It’s becoming easier and easier to start an online business or have your company branch out on the internet. With a wealth of helpful website builders and shopping cart software at your disposal, all you have to do is choose one that suits you best. Some of them are easier to handle than others and their prices vary too. It mostly depends on how much help and hand holding you need to set your site up and manage it. But if you’re willing to invest either time and work or a small fee every month, you can definitely end up with a high quality online shop.
X-Cart is one of these software. It is an open source PHP based shopping cart eCommerce software that makes it possible to run an online store. It lets you run all the basics of a business. You can process orders, track inventory and deal with everything else that comes with running an online store. It’s plain and simple until you want different reports, collect data and make decisions accordingly. Which is why X-Cart requires some level of knowledge in order to use. The ideal user has some knowledge in PHP to be able to make the necessary tweaks according to their requirements. With some help, X-Cart will give merchants the flexibility to handle their store. It’s currently doing so to 30,000+ merchants and has been around since 2001. All of these sites combined make up a merchandise volume of $2.5 billion.
X-Cart has two versions: X-Cart Classic and X-Cart 5, with each version having a set of different tiers. Naturally, each comes with premium plans that offer a lot of extra features and services. Which is why you should leverage X-Cart’s 30-day trial and see all of these services for yourself, check out what is available and make your decision based on what you need. X-Cart 4 is the older version of the product, so there aren’t new updates applied to it. For now, it still runs, but it’s much smarter to go with X-Cart 5 if you’re looking for a long-term solution.
As I mentioned, X-Cart comes in different packages and prices. Each package offers different features and with more features, things get increasingly more complicated. All of the packages have one great thing in common: They are lifetime licenses, so you’ll only have to pay for it once and that’s it. X-Cart isn’t the shady type of eCommerce platform that will milk you for money as long as you use it. Plenty of others charge transaction fees.
X-Cart comes with six different packages. Here’s a list of all of them and their most important features. If you want to see all the smaller features as well, check them out on their official website.
For starters, I’m very impressed with X-Cart, due to the sheer number of features it offers. The developer team has really gone out of their way to create a well-rounded and fully-feature eCommerce solution.
X-Cart is easily one of the best enterprise level eCommerce solutions. However, it is also fit for any other sized business, which is why it comes in numerous different packages.
- Unlimited Products and Orders
- Mobile Friendly Design
- One-Step Checkout
- Real-Time and Preset Shipping and Tax Quotes
- Product Options and Attributes
- Bulk Import/Export
- Drag-and-Drop Layout Editor
- XML Sitemap
- Multilingual Capabilities
The Business Package for $495
Includes all of the above, AND:
- Multiple Currencies
- Product Comparison Option
- Product Filters
- Product Reviews
- Support for Facebook, Google, and PayPal Login
- Ability to Attach Files to Products
- Product Combinations and Variants
The Multivendor Package for $1,495
The Multivendor Package is entirely different from the above mentioned ones and from what you would expect from a shopping cart software. It isn’t for running a single store, rather creating your own marketplace. You can make your version of eBay or Amazon with it, where other vendors come to sell their own products. You can find out more about it on X-Cart’s official website.
The Ultimate Package for $5,995
The Ultimate Package has everything x-Cart can offer, from multivendor capabilities to the rest of the special features enlisted below:
- Recurring Payments
- 1 Year of X-Payments Hosted
- Loyalty Program
- Advanced Top Menu
- Exit Offers
- Infinite Catalog Scrolling
- Store Installation by X-Cart Team
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Excel Export/Import
- Shop by Brand
- Ability to Save and Accept Credit Cards
- Google reCAPTCHA
The X-Cart 4.x Gold for $195
- Downloadable Products
- International and Multilingual Support
- Various Access Levels and Memberships
- Featured, Cross-Sale, and Related Products
- Facebook Store App
- Coupons and Special Offer Tools
- Predictive Search
- Advanced Order Management
- Product Options and Combinations
- SEO-Friendly Catalog
- Built-In Responsive Design
- An Affiliate Partner Program
- MailChimp Integration
- Basic Customer Reviews
The Gold Plus Package for $495
All of the above, AND:
- Multiple Currencies
- Email Product Notifications for Customers
- Email Account Activation
- Custom Order Statuses
- Sign-In via Social Media (Facebook, Google, etc.) Powered by Janrain.com
- Advanced Customer Reviews
- On Sale and New Arrival Products
- Banner System
The Platinum (Multivendor) Package for $1,795
All of the above, AND:
- Separate Vendor Back-End
- Feature Comparison
- Product Wizard
- Separate Vendor Shipping and Tax Rates
- One-Year Support
- Multiple Vendors
If you want to try X-Cart, you can download the free version, but getting it to run the way you want it will require some level of technical knowledge. Starting with the installation, you’ll also have to maintain the system on your computer. But if that seems like more than you wish to handle, X-Cart has an installation service that you can use for $75. If you want to skip spending money as well, X-Cart has an option for that too.
There’s a 14-Day Free Trial that doesn’t require your credit card number and more information. There’s also a limited demo that you can try out without submitting any personal information whatsoever. You’ll just receive an email and you can move to X-Cart’s dashboard right from there. It will contain fake orders and products that will help you to test how the system works in practice. You can also add your own products and perform other basic functions. The demo does it’s best to show off what you can expect from X-Cart and it does it really well with notifications. It’s really worth trying out.
