Ecommerce refers to buying and selling conducted online through the Internet. Software consists of the programs and routines that control how computer hardware functions and operates. Ecommerce software refers to computer programs meant to further the operation of businesses that operate on the World Wide Web. Such software can be the application that creates the website from which the business runs, or add-ons, templates, or plug-ins that provide specialized or extra functionality.
Ecommerce software may be boxed and available for purchase off the shelf or it may be downloaded from a web host or an ecommerce software designer. Alternatively, it could be designed by someone on the company staff or by a hired web software designer. The term shopping cart is sometimes used to refer to an entire ecommerce package, and other times may refer to an add-on that only provides specific shopping cart functionality. With either meaning, it is possible to find shopping carts built in a variety of languages which may be either proprietary software or open source.
In addition to the shopping cart functionality of ecommerce software, it is usual for it to include a website builder, credit card processing and other payment methods, payment gateway integration, catalog pages, accounting software integration, and shipping options. It is typical to find several different kinds of reports available, including sales, inventory, and customer listings. Additionally, there are usually marketing features, such as promotional tools and the ability to construct coupons and run sales. Some web hosts offer such full-featured choices that some companies may be able to build their sites with nothing more than the ecommerce software that their web host offers them with their hosting package.
For a business that operates 100 percent on the Internet, all business software can be considered ecommerce software. As a result, business dashboards, business productivity software, accounting and financial software, warehouse management and inventory control, and document storage all can be considered part of an ebusiness’s ecommerce software, and some software developers provide custom solutions for this type of situation. In short, an ecommerce solution may be an entire business suite. For a business that has a storefront as well as a web presence, ecommerce software may include custom solutions to link the data from the two separate aspects of the business.