On most days, web developers speak another language. To help translate, we have put together this handy glossary of terms:
A/B Testing (aka Split Testing)
A/B testing splits traffic into two different versions of the website. This allows us to test how specific changes impact behavior.
Abandoned Cart Emails
Emails sent to customers who abandon their shopping carts online, with hopes of luring them back to complete their purchase.
A step-by-step checkout all on one page. The process is broken into steps and revealed one stage at a time. This provides a more digestible experience, without having to wait for a new page to load.
A form of paid advertising. A third party is rewarded for traffic driven to your site. You pay commission based on the sales performance of the affiliate traffic. Affiliates may include bloggers, loyalty programs, email marketers, and social media profiles.
A plugin that can be installed (free or for a fee) to enable new features or services for your Shopify store.
The day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s considered the biggest shopping day of the year. Retailers typically offer promotions and major discounts on all their merchandise, causing a shopping frenzy and kicking off the Holiday spending period.
Words that relate to a company’s brand or product’s name.
Brick and Mortar
A physical store location selling merchandise.
Offering several products or services for sale as one combined product package. Configuring bundles to create value is a common feature of competitive marketing.
Business to Business (B2B)
A business model of buying and selling, from one company to another.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
A business model of a company selling directly to consumers.
Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)
The business model where a company sells to other consumer-focused companies and/or directly to consumers themselves.
A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s based on research and data regarding your real customer.
Call to Action (CTA)
A desired action required of a consumer on a website, in an email, or on social media. Commonly, it is a visually prominent button, text, or image that instructs an individual to act.
Catalog Pricing Rules
Predetermined rules used to selectively offer products at a discounted price, based on a set of conditions. Eg. “All products from Catalog A are eligible for a 20% discount.”
A grouping of products that have something in common.
The page that displays all products and quantities within a customer’s shopping cart, prompting them to click through to final purchase.
Also called a simple product, this is a configurable version of the parent product. For example, imagine that a T-shirt is configurable by size (small, medium, and large). We could say that the T-shirt is the parent product and the 3 configurations (“T-shirt small,” “T-shirt medium,” and “T-shirt large”) are child/simple products.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The percentage of people who clicked through an ad based on the number of impressions. The formula is “Clicks / Impressions = Click Through Rate.”
The percentage of individuals that click a link or CTA within a piece of marketing out of the total number of recipients.
If something is in the cloud, it is stored on servers on the internet rather than on your computer. If you have data or an application in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection at any time.
This signifies a period where no major changes are promoted to your website.
This is user-centric design offering the easiest, most intuitive, and user-friendly shopping experience. It is focused on amplifying the assets that drive conversions and reducing potential barriers to purchase.
The conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action. This is a key metric in determining the health of your eCommerce business.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
This is increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers by boosting quality site traffic and improving the user experience of a website.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
An internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. Here, an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Same as PPC.
Selling a related or complementary product to a customer to entice a larger order value.
Stands for Cascading Style Sheets, which are rules that define the look and style of website elements, such as font size, borders, and alignment.
A text file that is a simple way to send and receive data. It is easy to read and process.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or Lifetime Value of a Customer (LTV)
A prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
Customer Ratings and Reviews
A review of a product or service made by a customer who has purchased, used, or had experience with, the product or service. Customer reviews are a form of feedback that can be critical in convincing other customers to buy a product or use a service.
Strategies that encourage customers to keep coming back to your store to purchase more goods. This is typically achieved by creating positive, personalized, and fun buying experiences.
Typically, this means targeting your most profitable customers. These can include frequent shoppers, and those with high average order values and few returns. Segmentation can also be used to target other groups, such as responsive customers and those that provide reviews.
The Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. The term "Cyber Monday" was created to persuade people to shop promotions on this day, online. Retailers take advantage of the whole weekend, however, by beginning their promotions (online and offline) on Black Friday through until the end of Cyber Monday.
Development is all about the configuration, customization, and changing of website architecture to suit a merchant’s needs.
Moving goods from the manufacturer directly to the consumer without going through the usual distribution channels. The retailer does not keep the goods in stock allowing for greater profitability.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
Integrated business management software that helps companies automate core processes. This often takes place in real-time. I.e. product planning, manufacturing, marketing and sales, inventory management, finances, shipping, and human resources.
