Approach of web design where the website will deliver up different versions and different content of the website dependent on the type of device used. As a customer loads the website, the server uses device information to inform what adaption of the website they will seed depending on device used (PC, Mobile, Tablet). Multiple versions of a website developed, potentially serving up different content based on device.
Promoting your website or products with third parties, the affiliates (e.g. price comparison sites or aggregators in your sector, like MyDeco.com in furniture), and paying them results-based commissions. These can be a percentage of sales, a fixed amount per sale, or a fixed amount every time a customer clicks on the link to your website.
Traffic driven to your website by other websites, individuals or companies that you have partnered with.
The proportion of visitors to your website who leave immediately — usually calculated as the percentage of customers who exit after a single-page visit. In retail terms, it would be the equivalent of counting the number of people who stop for a few seconds considering your shop window or the entrance of your store, and leave immediately.
These schemes have various names but correspond to the same principle: Using the website to find a product, and finalizing the purchase or collecting it in store. A perfect example of a multichannel purchase involving two channels. The customers will either pay for the item online and collect it in store (usually called “order and collect” or “click and collect”), or ask the retailer to hold the product in-store for them for a given period and pay for it in store in the normal way (usually called “reserve and collect”). The advantages of these multichannel schemes are numerous, including generating traffic to your stores (a high proportion of customers will purchase additional items), offering convenience for customers who can’t be at home to receive deliveries, and gathering more data on your customers.
The outsourcing of computer services to third party data centres with more capacity to store and process data. Users (e.g. companies) access these shared resources/ services at a cost. In most cases this is internet based shared services e.g. servers. Shared by multiple users, who have no view/ control over the infrastructure of services. Enables companies to scale up without the cost of developing own IT infrastructure.
See Content Management System
The CMS is the design layer of a website, governing its look and feel. It allows templates to be designed and populated by either images, words or videos and sound. New CMS templates make it very easy for staff with minimal internet skills to create and modify multiple templates for different parts of the website. A new template typically takes one day to create. As an example, for a website with 10,000 products, there can be between 12 and 16 templates.
As in retail, the most common definition of conversion rate is the percentage of customers who enter your store/website who end up buying. Websites’ conversion rates usually range between 2 and 4%, a much smaller proportion than the equivalent in-store retail metric. This is due both to the ease of online browsing and to the immaturity of the online industry with most companies yet to take full advantage of the potential of their websites.
Cost per Acquisition. A metric broadly used in digital marketing, it is simply the cost of acquiring a new customer. It can be calculated by, for example, dividing the overall cost of an email marketing campaign (e.g. cost of the list of email addresses + cost of promotion used as an incentive), by the number of new customers on the back of that campaign. Digital marketers compare that metric to the estimated spending pattern of a new customer to calibrate their marketing spend. The sheer amount of data available on online customers and their attitudes make digital marketing a much more measurable tool than offline marketing. UK companies now spend an average of a quarter of their marketing spend on digital marketing.
Cost per Click. The cost a company has to pay a third party partner (typically a search engine like Google, or an affiliate, see affiliate marketing) every time a customer clicks on a specific link. In the case of search engines CpC is the currency of paid search, or “Pay per Click / PPC”, and such links are called sponsored links and located at the top and on the right of the search engine results window.
CPM is another online marketing metric. The M of CPM stands for Mile (thousand), so CPM means Cost per Thousand and refers to the cost of a thousand impressions of an online advertising banner. The equivalent to the cost of printing your ad in 1000 copies of a newspaper, only online.
Customer Relationship Management. A marketing-led approach to building and sustaining long term business with customers. Online is a particularly relevant tool for CRM marketing as so much data can be collected on customers and their attitudes. The most advanced application of CRM marketing is personalised marketing e.g. offering customers what they are most likely to want based on the information we have on them and their past purchasing behaviour.
To cut a long story short, another word for multichannel. Created as a new buzz word in the internet and retailing communities because the term “multi” was too static and not reflecting the fact that customers shop across channels (see for example Click and Collect), not only with several channels. Our point of view: the term you choose to use to describe multichannel/cross channel is much less important than your understanding of its definition.
Finding out about customers’ characteristics and how they shop for given products/brands. This allows ultimately to map customer journeys i.e. how they navigate between channels from the stage at which they start considering a purchase to the sale and the after-sales.
A fancy term to describe a way of presenting customers with options on how to browse a product selection on a website, for example by colour, price, or brand. Typically located on the left hand side of the website, these filters will allow customers to shop the way they want rather than forcing them down a pre-set route. Faceted navigation is simple in concept and proven to improve conversion rate but can become quite complex with large or fast-moving product ranges and requires constant monitoring.
Beware of hits! Often mistaken for the number of visitors to your site, hits actually correspond to the number of items (e.g. graphs, text) requested from a web server and can therefore be a very misleading metric. The right measure for traffic is the number of visits, equivalent to the number of people who pass in front of your store, counting 2 if you pass by twice; the number of unique visitors is the metric that doesn’t duplicate repeat visitors. Whilst the internet allows what is often a dream for retailers i.e. counting every single customer that goes through their doors and recording what they do in store through web analytics, bear in mind that in online language, a “customer” is a computer’s address (its IP address), and that to gather the most relevant data requires a little bit more effort!
Web hosting companies provide space on their servers and in their data centres for others’ websites to function
Possibility to order in store on a digital device e.g. mobile tablet, static kiosk etc., and have items delivered to home, back to that store or a different store.
Describes objects with an embedded Internet connection software, sensors, connectivity or electronics. They collect data from their environment in order to add value by exchanging it with the manufacturer, internet operator or other devices. Notably no human interaction is required.
