The A to Z of e-commerce: Words every online seller needs to know

The A to Z of e-commerce: Words every online seller needs to know

If you are new to promoting online, chances are high that you’ve got been mystified by a time period or acronym that everybody appears to be utilizing.

Whether you are baffled by procurement or do not know what PPC stands for, do not panic. Simply seek the advice of our information beneath for an A to Z of the need-to-know phrases in e-commerce.

Here’s what we cowl:

A/B testing

Abandonment rate

Affiliate marketing


Average order value (AOV)

Black Friday

Bounce rate


Call to action (CTA)

Content management system (CMS)


Cyber Monday



Email marketing


Google Analytics


HTML templates





Open rate

Page rank


Point of sale (POS)



Stock-Keeping-Unit (SKU)







A is for…

A/B testing

A/B testing would possibly sound sophisticated, but it surely simply means testing out two completely different variations of an online web page or piece of advertising and marketing collateral: a model A, and a model B.

The two variations is perhaps utterly completely different web site themes, or the change is perhaps as tiny as one phrase or a different-coloured button. You’ll then take a look at each iterations in your prospects.

If their expertise is optimistic, aka views are excessive, then you possibly can green-light the change. But if the expertise has unfavorable suggestions, or low click-through, you possibly can revert again to your different thought (or the drafting board).

Abandonment price

When a possible buyer fills a digital procuring basket however decides to click on that ‘X’ button fairly than finishing the acquisition, it is referred to as abandonment.

If your online retailer has a excessive abandonment price, it means your merchandise are enticing however there’s one thing dissuading prospects from making that last buy, whether or not it’s lack of cost choices or a sluggish load time.

You can calculate cart abandonment rates by dividing the entire quantity of profitable transactions by the quantity of incomplete checkouts, subtracting that quantity from one, and multiplying that worth by 100.

Affiliate advertising and marketing

Think of affiliate internet marketing as advertising and marketing with a intermediary.

Every e-commerce firm will say their merchandise are one of the best, however typically what evokes prospects to make the leap are optimistic third-party evaluations they’ll belief.

That is perhaps their favorite YouTuber, a product comparability website, or a podcast. Whatever the platform, sometimes it would present a clickable hyperlink to your website in return for a small proportion of the sale.

If, for instance, you are promoting a variety of collapsible espresso cups, you would possibly collaborate with a well-liked sustainability-focused YouTuber to assist promote them.

The YouTuber will embrace a overview of your product of their video, and use an affiliate hyperlink within the description field to direct their viewers to go and purchase the cup.

Often, there shall be a reduction code their viewers will apply at your checkout, making it simple to observe the worth that they generate.

In trade for serving to to promote your product, they may obtain a proportion of the gross sales generated by their video, which may be anyplace from 5% to 30%.

You do not have to liaise with the blogger or YouTuber straight. For instance, when you promote your merchandise on Amazon you possibly can join to the Amazon Affiliates programme, which presents reviewers a decrease fee of round 1% to 3%.

Reviewers also can obtain a charge if solely ship views to your website, which is referred to as a Pay-Per-Click affiliate.


Analytics is a technique of monitoring your online actions, amassing information, and analysing it to make better-informed choices for your online business.

Using these insights, you possibly can acquire a greater understanding of your prospects and rivals, measure the effectiveness of your gross sales and advertising and marketing efforts, and tweak your technique alongside the best way.

Average order worth (AOV)

This is the typical quantity spent every time you make a sale.

It’s a key benchmark of buyer behaviour, and helps you measure the success of your digital advertising and marketing in addition to your pricing construction.

To calculate your AOV, all you want to do is take your whole income and divide that by the quantity of orders made.

B is for…

Black Friday

Black Friday first began within the US, providing online buyers enticing reductions on the day after Thanksgiving.

Now, the occasion sometimes takes place over a whole weekend (and in some instances spans the entire of November) and provides e-tailers around the globe a possibility to clear their inventory and acquire helpful info for future seasonal gross sales.

Investing in paid search advertisements is a good suggestion round this time, as buyers have a tendency to be making fast, reactive purchases. Just be sure you have sufficient merchandise and other people energy to sustain with demand.

Bounce price

When somebody comes to your web site, ideally you want them to keep a while-browse your store, learn a number of weblog posts, and probably even make a purchase order.

But a excessive bounce price means persons are visiting your web page after which instantly leaving-not splendid.

This may be for a spread of causes, from website slowness to damaged hyperlinks.