Communicating with your customers on a personal level directly to their inbox, by offering them promotional offers, content, or information on special events.
Enterprise resource planning. This refers to business process management software that aims to allow the use of integrated applications and automate many functions.
A group of files that can customize, extend, and enhance the core functionality of Magento’s platform. Specifically, extensions can improve customer experience, integrate your store with other applications, and help run your business, which can help drive more sales.
A category listing page that is filtered by specific attributes, often “style,” “value,” or “brand.”
Charging a standard rate to transport packages, regardless of weight, size, or destination.
Free Shipping Day
A one-day event held annually in mid-December. On the promotional holiday, consumers can shop from both large and small online merchants that offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
Offering customers shipping of merchandise for no additional cost. The actual cost is absorbed into the product price. Free shipping is a competitive requirement for many merchants in the current climate. Merchants often demand a minimum order amount for eligibility.
The process of receiving, packaging, and shipping orders.
A wishlist, whereby customers create a list of items they would like to receive as gifts from family and friends.
A gift card provider that issues and accepts gift cards.
An Internet marketing platform used for SEM on the Google search and display networks.
Google Algorithm Updates
Public updates released by Google that consist of a new algorithm to improve search results. Google Algorithms are usually named after animals. Some famous updates include: Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and Pigeon.
Google Webmaster Tools
This allows webmasters to view the health status of their websites. It includes indexing status, page errors, server errors, organic keyword click-through data, and impressions.
Similar to bundled products, grouped products are collections of products. Grouped products, however, can only consist of child products. With a grouped product, the user can select which products he or she wants to add to the cart.
A buzzword which describes the process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most efficient ways to grow a business.
The ability for a customer to checkout without creating an account and password.
The H1 HTML tag represents a heading, and the beginning of a new section on a webpage. It should incorporate your primary target keywords, which should also appear in your page title and URL.
The key page of your website. This central hub represents your brand and provides the platform to share the most important pieces of information to build trust, drive sales, and communicate with consumers.
Hypertext Markup Language. This is a standardized system for tagging text files. It communicates with the browser to display specific fonts, colors, graphics, and hyperlink effects on the Web. In other words, browsers read HTML and follow the instructions to display webpages.
The process of building a site from scratch. It includes configuring the server, setting up the eCommerce platform, system integrations, skinning, and making sure your site is being indexed correctly on search engines.
This refers to how to categorize and structure information, such as labeling systems, navigation systems, and search systems.
A collection of hardware and software systems that support your eCommerce ecosystem. This can include your servers, their configuration, and the security of those elements.
An individual that aims to achieve autonomous data synchronization between two points. In our case, we aim to achieve synchronization between Magento and a client’s ERP system. Success ensures that product/order data is in sync.
Inventory Management Software
A software application that tracks inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries.
A programming language that can be interpreted by web browsers to achieve common effects like windows that force user interaction and drop down menus. It can also perform more complicated operations, such as updating elements of a page or sending information without refreshing the page.
Keywords are the ideas and topics that define or encapsulate your content. When entered into search engines, they are referred to as search queries. A “keyword” that contains several words is more accurately described as a keyword phrase or a keyphrase.
The practice of finding actual, relevant search terms to be used for your content. You would use these words in such areas as URLs, blog posts, content pages, and product descriptions. Keyword research is beneficial for elevating your search engine ranking.
An open source eCommerce platform that allows merchants and developers to create rich and flexible eCommerce websites. The customization and functionality of Magento can be further enhanced through Magento Connect, a massive extension marketplace. Magento is backed by a global community. Its passionate members share, improve, and learn about the platform continuously, pushing Magento to new frontiers and, over time, evolution.
Magento’s online extension marketplace where merchants can find extensions to customize and enhance their online stores. It is the largest eCommerce application marketplace in the world. It consists of over 5,000 extensions both paid and free that help extend the core functionality of Magento’s platform.
Manual Payment Systems
These allow merchants to accept manual forms of payment, such as mail order, direct deposit, and cash on delivery (COD).
A person or company that makes goods for sale.
The process of displaying and promoting goods for sale. This can occur physically in a store or virtually online.
The ability to sort and group products on a category page.
