Affiliate – an individual or business who promotes the products or services of another for a commission. Ecommerce sites run affiliate programmes to encourage other website owners to refer traffic, paying a commission on each sale through a given affiliate link.
Amazon Marketplace – the largest 3rd party ecommerce platform, choosing to sell on the Amazon Marketplace can help significantly boost volume through your store. Amazon charge fees on every sale through the Marketplace, and also offer Fulfilment By Amazon, where they handle the fulfilment process for your business at extra cost.
Blog – an essential for any ecommerce business, a blog is simply an online log of content relevant to your market. These should be bolted on to your ecommerce site, and most platforms you choose to run your site will have an in-built blogging function, so you can attract both traffic and links to your store.
CMS – Content Management System, a back-end interface that makes editing content more user-friendly, e.g. WordPress.
Conversion Rate – The percentage of visitors to a given page that convert into customers.
CTA – Call To Action, the heading or phrase on your page encouraging the visitor to take action and click your buy button. CTAs have a proven impact on conversion rates.
CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation, the process of tweaking design, layout and text on your site to delivered a measured, consistent hike in conversion rates.
Dropshipping – A type of ecommerce arrangement where the manufacturer or distributor ships directly to your customers, often in generic packaging. This means you don’t hold stock, but expect to pay a greater cost per item sold.
Domain Name – the web address of your online store, for example www.myshop.com.
Ebay – an ecommerce giant, auction site Ebay allows retailers access to a market of buyers. Sellers pay a listing fee and a percentage of the sale of the item on Ebay, with the option to auction or set a Buy It Now price. Ecommerce sellers often use Ebay as an alternative 3rd party marketplace, in addition to selling through their own site.
Ecommerce – online retail, the process of selling products online and on mobile through shops, 3rd party marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay, and other channels.
Evolutionary Algorithms – a type of algorithm put to use in generating artificially intelligent ecommerce systems, evolutionary algorithms test variables, find a winner and reset on loop, optimising the sales funnel to drive gradual, consistent improvements in conversion performance.
Fulfilment – A third-party service which looks after warehousing, stock management and delivery. Usually charged at a set per item price, outsourcing fulfilment can save significantly on the costs of processing stock.
Google Analytics – the industry standard for analytics, Google Analytics is a free tool you can link up with your website, enabling you to track traffic through your site and their interactions with you funnels and goals. Google Analytics provides invaluable insights about your website, which can be used as a basis for identify growth hacks.
Google Webmaster Tools – the main channel of communicating with Google as a website owner, Google Webmaster Tools gives feedback about your website and your Google rankings, from Google, so you can tweak and optimise your website performance for better results.
Inventory – inventory is the stock in your business. As your store progresses, you will need to regularly check inventory levels, to ensure you are keeping an eye on shrinkage and minimum order levels, and that you are not promoting products you don’t have in stock.
Long Tail – Long tail is the phrase used to describe individual, highly specific keywords and search terms, which in volume can add up to a significant amount of traffic. Think of Amazon – millions of product pages each attracting even just a handful of visitors every month can soon add up into substantial traffic flows and sales.
Landing Page – a landing page is a page your customers will land on, either from paid traffic or search traffic, designed to maximise the chances of conversion on a desired action. In some cases, a landing page will be used to capture email addresses, or will simply pitch a product directly to the website visitor.
Logistics – logistics is the process of getting your stock in and out, turning around the stuff you buy into the stuff you sell to your customers. Logistics proves an increasing challenge as your business scales, and many ecommerce businesses choose to outsource their logistics function.
Margin – margin is the profit percentage of a sale, after the cost of goods and expenses have been factored in. Margin percentage is an essential metric in establishing the level of profitability in a given sale or product line.
Multi-Channel Ecommerce – multi-channel ecommerce is the process of selling goods and services across multiple different channels and devices, including online and on mobile.
Outsource – hiring third party providers to handle elements or functions of your business on your behalf, outsourcing is commonplace in ecommerce, on everything from web design to logistics and fulfilment.
Olark – an industry leading IM chat support client with analytics functions, useful in increasing conversion rates and providing more comprehensive support to customers and leads on a real-time basis.
PPC – Pay per click, a form of advertising where you bid on specific keywords and pay every time someone clicks your advert (and is directed to your website). Google Adwords is the most well-known example of a PPC network.
Payment Gateway – the payment processor used to handle transactions on your ecommerce store, your payment gateway can be either on-site or off-site, depending on what works best for your model.
Paypal – one of the leading payment processors, preferred by a number consumers over any other single payment method. Owned by Ebay, Paypal is an essential component of your ecommerce payment setup.
Pay Per Click – a type of online advertising where you bid per click on highly targeted traffic, paying online for each click through to your website, rather than paying for impressions or some other metric.
SEO – Search engine optimisation, the process of setting out your website and building links in a Google-friendly way, to ensure your website is given the best possible ranking within relevant SERPs.
SERP – Search engine results page, the page that is generated by searching for a given phrase on Google. SEO is all about moving up the SERPs, so your website is clickable from position number 1 of page 1, or as close to that as possible.
Social Signals – Social signals are a ranking factor in Google, drawn from social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Similar to links, they allow Google to determine which websites people are more likely to be interested in looking at, as one element of the wider ranking equation.
Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest and others, social media is a collecting of platforms where businesses can tap into targeted audiences through advertising, or through a comprehensive social media strategy.
