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Business owners who wish to take their business online and enjoy eCommerce benefits, have many shopping carts to chose from, most carts offer same functionalities with some offering additional features. Choosing a shopping cart can be tricky but can also determine the future of your ecommerce website, maybe even your business. A shopping cart a essentially a software installed on your website server that is capable of managing several tasks related to the purchasing process, those can include, calculating totals, displaying "shopping cart" content which is basically the items the client selects to purchase, calculating delivery charges and taxes and managing the checkout process. The shopping cart also allows you to create, modify and delete items and item categories as well as handle several other functions depending on your shopping cart developer.
Your shopping cart is also integrated with a payment gateway/merchant account to allow your website to receive and "process" credit card and other payment types transactions. Having to manage and handle all these tasks is not so simple, and so, the shopping cart is considered one of the most important parts of an ecommerce site. Selecting a shopping cart for your site is an important decision, one that should not be taken lightly.
Many carts are available for free and offer a low cost solution to anyone willing to use them. These carts, also called "open source" shopping carts are based on open code that was programmed by different programmers, the fact that the code is is free and widely available effects the quality of these carts, anyone with a little programming knowledge can add and modify features and learn how the code interacts with the database. The result is that the code you download was usually developed and modified many times by many different programmers, each with it's own way of programming, and it's own ideas on how the cart should work. Needless to say, that can be the source of many problems and most often does. Carts that where installed and modified of upgraded using add on modules encounter computability issues and downtime. The site security is virtually non existent, due to the fact that the code is "open". The situation is similar to a homeowner installing a home security system and posting its design schema on his front door. It's true he holds the entry password but telling everyone where his sensors, power and communication are makes it very easy for anyone with a little will to break in.
Open source shopping carts are not very flexible to use unless you can program. They are designed for most business types abut can not work well for specific ones. Here is an example: Say your shopping cart allows you to enter item number, title, description and price. this can be good for many businesses but not for all. A jewelry retailer for example, would most likely like to have the ability to enter diamond carat, weight, color clarity as well as ring sizes and other item information related to his business.
A custom shopping cart that is developed for your business is the best solution. It will provide you with exactly what you need for your business, no less. And more important, your site security is in your hands not others.
Don't settle for anything less, get your shopping cart developed for you.