Shopping carts, or shopping baskets, are used in e-commerce to assist people make online purchases. These are software programs which work just like a normal shopping cart, allowing you to accumulate a list of what you want to purchase.
The benefits of shopping carts include web-based administration, the convenience of using credit cards, the favorable tax options, the flexibility of online trading, flexible shipping, and the site optimization tools.
Shopping carts are either licensed or hosted. Licensed shopping carts are downloaded and then installed on web servers. You pay a one-time fee for these shopping carts, but some are free. The main advantage of licensed shopping carts is that you will own the license and this means you can host on any server that meets the server requirements. Another advantage is that the source code is easily accessed and edited to meet your particular circumstances and preferences. On the other hand, hosted shopping carts are never downloaded, but rather they are provided by the web hosting service provider. For these shopping carts, you pay a monthly or annual fee. You may also be required to pay a percentage of the sales you make through the cart. You get pre-defined templates that you can customize to match your circumstances and preferences, but customization here is more limited. You could also have fully integrated shopping carts. These shopping carts allow you to fully configure the user interface and other features. You will therefore need some programming knowledge with these.
The best shopping carts for ecommerce are those that follow the PCI security standards. These standards are blanket regulations set to safeguard account data security. These standards are managed by a council composed of leading payment industry actors such as American Express, JCB International, Visa Inc. Inc. International, Discover Financial Services, and MasterCard Worldwide.
In shopping carts, you could make payments through different payment gateways. These include PayPal (Globally), 2Checkout (Globally), VeriSign (Globally), Wordplay (Globally), CyberSource (US), Authorize.Net (US), Moneris (CA), Protx (UK), and EWay (AU). Others are Chronopay, BluePay, viaKLIX, Westpac, eMatters, goemerchant.com, skipjack, netaxept, MiraPay, DirectOne, nab, and NETBANX, among others. These payment gateways are either COM-based or XML-based and their main advantage over Visa, MasterCard, and the like is that they are integrated with your store, meaning there is no redirection to external servers.