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Ecommerce Glossary: an Introduction to the Fundamentals

Trade is probably one of the oldest forms of human interaction. The realm of commerce, developed later, however, was not constrained to the definitions of buying and selling alone. 

Since the beginning of commerce as such, there have been an excessive number of related terminologies. And ever since the introduction of digital technology, that number has multiplied many times over. 

Ecommerce is able to take in all emerging technology, which allows it to continue to advance. In a sense, ecommerce may even include most of the current landscape of information technology.

Let us at least put together an introduction to the fundamentals, a somewhat ABC book of ecommerce.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   L   M   O   P   R   S   T   U   W

A

Abandoned Cart — a shopping cart of an online store customer, to which they added a certain number of products with the intent to buy, but for some reason did not complete the purchase. There are a lot of apps in ecommerce that assist the online merchant to better regulate such tendencies. 

Address Verification Service (AVS) — an address verification service provided by large credit card manufacturers that enables online merchants to confirm the identification of debit or credit cards used by clients.

Amazon Marketplace — an online storefront run and managed by Amazon that enables independent merchants to offer new or used goods for sale. This gives third-party sellers exposure to Amazon's international client base. 

AppExchange — an app store, a large cloud marketplace, where you can find plug-and-play applications, solutions to enhance default Salesforce functionality or to integrate it with any other system. 

AppExchange app development — application development aiming to extend out-of-the-box Salesforce functionality. It allows frictionless integration of Salesforce features into your ecosystem. Applications, in the form of packages, are published on the Salesforce’s AppExchange marketplace by independent vendors and trailblazers.

Application Programming Interface (API) a piece of software that functions as a bridge, enabling two separate applications to interact with one another. Ecommerce API provides communication between various web-based applications (i.e. CMS and payment gateway) to establish a flawless shopping experience.

Authorization — a process of establishing who has access to what, and what that access entails. In ecommerce, authorization is an important part of ensuring data privacy, preventing unauthorized access, and bolstering cybersecurity. 

B

Bundles — a method of grouping items so that they appear as a single product at the checkout step. It is utilized for the buyer's convenience, to entice them to purchase more, getting bulk discount packages, and other preferences. 

Business-to-business (B2B) an online exchange of products and services between companies. Since B2B deals are tailored to each client individually, these deals are often high-priced and low-volume.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) an online exchange of products and services between company and consumers. 

C

Catalog — in ecommerce, can refer to either the complete list of an online store's products or just the ones that are visible to customers and can be filtered and sorted as they see fit. 

Color Swatches — a feature of online shopping that makes it easy to offer multiple color options for the same item. 

Content management system (CMS) — a software application that enables users to create, edit, collaborate on, publish and store digital content. In ecommerce, online stores are mostly built on top of particular CMS.

Commerce integrations a data transfer between your ecommerce platform and critical third-party components of accounting, inventory, sales, CRM, and marketing.

Composable commerce — a creation strategy that involves choosing the best-in-class commerce elements and 'composing' them into a unique application made to meet certain business requirements.

Content Optimization System (COS) a software application that focuses on improving material to provide clients with customized web experiences by adapting its efficiency tactics to their unique demands.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) — the method of improving a website's or app's ability to generate sales. 

Customer data platform (CDP) — a piece of software that allows online entrepreneurs to collect user data from all the resources they use into a single centralized database.

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) — a piece of software that gives online merchants the ability to price configurable items correctly. Quotes are able to be set automatically depending on the rules that have been established. 

Cross-border ecommerce logistics system — a set of tools that allow online merchants to select the best possible international transportation links, and to find transportation modes that are fast, safe, reliable, and low-cost. 

Cross-sells — a sales and marketing tactic of selling items to consumers that are similar or related to those which they are buying. In ecommerce, there are many extensions and tools to help online merchants boost cross-selling.

Customer Attributes includes all information on the user persona and their activities on the online shop. May be used by the online retailer to enhance the user experience as well as to give more tailored offers. 

Customer Journey Mapping — a practice of building a hypothetical shopper journey through an online store up to the completion of a purchase, in order to highlight what technical nuances (pain points) can hinder that journey.

