A Basic Look at Shopping Cart Software: How to Choose
There are some basic elements to consider when thinking about buying shopping cart software, the first of which is: 
This is online marketing. You have to do everything you can to make the shopping experience similar to going to a 
store in the brick-and-mortar world. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that “this is online marketing.” 
You won’t physically be in your shop, able to put your hands on your inventory or count items in the same way you 
would on main street.

Whether you’re a reseller who drop ships and carries no inventory, or a producer who has physical product in your 
home office or shop, you need to adjust your way of thinking about the entire process. The major difference, of 
course, is the e-commerce software you’re using on a web server. This is the connection to Internet visitors, the 
virtual place where they will choose items to purchase. If you were in a United States store, they would be using an 
actual shopping cart to collect their items, then take them to the checkout counter. In the UK, they might call this a 
“basket.”

To accomplish a realistic shopping experience online, you will need a comprehensive ecommerce software plan that 
will handle almost all of the tasks you would have in any business. The best shopping cart software must, of course, 
let shoppers choose and gather their items in their cart, then, when they checkout, that software should calculate 
the total, with shipping, handling, taxes etc. as needed. The experience must be as efficient and stress free as it is 
when the individual buys several items in their neighborhood shop. If this doesn’t happen, you are much more likely 
to lose them to another provider.
Remember, you don’t have a captive audience as you would in a small town where the choices are limited. This is a 
global marketplace that gives shoppers thousands of options. They even have dozens of options when you’re working 
in a relatively limited field.

Overview

By most calculations and histories, the world of shopping online began in the early 1990s, with massive growth in 
1995 and beyond, when Amazon started as a bookseller. This foundation created a web-shop environment that was 
gradually adopted by hundreds, then thousands of people. It’s estimated that in most countries around the globe, 
two-thirds of the population has purchased items online and had them delivered directly to a home or office address. 
The technology of the Internet is the infrastructure, much as the sidewalk, the building and the shelves in a store 
would be in the “real” world.

But, to be successful in this new atmosphere, you must begin to think of your online presence and your inventory as 
very real. They are, even if you never touch them. In the last couple of decades, companies have offered, and improved, 
e-commerce software, which handles business transactions in a detailed and complex manner. The goal of companies 
such as Shopping Cart Elite is to offer a very real experience to the shopper, but also to take care of an increasing number 
of tasks for the entrepreneur and shop owner.
Statistics on the industry show a dozen or so businesses operating on a daily basis in the first few years of the industry 
(1990s). A handful of these were business-to-consumer (B2C), which is different from the business-to-business (B2B) 
model of many online companies currently. People were engaging in online shopping in the 1980s, though most of the 
interaction was between a television presenter and a home-bound shopper, with orders delivered as they are today – to a 
home address.

Massive Change

The industry has gone through a massive change, as anyone who shops online will soon see. Terms such as “shopping 
cart” and “e-commerce” are now primarily applied to B2C operations, which is where shopping cart software enters the 
picture in a big way. It’s an understatement to say that online shopping has evolved in a big way, but it’s important if you’re 
looking for enterprise shopping cart software.
You may hear the term “web shop” during this discussion as well, but there are several phrases that can be used to explain 
your method of business to others. Shopping cart software has become the most widely used term, especially in the U.S. 
Whatever you call them, these shops share a few key elements, including a stress-free, secure way of obtaining the 
customer’s payment information, usually in the form of credit card numbers. The part of the software devoted to this, the 
specific module, must be a secure gateway, so the customer can always depend on this data being protected.

Without this feeling of security, you’re not accomplishing the task of making the buyer feel as comfortable online as they 
would when they walked into the local grocery store. There is a feeling of trust that must be established before you can 
depend on people around the world giving you this sensitive information, so you can bring in revenue and make a 
reasonable profit. To accomplish this, you’ll need to work with a software provider who has taken all the necessary steps 
to write code that produces online shopping cart software that works in the real world.


Moving On

Your software program will generally be installed on a server hosting your site, a secure server that accepts the payment 
and ordering information provided. This is where a reliable, experienced software vendor, such as Shopping Cart Elite, 
enters the picture. Technically, there will be “cookies” or query strings in effect, which helps you keep each customer’s 
information in the right path. With the best of these software packages, you’ll also be gathering customer information that’s 
crucial to the customer relation management (CRM) process.

As this process is implemented, the data associated with the shopping cart is retained in a session location, so it can be 
analyzed and used in the future for marketing and advertising purposes. If necessary, this is accessed and used again, as 
the same customer engages in future activity, including multiple items selected and placed in the cart during the same 
shopping visit.

The more basic shopping carts allow for an item to be placed in the cart or basket as a way to begin the checkout process. 
This is, in most cases, a standard operation. As the process is finalized, the necessary information is gathered and the 
specific order is generated against specific items to clear the cart for future use. There are additional features in current b2b 
shopping cart software plans, many of which are meant to give the merchant (you) a way to manage the online store 
efficiently and with minimal effort. Information on products, discounts, order history, customer information and so on is 
retained in a database and can be accessed on demand by using the software.

Major Parts of the Store

You must have an attractive and easy-to-use storefront, naturally. This is the area the visitors “enter” when they view items 
in your online shop. The categories of products and the individual products are images generated by shopping cart software
using information stored in your company’s database. With the top software products, you should have the ability to change 
the storefront in ways to make it work well with your websites and online presence.

You must also have strong and effective administration capabilities for your web store, key elements you can access to 
manage your shop. With the most sophisticated software plans, such as that provided by Shopping Cart Elite, you will have 
extensive management capabilities, so you can add products, edit products and specific information about them, change 
categories, added or delete discounts, manage details for shipping and payment, and much more.

The software is not downloaded to your computer, but is hosted by the service provider.

Putting it Together

While it may not be something you’ll work with directly, the Payment Card Industry standards are a detail you should 
definitely be comfortable with. If you’re working with an industry leader, such as Shopping Cart Elite, this essential detail 
will be handled capably by your software provider. These regulations are put in place so payment/account information is 
secure.

Think of this as similar to the faith placed in the cash used in your home country. If the shopkeeper doesn’t guard this cash 
when it’s handed to him or her across the counter in a store, the business owner loses any chance of profit. However, the 
customer has the product and has handed over the cash, so they are not at risk. But if the purchase is made with a credit 
card, and this information moves into the hands of the wrong individuals, both the business and the shopper are at risk.