Our free data base of online terminology
E-Commerce has its own language and terms. Here you will find what they mean!
Our aim with this glossary is to help you to talk to your online company, understand what they say and ask the right questions.
You will find more information in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.
The idea behind it is: You need to improve your website or your online marketing constantly, the online business is very rewarding, but also very fast! Successful online business can grow 100% each year and more, so your customer get constantly more and change all the time. You need to constantly adapt…, but to what? What do your customers really want? You will have an idea, but it is better to let the customer decide what he likes best! You do this with A/B-testing.
Example: You make two different sets of a product you sell. One with a giveaway (Version A) and one with a discount to the price in the value of the giveaway (Version B). Now, with a special software, you offer both products alternatively: 50% of the customers see version A and 50% see version B. After a day (depending on the amount of customers you have) you check, which version sold better, lets say version A. Then you delete the other version and all customers only see the “winner” version A from now on!
Then move on to the next product and do the same. This is only an example. A/B-testing is THE way to learn from your customers. It is used in marketing, webdesign, usability, product development, check out, etc.
Actually, the handling of the necessary software behind A/B-testing is not that simple to use. The idea is simple, to actually do it, is not! That is the reason why only the successful webshops do it, and get more and more successful! You want to be successful too? Do A/B-testing! We will help you or do it for you.
If you have a website or a blog with a lot of traffic you can earn some money by allowing Google Adsense to place ads on your site.
If you want to sell, you can use this method to display your ads.
But, be warned if you want to sell. Adsense can easily burn a lot of money without any results. You need a professional to manage such a program.
You need to do research for the relevant search terms first. Then we recommend to start on a smaller scale to understand what works and what does not.
Control and the knowledge of the right figures (KPIs) is essential for the advertiser! If you have an agency doing it for you, demand to see the relevant numbers, like cost, click through rate, bounce rate, etc. These numbers tell you what is happening with your money. And you need to see this figures together with your revenue, to understand if Adwords is bringing or costing you money. We at Ola Online Consulting will give you all the relevant numbers and teach you how to read them right.
Tips: If you plan to sell outside of Greece use this tool! Affiliate marketing is highly effective in most of Europe. Unless you have a lot of experience, don´t do it without a specialized agency to help you! If you are looking for a lucrative market in Greece to invest money: Open an affiliate network! One example of an affiliate network for many countries in Europe: www.zanox.com
Although very successful, big data solutions are rather expensive and need some professional programming knowledge. They are a great tool to make your business successful, once you reached a certain revenue, amount of customers and technical knowledge.
It is relevant, because you can do advertisment on Bing also and some people like Bing more than Google. While you should clearly focus on Google, dont forget Bing for additional revenue. As the competition on Bing is lower than on Google, it might be a good investment.
The expectations of the customers for the “right” checkout can vary greatly, specially if you target foreign countries.
See also Usability and CR for this subject.
Content means: texts you write (product descriptions for example), the photos you show, the links you have, the movies, the service, everything. Content is what a visitor sees on your website. He actually comes to your website because of your content!
Take care of your content, keep it interesting. Offer new things regularly, make your content better. Also Google spiders (reads) your content and then decides if it will list (rank) you. You must take care that you have content that your customers and Google like. Your content is the backbone of SEO marketing.
An acronym for Click-Through-Rate. This is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) used in online advertising. It puts into relation the number of views of an ad (how many people saw that particular ad) compared to the amount of people that actually clicked on that ad. A CTR of 3% means that an ad was displayed/seen (for example) by 100 people and 3 of them clicked on it. Depending on where ads are displayed a CTR of 2-3% is good, where in other formats the CTR can go up to 6-7% and more. The CTR is also a factor in Googles “Quality Score”.
This means that you have to adapt your customer care to this behavior. The main forms of communication are email, telephone and skype or other chat software. To make your online business effective, you need to connect your shop software to your customer care software. Usually you have first and second level support meaning the graveness of the problem with the customer. Don´t underestimate the cost of customer care once you reach a certain level. It is important to integrate it into your company communication, so everybody speaks with one tongue! If you teach your customer care right, they can actually sell for you. One tip: Never promise more than you can deliver. It is much better to overarchive than to be called a liar.
Display advertising is more suited to promote a brand or to help your other marketing campaigns, but not very effective if used alone. To make them bring revenue, it is essential that you have a good grafic designer and a strong message. If you dont have that, then spend your money on other advertising channels.
This legal trap is so easy to use and strong, that competitors have used it to drive their competition to bankrupcy.
There is a second version of eMail Marketing in which you “rent” subscriber lists from other websites and send them your advertisement. Depending on your target group the prices CPM/CPT differ greatly for such a campaign.
