E-commerce websites use shopping cart software to create product catalogs and allow customers to place orders. Shopping carts calculate tax and shipping information and coordinate with payment processors to forward the customer’s payment to the merchant.
With robust shopping carts, merchants have the option to configure the cart through the administration panel, changing how products are displayed and selecting shipping options, however, a cheap shopping cart typically offers fewer options for customization. Nevertheless, inexpensive shopping carts are ideal for merchants who do not need extra features, such as the ability to issue coupon codes or extend volume discounts.
Online merchants can use shopping cart solutions in one of two ways: licensed or hosted. With licensed shopping carts, a person buys the software and installs it on the server that he or she uses. Once purchased, the software can be modified or customized. For novices, a hosted shopping cart, which already resides on a server, offers an easier way to start a store. Individuals pay a monthly fee to access the cart software, which allows them to set certain parameters, however, customization, beyond selecting a template, is not possible. Open source shopping carts are another option, however, configuring the cart is challenging for someone unfamiliar with HTML.
Online merchants should select shopping carts based how easy the cart is to use, both for themselves and for their customers. According to SecureNetShop, shoppers will abandon an order if they find the checkout process cumbersome.