Understanding Online Shopping Carts

When the term online shopping carts is used the very first thing that comes to the minds of most people are the shopping carts used in the supermarket for the carrying of their groceries. However, the term online shopping carts also refers to virtual space into which customers can place real goods, used on the internet for purposes of electronic commerce, or ecommerce. This is different from the normal way of doing business, where the buyer and the seller are in close contact. In ecommerce, the seller and the buyer never get to meet yet the buyer is able to purchase the goods and products that they require using online shopping carts. Ecommerce web development then makes it possible to carry out business transactions across not only provincial but also international borders. There are numerous items on offer to internet users for purchase using online shopping carts, from books to software and electronics.

Online shopping carts are included in the design of most ecommerce websites, and ecommerce sites make use of certain software. With that software, vendors allow their customers to be able to shop and place the items they wish to purchase inside their online shopping carts. This is carried out in the same way as in the grocery store. The only difference is that the picking and placing of the items on the online shopping carts is not a manual activity. Once the customer has virtually collected everything that they need, the online shopping cart software is then used to calculate the total cost of all the items that were placed inside the basket. Again, just like in the supermarket, this is again carried out while the customer is checking out. However since the whole transaction is usually carried out electronically, shipping, postage and handling charges are part of the overall cost. This is because the customer could be very far away from the seller.

There are two main aspects of online shopping carts in web development. These are the store front and the back-end administration. The store front aspect actually refers to the area often visited by customers when they venture online to shop, also called the web store. It is where customers will be interacting with and adding items to their online shopping carts. The administration aspect of refers to the web store area accessed by the merchant for purposes of managing the online shopping cart. Depending on the type of online shopping cart software being used, the features of the store management vary from site to site. Nonetheless, the store manager in all websites performs the function of adding products to the web store.

All the same, there are various types of online shopping carts software. There is licensed online shopping carts software and there is hosted online shopping carts software. The licensed software is the kind of software that is first downloaded from the internet and then installed on the user’s web server. On the other hand, the hosted software refers to the kind of software that is provided by the hosted service provider. This means that unlike the licensed software, the hosted software is never downloaded. While the licensed software is just a “one off” payment, the hosted software requires a monthly or annual fee. Consequently, the licensed software has an advantage over the hosted software in that the merchant holds the licenses and can install the software on any web server provided the server meets the set requirements of the online shopping carts software.