Essentially, this is a bank account used to hold funds obtained from a credit card purchase. Store owners have to apply for a merchant account.
A snippet of text displayed in the search engine results page under the clickable page title link. The Meta Description is a 160-character description of the destination landing page.
A mobile website detects when a user is viewing a site via a mobile device and redirects them to a different version of the design. It uses a slightly different URL, often m.yoursite.com or mobile.yoursite.com. Usually, the code will detect the user’s device and automatically re-direct them. Alternatively, it may offer the user a choice of switching to the mobile version.
Monitor shopping is a play on the term “window shopping.” Consumers are now using their computers and mobile devices to visit online stores without making a purchase, much as they used to visit malls and window shop.
This is where the checking out process is broken up over multiple pages, with an indicator letting consumers know what step they are on and how many are left. This is meant to simplify the overwhelming checkout experience. It allows customers to focus on one step at a time.
A comprehensive web-based ERP solution that helps to manage a business’s operations, finances, eCommerce, and customer service.
A fast and easy method to make a purchase. The idea is to get the customer through the checkout quickly and painlessly, without them having to load multiple pages. It’s good for: lower price points, flash sales, tech-savvy customers, frequent repeat purchases, and mobile shoppers.
This refers to the search bar on a website itself, usually located in the top right-hand corner. It is usually the second most-visited area of any website.
The number of individuals that open your email out of the total number of people on the email list. This number is represented as a percentage.
A term given to software whose original source code is made available to the public. It may be modified, changed, and/or redistributed.
Order Confirmation Page
The page where details of a customer order are provided. It acknowledges the next steps in the buying process, usually by saying that the customer will receive an order confirmation email with the same details.
A detailed account of what a customer has ordered in the past.
The page title of a website appears in the search result pages, window title bars, and bookmark lists. Page titles should be under 70 characters to comply with what Google displays in its search results.
A parent product is a configurable product. It can have many different options. For example, a configurable product could have multiple sizes and/or colors.
The online equivalent of a cash register connecting websites to credit card carriers so that online credit card transactions can be completed in real time.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
An advertising method for internet marketing. Advertisers pay publishers for every click received on their ad.
A server-side, or back-end, programming language. It is powerful and easy-to-use for the web. It is one of the most popular languages used for the web and has been used to create many powerful web frameworks, including Magento.
Point of Sale (POS) System
This is where retail transactions are completed. Traditionally, they are comprised of cash registers and debit/credit card readers. Modern POS systems, however, can offer merchants more complex functionality, such as inventory management, CRM, financials, and warehousing.
These rules outline what product prices should change, and when, usually on a promotional basis. There are two kinds of pricing rules: catalog pricing rules and shopping cart pricing rules.
These are special deals or discounts that are applied for a specific period and/or on certain products. They aim to entice customers to buy.
Product Listing Ads
Ads such as these display product images and prices on search engines results pages (SERPs).
A third-party company appointed by a merchant to handle credit card transactions.
Product Page (aka Product Detail Page)
Ideally, this is where site visitors decide to become customers. Product pages should include calls to action, trust signals, a little friction (to make them linger), beautiful photography, and unique, honest copy.
Project Management Professional Certification (PMP)
This credential is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. It recognizes the competence of an individual to perform as a project manager, specifically in leading and directing projects.
Project Manager (PM)
A technical/account manager who is the main point of contact for customers when it comes to project delivery and ongoing operations.
Real Time Shipping
When customers receive live quotes, calculated based on what is in their carts. Having to calculate shipping costs at the checkout, however, lengthens the conversion funnel. Longer conversion funnels mean lower conversion rates. Shopping cart abandonment can result from shipping price shock.
Real Time Shipping Quotes (aka Live Rates)
Current estimated rates to ship an order to a customer based on his or her location.
Responsive design is a method of building a fluid layout that shrinks and grows as a browser is resized. Unlike mobile websites detecting the device, responsive websites detect the device’s dimensions. It resizes the elements accordingly to give an optimized visual for the user. Responsive design can make drastic changes to a site viewed on a mobile to adapt to the habits of mobile phone surfers (e.g., hidden menus or touch screen attributes).
A guideline for width for all HTML blocks to follow. A grid consists of columns. A block’s width is measured by these columns.