Custom software development a method used to create software that is specifically suited to a company’s or activity's demands. Custom software stands apart from other software since it is typically built entirely from scratch and lacks any comparable products on the market because it is made to meet specific objectives. In ecommerce, it is also used in situations where the functionality of the ecommerce platforms is not enough.

Customer identity and access management — a component of the broader idea of identity access management that is concerned with monitoring and restricting outsiders' access to a company's software, networking sites, and online services.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) a method by which a company manages its connections with customers. This is usually done by using statistical analysis to look at a large amount of information.

D

Dedicated teams — a model of engagement between a client and a service provider where in the latter engages software development specialists on a lengthy basis on the client's behalf. In ecommerce, often used to maintain particular domains of dynamically changing functionality.

(Third-party) Delivery integration — among other things, delivery software integrations may allow customers to receive real-time information on the progress of a shipment, which enables ecommerce businesses to offer the rapid and simple delivery options that consumers have come to expect.

Digital asset management (DAM) — a type of software for storing and editing all available media. In ecommerce, it is used by owners of online stores for convenient unified work with all types of media that are present in the store.

Digital Twin — a virtual 3D model of a certain physical object. In ecommerce, it is used to give the customer a better idea of the product.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) — a business model in which the goods of the manufacturer are sold directly to the end user, without going through any middlemen.

Dropshipping — a fulfillment model in which the seller does not have a stock as such, and the entire sales and delivery process is based on outsourcing.

E

Ecommerce architecture — a way of organizing and structuring a digital ecommerce system. Has to do with the technological framework supporting your ecommerce site and the interactions between the aesthetic, management, and data structures of your website.

Ecommerce ecosystem — a combination of a particular ecommerce platform and various 3rd-party integrations cooperating to simplify digital product sale and purchasing.

End-to-end project delivery a method that completes a system or service from start to finish and provides a perfectly functioning solution, typically without requiring the assistance of a third party.

Elasticsearch — a highly popular search engine that is used in the ecommerce industry and that enables users to do very complex searches, including full-text searches.

Enterprise Resource Planning — a type of software that allows you to optimize business processes. With advanced functions for organizing human resources, inventory, and supply chain, it can act as a single source of truth for enterprises with a complex structure.

Extension — a piece of software (an issue-related set of features) that enhances the default out-of-the-box platform’s functionality or makes additional data accessible. 

F

Faceted navigation — one of the most common types of navigation in ecommerce, providing a convenient user experience when working with large product catalogs. It employs a convenient sorting functionality.

Fulfillment — a procedure for obtaining, packing, and sending product orders.

Full-cycle development — an all-encompassing process of developing software that consist of diverse stages: development, testing, deployment and monitoring.

G

Google Analytics a tool online that merchants use to measure activity across their web stores and track users' engagement. Google Analytics may offer priceless information about online stores that may be used to find growth-oriented strategies.

Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools) a tool that digital entrepreneurs may use to monitor how their web stores communicate with Google.

H

Headless commerce an ecommerce architecture where the front-end is decoupled from the back-end commerce functionality and can thus be updated or edited without interfering with the back-end, similar to a headless content management system.

I

Industry cloud platforms — a certain constellation of industry-specific cloud solutions and applications tailored for specific domains and business goals.

Infinite scrolling — a specific content display technique in which each next page of the ecommerce catalog is loaded automatically when the user scrolls down.

Intelligent Product Recommendation Systems information-filtering systems, also referred to as recommender systems, aimed at anticipating customers' interests for specific goods.

Internet of Behaviors (datafication) — an umbrella term covering various ways of collecting user data in order to analyze it through the lens of behavioral psychology. IoB is used for a more personalized interaction with customers.

Inventory a list of all the goods a merchant currently has in stock. Everything that is kept in a storage for sale, whether it be actual items or virtual ones, is considered inventory.

Inventory management software a program for monitoring stock levels, enquiries, sales, and deliveries.

L

Landing page a solo web page that is usually built for advertising or marketing initiatives. It is a location that a user accesses after pressing a link in a Google ad or other similar online advertisement.

Lifetime Value — an estimate of the total revenue that a client can bring during the entire cycle of his interaction with a particular business.

