English Vocabulary for E Business

Affiliate
Companies that sell other manufacturers' or retailers' (sponsoring merchants) products on their Web sites. Users select a product at the affiliate Web site, but the sale is actually transacted at the sponsoring merchant's Web site. Affiliates are similar in concept to industry-based manufacturer representatives that sell multiple manufacturers' product lines.

Agent
Software that acts as an intermediary for a person by performing some activity. Agents can "learn" an individual's preferences and act in the person's best interest and may even negotiate and complete transactions. A purchasing manager's agent may learn corporate specifications, determine when inventory is low and search the Internet for the lowest-cost supplier.

Aggregator
Enables buyers within a market to select among various competitors by aggregating information about the market and its suppliers and providing this information via a Web site. Aggregators may provide decision-support applications that integrate supplier information with third-party information and with user requirements or preferences to allow users to differentiate services and features of the various competitors. Content aggregators aggregate information and match it to user preferences. These preferences may be declared actively (user explicitly specifies) or passively (software discerns preferences from user behavior or interest) and are used to filter aggregated content and deliver only what matches user preferences.

Application Service Provider (ASP)
ASPs aggregate, facilitate and broker IT services to deliver IT-enabled business solutions across a network via subscription-based pricing.

Available to Promise (ATP)
The uncommitted portion of a company's inventory or planned production. ATP is maintained as a tool for promising orders to buyers.

Auction
An electronic market, which can exist in both a business-to-business and business-to-consumer context. Sellers offer products or services to buyers through a Web site with a structured process for price-setting and fulfillment. Web auctions may follow English, Dutch, reverse-bid or sealed-bid processes.

Banner
An advertisement that appears on a Web site. The ad format is a "banner," a combination of graphic and textual content entreating the Web site user to "click through" for further information on the advertised product or service.

"Brick and Mortar"
Describes a traditional company with no Web channels as a sales outlet for its products or services.

Browser
A software program used to locate and display information on an intranet, extranet or the Internet. Browsers are most often used to access Web pages. Most browsers can display graphics, photographs and text; multimedia information such as sound and video may require additional software called "plug-ins."

Business-to-Business Commerce (B2B)
Using electronic interactions to conduct business among enterprises, typically as a result of formal, contractual arrangements. B2B functions include sophisticated Web authorization and control (WAC) for delivery of sensitive price, contract and content information for each partner; catalogs that provide custom views based on access control and parametric search for serious business buyers; and order entry functions such as standardized "ship to" locations, dynamic order recalculation and payment options.

Business-to-Consumer Commerce (B2C)
Using electronic interactions to conduct business with consumers. B2C may include formal relationships (e.g., customers with assets under care or with subscription services or content) and ad hoc relationships (formed in real time to enable a new user to buy, sell or access information).

Business Intelligence (BI)
An interactive process of analyzing and exploring structured, domain-specific information (often stored in a data warehouse) to discern trends or patterns, thereby deriving insights and drawing conclusions. The BI process includes communicating findings and effecting change. BI domains include customers, products, services or competitors.

Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR)
Fundamental analysis and radical redesign of business processes and management systems to achieve dramatic change or performance improvement. BPR uses objective, quantitative methods and tools to analyze, redesign and transform business processes including their supporting organization structures, information systems, job responsibilities and performance standards.

Buy Side
Processes for companies to purchase products. Includes requisitioning, product catalogs, approvals, user identification, purchase order creation, payment processing and integration to other systems. Processes occurring upstream from the company with trading partners, suppliers, etc.

"Click and Mortar"
Describes a company with physical outlets as well as an on-line presence for the sale of its products or services.

Clickthru:
A clickthru occurs when a web site visitor responds to a banner or other advertisement by clicking on the advert. Advertisers pay websites additional fees based on the number of clickthru's per unit time.

Collaborative Commerce (C-Commerce)
The collaborative, electronically enabled business interactions among an enterprise's internal personnel, business partners and customers throughout a trading community. The trading community could be an industry, industry segment, supply chain or supply chain segment.

.com
an Internet only entity. .coms can be created by traditional brick and mortar entities or by independent entities. Examples: amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com (barnesandnoble.com is a separate legal entity from the physical book retailer.)

Commerce Service Provider (CSP)
Service providers that specialize in Web-enabled e-commerce services, as well as those offering specific software or outsourcing support for these services.

Community
A constantly changing group of people collaborating and sharing their ideas over an electronic network (e.g., the Internet). Communities optimize their collective power by affiliation around a common interest, by the compression of the time between member interactions (i.e., communicating in real time), and by asynchronous "postings" which potentially reach more participants and allow for more reflection time than real-time interactions.

