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The Ecommerce Marketing Glossary

Look. We get it. There are a ton of marketing terms to keep track of. And a lot of information out there that can leave you feeling 🤯.

So we put together this guide of the marketing terms you really need to know to run and grow your ecommerce brand.

With real-life examples to inspire you.

Browse By Letter



A/B Test

A/B testing, or split testing, is the process of serving two variants of the same web page to different groups of website visitors. The goal of A/B testing is to optimize different elements of a webpage, email, or marketing campaign to maximize its conversion potential. 

What can you A/B test?

The use cases of A/B tests are limitless. Some common A/B tests include: 

  • Website copy
  • Pop up offers
  • Website design elements
  • Product description copy
  • Headlines
  • Email subject lines

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Abandoned Cart Email

An abandoned cart email is an automated email that is sent to someone who has items in their cart but did not complete their purchase.

On average, 70% of carts are abandoned. Abandoned cart emails are a must-have in your ecommerce email marketing arsenal because they can account for revenue that would have been lost if those people don't come back to your store to complete their purchase.  

These visitors made it so close to purchasing, showing clear intent. And sometimes all it takes is a little nudge to get them over the edge... just think about all the times you’ve abandoned your cart (and why).

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Audience Targeting

Audience targeting allows you to separate consumers based on age, location, gender, average income, level of education, interests, interaction with your brand, etc.

Reaching the right audience means you’re not wasting valuable resources on people who are unlikely to convert.

You know those ads that you just can’t help but click on? That’s on purpose. You were targeted based on certain criteria that made a brand think you fit their ideal customer profile. And the audience targeting they use reflects that. That’s why you immediately think, “Wow. I need that!”

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Average Order Value

Average order value (AOV) is the average amount spent every time a customer makes an online purchase. The formula to calculate it is really straightforward. Divide your revenue by the number of orders you’ve had in a given timeframe and you’ll get AOV.


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The CAN-SPAM Act applies to both email and text marketing. For starters, you have to get consent before contacting anyone through email or text.

So just because you have emails and phone numbers, doesn’t mean you can start sending messages. Your contacts have to opt in to receive any communication from your brand.

The CAN-SPAM Act is all about transparency and honesty in every interaction you have with subscribers.

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Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

Similar to the US CAN-SPAM and TCPA, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is meant to prevent misuse of digital marketing.

It requires organizations to receive permission from recipients before sending out commercial messages like marketing emails and texts. In order to stay in compliance, there are a few things you need to make sure you’re doing with your messages.

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How many times have you seen language like this the first time you go to a new site?

Bold Body Cookies

A lot right? 

So what exactly are you agreeing to? What even is a cookie?

A cookie allows certain data to be passed from a website’s server to your browser. They’re often  used to collect information like your name, address, card information, items in your cart, browsing history, etc.

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Cross-selling is the practice of recommending additional, complementary products to existing customers. This is a common practice in commerce as it exposes customers to products that they would likely purchase anyway.

An everyday example of cross-selling is fast food. McDonald’s is famous for asking customers, “Do you want fries with that?” at checkout. This is a classic cross-selling approach. Fries are an add-on or cherry-on-top to many of their meal choices, so it’s a really easy way to increase the amount customers are spending.

And it can be a straightforward way for you to increase your  average order value by offering customers complementary products to whatever they’re already purchasing.

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Cross-sell Email

A cross-sell email helps drive additional revenue by promoting an additional or complementary product to what a customer has already purchased. 

After someone completes their purchase, you can trigger a message with a CTA to check out a product that goes well with what the customer already bought.

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Customer Retention

Customer retention is a focus on keeping your current customers around for the long haul by creating an experience and product that makes them want to keep coming back. 

Unlike customer acquisition, which is all about landing new customers, retention is driven by loyalty and repeat purchases.

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Direct To Consumer (DTC/D2C)

This is truly a ‘ta-may-toe’ ta-mah-toe’ situation. DTC/D2C are both shorthand for direct to consumer, which means products are sold to the end customer directly, bypassing any middlemen. 

This means you’re not selling through a distributor, retailer, or wholesaler. When a customer makes a purchase, it goes straight from you to the customer.

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Dropshipping is a fulfillment tactic where items are purchased and shipped directly from a third-party supplier when a customer makes an online purchase. The dropshipping model is popular as dropshippers do not need to hold products in inventory, minimizing inventory costs. 

When an order is placed, it is sent to the supplier, who then ships directly to the customer, eliminating the manual process and space restraints that most brands deal with when it comes to shipping their products.

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Email Automation

Email automation uses specific time or behavior triggers to send messages to email list subscribers. Email automation is useful for marketing campaigns such as welcome flows, offer emails, abandoned cart reminders, and purchase confirmation emails. 

Automated emails are the foundation of email marketing strategy as they save time compared to manual email sends. Building a process based on pre-defined triggers allows you to send the right message to the right person at the right time. 

