Omnichannel retail ABC
10 min

From Agility to Zero Inventory: An Omnichannel Retail Glossary

The retail industry loves an acronym and a trending term. But how many of us are confident we’re using technical buzzwords in the right context?

To help you keep up with the latest lingo, OneStock has put together the ultimate omnichannel glossary – featuring an A-Z of useful retail terminology.


Agility: A retailer’s ability to adapt to changes in consumer demand, market conditions and other external factors. Many direct-to-consumer companies strive for an ‘agile retail’ model that allows them to get products to consumers as quickly as possible.

Allocation: Assigning/distributing stock to various sales channels or locations based on predicted demand.

Learn more about the future of order management: competitive order allocation

Automation: Using technology to perform tasks that may have previously been conducted manually. 

API Integration: The connection of two (or more) applications to exchange data and communicate with each other. Integration is carried out via the application programming interface. Some technology providers, like OneStock, make APIs publicly available to developers to enable easy system integration. 

Advanced Analytics: The use of modern data processing tools to uncover patterns, correlations and insights from retail data that can be used to make better business decisions.


Bricks-and-Mortar: An industry term used to describe physical retail stores.

BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store): A service that allows customers to order products online and pick them up at a physical store. The term BOPIS is often used in the USA and mainland Europe. In the UK, this process is called Click and Collect.

BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store): The process where retailers permit customers to return purchases they made online to a physical store location. Many retailers use technology to manage returns in-store to facilitate online returns services.

Business Intelligence (BI) Suite: Software that helps companies analyse data and make informed decisions. Retailers often set benchmarks/goals within their BI tools to measure performance.

Learn more about how OneStock’s BI suite can drive your business strategy


Circular Economy: An economic system that reduces waste by reusing and recycling products and materials. Some countries have introduced legislation to accelerate their transition to a circular economy, for example, France’s AGEC law.

Click and Collect: Another term for BOPIS, commonly used in the UK.

Composable Commerce: A strategy where retailers invest in and integrate ‘best of breed’ systems to optimise their commerce infrastructure. It’s the opposite of using a single solution like an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to coordinate operations.

Customer Experience: The overall perception and feeling a customer has when interacting with a retail brand.

Learn more about enhancing the customer experience with digital in-store solutions

Cross-selling: Offering customers a related or complementary product to what they are currently purchasing to increase their overall spend.


Data-driven Commerce: The act of making retail decisions based on data analytics.

Dropshipping: A retail model where products are shipped directly from the supplier to the customer. Retailers often drop ship to save on storage space and/or costs.

Case study: How REISS used OneStock software ​​to engage in drop ship capabilities with international partners

Demand Forecasting: Predicting future product appetite using historical data.

Distributed Order Management: A system that decides how and where an order should be fulfilled from multiple locations or sources. OneStock is an example of a market-leading distributed order management system. 


E-commerce: The act of selling products online.

End-to-End Visibility: Gaining a clear view of all supply chain stages to make intelligent business decisions. 

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software: A technology platform that integrates various business processes and functions across a business operation into a single system.


Fulfilment: The process of completing an order and delivering products to customers.

Frictionless checkout: A seamless and effortless payment process for customers.

Future Stock: Inventory that is scheduled to be received in the future. OneStock is currently the only order management system allowing retailers to sell future and current stock.


Global Inventory Management: Overseeing and managing stock across multiple locations or countries through a single system. 


Hybrid Shopping: The act of combining online and offline shopping experiences in a single customer journey – for example, purchasing a product via a retailer’s e-commerce site but choosing to collect it in-store.

Headless Commerce: Decoupling the front-end and back-end of an application, allowing for greater flexibility and freedom in designing the user interface.

Learn more: What is headless commerce – and why do you need it?

Hub-and-Spoke Distribution: A product distribution model where products are sent to a central hub and distributed to individual locations.


Inventory Optimisation: Ensuring the right amount of stock is available at the right place and time. Most retailers use technology to optimise inventory automatically.

In-Store Experience: The perception/feeling a customer has when shopping in a physical store.

Integrated Software: Business technology solutions that are connected to work seamlessly together, often through APIs.

Learn more about OMS integrations


JIT (Just-In-Time) Inventory: A strategy to reduce stock management costs by receiving goods only when needed.

Journey Mapping: A visual document outlining customer interactions with a retailer to track their journey towards an intended goal (usually completing a sale).


KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): Metrics used to evaluate a business or specific activity’s success.


Last-Mile Delivery: The final delivery stage where products are dispatched from a warehouse, distribution or store to the customer.

Lead Time: The time taken from ordering a product to receiving it.


Microservice architecture: A software development methodology that breaks down complex applications into small, independently deployable services. Microservices are a core component of MACH architecture, and OneStock solutions are ‘MACH’ built. 

