An online shopping cart is a type of software system that allows buyers to purchase goods and services over the internet from online stores using payment methods like credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and electronic checks. Inspired by traditional brick and mortar checkout, an online shopping cart takes the items that the shopper is purchasing and calculates the total cost, which includes shipping and handling charges, taxes and any fees that might be associated with the buyer’s purchase, then the buyer makes their purchase using any of the accepted methods. Typically, e-shopping carts also have the ability to apply coupon codes, gift cards and other promotions to the shopper’s order.

The surge of technology along with the volume of products and services that are widely available for online purchase has caused the dramatic growth in this alternative shopping method, and the online shopping cart system is the service that ensures smooth transactions and reccurring shoppers. Of course, in our world of endless options, there happens to be more than one type of online shopping cart system available for online business owners to integrate into their electronic store. Some options include ready made shopping carts, SP and CGI carts and JavaScript shopping carts. But above all else, safety is the most important thing an online seller must consider when incorporating their online shopping cart.

Identity theft is a huge problem and concern in the world of online shopping. Sensitive information is being shared when an online shopper purchases goods and services from an e-store, and without a top quality and secure shopping cart system in place, that sensitive information could be visible to the online world and predators. When building an internet store and shopping for a shopping cart system to incorporate, the business owner has to be certain that the managing practice for the shopping cart is SSL.

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a widely used security system in the world of e-commerce and online information sharing. Using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Transport Control Protocol (TCP) and distorted cryptography, Secure Sockets Layer encodes the sensitive keyed texts that the shopper types, which makes the message concealed and unreadable by human eyes. So, information like credit card numbers and bank account numbers remain invisible thanks to symmetric encryption from SSL. Also, some online shopping cart systems may ask shoppers to authenticate themselves further by typing in a series of random numbers and letters to cut down on fraud and spammers.

A secure and accredited online shopping cart will build customer trust, encourage buyers to recommend the site to their peers and buyers may also return to the website often to make more purchases. And of course, top notch security will add value to the virtual store. It is highly recommended that online business owners shop around and research between different shopping cart software companies, and decide between a hosted shopping cart and licensed shopping cart, before purchasing and installing the product. Reading reviews, testimonials and looking for quality seals and accreditation from the software company are also valuable to do’s in order to ensure the safety of the shopping cart and the overall website.

Christine Artesia is a prolific freelance writer covering topics such as gadgets, technology and finance.

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Sanil S Founding member of MobMe Wireless Pvt Ltd, Ayruz Web Holdings

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