- Competitive monthly cost
- Numerous features on all plans
- Flexible and robust features
- Customized feature packages available
- No transaction fees
- Numerous payment processing options
- Limited design tools
- Inconsistent customer support
- Moderate learning curve
3dcart is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that serves merchants large and small. With a wide range of pricing options and loads of features right out-of-the-box, 3dcart is an appealing option for those looking for an affordable, fully-hosted selling solution.
Founded in 1997 by Gonzalo Gil and released to the public in 2001, 3dcart hosts over 25,000 customers. What are the three “Ds” in 3dcart, you may wonder? Well, Mr. Gil wanted to create a store-building platform centered around what he saw as the three primary dimensions of eCommerce: store owners, shoppers, and search engines. The search engine dimension remains a big priority for the company to this day, as 3dcart promotes itself as “the best eCommerce platform for SEO.” Of course, the mileage you’ll get out of this claim will vary depending on your knowledge and skill in the SEO arena.
With an ever-expanding pool of features and partners, 3dcart has tracked along with the evolving eCommerce software marketplace as newer (and often larger) competitors have arisen on the scene. It doesn’t seem like 3dcart has plans to slow down anytime soon, and we are continually monitoring its progress.
Keep reading for a full, unbiased analysis of 3dcart. We’ll look at potential downsides of the software as well as aspects that set 3dcart apart from the competition.
Table of Contents
Specific Size Of Business
Because 3dcart is offered at varying price points and comes with lots of features right out-of-the-box, 3dcart fits many businesses across the board. The $19/month Startup Plan has made 3dcart an even more appealing option for startups. Additionally, the emergence of a relatively inexpensive plan for enterprise merchants could help larger businesses make smoother transitions as they grow.
3dcart has a range of pricing options, which allow the platform to work for many different business types and sizes. All plans come with a monthly fee, but no additional per-transaction fee is charged by 3dcart beyond the normal payment processing fee from whichever card processor you choose.
There are five main subscription levels — Starter, Basic, Plus, Power, and Pro — as well as additional levels for Enterprise merchants. The key differences between the five core plans are:
- Available features
- Store annual revenue
- Number of staff accounts
- Number of hosted email accounts
- Customer support channels
3dcart uses revenue caps to help users determine which plan is best for their business. If your annual sales exceed the level stated in your pricing plan, you automatically move up to the next pricing plan. Here are those annual revenue caps:
In a somewhat rare move for a SaaS platform, 3dcart lets users request à la carte features if needed. Here’s what the pricing FAQ says:
We can customize any of our plans to fit your needs. Contact our sales team at email@example.com to find out how we can add a specific feature to any plan or add extra staff users.
No further information is given regarding how this may affect pricing or other aspects of your package. Still, we don’t typically see this option publicly advertised by SaaS eCommerce software providers at all.
Note that because plans are billed on a month-to-month basis by default, 3dcart does not require you to sign any contracts. However, if you decide to stay with 3dcart, you can purchase a year-long plan and receive a 10% discount. There are discounts available for students and nonprofits as well as special promotions for just about every holiday in existence. That said, you should be 100% confident that 3dcart is the software for you before you make a long-term commitment.
