At the heart of any e-commerce Web site is a shopping cart program that allows customers to find and buy products and services. Every commercial website should always have a backbone. That is, none other than an e-commerce shopping carts.
Technically, this kind of shopping cart is utilized by the customers throughout the process of online shopping. This virtual cart functions like the ordinary basket or push cart which is used in the supermarket.
A shopping cart is a software application that typically runs on the computer where your Web site is located, and allows your customers to do things such as searching for a product in your store catalog, adding a selected product to a basket, and placing an order for it.
The shopping cart "integrates" with the rest of your Web site. In other words, there are typically links on your Web pages that customers can click on, and which allow them to perform some of the functions described above
Shopping carts are written in a variety of different programming languages. Some of them provide full access to the "source code", thus allowing experienced programmers to make modifications to the system features, some others don't. Some shopping carts run on Windows Web servers, some on UNIX, others on both. In most cases, you can place the shopping cart on your Web server simply by transferring its files there using any FTP software
- A shopping cart includes a database that stores information such as product details, customer data, order information, etc.
- It contains a storefront that displays this information to store visitors (e.g. product detail pages, search pages, checkout pages, etc.).
- It includes an administration area that allows you, the store administrator, to manage your store. For example, this is where you add products, set up shipping & payment options, process orders, etc.