Your ecommerce glossary has arrived. Part 5: Terms N-P

From nanotechnology to Zillenials, we’ve got you covered.

The world of ecommerce and online marketing is changing everyday – no one can blame you if you haven’t committed every acronym and each new platform to heart. But we’ve got you covered.

We have assembled one of the most comprehensive, exhaustive ecommerce glossaries you can find. If you’re looking to peruse new ideas, or simply find a quick cheat sheet for your next conference call, this glossary is just the thing, covering everything from Nanotechnology to Zillenials.

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The practice of science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale, which is roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology enables new technologies and innovations in fields like biology, chemistry, materials science, medicine, and physics on an extremely small scale.

Native advertising
A form of paid or sponsored advertisement that matches the look and feel of the media platform where it appears, native ads often appear in social media feeds or as recommended content on a web page and look less like a traditional ad and more like a natural extension of the editorial flow of the page.

Native mobile application authentication
A user providing his or her credentials for authentication in a native mobile application, which usually runs on Android, iOS, or Windows Phone operating systems.

Natural language generation (NLG)
The process of computers turning non-language data (spreadsheets, videos, metadata, etc.) into grammatically correct explanations, summaries and conversational content that is indistinguishable from human-authored content.

Near field communications (NFC)
A form of contactless communication, NFC refers to the ability of mobile devices, typically smartphones or tablets, to wirelessly connect and share information when in close proximity to each other. This is expanding particularly in regards to mobile payments.

When a company moves employees and business operations from a distant location back to or adjacent to the country where the company is located. Benefits can include decreasing time zone differences and cultural disparities, while increasinging oversight opportunities and historical linkage. Nearshoring is derivative of offshoring.

Net payment
The amount of pay left after deducting the necessary taxes from the gross pay.

Net revenue
The amount of earnings a company or individual has made from sales after subtracting the expenses required to operate the business.

Net settlement
This refers to the resolution of all of a banks transactions at the end of the day, including all incoming and outgoing cash, debit, and credit dealings.

New productivity platforms
The continuous innovation and evolution of platforms that enable better management of work life, using visual tools, hot deployment, built-in administration and management, and the active participation of business experts.

Next-generation portfolio management
Technology that enables organizations to better integrate strategic planning and operational execution using cohesive practices, tools, and cultural shifts and fed by real-time operational metrics and strategic goals to measure and optimize business performance.

Niche social networks
Communities that exist online and consist of like-minded individuals who use the platform to participate in unique conversations, share content, and provide expertise about specialized or regional topics.

A financial institution or company that provides some banking services but does not have the legal status of a bank. A company that offers a credit card but does not accept deposits is an example of a non-bank.

Short for “no operations”, this refers to the concept of an IT (information technology) environment becoming so automated from the underlying infrastructure on which it runs that it no longer requires management from a dedicated software team to run.

Short for “New to Cards”, it refers to new merchants that do not offer any payment services by card.

N-tier architecture
Also referred to as multi-tier architecture, N-tier architecture is a client-server architecture concept in software engineering where the processing, presentation, and data management functions are separated both logically and physically. Separating these functions makes managing each easier since doing work on one does not affect the others, allowing the isolation of any problems that might occur.

Number of carts
Referring to how many purchases, or bundles of purchases are active during a retail online shopping visit.


Object storage
The storing of data into distinct segments, each possessing a unique identifier that allows for integrity verification and retrieval of the data.

Office of foreign assets control (OFAC)
The unit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that oversees and imposes economic and trade sanctions, including asset seizures, based on U.S. national security and foreign policy goals against foreign threats to the economy, foreign policy, or national security of the United States. OFAC can impose controls on transactions and freeze assets under U.S. jurisdiction when Presidential national emergency powers are imposed, or if granted authority by specific legislation.

Offline debit transaction
A payment method that employs a debit card to transfer funds from a cardholder’s bank account to a merchant via a credit card network. Also known as a signature-debit transaction, an interchange fee is charged to the merchant and not the card-issuing bank.

The business practice of relocating company operations, such as manufacturing or IT operations, from one country to another where labor costs are much lower than the home country.

A cross-channel content strategy that unifies the various channels (marketing, selling, fulfillment) that organizations use to create a more seamless and integrated customer experience.

Omnichannel advertising
The strategy of organizing all paid media across channels and devices to ensure it is relevant, consistent, and connected with the customer’s particular stage in his or her life cycle.

Omnichannel B2B commerce
An integrated approach for exchanging products, services, and information between businesses rather than between businesses and customers.

Omnichannel contact center outsourcers
Contact centers that are operated by third-party suppliers who provide a range of customer services that include hiring, training and managing agents, delivering customer service technologies developed in-house, managing customer service over existing channels, and implementing and enhancing contact center processes.

Omnichannel media management
The comprehensive planning, creating, buying, organizing, and optimizing of insights across all paid media touchpoints and buying modalities to deliver connected, relevant advertising experiences to consumers throughout the purchase life cycle.

On time in full (OTIF)
On time in full is a supply chain metric that measures the extent to which shipments are delivered to their destination according to both the schedule and quantity specified by that order.

Online advertising spending
Also referred to as digital advertising spending, online advertising spending is the combined advertising spending through display, search, and social channels across desktop, laptop, and mobile devices.

Online authorization
The process of a transaction being approved or declined by a card issuer, which includes an on-line dialogue between the merchant terminal and the acquirer’s host system.

Online company forum
A brand-sponsored event where consumers and marketers work to improve a company’s products and services together.

Online debit
During an online debit card transaction, the cardholder is required to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) once the card is swiped/inserted at the Point-of-Sale, and the proper funds for the transaction are deducted from the cardholder’s bank account. Also known as PIN debit.

Online engagement
The level of online influence, interaction, and involvement an individual has with a brand or company over time.

Online payments
The electronic purchase of services and goods utilizing the internet, computer networks, and digital stored value systems.

Online terminal
A merchant terminal that creates an on-line authorization request for each transaction, during which data capture of a transaction by an outlet’s acquirer occurs.

Online video platforms
Technology that can capture, alter, or distribute live or on-demand video content through mobile, digital, and traditional channels to generate new video experiences that grows customer interest and engagement.

On-page messaging
The optimization and manipulation of actual content on a website, such as product descriptions and company background, to include higher quality keywords, enticing customers to make the final purchase.

Open innovation
The act of innovating new product strategy by incorporating new ideas and methods gathered by three general participant groups: internal constituents, partners, and customers.

Open loop
Purchasing goods or services using a credit card, debit card, or gift card anywhere that payments cards are accepted. The opposite of a Closed Loop card, or a single-purpose card, which refers to a credit or gift card that can only be used at a single store or group of stores owned by a company.

Open rate
Refers to the number of email subscribers who open the email you sent to them.

Open source services
Services delivered in an open source community that include but are not limited to training, support, education, and consulting, and are provided directly to customers, developers, and users of the software.

Operating system security
Describes the security apparatus for OS systems that includes certification testing, audit trail/logging, standards compliance, OS architecture, and documentation and training.

Operational resilience
An organization’s ability to absorb the impact of an unexpected event while still delivering on its brand promise.

Operational-level agreement
An agreement between multiple suppliers and a client that outlines a framework for achieving shared service-level agreements.

Operations support system
The administrative infrastructure that allows service providers the ability to generate, install, supervise, and maintain communication services. OSS is responsible for many services including billing, customer support, inventory, network and business management, and planning and maintenance functions.

Making adjustments to a site in order to garner the best and most effective search traffic possible. This can include enhancing social media presence, incorporating keywords into content and tags, blogging, etc.

An order is when a customer purchases an item. When a visitor purchases an item(s), it is considered an order. Orders that are returned or cancelled after they have been processed are not included in this statistic.

Organic traffic
When a user find a website through a search engine query and not through a paid advertisement or referral from another site. Users that have found a site by searching a term or question on a search engine such as Google or Bing are said to have found it “organically.”

