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Smart Cart

The Smart Cart at its core is a shopping cart. What makes it 'smart' is the fact that it has all the necessary features to make it highly useful to a university and it is part of an end-to-end solution which is integrated with other critical university systems.  

Service/Information Oriented

Generally, shopping carts are mainly targeted and used for selling physical products. Universities however, mostly sell services and have a strong need to gather information as those services are paid for. The Smart Cart is geared towards meeting these needs and provides a way for all the myriad types of catalogue items and their associated payments to be made in a single online area.

Intelligent Debt Presentment

One of the key features of the Smart Cart is its capability to present debt information prior to taking a payment. Students can see a summary of student fees before making their payment and trade debtors can see their invoice breakdown. It doesn’t need to be just debt that is presented; offers and the like can also be presented. For example, the details of parking permits may even be presented. A highly flexible approach is taken to make it easy for the cart to be able to know about any debt within the university and present them for payment. The information can either be retrieved in real time using a standard web services interface or batch uploaded to the cart.

Integrated User Identity

No one wants to have another user name and password so the cart can be integrated with existing user identity stores. On top of this, additional user information can be brought into the cart to populate the user’s profile. This information is used by the cart to automatically complete fields to save them time. This information typically includes first name, surname and student number.

Automatic Debt Association

With the Smart Cart knowing about the user from the user’s profile and its knowledge of the debts it is capable of automatically showing the user what debts pertain to them. When a student visits the Smart Cart they will see all student fees outstanding for example.

Flexible Information Collection

Universities generally want to collect lots of information as payments are made. The Smart Cart allows product administrators to add a large variety of custom fields to products which in effect does away with dealing with paper forms.

Receipting Tuned

The Smart Cart captures additional data such as GL Codes for all products to make sure that payments can be automatically receipted by university finance systems (or other back end systems) and can also be precisely identified.

Product Administration Process

Another difference to traditional shopping carts is that shopping carts are normally administered by a few people where as universities need people across all the faculties and departments to be able to add and change products. The process for creating a new product must ensure that the appropriate people have reviewed and approved critical information before the product is live.

Online or Offline Payment

The Smart Cart facilitates both online and offline payment options. Should the student choose to, they could add student fees and a field trip item to their cart and, following the check out process, generate a Pay Later Invoice. They could then give the Pay Later Invoice to their parents, who may then choose to pay via any of the payment options including BPAY®, Australia Post, over the telephone, by cheque, or even get online and pay.