Warning: Be generally very careful!
Because of the immense amount of spam in the internet, there are very strict rules about sending unrequested mails! They differ a lot from country to country, but are getting tougher every year. They are rather “soft” in Greece, but in other countries unsolicited emails can get you in jail! Inform yourself about it or use a specialist. Normally you are on the safe side with “double-opt-in” registration.
Our advice is to do a FB page, but only if you are willing to spend some time on it regularly and continuously, or have somebody to do it for you. FB only works gradually. If you talk to young audiences, find a young person, if to older persons, then an older person. For women a woman and so on. Speak your customers language and share their interests, then you´ll succeed.
We at Ola Online Consulting love social marketing and are highly successful in Facebook advertising.
Googles job is to make a map of the internet. For example of all websites, and to help the users (like you and me) to find what we are looking for. To do this, a gigantic amount of computers is needed and a highly sophisticated software. Due to the market share of Google in the western part of the world, it is the search engine to watch. Especially in China there are other search engines to watch.
Google earns billions of Euros by selling advertisements, AdWords for example.
When people (like you and me) search in Google, they type in one or more words, these are called search keywords! This “keywords” say what you are looking for. Some examples of keywords:
- buy car
- Movies with greek subtitles
- hotel on Mykonos
- Cheap flight to Paris
- used spareparts for Fiat Punto
- dentist in Thessaloniki
Now Google spiders (looks into) millions of websites every day, trying to understand what each website is about and if it has good content. To do this, Googles computer count how often words are used, in what order and where. For Google, every word is a keyword. Out of this Google understands what your website is about! Then Google decides: A user types “hairdresser”, then Google will display websites that use the word “hairdresser” most often. This is a keyword!
It is very important to be on the first page of Google SERPs (Search Engine Result Page)!This is the page you see after you typed in your search term, your keyword.
Every business that tries to sell or advertise online wants to be there. For this reason the fight for the first page is fierce! How strong that competition is for you depends mainly on the kind of products or service you want to sell, and thus on the keywords you want to be found with. In Greece the hardest competition in online marketing is tourism. The related keywords are, for example: “holiday” “holiday in Greece” “book holiday online” “hotel” etc
Keywords are extremely relevant for SEO or SEM (Adwords) marketing, look there for further details.
A short search term (like “buy car online”) is a “normal” search term. Then there are the “long tail keywords”, like “buy Fiat punto online under 3000 euro in Athens” which are also used by customers who are bored to search and directly want a precise offer.
Advice: Every serious online project, (no matter if selling, advertising, offering services or your self made honey) begins with the search of the relevant keywords for your offer. Almost every next step, even the design/building of your website or FB page, as well the necessary budget depend on the outcome of this analysis. If you dont do it, then you are going online with closed eyes!
If your online agency or website builder does not do this research before starting (without you having to ask for it) and shares his findings with you, then change the agency. They don´t care to give you an honest estimation of your online chances and necessary budget…
CTR: Click through Rate: A number that tells you what % of persons who saw your advertisement clicked on it. This KPI is extremely important in AdWords, as Google will lower it´s bidding price of your advertisement if your CTR is above average. The CTR is the perfect instrument to choose which advertisement works best.
CR is an acronym for Conversion Rate: This KPI is almost the most important KPI of all, as it appears in many different places in your shop and a small change in the CR can have huge effects on your performance and success. It says what % of your visitors actually did something you wanted them to do? Example: How is the CR of you shop? Means: How many of your visitors actually bought something? A CR of 1% means that from 100 visitors only 1 bought something. If you raise your CR by 1% you double your sales! The subject CR is a whole lesson for itself.
Hint: Always watch your CR, watch it not only general, but watch it for your different product categories, for your different marketing channels. The knowledge and optimization of your CR will make the difference between success and failure!
CLV: Customer Lifetime Value: It means how much will a customer spend in your business as long as he is active (alive for you). This KPI is not easy to access, but it plays a central role for your (economically reasonable) online spending for new customers (=marketing). If an average customer spends 50€ in your shop every time he buys and an average customer buys 2 times a year and stays 3 years, then: You earn 50*2*3= 300€ per customer. If you have a margain of 20%, it means that you earn 60€ per customer. So you can spend 50€ in marketing to get him and still earn 10€! Of course, the actual math is more complicated (churn rate!) but the CLV is a KPI that is widely used in online commerce.
This KPI is one of the reasons why some companies are willing to spend 100€ on an Adword keyword and still earn money.