Competitive Intelligence (CI)
Analysis of an enterprise's marketplace to understand what is happening, what will happen and what it means to the firm. CI business goals may be offensive: to confidently position the firm in the marketplace, to plot a course for future positioning and to allocate short- and long-term resources; or defensive: to know what is happening, what may happen and how to react.

Content Provider
A firm whose products are information-based (content), including services to access and manage the content.

Cookies
Small files that are automatically downloaded from a Web server to the computer of someone browsing a Web site. Information stored in cookies can then be accessed any time that computer returns to the site. Cookies allow Web sites to "personalize" their appearance by identifying visitors, storing passwords, tracking preferences, and other possibilities.

CORBA
(Common Object Request Broker Architecture): It can be tough to get computers and software to talk to each other, particularly if the products use different operating systems and architectures. The OMG's (Object Management Group) CORBA standard, established in 1991, provides a set of common interfaces through which object-oriented software can communicate, regardless of computer platform.

.corp
a bricks and mortar AND Internet entity operating together/in parallel. .corps are usually created by traditional brick and mortar entities as a response to on-line retailers. Example: The Gap and gap.com.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A technology-enabled strategy to convert data-driven decisions into business actions in response to, and in anticipation of, actual customer behavior. From a technology perspective, CRM represents the systems and infrastructure required to capture, analyze and share all facets of the customer's relationship with the enterprise. From a strategy perspective, it represents a process to measure and allocate organizational resources to those activities that have the greatest return and impact on profitable customer relationships.

Demand Aggregators
A term used to describe operators who 'collect' demand from consumers for a particular item. Priceline.com (airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc.) and Adauction.com (advertising space) are examples. These companies allow consumers to obtain discounts to market prices and allow sellers to sell what might otherwise go unsold and 'see' the latent demand for their goods/services that exists below the established price points.

Digital Cash
A system that allows a person to pay for goods or services by transmitting a number from one computer to another. Like the serial numbers on real dollar bills, the digital cash numbers are unique. Each one is issued by a bank and represents a specified sum of real money. One of the key features of digital cash is that, like real cash, it is anonymous and reusable. That is, when a digital cash amount is sent from a buyer to a vendor, there is no way to obtain information about the buyer. This is one of the key differences between digital cash and credit card systems. Another key difference is that a digital cash certificate can be reused.

Digital Wallet
A digital token downloaded and stored on a PC used by a consumer during Internet shopping. Using the token during a buying process initiates a customer profile download (credit card information, the shipping and billing addresses, etc) into the purchase form as well as creating a record of information about the transaction. For consumers, the initial value proposition behind the wallet is to make it ease of transaction by putting an end to filling out forms. Advanced uses of the wallet include storing shopper preferences, alerting the consumer to special offers, alerting the consumer to better pricing for an item at another site, alerting the consumer his car is in need of an oil change, etc.

Discount Rate
A percentage fee paid to the merchant account provider or ISO (independent service organization) for handling an electronic transaction. Most Web merchants pay between two and 10 percent of their revenue from online credit card or electronic check orders.

Domain Name
A unique identifier for an Internet site which consists of at least two (but sometimes more) parts separated by periods (e.g., http://www.info-edge.com). Enterprises must register top-level domains with the Web Internet Registry and pay a yearly fee to maintain the registry.

E Business
Any Internet- or network- enabled business activity that transforms internal and external relationships to create value and exploit market opportunities driven by new rules of the 'connected economy'.

Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce, EC)
The use of communication technologies to transmit business information and transact business. Taking an order over the telephone is a simple form of EC. Internet commerce is also EC, but is only one of several advanced forms of EC that use technology, integrated applications and business processes to link enterprises.

Electronic Catalog (E-Catalog)
An aggregation mechanism that presents goods or services for sale and enables users to buy goods or services in electronic marketplaces.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
The electronic exchange of trading documents (e.g., invoices and orders) to enable e-commerce. Originally conducted only through value-added networks, EDI is gradually moving to the Internet.

E-Mall
A Web site that maintains catalogs from multiple suppliers. Buyers enter the site, view many suppliers at once and purchase products or services. E-malls often charge a fee for tenancy or membership, may take title to the goods themselves, and are selling
environments based on traditional notions of print and broadcast advertising that entice visitors to buy.

E-Market Maker
Intermediaries that develop a B2B e-marketplace of buyers and sellers within an industry, geographic region or affinity group. They enter supply chains introducing new efficiencies and new ways of selling and purchasing products and services by providing content, value-added services, and often e-commerce capabilities. They are generally managed by a third party within a trading community.

