Ecommerce Shopping Cart

What is an Online Shopping Cart?

Neglecting the online shopping cart is among the top mistakes that online businesses make. When businesses have a small catalogue they often believe that they can process transactions through electronic mail or other informal methods. While all of the large online vendors consider the online shopping cart to be essential, smaller businesses can be uncomfortable or even intimidated by featuring a shopping cart on their website. Yet, whether a business sells just a handful of products or millions of products, the features of an online shopping cart make it an important addition to any e-commerce site. By making the consumer experience seamless and simple, online shopping carts play critical role in boosting sales and encouraging repeated business.

            The Basics of an Online Shopping Cart

An online shopping cart allows online consumers to bookmark products that they are interested in purchasing so they can purchase them at a later time. When you visit the website of a large online retailer, one of the first you will probably notice is the image of a shopping cart in the upper corner of the web page. After browsing through the inventory of retailer, you will have the option to add products that interest you to your shopping cart so that you can return for “check out” at a later time. As you might already notice, the online shopping cart is similar to the traditional shopping cart that you use when you are visiting a supermarket or retail outlet. It is essentially an online basket that allows users to store items they intend to purchase. However, the online shopping cart extends beyond traditional shopping carts by providing several features that facilitate business. Online retailers can benefit from learning the ins and outs of the online shopping cart to enhance their online sales.

Major Online Shopping Cart Vendors

  • Miva
  • Shopify
  • Volusion
  • 3dcart

Shopping Cart Feature 1: Automated Software

The first convenience of the online shopping cart is that it uses automated software to process transactions. When smaller businesses use electronic mail or other methods of processing orders, they often rely on manual labor to complete the transaction and fulfill the order. However, online shopping cart software provides businesses with an automatic tally of the products the customer has purchased as well as the quantity. As businesses grow, the ability to quickly summarize and fulfill an order is essential to remaining competitive. Many leading software programs also have accounting integration features so that the transactions can automatically be documented on your accounting software applications. The added benefit of automating the bookkeeping process makes shopping cart software a must for businesses of all sizes.

Shopping Cart Feature 2: Inventory Management

While many associate shopping carts with sales transactions, shopping cart software has had an increased role in inventory management. Online retailers can use their shopping cart software to set prices and make adjustments to their inventory. For example, the bulk upload feature on many shopping carts allows merchants to upload products in bulk through importing a CVS file. The bulk edit feature allows merchants to edit groups of inventory at the same time rather than attempting to make individual changes. Shopping cart software even enables businesses to make changes to their storefront to increase accessibility for users. The leading shopping cart programs feature a multi-language storefront that allows products and descriptions to be displayed in the native language of the visitor. These features allow shopping cart software to act as a stand-in for many inventory management programs.

Shopping Cart Feature 2: Facilitating Multiple Transactions

From a sales standpoint, the biggest advantage of the online shopping cart is that it makes it easier for customers to make bulk purchases and multiple purchases online. When consumers are making a purchase on a commercial website, the online shopping cart software allows the customer to immediately select bulk quantities of an item for purchase. Simply making it easier for shoppers to purchase in bulk through one convenient process plays a critical role in increasing sales. Shopping cart programs also assist in sales by up-selling or cross-selling products during the shopping and checkout process. When a customer uses the shopping cart feature, the software will automatically link the client to products at a higher price point or products that are related. Shopping cart software offers many features that encourage customers to make purchases beyond what they originally intended to buy.

Shopping Cart Feature 3: Making Quick Payments

Online shopping carts take care of every process of a transaction, from allowing the customer to select the right inventory items to assisting them in making a payment. Shopping cart software automatically calculates the sales total and applicable sales taxes so that customers can immediately proceed to make their purchase. The shopping cart also uses cookies and other tracking methods to counter any disruptions to the shopping experience. If a customer loses Internet connection or is accidently logged off from their web browser, the shopping cart software ensures that all of the items in a cart will stay in place when a customer signs back on. The shopping cart software processes and verifies credit card information so that online transactions can be made in a secure and efficient manner. The software also makes repeat visits simpler by securely storing billing information that can be re-used by the customer at a future date.

Why the Online Shopping Cart is Essential

In order to remain competitive, businesses must process their transactions quickly. Today’s online shopping cart software programs provide many conveniences that replace other management systems that a business uses. It is possible to manage inventory, verify credit card information, and automate accounting practices through a single online shopping cart software program. Further, online shopping cart programs help with marketing and sales by making shopping convenient and automatically up-selling and cross-selling products. The role that online shopping carts play in facilitating transactions and boosting sales makes them an essential addition to any e-commerce website. Even smaller merchants will benefit from the efficiency gains they will experience from a shopping cart program.

Posted in: eCommerce Applications

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