Ecommerce Glossary and Definitions

In the fast-paced world of tech and innovation, buzzwords can take over before you know it. We’ve compiled a list of key words and acronyms to help you navigate through the ever-evolving world of ecommerce. 

Cart abandonment – a digital user who has visited a website and left without making a purchase. Or a user who has “added items to a cart”, but left without completing the payment transaction. For more on overcoming cart abandonment, check out How to leverage real time data to solve for shopping cart abandonment

Conversion – converting a visitor regardless of channel into a paying customer. For more ways on how to boost conversion, check out 10 ways to boost your ecommerce conversions

Headless commerce – describes the decoupling of the frontend of an ecommerce experience from the backend. Separating the frontend from the backend (the ecommerce logic provided by a headless commerce solution) allows businesses and brands to decouple development and solely focus on customer interaction without worrying about the impact on critical backend systems. For more insights on headless commerce, visit here https://www.getelastic.com/headless-commerce

Omnichannel – is a retailing content strategy to allow different methods and channels for consumers to browse and purchase from a brand or retailer. Organizations that master omnichannel create stellar user experiences. 


AOV – average over value; a vital KPI for ecommerce to determine average amount of every sales order per channel. For more on how to calculate AOV, check out Optimizely.

API – application programming interface; is a communication protocol intended to simplify the implementation and maintenance of software. A hypermedia ecommerce API isn’t like other APIs; some are less sophisticated and come with significant overhead. Brands using hypermedia APIs can innovate faster and deliver consistent customer experiences. For more, check out 5 ways a hypermedia API simplies ecommerce.

AVS – address verification service; a fraud prevention system used to ensure the address the customer enters is the same associated with credit card payment. This tactic is used to eliminate fraud and chargebacks.

B2B – business to business; refers to the commercial transaction between two companies versus that between company and individual consumer.

B2C – business to consumer; refers to the commercial transaction between a company and an individual consumer.

BOPIS – buy online, pickup in-store; a retailing tactic to allow customers to complete a purchase transaction online via mobile or desktop, but then retrieve the purchase from a brick-and-mortar location.

CLV – customer lifetime value; the value the customer provides to a business beyond just their first purchase.

CMS – content management system (software); a backend system that allows users to manage the information that feeds a website. Usually includes administering permission/access levels and a workflow process for content submission and approval.

CRM – customer relationship management (software); a repository of customer data that is typically configurable to make it as detailed as necessary to help manage all aspects of customer interaction with the firm.  Common elements include sales team communications, direct marketing efforts, purchase history and preferences, contact information, etc.

CRO – conversion rate optimization; a systematic strategy to improve and increase digital traffic from visitors to paying customers, or other calls to action.

CX – customer experience; the transactions, communications, and other interactions customers have with a company (both positive and negative) add up to form an overall impression of their satisfaction of dealing with the company.

DAM – data asset management (software); DAM provides a system for the curation of diverse information such as images, copy, usage instructions, regulatory-related information, etc. into a centralized archive to facilitate controlled access to these assets.

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning (software); the ERP is the “heart” of the business, encompassing the data from various departments and processes into a comprehensive system that helps manage the entire organization.  

JBD – Jobs to Be Done; Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen coined the term  “The Jobs to Be Done” as a way of describing what people are really trying to do, versus the typical assumptions companies make as to customer motives. 

KPI – key performance indicator; typically used to evaluate the success of a campaign, individual or organization.

PCI – payment card industry, PCI compliance; is a standard of data protection any company must follow when accepting credit cards as payment. For more on PCI compliance, read our FAQs.

PIM – product information management (software); a central repository for the curation and controlled access/sharing of product specific information.  Typically includes product specifications such as color, dimensions, gauge, etc. 

PPC – pay per click; is a digital advertising model used by agencies and businesses to drive traffic to websites.

POS – point of sale; can also be referred to as point of purchase is the time and place where a sales transaction takes place. Typically referenced in retail.

SEO – search engine optimization; is the strategy to improve website content and advertising to increase website traffic, both in quality and quantity of visitors for optimal conversions.