eCommerce terminology and definitions

eCommerce, Ecommerce, e-commerce; however you spell it, the term is now firmly lodged in our language. So just what is it?

At it's most simplistic level; eCommerce is simply the buying and selling of goods, services or information via the World Wide Web, email or other pathways on the Internet. Ecommerce and Ebusiness are interchangeable terms. As with any other industry, ecommerce has introduce new terms into our language.

The following are definitions of the more widely used terminology relating to ecommerce, followed by links to other related tutorials and learning resources on Taming the

B2B (Business to Business)

The exchange of goods and services between business.

B2C (Business to Consumer)

The exchange of goods and services with the end consumer being the target market.


Where a transaction is debited against a merchant account in cases of refunds and fraud. Chargebacks usually attract a fee that is debited against the merchant.

Certificate Authority

A third party company that issues digital certificates that confirms a company or individuals' identification. A digital certificate is a crucial part of secure ecommerce


Where two companies identify a partnership between them through one company displaying their logos, color schemes etc on another companies application.


Small text files stored on your computer when visiting a site that record preference for that particular site's usage. Cookies are also common in shopping cart applications in order to remember visitors as they move throughout product pages.

CRM - Customer Relationship Management.

The entire process of a pre-sales, sales and service relationship with a customer. Many software applications are now available that permit you to record this relationship from the time the clients asks their first question. Good CRM software is much more efficient than fragmented records as it can save time in tracking communications and transactions with a particular person.

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)

This is the business to business (b2b) flow of information between companies or within a company itself. The 90's saw the concept of information equaling power. Whatever creates power also generates money and therefore creates new enterprises to supply this information.


Process of transforming data into a type that prevents casual observers from deciphering.


These are mainly "virtual" storefronts which act as a catalogue of products of merchants and usually include a "shopping cart" system to enable consumers to purchase online with the use of credit cards.


Software/hardware used to prevent unauthorized access from a computer system or network of computer systems.

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