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What is a shopping cart?

cart

A shopping cart on an online retailer’s site is a piece of software that facilitates the purchase of a product or service. It accepts the customer’s payment and organizes the distribution of that information to the merchant, payment processor and other parties.

Why shopping carts are important

Shopping carts bridge the gap between shopping and buying, so having the best shopping cart software is extremely important on your website.

It’s likely that those just starting out in the market may be unfamiliar with the concept. Most people, especially those in the ecommerce industry, have likely made a purchase online at some point in their lives. That said, most consumers don’t fully realize the need and capability that shopping carts have (besides leading a customer to checkout). A cart typically has three common aspects:

  1. It stores product information
  2. It’s a gateway for order, catalog and customer management
  3. It renders product data, categories and site information for user display

Another way to look at things is as follows: The online shopping cart is similar to the tangible ones we use at the supermarket, but it wears many more hats. It’s also the shelves, the building, the clearance sign, the cash register and often the credit card machine relaying information back to the bank.