The online retailer’s dictionary – A glossary of terms
As an online retailer, especially a small business, the terms you come across when setting up and running your online store can boggle the mind. We've asked the experts and put some of the most useful ones into this handy glossary - and made them easy to understand - so you won't need a degree in marketing or coding to decipher them!
Black Friday - Originating in America, Black Friday is traditionally held the day after Thanksgiving, on the fourth Friday in November. Similar to the British Boxing Day sales, it involves many retailers offering deals and promotions for bargain hunters to take advantage of. In the past few years it has gained purchase in the UK and is successful for both online and physical retail outlets.
Business to Business (B2B) - This term gets thrown around a lot and refers to the business model of a company. B2B retailers trade direct to other businesses; for example wholesalers.
Business to Consumer (B2C) - As the opposite of B2B, B2C companies deal direct with the consumer - knowing whether your company is a B2B or B2C (not just in general but for each product or range you sell) will help you make decisions on many things including marketing strategy, website management and even shipping profiles.
Bricks & Mortar Store - A handy expression used to refer to shops that have a physical presence that customers can visit, the phrase helps differentiate between these 'real' shops and those which are online only.
Call-to-Action - Essential for any website or marketing campaign, a Call-to-Action or CTA - is a statement or invitation that draws the reader in and instructs them to take action. Online this typically takes the form of a button or link; it could be a 'Subscribe now' button or a direct link to a different page of the website.
Content Management System (CMS) - This could be your blog software, Shopify or eBay store - it's basically the software which allows you to create, edit and publish your content; whether it's a blog or your actual products.
CSS - This stands for Cascading Style Sheets; the rules that define the look and style of elements in your page. It will include the font size and colour.
Cyber Monday - Another American import, Cyber Monday takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving. What began gradually is now the biggest online shopping day in the year. Many retailers offer discounts to further encourage shoppers to part with their pounds.
Drop Shipping - This is when a retailer takes an order but arranges for the stock to be delivered directly from the manufacturer to the customer. More and more retailers now offer this option to avoid keeping stock which takes up space or that they may not sell.
Ecommerce - A shortened term for electronic commerce, this term is now the accepted way of describing online selling of any kind; whether it is products or services.
E-tailing - The shortened term for electronic retailing, e-retailing refers to the selling of retail products over the internet.
Fulfilment - The term used for completing a customer's online order satisfactorily.
Green Monday - Similar to Cyber Monday, Green Monday was coined by eBay after record sales. Usually taking place on the second Monday in December, it's one of the most lucrative days for online shopping, as people rush to order Christmas presents in time for the big day.
Listing Fees - These are fees demanded by sites such as eBay or Etsy for listing your products for sale. You will need to pay these regardless of whether the item sells.
Merchant Account - this type of bank account is needed in order for an online store to accept card payments. It is essential as part of processing card transactions; you'll also need a payment gateway unless you choose to use PayPal.
Organic - This refers to traffic to your website, online shop or social media page which happened naturally and not come through paid adverts.
PageRank - Provided by Google, PageRank is an easy way for people to see the importance of a webpage. Google rates a page between 0-10, 10 being high and there are many factors which influence the score, though few are published publicly.
Payment Gateway - This application authorises online card payments, protecting the store and the card owner against fraud. It acts as a medium between the website and the merchant account. You'll need both a payment gateway and a merchant account to take card payments through your website.
PayPal - A worldwide electronic payments system, PayPal allows online retailers and buyers to shop and transfer money securely. It's an easy solution for online stores and is becoming more and more popular with businesses large and small.
Pay Per Click (PPC) - PPC is a form of internet advertising used to direct traffic to websites. Adverts may appear in Google, on a website, on social media or somewhere else entirely. The advertiser will pay the publisher each time the advert is clicked on by a user.
SEO - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is activity which helps improve how high your website appears in Google search results.
Shipping - The method of delivering a product to the customer, not necessarily by boat! A shipping price will likely be determined by the parcel delivery company's costs along with the retailer's packaging costs.
Showrooming - When customers browse in a physical store to examine products in person and compare price, before purchasing them online.
Traffic - This is, at its most basic, how many people have visited your website. It can be measured to ascertain how successful a site or even specific page is, to help you meet business goals.
VAT MOSS - HMRC's Mini One Stop Shop scheme, VAT MOSS enables sellers to manage returns and payments, following the EU VAT changes on digital products introduced in January 2015. Unlike UK VAT there is no minimum threshold for businesses. More info can be found here.
404 Error Page - this is an error page that displays on a site when the page a user is trying to access can no longer be found on this URL, perhaps because it has been moved or deleted.
Also see related content...