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Ecommerce refers to the online business operated by a merchant, sometimes known as an emerchant or etailer. Ecommerce hosting is the term for web hosts that specialize in serving emerchants, and ecommerce shopping cart hosting is a particular service offered by such hosts to emerchants.
Ecommerce shopping cart hosting allows a visitor to an ecommerce site to collect a selection of merchandise over a period of time. The merchandise could be services, digital downloads, or goods that the emerchant will send or have sent to the customer. The customer can add items to the cart, remove items from the cart, and present the cart for checkout when he or she is ready to initiate a transaction to pay for the items.
There are two main types of shopping carts used in ecommerce. One type is open source shopping carts that are programmed to suit a particular emerchants needs and added on to an ecommerce site. Ecommerce shopping cart hosting is the other alternative. These shopping carts are complete and ready to be used, but do not have the customization potential that open source shopping carts do.
Ecommerce shopping cart hosting may have several levels or several choices of particular carts you can use. For example, a host may have several levels of cart, each with a limitation in the number of products in the catalog that the cart serves. Alternatively, a host may provide several choices of shopping cart for the emerchant to chose from.
Shopping carts may be included as part of a larger ecommerce plan, along with other features and applications. They may also be presented as an add-on with an associated fee. Shopping carts are not functional without an associated website.
Shopping carts may have very specific requirements in order to work. These may include the server software, the availability of PERL, and modules that must be installed. Hosts may charge a set-up and/or configuration fee, as well as a monthly charge. Because of their restrictions and possible costs, it is usually in an emerchant’s best interests to plan for the shopping cart as part of the larger question of web design to make sure that the website, hosting, and shopping cart all integrate seamlessly and that there are no surprise charges.