If you plan to sell merchandise from your website, one piece of software is
essential: a good shopping cart. There are many shopping cart
scripts available as well as third party hosted solutions.
Here are a few questions that can help you select the best shopping cart for
- What are you planning to sell? If you plan to offer just a handful of items
for sale on your website, a simple (even free) shopping cart script will
suffice. But if you will offer hundreds or thousands of items you'll need a
robust database driven application.
- What are the requirements set forth by your merchant account provider? Some
banks require specific shopping cart software packages to integrate with their
- How much experience do you have with website design and programming? Most
people (with a little help) can configure and install a simple shopping cart
script or integrate a 3rd party hosted shopping cart, but powerful database
driven solutions require a high level of technical expertise.
Depending on your answer to this question, you might be able to install your own
shopping cart or you might be better off to hire a professional to do it for
- Which operating system does your server use and what types of scripts can it
run? Shopping cart scripts run on ASP, PERL, PHP, ColdFusion, and others. You'll
need to know what your server can handle before you decide on a specific
- What is your budget for purchasing a shopping cart solution? Prices range
from absolutely free to thousands of dollars, with more power and functionality
typically resulting in higher costs.
The questions listed above can help you decide what route you should take to
getting the best shopping cart that you can afford that adequately fills your
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