Typically, a shopping cart is the interface between a company’s website and its deeper infrastructure. Contrary to popular belief among merchants, an online shopping cart does not process credit card payments (Parker, 2010). Instead, shopping cart software serves three other main purposes.

There's a specialist from your university waiting to help you with that essay.
Tell us what you need to have done now!

order now

First, it allows merchants to setup and manage online sales processes such as adding products, inventory management, order fulfillment and customer data collection (Parker, 2010). Second, it acts as the ordering interface for the customer allowing him/her to add/remove products from the shopping cart and checkout (Parker, 2010). And lastly, it communicates the payment information to the payment gateway which encrypts the data and sends it to the banks for authorization (Parker, 2010).

Shopping carts come in two forms: 1) Self Hosted Software – This type of shopping cart is a dedicated piece of software that is hosted on the retailer’s own server (Parker, 2010). There are several varieties of licensed carts that range from open source free carts to proprietary packages that can cost thousands of dollars (Parker, 2010). Merchants who choose to host their own shopping carts are also responsible for securing their server and software against data theft which is a costly ongoing task (Parker, 2010).

Generally, self hosted shopping carts are only advisable for mid-to-large online retailers that have someone dedicated to maintaining the security of the website (Parker, 2010). 2) 3rd Party Hosted Software – Also known as an Application Service Provider (ASP), this type is shopping cart is hosted on the ASP’s secured servers and integrated with the retailers website using code snippets, JavaScript and/or API connections (Parker, 2010). Generally, 3rd party hosted shopping cart companies include a packaged payment gateway and assume the risk of information security, which eliminates the liability for the merchant (Parker, 2010).

These types of services are usually easy to set up and are best for new and low volume merchants (Parker, 2010). In a conventional retail store, clerks are generally available to answer questions. Some online stores have real-time chat features, but most rely on e-mail or phone calls to handle customer questions. Also the physical inventory in a conventional retail store is limited. If a product has to be ordered, it usually has a longer shipping time, assuming the order is entered accurately in the first place. Human error is always a possible factor, when ordering a product from a store, for obvious reasons.

The conventional retail store also lacks consistent streamlined management. Although the standard operating procedure is the same at every store, the human manager will be different in styles, temperaments, efficiency, skills and ability. So then what are some advantages of using an online shopping cart? 1) Store administration. Since an online shopping cart can be fully managed using a standard browser, you can access your store’s administration tools from anywhere, at any time (Early Impact, 2012). All you need is an Internet connection and a browser compatible with your store’s control panel (Early Impact, 2012).

Practically speaking, this means that you can make changes to your product catalog, update store-wide settings, or review and process orders without having to be in your office (Early Impact, 2012). This is not true when you are using an offline shopping cart, which requires software to be installed on a local computer for you to be able to edit your store (Early Impact, 2012). 2) Multiple store administrators. A sophisticated online shopping cart will likely allow you to set up multiple administrative accounts, each with access limited to selected administration tools (Early Impact, 2012).

Since the store can be administered by simply connecting to it with a browser, different administrators can help you manage your ecommerce Web site from their computers, wherever they may be (e. g. same office, difference offices, home offices, etc. ) (Early Impact, 2012). 3) Live changes. In most cases, updating a store using online shopping cart software means that any change to make to the product catalog or other store settings are immediately live (Early Impact, 2012). You don’t need to remember to “publish” the changes to apply them to the storefront (Early Impact, 2012).

This speeds up the process, but also means that you have to be extra careful when making changes. If you use an offline shopping cart, then typically changes are not applied to the storefront unless you “publish” them (Early Impact, 2012). Some obvious disadvantages of the web merchants that we all are aware of: consumers are at higher risk of fraud on the part of the merchant than in a physical store. Merchants also risk fraudulent purchases using stolen credit cards or fraudulent repudiation of the online purchase. The lack of full disclosure with regards to the total cost of purchase is another one of the concerns of online shopping.

While it may be easy to compare the base price of an item online, it may not be easy to see the total cost up front as additional fees such as shipping are often not be visible until the final step in the checkout process. Privacy of personal information is a significant issue for some consumers. Normally, a customer can only view pictures and or descriptions of the item when shopping on online. If the customer does not have prior exposure to the item’s special handling they will not have a full understanding of the item they are buying.

Also, delicate items almost always get damaged during shipping. The tremendous increase in online transactions has been accompanied by an equal rise in the number and type of attacks against the security of online payment systems (Mookhey, 2009). Some of these attacks have utilized vulnerabilities that have been published in reusable third-party components utilized by websites, such as shopping cart software (Mookhey, 2009). Other attacks have used vulnerabilities that are common in any web application, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting (Mookhey, 2009).

Considering the Cyber Security bill, in my opinion, it is a big step in the right direction. The purpose of the bill is to protect people who interact on the internet on a daily basis. Why is it so important? Because as long as there are cyber-crooks, there will continue to be more and more lewd technological advances that will harm web users. So something has to be done to protect ourselves online. We must protect our credit card information and our confidential information that is compiled on servers.

Whenever a customer is shopping on an online site, they need to know that their personal information is safe. Something that guarantees security for the data exchanges between the customer’s browser and the online site’s server. One thing that definitely helps is the digital certificates. Digital certificates are one of the main tools for privacy and trust utilized for electronic payments (Leggatt, 2009). Digital Certificates – The Certificate Authority certifies by your Digital Certificate that you are proves you are who you say you are (Leggatt, 2009).

Secure Protocol (HTTPS) – provides privacy between the customers (browser) when entering credit card information to your online store (Leggatt, 2009). Secure E-mail – provides privacy with critical email sent to you by your online store. A Privacy ;amp; Security Policy – provides your customer with an understanding of how you will use their information (Leggatt, 2009). A new poll by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec found that security concerns were behind 63% of online shoppers’ decisions to terminate a purchase (Leggatt, 2009).

In addition, 46% terminated a purchase because of worries about providing the information being requested, 41% were unhappy at the amount of information being asked of them and 32% were unsure as to how the data they provided would be used (Leggatt, 2009). The way I see it, online shopping is more than likely going to increase before it decreases, regardless of the fraudulent behavior of others and persistent breaches of security that constantly plague the ecommerce system.

Bottom line – technology and innovation stem from human need, desires and ambition. For many years new technological advancements have reduced the amount of physical effort, which we have to endure, in order to get something done. In my personal opinion, as the ecommerce is quickly becoming the epitome of that description, it won’t be long before online shopping becomes the vast norm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *