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CIM277 Intro to E-Commerce Week 3/4 Shopping Carts There are literally hundreds of ways of incorporating a shopping cart into an e-commerce website The three basic strategies for acquiring Shopping Cart services can boiled down to “Building”, “Buying”, or “Borrowing”

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Shopping carts l.jpg
Shopping Carts

  • There are literally hundreds of ways of incorporating a shopping cart into an e-commerce website

  • The three basic strategies for acquiring Shopping Cart services can boiled down to “Building”, “Buying”, or “Borrowing”

    • Deciding which approach is appropriate for an e-commerce site depends on factors like:

      • Cost

      • Scalability needs

      • Platforms supported

      • Tech support


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What Shopping Cart Services Are Used For

  • Shopping Carts have to connect to a database in order to be functional

  • Most modern shopping carts have an “output language”

    • Any server-side language would qualify as an output language

  • Shopping Cart Software are also categorized as Content Management Systems (CMS) and typically store information for:

    • Inventory

    • Customers

    • Shipping/Receiving

    • Targeted Email/Marketing Materials

    • Invoices/Payment


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Building Shopping Carts

  • Building Shopping Carts typically requires extensive programming

    • In a nutshell, a “Session” has to be created when the customer begins to add product into their cart

      • Cookies are also used to store customer data by requiring them to sign-in

    • Sessions only last for preset time and often dump their information if a user closes their browser

  • Virtually every server-side language, database, and web server technology has been employed to create a shopping cart at one time or another.

    • Most of the more popular “homegrown” efforts utilize PHP, MySQL, and Apache

  • Q: Why do people create their own Shopping Carts? A: They CAN!


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Buying a Shopping Cart

  • There are numerous shopping cart packages that can be purchased

  • Miva Merchant is the most popular stand-alone shopping cart package

    • Many can directly connect to Macromedia Dreamweaver as a plug-in (add-on software)

  • Some popular commercial Shopping Cart plug-ins for Dreamweaver

    • WebAssist eCart

    • Cartweaver

    • Netstores Extension

  • Other traditional methods is to purchase a custom-build application built by a software development firm

    • These services are often done with Java technology and are very expensive

    • Can be custom-tailored


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Borrowing A Shopping Cart

  • Many savvy e-commerce developers are leveraging shopping cart services form their hosting companies.

    • This strategy works best when you are serving a small client-base

    • Tech Support is minimized because two services are handled by one vendor

  • This becoming an extremely popular way for e-commerce sites to get started

    • In general, this is the most cost-effective way for the initial startup of a web retailer

  • Many popular hosting server shopping cart packages are:

    • OS Commerce (an open source shopping cart)

    • PayPal Shopping Cart

    • Agora Shopping Cart


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Which Method Is Right For You?

  • There is no magic bullet for any of the software choices we can pick from

  • My preferences are:

    • WebAssist eCart and Cartweaver (CFML edition) for clients that are familiar with Dreamweaver

    • PayPal Shopping Cart for hosting shopping cart services

  • Most of my choices are focused on what’s best small/medium businesses

  • When I’ve worked with larger clients, most of the shopping carts have been built from the ground up and require onsite programmers to maintain/modify the shopping cart application


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