A misconception about the function(s) of a merchant’s online shopping cart is the focus of much conservation. Online shoppers might be tempted to believe that the shopping cart is where their payment is processed. Instead, the online shopping cart serves several purposes, and processing payments is not one of them.
The online shopping cart is a tool that allows shoppers to add and remove their items. Consumers can shop on the merchant’s website, the same they would at a brick and mortar store. They select the items and products they want to buy, and they place them in their cart. If consumers change their mind about buying a product, they can always remove it from their cart. This is exactly how an online shopping cart works.
The online shopping cart has added benefits for the merchant as well. Merchants can setup and manage their online sales, 24 hours per day. They can continually add new products, and manage their inventory more effectively. Merchants are better able to fulfill their customers orders online both day and night. When customers order from a website they leave their personal contact information behind. Merchants are able to create a customer database.
After customers have completed their online shopping, all the items in the shopping cart are totaled. Next, the customers are taken to a secure webpage, where they are able input their financial information. This is the “Payment Gateway.” The credit card or bank processing company can quickly accept and verify various payment options. Depending on the capabilities of the website, consumers might be offered the option to save their payment information.
Merchants use two types of shopping carts, “Self hosted” or “3rd party hosting.” Self hosted allows the merchants to host their own shopping carts, on their own website. They are also responsible for securing their own online anti theft security.
3rd party hosting takes the responsibility of maintaining the online shopping cart out of the merchant’s hands. All the responsibilities for maintaining the website, and securing consumers payment information is the responsibility of the ASP or Application Service Provider. New or low volume retailers find this service affordable, and easy to setup.