A typical bounce price for e-commerce shops is between 20% to 45%, in accordance to research, however the lowest attainable bounce price is one thing web sites are repeatedly chasing. You can see the bounce price for every web page of your web site by going to the ‘Behaviour’ part of Google Analytics.


Bundling is a advertising and marketing technique that packages complementary merchandise collectively and sells them at a knocked-down worth to enhance gross sales and entice extra prospects.

This is an effective way to win new prospects and enhance your common order worth with out racking up extra transaction prices.

C is for…

Call to motion (CTA)

A name to motion prompts the consumer to take a selected motion on an online web page or social media put up, with a view to transfer them down the gross sales funnel within the course of.

Content administration system (CMS)

A content material administration system is a sort of software program that enables you to create, handle and alter content material in your web site, typically without having assist from a 3rd occasion.

You can use a CMS corresponding to WordPress or Wix to construct an internet site utilizing free themes and templates, retailer photos, and create weblog articles to maintain your prospects up to date with all of your newest information and presents.

You’ll additionally give you the option to combine your e-commerce instruments into any dependable CMS at this time.


Conversion is the last word objective of every e-commerce website proprietor, because it means ‘changing’ an internet site customer right into a buyer.

This would not essentially imply that they make a purchase order. They would possibly simply join to a every day publication, or make an enquiry through an online type.

You will determine what variety of objective you might be on the lookout for, and set an in accordance conversion price. Google has a simple way of calculating your price: simply divide the quantity of conversions by the quantity of interactions.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday first began within the US, providing buyers reductions on the primary Monday after Thanksgiving.

It historically had a tech focus, therefore the ‘Cyber’ within the identify however you are simply as possible to discover mattresses and garments on sale as a lot as TVs and cell phones.

Like Black Friday, the gross sales interval tends to stretch throughout the weekend, with e-tailers making probably the most of each occasions.

D is for…


If you have spent greater than 5 minutes on LinkedIn, chances are high you have already come throughout the time period ‘disruption’.

Signifying the upheaval of a established order, it is a time period that’s generally utilized to e-commerce, as online procuring has disrupted issues just like the UK excessive road, or the transport trade.

Individual merchandise can be disruptive if they modify the best way we sometimes store for something-perhaps they give the impression of being completely different aesthetically, are a brand new invention, or contain a distinct means of buying (corresponding to a subscription mannequin).


Dropshipping means promoting a product with out it ever passing by your arms. However, it has quick develop into a well-liked means of promoting without having to maintain inventory.

A dropshipper will determine an present product from a website corresponding to Oberlo or Alibaba, promoting the merchandise over social media platforms corresponding to Facebook Ads or their very own e-commerce retailer.

When a buyer purchases the merchandise, the dropshipper will then enter within the buyer’s transport particulars and make the order with the wholesaler.

The drawback of dropshipping is that you’ve got much less possession of the shopper relationship; the standard of the product can’t be assured, and there may be lengthy transport occasions if inventory ranges develop into a difficulty.

E is for Email advertising and marketing

Email advertising and marketing is a sort of advertising and marketing exercise that includes emailing an inventory of individuals (who’ve opted in to obtain these emails) with content material that may incentivise them to purchase.

This listing is perhaps made up of pre-existing prospects, or those who have signed up in your web site.

E-tailers generally supply low cost codes for brand new buyers, in addition to reminders ought to they abandon their cart mid-checkout.

F is for Fulfilment

E-commerce fulfilment is the selecting, packing and delivering of merchandise which have been offered.

Sometimes small e-commerce companies will fulfil orders themselves, however most frequently that is performed by fulfilment centres, which can be often called third-party-logistics (3PL) suppliers.

Bear in thoughts, a fulfilment centre is completely different to a producer, the place your merchandise are made.

G is for Google Analytics

Google Analytics is usually the primary and final port of name for e-commerce companies, because it presents many options that may assist you perceive your buyer.

A free-to-use service, it tracks and sums up most of your need-to-know web site stats, together with bounce price, conversion charges, website visits and referral key phrases.

It helps to see how individuals arrive at your website, how lengthy they keep, what number of of them purchased something, and why they depart. You also can pay for a model with extra superior options, which is named Google Analytics 360.

Google Analytics is important for website positioning efficiency as a result of it would assist you see how effectively your website ranks on Google, and which key phrases are bringing individuals to your website.

You can get to grips with it through the use of guides corresponding to Google’s own academy, or Udemy, which presents programs for round £11.

H is for…


A internet hosting platform or a website host is someplace you possibly can arrange your web site. With names corresponding to HostGator or Hostwinds, they typically include extras like a free area identify or SSL certificates.

