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Back to School: E-Commerce Terminology

Your digital guide for e-commerce terms and their definitions.

School is in session again and we are taking it back to the basics: vocabulary. No other industry is as fast-paced, ever-changing and innovation-driven as e-commerce. To successfully navigate the intricacies of the online retail market and stay in the know, it’s necessary to first understand the e-commerce terminology used.

Whether you’re a newcomer, a long-time professional, or just curious, we wanted to provide a digital resource that clearly defines the most common and useful terms (plus jargon) in the world of e-commerce, all in one place.

Note: New words will be posted first on our our social media channels and then added to this list. To stay on top of must-know e-commerce vocabulary, connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


A/B Testing
Research technique that compares two versions of content simultaneously to determine which performs better. Also known as split testing, this method randomly divides the target group into equally sized groups A and B. While group A receives one version, group B receives the other. Once the test phase is over, an evaluation is made as to which variant triggers the desired effect or works better for the target group.

Abandonment
The act of withdrawing before completing a desired action. In e-commerce, it is often used for virtual shopping carts and refers to visitors who add items to the cart but exit the online shop before completing the purchase. Abandonment rate is a key performance indicator and can be measured pre-product, at the cart page and during checkout.

Affiliate
A type of inter-company relationship where one party promotes the other company’s products on their own website by means of different visual tools and in return earns a commission for every sale made. If you have a product and would like to sell more, you can provide sellers with a financial incentive. Likewise, you can be the one to promote a product and earn a piece of the profit for each purchase made.

Auto-Suggest
Also known as suggest or search suggest, is a feature that analyzes the user’s typing and completes the partial search query. It works by searching through the product catalog while the search term is still being entered and then displaying suggestions that match the character string. This feature in search engines makes it both easier and faster for users to complete their search.

B2C
Business to consumer, is a type of commerce transaction in which businesses sell products or services directly to the end-user consumers. It exists both online and offline but the acronym is primarily used to describe online. It is among the most popular and widely known of sales models.

Back End
The part of a software program or website that is not visible to users. The back end is typically known as the data access layer and contains all programming of the application and the administration area. It refers to the ‘behind the scenes’ operations that happen before a page is displayed.

Bounce Rate
A metric that measures the percentage of sessions in which users view a single page, have no interaction with the page (e.g. clicking on the navigation menu, clicking on a link, filling out a form) and then leave the site. A high bounce rate can indicate issues with content, user experience or page layout.

Buy Online Pick Up In Store
Also known as BOPUS, BOPIS or Click & Collect, is a cross-channel method which allows customers to order items via the online shop and collect them via the physical store. Customers are motivated to use BOPUS due to the convenience of picking up their purchase rather than waiting for delivery, saving them both time and money. Other reasons are the ability to search for more deals online, see the product before taking it home and return the product instantly.

Content Management System (CMS)
Software used to manage, create, edit and publish web content. Content management systems are designed to be user-friendly and do not require programming knowledge since working with the content is independent of the source code. A CMS enables collaboration between users and facilitates the creation of digital content.

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