As more businesses find it more profitable to move part, if not, all their operations over to the internet, it has become obvious that they need at least one program to succeed at online business operations. Software developed for online businesses is a basic requirement for any company intent on creating significant online exposure.

Software that helps websites run smoothly comes in a wide range of types. The chosen application usually depends on the needs of given business. For those engaged in retail sales, for instance, one program that comes highly recommended is a shopping cart.

Shopping carts have become common features in many websites engaged in online sales transactions. The more prominent sales websites are known to provide them to buying customers as these help facilitate the online transaction process.

However, this does not mean that the shopping cart is limited to the more successful internet retail stores. On the contrary, this particular application is an option that even the beginning internet merchant should seriously consider using.

Shopping Cart

Software that offers the shopping cart package actually carries more than just taking orders and payments from a given online customer. The program involves a highly-specialized system that typically carries out several functions. These include the storage of data about the available product; the presentation of product data, including the accompanying website information, to visiting customers; a merchandising function where promotional and cross-selling activities are performed; an administrative function where customer information and orders are managed; and a transactional function where payments for purchased items are accepted and processed.

For online businesses interested in utilizing the shopping cart option, the initial issue that has to be resolved is identifying the type of shopping cart that will suit their needs. The application generally comes in two different types, namely, hosted and licensed.

The latter involves the payment of a fee after which the shopping cart software becomes the property of the buyer. Technically, he can modify the application and even place this on any preferred web server.

Hosted shopping carts, meanwhile cannot be modified in any way as the buyer has no ownership over this. Normally, the merchant has to pay a monthly fee in order to make use of the program to power his business.

As for the better shopping cart type, this will often depend on the type of business that wants to make use of the software. Beginning online retail stores prefer the hosted model as this has a feature that helps make some sales decisions on their behalf especially if it involves technical issues.

Software that carries license fees, on the other hand, is more suited to the experienced online merchant who may want to have better control on how the application should help him run the business.