No-frills Guide to Ecommerce Marketing Lingo

marketing lingo

There is something inherently fun about a new buzzword, sometimes it just rolls off the tongue and feels infectious. Marketers love to speak in lingo, jargon, and especially, three letter abbreviations.

Did you see the results of the A/B test of the CTA on the latest landing page?!

Yeah, it’s a real mouthful. I’ve been wanting to create this list for awhile now, a go-to reference to decode the fast-talking, jargon filled world of ecommerce marketing.AA/B test: Also known as split testing, an A/B test is a method of comparing two different variables (such as a subject line or landing page) against each other to see which performs better.

Abandonment: Refers to an abandoned shopping cart or browse abandonment, in which a shopper has abandoned the items they have placed in their cart or how navigated away from a page.

AOV (Average order value): The average amount a customer spends with your business per transaction.

Affiliate Marketing: Neil Patel sums it up nicely: “The idea behind it is that you promote other people’s products, earning a commission if people actually end up buying, thanks to your marketing. It’s based on revenue sharing. If you have a product and want to sell more, you can offer promoters a financial incentive. If you have no product and want to make money, then you can promote a product that you feel has value and earn an income from it.”BB2B: (business to business) A transaction occurring between two businesses such as a wholesaler and a store. Example: Staples selling computers to a vacuum repair store.

B2C: (business to consumer) Businesses that sell directly to consumers. Target to individual shoppers, for example.

Big data: A term that has been inescapable in marketing, and the world in general since 2012, but has been talked about in the computer world since the 1990s. Big data is a term used to talk about humongous (think petabytes) sets of data that can’t be handled by traditional data processing systems.

Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Considered the official start to the holiday shopping season, brick and mortar retailers have been offering special promotions and sales to entice shoppers on Black Friday since 1952. Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, along with Cyber Monday.

BOGO: (Buy one get one) A promotion where a shopper gets a second item of equal or lesser value for no additional charge.

Bounce rate: According to Google, “Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”

Brick and mortar: A store with an actual physical location, like a shop in the mall.CCPA: (cost per acquisition) “Is an ecommerce marketing metric that measures the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer on a campaign or channel level. CPA is a vital measurement of ecommerce marketing success, generally distinguished from Cost of Acquiring Customer (CAC) by its granular application.” – BigCommerce

CPC: (cost per click) Refers to the actual price you pay for each click in your pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns. Learn more about CPCs and PPC from WordStream.

CPI: (cost per impression) is the measured of cost that one will pay when their ad is shown per one thousand impressions. CPM helps to determine other calculations for ads such as CPC (Cost Per Click) and the CTR (Click Through Rate). – TrackMaven

CSR: (customer service representative) Sometimes known as customer support, CSRs are responsible for interacting with customers to solve their problems on behalf of a business.

CRO: (conversion rate optimization) “CRO is the method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website. CRO can be used to improve any metric on your website that’s important to your business–often called key performance indicators (KPIs)–that you’re trying to improve, but it’s often associated with acquiring new customers, registrations, downloads, etc. Put another way, it increases the percentage of website visitors who experience the “aha moment” (or the must-have user experience) that turns passive browsers into valuable conversions.” – Quaraloo

For more information on CRO, check out this comprehensive post from BigCommerce.

CRM: (customer relationship management) “CRM system allows businesses to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them. With CRM, you can store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location, ideally in the cloud so the information is accessible by many, in real time.” – Salesforce

Cross-sell: Selling another product or service to a customer a business already has an existing relationship. Here’s an easy example: John purchased some new hiking boots. This seems like a great opportunity to cross-sell him some hiking socks.

CTA: (call to action) In marketing, a call to action is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb such as “call now”, “find out more” or “visit a store today”. – Wikipedia

CVV: (card verification value) Is the small, three-digit code on the back of a Mastercard, Discover, and Visa credit cards. American Express is different. Their code is four digits and located on the front. A CVV is requested so an online merchant can know the person placing the order is in physical possession of the credit/debit card.

Cyber Monday: The largest online shopping day of the year in the United States. Cyber Monday falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving. The term “Cyber Monday” was coined by Ellen Davis in 2005.DData-driven: A phrase used to describe making business decisions based off of data instead of gut-feel, instinct, or past experience.

Deliverability: In ecommerce, deliverability typically refers to a business’s sent emails being delivered as they intended.

