A shopping cart is an e-commerce software application on web servers that allows a customer to select the items they want to purchase. It is similar to a shopping cart used in grocery shopping in that it collects all of the items that the customer chooses to buy in one place.
This software allows online shoppers to build up a list of items to purchase, which is described metaphorically as “adding to cart.” Upon checkout, this software calculates the total for an order, including the shipping and handling charges and any taxes that might be applicable.
There are a number of components that make up a shopping cart software system. Understanding these components will help you to utilize the tool most efficiently.
The storefront is the area of a Web store that can be accessed by visitors to an online shop. The category, the product, and other pages (like searches or best sellers) are generated by this software based on information that is saved in the store’s database. The appearance of a storefront can be changed by a store owner in order to merge with the rest of a website (with pages that are not controlled by the software being used on the store).
Administration is the area of a Web store that’s accessed by a merchant in order to manage the shop. The amount of the store management features will change depending on the level of sophistication of the software chosen by a merchant. In general, however, a store manager’s able to edit categories, products, discounts, payment settings, and shipping.
Other management features are also included in most shopping cart programs such as web-based management. Web-based (through a Web browser) or desktop-based management features are desktop apps that run on a user’s computer then transfer any changes to the storefront component.
Licensed or Hosted Shopping Carts
Most shopping cart software can generally be categorized in to two main categories: licensed software or hosted service.
Licensed software is software downloaded then installed on Web servers. This is often associated with some one-time fee, though there are a lot of free products also available. The main advantage of licensed software is the option for merchants to own licenses so they are able to host on Web servers that meet the server requirements. Also, the source code is able to be accessed and also edited in order to customize applications.
In the hosted service, the shopping cart software is not downloaded. Rather it’s provided by some hosted service provider. It’s also paid for every month or every 12 months. This is also known as an application service provider (ASP) model of software. Some services also charge some percentage of the sales on top of the monthly fee. This software model often comes with predefined templates that users choose from in order to customize the look and feel. What predefined templates do is limit how much a user can modify and customize software with the particular advantage of having a vendor continuously keeping the software up-to-date for security patches and for adding new features.
If you are looking to build your business and make your website easy to use, look for a shopping cart website online. This software is vital for anyone looking to build a successful online store.