As its name indicate, a landing page is the web page on which the customer lands when clicking on a link (for example an ad, or a link on one of the affiliate’s websites). Increasingly, landing pages are different to home pages, and designing landing pages to increase their relevancy to whatever it is that the customer is doing, is a proven method of increasing conversion. For example, if a customer clicks on a link to your website situated on a gardening-focused affiliate partner, getting them straight to the gardening section of your website rather than your home page will save several clicks and a lot of frustration, and therefore increase your probability of completing the sale. Category landing pages focus on a product categories, product landing pages on a specific product and its attributes.
Taking the customer’s point of view, multichannel is the way people shop in the digital age: Using several touchpoints (stores, website, catalogue, mobile etc…) in their purchasing, browsing and brand journeys. Taking a company’s point of view, multichannel is a new corporate ethos: removing silo mentality and thinking about how each channel drives value to the rest of the organisation.
Other term for sponsored content or display ads. It defines all forms of online ads that match with the style and content of the platform on which they appear e.g. an article written by an advertiser to promote their product, but using the same form as an article written by the platforms’ editorial staff.
The ease with which customers find and move between different information and pages on a website. Optimising your navigation is the equivalent of changing the architecture and layout of your store to make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for. However, unlike a physical store, the online environment allows customers to jump much more easily from category to category or product to product, which many websites have yet to take advantage of, too often forcing their customers down a single path and making it difficult to reverse.
Open source refers to a certain type of platform. It means the company who has purchased an open source solution can access and modify the core code. This allows any type of application or service to sit on the platform and is not beholden to the maker of the platform. The platform is typically supported by way of an enterprise license, meaning that the core code developers will support the underlying platforms and code and ensure that any changes and upgrades belong to the company. Because of their flexibility, open source solutions are typically much cheaper than traditional solutions where each change needs to be negotiated with and implemented by the supplier.
See click and collect
The number of times people visit a web page displaying your ad. This is not the same as the amount of people who ‘see’ your ad.
An internet service that connects your e-commerce site with your Merchant Account. A gateway accepts your order information and connects to your Merchant Account to authorize and transfer funds.
A platform is the actual code that all the applications of a website are built upon. The software. There is a vast supply of ready-made solutions catering for websites according to their needs, and the platform is usually supported by a contract/license so the company is supported in its development. Over the past few years the emergence of open source platforms have radically changed the landscape.
See search, CpC
See click and collect
Approach of web design aimed at optimizing the website size to any kind of device (smartphone, tablets, laptops). As the website is loaded onto a specific sized device it will respond to provide an optimal reading experience with a minimum of scrolling, resizing and panning. One website, one set of content.
Stands for Radio Frequency Identification
Tracking technology that involves small tags that emit distinct signals. Retail business owners can use remote scanners to read RFID tags placed on individual products, enabling them to record a variety of information, including quantities of various stock items and their precise locations.
Search is a general term describing all activities where customers enter free text in a search box to find what they are looking for. Search activities can be found on general search engines (e.g. Google, Bing!, Yahoo), vertical search engines (e.g. specialised on travel), and within websites themselves (site search). It is not uncommon to have 20-40% of traffic to your website coming from search engines, hence the importance of featuring prominently on the list of search results. This can be achieved in two ways: through natural search, i.e. letting the search engine’s algorithms figure out by themselves where you rank on specific search terms. And through paid search, i.e. paying to improve your ranking on specific search terms. Natural search results appear on the left hand side and main body of the search results page, whilst paid searches or sponsored links are located at the top and on the right hand side of the page. The marketing activity associated with improving your natural search results is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and consists in making your website “search engine friendly” through proven methodologies; Paid search marketing campaigns are called Pay-Per-Click campaigns (PPC) and consist in allocating a budget to a list of words according to their influence on traffic and popularity (=cost). Site search is vital as it is proven to increase conversion rate significantly if well executed, but can alienate the customer if poorly executed (e.g. returning too many and irrelevant results to a search). The latest trends in search are around semantic search.
A social network is a site that facilitates communication between customers (C to C), usually around a common interest (e.g. discussion forums between MAC users or pet owners), or for general networking purposes (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn). The rise and importance of social networking is undeniable (Facebook has 400m users half of whom log on every day) and prompting a lot of buzz in the internet and marketing communities. In the right circumstances, an appropriate social network marketing strategy can significantly enhance visibility and traffic. However, as every other element of a company’s strategy, it needs to be thought through carefully and in balance with other initiatives and in our view is too often rushed leading to wasted energy and budget.
In simple terms, whether your website works for its intended purpose. Optimising the usability of your website means fixing things that simply don’t work (i.e. clicking on a button that doesn’t lead anywhere), or making it easier for customers to perform certain tasks (for example putting things in and out of your basket)
Also called beta testing, application testing, and/or end user testing, it is a phase of software development in which the software is tested in the “real world” by the intended audience or a business representative. The goal of User Acceptance Testing is to assess if the system can support day-to-day business and user scenarios and ensure the system is sufficient and correct for business usage.
It’s a software application that supports the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. WMS programs enable centralized management of tasks such as tracking inventory levels and stock locations.
The analysis of the data behind a website. Any website will generate an immense amount of valuable data, which traditional retailers would only dream of in a store environment: how many customers walk past, how long they stay, what they look at, where they were immediately before visiting you, where they go afterwards, where they’re from geographically, how often they come back etc. The challenge is often around managing such a large amount of data. Web analytics software exist to help companies aggregate and organise the data, like Google Analytics or Coremetrics, but many companies lack the experience to read the data and select the most appropriate KPIs for ongoing management.