Have you heard the news? 3dcart is releasing Version 8 soon, an update that will be the first major upgrade of any top ecommerce platform in 2017 (and we’re already 7 months in to 2017!)
Well, that’s if you’ve heard of 3dcart in the first place. If you’ve been interested in having a solid platform for your online shop, you’ve probably come across the names Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, and so on.
And when you encounter the name 3dcart, it’s not as often—what gives? Is it even worth looking into?
I’ll answer that for you: yes, absolutely. First of all, it’s still generally regarded as one of the top ecommerce platforms, and secondly, it doesn’t slouch on what it offers its clients at all.
Ultimately, I think the deciding factor for most people would just be how it feels, because it doesn’t lack so seriously in any area that it’s an incomparable service to Shopify, BigCommerce, or any other big name.
So why 3dcart?
Well if you ask them, it’s because they have everything you need and everything you want. Customizable, easy to use, secure, feature-packed, affordable…the list of adjectives goes on.
Though we can’t take what they say at face value, 3dcart does in fact seem to be a pretty solid service to me. Let’s take a look at why.
Overall: The Cons
I like going with the bad news first.
So basically, 3dcart has evolved a lot over the years, and they’ve fixed up a lot of their more serious flaws. User interface is one such thing that in my opinion, is now totally fine and easy to use, but some negative comments still come up, so I’ll list this as a potential con for some of you.
Other than that, it’s not the most customizable service out there—you’ll have to drop some money if you really want to get into the nitty gritty and exercise full control over the details.
The only other main con I can think of is that 3dcart sort of balances out being so feature-rich by making a chunk of these features unavailable unless you pay extra.
No, there are no hidden fees, but some things you might want will cost you.
Past that, a lot of cons are now outdated, and I think any other ones that seem to come up—customer support gets a criticism every now and then—are more subjective than something we can all agree is a downside.
Overall: The Pros
Cool, now we can get to my favorite part—the good news.
Like I said, a lot of what 3dcart used to be more lacking in has improved a lot.
Themes are a good example: they only had a few free, bland themes. Now they have 68 free templates you can use, in addition to a lot more you can pay for.
Ease of use I’ll give as a plus—maybe not everyone will agree, but I think 3dcart’s user interface is very straightforward and intuitive.
And though I said the extra costs of some features are a downside, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of features. It’s a very equipped package, even with an entry-level account.
Customer support, I’ll definitely list as a pro. In addition to basic customer service, there is a host of documentation and other resources available in a variety of formats. Most of it is free, though some things you may have to pay for—even so, it’s very comprehensive.
As always though, the devil’s in the details. Now that you have an idea of the basic pros and cons, let’s go a bit more in depth.
Okay, so let’s take a look at the pricing, because let’s face it—pros and cons aren’t static, they need to be viewed in context with the cost. You can view the official details of the tiered pricing plans here.
First off, like other top ecommerce software, 3dcart has no transaction fees or set-up fees, and as far as I can tell, has no hidden fees—though there are a couple things that will cost that you, which I’ll get to later.
As for the tiered pricing structure, 3dcart is barely different from other ecommerce platforms.
The lowest tier, a Basic account, is $29 a month, whereas Plus is $79 a month and Pro is $229 a month. Enterprise, the fourth tier, is custom depending on your business size.
If you pay per year, however, Basic is $26.10 a month, Plus is $71.10 a month, and Pro is $206.10 a month. These plans are very similar to BigCommerce, Shopify, and even LemonStand, except 3dcart’s third tier is notably cheaper.
And like most other platforms, the most important features are packaged into the entry-level pricing plan, though in my opinion 3dcart offers more features as you upgrade than is common for other leading brands, for which the main difference in upgrades is the amount of sales allowed rather than amount of features.
But in exchange, 3dcart does not impose those aforementioned sales limits. In fact, for all accounts, there are no transaction fees, order limits, product limits, or a bandwidth limit. So if you get really lucky on a Basic plan, great news—you won’t have to pay an annoying upgrade fee to account for your increase in sales.
The only main downside is that you might miss some features from a Basic or maybe even a Plus account, and there are limits on the amount of staff accounts permitted: only Enterprise has unlimited, whereas Basic, Plus and Pro have 2, 5, and 15 respectively.
Overall, if you’re worried 3dcart is going to be overpriced or not worth your money, you can relax—it’s pricing is normal, and even a bit cheaper than standard.
Overview of the Features
For sure, one area 3dcart does well in is its features.
Now as I just said, these features vary more based on your pricing plan than with other leading ecommerce platforms, but you’ll still get a good bundle even with a Basic or Plus account.
For one, the fundamentals mentioned earlier—unlimited bandwidth, unlimited sales, etc—are all big pluses. And as it should be, you get a domain and hosting included in your package.
As for more minute features, even with Basic you’ll get a built in blog, phone orders, integration with eBay, Facebook, and Amazon, single page check out, and more.
Most of the features are essentially the same things you’ll find universal to good ecommerce software, but a few things stand out.
