TurnTo’s eCommerce Jargon Buster: A Guide to Commonly Used Terms, Acronyms, and Abbreviations

Jargon. We’ve all been befuddled by it or have been guilty of using it (you know who you are).

Jargon obfuscates meaning and makes communication needlessly complicated. Unfortunately, the eCommerce sector is just as guilty as any other of using its own lexicon that can be opaque to newbies and outsiders.

There’s an alphabet soup of eCommerce-related acronyms, abbreviations and neologisms to wade through out there. Are you wondering what a product feed is? Or how customer acquisition cost (CAC) is measured?

We’re here to help with that. Our guide will help you to turn eCommerce jargon into plain English.

TurnTo’s Guide to eCommerce Jargon, Terms, Acronyms, and Abbreviations

Anonymous Checkout – Also known as Guest Checkout. This happens when a shopper isn’t required to log into an account to make a purchase.

Average Order Value (AOV) – The average dollar amount spent by an online customer on a per order basis. It’s basically the total sum of money someone has spent on your site, divided by the number of transactions they’ve completed. A high AOV can be interpreted as a measure of loyalty—your most loyal customers spend more.

Cart Abandonment Rate – A metric that measures the number of times a shopper puts an item in a virtual cart online, but then exits before completing a purchase. It’s usually expressed in a percentage that represents the ratio of abandoned carts to completed purchases.

Content Delivery Network (CDN) – Also sometimes called a Content Distribution Network. A group of servers that work in tandem to deliver content to internet users as quickly as possible. Think of this as a super-fast way to get your webpages to render—and keep your shoppers from leaving.

Conversion/Conversion Rate – In most general terms, a conversion is when you get a website visitor to complete a desired goal. In eCommerce, that usually means the completion of an online purchase. Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that complete a conversion, or “convert” from visitors to purchasers.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – A metric that measures the average cost it takes a business to acquire a new customer. It’s usually generated by adding up all of a company’s marketing and promotional expenditures, divided by the number of new customers.

Customer Experience (CX) – A catchall term for all of the interactions a customer has with your business or a brand. In the context of eCommerce it usually overlaps with aspects of user experience (UX)—things like having a well-designed website that’s mobile friendly, a seamless checkout process, and product pages with lots of information and good content on them. But CX may also include post-shopping interactions, such as the times your shoppers reach out to a Customer Success team or chatbot.

Customer-Generated Content (CGC) – Also sometimes called User-Generated Content (UGC). Written, visual, or other feedback that’s created by a customer after purchasing a product. The most familiar type of CGC is a product rating and review.

Customer Journey – Also sometimes called the Path to Purchase. The route that a shopper takes on their way to make a purchase. It can includes several different phases, such as awareness, consideration, research, and conversion. It usually takes into account the various interactions a customer will have with your businesses, such as a digital ad or a marketing email. In eCommerce, the Customer Journey often measures the funnel to purchase: from product category page to product detail page, to shopping cart, checkout, and confirmation.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – An estimate of the total value of a customer to a business over their lifetime. It can be measured different ways, but a common one is by estimating the revenue the customer generates, minus any service or acquisition costs.

Drop-ship – A supply chain management strategy in which a retailer never directly manages inventory. Instead, items are shipped directly from the manufacturer to the customer. Many eCommerce companies leverage drop-ship to provide their shoppers with a larger assortment of merchandise, without the risk that comes from owning additional inventory.

Ecommerce Platform – A platform is the software that powers your eCommerce efforts, i.e. that lets your customers research and purchase items from your online store. More sophisticated eCommerce platforms can offer a swath of tools beyond just order and inventory management, such as reporting and analytics, customer support features, and content management systems.

Email Service Provider (ESP) – A third-party vendor that manages emails sent to customers on behalf of eCommerce businesses. That can include anything from marketing emails sent to your customers, to order confirmations, to shipping notices. ESPs also provide valuable services, such as marketing campaigns, opt-in and opt-out management, and analytics.

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Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) – A unique number generated by a manufacturer and used as a way to identify specific items. Using an MPN in a product listing can help shoppers find the exact item they’re looking for. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with stock-keeping unit (SKU).

Order Feed – A structured data file that lets an eCommerce business share information about both historical and current orders with other companies. It’s often used by eCommerce sites to give third-party software solutions providers access to the information they need.

Post Interaction Email (PIE) – Also known as both a Mail After Purchase (MAP) email and a Review Solicitation Email (RSE). The email sent by an eCommerce site (or its email service provider) asking a customer to submit a product rating and review, or another type of Customer-Generated Content.

Product Feed – Also sometimes referred to as a Catalog Feed. Similar to an order feed, it’s also a structured data file. For eCommerce businesses, the Product Feed contains the individual products available to purchase, as well as a representation of the product taxonomy—essentially a list of your Product Categories.

Product Category – A system used to group your products by shared characteristics. For example, a product category used by a home improvement store could be lawn and garden, and include items like lawn mowers and sprinklers.

Product Category Page (PCP) – A website page on an eCommerce site or app that showcases items in a product category. Product category pages are important because they help improve the browsability of your website and guide the customer journey for shoppers looking for inspiration or similar products.

Product Detail Page (PDP) – A website page on an eCommerce site or app that features a description and other information about a specific product. Good product detail pages contain information and content that can help drive a purchase, such as price, color, size, and photos, along with an “add to cart” or “buy” button. Great product detail pages go a step further and include details like product ratings and reviews, and customer feedback on issues like fit.

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) – A long number assigned to an item by a store to help it manage and track inventory. In physical stores, items usually feature a SKU as a barcode that’s scanned when a purchase is made. SKUs can contain information like the category that a product can fit in. That can be helpful in showing online shoppers groups of similar items.

Systems Integrator (SI) – In eCommerce, a company that specializes in integrating a company’s eCommerce platform with third-party software solutions, such as a vendor that provides a loyalty program, or one that collects Customer-Generated Content.

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