Explained: Ecommerce Jargon For Newbie Online Merchants – Part 2

Every day, it seems that about a dozen new ecommerce terms are introduced to the online business community. Some catch on, but many are condemned to the dungeons of forgotten and unused ecommerce jargon forever.

In the first part of this series we talked about SEO, SEM, hard goods and soft goods, Internet merchant accounts and conversion rates. We continue this series with 5 more terms which should interest web store newbies. Most of these terms have been around for a while so it’s useful for a web site shopping cart owner to know what they actually mean.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an online-based marketing system which rewards an affiliate (via pay-per-click or pay-per-action) for each customer channeled or driven to a merchant’s site. There are even affiliate marketing sites that drive potential customers to merchant sites.  Some of these sites include shopping directories and price comparison sites.

Clicks and Mortar

Clicks and mortar is a term used to describe traditional offline stores with an online presence. A good example is Wal-Mart. Traditionally offline stores have also jumped on the online bandwagon and have set up shopping cart e commerce stores of their own. Stores such as Wal-Mart have an advantage over newer but similar stores because they already have brand equity due to years of investment in PR and advertising. They also have an established supplier base and an experienced customer service department. Before setting up your own online store, you may find it useful to look at Wal-Mart’s history and how they do things — learn what makes them tick and what doesn’t, and apply these lessons to your own store.


Latent Semantic Indexing is a process by which Google determines what your page is about. It considers not only a particular term or keyword but also related terms in the page’s content as well. The more words in a document that are semantically close, the higher the net value of the page. So if you want to make sure that Google recognizes your page as being about a particular topic, be sure to use words, terms and phrases that are related to that topic throughout your page.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is an online system that facilitates real-time payment, usually via credit cards, when a customer confirms an order at a web site shopping cart checkout page. Payment gateways typically provide a means for your customers to pay for their orders online with credit or debit cards. They will also process payments automatically and accept or decline transactions on the spot. Payment gateways can be integrated into your secure shopping cart either via seamless API (Application Programming Interface) integration, in which your customers will never have to “leave” your store to make payments, or customers will be redirected to the payment gateway site to pay.

Shopping Cart Software

Shopping cart software or ecommerce software is software that facilitates the purchase of goods online. Shopping cart software provides a seamless checkout process which a customer follows to select products they wish to buy and then complete their purchase. A shopping cart solution will manage customers’ shopping carts and calculate order totals (including any necessary shipping charges and taxes), then let customers pay for their orders, typically via an integrated payment gateway. Top website ecommerce hosting shopping cart software solutions are also considerably more full-featured than basic carts, providing additional tools like marketing and SEO functions, inventory management, and integration with drop shipping suppliers (Doba integration, for instance).

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