Here’s how 3dcart’s regular, non-discounted monthly pricing shakes out:
3dcart’s Startup Plan costs $19/month and includes:
- Sell up to $50K/year
- One staff user
- Two hosted email accounts
- Email and live chat support
- Unlimited products, bandwidth, storage, and orders
- Unlimited product variations
- Real-time shipping
- Shipping labels
- Facebook store
- Built-in blog
- Single page checkout
- Product reviews
- Gift wrapping
- Coupons, discounts, and gift certificates
- Digital downloads
- Tax calculations and reporting
- Manual order creation
- API access
- 256-bit SSL certificate
- And more
3dcart’s Basic Plan costs $29/month and includes everything in the Startup Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $100K/year
- Two staff users
- Five hosted email accounts
- 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support
- Returns RMA module
- Survey and review module
- Daily deals
- Group deals
- Affiliate program
- eBay and Amazon integrations
3dcart’s Plus Plan costs $79/month and includes everything in the Basic Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $250K/year
- Five staff users
- 10 hosted email accounts
- Customer groups
- Purchase order module
- Product comparison features
- Product Q&A
- FedEx Hold At Location and FedEx Returns
- Blog subscriptions
- Promotion scheduler
- Pay-what-you-want pricing for products
- Issue store credits to customers
- Abandoned cart saver
- Email marketing newsletters
- Gift registry
- Reward loyalty program
3dcart’s Power Plan costs $129/month and includes everything in the Plus Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $500K/year
- 10 staff users
- 10 hosted email accounts
- Autoship recurring orders for subscriptions
- Waiting lists and back-in-stock orders
3dcart’s Pro Plan costs $229/month and includes everything in the Power Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $1 million/year
- 15 staff users
- 30 hosted email accounts
- Automation rules
- Delivery estimates
- Send quotes
- Quick start onboarding session
- Advanced filtered search features
- Allow preorders
- Shipment notifications
- Autoresponder email campaigns
- Houzz integration
- Track sales, leads, and commissions
As mentioned, 3dcart also has enterprise-level packages for larger merchants who outgrow the Pro plan. Pricing starts at $499.99/month and requires a $299 one-time setup fee. Additional features include more staff accounts, disk space, email hosting, security features, site speed, etc. Visit the 3dcart website for more information.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
3dcart is a SaaS solution based in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about managing your servers or updating your software.
Hardware & Software Requirements
None. You just need a computer, an internet connection, and a reliable web browser.
Ease Of Use
3dcart offers a no-risk 15-day free trial, and you can even ask for an extension if needed. When you sign up, you’ll receive a welcome email that lists your user login and password as well as your site’s URL. The email also includes links to several video tutorials.
Upon logging in to your admin, you’ll be presented with a setup page that includes videos and tips at each turn.
If you run into trouble, you can wait for your “trail coach” to give you a call if you’ve provided a phone number (I did not). I also received an email from my coach. However, I think you should be able to figure out most functions on your own. Little gray circles with “?” symbols offer brief, in-dashboard explanations of most input fields to help guide you along.
The 3dcart dashboard is fairly straightforward and is similar to the user-friendly models you find on platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce. One big difference I’ve noticed, however, is that many functions involve a two-step process. Often, you must save a preliminary screen with a few basic input fields before you can move on to more complex configurations of the feature. There are pluses and minuses to this system, but my advice is to just complete and save the first screen as soon as possible, so you can move on to the full version of the feature. You can still adjust the basic configurations from the second screen.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of how this works:
Adding a product is a two-step process. First, you’ll be asked to enter basic product information:
Once you save this screen, you’ll have access to a second interface with a new menu bar across the top, which lets you configure more detailed information, such as product options/variants, SEO tags, related products, and bulk discounts.
Here’s the product options interface, which I found quite intuitive to use:
Products are easily previewed on your storefront at any time during the process:
Discount creation follows a similar two-step model. You’ll find your discount generator located under the “Marketing > Promotion Manager” tab in your admin.
You’ll first enter basic promotion information:
After saving, you enter a detailed interface that helps you create much more specific and complex discounts.
I am thoroughly impressed with the flexibility of this tool. I could see it becoming a bit overwhelming for some, but if power and control are what you want, you’ve got it here.
During my trial, I also took a look at 3dcart’s order management features. From the orders section of the admin, you can review and process orders and print pre-generated packing slips and invoices.
The green links in the orders dashboard represent modifiable portions of the order, and you can use the dropdown “Actions” menu to perform additional functions:
Perhaps not surprisingly, order management was another robust (and therefore somewhat complex) feature.
My tests of 3dcart’s ease of use have led me to the conclusion that, while it’s mostly a user-friendly piece of software, the system is best suited to moderately tech-savvy users who are not easily intimidated by a slight learning curve and a bit of trial and error. In the end, these users will benefit from the flexibility and quality of the tools available.
As we’ve already pointed out, 3dcart comes with loads of powerful features right out-of-the-box. Always check to see which features are currently included with each plan but also remember that 3dcart offers to customize your own feature package if you don’t see what you need at a given level.
