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Shopping Carts and How To Get One
Learn about a variety of available shopping carts, which will allow your customers to order a number of items during one visit to your web site.
For a person who is inexperienced in programming, adding a shopping cart to a new or existing website can be pure frustration. The common problem is: 'I want a shopping cart but how do I do it?'

Depending upon who you have your website hosted with - they may or may not offer a standard shopping cart with your hosting package. Some will offer it as a paid option.

We recommend the 'Commerce I' hosting plan at Hosting Connecticut, LLC. This particular plan gives you the Dansie cart as part of the package.

If you find yourself needing to hire a programmer to install your shopping cart, email us and we will send you a list of individuals we have worked with and know to be experienced in this type of installation.

Note: If you already have a merchant account in place, then you should be familiar with the concept of an online gateway.

AuthorizeNet : Verisign : Linkpoint

There are several common methods to list your products and services on your website. Those are:

  • virtual shopping cart

  • online order form

  • printable order form to use for mail-in or fax orders


Shopping Cart Basics

Shopping carts allow your customer to browse your product or service line and add individual items. The items they select are added to the 'shopping cart'. When your customer is ready to leave your site, they will then go to 'checkout' and pay for all items in one transaction.

Your customer may view the contents of their cart, remove a specific product, or add an item to their cart at anytime by clicking on a link or button.

Features to Look For

There are several important things to look for when deciding on a shopping cart solution for your online store. Some of the options you may want your shopping cart to provide are:

  • Ability to calculate shipping & handling

  • Ability to calculate sales tax

  • Credit card authorization (only if you are using a real time authorization service such as AuthorizeNet or Cybercash)

  • Database integration/compatibility (if you plan on using a database driven shopping cart)

  • Secure Server access, check with your web host

  • Interacts with other payment methods, i.e. checks, money orders, PayPal

  • Ease of use, adding, changing or deleting products and information when needed

  • Ease of Navigation for your customers

  • Customization - you'll want to seamlessly integrate the cart into your site

Questions For Your Web Host

  • Are their servers are compatible with the software program you are interested in?

  • Do they offer secure server access at no extra charge and what type of database can you use with their server?

  • Do they offer a shopping cart as part of their basic hosting package, or will it cost you extra?

Top Recommendations

Is a free ecommerce solution that you can set up yourself and customize to fit your needs. If you have a merchant account and wish to use an online gateway there is a modest fee of $5.00 per month. Interacts with PayPal and several other third party providers.

This cart is easy to use and set up and comes with a free affiliate program so that you can give your customers an incentive to send referrals to your website in the future.

Has too many features to list here. Pricing ranges from $150 for a single user account without installation to $200 with, and $650 for a Mall account which allows use for multiple sellers. Installation assistance included.

A few of the features:

  • Any expert of HTML and FTP can easily set up without any knowledge of Perl. (editor's note: not necessarily true)

  • Requires no major changes to your site.

  • No limit to the number of items you want to sell with it from your web site.

  • Keeps track of the products and prices and automatically calculates shipping, tax and the total for your customer's convenience.

  • Any language available.

Hosted Shopping Cart Services

These cart providers are hosted so you would need to link to your shopping cart off of your website to use them. They can be more expensive than the choices listed above but here are a few of the most common services.

  • Americart  :  click to their FAQ
    $249 per year, with a one month risk free grace period. No hidden charges or premium add-ons. No per order charges.
  • Monster Commerce
    Five Plans Available - Prices range from $79.95 per month for the basic cart to $199.00 per month for the SQL Cart. To purchase this shopping cart, they are asking $2500. with a set up fee. They do have a 30 day demo available.
  • Dansie Cart
    Hosting runs at $100 per year. You can signup and start service today. Payment is due within ten days or your service will be frozen. Account allows 100k of space. Online demo.
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