Organic search
When a site visit is the result of an online search that assembles the most relevant and closely matched search results that are natural and not paid for. These search results are the most relevant data when it comes to analyzing site traffic.

Organizational change management
The framework for managing the human element of transformational change within an organization. The process and techniques are applied in concert with project management in a transition from one organizational structure, business process, or technology to another.

The multi-step process that a lender or card issuer undertakes when a consumer or borrower applies for a new loan or credit card, covering all steps from the submission of the application through final approval or denial.

Outcome management
The ongoing adaptation of technological and management resources to deliver business results — informed by desired outcomes relative to resource and budget constraints.

A physical store or location of a retail chain in the network of a business.

The business practice of using the services of third-party organizations in an attempt to reduce overhead costs.

When the predetermined credit limit on a payment card is exceeded by the cardholder. The card issuer may decline the transaction, or allow the transaction and assess a fee for surpassing the agreed-upon limit.


P2P payments
Peer-to-peer payment is the ability for individuals to transfer funds from their credit card or bank account directly to another individual’s account, via a mobile device or the internet.

Package implementation services
The services provided by system integrators and consultants who implement packaged applications.

Page rank (PR)
A way of measuring the importance of website pages, page rank ranks pages in their search engine results. Higher ranked pages are closer to the number one spot.

PAML solutions
Software that provides tools that can analyze data and build predictive models using statistical and machine learning algorithms.

PAN key
An alternate service which enables card details to be keyed into a merchants terminal as opposed to being swiped through the terminal.

Partial authorization
If the purchase amount exceeds a cardholders credit limit during a transaction, the card issuer can return a partial authorization for funds only up to the amount of the limit. The remaining balance will then need to be covered by an alternate payment method.

Partial shipment
When an online store ships only some of the products in a single order, and the full order will be need to be completed in multiple deliveries.

Partner relationship management
The business practice of using productive procedures and underlying technology to deliver holistic solutions to customers through support, understanding, and collaboration.

Path analysis
Analyzing website behavior in order to better understand the competency of copy, content and information architecture as it relates to browsing tendencies.

Path length
A metric that measures how long (in online interactions) it took for a website visitor to become a customer on that website.

Payment amount
The total amount of a cardholder’s transaction submitted for authorization of payment.

Payment card
A general term for any plastic card (credit, debit, charge, etc.) which can be used to withdraw cash or pay for goods and services.

Payment gateway
An internet-based system that completes the authorization process between the merchant and the consumer by transferring credit-card information from a computer or website to a credit-card processor for verification.

Payment method
The form of payment used by a consumer to purchase goods or services from a seller, including cash, credit card, debit card, money order, and bank transfer.

Payment service provider (PSP)
A payment service provider entices merchants to accept online payment through a variety of payment methods including credit card, direct debit, and bank transfer in exchange for online services.

Payment tokenization
In payment transactions this refers to the substitution of a token in place of personal account numbers to help banks, merchants, and other stakeholders in the payment process avoid fraud and reduce the scope of compliance audits.

Payments value chain
The complex environment supporting a payment transaction that can include the consumer, merchant, acquirer, issuer, and processor, as well as additional third-party entities involved in many aspects of the process.

A secure web page where confidential information such as credit card details are added in order to complete a payment.

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing
Essentially when advertisers pay for ad placement, pay-per-click marketing is a form of “buying” site visits to increase traffic. PPC marketing is commonly done through search engines, where it is vital to select keywords that are ranking well to obtain a larger search volume and get more users to click on the ad.

Pay-per-click advertising
When companies or advertisers pay search engines a small amount for each click on their promoted ad. Typically these ads appear at the top and bottom of the search results.

PCI compliance (Payment Card Industry compliance)
A set of compliance standards that ensures a secure environment for businesses that store, process, or transmits credit card information.

PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards)
The security standards intended to safeguard the payment card account data for merchants, financial institutions, payment-device makers, software designers, and other third parties that handle credit cards from major card organizations. Any entity that stores, processes, or transmits cardholder data are required to adhere to these standards.