If you don´t believe it, look around you! Look in the cafes and bars, look even at people walking on the street, everybody has his mobile out and constantly chats online and surfs the internet. This is also the reason why it is a must for every bar and restaurant to provide WiFi access for mobile users.
As the share of mobile accessed internet continues to grow much faster than the “normal” access via a desktop PC, it has reached over 50% of the traffic for many websites. This is why, when big companies redesign their homepages, they follow the rule “mobile first”, which means that the design is optimized for mobile phones first and then adapted for tablets, laptops and desktop PCs, not the other way around.
Accordingly, it is of vital importance for anybody who wants to go online with his products or services to take mobile traffic into account, specially if you target a younger audience. The easiest solution is to built your website with “adaptive design”. This means that the website adapts depending on how it is displayed. To make it clear, do not use any agency or programmer for your website that does not deliver the website with this feature, adaptive design. Additionally, you must control and test your website on your mobile phone before giving an ok for the builder.
Additionally, you can create an App for your website. App means application, and it is a programm that only works on mobile phones, which has many usability advantages. Many new companies have a basic website, but the actual program runs ONLY as an app on mobile phones. There are dating sites, finance sites, social sites and much more with this concept. The point to watch here is, that you need one App for Android mobile phones, like Samsung, HTC, and almost all brands (which have the lion share of the market, around 70% and more), and one App for IOS, which is for all the iPhones from Apple. If you only want to do one, choose Android for the biggest reach.
Advice: You must take mobile traffic into account, its importance keeps growing and some experts predict that it will reach over 80% of the total internet access in a few years. Do not accept any website development that is not “adaptive” to mobile devices and test its function before giving your approval.
Good usability and navigation is of core important for your success. This does not mean good/beautiful design of the homepage. Remember, how much time will your customer spend on that beautiful starting page? And how much on the following pages, like product page, category page and, hopefully, the checkout to buy your offer? Do not let yourself be impressed of a nice looking homepage, the real reason for success or failure is in the pages AFTER the homepage. Successful companies never stop improving their websites (see A/B testing), and put their main focus on the following parts of the website:
- Speed of the page (how fast it loads), Google will even lower your rank if your page is too slow
- Search field to find the product they are looking for, fast
- Big, good photos of your items, with accompaning text that leaves no open questions
- Easy to find buttons, with clear message “click here to continue”
- An easy to use checkout with the relevant payment methods for your target customers and market
Did you ever wonder why some really “ugly” pages are so successful? Because they focus on doing their job right, not on good design. A website is good, if it helps the visitor to find what he is looking for fast & easy, then he will become a customer!
Two tips: 1.Keep it simple!!! 2. Ask friends and whoever you know to test it! You´ll be surprised by the results!
Without marketing your website will not receive any visitors, nor will it grow to be profitable. You must be aware that there are millions of websites that compete for the customers attention and worse than in a normal store, where you have a street in front that people will pass by and see your offer, this does NOT happen in the internet. Without marketing, your website will be totally unnoticed and useless. Accordingly, when you plan your budget, you must always include spendings for marketing! If your website works well, then you can rely more on “word of mouth”, customers telling other customers about your website, but at the beginning, there is no way around it.
Depending on your products or services, depending on your target audience and target market, you can start with a few hundred Euros, with a relatively small budget. We at Ola Online Consulting always start that way, as experience shows that you first have to try & test the right marketing until it proves to be profitable. Only then we will scale it up.
The main advantage of being highly ranked in the organic results is that you get traffic and customers “for free”. But this “free” traffic might need a lot of work and preparation to archive, so it is not really free at all. The aspect of getting a good ranking in Google needs to be taken into account from the very first steps of building a new website. See “keywords” for further details.
Price comparison websites link to many different shops to buy one specific product. For example: You want to buy a pair of sunglasses, from Rayban, model Wayfarer in brown with yellow glasses. The price comparison website shows you where to buy them online and to what price the different shops sell them. This way they make the market more transparent to customers to compare prices. That is why a huge percentage of online shoppers use them, they help them save money! On the other hand it makes it harder for shops, because their prices are now competing with all other shops selling that product.
Everyone who wants to get listed has to pay money to that website. This is the commerce model of price comparison websites. As in AdWords, it is normally a CPC model. The CPC varies greatly, depending on what products you want to get listed. The prices start at 0.05€ per click and can get up to more than 1€!
On the other hand, to be listed on these sites brings you a lot of traffic and is a kind of online marketing. Although a good way to advertise, used wrong this is a good way to waste a lot of money. You must watch your clicks and products listed closely! At the moment the Greek market is dominated by only one company, Skroutz. In other countries, dozens of price comparison companies compete for this valuable market and it is an absolute “must do” to get listed there.
