The CAEM Glossary – Understanding Key Retail Terminology

The Glossary of Key Retail Terminology

If you are involved in or starting a new career in the retail industry, you will soon see a wide range of terms that are not part of everyday language. And not surprisingly it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of retail terminology. To assist you, we have created this handy guide that provides you with the key retail terminology. We will be adding to this guide when new terms start to appear so be sure to bookmark this article, so it will serve as your handy reference guide for years to come.

The Key Terms you need to know about:

What does Click and Collect mean?

It’s a service which retailers offer their customers the option to buy the items online and pick them up in store.

What is EPOS?

This is an abbreviation for Electronic Point Of Sale. It is an electronic system used to record sales and maintain inventory control.

What is Gondola?

A Gondola is a free-standing block of shelves used to display goods in a retail store. Gondola’s are usually double sided which allows a large amount of merchandising space. You can see some examples here:

More Examples

What is Inventory?

The term inventory refers to the amount of stock that a store has within its premises. This dual term can also refer to the process of taking stock and counting goods. Caem offer a range of retail shelving and storage systems to help make inventory control more efficient.

What is Merchandise Presentation?

Every great retail store needs to have its goods displayed in the best possible position for sale. Merchandise presentation is a broad term and includes any act that enhances the presentation of the products. This can consist of colour, pricing tickets, displays and positioning of goods. The aim is to provide visually attractive merchandising resulting in customer engagement and conversion; this in turn leads to increased turnover and business growth.

What is Merchandising?

The term merchandising is used to describe any act which enhances the possibility of the sale of goods.  It is everything you do to promote and sell your products once the customer is in your store.  This can include aspects such as special offers, the positioning of displays and items and lighting.  Lighting is particularly useful in merchandising as research shows it provides a focal point for a promotion or high margin products leading to increased sales.

ARDENTE Lighting Learn More
Consider Omni-Channel Retailing

This is where the retailer has a presence on several channels and platforms (i.e. a store, online, catalogue, Mobile App etc.)

What is Planogram?

A Planogram is like a map of the retail store layout. It explains what goes where. The Planogram allows retailers to lay out how they want their premises and shelving space to appear; this includes the tactical positioning of goods for maximum retail sales. It can offer a logical shopper friendly environment and effective space utilisation.

What is a Point of Purchase Display?

A point of purchase display is a promotional display usually positioned near to the checkouts of retail stores. These displays offer an opportunity for retailers to benefit from 'last minute' customer purchases and the consumer is awaiting service at checkout.

A Point of Sale System describes the place where the sale is made.  Many point of sale systems can handle sales and inventory as well as customer engagement and ecommerce.

How does RFID work?

RFID is a chip embedded in a product’s label or packaging. It is used as a tracking tool and can improve inventory control and accuracy. The future is to use this technology to gain customer insights for effective marketing strategies and providing better customer experiences.

What is a SKU?

This is a Stock Keeping Unit and it enables retailers to track and distinguish between products. It includes all the item attributes such as brand, style, size and colour etc.

What is a Trading Area?

A trading area is a term used to describe the geographical area that a business uses to generate its customers.

This is important to define because it will affect almost all areas of business, from identifying your target market to creating processes that ensure the customer both can purchase and receive goods on time.

What is the Back of House?

The back of house is a term used by retail and other industries that describes the area of a business that the customer does not have access to. It is sometimes referred to as BOH.

For a restaurant, this would be the kitchen, and for retail premises, this would be the storage area and any other area that the staff can access but the customers cannot.

Caem Unizinc is a great product for use in Back of House locations

Learn more about UNIZINC

What is the Front of House?

Front of house is the area of a retail premise that the customer has access to.  It is sometimes referred to as FOH.

The front of house is the area where customers have access to the premises and are exposed to the business.

It is the front of house where a business can more effectively market their products using a range of techniques, design and retail shelving.

What is Cold Storage?

Cold storage is the process of keeping products in a refrigerated state. In retail, it can refer to the goods stored in the front of house or an entire back of house area used for cold storage.

What is a USP?

USP stands for unique selling proposition.  It is a feature or characteristic of products or businesses that make them stand out and allow customers to differentiate them from others.

What is a Value Offer?

A value offer is a strategic method to display the value of your products or services when compared to others.

It can be created at a specific customer or account level, or it can be created at the point of purchase.  We often see this displayed in pricing charts.

This is more than just a special offer, the price or a discounted price. This is a statement about what the customer actually gains from selecting your business or products.

What is Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising is anything that a business does to display its goods in a way that can increase sales.

The purpose of visual merchandising is to engage the customer and gain their attention and motivate them to purchase the items.


There you have it our introductory guide to the key retail terminology that you should be aware of.

We will continue to review this guide to ensure the terms that matter are added and this becomes the go-to resource for anyone working in retail.

Thanks for reading.

The CAEM team.

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