Here are just some of the features 3dcart provides:
- 3dcart Dashboard: 3dcart’s dashboard is well organized. The toolbar on the left gives users easy access to the main features of the platform, and the dashboard page gives you a quick overview of your site’s performance.
- Products: 3dcart offers many features for listing your products. Sell downloadable products along with physical products. Bring your products to life by including multiple product images and enabling image zoom on product pages. Create and customize option sets for products with unlimited product variants, and take advantage of bulk importing and exporting to migrate platforms and make bulk edits.
- Multi-Channel Selling: Sell in-person with the 3dcart iPad POS or a third-party POS solution. You can also sync with eBay and Amazon to sell across multiple channels and manage it all from 3dcart’s admin.
- Sell Internationally: 3dcart offers many international payment processors, which opens the door to selling globally.
- Checkout: 3dcart lets you enable one-page or three-page checkout to speed conversion. On the checkout page, you can also use robust tax and shipping calculators to provide real-time quotes for your customers.
- Inventory Management: You can control inventory, monitor low stock levels, and restock your store using the built-in Purchase Order module.
- Marketing: 3dcart includes many features that you can implement in your marketing strategies. Offer coupons and discounts, including group deals and daily deals with countdown timers. List gift options, and allow customers to create wish lists and gift registries or purchase gift certificates to your store. Encourage customer engagement by enabling customers to submit questions and reviews on product pages. Use abandoned cart notifications to remind your customers to complete their orders, and use 3dcart’s email templates to make your email marketing campaign a little easier.
- Dropshipping Features: While 3dcart is not built exclusively for dropshipping, it does offer some features that you can use to make dropshipping easier. 3dcart allows you to set up automatic emails that send to your supplier when customers place a new order. You can also list your distributor’s address as your “origin” address to make shipping calculations more accurate. Finally, 3dcart offers integrations with popular dropshipping tools Doba and AliExpress.
- Blog: Inform and entertain your customer base (and boost your SEO) with a blog.
- SEO Tools: Optimize your products and website with lots of SEO tools. These include SEO-friendly URLs, customizable page titles, search-friendly navigation structure, customizable meta descriptions, and image alt tags.
- Reports & Analytics: 3dcart lets you generate reports for a number of categories, including reports inventory, marketing, payments and shipping, products, sales, and statistics. You can view reports of sales by day, profit by order, sales per product, and more.
- Advanced Features: We like that 3dcart offers its users hosted email accounts. Depending on your package, one or more email accounts are provided for you and your staff. We are also impressed by 3dcart’s shipping tools. You can print labels, create tracking numbers from your dashboard, and access shipping discounts via carrier integrations. You are also able to split shipments for multiple locations. Typically, these types of features are only available through an integration with shipping software. We are impressed to see them built into 3dcart’s software.
3dcart offers a selection of both free and premium templates for your store. There are currently just over 40 premium themes available in the theme store, running from $149-$189 each. I also found approximately 40 free templates in the store, whereas inside my trial dashboard, the total was closer to 70. It looks like you have access to some older HTML5 non-core theme options once you’re inside your dashboard.
As a whole, the templates provided by 3dcart are…okay. They aren’t ugly, but many are missing some of the “wow factor” other eCommerce site builders offer. I also don’t see a whole lot of difference between the premium and free themes. Here are a few of the more expensive options:
The front pages of each template (shown above) have the most variation, while the internal category pages often look very similar from one template to another.
What about customizing your design once you’ve chosen a template? Well, you should be aware that 3dcart’s design editing tools for non-coders are still quite limited. You must have HTML and CSS knowledge to make most of the changes to layout, fonts, and styles that you want. Using the Core Theme Editor, you can change a few colors and font sizes, but that’s about it. Fortunately, 3dcart has recently added a drag-and-drop HTML editor, which allows you to easily add content blogs (such as images and text pages) to your site. This editor works for the home page, blog, and content pages of your 3dcart website, and 3dcart is working on rolling out this editor to more website pages.
As 3dcart works to expand this design tool, the company recommends that you take advantage of its design services for hire if you’d like to make changes to your template and don’t have coding knowledge yourself.