Split Testing – Testing two separate elements of your ecommerce mix to establish which performs better, side-by-side testing to optimise your
Traffic – the levels of visitors coming to your site from a number of sources, traffic is the ‘input’ side of the ecommerce equation. More traffic generally results in more business, equivalent to footfall in the ‘real world’ environment.
Usability – the ease and efficiency with which your customers can use and interact with your website, central to the quality of their experience and your conversion rate. Usability now also extends to mobile and tablet devices, and the experience your ecommerce store offers across these channels.
Wholesale – the stage in the supply chain before retail, wholesale deals in bulk volumes. You may be buying stock wholesale, or selling wholesale to another trade party.
WordPress – WordPress is a free, open source blogging platform, used as a basis for creating ecommerce stores and a series of other websites. WordPress ties up with WooCommerce and others to provide ecommerce functionality through the WordPress platform.
WP Engine – the best hosting solution for those running ecommerce stores on WordPress, WooCommerce is robust, fast and scalable to meet the needs of your business as it grows.
Check out the following helpful resources for improving your ecommerce journey.
Get Elastic – www.getelastic.com – The most subscribed ecommerce blog on the Internet, Get Elastic features loads of information, including infographics, interviews and how-to’s, so you can learn more about the world of selling online.
Groove Commerce – www.groovecommerce.com – Groove is a digital marketing agency, specialising in working within the ecommerce sector. Their ecommerce blog is another of the most read blogs in the industry, and a great source of tips and tactics for building a successful ecommerce business.
Shopify Blog – blog.shopify.com – Not just for those using Shopify as their preferred ecommerce platform, the Shopify blog has tons of great ideas for online shop owners. If there’s something you don’t understand, or a topic you want to explore further, you’ll almost certainly find high quality resources on the Shopify blog.
E-Commerce Times – www.ecommercetimes.com – Packed with analysis, opinion and plenty to get your mind ticking, E-Commerce Times is more akin to a magazine than a starting point. This is good for keeping up to date with the latest goings on in ecommerce, so you never fall behind the market.
Shopify Forum – ecommerce.shopify.com/forums – Great for those who base their business on Shopify, particular when it comes to working out specific features and troubleshooting problems. You can also discuss ecommerce more widely, and there are a range of highly informative discussions already there that can help both active and non-Shopify store owners alike.
Webmaster World – www.webmasterworld.com – Aimed at website owners and internet marketers more generally, Webmaster World has a lot of information on ecommerce, and a lot of members who are actively engaged in this line of business. You can learn so much from how others are doing things, and Webmaster World is the perfect community for developing your knowledge.
UK Small Business Forums – www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk – With more of a general small business focus, the UK Small Business Forums are a good place to find information about business legal factors, tax, and technicalities, as well as broad-brush discussions on ecommerce and selling online.
Moz – www.moz.com – Moz offers a huge range of search engine optimisation tools, aimed at SEO professionals and serious website owners. Over time, as you become more concerned with drilling down into the statistics of your search engine placement, you will come to appreciate how useful their services are if you haven’t already.
Majestic – www.majestic.com – Majestic is a rival to Moz, offering similar tools for SEOs and website owners. With Majestic, many of the features are available as part of a free account subscription, and between the free service levels available on Moz and Majestic, many people are able to gather the basic intelligence they need to get an edge on their market.
Paypal – www.paypal.com – Paypal is the undisputed king of payment processors, but for many that’s a reluctant title. Paypal is comparatively expensive, and prone to being a little oversensitive to fraud – often to the merchant’s disadvantage. However, the vast majority of your customers will have Paypal accounts or be able to set them up instantly, and it is a trusted payment processor for both sellers and buyers alike.
Stripe – www.stripe.com – The new kid on the block in some respects, Stripe is one of few serious alternatives to Paypal. Slightly more technical to integrate, Stripe is much cheaper than receiving payments by Paypal, and has support for a wide variety of payment methods.
Google Webmaster Tools – www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ – A must for any website owner hoping to rank strongly in Google, Webmaster Tools is a free service offered by Google that can help you drill down into the technical performance of your website. Identify where your site is ranking and how it’s doing, as well as identifying specific issues with crawling or indexing your site. This is Google’s chance to communicate with you as a website owner, so you can be altered to problems before they hamper your rankings long-term.
Google Analytics – www.google.com/analytics/ – The best tool there is for tracking traffic and visitor behaviours on your website, Google Analytics is another free service for website owners courtesy of Google. Reporting happens in 24 hour periods, but the depth of reporting information and tracking options that become available are hard to rival.
Marketing Tools and Links
Facebook Ads Power Editor – https://en-gb.facebook.com/help/162528860609436 – The Facebook advertiser’s best friend. A much more robust tool than the in-built Facebook ad manager, you can exercise a much greater degree of control over your advertising variables with the Power Editor. Only compatible with Google Chrome web browser.
Hootsuite – www.hootsuite.com – A nifty little application for managing all of your social media profiles, Hootsuite makes it possible to cross-post from a single account, so you don’t have to keep jumping in and out of Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks you use.
eBay Auction Listing Creator – http://www.auctionlistingcreator.com/ – For those selling through eBay, Auction Listing Creator allows you to list products en masse with attractive listing designs and layouts. Providing sellers with enterprise level features, Auction Listing Creator is great for those selling at scale on eBay.
Ecommerce Twitter Accounts to Follow