This goal must be taken into account from the very beginning of designing and building a website. (See Keywords for more details) It is the responsability of the agency programming the website to take the right steps for a good ranking.
The second factor is how good your website is linked to other websites. For Google, this is a sign that other people find your website interesting and relevant. Accordingly, a constant task for every website owner is to make the website interesting for your audience, so they visit and link you.
Apart from that your website must be “responsive” for mobile internet. Google has publicly stated that it will lower the ranking of every website that is not ready for mobile users.
Real time bidding and programmatic advertising together with the knowledge from “big data” is the future of online marketing. But, it requires a professional CMS system and quite some knowledge to set up. As interesting as it is, for the time being only bigger companies are using it effectively.
How it works:
You integrate a code into your website that tracks what is happening and who is in your shop. It keeps count of what products each customer looks at and of his actions. When the customer leaves your website without buying anything, the retargeting company remembers this.
Then, when that same customer surfs around the internet and goes to another website that displays advertisements, they remember what products he was looking at, and show him (and only him!) an advertisement with exactly the products he was looking at! This ad is a remainder, telling him to think again about that product. Sometimes the ad gives an extra incentive, like “10% off if you buy now!” If the customer clicks on that ad, he gets linked directly to that product on your webshop! The marketing company lives from a percentage of the sales the generate you that way (CPO-model)
Depending on your target country, there are highly specialized companies that offer this service. If possible, you should use this marketing channel, although you need some knowledge to set it up to be effective.
If your costs are to high, then your agency should tell you how to lower them, for example by changing the keywords they bid on, or changing to “exact match”. There are many possibilities to improve the performance of an SEM campaign. You can tell if a company is taking your campaign seriously if they do a deep research upfront for the right keywords and care to communicate all the relevant data to you and if they do constant A/B testing (see there) to improve the performance. To set up a campaign once and then just let it run (even if it is performing good) is just a way to make fast money from the client (you!)
Depending on your product or service, an SEM campaign can consist of 20 or 100 keywords, bigger companies have SEM campaigns consisting of 10.000s of keywords and even more. While the smaller campaigns can be handled manually, the bigger ones need special tools to handle them.
We at Ola Online Consulting offer to do your SEM campaign, or to protect your interest with the company doing it for you, by reviewing their efforts and results.
How does it work?
Search engines try to find the most relevant websites for the used search term (=keyword, see there)) of the user. So the aim of SEO is to convince them that your website is that best answer! To do this, you build up content that is relevant and try to convince other websites or users to think that too. If they do, they will put a link to your website to show it to their audience. Google counts how many people do that and who these people are. This is the analogy of “word of mouth” or gossip in the web. It makes a huge difference if a small website with 20 readers or a huge website with 100.000 readers is the one to link your website, Google knows that and rates the importance of the link accordingly!
The combination of relevant content and the amount and quality of links to your website are the main factors for Google to rank you on the first page or somewhere on page 54, where nobody will ever find you!!
Depending on what field you compete and who your competition is, SEO can be relatively easy or extremely hard and expensive! The author of these texts has worked with companies that spend over 10.000€ monthly only on SEO!
An important clue about SEO: You must keep SEO in mind from the very beginning when building a new eCommerce website! Done later it is much harder to succeed and sometimes not possible at all without starting again from the scratch!!
And as a last remainder, if your site is not mobile ready (responsive) you do not have a chance to be on the first page of the results, unless there is no competition for your offer, because Google penalizes unresponsive websites.
One of the biggest insurance companies in the world made a normal TV ad with a sport idol who went into a grocery and ate a piece of meat while talking about insurances. Within hours they had 10.000 posts of people screaming on their FB-page!
It all started with the post of 1 vegetarian. He complaint in the strongest words about the discrimination of vegetarians in general, asking to boycott this insurance. This one post started an avalanche that didn´t stop for three days with endless posts and discussions! The insurance didn´t have the ghost of a chance and lost complete control of their FB page for these days, a nightmare scenario. But they managed to “survive” this massive image loss for their whole brand by reacting calmly. The most important aspect: They did not delete posts, did not try to hide, never lost their head. They actually got out of it with image gains!
