Ecommerce Shopping Cart

Written by Stephanie Ayars
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If you've ever gone shopping online, you know exactly what an e-commerce shopping cart is. It's a metaphoric grocery cart, into which customers place desired items as they browse through aisles. When the customer has finished "shopping," the shopping cart proceeds to check-out, the goodies are purchased, and the consumer waits for the delivery boy--in this case, a shipping vendor like UPS, FedEx and such--to drop them on the doorstep.

Shopping Cart Options

There are hundreds of ecommerce shopping cart solutions on the market today. Some are available as standalone software, others are included as part of one's hosted website service. Customizable options exist, as well. Some are online, some are provided for offline use. At first glance, many shopping carts look alike, but there are vast differences in capability, usability, and overall quality.

One of the best ways to find a shopping cart program is to simply browse the Web. Check that the transition between static pages (like the main "About Us" page) to the products pages is smooth. Check too, when researching a particular shopping cart program, that each online store that uses it has their own distinct look: this will mean the shopping cart can adapt to the store environment--not that the store must adapt to the shopping cart.

Management options are another important feature. Ensure that the shopping cart allows for the administration tools that your business will require. The aspects of a customer's ease in ordering, purchasing and shipping are equally important. Check that customers can edit orders in checkout, by either adding or deleting items. Confirm that every step of the consumer's process is user-friendly. Check that the system is capable of connecting to shipping providers like UPS, Federal Express, etc. And finally, beware of some basic, lower cost shopping carts which don't provide security features that most online shoppers now rightly demand. The bottom line is that the best online store is only as good as its shopping cart. Selecting one which meets your needs as a business owner, and the needs of your customers, is a solid step toward storefront success.


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