Shopping Carts

A shopping cart can be found on e-commerce sites that sell multiple products and need an area on the web page to display the products the customer has selected prior to purchase at the checkout page. The shopping cart displays each product, description and price, plus any other charges such as postage, delivery and VAT.

At this point the customer can see what they have chosen to buy, the individual and total costs, and can remove items before they proceed to pay. In a shopping cart they can continue shopping, empty the cart and not proceed at all, or proceed to the checkout page where they will enter their details and make a payment online.

Some sites that don't sell many products, or only sell one-off type products often opt for PayPal Buy it Now buttons, which means they can jump straight to the payment stage thus a shopping cart is unnecessary.  PayPal and Google offer single item purchase options such as the Buy it Now buttons in additional to shopping carts, so you can upgrade as you expand if you were to start with just a few products and expand to the point a shopping cart is necessary.

Shopping Cart Options

There are many shopping carts that are full ecommerce solutions  - a website with a shopping cart and content management system all in one. They can be bought on an annual licence, as open source and free to use and edit, or paid on a monthly licence. Of course, you can also opt for a bespoke ecommerce solution that is fully tailored to how you want, but yes, that will cost a lot more than an off-the-shelf solution!

E-commerce solutions such as Zen Cart, Roman Cart and OScommerce can be configured to some extent and you can replace the template front end design with your own bespoke design, but you will have to pay for someone to design and integrate that with your chosen package.

Some companies create their own e-commerce solution and sell on a licence fee. The thing to be careful of is that they need to have credible background, not here today, gone tomorrow. They need to be on top of updates and offer a good customer support system.

Shopping Cart Tips

1. The shopping cart range of options varies in that almost no two carts are exactly alike in features. Some will be very basic and others will be all-singing-all-dancing. Your budget will determine what you buy, but before that, your requirements should come first.

2. Don't cut corners by buying the cheapest option because of price alone. Take into account your growth plans, and whether the features of a more expensive solution will be useful to you. By all means don't pay for something you don't need but do account for the unknown.

3. Don't cut out features until you aware 100% aware of what they can do for your website and your business. Make informed choices is key to choosing the right ecommerce solution. 

Choosing a Shopping Cart


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