Advice: If you ever experience a shitstorm, react calmly! Never loose your temper, no matter what the customers throw at you, no matter how untrue their complaints are. Answer very polite and to the point, answer with facts. If the language gets bad, you can warn -very politely- that this language is not acceptable and ask to change it. If it continues, then you can block that person, but only as a last resort. The main point is to get the “general public”, the other customers reading the posts, on your side. So, if you have to block a person, explain why you did it. Never argue that he was “unfair” or something similar, argue that his language/behaviour was not suited to continue a converstation. Say that you always accept complaints and are open for discussion, but not when it gets “dirty”
A good design does not necessarily mean “beautiful”! A good design supports your products or services and, most important, is “beautiful” in the eyes of the customer, NOT your eyes! Woman like other colors than men, young people like a different design than older people, expensive products need a different design than cheap ones. Doctors offering their service need a design that tells the viewers that he is competent and serious, so no loud and strong colors and elements there, while a DJ will have a completely different audience and a much more flashy design.
A good agency will ask you many questions about who you want to get as customers, their age, gender, social status, lifestyle, etc. Then they will do a research of how your competition is doing it and only then they will start designing. Don´t be blinded by a beautiful homepage! The later pages are actually much more important and your customers will only spend seconds on the home page, but a lot of time on your products page. Put a lot of attention to the checkout pages, they are extemely important and many customers leave shops there, because they are confused. Look how your competitors are doing it, so you understand what your customers expect.
Be aware that what works in one market/country, does not necessarily work in a different market! Always research how your local competitors are doing it. Don´t try to be different if you offer the same products or services. Give your customers a surrounding that they know = are used to. You CAN be different, but then be prepared to adapt your website fast and pay close attention to onsite customer behaviour to understand if they like it or not.
Without constant improving and A/B-testing you will not succeed long. And remember that a website is never finished, its just the version before the next update!
Another central aspect is the ability to connect with other software. A “normal” online shop consist of 10 different software tools that all have to work together and it has to be connected to your bookkeeping and your warehouse! Then it has to be connected to “external software” like Google Analytics or AdWords, not to mention your other online marketing channels. Keep in mind that your online shop is never finished, the software must be flexible enough to grow with you.
There are two different kind of software: One is called “open source” and the other one is “commercial”.
This means that the one software is for free. This might sound great, but the real costs come from the money you have to pay to make it “your” shop. For this you need graphic designers and programmers, this is what costs money! The good thing is that you find a lot of programmers who know how to work with popular open source shop systems.
Commercial shop software costs money but has the advantage that it already has a lot of features ready, so the amount of money you have to pay to program it is less. Also, the backoffice part of commercial software is often better made. Depending on your needs you have to choose what is best for you. General hint: Smaller shops should use “open source” software, bigger, more complex shops use commercial software or program it themselves completely.
For smaller websites or shops you can use WordPress, as it has many ready made templates that you only need to adapt. Also, you can use plattforms like Wix or Jimdo or Shopify. For a small monthly fee, they offer a platform to make a website fast and easy with no programming knowledge needed. This does not mean that everybody can do it, though. You need some content writing, keyword research and SEO knowledge to make a website that actually brings results.
Additionally all the social networks offer different possibilities of doing advertisement on their pages that you can use to bring traffic either to your social account or to your website.
The target audience can be defined by gender (male/female), by age, by interests and by many other criteria. The better you know your target audience, the better you can address them and tailor your website and your marketing to their needs. It also saves you a lot of money in marketing, as you only need to spend money for your target audience, not for everybody.
The target market is normally geographical, like a country. It can also be that you address only business or customers, this is called B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumers). To target business instead of persons means a totally different approach in design, functions and marketing.
Visits means how many people visited your website, each visit is ideally from a different person. Pageviews means how many pages were visited on your website in total. So, you can have 1 visitor and 10 pageviews, as the one visitor looked into 10 of your pages. This is why pageviews are always much bigger than visits. If somebody wants to tell you how popular his website is (this is very important for advertising) they will normally tell you how many pageviews they have, as this number is much more impressive. To really know how popular a website is, ask for the visits, even better the unique visits.
The second important factor is to understand how many of the visitors are new and how many are recurring. The difference is that the new visits are people visiting you for the first time, while recurring visitors have already visited you before and came back. It is important to know this ratio between new and recurring when you do a marketing campaign, to see how many really new visitors it brings, so you expect their ratio to grow. If you only get very few new visitors and many recurring, then you are wasting your money, as they already knew your website and will not bring any new revenue. If your amount of new visitors does not rise significantly during a marketing campaign stop it and start it again with different settings.
This is why you must integrate “trust elements” in your online store. Their job is to give the customer something that will make him sure that he will get what he is about to buy and not lose his money. Which trust elements work best is a classic example of A/B-testing, but there are some common elements: Show who you are! Telephone, address and real name help people trust you, that you are “real”! Offer money back guarantees, have seals of quality.
Another very effective trust element is to have customer reviews on your website and to actively ask customers to write reviews or rate you. Many studies have shown that customers trust other customers more than they trust what you write.