You can transfer to a distinct internet host with out shedding your area identify, and you can even change your area identify with out transferring to a distinct host.

HTML templates

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and it is principally the code which tells your content material how to look in your web site.

HTML can do issues like make your font larger or smaller, and add photos.

It’s not a should for e-commerce website homeowners to perceive HTML as so much of platforms could have inbuilt templates, however when you’re desirous about constructing or customising your personal website there are beginner-friendly programs on SkillShare or Udacity, many of them free.

I is for Inventory

The gadgets or merchandise that you just intend to promote in your online retailer are your stock.

After they’re created by a producer, items will want to be despatched both straight to the shopper or saved in a fulfilment centre till they’re wanted.

Insight into how a lot inventory you have got (ranges) and managing its provide and launch comes underneath the umbrella of stock administration.

J is for JavaScript

JavaScript is a well-liked programming language.

Inserting strains of JavaScript code is what provides the bells and whistles to your web site, together with enjoyable parts corresponding to animations or scrolling movies. As an e-commerce store proprietor, you will not particularly want any JavaScript data, but it surely’s one thing that your web site developer will use to make the web page extra visually interesting.

M is for…


Metrics are the numbers used to observe efficiency, and might help you perceive your prospects, determine tendencies, and develop your online business.

Valuable online metrics embrace your conversion price (the proportion of your web site’s guests that flip into prospects), buyer lifetime worth or CLTV (the entire quantity a buyer will spend with you over their lifetime), and buyer acquisition price or CAC (the typical quantity it prices to purchase a brand new buyer).

Your conversion price may be measured by dividing the quantity of whole web site guests by the quantity of guests that go on to make a purchase order, and you can even use this equation when calculating the success of particular person adverts.

You can calculate buyer lifetime worth (CLTV) by determining the typical buy worth throughout your merchandise, multiplying this by the typical quantity of purchases, then multiplying that determine by buyer lifespan.

If that is too complicated, instruments corresponding to Google Analytics might help.

Customer acquisition price (CAC), in the meantime, may be calculated by including up the quantity you spend on gross sales and advertising and marketing throughout a sure interval, and dividing that by the quantity of prospects you acquired throughout that very same interval.


Multichannel e-commerce means promoting items and providers throughout completely different channels.

This might embrace third-party platforms corresponding to Amazon or Etsy or in a bodily retail retailer, in addition to by your personal web site.

There are extra methods to interact together with your buyer utilizing this technique, in addition to the likelihood of attracting extra prospects.

O is for Open price

After sending a advertising and marketing electronic mail to your buyer listing, a typical metric to measure its success is the open rate-the proportion of individuals who opened your electronic mail.

Mailchimp discovered that the typical open price for newsletters is 21.33%, and Campaign Monitor says a very good proportion to intention for is between 15% and 25%.

However, it is not the last word marker of success.

An electronic mail might need a low open price however a excessive conversion price, which is the quantity of those who click on after which go on to make a purchase order after viewing the e-mail.

Companies will typically use A/B testing to see what most incentivises their prospects, sending two emails out with completely different topic strains to see which has one of the best open price.

P is for…

Page rank

How vital or invaluable search engines like google discover your e-commerce retailer may be decided by how they rank your ‘web page’, or web site.

The increased an internet site’s web page rank, the extra authoritative on its topic it’s deemed to be, and the upper up on a Google search (or related search engine outcomes pages) it would seem.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a well-liked type of online promoting utilized by e-commerce manufacturers and brick-and-more companies alike.

Sellers can place a extremely focused advert with the platform that they really feel most closely fits their buyer, from Google AdWords to Facebook and LinkedIn Ads, and set the related key phrases they need need to goal.

For instance, a backyard furnishings seller would possibly determine to goal prospects on the lookout for ‘striped deckchairs’. Next, the seller will set the quantity they need to ppc, (the typical charge for Google is about £1), and place their advert.

Point of sale (POS)

The level of sale is the second when a transaction is executed.

In a bodily store, some kind of {hardware} is used, corresponding to a cashier until or a card reader. This {hardware} is often mixed with software program within the back-end that does issues corresponding to observe stock or activate a buyer loyalty programme.

Online, there may be solely software program concerned, with a digital procuring cart and checkout, however completely different e-tailers could have completely different level of sale (POS) techniques.

These techniques embrace issues corresponding to centralised cost processing (which suggests funds shall be saved in a single place, nevertheless prospects pay), in addition to money circulate administration.

