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15 Ecommerce Terms You Need to Know

Here's your glossary of the most common E-commerce buzzwords, and how to fit them into your digital vocabulary.

15 Ecommerce Terms You Need to Know

These days, we’ve been fortunate enough to have the sweet cover of a Zoom meeting to quickly Google the terms being flung about without anybody batting an eyelid. But by the time you’ve found out on what on earth A/B testing for an omnichannel SEM campaign is, the team has moved on to the next linguistic decathlon.

Ecommerce is renowned for being jam-packed with buzzwords, and like it or not, you’re going to need to know them. A better grasp of ecommerce terminology will leave you feeling more confident and in control of your online sales venture.

Without further ado, let’s build up your ecommerce glossary!

What’s the Deal with Ecommerce?

It’s a big deal. It was even a big deal before the digital shift brought on by COVID-19.

Ecommerce is a term that describes the online marketplace. It’s the buying and selling of products via the internet, and it’s hypothesised that there will be 2.14 billion global digital buyers in 2021.

That’s what ecommerce looks like on a global scale. If you had any doubt that E-commerce hasn’t hit SA yet, you would be surprised at the current participation and future projections.

In South Africa, 2 in 3 consumers will shop online in 2021. A survey conducted by Deloitte on the acceleration of ecommerce in South Africa showed that 70% of shoppers already shopped online at least once a month.

E-Commerce Glossary

1. A/B Testing

A/B testing (sometimes split testing) is a marketing experiment used to track how successfully web pages or websites facilitate conversions. Before running an A/B test, you’re likely to be asking, “Where is the most likely place people will become customers on my website? And how do I drive them there?”

A/B testing uses variation and control, which means you will show two variations of the same page to two different groups to see which one meets your conversion goals.

If you don’t have a website yet, check out A Beginner’s Guide on How to Build a Website!

2. Conversions

Conversions are leads that turn into paying customers. As Google puts it, conversion rates are “The ratio of transactions to sessions expressed as a percentage.” In simpler terms, conversion rates are the number of times somebody has visited your website and made a purchase (or another goal) within a specific time frame.

3. SEO

Of all the acronyms to know, SEO is one of them. It’s a competitive environment and takes a fair amount of time to gain momentum, but it’s worth it when you do.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the term used to describe how you get your brand to become more visible in search engine results.

Focusing on your SEO would involve in-depth keyword research, competitor analysis, and formatting techniques like backlinks, title tags, and anchor text — all of these combined work to grow your SEO and boost your online visibility.

4. SEM

SEM comes next because it is often confused with SEO, but the two are clearly different when you understand them.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) describes the process of paid growth. Whereas, as we mentioned, SEO is geared towards organic growth. SEM uses paid search tactics like Google Ads, Bing Ads, Gmail Ads, YouTube Ads, and more.

If you want to learn more about paid media, you can jump onto The Key Differences Between Boosted and Paid Media.

5. Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel has become undeniably relevant in the ecommerce industry. When you’re selling online, you need to be as expansive as possible, and that’s what Omni is all about.

Omnichannel marketing is considered one of the most effective practices for engaging with your audience. Omnichannel marketing includes ALL possible touchpoints. Omni strategy encompasses social media, website, brick and mortar, feedback, print ads, digital campaigns, customer feedback, call centres, email marketing, and more.

It is the process of streamlining your offering through as many touchpoints as possible for a fantastic customer experience.

6. Metadata

Metadata is background information about your website for search engines.

This is behind the scenes data that your visitors won’t see, but it helps search engines understand more about your site so they can accurately differentiate yours from others.

Better metadata means better search results.

7. Hero Images

Also known as a web banner, your hero image is at the top of your website or homepage. You can opt for a still image, a motion picture or a sliding carousel – there are plenty of creative ways to introduce visitors to your site.

That’s what a hero image does: it captures attention. It also tells a story, and it instils a sense of trust in your potential customer.

Side note: A good opportunity for A/B testing could be finding out which hero image will bring in the most money.

8. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is letting entrepreneurs around the globe sell fantastic products without actually having stock. Dropshipping is when you manage the relationship between the customer and delivery with a third party who holds the actual product.

So, the seller advertises the product and engages with customers and will then place orders with the third party who will then deliver the product to the customer. It’s a popular and effective ecommerce technique that has done wonders for small businesses during the online shopping surge.

9. Ad Words

Google Ad Words is a tool used to boost paid media to optimise your position in search engine rankings.

Brands bid on keywords, key phrases, and searches to enhance their reach. It’s a pay-per-click (PCP) system that only charges you for the number of clicks you get to your page.

10. Multichannel

Multichannel marketing uses multiple channels to reach customers. Ecommerce will always be a multichannel process, so it’s not a bad idea to brush up on this strategy. A multichannel strategy spans various online, in-store, and mobile touchpoints, but it isn’t the same as omnichannel marketing.

Multichannel touchpoints exist independently of one another and aren’t completely geared towards customer experience the way that omnichannel touchpoints are.

11. Affiliate Marketing

It’s the age of the influencer, and we suggest you jump on board.

Affiliate marketing is when somebody is paid to partner with or represent a brand, often using their digital platform. Think of it as a brand ambassador, but 2021 style. After its entry into the digital marketing game in the early 2000s, affiliate or influencer marketing has remained on the rise.

Affiliate marketing can also work on a commission basis so that a percentage of every sale goes to the affiliate marketer if the lead came through them.

12. B2B

B2B is short for business to business. You’ll come across this term if you’re a business trying to sell to or collaborate with other businesses.

B2B marketing will differ from B2C (find below) in the sense that you’re talking to people within a certain industry and will need to tweak your approach to align with their specific industry needs. Businesses will want ROI proof and information-based content that shows them how your service or product will boost their revenue dial.

13. B2C

Business to client (B2C) marketing is integral to your sales strategy. But it’s not just sales that are affected by a B2C content strategy – it leaks into your content, your offering, and your lead generation.

If you sell to individuals online, B2C will come up in your business plan and will help guide your customer-centric decisions.

14. Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is like a golf handicap: you want to keep it as low as possible.

A 100% bounce rate would mean that 100% of the people who clicked on your website left without looking at any other pages. They came, they saw and they didn’t like it.

Bounce rate will be a common category in all your digital reports and marketing goals.

15. Call to Action

Also abbreviated to CTA, a call to action is the anchor point behind any marketing campaign, content strategy, or website. Whenever you post something or engage with customers, you want to direct them towards a specific action. Whether it be completing a survey, making a purchase, or joining your mailing list.

For some inspiring CTA examples, we found this great article from HubSpot for you to look through.

Now you’re ready to talk shop with the best of them.

Did we leave anything out? What’s an ecommerce term you use that is often met with a blank stare? Or what terms make you the blank-starer? We’d love to hear from you on our social media channels!

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