The very core of any e-commerce website is the shopping cart. These programs are aptly named after the shopping baskets commonly used in supermarkets and retail stores. Conventional shopping carts allow customers to walk through the aisles and select the items they want to purchase. We all know it is a simple process as you can add and remove products without much thought or effort. Shopping cart software offers functionality that translates the control and ease of purchasing items in the real world to the electronic world of e-commerce. In this regard, a shopping cart is merely an extension of the basic order form, allowing customers to select certain products and choose from various options.
There are numerous shopping carts available, most of which are created by different programming technologies. This article will introduce you to some of the most common and detail their advantages and disadvantages.
ASP Shopping Carts
Short for Active Server Pages, ASP is a server-side programming language developed by Microsoft. ASP is quite advantageous in the e-commerce field and shopping carts are no different. The power of the language makes an ASP shopping cart easy to develop and maintain. Most software scripted in this language gives you a comprehensive back office to easily manage all the components of your online business. Like most technologies created by Microsoft, ASP shopping carts tend to be more expensive than those scripted in other languages.
CGI Shopping Carts
CGI is one of the oldest development tools and responsible for powering many of today’s active shopping carts. The biggest advantage of CGI shopping carts is that they are compatible with all major web browsers. The downside is that they can be difficult to maintain, sluggish and consume precious system resources.
Cookie Shopping Carts
Cookie shopping carts are both easy to setup and manage. They tend to be faster than CGI shopping carts and consume fewer system resources. The major disadvantage is that they are not compatible with web browsers that do not support cookies. This makes a CGI shopping cart useless for customers who disable cookies in their browsers.
Java Shopping Carts
Many shopping carts are scripted in Java, a client-side language that offers advanced functionality beyond HTML. Java shopping carts are feature-rich and visually appealing. Because this type of software calls for you to build your online store inside of an applet, it is generally slower and more difficult to customize.
These are just a few of the many types of shopping carts on the market. Regardless of the programming technologies behind the software, it is always best to choose a shopping cart that offers the features you need and supports the number of products you want to sell.