3dcart Integrations & Add-Ons
At over 200 integrations and counting, 3dcart’s app store includes most add-ons merchants need. Note that many of these apps are actually small feature modules (discussed in the Pricing and Features sections above) that are pre-integrated with your store but can be enabled and set up from your “Modules” dashboard. This is one way 3dcart manages to offer so many features but still keep the basic platform relatively simple. These smaller feature modules (such as group deals and gift wrapping) are usually free with the corresponding 3dcart subscription, while other apps have one-time or recurring costs.
While 3dcart’s app store isn’t the largest we’ve seen, you’ll still find a variety of options for order management, shipping, security, social media, dropshipping, channel management, advertising, and more. They’re all sorted by category in a dropdown bar, which is nice.
3dcart also provides a RESTful API, so your developers can build custom connections if the apps you need aren’t already available.
One last note about the 3dcart app store: A lot of the apps only have only one or a very small handful of user reviews, and some have none at all. Be sure to read the actual text of any user reviews carefully and note the date of the comment.
Here’s the one and only review of the Doba dropshipping integration, for example:
Not super helpful in making a decision! You may have to take your chances on a few of the apps in the end since the feedback pool is so small.
Although 3dcart does not charge any transaction fees, you can expect to pay processing fees to your processor of choice. Flat-rate providers, such as Stripe, Square, and PayPal, typically charge around 2.9% + $0.30 per eCommerce transaction. If you sell in-person as well, you’ll have a separate (and usually lower) processing rate for those transactions. Manually keyed-in transactions may carry a different rate as well.
Flat-rate is not the only type of pricing available, however. At Merchant Maverick, we’re big proponents of interchange-plus pricing, especially for merchants processing over $10K per month. Having reviewed many payment processors in my day, I appreciate the fact that 3dcart takes the time to explain this transparent pricing model that keeps your wholesale costs separate. In fact, many payment processing companies would do well to follow 3dcart’s example! The explanation also includes a few recommendations for merchant account providers that can give you this model.
For more information on payment processing, check out our article on the best online credit card processing companies. For now, here are a few 3dcart-compatible processors and payment gateways (there are well over 150 in total): PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, Fattmerchant, Square.
Beyond straight credit cards and debit cards, you can also make other payment methods (e.g., mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin) available to your shoppers.
Finally, you should note that 3dcart partners with a few “preferred” providers that can offer discounted processing rates below the standard flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Merchants must be based in the US and meet other qualifications, so check with 3dcart for specifics.
3dcart Customer Service & Technical Support
Here are the 24/7 personalized support options available according to each 3dcart subscription level. On the Startup Plan, users can submit requests via email or web ticket and can contact a support representative via live chat. Users on the Basic, Plus, Power, and Pro plans get access to phone support in addition to web tickets and live chat.
Beyond these main support channels, 3dcart offers the following additional resources:
- Video tutorials on YouTube
- Help manual for modules
- Support forum
- Developer portal with API documentation
- Blog and newsletter
- Online eCommerce University
- 3dcart Answers
My own experiences with 3dcart’s customer support have been a mixed bag. During my trial, I tested the three routes to personalized support: phone, live chat, and web ticket.
Phone support worked okay for me, although my calls were dropped on several occasions during a transfer. I usually waited on hold for about ten minutes before speaking with a representative who patiently answered my questions. Ten minutes is on par with the industry average. Similarly, the question I submitted via web ticket received an answer in just a few hours.
Live chat has improved since our last review — I got a response within a few minutes most of the time. However, similar to the dropped calls, my live chat rep would suddenly disappear at times, perhaps hoping I’d become bored and give up.
My advice is to find a couple of knowledgeable reps and get their direct extensions and email addresses. 3dcart is still a small enough company that you ought to be able to do this.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
There are many negative reviews online that condemn 3dcart for a variety of reasons — just check the comments section of this article. Founder Gonzalo Gil has been known to respond personally in some cases and appears to be solicitous and reasonable.
