Typically, a shopping cart is the interface between a company’s Web site and its deeper infrastructure, allowing consumers to select merchandise; review what they have selected; make necessary modifications or additions; and purchase the merchandise. Shopping carts can be sold as independent pieces of software so companies can integrate them into their own unique online solution, or they can be offered as a feature from a service that will create and host a company’s e-commerce site. Shopping carts do not collect money or exchange money. This is called a Payment Service. Even though the Shopping Cart and the Payment Service (also known as Payment Gateway) work hand in hand, we need to remember that in the internet world, this is 2 separate and different processes. A simpler way to explain it is that a Shopping Cart organizes all the aspects of the sale and the Payment Service exchanges the money.

A simpler way to explain it is that a Shopping Cart organizes all the aspects of the sale and the Payment Service exchanges the money.

A Shopping Cart organizes all the aspects of the sale and the Payment Service exchanges the money. But now the hard part:

  • What does a shopping cart components consist of?
  • What do You need to do to have it on your website?
  • What do You need to do to have it on your website?
  • Is there an additional software? Is there a fee?
  • What regulations are involved?
  • What tips are there to make sure the process does not slow down or lose sales?

What does a shopping cart components consist of?

  • SSL certificates – Use a level 1 PCI compliant and uses 256-bit SSL certificates to keep order details secure. This is the latest requirement to secure and keep your customers information private. To simplify, the HTTPS that you see before the website URL means you are on a secure data transfer link with the server.
  • Proper coding to sync – with a Payment Service for payment
  • List of Items added to the cart
  • A “add to watch list feature
  • An breakdown of product, number of purchases, and short description with a small picture
  • A save for later feature
  • The ability to accept shipping information.
  • The ability to address shipping costs if applicable
  • The ability to accept coupons, discounts, or special offers
  • The ability to package all the data to send to the seller (You) once the payment process is complete.
  • The ability to work with other softwares and apps in your website for shipping, downloading, or accounting

What do You need to do to have it on your website? Is there an additional software? Is there a fee?

Ok, we added these 3 questions into one because they are so intertwined. There are free “open source” software(s) that you can use. The advantage is simple… It’s Free. The negative, no tech support if you need assistance. However, we at Turnkey are familiar with all of the main open source software(s) therefore putting your mind at ease, well at least a little bit. Open source software now is used by many Payment Service account or included with their Payment Service account for free. The main free “Open Source” software(s) are:

  • Magento-Chances are, if you know anything about eCommerce software you’ve heard of Magento. Magento is one of the biggest names in eCommerce, in general, not just open source. Magento is incredibly flexible and capable. all that power comes with a price: Magento is very much intended for expert coders.
  • osCommerce – is one of the oldest names in eCommerce software, and as such, a lot has been developed for it. osCommerce has over 7,000 free integrations, and huge active community working on it and giving support for it. Overall, reviewers say that this system is rather outdated to work with, so it takes more finesse. However, it is very easy to use.
  • Open Cart – is a fairly new solution. For open source, that can sometime spell trouble. After all, as a community developed project, it takes time for the solution to become more complex. But it can also be a good thing. Generally, Open Cart is noted for having a sleek administrative dashboard and its general out-of-the-box ease of use. To make a fancy store, you will have to devote some time to the coding, but small stores could potentially use this solution because it does function surprisingly well out of the box.
  • WooCommerce – is a unique solution on this list, because it’s not actually a full open source eCommerce solution on its own. WooCommerce is actually an open source WordPress shopping cart plugin. WordPress is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, content management solutions. There are billions of websites built on WordPress. WooCommerce is the open source plugin that those sites can use to turn their site into a store. Of course, if you don’t already have a site, you can still use WooCommerce – you just have to download WordPress first. Because WooCommerce is so big, there are many forums dedicated to all the little nuances that you may need in your store. It in general is the Shopping cart of choice for us at Turnkey Web and Marketing.
  • SimpleCart – is, as its name suggests, probably the easiest solution to use on this list. Their motto is, “All You Need to Know is HTML,” and according to reviews, that is true. As a result, this might be the best solution on this list for small stores. Disadvantage: very limited features and often called outdated.


