E-commerce Shopping Cart
An e-commerce shopping cart is one in which the building and hosting of the site is done by the vendor company. These carts are generally custom-built (either by the vendor company or a developer). To use this type of shopping cart you'll need to have some degree of knowledge of the technology involved in making and hosting cart (including the programming scripts, the payment and security components required for a cart, whether you have the bandwidth available to host the site and how to plan and manage future updates of the site). Though you generally need to pay more money for the shopping cart software, the advantage of e-commerce shopping cart technology is that you'll have a single, life-time license for the cart, and you can custom-build your cart and brochure pages to integrate effectively with your main website, and make modifications and upgrades easily.
Other considerations for a successful e-commerce shopping cart include you deciding what parts of your business you actually want to put online. Look at the most expensive, time-consuming aspect of an offline transaction - can this be put on the web for customers to process the bulk of their transaction themselves? And what are the most important parts of the transaction? Should there be points in your e-commerce shopping cart process where members of your sales team should get involved and persuade, inform or assist your customer as they proceed to the checkout?
Also consider your company's online connectivity, and your ability to fulfil orders. Do you need more than one member of staff accessing data at any one time? And can you server cope with this? If not, and your server connection is a dial-up system, it might be worth considering connections like ISDN, ASDL or CDMA; for an annual fee they'll connect you to the Internet permanently - and generally the connection is faster than a dial-up version, too.
You'll also be free from the technological and practical problems of outsourcing hosting duties to a web host, whose services may not be flexible to your company needs.
More advanced e-commerce shopping cart software is also more user-friendly, with 'remember me' and 'wish list' attributes. Actinic (www.actinic.com) produce software for both beginners and advanced users of e-commerce shopping carts.