eCommerce 101: 25 Key Terms You Should Know Before Opening Your eCommerce Store

Ask any online store owner and they’ll tell you that running an e-commerce store definitely isn’t the easiest job. Not only do you have to look after the day-to-day running and sales of your store, but (unless you have a dedicated team) you also have to understand how your hosting and website work, concentrate on SEO, work out complex marketing strategies, and even more.
Needless to say, running an e-commerce store can seem like a daunting challenge for beginners. The mass of niche keywords and technical jargon can make running your store intimidating and confusing, especially if you’re having to keep up with development meetings too. 
To make the jump into the e-commerce world less nerve-wracking, we’ve put together our top 25 technical keywords that every e-commerce store owner should be familiar with. 


  • Tools which gather information about your website and your shoppers - including information such as customer demographics, how customers find your website, how many people are visiting each day and much more.
  • No matter which analytics tool you choose to use on your store, it’s vital that you have analytics tracking from day one. Analytics tools give you easy to understand information; allowing you to make improvements to your website and marketing based off real data.
  • If you’re using Google Analytics, we’ve done a step-by-step guide on how to add your tracking code to your OpenCart store in just a few minutes (without even needing a developer!). 

B2B / B2C

  • Marketing terms used to describe sales between either two businesses, for example between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or sales between a business and a customer, such as between your ecommerce store and your customers.

Bounce Rate

  • The percentage of people who view one page of your website and leave without visiting any more pages. Visitors ‘bounce’ for many reasons, including a poor website design and a slow loading website, or they may have found all of the information that they needed on the first page that they visited (such as on a blog post). 
  • Checking your bounce rate is a great way to see which areas of your website need improving. If the vast majority of people are leaving as soon as they arrive to your website, it’s important to understand why.
  • Your analytics system will tell you the exact number of people who have bounced from each individual page of your website, as well as your site’s bounce rate as a whole.


  • Storing data the first time a site is visited so that the page can be loaded quicker on future visits. When you revisit a web page, your browser simply pulls this page from the cache to load the webpage - which is a lot faster than having to download every element again. 
  • “Clear Your Cache”: If a website that you visit changes a lot, you may not see the newest version of it if your browser is loading it from the cache. Clearing your cache removes all of the previously stored web pages so that your browser will have to download the newest version of the site.

Click Through Rate

  • Often referred to as CTR, the Click Through Rate is the percentage of people who have clicked an ad or a link, compared to the number of impressions there were for that ad or link - the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.  For example, if your ad had 100 impressions, and 20 people clicked through to your website, your Click Through Rate would be 0.2 or 20%.

Conversion Rate

  • Conversion is how many people completed a goal (e.g. make a purchase, sign up to a newsletter, download a whitepaper) you've set, compared to how many people had the opportunity to. 
  • For most ecommerce stores, your conversion rate shows you how many people made a purchase on your store, compared to how many people visited it. Obviously, the higher your conversion rate, the better. 
  • You can work out your conversion rate by dividing the number of purchases by the number of visitors. For example, if 15,000 people visited your ecommerce store, and 300 made a purchase, your conversion rate would be 0.02 or 2%. 


  • Cookies are small pieces of information that a website sends and stores on a your browser. 
  • Cookies can be used for saving your shoppers items in their cart for their next visit, targeting ads based on specific products that a user viewed, and creating dynamic website content. 


  • A DNS (Domain Name System) translates domain names - such as - into IP addresses. Domain names are easy for us to remember, but the internet is based on IP addresses. Each time you use enter a domain name, a DNS converts it into its corresponding IP address.


  • The act of selling products or services over the internet. 


  • Short for File Transfer Protocol, FTP is used to transfer files over the internet, from one host to another. FTP is most commonly used to download or upload files from / to a server. 

Google Search Console

  • Google’s free tool which allows website owners to check which pages of their site have been indexed and are showing on Google search results, view errors on their website and find ways to improve their site’s rankings.


  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is used when creating documents for the internet, and includes special tags that define the placement, size, shape and colouring of any text, images, videos or sounds on a webpage. 


  • The number of impressions if the number times your website, ad, newsletter etc has been viewed. This is the total number of times it has been viewed, and can be used to calculate figures for CTR and conversion rates. 
  • Remember, each user can view something multiple times - creating more than one impression per user. Look at unique impressions / views to see the number of users.

IP Address

  • An IP (Internet Protocol) address represents every device in a network, and all devices using the internet have a unique IP address. IP addresses are made up of a string of number and full stops, such as:


  • A keyword is a word that a visitor types into a search engine in order to find your website. Using keywords in your website’s content is beneficial for your website’s SEO and can help customers to find your website. 

Merchant Account

  • A type of bank account that businesses use that allows them to accept credit card payments. Generally, a merchant account is required for a business to accept credit cards or electronic payments.


  • A free, open-source e-commerce platform that can be used to create any size, type, or style of ecommerce store. 

Payment Gateway

  • A payment gateway receives and processes payment transactions between a customer and a seller. Payment gateways ensure that payments are processed securely, and the business doesn’t always have to have a merchant account or store any confidential information, such as credit card details. Some payment gateways require you to use a separate aquierer to process funds, where as others will do it all for you. 


  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a form of online marketing that allows you to advertise your website, services, etc on different networks, whilst charging you for each successful click your advert receives.
  • The largest pay-per-click tool available is Google Adwords, in which you place bids on keywords and get charged for every person who clicks on your ad. For example, if you placed a bid of £0.15 on the keyword “handbag” and 40 people clicked your ad, you would be charged £6.00. If your website doesn’t rank very highly in search engine results, paying for advertising can be a quick and effective way to increase traffic to your store.

PCI Compliance

  • Any business that collects, transfers, or stores any cardholder data must be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. There is a range of practices and security features that must be in place for a business to be PCI compliant. 

Search Engine Optimisation

  • Also known as SEO, search engine optimisation is the act of changing parts of your website to potentially increase your position on search engine rankings. The higher your website is on search engine rankings, the more traffic your website will gain and - as a result - the more sales you will make.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

  • Shopping cart abandonment occurs when a customer adds products to their shopping cart but then leaves the website without completing their purchase. Abandonment often happens when a website is not user-friendly or if there is a problem with the website during the checkout stage. 


  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is essential when conducting secure and confidential transactions over the Internet. It uses a vast system to verify electronic signatures and is used by ecommerce store owners when processing transactions that involve confidential details such as credit card details.
  • Browsers have started showing when a website has an SSL certificate by including icons (such as a padlock) next to the website’s URL - this can put trust in your site and encourage users to make a purchase.


  • Traffic simply means the number of people who are visiting your website in a certain period of time. 

Web Host

  • A person or company that provides space on their server for businesses to use in order to show their website online.
We hope that these key terms make it much easier to get started with your new e-commerce store! Do you have any other keywords that you'd recommend new e-commerce store owners learn? Share them in the comments below!