Shopping cart software

Shopping cart software

Shopping cart software is software used in e-commerce to assist people making purchases online, analogous to the American English term 'shopping cart'. In British English it is generally known as a shopping basket, almost exclusively shortened on websites to 'basket'.

The software allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase, described metaphorically as "placing items in the shopping cart". Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable.


History and Definitions

The development of web shop systems took place directly after the Internet or the World Wide Web had become a mass medium. This was a result of the launch of the browser Mosaic in 1993 and Netscape in 1994. It created an environment in which web shops were possible. The Internet and WWW therefore acted as the key infrastructure developments that contributed to the rapid diffusion of the e-commerce. E-commerce (as a subset of e-business) describes all computer-aided business transactions. In 1998 a total of 11 e-business models were observed, one of which was the e-shop business model for a B2C business - also called the ‘’online shop‘’. The two terms ‘’online shop‘’ and "electronic‘’ or ‘’e-shop‘’ are used synonymously. The term ‘’online shopping‘’ was invented much earlier in 1984; in example for TV based systems. In these days, the term already referred to the B2C transactional business model. In order to enable ‘’online shopping‘’ a software system is needed. Since ‘’online shopping‘’, in the context of the B2C business model, became broadly available to the end consumer, WWW-based ‘’online shops‘’ evolved. For online shopping systems in this context the narrower term ‘’web shop‘’ is used. No term has become solidly established for a B2C e-commerce software system. Whereas in the German-speaking region terms such as ‘’web shop software‘’ or ‘’online shop software‘’ are used, the term ‘’shopping cart software‘’ has become established in the USA.[1]

Licensed vs. Hosted Shopping Carts

Shopping cart software can be generally categorized into two main categories.

  • Licensed software: The software is downloaded and then installed on a Web server. This is most often associated with a one-time fee, although there are many free products available as well. The main advantages of this option are that the merchant owns a license and therefore can host it on any Web server that meets the server requirements, and that the source code can often be accessed and edited to customize the application.

PCI Compliance

The PCI security standards are a blanket of regulations set in place to safeguard payment account data security. The council that develops and monitors these regulations is composed of the leading providers in the payment industry: American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc. Inc. International. Essentially, they define the best practices for storing, transmitting, and handling of sensitive information over the internet.[2]

Shopping Cart Software providers are responsible for any liability that may occur as a result of non-compliance to VISA regulations. For this reason business owners and online merchants must use only VISA Certified Shopping Cart Software providers as listed on Visa's Global List of PCI DSS Validated Service Providers.[3]

See also


  1. ^ MF Treutner, H Ostermann. Evolution of Standard Web Shop Software Systems: A Review and Analysis of Literature and Market Surveys. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^

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