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Email Banner

An email banner is the design that shows up at the very top of your email. While not all emails have a banner, your email banner design can be a powerful element that hooks your email readers in. 

Typically an email banner would include your company branding, a headline for your promotion, and some imagery to tie it together. 

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Email Capture

Email capture is the way you get contact information from your website visitors.

And it’s the first step to growing your email list and driving more sales for your store.

Because on average, only 2% of your website visitors will actually buy something from you. So capturing their contact information while they are on your site will allow you to stay in touch with them after they leave. So you can build a relationship over time and eventually convert your list into customers.

And we’ve found that the average value of an email address captured with Privy is $33. So the bigger your list, the more $$ you should expect to drive with email.

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Email Conversion

An email conversion is an action that someone takes after engaging with your emails.

Since this group is already on your email list, an email conversion is typically a step that moves that user further through your marketing and sales funnel.

For most stores, the primary objective will be converting potential buyers in your email list to take an action on a purchase activity. Whether that’s a first-time buy, up-sell or repeat purchase.

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Email Footer

The footer shows up at the bottom of your email and is typically the last thing your readers will see.

Most commonly, an email footer includes your signature along with links to privacy policies and subscription preferences. 

While this is the last piece of your email, don’t overlook the opportunity within your email footer. If your reader makes it to reading this piece of your email, it’s a great opportunity to reinforce your brand’s values and personality.

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Email Header

An email header is the information that is stored at the top of your email. 

It usually includes the brand’s logo, but the subject line, sender and recipient information, and the date are also part of the header.

Arguably the most important part of your email header is the subject line, but your entire header has an impact on the conversion of email. So take the time to get it right.

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Email List

Your email list includes anyone who has opted in to receive your marketing messages. And it's one of the most important tools at your disposal. 

Because it’s a direct relationship you own that cannot be influenced by outside forces like other marketing channels (I’m lookin’ at you, ads) can. And we’ve found that for every 1 contact you add to your list, you can expect to earn $33 in revenue.

So the bigger your email list, the more sales you can expect to drive with your email marketing. Which means growing your list should always be a focus for your business.

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Email Segmentation

Email segmentation is the splitting up of your email list into separate groups (or segments) based on certain similarities. 

Segmentation is the secret to sending relevant messages to specific groups of people on your email list. 

The more relevant your messages are, the more they’ll resonate with your subscribers, which means they’ll be more likely to open and engage with your emails.

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Email Signature

Your email signature is what shows up when you sign off in your emails.

Most commonly, an email signature includes the sender's name and title. But when sending 1:1 emails (like support emails), your email signature shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a great place to personalize your sign off and highlight other calls to action.

Whether you include links to your website, a call to action to check out  an exclusive offer, or your social channels, you can use your email signature as a way to strengthen your relationship with your email list. And get them to engage with your brand on different platforms.

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Exit Intent

Exit intent pop ups help you reduce cart abandonment and grow your email or text list.

You know those pop ups you see that try to get you to stick around to make or complete a purchase as you’re about to leave a site? Or at the very least, enter your email address before you go? 

Those are triggered by your cursor’s movement – so when you’re getting close to closing the window, you see a pop up. 

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Fulfillment is everything that happens between clicking that ‘purchase now’ button to when it arrives at your door.

Once you actually place an online order, a lot goes on behind the scenes. The brand you purchase from has to actually pull the product(s) from the shelf, package it up, create a label, and ship it out. You’ll likely get confirmation emails and tracking information along the way, too. 

And if you receive the order and aren’t happy with it, then what happens? You return it, right? Well that’s also part of the fulfillment process.

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Hard Bounce

A hard bounce tells you that your email cannot be delivered to a particular email address.

It signifies that this is not a temporary signal, but a permanent response for that contact.

A hard bounce can be explained by one of three reasons: the email is invalid, the email domain isn’t real, or the email recipient’s server won’t accept emails. And since a hard bounce is permanent, you should treat these contacts as “unmailable.”

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Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is the offer you promote in exchange for your visitors’ contact information. 

For example, a lead magnet could offer a product discount, exclusive offer, or a CTA to join your list. Each of these act as an incentive to get your potential buyers to sign up and give you their contact information.

While lead magnets can take many forms, in ecommerce, the most common versions are things like welcome popups, cart savers, and spin to win campaigns.

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Newsletter Email

Newsletter emails are the perfect opportunity to engage with your email list on a regular basis. These emails are sent on a one-off basis and different from your automated email programs that are always on (like your abandoned cart and customer winback emails).

You can plan your newsletter emails to line up with product launches, new events, and even holidays. 

Your newsletters should drive your subscribers to take a specific action (check out a new collection, read a new piece of content, etc.) and be sent out at least once a month.

