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Online Shopping Carts: Must-Have Features

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

May 20, 2024

8 min read

Ever wondered how eCommerce applications would survive without virtual shopping carts? Shopping carts are the elements that enable customers to shop online by choosing products from the offerings of eCommerce businesses. They enable checking out with one simple click. 

The process of adding an item to the cart is the most crucial moment in the buying journey of a customer. It is what determines the transition from merely browsing to making a purchase. The shopping experience with your brand can be enhanced by understanding the basics of an online shopping cart. Irrespective of being in the early stages of setting up your online store or being an established eCommerce store, an appropriate shopping cart solution can enhance conversion and sales rates.

This article details everything there is to know about virtual shopping carts, the aspects that they manage, their benefits, and more. 

Let us take a closer look.

ecommerce shopping carts

eCommerce Shopping Cart: Definition

A software that makes it possible for customers to choose products and purchase them online is known as an online shopping cart. In conventional physical stores, a customer will be able to browse through the offerings, take the product off its shelf, and head to the billing counter. 

In an online shopping store, customers need a way to impersonate this experience of picking and checking out. This is catered to by the online shopping cart software; it enables them to choose products on their computer or device to store them in a virtual cart. They make the purchase from that cart.

The Aspects Managed by Online Shopping Cart for the Merchant

Online shopping carts are extremely functional and they are capable of managing tasks for the customer and the merchant. They are capable of presenting background data regarding your products like inventory and shipping methods in a manner that is easily understood by your buyers. It is also capable of collecting data you need to complete your customers’ purchases. It includes details like payment, billing and shipping address, comments, additional preferences, etc. Here’s how a shopping cart will manage different aspects for you:

  • It is capable of managing your inventory.
  • Your metadata and descriptions of products are also handled.
  • Price-relevant data, promotional codes, offers, taxes, and discounts are also managed by the shopping cart.
  • Shipping and payment methods are also well-handled.
  • It manages all the data needed to complete a purchase.
  • It holds the data that shows confirmation of a purchase.
  • It makes note of returning customers and keeps a record of their purchase history.

How Sellers Benefit From Shopping Carts?

Sales on your eCommerce platform can be managed through your online shopping cart software. It bridges the gap between a potential buyer and a customer. The cart can be optimised for your specific business and can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Increased conversion rates: These simple-to-use shopping carts enable sales conversion. It offers an optimised and hassle-free experience during the checkout phase, thus preventing cart abandonment
  • Enables informed decision-making through data analysis: The cart records every time a customer adds products to their cart and you can leverage this data to know more about their behaviour and curate custom offers. Having a customer-centric marketing strategy can help you with retargeting.
  • Enhanced customer insights: As a seller, you need to know what products are being added and deleted from customers’ shopping carts the most. Such data is extremely valuable when it comes to making business decisions.
  • Targeted advertising strategies: Advertising efforts can be targeted specifically to customers. The built-in analytics of the online shopping cart software keeps track of customer behaviour, giving you invaluable insights to see where their interest lies. This data allows you to create customised target advertisements to enhance sales rates. 

Factors to Consider For Selecting the Best Shopping Cart for Your Online Store

The price is the primary factor to consider while choosing your online shopping cart. It must be efficient and should not bite into your profits. The cheapest option is not always the right fit and hence you must consider a list of factors before making your choice. Here are a few ways to analyse your shopping cart needs:

  • Integrations: Your online shopping cart must be capable of integrating with your eCommerce platform and the additional features as well. Your business will grow over time and your cart must be able to scale up with your business. It should be adaptable and versatile. 
  • Payment options: Your online shopping cart should be able to work with all forms of payment methods like net banking, credit and debit cards, online wallets, and cash on delivery services. This will help you enhance your buyer spending power.
  • Customisation: The look and feel of your cart must be adjustable to match the theme and the experience your brand is trying to sell. You must streamline and optimise the experience to give your customers the best shipping experience. Moreover, your cart must be flexible for you to optimise the checkout process. You should be able to minimise the number of steps to reduce friction. 
  • Methods of shipping: Higher shipping charges are the primary reason for cart abandonment. An eCommerce cart is capable of allowing you to customise your shipping offerings and let consumers choose how they want their shipment delivered. You must ensure that your cart is transparent about the shipping charges to avoid abandonment.
  • Friendly user experience: It simply refers to how well consumers can interact with an eCommerce application. A good experience can result in returning customers, thus establishing a loyal and organic customer base. The interface must also be simple and easy to use to avoid confusion and frustration that result in car abandonment. 
  • Analytics: Your cart should be a smart cart. It means that it must have the features to be able to track, collect, and present data that are relevant to consumer behaviours. It helps you strategise and make the right business decisions, thereby enhancing your sales rates and enabling you to scale your business more quickly. 

Shopping Cart Software to Consider

The right platform must be chosen to ensure the best shopping experiences. Here are a few to consider:

  • Shopify: Shopify is one of the online shopping carts that allows you to choose from various filters like fixed price, location, tier, or weight. The advanced plan subscribers can also get automatic shipping prices from the shipment carrier. Shopify also allows you the option of integrating over various payment gateways that can handle international shipping. It is capable of handling all aspects of your business.
  • Shopwired: It is an online cart that is equipped with simple site builder tools in one software. You can create a tailored and branded experience of virtual shopping through this and sell on different platforms. The cart is equipped with SSL security and 256-bit encryption. Tax valuations, recovery functionality, and customisable shipping zones are its other features. 
  • OpenCart: It is an open-source cart that is most suited for businesses dealing with technical expertise and requires the resources needed to build and customise effective checkout. It is most suited for budget-friendly businesses; however, you will need technical resources to help you build an effective cart solution with it. 
  • Ecwid: It is a rather different cart option as it is equipped with its store builder. The idea behind Ecwid is to transform a portfolio into online shopping websites and eCommerce platforms. You don’t need to be well-versed in coding skills to sell online using Ecwid. 

Why Selecting the Right eCommerce Shopping Cart Matters?

Based on 49 different studies, the average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%. Moreover, eCommerce brands can lose as much as $18 billion in sales revenue every year because of customers abandoning their shopping carts. Choosing the right software will enable your shopping cart to become more smooth and friction-free. It will help increase conversion rates and decrease abandonment rates. You can gain a 35.26% increase in conversion rates with just a better checkout design. The online shopping cart is the last place on an eCommerce platform that a customer visits. You will be able to salvage lost sales through other features like multiple payment options, and different shipping options as well. Without an online shopping cart, your customers will not be able to choose these options and your eCommerce website will not generate leads. Moreover, the analytics tools help you make informed marketing and business decisions.  


Online shopping carts are a virtual form of physical shopping carts that are pushed around a store. They are the vital elements that determine the transformation of a viewer into a seller. Having a badly designed shopping cart can ruin your customers’ shopping experience and you might lose out on sales. Hence, choosing an online shopping cart that suits your customers is crucial. You must consider what your business needs before opting for a cart. Your shopping cart should be flexible and capable of being adaptable as your business grows. You can also make your future business and marketing decisions based on the analysis of your cart. 

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