Shopping cart software is software used in e-commerce to assist people making purchases online, analogous to the American English term 'shopping cart'. In British English it is generally known as a shopping basket, almost exclusively shortened on websites to 'basket'. ... shopping baskets

 While it is possible to create a whole shopping cart from scratch... it is often more efficient to download or purchase an extension...choosing the best shopping cart solution...a checklist of things to consider when choosing a cart... choosing a shopping cart

Choosing the right shopping cart software is the most important technical decision to be made... does your programmer understand your business? Have they read your marketing plan? They might make the decision, but you’ll pick up the bill if that decision is a bad one. Shopping Cart FAQ

...most shopping carts have all the same features but there maybe something unique that you need for your cart. Some of the more advanced features like inventory control, or the ability to sell downloadable items in most cases will not be included unless you are purchasing a high end solution. What to consider when buying a shopping cart solution.

Don't let the name fool you, shopping cart software is a lot more than just a cart. Good shopping cart software can help your Internet business in other capacities as well, including:Payment Processing, Webpage Design , Storefront Design, Inventory Control, Shipping, Tax Calculation, Customer Management, Marketing, Security ... Reviews of Shopping Cart Software

E-Commerce Software Solutions

Definition: A software program or set of programs that facilitates the buying and selling of goods online.


E-Commerce Software Solutions

Typically, an e-commerce software package is configured on a secure server and connects to a database for product catalogues, prices and other information. It presents a shopping cart to the site's visitors who can choose, configure, and order these products or services using a credit card, debit card, or alternative online payment mechanism.

The goods can range from offering three varieties of home-made jam to local customers, to being a complete online retailer, such as Amazon or Dabs.

There are plenty of commercial applications which handle everything for you; all you have to do is enter the details of the goods or services you want to sell. Some are more complex and integrate with

- payment gateways (to carry out credit card transactions)
- courier companies' online booking and tracking software
- the systems/software of drop shippers, affiliate merchants, PPC programs, software download houses, and order ‘fulfilment’ agencies.

The exact requirements you have for your particular business to function on the internet will vary, depending on the goods and services you're trying to sell and the size of your business.

Things to consider when selecting a shopping cart:

See whether it can handle (customer facing):

* Detailed description of goods or services, item by item
* Pictures of goods, possibly with enlargements for extra detail
* Stock details, showing your customers how many of each item is available
* Pricing details, both inclusive and exclusive of VAT / other local taxes
* Maintenance of ‘shopping carts’, showing what a customer has selected and providing a current spending total
* Suggestions of other items as alternatives or in addition to those on view (upselling / cross selling)
* Reviews of items by independent reviewers and/or other customers
* Details of special offers or sale items
* "Remembering" repeat visitors

See whether it can handle (management):

* Running on the current server and hosting technology
* Processing of credit card details and validating transactions
* Management of an affiliate program

It is also worth checking if the e-commerce program is friendly to search engine robots. Some programs create convoluted tracking URLs for each product which URLs search engine spiders can't index.

Other points to bear in mind:

- Some shopping carts are free. They generally use Paypal to handle the payments. Visitors who don't have a Paypal account will not be able to order from you.

- Some software is sold on an annual licence. The obvious advantage is that you may benefit from a lower price to get started. In the long term it could prove restrictive, cumbersome, and very expensive. Your online business is also tied to the continued success of the makers of that particular program.

- Some e-commerce software can be modified to suit your particular needs. They will typically offer you the source code of the program you're buying, eg. Productcart. If you are thinking of relying on a company to provide both the e-commerce software and fulfilment services, make sure they are able to deal with any likely expansion in your business, as moving from one fulfilment company to another while continuing to trade can be problematic.

Companies which offer e-commerce software include StoreFront, Actinic, Erol and BazaarBuilder.

For more details of the good and bad sides of e-commerce, try this page on Wikipedia.

Directory of major e-commerce software suppliers.