Jargon. Buzzwords. Shoptalk.
Whatever you call it, eCommerce certainly has a lot of it. Jargon is thrown around like it was going out of style (sadly it’s not) wherever you turn, be it marketing content, sales pitches and even at the conferences you attend.
Yes, inside industry lingo does have its benefits and sometimes a piece of what may seem like jargon to the outside world can really cut through the noise when placed in front of the right audience. But if we’re being honest, a lot of the trendiest eCommerce buzzwords are criminally overused and under-understood.
Nonetheless, it helps to know the actual meanings of the words others in the industry are trying to dazzle you with. So with that in mind, we humbly present our attempt at busting some of the jargon likely to be trendiest in 2022. And we promise you won’t hear them coming from our lips. That often.
Okay, okay, we’re guilty of banging on about the metaverse a little bit, but who wasn’t in those heady autumnal days when Mark Zuckerberg announced that soon he would be serving us advertisements in a different plane of existence?
In a nutshell, the metaverse is a hypothetical version of the internet that provides users with an ongoing online 3D environment.
Thanks to Facebook’s decision to rebrand as Meta, the metaverse is the buzziest of buzzwords in tech at the moment and likely will be for the foreseeable future. But what does it really mean? What are companies saying when they claim to have launched their own experience in the metaverse?
The short answer: not a lot. So much research and development need to be done before anything close to Zuckerberg’s and the most optimistic technologists’ visions for the metaverse are realized. The metaverse is coming, but anyone who claims to know for sure what exactly that means for commerce, or anything else, is greatly exaggerating their powers of prognostication.
Meta's (formerly Facebook) new logo for the coming era of the metaverse.
Composable commerce (and make sure you don’t add a stray ‘t’ in there) is fast on the rise as a popular way to design the architecture of an eCommerce website.
In the simplest possible terms, it means using lots of different pieces of software to ‘compose’ (see what we did there?) an eCommerce website. So different packaged business capabilities (PBCs) are used to deliver different experiences, instead of having one single vendor deal with everything a store needs. One PBC might handle the checkout for web browsers, the other handles Android checkouts.
The idea is each individual PBC is better at performing the single job it is tasked with doing than any monolithic platform could be. Think of it like the evolution of specialized substitutes in soccer. Now a coach has a large bench of players to call upon, whereas in the past he could only bring on one replacement, so that player was often a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
If you’re feeling confused by that acronym, you’re not alone. FEaaS means front-end as a service so as you can probably guess, it’s derived from the likely more familiar SaaS.
FEaaS does what it says on the tin; it means a vendor providing the front-end of a website as a service to a client. These vendors are normally cloud-based and are heavily reliant on what the clients provide them in terms of content and APIs. Essentially, the client can pick and mix which parts of the front-end components the vendor offers to add to their website.
If that sounds an awful lot like composable commerce to you, then you’ve been paying attention. A lot of composable commerce evangelists have also tipped FEaaS to be a huge part of the composable revolution.
This is an awfully complicated name for a concept that’s easy to understand but seems tricky to implement. In a nutshell, having contextualized real-time pricing means a business can change the prices of items for customers in (you guessed it) real-time.
This doesn’t necessarily mean pairs of trainers being sold as if they were on a stock market with a massive price ticker in the middle of a sporting goods store, but instead would involve using a customer’s mobile device (most likely with the brand’s app) to provide a dynamic price based on a number of factors. These factors could include a loyalty program, supply and demand issues, or even bog-standard promotions.
The tricky part seems to be the technological capability to do this in real-time across all channels, and how to educate customers on the intricacies of how your new pricing system works in their favor.
No, it’s not a new Will Smith movie, emotion AI is a new branch of artificial intelligence that if fully realized, could have big implications for eCommerce. It’s also called affective computing and it’s all about the idea that AI technologies could be used to determine the emotions a person interacting with a computer is feeling. This could involve voice and facial recognition technology, and more.
If it all sounds a bit space-age and possibly dystopian to you, then you’re not alone. Privacy concerns aside, the biggest obstacle seems to be the huge difference between using this technology to gauge human emotion in a lab setting, and using it in the wild with actual consumers. In the latter case, it’s unclear how reliable the data would be.
Will emotion AI be able to tell which of these eggs is happy? Only time will tell.
Hopefully having read this far, you can consider at least some eCommerce jargon well and truly busted. That doesn’t mean it’s time to throw all the above words out of your dictionary though, it just means there’s no need to be dazzled by them the next time you encounter someone talking about how important composable commerce is for metaverse adoption.
Knowledge is power, and know you know what these fancy-sounding terms mean, you have power over them.