Glossary of e-commerce terms

Third party logistics - a firm that provides outsourced supply chain management and logistics services to its customers.


Affiliate marketing
A way of growing reach and scaling advertising and can cover Pay Per Click, social media marketing, online channels or traditional media buys. With affiliate marketing, a brand owner pays “affiliates” (people or sites who promote your product) a commission. It’s done by tracking the traffic coming to your website from your affiliates and rewarding them if their incoming traffic results in a sale. Some common types of affiliates are: loyalty programmes, rebate sites, bloggers, email marketers, and social media influencer profiles.

Application program interface. APIs are used to specify how software components interact with one another. It sets the routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications.


Business to business - the business model and process of one company selling to another.

Business to business to consumer (B2B2C) is an e-commerce model that combines business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) for a complete product or service transaction. B2B2C is a collaboration process that, in theory, creates mutually beneficial service and product delivery channels. For example a brand or product owner sells to an e-commerce site such as Kaola, who then on sell to consumers.

Business to consumer - the business model and process of a company selling directly to consumers.


Consumer to consumer - the business model and process of consumers selling directly to other consumers e.g. Trademe.

Cross border e-commerce, the process of selling goods or services across international borders.

Code of compliance certificate

China Inspection and Quarantine

Closed platform
An e-commerce platform where the operator has control over applications, content, and media, and restricts access to non-approved applications or content. Examples include platforms owned by supermarkets or retailers as an extension of their physical stores. These platforms usually offer limited or no supplier control over branding or marketing.

Cash on Delivery - a popular option for buyers in Southeast Asia, and accepted by e-commerce marketplaces such as Lazada.

CSV file
A text file that is a simple way to send and receive data which is both easy to read and process.

Customer ratings and reviews
A summary of a customer’s liking or disliking of their buying experience with a merchant. This can relate to the company itself, the products purchased or their overall experience. Reviews and ratings on e-commerce platforms are usually listed underneath products, found on forums, or on social media. They can be critical in convincing other customers to buy, and high reviews contribute positively to product ranking on platforms such as Amazon.


Daigou means 'buying on behalf of', and is a channel of commerce between mainland Chinese buyers and overseas professional shoppers. This network of overseas professional shoppers, or shopping agents, buy goods which are usually expensive or hard to find in China. Daigou is sometimes referred to as a grey market.

Doing business as - sometimes businesses use this instead of their official trading name.

Digital wallet
A digital wallet refers to an electronic device that allows an individual to make electronic transactions. This can include purchasing items online with a computer or using a smartphone to purchase something at a store. An individual’s bank account can also be linked to the digital wallet.

Drop shipping
A supply chain management method in which the retailer doesn’t keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to the manufacturer or another third party, who ships the goods directly to the customer.


Electronic direct mail.


Fulfilment by Amazon. Amazon takes care of warehousing the seller's inventory at their fulfilment centres and will pick, pack and send orders to the seller's customers as they come in. The seller is responsible for getting the goods to FBA.

Fulfilment by Lazada. With FBL Lazada is responsible for processing, packing and shipping a seller's orders. The seller's items are stored in Lazada warehouse and a shipping fee is charged based on the number of orders shipped.

Final mile delivery
The last mile is a metaphor used to describe the movement of goods from a fulfilment centre to their destination. In other words, the last mile is the last leg of your product’s trip before it arrives on your customer’s doorstep.

Flash sale
As the name suggests, flash sale platforms offer limited quantities of products at discounted prices for a short period. Often, the goods are new to market, or surplus products. Flash sale platforms offer brands the ability to market their goods in an overseas market, or even to test out the popularity of various products.

Free shipping
Offer customers shipping at zero cost. Free shipping isn’t actually free so merchants will absorb the costs or increase the product prices to cover. Merchants will often use a form of free shipping such as “Free Shipping over X Amount” if product margins are tight.

Free trade zone.

The process of receiving, packaging, and shipping orders.


GTIN code
Global Trade Item Number. The GTIN is a globally unique 14-digit number used to identify trade items, products, or services.


In a hypermarket, there is only one shopfront. The hypermarket itself purchases goods directly from the overseas company, and adds it to their product stock. The product is then sold on the platform with a retail price. Goods are stored and delivered through the hypermarket’s own warehouse and distribution centres, reducing the logistics burden for the foreign brand. Often, the hypermarket focuses on particular categories of products, such as wine, handbags, or milk powder.


Key opinion leader


Logistics is the process of getting your stock in and out, turning around the components you buy into the products you sell to your customers. Logistics proves an increasing challenge as your business scales, and many e-commerce businesses choose to outsource their logistics function.


Mobile commerce, online financial transactions made from a mobile device such as mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

Multi-channel e-commerce
An e-commerce selling strategy that targets customers on various channels beyond a company’s website. Multi-channel has evolved beyond promotions to include selling directly to consumers on social media, multiple marketplaces and other platforms.


Online to offline. A business strategy that combines online channels and physical stores to engage consumers or offer greater convenience. This can include physical stores which consumers visit to see, touch and feel the products, before purchasing online; or online platforms, especially for supermarkets, where customers order products before picking them up from a store in person.

Order tracking
The process in which a customer views the progress of their order leading up to delivery. This is generally orchestrated using a tracking code provided when a purchase is completed.


Payment processor
A third party company appointed by a merchant to handle credit card or debit card transactions for the merchant.

Payoneer is a financial services company that provides online money transfer and digital payment services. The company specialises in facilitating cross-border B2B payments in more than 150 local currencies, utilising its banking network around the world to make local bank transfers.

One of the leading payment processors, preferred by a number consumers over any other single payment method. Paypal is an essential component of your e-commerce payment setup for Western countries.


S-commerce or social commerce
Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services. More succinctly, social commerce is the use of social network(s) in the context of e-commerce transactions.


Third party service providers who assist brand owners to set up and operate to sell online.


UPC code
Universal Product Code. UPC consists of 12 numeric digits that are uniquely assigned to each trade item.


Free Chinese instant messaging app.

WeChat service account
Send four messages per month, more intrusive, higher open and engagement rate, more functionality than a WeChat subscription account.

WeChat subscription account
A type of business account on WeChat allows one message per day, is less intrusive but has a lower open and engagement rate, is focused on content and has fewer features than a WeChat service account.

Chinese version of Facebook.

Stores on WeChat.

Individuals and businesses who are set up to sell on WeChat.

WorldFirst is an overseas money transfer and global currency exchange provider. World First serves clients from five continents, and deals in 121 currencies. The service is particularly popular in the United States, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Western Europe.