X-Cart offers two options. You can either buy the entire system only once, own it and maintain it or have them do it for you. You can choose X-Cart’s hosting services but they aren’t cheap. It costs between $29.95 / month and $399 / month. X-Cart has a number of hosting plans, each offering a different amount of server resources and other features.
If you choose to host your own website, your system will have to fit a number of specific requirements. You probably had enough of long lists in this article, so just check it out on X-Cart’s official website.
Website Design and Templates
No system is perfect. X-Cart does incredibly well with a wide range of features, but it doesn’t come with too many design templates. Other providers like Magento have much more designs to choose from. This shopping cart system has about a dozen CSS based themes, 35 paid templates and that’s it. Though this makes things simpler, but I would like to have more design options for my eCommerce site. But it’s great that all of X-Carts themes have a responsive design and they work really well on mobile too.
You can also modify any theme and apply changes through the Webmaster mode. The Business and Advanced packages offer a filter extension that lets you modify the Java Script and CSS files to create a layout that better fits your needs.
You can sell just about anything from physical products, e-products, to subscription based services with this shopping cart software. You can upload as many products as you can fit into your storage space. You can also create unlimited variants based on size, weight and numerous other attributes as well.
X-Cart offers numerous marketing tools that help you promote your store. It has SEO tools that create clean URLS, rich snippets, an XML sitemap and help you add your meta tags.
Thanks to the integration of MailChimp, you can also launch an email marketing campaign through X-Cart. There’s also an affiliate program you can use and set how much commission is given. You can also add customer reviews below your products that further increase the trust people have towards your site.
One of X-Cart’s most unique marketing features is the ability to have an auction on your website. It’s similar to eBay. You just set an entry price, a duration, maybe even the minimum bid increments and you have the show on the road. There are numerous other marketing features that I can’t fit in here because it would be a really long list. But it’s worth noting that X-Cart is fully featured in a marketing standpoint as well. X-Cart makes it easy for you to track your inventory as well.
X-Cart accepts 80 payment providers, so if you can’t find an option that works for you, than you shouldn’t be opening a business. You can use Skrill, PayPal, Authorize.Net, Stripe, FirstData, only to name a few. You can also accept both credit and debit card.
Such a complex system isn’t easy to handle if you don’t have its creators behind your back when you need them. Which is why X-Cart has a customer support service that you can contact through phone, email or by filling a form on their website. You also use Live Chat to get in touch with a customer service representative.
It is important to know that technical support will cost you cash. You should first read through what technical support covers and doesn’t cover before buying a ticket.
The Pros and Cons of Using X-Cart
X-Cart is a full-fledged eCommerce system that will definitely get the job done. But you have to have a pretty solid business plan and a steady cash flow to be able to support it without a problem if you’re looking to use X-Cart’s support as well.
- Easy To Scale – In a best case scenario, your company will grow and your site will require some alterations. X-Cart helps its users handle this change with absolute ease. You can always upgrade to a more powerful package without any risk of losing data. This shopping cart software is an open source platform, so it’s easily customizable and scalable.
- Comprehensive Dashboard – X-Cart’s dashboard is just as easy to use as any other cloud based systems. Even the themes can be customized through drag and drop features.
- A Helpful and Reliable Customer Support – The fact that running your store on X-Cart doesn’t come cheap, does bring some great bonuses along with it. The company’s customer support team has received plenty of positive reviews, stating that they can handle custom code really well and they are throughout in their efforts to help you.
- Extremely Safe Payment Processing – You don’t have to worry about your user’s data being compromised, thanks to a PA DSS certified and PCI compliant X-Payments integration.
- Multilanguage and Multicurrency Support – With more advanced packages, you can have up to 80 payment options on your website and can have multiple languages as well.
- Technical Support Costs Extra – X-Cart offers a reasonable deal with letting you have the product for life after a single payment. Which is why it’s very reasonable for them to have paid customer support services. You have to buy tickets if you want to have technical help, but they will definitely get the job done in return.
- The Self Hosted Version Requires Manual Coding – If you want to host X-Cart on your site, installing it and setting everything up will require coding knowledge. Anybody who doesn’t have coding skills will have to pay a monthly fee for X-Cart’s hosting services. It will cost you about $30 to $300 per month to use their hosting, but it will spare you some of the work.
- Higher Tier Plans Are Surprisingly Expensive – A $500 for a lifetime licensing fee isn’t a too big price to pay if it benefits your business. But there’s a lot to consider with a $5,995 price for the ultimate package.
- Not Many Themes Available – A lot of users report that the themes are outdated and there isn’t many to choose from either. While you can definitely create an awesome custom website with X-Cart, some additional themes would be nice.
In summary, X-Cart is a very good shopping cart that will definitely make for a solid online store. It has plenty of unique features and the system can easily compete with Magento. Tech savvy merchants will easily fall in love with this system, but it might not work as well for users without coding skills. Overall, I can wholeheartedly recommend at least trying the free demo to see what X-Cart has in store.