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- Date Established
- Tamarac, FL
I’m not sure how 3dcart gets their name. Their core values are not alliterative, as I initially feared. Perhaps it’s merely the fact that “Bells and Whistles Cart” was just too much of a mouthful.
Regardless, 3dcart is a fully hosted eCommerce shopping cart, and provides all the features you’ll need to build and run an online store. Whether you sell 1) hard goods or digital products, 2) from one vendor or several, and 3) weekender or high-volume sales, 3dcart is likely to do what you need it to do. They have several competitive pricing tiers that will most likely cover your needs. Like most other carts, you can try it out for free (for 15 days) without entering your credit card.
3dcart was developed in 2001 by Gonzalo Gil and is based out of Tamarac, Florida. They currently have over 15,000 customers who are using their platform, and it looks like they’re growing every day. To see if this is the right solution for your growing business, read our full review.
3dcart offers a free 15-day trial, and they won’t ask you for your credit card until you’re ready to sign. If you prepay for 1-year you will receive a 15% discount, which is a common perk among Shopping Cart providers.
Here are their pricing tiers:
- Mini – $19.99/month, 200 products, 4,000 visits per month, 5 email accounts, 2GB bandwidth
- Starter – $35.99/month, 1,000 products, 8,000 visits per month, 10 email accounts
- Professional – $65.99/month, 10,000 products, 20,000 visits per month, unlimited email accounts
- Professional Plus – $99.99/month, unlimited products, 50000 visits per month, unlimited email accounts
- Power – $129.99/month, unlimited products, 90,000 visits per month, unlimited email accounts, 45 GB bandwidth
All plans generously offer unlimited online storage, domain registration, 24/7 phone support, Facebook and mobile stores, and API connectivity. Bandwidth overages are priced at $5/GB.
For the full side-by-side comparison of each price point, see the Feature Matrix on their website.
There are also separate plans for Enterprise-sized companies, which include specialized features and premium technical support. Those plans can be found here.
Web-Hosted or Licensed:
Web-Hosted. 3dcart outsources its web hosting to either RackSpace, Softlayer, ThePlanet, or LiquidWeb.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
3dcart is a hosted shopping cart so all you need is a reliable internet connection, and an updated web browser (like Chrome, Firefox or Safari.)
This cart has seen some major enhancements since we first reviewed them. Lately, we’ve found a ton of features which are either new, or overhauled enough to be called new. There are also quite a few features that we don’t often see in other shopping carts, such as options at checkout for gift wrapping, and multiple ship-to addresses.
You can find a comprehensive feature list on the 3dcart website, but I’ve listed the highlights here.
- Support for back orders and wait lists
- Inventory control, including batch editing and low stock alerts
- Support for digital products
- Product options, including bundles
- CRM features like Mailing List Manager
- Lots of SEO tools
- Support for gift certificates, coupons, discounts, gift registries, and wish lists.
- Bulk Importing/Exporting
- Customizable invoices and packing slips
- Shipment tracking
- Robust Tax and Shipping calculators
- PCI Certified
Again, these are just the highlights. The above-mentioned comprehensive list of features represents those offered in the highest subscription level, but it groups the features into a few categories so that you can more easily find out if they provide the particular bells and whistles you’re looking for. Chance are very good that you’ll find what you need.
Ease of Use:
After signing up for a free trial, I was immediately presented with a Welcome Email. This intro email had all the information I might hope for when just starting out as an uninitiated user- login URLs, admin name and password, and links to video tutorials and articles to allay all my beginner worries.
After logging in through the link provided in this email, I was happy to see a setup wizard pop up, ready to input the basics of my business entity. It’s annoying to have to hunt for all the right settings when you’re new to the software layout. This guide, while a welcome onboarding feature, was not exactly mobile friendly. Still, I was able to power through it with only a few grumbles. I can easily see how it would work quite well from a desktop computer, so this is not a critical failure.
Once the initial setup was complete, I was presented with the dashboard. I would not say that the layout is best-in-class, yet I was satisfied. There were large, central buttons for quick access to further setup and fine-tuning, and there were readily available links to some video tutorials and Knowledge Base articles in case I had specific questions.
Evaluating the dashboard from a ‘daily use’ perspective, I am mostly satisfied. One hiccup, however, was that I had to use my browser’s zoom function to get the dashboard to go full screen. I zoomed in nearly 200% so that it would fit vertically, and there was still room on the sides which was wasted. The interface could have had a lot more breathing room. There’s no excuse these days not to have automatic display detection, especially with software that is meant to be used for 90% of your workday. At the very least, the admin should be optimized for use on more common aspect ratios.
- Free – 3dcart offers more than 60 free templates to get you started, and there is support for HTML and CSS for fine-tuning. The free templates are… fine. They are a good place to get started, but it probably won’t be long until you outgrow them.
