As you prepare your website for customers, you have to decide whether to have an online shopping cart. Online shopping carts provide customers with a way to “collect” various items for purchase as they peruse your site. Much like a person uses a cart in real-world shopping, your customers can use one to shop from your site, placing multiple items in it before checking out.

Before you make you decide on which shopping cart you’ll use, or even if a shopping cart is the right choice for you, it is important to understand the types of software systems available, and the advantages and disadvantages to each.

ASP Shopping Carts are easy to create and maintain. Relying on an “active server pages” language created by Microsoft, you can utilize this large ecommerce platform and backoffice system to handle many, if not all, of your business needs.

The CGI Shopping Cart is supported by all browsers, making it appear to be a good choice for almost any business. However, this cart can be difficult to set-up and can run quite slow at times, wasting system resources and bandwidth. If you’re wanting to choose a type of cart that could run slow at times such as the CGI cart, you may want to run performance tests on the API’s with the help of a performance testing company such as Apica Systems or similar, ensuring the performance of this cart will suit your businesses requirements.

The Cookie Shopping Cart is easy to set-up. These carts run faster than CGI carts. However, these carts only work in cookie-supported browsers. Customers that disable cookies in their browser will be unable to use this particular cart.

The Java Shopping Cart is much more appealing to the eye. However, these carts can be slow and difficult to customize.

The JavaScript Shopping Cart is easy to set-up customize, fast, and uses less bandwidth and resources. However, like Cookie carts, these carts need cookie-supported browsers, as well as JavaScript-supported browsers.

To determine if you need a shopping cart for your site, you must evaluate your business. If you have a large number of products that will be spread out over many pages, then a shopping cart is probably a must. If you have a smaller number of products that can be placed on one page, you may not need a shopping cart. If you decide that you need a shopping cart, choose the one that best fits your particular needs.

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