Just like a physical shopping cart in any departmental store or a shopping mall, a virtual shopping cart is a kind of a container that contains all the items that a visitor or a customer picks to buy from that store. So in technical terms, a shopping cart is a series of several scripts used to keep track of various products chosen by a buyer from a website until they finally go ahead and checkout.
Again to be very specific, a shopping cart is just a software that reflects all the items / products picked by a buyer to make a final purchase, however it is absolutely not something that handles a final transaction. It is just a front end tool that passes the necessary information to the payment gateway, which is altogether a different service to finally receive payments for the items bought.
Sometimes, choosing the best shopping cart service can be critical for people who are just doing a debut into ecommerce industry since it directly affects the online business and decides whether the new launch is going to be a hit or not.
There is a good news as well as bad news for those novices who just want to step into ecommerce industry. The good news is that there are factually thousands of packages related to shopping cart available on internet offering various features to the users. However, the bad news is that having unlimited options most often makes it difficult to spot the right kind of shopping cart solution depending on one’s needs.
It is really very important before starting to review and choose the right kind of shopping cart solution, to identify the business needs, the types of features needed to start with etc. It is not necessary that a newbie just launching his ecommerce website, needs all those features in a shopping cart solution that are often required by a pro. There are both free as well as paid shopping cart solutions available in the market, but it’s quite obvious that the free ones often have very limited features and are usually preferred just for the trial so that making a decision becomes a little easier.
There are many companies that offer free shopping cart solutions, but the fact is that nothing in this world comes for free. There are always some catches in that. However if you are looking at some paid options, some of the high end package may pull around USD 250 – USD 300.
It is also very important to consider that initially you may look at options that comes for free since you are not sure of the outcome, but its equally important to know that if everything goes well, may be in future your website may demand some more features for expansion in which case you might end up opting for paid solutions.
Shopping carts now days are coming with lots of more advanced features which would give your business an extra elevation in terms of becoming more user friendly for customers and more profitable for a merchant. Some of the main features that are now available with top notch
Many shopping solutions now-a-days permit discount rate calculations based on the quantity of purchase made by a customer. This advanced feature allows merchants to offer discounts on the goods purchased or coupons for future purchases which looks attractive to customers online and opts them to buy more and more products from that website.
This is one of the best feature that is often available with a good shopping cart solution that automatically selects and suggests additional products available to compliment the current products already purchased by a customer. This features is also an excellent cross selling strategy to enhance the profit ratio of a merchant.
This is one of the most cost effective options to market the product online. That is through an affiliate. Pay on performance often results in minimum outlay. This module can easily track affiliate payments, organizing communications etc.
It’s often a great idea to do some list building by asking for email address and names of existing customers and then sending them follow up emails and newsletters when new offers and promotions are launched.. This not only increases sales but also regularize customer base resulting in gaining trust of customers.
Apart from all above some of the other features offered by a good website cart solution are tracking inventory of products, reviews, wish lists, suggest a friend option etc.
Shopping cart system has really made a deep impact on virtual businesses offering cost effective and more advanced marketplace to the world by not limiting it to geographic location but enabling merchants and customers to come together from any part of the world.