LINK cartridge - a somewhat extension, a set of settings packaged in a certain way that is compatible with Salesforce. Basically, the cartridge is used as a software bridge between the Salesforce ecosystem and third-party services.

LINK cartridge development — independent vendors develop custom LINK cartridges for seamless integration of Salesforce services with third-party services. Cartridges can be distributed via Salesforce’s AppExchange. 

Live (Live Streaming) Commerce — a way to sell products through live video streaming. During such streaming, buyers can actively communicate with the seller in real time via live chats.

M

MACH (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) architecture — a set of technology principles founded on the conviction that digital enterprises must have a high degree of control and ability to satisfy consumers' expectations both now and in the future.

Magento (now Adobe Commerce) — an open source-based ecommerce platform that gives online retailers autonomy over their web store's appearance, data, and operation, as well as a customizable shopping trolley system.

Magento extension — an issue-specific plugin, a collection of code that allows Magento users to do certain tasks not available via out-of-the-box functionality.

Magento theme — a set of designs, models, pictures, and patterns that govern how a website looks.

Marketing Automation — the process of automating repetitive processes using software products and technology designed for businesses and advertising companies.

Marketplace integration the process of developing a connection between ecommerce software with any marketplace.

Mega menus — a horizontal drop-down menu that simultaneously displays several item categories. Due to the space available inside of them, mega menus typically contain a lot of information or subcategories related to themes.

Merchant Account — a type of bank account that enables organizations to receive payments in a variety of ways.

Mobile app development the method used to create mobile-compatible software applications; a typical mobile application uses network connectivity to communicate with distant computer resources.

Mobile optimization is the act of changing the website's content in order to ensure that users who reach it from mobile phones have an encounter that is tailored to their gadget.

Modular commerce architecture — a type of software architecture that enables to create a completely unique, best-in-class commerce platform for your organization.

Monolithic commerce architecture a type of software architecture that includes front- and back-end features under a single virtual ecommerce roof.

Multi-channel ecommerce the process of selling goods over multiple websites. Online businesses enable third-party vendors to post items for sale on their websites while also selling and shipping their own items and services.

O

Omni-channel management — the collaborative administration of many possible customer contact points and platforms to maximize performance throughout channels and customer satisfaction across platforms.

On-site navigation all the processes a user must undertake on a website in order to get what they're searching for.

Order Attributes — the whole set of information about the order. The values may be given by either the online merchant or the customer, depending on the capabilities of the ecommerce platform. 

Order management system (OMS) — a piece of software used for sorting and entering orders across several businesses.

Outsource the cost-effective commercial practice of hiring a person, organization, or group from outside the company to complete some business operations, creating products or delivering specific services.

P

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance a guideline for data security for the company. It manages credit cards from the major card systems, guarantees that ecommerce businesses may collect, retain, and handle card information throughout a purchase .

Payment gateway — a service that handles card transactions on ecommerce platforms, such PayPal or Stripe. Importantly, it provides secure inspections as well as safe payment confidentiality. 

Payment integration a merchant service provided by an ecommerce application service provider that authorizes credit card or direct payments processing for e-businesses, online retailers, bricks and clicks, or traditional brick and mortar.

Payment Service Provider — a third-party company that makes it possible for businesses to accept several payment systems, such as internet banking, card payments, credit cards, cash, e-wallets, etc.

Performance optimization also known as “performance tuning”, is usually an iterative approach to making and then monitoring modifications to an application and its database.

Personalization engine — a technology used by companies to gather and examine public user information and behavior in order to provide a unique experience for online shoppers like promotions, product suggestions, and computerized marketing campaigns.

PIM system serves as a central archive for information about the item - a single source of truth - or centralized storage of product information, guarantees that buyers, ecommerce employees, and vendors have access to accurate product information. 

Platform migration — a practice of moving business process IT resources to a fresh software platform or newer hardware infrastructure in order to stay up-to-date with technology and/or to improve business benefits.

Plugin — a certain package of code that extends the core functionality of a particular platform or service.

Point-of-sale system (POS) a tool that makes transactions possible. Many POS systems also assist ecommerce businesses in inventory management and smooth synchronization of online and offline sales info.

Product attributes — a collection of features of a physical product that are digitally registered on a specific ecommerce platform. Based on the product attributes, both the online merchant and the customer can perform various operations in the online store, such as advanced searches, sorting, ranking, etc.