Is why we’re here. A multi-faceted and holistic approach to eCommerce management whereby each component of the operation is reviewed and optimized to increase potential for a sale. Revenue optimization means continuously identifying opportunities in areas including manufacturing, distribution, UX design, and marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Best practices for web content producers to boost a site’s search engine rankings.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Paid internet marketing used to increase visibility of websites in search engines.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The listing page a user is directed to when performing a search on a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
A SaaS-based eCommerce platform that makes commerce better for everyone. Merchants large and small can use Shopify to manage every aspect of their businesses, from products to orders. They can use Shopify to sell online, in retail stores, and on the go. From custom templates to fresh designs, Shopify can easily turn your vision into reality. It helps eCommerce businesses launch in no time.
Shopping Cart Abandonment
The term applied when a customer browses a site, adds products to their shopping cart, but exits the site at the checkout stage without completing the purchase.
Shopping Cart Price Rules
Price changes based on the items in a user’s cart. These rules don’t activate until all conditions have been met. For example, “if purchasing from category X and category Y, offer discount Z.”
The act of visiting a Brick and Mortar store to see a product and then purchasing it online. Consumers do this to be able to touch and feel a product before buying it, but then seek a better price.
Here, customers can make an online purchase with a single click. Payment information, billing, and shipping addresses must have already been previously entered.
Also known as Sofa Shopping, this refers to consumers shopping online with a laptop or mobile/tablet device while on a couch or in bed during later evening hours, usually between 8 pm and 12 am.
Site Map (or Sitemap)
A list of a website’s pages. It is accessible to crawlers (search engines’ information-gathering bots) or users. People submit their site maps directly to Google so that Google indexes them more quickly.
The use of social networks and social interaction (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) to encourage consumers to buy products and services online. This term was coined by Yahoo in 2005. The concept was developed further by David Beisel who explained that if a friend or someone you know is recommending a product or service, you are more likely to buy it.
An agreement or contract that determines the legal use and/or redistribution of software. Licenses can be proprietary or free and open source.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software or applications that are hosted by a vendor and made available, on-demand, through the cloud.
A category within a category. It is usually the child of a parent category. A general category can have many subcategories.
The last Saturday before Christmas Day. It acts as a major driver of revenue for retailers being that it occurs on the last full weekend ahead of Christmas. It also marks the end of the shopping season that most consumers believe begins on Black Friday. Super Saturday lives up to its name, as it offers consumers major one-day sales in an effort to accumulate more revenue during the holiday season.
Automating costly manual business processes by syncing a merchant’s eCommerce platform with other business systems, such as an ERP system, accounting, and inventory management software.
When an individual removes him- or herself from an email database, and therefore stops receiving promotional content from a company.
Enticing a customer to buy more expensive products, an upgrade, or add-ons with the hopes of increasing their final order value.
User Experience (UX)
User Experience (or UX) refers to how a person feels when interacting with a website, application, device, or other computing system. Content, design, and functionality affect the overall usability.
User Interface (UI)
A user interface (or UI) refers to the way in which you accomplish tasks within a website, application, device, or other computing system. This could include buttons, fields, icons, menus, or any other elements the users interact with. The user interface has a great impact on the user experience.
Warehouse Management System (WMS)
A software application that supports day-to-day operations in a warehouse. It controls the movement and storage of goods. And it processes the associated transactions, which can include receiving, tracking stock levels, picking, packing, and shipping.
An individual that plans the form and workings of a site before it’s built. They are not only responsible for creating a design that’s aesthetically pleasing to the target market, but - more importantly - a site that is functional and easy to use.
A service that allows individuals or companies to make their websites accessible on the internet. A web host provides space on a server that is owned or leased by customers. This allows connectivity to the web.
A person or company that sells goods in large quantities at lower prices, typically to retailers.
Also known as a gift registry, this is a list of items that customers can create on a merchant’s online store whereby they add products they want to receive as gifts or that they wish to buy at a later date.
A markup language that could be described as adding to HTML. It is commonly used to define configuration in a way that an application can interpret with ease.
3rd Party Logistics (3PL)
A firm that provides outsourced supply chain management and logistics services to its customers.
A page that permanently redirects users from one URL to another.
404 Error Page
A page that no longer exists.
Cover photo by Jeremy Galliani