One common question for business owners is which eCommerce platform should I be using? There are so many different options to choose from, and ultimately it can impact how successful your business can be..
Every platform comes with different benefits and drawbacks and offers a variety of price points, making some options more viable for your business than others.
Today, I am reviewing one of the original eCommerce platforms: 3dcart. This company advertises that you can “build an online store that ranks higher and sells more” with their software, and I wanted to dig in to find out..
Overview: What is 3dcart?
3dcart was founded in 1997 by Gonzalo Gil, who remains CEO of the company to this day. Gonzalo had previous experience designing custom solutions for online merchants who required advanced functionality out of their shopping carts. Using what he learned, Gonzalo combined all of the most sought-after features into an eCommerce platform called 3dcart. From the beginning, 3dcart was designed with customizability and optimization capabilities in mind. Today, 3dcart has grown to support over 22,000 merchants and is one of the top ten eCommerce platforms around.
As a SaaS (software as a service) eCommerce platform, 3dcart doesn’t need to be installed onto a server. Additionally, hosting and domain name registration is included in the service. 3dcart boasts a guaranteed 99.9% uptime and hosts sites on PCI certified servers.
3dcart Plans & Pricing
They offer a 14-day free trial with any of their paid plans so you have some time to test out the solution and determine whether it's right for you.Keep in mind though that you cannot make any sales during the free trial, so its purpose is purely to become familiar with the platform and decide if it’s right for your business.
3dcart’s service offers five main paid plans. Each plan, with an increase in price, comes with progressively advanced features for use on your online store.
Startup Store: $19 per month, up to $50k sales per year.
Basic Store: $29 per month, up to $100k sales per year.
Plus Store: $79 per month, up to $250k sales per year.
Power Store: $129 per month, up to $500k sales per year.
Pro Store: $229 per month, up to $1M sales per year.
There are some features that are included in every plan, such as responsive design, built-in SEO tools, social media integration, and reviews. However, for features like newsletters, abandoned cart reports, and integration with Amazon and eBay, you’ll need to upgrade to the plan that offers them.
In addition to their base plans, 3dcart offers a few specialized plans depending on the eCommerce model and size of your online store. Their Dropshipping plan only costs $9.99 per month, but it has much more limited features compared to the Startup Store plan. This is because the Dropshipping plan is designed for the dropshipping model only, which may not require every advanced 3dcart feature.
The 3dcart B2B Ecommerce plan, on the other hand, will run you $379 per month. This premium plan comes with advanced functionality specifically designed for business-to-business online stores.
At the top end of the spectrum are 3dcart’s Enterprise Ecommerce plan, of which there are three. These plans are designed for enterprise-level online stores and come with several add-ons that are normally an extra fee.
Enterprise I: $499.99 per month, up to $5M in sales per year.
Enterprise II: $999.99 per month, up to $10M in sales per year.
Enterprise III: Custom Pricing, up to $10M sales per year.
3dcart comes with a number of built-in features that help the platform stand out.. The service comes with all of the basic features you’ll see in any SaaS eCommerce platform: a shopping cart, website builder, secure hosting, and more. Ibroke down all of their more advanced features into a few categories to take a closer look.
3dcart integrates with over 160 payment gateways on its platform. They support some of the most popular options, including Authorize.Net, Stripe, Square, and PayPal. Additionally, 3dcart supports digital wallet and cryptocurrency payment options, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Bitcoin. If your online store could be considered “high-risk” by most mainstream payment gateways, 3dcart also integrates with high-risk payment processors that will work with your business.
Payment options are also available for many international merchants.
SEO & Marketing
Out of all other features, 3dcart advertises their advanced SEO suite of tools that’s available within their platform. A few of their most prominent SEO features include:
Custom & Canonical URLs
Custom Meta Titles & Descriptions
Heading Tag Hierarchy on Product Pages
Automatic XML Sitemap Generation
Rich Snippet Optimization
Aside from SEO, 3dcart includes a wide variety of built-in marketing tools that are usually relegated to third-party services. For example, you can post articles using the built-in blogging module or send out emails to customers using the included email marketing tools. However, some of these features may feel a bit limited, so third-party options could be better for your business if you’re looking for more advanced marketing.
Inventory & Shipping
3dcart’s built-in inventory management software is designed to streamline the organization of your products. You’re able to import and export products in bulk via CSV files, which is helpful if you’re moving to 3dcart from another platform. 3dcart also allows for unlimited products, categories, and product options, making it ideal for larger stores with lots of products that have many different versions.
On the order management and shipping side of things, 3dcart has a lot to offer. You can choose to send out status updates to customers regarding their orders and print shipping labels directly from the software. 3dcart also includes a built-in RMA system, making it simple to process returns within the platform.
3dcart Website Builder
For many website owners, the design of their site is one aspect that they pay the most attention to. 3dcart offers built-in site customization tools that you can use to edit any of their eCommerce themes. The themes are built on their proprietary Core Template Engine.
3dcart’s theme store offers both free and premium themes (ranging from $149 to $199), the latter of which includes extra functionality such as parallax scrolling or an Instagram feed. While most themes offered are designed by 3dcart themselves, there are also a few themes designed by third-party designers.
Themes built on the Core engine can be edited in the following ways:
Theme Editor: Customize your theme’s colors and fonts.
Drag n’ Drop HTML Builder: Add content and images to specific areas on the home page and other content pages.
HTML & CSS: Every theme gives you access to its code, which you can edit freely to your liking if you have more advanced customizations in mind.
While the Drag n’ Drop HTML Builder does allow you to move elements around in a modular fashion, not every element on the page is able to be moved. Certain elements, such as the homepage carousel and featured products sections, remain static in their place depending on the theme.
Compared to other eCommerce platforms, some merchants have stated that customizing themes can get quite technical with 3dcart. This is due to the coding required to make more advanced edits to your website; for this reason, it may be a good idea to have some coding background before working with a 3dcart theme.
Integrations & Apps
3dcart also plays nicely with third party apps and services.. Within the 3dcart App Store, you’ll find hundreds of apps (both free and paid) that can further specialize your online store. 3dcart offers several of their own proprietary apps in the app store, but many of these are included in higher tier plans as well.
3dcart integrates with some of the most popular eCommerce applications, from marketing to shipping. Here’s just a few of the apps that they offer:
If there’s an application that you’d like to integrate with 3dcart, but isn’t available on the app store, you also have the option of developing a custom integration with 3dcart’s API (available on all plans).
If you ever run into an issue with your 3dcart store, or if you need guidance when making changes, there’s several support channels available to you. 3dcart’s US-based support is available 24/7/365 via phone with additional support through live chat, tickets, and email.
For self-service support, 3dcart has an extensive knowledge base of helpful materials that can instruct merchants on how to use nearly every feature included in the software. Additionally, they publish articles on a regularly updated blog and glossary of eCommerce terms to help teach merchants more about eCommerce.
At the end of the day, 3dcart is a feature-packed eCommerce platform that emphasizes the freedom to customize everywhere you look. From product options to search engine optimization, the platform gives you access to a somewhat-overwhelming amount of functionality that you can tweak to your liking.
Most of the criticism surrounding 3dcart focusses on it’s ease-of-use, which may be due to the sheer number of features available or the limited web design customization tools. However, at the end of the day, 3dcart is a comprehensive and affordable platform that you should consider in your search.