Dropshipping: Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product. The biggest difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the merchant purchases inventory as needed from a third party – usually a wholesaler or manufacturer – to fulfill orders. – ShopifyEECOM or Ecommerce: (electronic commerce) If you’ve gotten this far, you likely already know what ecommerce means. But, we have to include it. It’s the original abbreviation for the electronic commerce space.

ESP: (email service provider) An application that hosts email marketing services on their servers and sends emails on a business’ behalf.FFlat rate shipping: Refers to a flat fee for shipping regardless of the weight (and often the cost) of an order. GGated site: Is the practice of putting a form or login in front of any sort of content. Content that is not restrained by a gate is known as ungated content. For ecommerce, think of sites like Gilt, that requires you to login before you can browse or shop. IInfluencer marketing: Is a strategy that focuses on using individuals to promote a brand, product, or service. Serving as a word-of-mouth advertising, this strategy has become particularly popular with social platforms like Instagram and YouTube. KKPI (key performance indicator): A key performance indicator (KPI) is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. – TechTargetLLanding page: In the purest sense, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. However, when discussing landing pages within the realm of marketing and advertising, it’s more common to refer to a landing page as being a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective. -Unbounce

List cleaning: Is the process of removing bad values? (such as hard bounces, and even inactive profiles) from a list. List cleaning improves email deliverability and reputation by increasing the percentage of quality emails that are sent.

LTV (lifetime value): Also known as CLV (customer lifetime value) Is an estimate of the earnings a business can expect from a customer over the lifetime of their relationship.MMAP (marketing automation platform) Software that allows marketers to engage, automate, and ultimately measure their marketing activities in a central system. As the name implies, marketing automation removes many of the manual processes and heavy lifting done by marketers. Yeehaw!

Martech (marketing technology) is lingo for technology products targeted to improve marketing.

mCommerce (mobile commerce) Watch out ecommerce– according to TechTarget, mCommerce is the buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as cellular telephone and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Known as next-generation e-commerce, m-commerce enables users to access the Internet without needing to find a place to plug in.OOpen rate: How many people on an email list open (or view) a particular email campaign.PPayment gateway: A payment gateway is an ecommerce service that processes credit card payments for online and traditional brick and mortar stores. Payment gateways facilitate these transactions by transferring key information between payment portals such as web-enabled mobile devices/websites and the front end processor/bank. Payment gateways fulfill a vital role in the ecommerce transaction process, authorizing the payment between merchant and customer. – BigCommerce

PCI compliance: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. – ComplianceGuide.OrgRRecurring payment: Ecommerce gold, and often known as autopay, is when a customer authorizes a recurring change for a product or service.

Reseller: Is a person or business who sells items that have been purchased from another business.

Retargeting: If you’ve ever browsed an item and found yourself with an ad for it on another channel, say Facebook, that’s retargeting.SSEO (search engine optimization): SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. – Moz

Shipping carrier: A company or organization that transports goods, like UPS, Fedex, and an American classic, the United States Postal Service.

SKU (stock keeping unit) is a number assigned to a product by the company for stock-keeping purposes and internal operations. Barcoding Incorporated

Social commerce: Is defined as the ability to make a product purchase from a third-party company within the native social media experience. – ConversionXLUUpselling: Not to be confused with cross-selling, upselling is a marketing tactic used to persuade purchasers to buy a similar higher-end version of a similar item. Imagine someone goes to purchase a silver ring, an attempted upsell would be a platinum version. VVAT (value added tax): Is a general tax that is added on, commonly in the European Union, to goods and services.

Vertical: A vertical market is a market in which vendors offer goods and services specific to an industry, trade, profession, or other groups of customers with specialized needs. An example could be software that manages services in hotels – amenities solutions. It is distinguished from a horizontal market, in which vendors offer a broad range of goods and services to a large group of customers with a wide range of needs, such as businesses as a whole, men, women, households, or, in the broadest horizontal market, everyone. – Wikipedia

Void: A credit card purchase that a seller cancels after it has been authorized but before it has been settled. A void transaction does not appear on the customer’s credit card statement, though it might appear in a list of pending transactions when the customer checks their account online. – InvestopediaWWholesale: A person or firm that buys large quantity of goods from various producers or vendors, warehouses them, and resells to retailers. Wholesalers who carry only non-competing goods or lines are called distributors. – BusinessDictionary

Win-back: In ecommerce, a win-back refers to an email campaign that is aimed to re-engage inactive members of an email list.

While jargon-filled lingo runs rampant in the marketing world, don’t forget to talk like a human to your customers. They’re real people that need to be treated and nurtured like the individuals that they are.


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