begin to assess the attributes (i.e. The time, the location of link, the link text etc) that make the link that got the most clicks, more successful.



With recent updates to the laws about displaying your cookie policy to customers, the term cookies has become a frequent visitor to ecommerce conversations. Cookies are a small amount of text based data, generated by a website that are saved on a visitor’s web browser.

Why is this helpful? The purpose of a cookie is to remember the particular visitor. This allows a web browser to remember that the visitor has browsed a certain website before. It can be useful for a wide range of tasks such as not displaying a pop up the visitor may have already seen, remembering login details or remembering a visitor’s preferred settings.


Conversion rate:

Similar to click through rate, conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors that carry out the action that a seller desires. Again, this doesn’t just refer to visitors converting to customers- this can be used in reference to any desired goals being completed by website visitors.

Why do we have a term for this? Day to day, and season to season conversion rates can naturally change however a sudden change can signify that something is wrong (or right) with your shop. Measuring conversion rates can help to assess the effectiveness of changes made to your shop. A rise or fall in conversion rates can demonstrate the success of a change that you have made. This guide discusses several ways to increase your conversion rates.


Conversion rate optimisation (CRO):

Using data to increase the number of visitors that convert. i.e the number of visitors that convert to a customer or what the desired conversion goal is.


Cross selling:

Cross selling is the practice of selling a related to product or service to a customer based on what they have already showed an interest in.


Customer relationship management (CRM):

Software dedicated to managing and analysing contact with customers.



The practice of providing products that will be delivered directly from the manufacturer, to the customer.



Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is a standardised text language for displaying web pages.



When talking about keywords in terms of ecommerce and SEO (see below for a definition of SEO), keywords are important words or phrases that make it possible for visitors to find your website or products via search engines. Keywords should be the most common words that a customer would use to search for your shop or products.


Landing page:

A page on a website that acts as a point of entry for a particular section of the website or purpose.

Example: A page dedicated to Christmas gifts, set up simply for that purpose.


Mobile commerce (mcommerce):

Just like ecommerce (electronic commerce), mcommerce refers to the buying and selling of goods on mobile devices. This can be any mobile device, not just mobile phones, such as tablets or any hand held wireless device.



Multichannel selling refers to selling via multiple outlets.


Open rate:

A term for email marketing. The amount of recipients that open an email.

Why is this helpful? The open rate can be used to track the success of an email marketing campaign.



Optimise is a word used commonly, in everyday language and its meaning in terms of ecommerce is exactly the same. If you hear a guide, guru or online article talking about ‘optimising’ your shop it simply means to make every aspect perform as well as it can do to increase the number of conversions.



Adopting several meanings over the past few years, in ecommerce when something is referred to as being ‘organic’ it generally means natural and unpaid for.

Example: Organic traffic is website traffic that has occurred naturally, rather than from a paid advertisement.


Pay per click (PPC):

A form of advertising that aims to drive traffic to a website. The advertiser pays the publisher each time the advert is clicked.

Why is this helpful? The advertiser is effectively paying based on the success of (or lack of) the advertising campaign. Check out this guide from our Google Guru, Tony about setting up a successful PPC campaign.


Search engine optimisation (SEO):

A practice that aims to influence the position that a website appears in search engines. The higher the website appears, the better- because searchers are more likely to click on the first websites that they see.



Similar to the most common use of the word traffic, in ecommerce the term traffic refers to the number of visitors to a page or website.



Similar to cross selling, upselling is the practice of offering a customer the chance to purchase a similar product that is more expensive. The product should still have all of the qualities that this first product did, and usually has better specifications.


301 redirect:

A 301 redirect will redirect visitors from an old URL to a new one. This is useful for websites that have moved to a new location and want to redirect existing visitors to the new URL.


Knowing the meaning of these terms can be helpful when reading up on, and watching the many ecommerce tutorials and guides there is on the web.


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