E-Marketplace
A Web site that enables buyers to select from many suppliers. E-marketplaces -- which focus on putting the buyer in control -- are buying that aggregate supplier content and provide decision support tools that enable a buyer to make the most informed decision.

Employee Self-Service (ESS)
Electronic services for employees to access or edit information previously controlled by an internal support staff. Examples are procurement (ordering supplies) or human resources (training registration or update of benefit choices).

Extranet
A collaborative, Internet-based network to link an enterprise with its suppliers, customers or other external business partners and to facilitate intercompany relationships. Extranets use Internet-derived applications and technology to become the secured extensions of internal business processes to external business partners.

Frictionless Commerce/Frictionless Economy
According to theory, the Internet is a nearly perfect market because information is instantaneous and buyers can compare the offerings of sellers worldwide. The result is fierce price competition, dwindling product differentiation, and vanishing brand loyalty. Real world evidence casts doubts on the validity of this theory. Positive Feedback Markets, Demand Side and Supply Side Economies of Scale, and Lock In and Switching Costs are concepts that rebut the notion of Frictionless Commerce.

Functional Hub
A B2B hub focusing on a specific business function or process across industries. Functional hubs focus on MRO purchasing, employee benefits administration, logistics, etc. and provide deep process or functional expertise for customers.

Hit A Website 'visit' from a site visitor. Different statistical packages count hits differently, which creates confusion about how many users actually visit a given site. This can be a problem as Websites determine fees for advertisers.

Holdback
A portion of the revenue from a merchant's credit card transactions, held in reserve by the merchant account provider to cover possible disputed charges, chargeback fees, and other expenses. After a predetermined time, holdbacks are turned over to the merchant. Note: Merchant account providers almost never pay interest on holdbacks.

Hub
An electronic marketplace facilitating e commerce by aggregating buyers and sellers and acting as the transaction intermediary.

Hybrid Business
A brick-and-mortar business that has responded to Internet threats by creating a Web front end with links to back-end systems; or a dot.com
(virtual company) that is creating traditional infrastructure, such as a warehouse and logistics system, to meet customer expectations.

Impression
A banner, pop-up, or other advertisement on a portal, or website. Advertisers pay the website on an impressions per unit time basis. 1000 impressions per day. (this definition is in question)

Intellectual Assets
Intangible assets including employees' knowledge; data and information about processes, experts, products, customers and competitors; brand names and image; and intellectual property, such as patented, trademarked or copyrighted materials and regulatory licenses.

Interactive Relationship Managers (IRM)
Infomediaries that collect user data based on surfing habits of ISP customers and tailor marketing/promotional programs according to what those customers might like or need.

Internet Sales Outlet (ISO)
A third-party Web site that attracts visitors looking to buy goods or services. ISOs make money by selling links or ads that lead directly to the merchant Web sites, or by selling products or services on behalf of Web merchants.

Independent Service Organization (ISO)
A firm or organization that offers to process online credit card transactions, usually in exchange for transaction fees or a percentage of sales. Merchants must generally establish a merchant account before contracting for ISO services, although some ISOs claim not to require separate merchant accounts.

Issuing Bank
The bank that maintains the consumer's credit card account and must pay out to the merchant's account in a credit card purchase. The issuing bank then bills the customer for the debt.

Java
A programming language frequently used on Web sites. Some Java programs, or "applets" are downloaded from the Web server to the visitor's own computer, which then runs them. This distinguishes Java programs from other Web programming languages, such as PERL, that reside and run on the Web server (only the results are downloaded to the visitor's computer).

JPEG (or JPG)
A file format used for storing graphic images, usually photographs. JPEG files are larger than GIFs of the same image but offer better color control and clarity. See also GIF.

Knowledge Management (KM)
A business process that formalizes management and leverage of a firm's intellectual assets. KM is an enterprise discipline that promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organization, access and use of information assets, including the tacit, uncaptured knowledge of people.

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Mail Order / Telephone Order Discount Rate (MOTO Discount Rate)
The discount rate charged by the merchant account provider for credit card transaction in which the actual credit card was not available to the merchant. MOTO discount rates are generally higher than swipe discount rates to account for the increased chance of fraud or nonpayment.

Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO)
The activities and material purchased to support activities associated with the operation and repair of any facility, equipment or asset. Companies enter into contracts with functional hubs to outsource MRO procurement.

MAP (Merchant Account Provider)
A bank or other institution that hosts merchant accounts and processes online credit card transactions. The term is also often used broadly to include any credit card processing service, including ISOs.