People-led planning
The active, continual cycle of demonstrating brand promise, maintained during interactions across a customers journey, and determined by tactics that have been developed through a marketing planning process.

Percentage of orders discounted
At the order level, the percentage of all orders that were discounted.

Perishable insights
Risks and opportunities that firms can only detect and act on at a moment’s notice.

Perpetually connected consumer
An individual who owns and uses at least three connected devices, at least one of which is “on the go”, and accesses the internet multiple times a day from multiple physical locations for personal use.

Personal cloud
A collection of digital content and services which can be accessed from any device. Not physically tangible, the personal cloud is a place that can be used to organize and preserve personal or work information, documents, media, and communications and deliver that information to any device across digital devices and online services.

Personal digital twin
When an individual uses an algorithm optimized to meet and achieve personal goals and objectives. The algorithm filters any content that impedes the goals, and identifies opportunities that support meeting them.

Personal identity and data management
How individuals and organizations use rules and standards to manage and share personal data and identity with other individuals and organizations.

Personal value ecosystems
The digitally connected products and services that individuals merge to help fulfill their needs and desires.

Personalized experience

Using customer data and comprehension of their history and preferences to guide and enhance an experience for them.

A vivid narrative description of a single person who represents a behavioral segment of a company’s target customer, created from primary research with real customers and based on models of key behaviors, attributes, motivations, and goals.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)
The confidential number or code used by an individual cardholder to authenticate card ownership for ATM or POS-terminal transactions.

PIN authorization request
The process of enabling a card issuer to validate the cardholder’s identity by comparing the Personal Identification Number to the account numbers.

PIN pad
The electronic keypad device that cardholders use to enter their Personal Identification Numbers to complete a transaction using a payment card.

PIN verification
A confirmation procedure employed by or on behalf of the card issuer to verify the identification of the cardholder as a result of the use of the PIN upon receipt of a transaction request.

PINless debit transaction
When a customer is not required to enter a Personal Identification Number during a debit-card transaction.

A colloquial term referring to the physicality of payment cards, typically alluding to the production, upgrading, and bolstering of security features of these hard-plastic cards.

Point-to-point encryption (P2PE)
The encryption of cardholder info immediately at the initial swipe device, before securely transferring that information to the payment processor who then decrypts the data. This security standard is designed to ensure unencrypted cardholder data is never stored or processed in a merchant’s Point-of-Sale system, thus minimizing the potential of a data breach.

When data stored in a polling service of central computer’s terminal is collected. Data is collected in batches rather than in real-time.

Portal foundations
The basic underpinnings of a web-based platform that collects information from different sources into a single user interface, including application servers, enterprise applications, business intelligence, and integration servers. Many organizations will have multiple portals and must decide whether a single portal infrastructure will be appropriate for all portals.

Point of sale (POS) terminal
A device designed to authorize, record, and transfer data by electronic means for each sale at a merchant location. The POS terminal is connected to the merchant’s bank or authorization service provider via telephone lines.

POT (Predominantly Off-line Terminal)
When electronic authorization is sought above the pre-agreed floor limit at a merchant point of sale.

Prediction markets for research purposes
The informed crafting of predictions based on the aggregated knowledge and judgement of consumers groups around a specific event or concept that have been collected and studied. The predictions are used to clarify or confirm the direction of the research in bringing to market the products and services that will resonate the most with consumers.

Predictive analytics
Finding models that can anticipate outcomes with a significant probability of accuracy using certain tools, techniques, and technologies that use data.

Predictive apps
The use of predictive analytics in apps to anticipate and supply the most personalized functionality and content for an individual on the right device at the right time by continuously learning about them.

Prepaid cards
A payment card that is not associated with a bank account and can only be used by the cardholder up to the amount that has been pre-deposited onto the card. Prepaid cards are often reloadable.

Prescriptive analytics
The application of mathematical and computational sciences to improve the effectiveness of decisions made by humans, or by decision logic embedded in applications.

