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A smart catalog is a software program that allows a user to make online purchases quickly and efficiently. These software programs are frequently connected to e-commerce shopping carts. The catalog allows the product seller to enter information into it in a user-friendly format. It might also make suggestions to a buyer for other products, thus potentially increasing sales for the vendor.
The vendor includes all product information, photos, and service descriptions in the smart catalog software program. Products and services are tied together by category, purchase history, or some other piece of information. This information is also stored in the catalog software.
Rules can be set for how this information is presented to a consumer. The smart catalog may be a simple program used by an individual seller of products on an auction-type Web site or a complicated program used by a large corporation selling thousands of products. The levels of configuration might depend upon the number of products.
A consumer may search through the smart catalog for the specific product that he or she wants to purchase. Once the consumer has placed this item in his or her shopping cart, the catalog program suggests other products. The consumer may click on one of these suggestions to learn more about the suggested product. Once the consumer reviews the product information, he or she may decide whether or not to purchase the product.
The user may continue reviewing other suggestions provided by the smart catalog, search for a different product, or check out. The smart catalog continues to provide information to the consumer as the vendor has configured the product. Some vendors have multiple suggestions, while others might make only one suggestion.
Once a decision is made by the consumer to check out, the smart catalog collects the information necessary to complete the transaction. The consumer’s shipping address and billing address might be collected. Specific information required for various forms of payment are provided the consumer so that the consumer may select his or her preferred form of payment. After all of the necessary information is collected, the consumer completes the purchase.
Following the consumer's purchase, the smart catalog sends the purchase information to the vendor or its systems. The vendor uses the information to prepare the purchased products for shipping to the consumer. The smart catalog also forwards payment information to the appropriate payment authority in order for the vendor to receive payment from the consumer.