If you’re looking into building an online store, you’ve probably seen mention online of both Shopify and 3dcart. Both of these are fully hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, and both boast usability and plentiful eCommerce features. These shopping carts call themselves all-in-one solutions, meaning that they will provide you with site hosting, web security, and customer support, all for one monthly fee.
Let’s start with a quick overview of each eCommerce platform:
|â||Ease of Use|
|Tie||Integrations & Add-Ons||Tie|
|Tie||Customer Service & Technical Support||Tie|
|Tie||Negative Reviews & Complaints||Tie|
|Tie||Positive Reviews & Testimonials||Tie|
|Read Review||Read Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site|
Shopify and 3dcart clearly offer their users a lot, but how do they stack up against each other? In this article, we’ll go over the price, features, and design editors of each solution. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of which software better fits your business.
Shopify is a Canadian eCommerce solution, which has grown since 2006 to host more than 600,000 stores worldwide. Shopify’s claim to fame is usability and affordability. Merchants at all stages will be able to access the softwareÂ and use it to build a site to their liking.
Shopify’s downfall, however, is related to this usability. Because Shopify aims to provide easy-to-use features, they often fail to add more advanced functionality. Users have to add-on these advanced features with integrations and applications.
3dcart, on the other hand, is a feature-rich eCommerce solution that is built to serve merchants large and small. They offer a range of pricing optionsÂ so that users can select a plan that fits their budget. 3dcart is a less popular solution than Shopify, currently hosting over 22,000 customers, but it is still a main player in the eCommerce industry.
However, 3dcart is not a perfect solution. While the platform is still relatively easy to learn, it is not quite as intuitive as Shopify. In addition, users often report that 3dcart’s customer support is not reliable.
Keep reading for more in-depth information on each of these platforms. Learn which software is best for you.
Donât have time to read an entire review? Take a look atÂ our top-rated eCommerce solutionsÂ for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, superb web templates, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.
Web-Hosted Or Licensed
Both services are web-hosted.
Hardware & Software Requirements
None. You’ll only need a computer, internet access, and an up-to-date web browser.
Pricing plan for 3dcart and Shopify follow a similar model. BothÂ are available as a monthly subscription in which price is based on features. Neither service requires you to sign a contract, although you can get a discount on your monthly rate if you commit for a year or more. What’s more, Shopify and 3dcart both offer enterprise-level platforms for users who need a higher level of support and capabilities.
Shopify’s plans are billed on a month-by-month basis. If you choose to sign on for one year, you can benefit from a 10% discount on your plan, and if you pay for two years, you’ll get a 20% discount.
One way in which Shopify’s pricing is different from many eCommerce platforms is that Shopify charges transaction fees. You will be charged these fees (0.5%-2.0% based on your plan) in addition to the processing fees that you’ll pay to your payment processor of choice. Shopify will waive these transaction fees if you use their in-house payments solution, Shopify Payments. You will still have to pay processing fees to Shopify Payments, but you won’t be charged the additional transaction fee.
Here’s a quick overview of plans:
- Shopify Lite Plan (No Online Store Included): $9/month
- Transaction Fee: 2.0%
- Basic Shopify Plan: $29/Month
- Transaction Fee: 2.0%
- Two Staff Accounts (In Addition To The Ownerâs Account)
- Shopify Plan: $79/Month
- Transaction Fee: 1.0%
- Five Staff Accounts (In Addition To The Ownerâs Account)
- Advanced Shopify Plan: $299/Month
- Transaction Fee: 0.5%
- Fifteen Staff Accounts (In Addition To The Ownerâs Account)
With 3dcart, you’ll be billed monthly. However, if you pay in advance for a full year on the platform, you’ll receive a 10% discount. Keep in mind that 3dcart does not allow refunds, so be sure 3dcart is the right software for you before you commit for a year.
All of 3dcart’s regular plans (excluding the Startup Plan) come with unlimited products and bandwidth, free domain registration, API connectivity, and 24/7 phone support.
- Startup Plan: $19/Month
- 1 Staff User
- 100 Products
- Sell Up To $10K/Year
- Basic: $29/Month
- 2 Staff Users
- Unlimited Products & Bandwidth
- Plus: $79/Month
- 5 Staff Users
- Pro: $229/Month
- 15 Staff Users
Pricing for 3dcart and Shopify is very similar. Your choice will depend on how many staff users your business needs and how Shopify’s transaction fees would affect you. For our comparison, we’ll call this a tie.
Ease Of Use
For many merchants looking for eCommerce software, ease of use is the number one priority. Fortunately, both Shopify and 3dcart provide that ease of use to all their users.
Shopify is one of the most intuitive eCommerce platforms on the market. Try out the admin for yourself with a free 14-day trial, no credit card required. Here’s what you’ll find when you first create your account:
Adding products is easy. All of the information you’ll need to enter is available on one page. Just fill in the fields provided.