Product card — a particular product webpage with all the relevant details regarding an item.

Product labels — virtual stickers that can be added to certain products in the online store, based on the rules set by the merchant - often used during promotional campaigns and discounts.

Product OVP — an online value proposition, is a list of distinctive advantages that set an item apart from comparable goods offered by rivals.

Product reviews — reviews written by genuine consumers are an essential component of the structure of an online shop in ecommerce, and many users make a purchase choice based on them. 

Product visualization — employing visualizations, photos, and drawings to show buyers how to use your items.

Profit margins - the measure of a business’s profitability, it evaluates how much money is made out of every dollar of revenue.

Progressive Web App (PWA) — a website that looks and behaves as if it is a mobile app. PWAs are created so that users may enjoy the benefits of native device functionality without having to go to an app store, buy anything, or install anything manually.

R

Recommendation engine — the science behind algorithms creates suggested products based on the user's current purpose, previous behavior, transactions, and the interests of similar users. In essence, it offers a variety of methods to customize the on-site UX.

Recurring payment a type of payment mechanism where customers give merchants permission to withdraw money mechanically and on a regular basis for goods and services they are continuously given.

Related Products — a section in many online stores that displays products with similar tags or attributes of the product that the shopper is browsing.

Responsive Design — is a technique of web design that seeks to assure efficiency and delight by making web pages appear effectively on a wide range of devices and window or screen sizes from small to large.

Return Management Automation (RMA) a type of software that allows online merchants to accurately and efficiently handle the procedure of returning of goods.

S

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) — a method of delivering software where users pay a periodic fee to access a shared pool of resources hosted elsewhere. 

Salesforce cartridge — a method of bundling information and computer code within Salesforce, developed to solve specific problems.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud — a multi-tenant, ecommerce platform for retail that enables companies to build cohesive, smart purchase interactions across all platforms, including smartphone, social, online, and stores.

Shipping rules — defined algorithmic parameters through which the shipping charge is determined. 

Shopify — a user-friendly ecommerce platform that assists small and medium businesses in setting up an online store and conducting online sales.

Shopify Plus a high-end ecommerce platform with advanced features, flexible settings and convenient scaling options for enterprise-level businesses.

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) — a unit used by retailers to label their inventory accurately.

Soft dev (software development) a process of building computer programs. The process includes several phases that provide a method for building products that meet technical specifications and user requirements.

SSL — a digital technology that offers increased cybersecurity. The presence of an SSL certificate (represented by a padlock) denotes the establishment of a secured network and the encryption of all material being communicated on the website.

T

Team extension (Staff augmentation) — a model wherein companies improve the capability of their in-house ecommerce development team by outsourcing certain jobs to external teams in order to achieve their day-to-day goals. 

Tiered pricing — a method of charging for online services wherein a service's price is broken down into progressively higher tiers that correspond to more elaborate feature sets.

U

Upsells — a sales and marketing tactic of selling items to consumers that are more expensive than those which they are buying. In ecommerce, there are many tools to help online merchants boost up-selling.

User Experience (UX) refers to a person's interactions and overall impressions of a network, item, or service. It incorporates a person's perspective on utility, use, and effectiveness.

User Interface (UI) the focal point for human-computer interaction. It can include mouses, keyboards, screens, and desktop settings. Additionally, it helps a user interact with a website or app.

W

Web dev the effort put out in designing a site. Web development might include constructing a single static page of text files or it can involve creating complicated web apps, online stores, and social media platforms.

Webflow — a no-code web design tool invented for designing responsive websites, landing pages, ecommerce sites, blogs, and more.

Webstore Optimization — a strategy aiming to raise the conversion rate of a webstore.

Wholesale the sale of commodities to commercial, institutional, industrial, or other professional business users, as well as various relevant auxiliary services or wholesalers, is known as distribution or wholesaling.

Warehouse Management System (WMS) — a type of software that is used to optimize processes in the warehouses of online enterprises - for more efficient work in the field of inventory management, location control, supply chain, stock levels, etc.

Ann Chubatiuk

Ann Chubatiuk

A careful word collector at Grinteq