An Introduction to Magento Terminology

A Beginner’s Guide to Magento Terminology

Magento is a complex platform operated from a simple administrative interface. That being said, some of its terms may be confusing for merchants who are new to Magento’s software. Here’s your guide to common Magento functions and tools, and how you can use them to manage your ecommerce website.

  • Attributes: These are all the unique characteristics that describe your product. For example a SKU, a color, a price, a description. Magento products are made of attributes. Some are required (like SKU) others can be customized to suit the attributes of your product. Attributes are a fundamental tool in the Magento system, used for filtering, search, and defining your products.
  • Attribute Set: These are used to organize attributes into groups. For example you might have a an attribute set called appliances that contain color, material, size attributes. Then in the same store, have an attribute set for doors that have attributes like wood, paint color, opening direction,
  • Admin: The admin interface is the backend from which you manage your entire Magento website. This includes all store instances, products, catalogues, content, order fulfillment, and all system configuration. You can also view order history, analytics, and other details from the admin.
  • Back-End: The back-end is what your user doesn’t see: the admin interface, the code, and your extensions. It’s everything responsible for running your store.
  • Base Theme: The base theme refers to the stock theme that ships with Magento core. There is one called "Default" and one called "Luma" that ship with Magento. These base themes get customized to become the the look and feel for your custom site.
  • Blocks: Many areas of the website are displayed using content blocks. Content blocks can be placed on specific pages and points throughout the website, and are one of Magento’s content management features.
  • Category Pages: Category Pages (often callled Catalogs in other systems) are the index pages for your lists of products. They are typically in a heirarchy and become the menu system. For example on a clothing store you might have Mens > Shoes | Shirts | Pants. Each would be a Category in the site with product listings where customers browse your inventory. 
  • Cache: Magento is a dynamic system, being built from a database. Caching helps to store pre-built pages and section of the site so they load faster. 
  • Checkout: This is a standard checkout flow where customers enter shipping address, shipping speeds, and payment details.
  • Cart Functionality: The cart functionality on Magento can also be customized to a certain degree, most often to adjust how users make changes to items once they are in the cart, remembering items in abandoned carts, and processing items through checkout.
  • Dashboard: Your admin interface is managed through a dashboard. You can customize that dashboard to show specific details you wish to track or views.
  • Extensions: Magento core comes with many features. There is also an extensive "ecosystem" of extension providers for specific unique functionality you might need. 
  • Front-End: The front-end of your website refers to everything your user experiences. This includes design and all UX elements.
  • Information Architecture: Information architecture is how your website has been designed for user navigation. Menus, categories, lists are all used by your user to navigate your website.
  • Payment Gateway: These handle secure communication of a credit card from checkout through to your merchant bank. Authorize.net, Braintree, Paypal, Amazon Pay all serve as a payment gateway for your checkout.
  • Product Pages (or PDP Product Detail Pages): In Magento, you can manage your product and specify attribute sets, price, name, and other details.
  • Pricing Tier: You can customize pricing tiers on your magento store to offer specific discounts at certain quantities for certain designated products.
  • PCI Compliance Payment: Card Industry Compliance is a standard of security that all ecommerce websites must meet. There are varying levels of PCI compliance, with managing payments directly and hosting payment information on your website putting you in the highest risk category, and managing payments through a recognized payment gateway putting you in the lowest risk category. Being in a low risk category is ideal, because maintaining PCI compliance requires much less effort on the merchant’s end.
  • SKU (Stock Keeping Unit): Magento registers each individual item in your inventory as a SKU.
  • Stores: From one Magento platform you can manage multiple separate stores. This includes different URL domains, languages, products, category pages, and page layouts.
  • Tokenized Payments: Tokenized payments turn your users payment and information into a “token” which is then recognized by another system. For example, if you are selling access to an online video hosted on a different website, when your user is redirected to that other website they are immediately granted to their content as the other system processes their token.
  • User Roles: You can designate user roles on your Magento website to limit different admin permissions.

Have a Magento term you’re trying to understand? Send us and email at [email protected] and we’ll add it to the list and give you a hand!