The main difference between a regular Web hosting plan and an ecommerce plan is a shopping cart. Shopping carts serve two main functions. They allow customers to select items and pay for them. They also connect to your merchant account and allow you to accept payment over the Web.
As with most software packages, shopping carts have grown over the years. Most modern versions include a number of tools that improve the customer experience and make it easier for you to manage your Web site. Using Hostway's shopping cart, Merchant Manager, as an example, the list below provides examples of the features you're likely to find in your shopping cart software.
|For You||For Customers|
|Order status tracking||Multiple payment and shipping options|
|Store creation tools||Product reviews and ratings|
|Inventory tracking||Product images|
|Analytical tools||Customer wish lists|
|Customizable colors and styles||Printable order confirmations|
|Support for your special promotions||Quick and easy checkout process|
When your customers are finished browsing your store and ready to checkout, you'll need to assure them that their credit card information is safe and securely transmitted. Learn more about how SSL certificates can encrypt customer information and help you close the sale.