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In online marketing, a shopping cart is a piece of ecommerce software on a web server that allows visitors to an Internet site to select items for eventual purchase. In British English, it is generally known as a shopping basket, almost exclusively shortened on websites to “basket.”

The software allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase. Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e., postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable.

The development of web shop systems took place right after the Internet became a mass medium. This was a result of the launch of the browser Mosaic in 1993 and Netscape in 1994. It created an environment in which web shops were possible. The Internet therefore acted as the key infrastructure developments that contributed to the rapid diffusion of the e-commerce, a subset of e-business that describes all computer-aided business transactions. In 1998 a total of 11 e-business models were observed, one of which was the e-shop business model for a B2C (business-to-consumer) business—also called the “online shop” The two terms “online shop” and “electronic” or “e-shop” are used interchangeably. The term “online shopping” was invented much earlier in 1984; for example TV shopping often used the term before the popularity of the online method. Today the term primarily refers to the B2C transactional business model. In order to enable “online shopping” a software system is needed. Since “online shopping”, in the context of the B2C business model, became broadly available to the end consumer, internet-based “online shops” evolved.

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