Here’s what complaints tend to focus on:
- Poor Customer Service: 3dcart is often blamed for being slow to respond to customer concerns and for providing uninformed responses. However, I’ve also recently found a few reviews to the contrary. See Positive Reviews & Testimonials below.
- Bland Templates: While 3dcart’s themes aren’t bad, they aren’t particularly stunning either. To make a truly memorable storefront, you’re going to have to invest in some customization. However, I have seen a few positive reviews recently countering this point. Some users like the variety of template options that 3dcart provides (the free templates, in particular), and they like the ability to switch between themes smoothly.
- Moderate Learning Curve: Some users say 3dcart is hard to get the hang of at first, but many of these reviewers also mention that part of the difficulty is due to the depth and capability of 3dcart’s features.
- Expensive Add-Ons: Even with 3dcart’s broad range of native features, this can still become an issue, depending on your specific needs. The cost of multiple add-ons can quickly add up.
As you research 3dcart, you may notice a few comments about bandwidth overage fees. You should know that these complaints are no longer relevant, as they refer to 3dcart’s previous pricing model.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Overall, 3dcart is somewhere in the middle of the eCommerce software pack when it comes to reported user satisfaction — not the best but also not the worst. Many customers are, indeed, pleased with the software, and we’ve seen complaints taper off a bit in recent months. Here are some common accolades:
- Low Price: 3dcart’s plans are priced competitively with Shopify and BigCommerce. Plus, 3dcart doesn’t charge transaction fees (Shopify still does).
- Good Customer Support: Again, opinions are split on this, but the feedback about support is not overwhelmingly negative. Many customers report that support is helpful and responsive.
- Easy To Use: Even with the complexity offered by 3dcart, many customers have said the admin is relatively intuitive overall. And, if you don’t get it right away, there are lots of resources available to give you a hand.
- Out-Of-The-Box Features: 3dcart comes with an uncommon number of features at every price point. I rarely see this many features available at the lowest plan of a SaaS platform.
You can also read several pages of 3dcart testimonials on the company website. With real small business owner names and website addresses included, you could always reach out to these companies to find out if they’re still happy with 3dcart!
3dcart offers all of the security features that we expect from an eCommerce platform. 3dcart is Level 1 PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, and every plan includes a free 256-bit SSL certificate that secures all your site’s pages.
3dcart performs daily backups of users’ data, and its data centers are monitored 24/7. 3dcart has a track record of 99.94% uptime.
3dcart uses Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) to bring your site information closer to your customers. Using a CDN helps deliver your site to customer computers faster. Cloudflare’s CDN also includes DDoS attack protection and mitigation to secure your site further.
All in all, 3dcart offers all the security features necessary for operating an online store.
As we’ve watched 3dcart’s platform evolve over the years, we maintain that it is a very solid option for a lot of online sellers. The plans are reasonably priced, and there are tons of important features already built-in. 3dcart ought to scale pretty well as you grow, particularly because 3dcart offers to customize a subscription plan with the precise features you need at every stage of your business. Meanwhile, the vast array of payment processing options is also impressive, and we appreciate that no additional transaction fees are charged by 3dcart itself, regardless of which processor you choose.
We think 3dcart is best suited to merchants who’d like to take advantage of a set of robust and flexible eCommerce features but who also have the necessary patience to learn to use these powerful tools properly. The moderate learning curve seems to be worth the investment for the degree of power and control you have in managing your store, and once you get the hang of it, your day-to-day operations should be quite simple. Regarding storefront design, the currently limited design editing tools reinforces our opinion that 3dcart is geared toward tech-savvy folks who are comfortable with HTML and CSS, or those who’d like to hire someone to create a custom design.
Customer service reports continue to be mixed, and the same goes for our own experience with tech support. While we still come across negative feedback about delayed and unresolved web tickets and poor customer service, we have observed a slight decrease in these complaints. We’ll be watching to see if this trend continues.
Whichever eCommerce platform you ultimately end up with, we always recommend that you try out the software yourself before you make any decisions. It takes only a few seconds to sign up, and there are no commitments required. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a demo is worth a million. Give it a go.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see 3dcart for yourself.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see 3dcart for yourself.