Price range
The range in price for an item from lowest sale price (including discounts) to the highest sale price of a purchased item.

Price stabilization
A contractual guarantee that ensures against a price increase by a service provider to a customer for services provided under a service contract.

Pricing and promotion solutions
The effort to drive long-term customer value via applications that systematically manage price appeals and concessions.

Primary account number (PAN)
Created when a new credit card account is open, the PAN is a numerical code up to 16 digits, which uniquely identifies the credit card holder.

Private cloud
When a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g. business units) owns, manages, and operates cloud infrastructure provisioned for exclusive use by them.

Private community
A platform solely used for research purposes to understand consumer behavior, evaluate parts of the customer experience in a non-biased manner, and conduct co-creation exercises, that is invitation-only.

Private label credit cards
A store-branded credit card intended solely for use at a specific retailer’s store locations or website.

Process data governance
The process of ensuring that data meets precise standard and business rules as it is entered into a system.

Process governance
The way in which a company outlines the rules and standards for selecting, prioritizing, and delivering process improvement initiatives that all go together with a common goal across the enterprise.

Processing day settlement

When transactions conducted by a merchant during non-banking days (i.e. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays) are consolidated with transactions performed during the nearest immediately preceding banking day.

A designated third-party, selected by a merchant, that handles credit card and debit card transactions between that merchant and its customers.

Product APIs

APIs designed to directly control a physical, digital, or service product, or facilitate its assimilation into an ecosystem of related products.

Product information distribution services
Systems that distribute product information to various endpoints including retail, marketplace, and marketing. These systems help manage connections to both the endpoints and the requirements of the endpoints.

Product localization
Targeting a specific region by adapting products and services through a process of adding locale-specific components and translating end-user-facing interfaces and documentation.

Product ranking
How products rank according to revenue over a given time period.

Product revenue
The total sale price of a given product while accounting for returns, discounts, and refunds over a given period of time.

Professional services industry
Essentially any profession or organization that provides customized, knowledge-based services to clients. Example services include legal, accounting, consulting, architectural, scientific research, marketing, real estate, etc.

Programmatic commerce
When the right brand will come to consumers in their homes at the right price, automatically, freeing consumers from having to make decisions on what to buy.

Programmatic selling
The utilization of digital platforms to automate the targeting, analysis, and optimization of online publishers’ advertising inventory with the goal of improving yield, via sell-side software interfaces and algorithms.

Project management tool
Throughout the M&A process project management tools are used as a secure, web-based solution that aids in tracking and monitoring activities. These tools are not used strictly for M&A but also for inorganic growth activities, such as divestitures and joint ventures.

Promotion influencers
Go-to consumers who subscribe to promotional emails and can influence their communities by sharing recommendations on retail deals.

PSP (Payment Service Provider)
A payment service provider entices merchants to accept online payment through a variety of payment methods including credit card, direct debit, and bank transfer in exchange for online services.

Public switched telephone network (PSTN)
The basic voice telephone system still used in homes and small businesses.

Public cloud platform
An application-hosting platform, that is publicly accessible, for customer-created executables. The service must be delivered in a pay-per-use, self-service way, via a standardized IT service offering, at minimum an application runtime platform and/or virtual infrastructure.

Public community
An arena in which consumers can publicly connect with other people and brands.

Publishers are individuals and organizations whose create and distribute content as a business. Publishers own the rights to their content and can assign those rights as they see fit.

Purchase funnel
As way to understand which parts of the sales process visitors drop, the purchase funnel displays the number of visitors over a given period of time who: visited more than one page, looked at a product, put an item in a cart, and completed a sale.

Purchasing card (P Card)
A form of company charge card issued to a business for use by an employee for transactions outside the traditional corporate-purchasing process.

Purchase with cash back (PWCB)
A transaction type allowing a merchant, with the acquirer’s approval, to allow a cardholder to draw cash up to a limit agreed with its acquirer within a standard sale transaction.