Sites particularly designed for online sellers corresponding to Shopify could have in-built POS options already. But when you’ve constructed your personal web site, you will want to combine third occasion suppliers that deal with funds or stock.

R is for Redirect

A redirect means an online web page is offered underneath multiple URL (the handle of a webpage).

If you want to transfer your webpage to a distinct URL-or even your entire web site to one other area name-having a 301 redirect will guarantee your web site guests shall be in a position to go there with out encountering any damaged hyperlinks.

This will assist protect your website positioning rating: principally, how far up your web site exists in search engine listings.

Have you ever hit a ‘404: web page not discovered’? That’s what your guests will see when you do not arrange redirects.

Search engines will not give you the option to rank your new URL extremely, and it’ll have a unfavorable influence in your authority-which means fewer clicks, and fewer alternatives for brand new prospects.

S is for…

website positioning

website positioning, or search engine optimisation, is the observe of inserting one of the best and most helpful key phrases into your e-commerce website so it would rank extremely in a possible buyer’s Google search.

For instance, a graphic designer recognized for his or her pop artwork aesthetic would possibly make it possible for the phrases ‘pop artwork freelance graphic designer’ or ‘pop artwork logos’ seem in vital bits of their web site, from their first paragraph on their homepage to the alt textual content on their photos.

There are website positioning businesses who will assist companies create and apply a technique, in addition to analysis that exhibits the power of key phrases throughout issues corresponding to demographics or geographies.

Stock-Keeping-Unit (SKU)

You could have seen Stock-Keeping-Units, or SKUs, whereas doing all of your weekly store. They’re the bar codes that cashiers scan. Each bar code is exclusive, so that every particular person merchandise may be tracked by its lifecycle.

T is for Traffic

People who go to your web site make up your internet site visitors.

This site visitors will have a tendency to rise and fall at sure occasions or intervals, which can affect the place you allocate advertising and marketing spend.

For occasion, a enterprise to shopper (B2C) firm that receives its highest site visitors within the late night might want to promote a sale that ends at midnight.

On the opposite hand, a enterprise utilized by different companies that receives a excessive quantity of mid-morning site visitors might discover that its only promotions are run within the morning.

U is for…


Upselling is a well-liked gross sales tactic in each bodily and digital retail.

There are other ways to upsell merchandise; an e-commerce retailer might supply free transport for a minimal spend, incentivising prospects to spend extra, or a costlier model of the product.

Cross-selling typically accompanies upselling however means the providing of further gadgets with a purchase order, corresponding to headphones to accompany a cell.


User Experience, or UX, is important for e-commerce store homeowners.

Good UX means your prospects can navigate simply by your web site till their level of buy, and that every one the data they need is definitely out there to them.

It can also contain much less tangible parts, corresponding to the sensation you need prospects to have after they go to your web site.

V is for Verticals

A vertical is a enterprise niche-a particular product or set of merchandise that go well with a specific sector or trade.

For instance, an online retailer that solely sells mountaineering harnesses could be aimed on the vertical markets of climbers and the climbing trade.

Having a selected vertical to intention at, fairly than a extra common storefront, may be profitable as a result of you possibly can hone in on a selected buyer demographic and tailor your content material to reply their questions, overcome their issues, and enhance your probabilities of making a sale.

W is for Wholesaler

A wholesaler is a person or enterprise that sells items in bulk to retailers.

Typically, a wholesaler will buy straight from the producer in giant portions, to then promote the merchandise on from warehouses to retailers.

Z is for Zero-waste

What’s zero-waste obtained to do with e-commerce?

After all, except you are buying and selling in digital downloads, warehouses want electrical energy, and merchandise want to get to prospects through vehicles or cargo ships.

But as shoppers (particularly Gen Z) maintain highlighting sustainability as a significant component of their shopping for choices, e-commerce manufacturers are attempting to get as shut to zero-waste as possible-from utilizing biodegradable packaging, to promoting merchandise made of recycled supplies.

You’ll want to consider carefully about your phrasing, as sustainable messaging can disincentivise shoppers of a sure gender or political leaning. However, manufacturers have discovered that utilizing social norms (ie, what your neighbours or fellow shoppers are doing) might help prospects make sustainable shopping for choices.

Bootstrap and construct your e-commerce aspect hustle out of your spare room

Want to launch your personal e-commerce enterprise whereas juggling a job however unsure the place to begin? Check out this information for many of ideas, overlaying product sourcing, establishing your web site and coping with HMRC, and extra.

Download your free guide

Recommended For You

Leave a Reply