What regulations are involved?

  • The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.
  • SSL certificates – Use a level 1 PCI compliant and uses 256-bit SSL certificates to keep order details secure. This is the latest requirement to secure and keep your customers information private. To simplify, the HTTPS that you see before the website URL means you are on a secure data transfer link with the server.
  • Of course there may be local code that may be required, but in general, these are the industry standard codes that are used for security and privacy.

What tips are there to make sure the process does not slow down or lose sales?

  • Your currency, tax rates and language – Your store’s shopping cart software needs to be set up for the local currency of the customer. If required by law, it automatically calculates tax rates based on where your business is or where your buyers are located. It needs to be in a language your customer understands, so make sure there is a translate feature with it.
  • Easy shipping rate calculation – Set up rates for shipping your products based on product weight or prices. – Automate shipping & fulfilment with a software like Shipwire, and Rakuten Super Logistics. These fulfilment services allow you to fill and ship orders from a warehouse with one click. And make the calculations easier for the customer and for you.
  • Mobile shopping cart – Shopping carts must also be responsive and be able to adapt to the screen size. If the shopping cart does not work, you will lose a customer and their trust from future visits.
  • Recover abandoned shopping carts – having a list of email addresses of those that went to the checkout page, but never completed the purchase is vital. Sending an email to those that abandoned their shopping cart can help you recover otherwise lost sales.
  • Make it easy and obvious to start the buying process. – Not only should there be a “buy” button that’s easy to find, but there should be buttons in various places throughout the website. Give your product page up to 5 different locations for a customer to buy
  • Require as little as possible from the user. – Don’t require a user to supply a ton of information just to buy something from you. They shouldn’t have to register for an account before they can buy something. Embrace “gradual engagement” from a customer as much as possible, customers are very wise to what information they must give to complete the sale. Additional information above that will lose the trust, the current sale, or even future sales.


What tips are there to make sure the process does not slow down or lose sales? (continued)

  • Don’t require information to be entered twice. – Did you ever call the cable or phone company and have to enter your account number before they’ll connect you — and then when you are finally connected with a real person, they ask you the account number again? You hate that, right? So why would you require your customers to do this? Be mindful of these instances, and avoid them. Keep it short and allow for autofill features. Collecting data by sharing information from facebook, twitter, or Google saves the customer time and share in the trust the customer has in these companies.
  • Provide constant feedback and status updates. – People like to know where they are in the checkout process, and how much time they have left until their order has been placed. They also like getting confirmation that they just completed an action, like “You just added 2 items to your shopping cart.” There is no such thing as too many emails, so automate all that you can.
  • Cart contents and the price should be obvious. – Your users shouldn’t have to wait until the “checkout” process before they can see what they’ve added to the cart. The shopping cart contents should be easy to view no matter where you are in the website. The user shouldn’t have to leave your images just to see what they’ve already selected. People like “active carts” – meaning that the information displayed on the page that you’re on changes dynamically based on other shopping activity.
  • Express Checkout – The checkout process at many online stores can be as frustrating — if not more so — than standing in a long checkout line at a brick-and-mortar store. When visitors are ready to buy, your ecommerce shopping cart must make it as simple as possible. Some ecommerce shopping carts offer registered users an express checkout option, which pulls up their stored payment and billing info when they log in. an express checkout for your current customers will lead to more future sales over competitors because it is easier
  • Discounting & Coupons – Make the Coupons or discount easy to apply, the Customer will just leave if it is not obvious and they will feel cheated because they did not find the place to apply the coupon

We at Turnkey Web and Marketing are available for tech support or email us to answer any further questions that you may have.