- Premium – The premium templates all seemed to be priced at $199 or less. From a design standpoint, they’re not worth the extra money. However, it seems that all of their device-responsive themes are the premium ones, which in my opinion makes them absolutely mandatory.
3dcart has in-house design services. In my opinion, this should not be an afterthought. Showing a top notch professional appearance should not be something that you “get around to sometime.” Just don’t blame me when you see the prices, faint, and fall out of your chair.
The design editing sections are actually be pretty easy to use. You can edit CSS without editing the code, you can edit HTML via WYSIWYG editors, and there’s a drag-and-drop feature which simplifies some other design elements. The drag-and-drop editor should probably be called the “visual editor” or something like that because it handles more than just drag-and-drop. It also gives you the ability to add products, pages, categories, and blog posts directly in store view.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
3dcart has a respectable amount of add-ons in their app store. Searching categorically yields numerous options for every need, such as Fulfillment, Tax calculators, Marketing, and even enhanced interface controls. You’ll also see familiar essentials such as Quickbooks (Accounting), Shipwire (Fullfillment), Constant Contact (Email Marketing), Olark (Live Chat), and ShareASale (Affiliate Marketing).
Prices for these extras range from Free, to one-time purchases, to recurring service subscriptions.
3dcart is partnered with more than 100 payment gateways, including trusted service providers like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, BitPay, and Dwolla. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a payment processor that fits with your particular business needs. 3dcart does not charge any transaction fees, but your chosen payment gateway will have various fees associated with their service. See our Merchant Account Reviews for more information.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
3dcart offers 24/7/365 email, live chat, and phone support to all merchants, at all subscription levels.
3dcart also offers the following resources:
- Phone: 1-800-828-6650
- Support email
- Knowledge Base
- Video Tutorials
- Support Forum
- Social Media – You can find 3dcart on Facebook and Twitter.
They advertise 5 minute hold times by phone, and 30 minute or less response times online. Apparently I served to average out their super-speedy tickets, because my response was… somewhat longer anticipated than advertised. In fact, I have yet to receive anything more than an automated “we received your inquiry” message.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
There was plenty of “constructive criticism” to be found out there. Some of the issues were addressed in recent software updates, but these are the most common complaints across the version history of 3dcart:
- Poor Customer Service – By far the most complaints about 3dcart were in regards to poor customer service.
- Clunky Admin – There were quite a few people complaining about 3dcart’s clunky admin. I agree with this one; I think that the admin section is too cluttered, and poorly sized.
- Bland Templates – Another common complaint was in regards to the 3dcart templates. Even the premium templates are bland and dated.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
You can find a bunch of testimonials on the 3dcart website. I did some more research throughout the web to find some other positive reviews as well. After reading through as many reviews as I could, I’ve compiled a list of the most common positive comments about 3dcart:
- Lower Price – A lot of people are happy about 3dcart’s lower price points. They have an entry level pricing tier that starts at $19.99/month. There are cheaper intro plans among its competitors, but few that come with as many features as 3dcart offers..
- Great Live Chat Support – For all the negative reviews about 3dcart’s customer service overall, there were a few people praising 3dcart’s live chat support.
- Easy to Use – A few people praised 3dcart’s ease of use, which surprised the heck out of me. I personally don’t agree. I think that 3dcart is much more cluttered, clunky, and less intuitive than other carts, but I guess that’s just me.
Between the plethora of built-in features and agreeable price point, 3dcart scores very highly with Merchant Maverick. They lost a little credibility with me for the many reports of poor customer service, and for generally lackluster templates. Both of these detract from the time I’d be spending on actually running my business and being profitable. The quicker and easier these two are, the better. There’s a direct correlation between these and my profitability.
The vast majority of users will be well-served by the Mini plan. Very few features are excluded even at this starter level, making the scaling subscription levels nearly a non-issue. This is great news for people wanting to try them out, but perhaps not the best structure for 3dcart’s profitability. Still, this is no reason to detract any points in our rating system.
The “visitor quota” mentioned in the Pricing section is something I haven’t seen before. At first impression, it seems a bit arbitrary. After all, the monthly number of visitors to your store doesn’t always translate to conversions. However, after closer inspection, this visitor quota has more to do with average data bandwidth used per visitor. Therefor, e-tailers with higher traffic use more bandwidth, and are therefor more costly for 3dcart’s servers. Yet, considering that data overages are only charged a pittance of $5 per GB, there’s not a lot of incentive for companies to spend a hundred dollars more per month for copious bandwidth.
In short (too late), 3dcart gets high marks for functionality and affordability. If you’re relatively tech-savvy (expecting to seldom need their tech support) or web design savvy (able to make the most out of generic templates) then 3dcart is a solid option. I can confidently recommend them, with a 4 out of 5 star rating. You can begin your own free trial here.