Glossary of eCommerce Terms


Throughout this website, there will be many terms that I will be using. I’ll do my best to explain them at the moment, however there is a list explaining them on a general level. Consult this list whenever you feel lost or confused about something.


Address Verification System (AVS) - A built-in system to fight fraudulent orders. It requires the user to input both their address and credit card number to complete orders.


Affiliate - A publisher or a site owner that send qualified web traffic to an online seller.


Affiliate Links - Universal resource locator (URL) that includes an affiliate’s ID number. Having these unique URLs will make it easier for merchants to track affiliate activity and compensate affiliates.


Application Programming Interface (API) - A protocol that’s created to let separate software to communicate with one another.


Authorized Distributor - Manufacturer that’s been approved or designated as a company that sells products in quantity to commercial customers. Commercial customers being people like Internet retailers.


Authorized Retailer - Same thing as Authorized Distributor, but these sell directly to consumers.


Better Business Bureau (BBB)- A non-profit in Canada and US that is focused on trust in advertising. The BBB respond to consumer inquiries about business reliability and accredits businesses too.


Bootstrapping - Concept of self-funding a new company. The business pays its operating expenses either with profits or from founder’s investments.


Bounce Rate - Internet marketing term to describe the percentage of people who go to a single page on a given website and then leaves without clicking on any other page.


Call-to-Action (CTA) - A phrase that prompts a certain action. “Click here”, “Buy now”, “Sign Up”


Capture - Securing payments after an authorization.


Chargeback - a scenario where the customer calls their bank or credit card company contesting a charge made by you.


Comma Separated Values (CSV) - File type that’s used to transfer product feeds and stores data values.


Content Management System (CMS) - Software that lets you publish and display content on the internet. It’ll also allow you to create, edit, and maintain the content too.


Conversion - Marketing team that means a specific person did something that achieves some marketing goal. A conversion could be someone buying an item, signing up to an email list and more.


Cookie - A small file saved on a user’s computer or mobile that stores information. This is related to the user’s interaction with the site.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - Software that helps with automating business to customer relationships.


CSS - Cascading Style Sheet. A language that used to describe the look and feel of a site in HTML.


Delivery Confirmation (DC) - Offered by delivery companies to consumers this provides information about when a package was delivered.


Dropshipping / Drop Shipping -  A strategy that entails a distributor or manufacturer shipping products on the retailer's behalf to their customer.


Dutch Auction - an auction that starts at a high price and people bid lower. This can be seen between distributors and retailers.


EIN - An ID number that is to be used for tax purposes for the US government.


Expedited Shipping - Shipping option offered to customers. You charge a higher price, but customers get their order faster.


Exporting - Selling goods to customers outside of your country.


Fraud - Illegal manipulation for the sole purpose of gaining something.


Fulfillment - In ecommerce, it means completing an order.


Google Keyword Tool - Known as Keyword Planner, it’s a free tool that provides data on search results and more.


Google Trends - A tool that shows you how often a specific term or keyword is searched through Google.


HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) - A language specifically created for displaying web pages and apps on the web.


JavaScript - A web language that is used to make web pages dynamic and interactive.


Linking Root Domains - A term used in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Basically, it’s how many links that were placed from one source to another.


Liquidation - The act of selling everything or mostly everything.


Liquidator - Companies who buy from liquidation sales with the intent to resell.


Listing Fees - Fees associated with listing a product or service on a particular site. An example of a site that does that is eBay.


Long-Tail Variations - Long-tail is also used in SEO. It means a phrase with four or more keywords (words) in it.


Manufacturer - They make products with the intent they’ll be bought and sold.


MAP Pricing - A price that manufacturers expect retailers to sell at the minimum to the customers.


Margins - Difference between what a retailer pays for the product and what the customer pays for it through the retailer.


Minimum Order Size - Retailers may be required to place an order through distributors or manufacturers of a certain amount. Lest it won’t be accepted.


Multi-Channel Retailing - Selling products through various channels.


Multivariate Testing - Marketers will use various types of the same page to test consumer behavior. That method is called multivariate testing.


Net Profit - Difference between the money you’ve earned less all costs.


Net Terms - Terms you’ll find on invoices between businesses. Some examples are “net 30” (Full payment due in 30 days), and “5/10 net 30” (Pay in full in less than 10 days, get a 5% discount off of the invoice or full payment is due in 30 days).


Open Site Explorer - A link analysis tool to measure many aspects of a sites search optimization and links. Created by SEOMoz.


Order Fulfillment - A completed order that’s been shipped to the customer.


Organic - In the context of SEO, organic means genuine. In other words, someone typed in specific keywords your site ranks for and clicked on the link to your page.


Outsource - Delegating the work to a third-party outside of the business.


Overhead - Ongoing costs that are spent in the businesses daily operations.


PageRank - Google’s page ranking system based off of the strength of the other pages linking to your site. This can be presented on a scale of 10 or 100.


Pay Per Click (PPC) - A marketing model where advertisers will only pay whoever is using their ads whenever a user clicks on the ad(s).


Per-Order Fee - A fee that’s charged to retailers when a manufacturer delivers a product directly to a customer on the retailer's behalf.


Preferred Supplier - A go-to supplier of a particular good that’s been recommended by a company to employees of that company. (i.e. A company that recommends it’s employees to get laptops from Apple. Apple, in this case, would be a preferred supplier.)


Quantitative Metrics - Things like Click-through rates, visitor counts, and time-on-site. Marketing statistics that are measured by numbers.


Qualitative Metrics - Measurements of the quality of customer interactions.


Restocking Fees - A fee that’s charged by the manufacturer when a product is returned from the customer back to the manufacturer.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Online marketing tactics aimed at increasing a site’s visibility on search engines. This entails improving the website and buying ads.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Optimizing your site so search engines rank you better on search results.


Search Engine Results Page (SERP) - The page that’s loaded when you enter words into a search engine.


Split Testing - An online marketing tactic where you test two variables of a marketing campaign. This is also known as A/B Testing.


Supply Chain - A network of businesses that supply the products you use to sell to customers.


Trade Show - A place where manufacturers and suppliers go to show their services to various companies.


Usability - measured by determined how easy it is to navigate and interact with a page or site.


Value Added Tax (VAT) - A tax that is tacked on at every stage when the value is added. VAT is essentially added every time something exchanges hands.


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) - Technology that’s able to let you speak over the internet to other people rather than using a phone.

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