A requirement for efficiently running your e-commerce online store are virtual shopping carts. These are electronic order forms that serve as the first step in the fulfillment process. Their purposes are to securely:
- Enable your customer to browse and select items, and then later decide which ones they want to purchase.
- Display a summary of items that your customer has selected.
- Provide links to information for your customer to consider before confirming the purchase, such as the return policy or the description page for each product.
- Allow your customer to change the quantities ordered or remove items before checking out.
- Enable your customer to navigate to the checkout process or to return to the store to choose more items.
This shopping cart software allows you to accept orders for multiple products from your website(s). It automatically calculates and totals your customer’s order, including tax and shipping charges. Some shopping carts are even integrated with the fulfillment capabilities of UPS or the U.S. Postal Service to make the order acceptance and shipping process much smoother.
There are several services that offer secure online shopping cart technology. PayPal, for instance, offers a free shopping cart program to its merchant members. At checkout, shoppers indicate that they want to make their purchases through their PayPal accounts, and the process rolls out automatically.
Other application service provider (ASP) companies also keep your shopping cart on a third-party site, where it is secure and regularly updated. Securenetshop.com provides this type of service for a monthly or annual fee. Popular software packages that can be purchased include Miva Merchant and QuickStore.