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Opt-in Email List

An opt-in email list is a list of users who have accepted the terms to receive communication from your brand, which means that you have consent to email them. And getting your email list to opt in is extremely important when following consent policies.

Whenever you capture or process a user’s contact information, you should have a policy nearby that explains your terms of email consent. This will ensure that your email list is aware and accepting of your marketing terms.

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Order Confirmation Email

After you place an order with your favorite ecommerce brands, you likely receive an order confirmation email.

It's how brands let you know they have, in fact, received your order.

Often, these emails include your order number so you can reference it if you need to reach out about anything related to your purchase, the item(s) you bought, your order total, billing and shipping information, and payment method.

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Order Follow-up Email

An order follow-up email is an automated message or series of messages that go out after a purchase has been made.

Like order confirmation emails, order follow-up emails are triggered after a purchase is made. But they don’t include order details like the confirmation email does.

You can use order follow-up emails to ask for reviews, cross-sell other products in your catalog, ask for referrals, and so much more.

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Pop Ups

We ❤️  pop ups at Privy. Pop ups are usually displayed in the middle of your site to grab the attention of your visitors. 

Pop ups are the heart of email marketing and text message marketing because their purpose is often to capture email addresses or phone numbers, which can then be used for sharing product information and updates down the line.

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Promotional Emails

A promotional email is an email you send to your list that promotes a new product or offer. These types of emails are meant to drive purchases for your brand and are sent on a one-off basis, like your newsletters.

There are a lot of ways you can approach promotional emails, but a few examples of offers you can promote are new product drops, special offers, and exclusive content.

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Re-engagement Emails

Growing your email list is one of the most important things you can do as an ecommerce merchant. But what do you do when members of your email list stop engaging with your messages?

You send them re-engagement emails.

These emails are targeted to inactive members of your email list with to goal to re-engage and make them active again.

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Referral Email

What better way to spread the word about your business than to leverage the customers who’ve already purchased from you? That’s why referral programs are such a powerful tactic when it comes to acquiring new customers for your business.

And asking for a referral in your emails is a perfect opportunity to get your customers to share with their friends. But how do you get them to share?

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Shopping Cart

Yep. It’s as simple as you think. A shopping cart is the online version of the cart you use at the grocery store.

Your cart will show you all the items you’ve added in one place. It will also usually show you the price of each individual item, the number of each item you currently have in your cart, and your subtotal. 

It’s pretty common that shipping and taxes are calculated further along in the checkout process.

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Spin To Win

Spin to win is a more engaging way to grow your email list than many traditional pop ups.

Visitors to your site are asked to enter their email address for a chance to spin the wheel to win one of 12 prizes.

Popular offers for the slices include free shipping, different percentages off, and a free gift with purchase. But of course they’re not all winners – that’s the fun of it! So there are often slices with language like ‘So close!’ ‘No luck today.’ and ‘Bummer!’

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Subject Line

The email subject line is what shows up next to the sender’s name in your inbox. And it’s super important because it’s what gets your subscribers to open your emails and read your messages.

Because let’s face it. Your subscribers are judging a book by the cover in this case. So you need to hook them with something they care about.

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Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is meant to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing.

Today, telemarketing includes phone calls, texts, and faxes. And the TCPA is intended to empower consumers to decide which messages they want to receive and which they want to opt out of.

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Transactional Email

A transactional email is an automated email.

Transactional emails are typically triggered by an event and sent to individuals one at a time (vs. bulk sends like a newsletter). Order confirmation, abandoned cart, and customer winback emails can all be considered transactional. This is because they are triggered based on a preset list of criteria. 

Transactional emails are a great opportunity to engage with your potential buyers in a timely manner to motivate them to take that next step in your marketing and sales funnel.

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Unique Coupon Code

A unique coupon code is generated and assigned to each individual that signs up for your email list. Which means every person on your email list gets their own code.

And unlike master coupon codes like WELCOME10 or LABORDAY20, a unique coupon code can only be used once. So your codes can’t be passed from person to person or distributed on coupon sites for anyone to use.

A unique coupon code also allows you to drive urgency because you’re able to set expiration dates based on when the code was created.

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An upsell encourages your customers to purchase an upgraded, or more expensive version of a product.

Many brands leverage upselling as a way to increase their average order value

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Upsell Email

An upsell email encourages your customers to upgrade their purchase to a more expensive version of a product.

They’re the perfect way to increase your average order value and should be part of your automated series so they’re triggered after a purchase is made. 

Remember that you can always work in upsells on your site before checkout, but an upsell email is a great way to encourage customers to upgrade after a purchase has been made.

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Welcome Email

When you get a new subscriber to your email list, you should send them a welcome email. It’s the  perfect chance to connect with your new subscribers and tell your story. 

You can keep this simple with a single email, or expand and create a welcome series that leads the customer down the sales funnel, to eventually (🤞) make a purchase.

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