• Home
  • News
  • Background
  • From omnichannel to shopping on social media: e-commerce (related) terms explained

From omnichannel to shopping on social media: e-commerce (related) terms explained

By Esmee Blaazer


Scroll down to read more


Image illustrating online shopping. Credits: via Pexels

On this page, you will find common or frequently used e-commerce terms (or words related to the topic of online shopping) and their meanings.

You can choose to read the article from beginning to end or click on a term from the A-Z glossary to go directly to it.

Glossary (A-Z)

  • Cross-border
  • Cross-channel
  • E-commerce
  • M-commerce / Mobile Commerce
  • Mobile shopping
  • Multichannel
  • Omnichannel
  • Re-commerce / recommerce
  • Showrooming
  • Social Commerce / S-commerce
  • Webrooming
  • E-commerce

    E-commerce stands for electronic commerce and refers to buying and selling goods or services on the Internet.

    Web shops are the most well-known and important channels for e-commerce, but they are not the only ones. M-commerce and s-commerce are subcategories that focus on commerce via mobile devices and social media, and these all fall under the broader umbrella of e-commerce.

    The United Kingdom is the leader in B2C e-commerce turnover in Europe The top three European B2C e-commerce countries by turnover are: UK (236 billion pounds), France (112 billion pounds), Germany (93.6 billion pounds) and Spain (68.4 billion pounds).

    The UK holds the first position when it comes to most e-shoppers per country (92%), and the highest E-GDP - the percentage of GDP comprised e-commerce sales - in 2020 (9.92%).

    Fashion accounts for a 31% share of the UK eCommerce market.

    Read more here

    M-commerce / Mobile commerce

    M-commerce stands for buying and selling via apps and mobile devices such as tablets or your smartphone. Mobile commerce is the longer term, which is less commonly used.

    The text continues below the photo

    mage for illustration purposesCredits: Image: Asos, Multiverse. Property of Asos

    Mobile shopping

    Mobile shopping, or mobile shopping, means buying via your smartphone.

    Social commerce / s-commerce

    Social commerce - or s-commerce for short - is the term for buying or selling products via social media channels/apps, such as Instagram and TikTok. As a consumer, you can buy it directly through your social media app, so you do not have to go to a separate website, but can directly click on a product that you see in a post or video.

    Also read the article: 'Will 2023 be the year of social e-commerce?'

    Re-commerce / recommerce

    Re-commerce is the term for buying or selling second-hand fashion garments and accessories online. It’s often done through dedicated online platforms.

    The text continues below the photo

    Image for illustration Credits: 'fashion marketplace' Vinted, a large internet trader in second-hand clothing


    Omnichannel is a sales strategy where a company tailors the same shopping experience for its customers both online and offline. This means, for example, that you can select and buy something online, but pick it up in a physical store, or the other way around: such as viewing a product in the store and then order it online.

    If you get the same experience at a clothing company or brand, regardless of the distribution channel (read: in the physical store, online or via a mobile device), it is called a seamless omnichannel experience.


    Multichannel means that a company offers its products or services through multiple channels , such as a physical store, an online store and a mobile app, but these channels usually operate independently of each other. While omnichannel, on the other hand, aims to provide a seamless, integrated experience for the customer across all available channels.

    Cross Border

    Cross-border buying and selling means that goods or services are bought or sold between different countries. So, for example, if you buy a shirt online from a company based in another country from where you live, you are engaging in cross-border online shopping. These are transactions that cross the borders of a single country.

    Cross Channel

    Cross-channel is a retail strategy where customers use different sales channels during one buying journey. For example, you might research a product online, try it in a physical store, and then buy the item through a mobile app.

    The text continues below the photo

    Image for illustration purposes. Credit: Sales assistant / H&M Group, Cos


    Showrooming is used to describe consumers who visit a physical store to view, research and try a product, but then buy it online, often to get a better price.

    Showrooming can pose a challenge for traditional brick-and-mortar stores, but it also presents opportunities for retailers to provide an integrated omnichannel experience.


    With webrooming is exactly the opposite of showrooming. Consumers start their shopping with online browsing, comparing products to then go to a physical store to view, experience and buy. This behaviour combines the convenience of online research with the security of a physical shopping experience to touch, feel and test products before buying.

    Image for illustration purposes. Credits: A laptop and mobile phone show the website of online fashion retailer Missguided. Photo: Justin Tallis / AFP
    Image for illustration: TikTok. Credit: Olivier Bergeron, Unsplash
    Image illustrating online shopping Credits: Image by charlesdeluvio via Unsplash

    - The FashionUnited archive
    - Parts of this article text were generated with an artificial intelligence (AI) tool and then edited.

    Mobile shopping