Discounts are similarly easy to set up, and you can make them specific to certain products or categories. You can limit your discounts to customer groups, number of uses, or minimum order total. There are also BOGO discounts available.
Shopify also makes site customization accessible to all merchants. Read more in our web design section.
3dcart works to make their software accessible to all merchants, regardless of technical experience. Try out the platform with a 15-day free trial, no credit card required.
When you sign into your account, you will immediately be presented with a setup wizard. This wizard and the available tutorial videos will help you locate and learn to use some of the more basic features.
3dcart’s dashboard is user friendly. You can find everything organized in theÂ toolbar on the left. Most of this organization makes sense, but there are a few features that are buried where you wouldnât expect them. ‘Discounts,’ for example, is under a tab called âPromotion Manager.â
Adding a product with 3dcart is unique because it involves a two step process. You’ll start by entering basic product information like images, product name, and a product description. Once you’ve saved that page, you’ll be able to add more advanced information. On this page, you’ll be able to adjust your shipping and inventory information, write SEO descriptions, and more.
Discounts follow the same two-step model. The more detailed (second) page lets you apply your promotions to specific categories, to an order that includes a specific product, and more.
While we love that 3dcart’s dashboard, we have to award this category to Shopify. 3dcart is just not quite as intuitive as Shopify. There is a slight learning curve to overcome, and a few features are difficult to find in the admin.
As we’ve stated, Shopify comes with all of the basic features merchants need. However, advanced functionality often requires add-on applications. Let’s take a look at a few of the features that come built-in with Shopify:
Front End Features
- Language Capabilities:Â List your site in over 50 different languages.
- Automatic Shipping Rates:Â Users on the Advanced Plan can integrate with UPS, USPS, and FedEx to calculate shipping rates. All users have access toÂ Shopify Shipping,Â which lets you calculate shipping rates, and purchase and print shipping labels.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery:Â Automatically send an email to remind customers about items they left in their cart.
- Integrate With Shopify POS: Sell in person with Shopify’s Point Of SaleÂ (see our review) system.
- Customer Segmentation:Â Group your customers by location, shopping tendencies, and demographics. Use those customer groups to market more effectively.
- Dropshipping Apps: Shopify integrates with dropshipping apps like Ordoro, Inventory Source, and eCommHub (now HubLogix). Learn how to start a profitable dropshipping business with Shopify.
- SEO Best Practices:Â Shopify includes many SEO tools, including a customizable H1, and automatically generated sitemap.xml, and the ability to write titles, meta tags, and product tags.
- Discounts: You can create discount codes and coupons, including BOGO (Buy One, Get One) discounts. Gift cards are available at higher plans.
- Digital Products: Sell physical and digital products on your site.
- Bulk Import/Export:Â Make bulk edits to your products, or use the bulk import feature to easily migrate from another software.
3dcart, on the other hand, includes many of the bells and whistles that Shopify is lacking. For example, 3dcart includes the option to enable one-page checkout on your site. Here are some of the features you get with 3dcart:
Front End Features
- Sell Digital:Â Let customers download products immediately after purchase.
- Checkout Options:Â Choose to enable either one-page or three-page checkout.
- Product Images: Include multiple product images, image zoom, and videos on product pages.
- Promotions:Â Create gift certificates, discounts, and coupons.
- Automatic Calculators:Â Provide real-time quotes for taxes and shipping at checkout.
- Abandoned Cart Saver:Â Remind customers to complete transactions.
- Blog:Â Include a blog on your site to boost your SEO and add value to your site.
- Inventory Management:Â Monitor low stock and make sure inventory is accurate.
- SEO:Â Use a variety of tools to optimize your organic traffic.
- Bulk Import / Export:Â Migrate platforms and make bulk edits.
- POS: Sell in-person with 3dcart POS.
This one is close, but 3dcart has a few more features that are not available with Shopify. So, we’re giving the win to 3dcart.
Shopify is well-known for its beautiful and responsive web design options. In the Shopify Themes marketplace, you can find 64 theme options, 10 of which are free. Take a look at one premium theme below:
There are a few ways you can go about customizing your theme. Users with little technical experience can use a WYSIWYG editor to make changes to site content. For example, you can update headings, categories, and button text. Shopify’s drag and drop editor, Sections, lets you make larger changes to your storefront. Use Sections to add and move widgets on your storefront. Shopify also offers code editors for the more technologically inclined. Shopify uses a language called Liquid, which some developers like and some donât.
3dcart, on the other hand, offers 90 free themes, which is many more than Shopify. All of these themes are mobile responsive. In addition, there are a fewÂ dozen premium themes available from $99 to $199.