For example, 3dcart has an Abandoned Cart Saver tool, which is a wonderful tool that emails reminders to shop visitors who made it to the checkout page but didn’t complete their purchase. Note though, that this is only available for the upper two tiers.
I also thought gift-wrapping was a nice touch, along with some other special checkout options.
I was particularly impressed with 3dcart’s Point of Sale app, which really makes an already solid service more versatile. It can handle refunds, email receipts, discounts, gift certificates, custom items, all sorts of cards, and more.
Additionally, whatever you feel is missing from your bundle, you can probably find in an app: 3dcart definitely excels here, with a plethora of apps available. They’re too varied to go into here, but this is generally considered one of
3dcart’s perks. Of course, some of them might not be cheap.
As a final point, 3dcart absolutely excels in the number of payment gateways you can use, at 200—far more than
Shopify or any other leading brand.
Overall, 3dcart is definitely feature-packed, but you may have to drop more money to access some more.
Ease of Use and Customization
Look, ease of use is kind of to be expected of any decent ecommerce solution. Simply put, not everyone can afford a web designer or take the time to learn, and all the features in the world don’t mean much if it’s a hassle to even get your shop going.
3dcart is pretty easy to use, and while I don’t think it’s necessarily easier than other leading brands, it’s just as straightforward (which means it’s really straightforward).
See video below to start selling online in Just Minutes with 3dcart.
I’ve encountered some reviews that say 3dcart is a little less than user-friendly, and that there’s a bit of a learning curve. I think these might be outdated though, because 3dcart’s user interface seems sleek and easy to me.
As customization options go, I think 3dcart is not stellar, but not so severely lacking. The free themes provided could be better in my opinion.
However, 3dcart still has made some improvements here. They used to have not so many, but now they have 68 free templates—that’s a pretty good number, and there are enough differences between them to be “real” choices.
In terms of full-on customization, I don’t think 3dcart is the best. You can go to straight HTML customization only if you have the highest tiered account.
For simplicity, I think 3dcart will do fine. If you really want to take the reins and customize your shop, 3dcart may not be for you, but if you don’t need a fully customizable shop, you’ll be just fine—3dcart isn’t bad here at all, it’s just not spectacular.
Customer Service and Onboarding
All the basic things you’d expect for customer support are here, but there are some cool additions 3dcarts provides too.
24/7 support team? Check, of course. Phone and LiveChat? Yup.
Basic stuff aside, having resources to help with onboarding is an essential, and 3dcart has an edge on its competitors here by providing a service called Onboarding Coach.
It’s basically a team of people you can schedule a 30 minute session with. They’re not just advanced IT people who can help you with setting things up, they’re also there to help you strategize and make good business choices for your e-store.
They also have a YouTube channel if you’re not much of a reader, an HTML guide if you’re used to HTML and wanted to customize more, a user manual, and even an online university.
I was taken aback by 3dcart’s eCommerce University, but it’s definitely a gem. It’s free, and has a ton of courses, webinars, and all that stuff.
In fact, you can even access a lot of this online without an account, so even if you decide not to go for 3dcart, you could still use their customer support tools to be more equipped to run your e-store on another platform anyway.
Finally, 3dcart provides connections with third parties you can hire to design your shop, help you market, and so on.
But to be honest, I don’t know how well these third parties compare with any other third party you can find and hire on the internet.
Overall I think 3dcart definitely excels where customer support and the onboarding process are concerned.
Let’s be frank—no matter how beautifully designed a service like this is, or how great the customer support, or how many options you get in customizing your shop, this is your business. Security is essential.
In essence, I think 3dcart is not significantly better than other top platforms when it comes to you and your customers’ security, and it’s no worse either.
Ultimately, 3dcart is PCI DDS compliant, meaning it bears the gold standard of security. Everything is kept up to date, there are regular security checks, all the important information is encrypted, and so on.
If you really want to take an extra precaution, you can purchase a quarterly McAfee PCI scan for $99, and there are apps from both 3dcart and third parties you can add to your store to tie up anything else you’re worried about.
There’s not much to say here—3dcart is, as far as I can tell, very secure and reliable.
Okay, so let’s wrap things up.
For pricing, 3dcart is barely different than other leading services, except the third tier is a bit cheap. If you’re looking for something way cheaper than Shopify, 3dcart probably isn’t for you, but if you’re okay with paying standard prices, you’ll still get a lot in return.
Aside from all that, one of the main downsides is you’ll have to pay extra for some features or even upgrade your account if you really need them.
Having said that, you still get a lot of features packed in: integration with channels like eBay and Google shopping, countless payment gateways, a strong POS app, and so on—this is definitely one of 3dcart’s pros.
Moreover, it’s easy to use, and there are a decent amount of free templates available…though if you really want to take charge, it may not be the best platform for you.
Customer support is another plus, with all the resources available (Onboarding Coach, eCommerce University, etc) really giving 3dcart an edge.
Lastly, it’s pretty secure, so you won’t have to worry about yourself or your customers’ information being at risk.
To wrap it up, it’s a strong service that may not be for everyone, but easily could be. Ultimately, I think the deciding factor will be whether it clicks with you or not, because it provides everything you’ll need and more for a decent price.
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