Market of One
Continuous customization of the content, services and interactions with a customer to deliver exactly what he or she needs and to create the sense that he or she is a market of one.

Market Spoilers or Market Killers
Web-based businesses that aggregate information about a market and its suppliers, present the aggregated information to consumers via a Web site, and increasingly offer decision support to allow customers to differentiate based on independent validation of competitors' services and features. These businesses diminish the advantage of suppliers that compete through brand identity or reputation.

Matchmakers
Web sites that refer a buyer to a Web merchant willing to sell a good or service at the price specified by the buyer.

Merchant Account
A bank account established by a merchant to receive the proceeds of credit card purchases. By establishing a merchant account, the merchant bank agrees to pay the merchant for valid credit card purchases in exchange for the right to collect on the debt owed by the consumer.

Merchant Bank
A bank that holds a merchant account . After a consumer buys a product using a credit card, the merchant bank places funds into a merchant account in exchange for the right to collect on the debt owed by a consumer. See also merchant account provider .

Merchant Services Provider
A bank, ISO , or other firm that provides services for processing financial transactions, usually credit card sales. Many MSPs provide merchant accounts , while others require their clients to establish merchant accounts on their own. Some MSPs claim that they do not require merchant accounts; this may indicate factoring, which is illegal in many areas. See also holdback .

Micro-Marketplace (MM)
A narrowly focused market that aggregates multiple vendor offerings, content and value-added services (such as comparison of features) to enable buyers within a particular industry, geographic region or affinity group to make informed purchasing decisions.

Micropayment
Very small charges, perhaps even less than a penny, processed through e-commerce systems. Until this time, e-commerce has been largely limited to purchases of $10 (U.S.) or more. With micropayments, however, e-commerce merchants can sell products for far lower prices, such as charging small fees for downloading documents or charging per click for online advertising. Micropayment systems are still largely experimental and not widely available.

Personalization
Using continually adjusted user profiles to match content or services to individuals. Personalization includes determining a user's interest based on his or her preferences or behavior, constructing business rules to select relevant content based on those preferences or behaviors, and presenting the content to the user in an integrated, cohesive format.

Portal
A high-traffic, broadly appealing Web site with a wide range of content, services and vendor links. It acts as a value-added middleman by selecting the content sources and assembling them together in a simple-to-navigate (and customize) interface for presentation to the end user. Portals typically include services such as e-mail, community and chat.

Public Key Encryption
A method of encrypting electronic data. Developed to account for weaknesses in symmetric encryption, public key encryption does not require the transmission of decoding keys themselves.

Profile
A definition of customer preferences, behaviors or demographics.

Sell Side
Processes for companies to sell their products, including catalogs, transaction processors, payment processors, and supply chain management methods and tools. Processes occurring downstream from the company with trading partners, distributors, end consumers, etc.

SET (Secure Electronic Transaction)
A system for encrypting e-commerce transactions, such as online credit card purchases. Developed by Visa, MasterCard, Microsoft, and several major banks, SET combines 1,024-bit encryption with digital certificates to ensure security. SET is still in development.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
A system for encrypting data sent over the Internet, including e-commerce transactions and passwords. With SSL, client and server computers exchange public keys, allowing them to encode and decode their communication.

Sticky
A website quality referring to the amount of time a visitor stays at the site. A sticky site is one with longer than average visit times. An average web page visit is five minutes.

Streaming
Technology that allows the user to play audio or video as the audio/video data is downloading.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)
The process of optimizing delivery of goods, services and information from supplier to customer. SCM is a set of business processes that encompasses a trading-partner community engaged in a common goal of satisfying the end customer.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
The character string or Web address
that identifies an Internet document's exact name and location.

Vertical Hub
A B2B hub focusing on a vertical market or industry. Vertical hubs focus on energy, steel, telecommunications, paper, plastics, etc and provide deep domain-specific content and domain-specific relationships for customers.

Virtual Company
A company integrating several ideals: outsourced noncore competencies; a focus on core strength/business; little or no physical presence or infrastructure; a network of business alliances; the exploitation of intellectual capital; and a heavy reliance on telecommunications. Virtual companies have outsourced the physical processes and administrative attributes of traditional business, and expanded and combined intellectual activities (e.g., problem solving) with standard business processes such as marketing.

Web Site
A collection of files accessed through a Web address, covering a particular theme or subject, and managed by a particular person or organization. Its opening page is called a home page. A Web site resides on servers connected to the Web network and is able to format and send information requested by worldwide users 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Web sites typically use the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to format and present information and to provide navigational facilities that make it easy for the user to move within the site and around the Web.

XML
Extensible Mark-up Language.

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