Multi-Tenant: A software architecture where a single instance of software serves multiple customers.

Marketplaces: Online platforms where multiple third parties sell goods and services.


Networked Inventory: An interconnected view of inventory across all channels and locations.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): A metric used to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. The higher the NPS, the better a retailer is performing. 


Order Management System (OMS): A technology platform that tracks product orders and manages the fulfilment process, like OneStock.

Omnichannel: Providing customers with a seamless and consistent shopping experience across all channels, regardless of when, where or how they choose to shop.

Learn more: how to design an omnichannel shopping cart page that converts

Order Orchestration: The process of choosing how and where an order is fulfilled. Agile retailers use order orchestration technology to base decisions on real-time conditions such as geographic proximity, transport costs, shipping points, stock levels, store traffic and custom rules.

Order In Store: A service where customers can order products in a physical store to be delivered to their home or another location.


Payment Architecture: The infrastructure and processes set up to handle in-store and online monetary transactions.

Personalisation: Tailoring the shopping experience to individual customer preferences and behaviours.

Promise (Delivery): The date or time range retailers declare that a product will be delivered to the customer. Leading retailers use retail OMS software only to show customers guaranteed delivery options.


Quick Wins: Short-term achievements or ‘low hanging fruit’ that retailers can implement to increase sales and/or customer satisfaction. Quick wins can often be the starting point towards enhancing long-term success.


RFP (Request For Proposal): A document outlining project requirements that companies send to potential technology vendors.

Download your free RFP template checklist

Real-Time Inventory: Accurate, up-to-the-minute retail inventory data.

Retail OMS: An Order Management System specifically designed for retail operations, like OneStock. 

Reserve and Collect: Booking a product online to pick up and pay for in a physical store.

Returns Management: The act of handling and processing product returns from customers. Many retailers choose to optimise this process using returns management software.


SaaS (Software as a Service): Cloud-based software accessed online rather than installed on individual computers. With a SaaS model, the technology vendor usually manages system deployment, maintenance, upgrades and technical support on the retailer’s behalf for a single monthly or annual subscription.

Second-hand: Previously owned or used products.

Ship from Store: Fulfilling online orders using inventory from a physical store rather than a warehouse or distribution centre.

Learn more: 5 tips for launching your Ship from Store project

Split Basket: Fulfilling a customer order as multiple parcels due to stock availability and location. Sometimes, retailers can offer consumers the choice between splitting parcels or waiting longer for their items to be fulfilled as a single delivery. 

Split Order: Dividing an order into multiple shipments due to inventory availability and/or location. For example, some products can be fulfilled directly, but some are drop shipped to the customer. 

Stockout: A situation where a product is unavailable for purchase due to insufficient inventory. 

Supply Chain Orchestration: Coordinating and optimising all elements of the supply chain.


Third-Party Logistics (3PL): An outsourcing model whereby retailers hand over elements of their logistics operations to an external partner. Common 3PL partnerships include warehousing and transportation.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): The complete cost of purchasing, implementing, maintaining and upgrading/updating a technology product or system. TCO is critical when deciding whether to build your own software or buy an existing solution. 

Deep dive: Building versus buying your retail OMS. What’s best for your business?


Unavailability: When a product or service isn’t accessible or available for the customer to purchase.

Unified Commerce: Integrating and aggregating data from all types of stock points (warehouses, stores, drop-shippers, suppliers, etc.) through a single OMS system and publishing this information to all retail sales channels. Running a unified commerce model can help to prevent retail stockouts. 

User Experience: The overall perception or feeling a customer or colleague has when interacting with a product or system.

Upselling: Encouraging customers to buy a more expensive version of an item or purchasing add-ons to increase sales value.


Vendor Partner: Third-party companies or individuals that supply products or services to a retailer.


Webrooming: When a consumer researches products online before purchasing them in a physical store.

Wishlist: A list of products that a customer wants to purchase in the future.

WISMO (“Where is my order?”): A common customer inquiry regarding the status of their order, which retailers should ideally be able to answer at any point in the fulfilment journey. 

WISMR (“Where is my return?”): A common customer inquiry regarding the status of their returned order. Again, retailers should be able to answer this question at any point in the return journey. 

Warehouse Management System (WMS): Software that helps retailers to manage inventory and operations in their warehouse(s).

Learn more: What’s the difference between an OMS and a WMS?


X-Border (Cross-Border) Commerce: Selling and shipping products across international borders.


Yield Management: Adjusting prices based on demand to maximise revenue or profits.

YOY (Year-over-Year) Growth: The change in a metric or value compared to the same period in the previous year.


Zero Inventory: A business model where a retailer does not keep products in stock.

Further reading