Shopping Cart

A shopping cart / basket or a shopping trolley as it may be alternatively known is a cart or a trolley available at most departmental, grocery and home store shops to enable customers to carry their selections around as they shop, to the billing counter and to transport their buys back to their vehicles after having made payments. They are mostly made out of plastic or metal or a combination of these two, with wheels and are designed so that they can be stacked one against the other when not in use.

Shopping cart in the Internet:

In the internet parlance a shopping cart refers to essentially the software that enables online shoppers to make purchases. The shopping cart on the internet appears as a symbol, which enables shoppers to place items of their choice in it and calculates the amount that has to be charged to them once they opt for checkout. The shopping cart software will total the cost of the product / item, taxes, charges for postage and handling (shipping and packing) as is applicable. It also processes the payments made byt he customers through payment gateways.

Although the simplest shopping carts allow for an item to be added to a basket to start a checkout process there is shopping cart software that actually provides many more features that an Internet merchant uses to fully manage an online store. Data (products, categories, discounts, orders, customers, etc.) is normally stored in a database and is accessed in real time by the software. A shopping cart is basically a software that does multiple functions such as order monitoring, in terms of open/closed orders, as well as order and confirmation emails, is also sometimes included. Shopping cart software typically consists of two parts:

Storefront: the virtual store that an online shopper sees which contains all the products that are available for sale. Category, product, and other pages (e.g. search, best sellers, etc.) are details that are dynamically generated by the software based on the information saved in the store database.

Administration: the backend of the webs tore that can be accessed by the merchant to manage the online shop. The features of store management that the software provides is dependent on the sophistication of the shopping cart software, but in general a store manager is able to do activities such as add and edit products, categories, discounts, shipping and payment settings, etc. Order management features are also included in many shopping cart programs.

Types of shopping cart software: Shopping cart software can be generally categorized into two categories based on their origin and usability

Licensed software: The software is downloaded or purchased from a vendor and then installed on the internet server. For some software that is available this is generally done with a one time payment method with additional payments when an upgrade is introduced or may be required. There are many free shopping cart soft wares that are available as well. The advantage of using Licensed Software is that the buyer owns the license and can use it multiple times whenever the internet server meets the requirements of the software. And since this gives the buyer the access to the source code it can often be accessed and edited to customize the application.

Hosted service: The software is never downloaded, but rather is provided by a hosted service provider who generally charges for the software on an annual or monthly basis. Some of these services also charge a percentage of sales in addition to the monthly fee. This model often has predefined templates that a user can choose from to customize their look and feel. In this case, the user will not have the flexibility to make modifications to the software code, but in turn the service provider will continuously keep updating the software and add features when they are developed.

Quick Shopping Cart:

A quick shopping cart refers to a snapshot of important storefront activity each time the icon for Quick Shopping Cart is opened. The Storefront Summary page shows a summary of sales, inventory and customer activity. It functions as a summary cum daily / weekly / monthly report for the activities being carried out on the virtual shop floor. It gives details of the volume of transactions, stock availability and tracks frequent customer behaviors such as identifying bestsellers, peak activity periods, etc Reporting is a strong feature of the Quick Shopping Cart with multiple levels of detail (Gross Total Sales, Net Total Sales, Sales by Month, Sales by Day, Sales Per Product, Sales by Source Codes, Sales by State) to help track your shopping cart's success.