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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
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
what shopping cart services are used for
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
building shopping carts
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!
buying a shopping cart
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
borrowing a shopping cart
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
which method is right for you
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