Users sometimes complain that 3dcart’s themes are dated, and I tend to agree. That isn’t to say that the themes are ugly; they just don’t have that sleek look I’m used to finding on modern eCommerce platforms.
You’ll have to edit these templates primarily using the HTML and CSS editors. 3dcart also includes a limited WYSIWYG editor for buttons, tabs, etc., and a drag-and-drop editor for older HTML5 themes (you must request to have this editor enabled). It isn’t a perfect editor (which is why it isn’t automatically available), but it could be a help as you learn your way around the code editors.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Both 3dcart and Shopify offer plenty of integrations and add-ons to further functionality.
There are over 1500 apps available in Shopify App Store, which essentially guarantees that there’s an app to fill whatever feature gap you may have. Unfortunately, for many merchants, multiple applications are necessary, and the costs of those add-ons can quickly add up. Shopify also has an API that you can use to develop your own own applications.
In the same way, 3dcart offers integrations for a variety of features (including order management, shipping, security, social media, dropshipping, channel management, advertising, and more.) Users of 3dcart also complain that the cost of these add-ons can quickly become expensive. 3dcart also has a RESTful API available.
Shopify integrates with over 100 gateways.
In addition, ShopifyÂ has its own in-house payment solution called Shopify Payments. As we stated in the Pricing section of this article, if you use Shopify Payments, Shopify will waive their additional transaction fees. Shopify Payments is currently available to merchants in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Ireland.
Credit card processing rates for Shopify Payments are based on a user’s Shopify plan. Take a look at the fees for each plan in the screenshot below:
Keep in mind that Shopify Payments is not a perfect solution, and there are many complaints online about withheld payments and cancelled accounts. Read our full review of Shopify Payments for more information.
3dcart connects with over 100 payment gateways. They do not offer an in-house payment solution, but they also don’t ding you with transaction fees if you use a third party processor, which in my opinion is a much bigger deal.
The winner here is 3dcart.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Merchants using Shopify have access to 24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone. Self help resources include a knowledge base, aÂ community forum, videos, podcasts, and guides. You can also hire a Shopify expert to help you through a particularly rough patch.
I’ve seen mixed reviews of Shopify’s support team. Some users say they’re helpful, while others blame them for reading from a script and being informed about the product.
3dcart also offersÂ 24/7 personalized support via email, live chat, phone. Resolve issues on your own with aÂ knowledge base, video tutorials, a support forum, webinars, and e-university courses.
Not too surprisingly, I have also seen mixed reviews of 3dcart’s quality of support. Users frequently complain about delays in response time via live chat (in my experience “live chat” is more like another way to submit a web ticket), but response times for web tickets and phone calls are decent.
Another tie here, folks.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Surprisingly, complaints about Shopify and 3dcart are very similar.
Shopify is often blamed for including only the basics in their platform. You’ll have to find a few extensions in the Shopify App Marketplace in order to access more advanced features. And unfortunately, costs for these add-ons can quickly add up. Users also frequently complain about Shopify’s customer service. Some users have less than positive experiences. Finally, that transaction fee continues to be a frustration for many merchants, as does Shopify Payments’s tendencies to cancel accounts and withhold payments.
Users of 3dcart also complain about customer support, saying they are very slow to respond to inquiries. In addition, 3dcart merchants dislike that add-ons can be expensive, especially when you need to use multiple extensions. Finally, some merchants state that 3dcart’s available design templates are dated, and that they’d like to see more current designs.
Because these negatives are so similar, we’re calling it a tie.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Users of Shopify and 3dcart have similar things to say about the advantages of each platform. A few commonalities include the low monthly price of running your store, strong ease of use, and good customer support.
This final advantage may be confusing as we’ve also included it in the complaints section above. It is very common to see a 50/50 split between positive and negative comments on customer service. Both Shopify and 3dcart have these mixed reviews.
One notable difference is that Shopify is celebrated for its themes while 3dcart is praised for its features. If you scroll up to the negatives section you’ll see that users often complain about Shopify’s features and 3dcart’s themes. It’s interesting to see that what is a strength of one platform is a weakness of the other.
The two platforms tie in this category as well.
It’s always disappointing to end on a tie, but with such a close race, we don’t think it’s fair to call a definitive winner. Your decision will depend on your business’s needs.
Are you looking for an easy to use platform with beautiful design templates? Try Shopify.
Are you willing to overcome a slight learning curve to uncover a few more advanced features? 3dcart is your best bet.
We will say that overall we think Shopify better fits the needs of most merchants, which is why we’ve given Shopify a perfect score of 5 stars in our full review while 3dcart has 4.5 (see our review). However, it’s evident here that both shopping carts are strong options. We recommend you sign up for a trial of each eCommerce platform and decide for yourself which option you prefer.
Get Started With Shopify
Get Started With 3dcart
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