Online shopping cart software is what makes the difference between a website and an online storefront. An online cart displays products, manages inventory, calculates sales tax and shipping, and allows customers to pay for their order. There are two basic types of shopping cart software: licensed carts with a yearly software licensing fee and hosted carts where users pay a monthly fee for an all-in-one solution.
Licensed shopping cart software lets users integrate the shopping cart into an existing website. This would be a solution for anyone who already has a hosted website and is comfortable adding the cart’s source code to his or her website.
A hosted shopping cart is an ecommerce solution containing everything a budding Internet entrepreneur needs to get started. For a monthly fee and often a percentage of each sale, a hosted storefront with ready-made templates is provided. Users upload their products, set prices, shipping costs and tax rates, and then they are ready to start promoting their store.
All online stores need a payment processor to be able to accept debit cards, credit cards and electronic checks online. Shopping card software will list which payment processors the software is compatible with; some hosted shopping carts offer payment processing as part of their service.
The two most important factors to consider when choosing any shopping cart software are how easily customers can make purchases and how safe they feel doing so. Many other factors should weigh in the decision to choose one ecommerce solution over another but if customers feel like shopping at an online store is a hassle or they don’t feel comfortable using their credit card, the online business will fail.
Other features to look for in shopping cart software includes design options to customize the storefront, the ability to sell an unlimited number of products, the ability to offer coupon codes, and a mobile version of the storefront.