3D Cart Review

Introduction

3dcart promotes itself as South Florida's leading eCommerce solution – founded in 1997 by Gonzalo Gil, this company has emerged as a top competitor in the world of online shopping carts and eCommerce. Their four core values are to be results oriented, reliable, customer focused and responsive. 3dcart is also compliant with the PCI security standards council therefore you can be assured that your personal details, and customer's details will remain safe when using their eCommerce platform. Our 3dcart review aims to break down what exactly makes this online shopping cart solution such a viable option in todays market.

This company has a current customer base of over 17,000 businesses and boasts 18+ years of technical knowledge and expertise in the eCommerce industry. In 2017, 3dcart formed a partnership with Square Inc. to allow for the integration of credit card payments on its platform – this furthered its business reach and appeal.

Their 3dcart platform and store builder service offers a three pronged form of business for store owners, search engines and shoppers – for store owners they provide powerful design tools, order processing and management and useful statistics. For search engines they provide Google and social media integration and page loading speed optimization.

For shoppers they provide stores that benefit from an aesthetic layout and design together with advanced features such as loyalty schemes and a streamlined checkout process. Whether or not 3dcart is one of the best website builders remains to be seen, but this review should provide some insightful answers.

Ease of Use

Before we analyse the performance of the 3dcart store and website editor, we took a look at the actual 3dcart website itself. The site uses a simple green and white color scheme and maintains a simple and clean design with clear headings and navigation. The homepage presents a bold introductory statement that promotes the use of 3dcart and also gives a clear sign-up option. Furthermore, the main site navigation is logically ordered into the following sections – Why 3dcart, Tour, Solutions, Clients, Pricing, Resources and Blog.

Why 3dcart, Tour and Solutions are all marketing based pages that aim to entice customers and inform them about the benefits of using this shopping cart solution. The client’s page presents a range of current 3dcart websites that is split down into different categories – the only drawback to this page is that you can only view an image of the website – if you want to see the site in action, you will have to find it on Google. Finally the resources page is your one stop shop for tutorials, themes and anything relating to the 3dcart platform. We generally found the 3dcart website to be easy to use and packed full of useful information for both potential new customers and existing users.

The 3dcart online store editor itself is browser based and although the platform is responsive and shrinks to fit on smaller display resolutions, it is advisable to use a large screen when creating your store. We tested the 3dcart editor and store management centre extensively – the dashboard was easy to use and the interface was user-friendly. The loading times of the various sections and links was favourable, and there was nothing that really stood out as odd, hard to use or difficult to understand. The following provides a comprehensive look at the features and usability of the 3dcart store builder:

Usability

When using the 3dcart dashboard, you are presented with a simple left-hand navigation pane, and a central display pane. To access the dashboard you must first enter your 3dcart login. The dashboard navigation contains links for both editing the website template, page management, and also management options for your actual store such as products, orders and customers. Everything has a logical placement and each section on the display pane has a clearly defined heading.

When you click on a link in the left-hand navigation the subsequent content opens clearly in the main display pane. Furthermore, on the dashboard homepage, there is a range of useful tips including selecting a payment method, editing products, and editing your website template. The editor is undoubtedly basic, but the simple layout and clean style makes it straightforward to use – there is also a welcome video that explains the basic functions of the dashboard.

Template editing

One area that we feel 3dcart falls down slightly is the actual template editor. As far as we can see, there is no drag and drop functionality and no advanced editor to change the various elements of your website. You can view the template and then edit basic functions such as the homepage rotating product carousel, but everything else is limited.

To edit the website layout and design itself you must have knowledge of HTML coding – if you press the “Edit Template HTML” button you are presented with the expanded HTML code which you can edit in full. Furthermore, you can also press “Edit Look/Colors(CSS)” which displays a myriad of different elements that you can change such as titles, page headers borders and font – this menu is dynamic and changes based on which template you have selected.

Store editing/management

Whilst the web editor is basic and requires knowledge of web coding, the actual store editor and management centre is simply fantastic. The “orders” tab shows all current customer orders and allows you to sort orders in different categories such as shipped, invoiced or new for example. You can click on an order to view it’s relating invoice and see its details such as value, description and order number.

The product tab allows you to add, edit and remove products from your database together with relating info such as images, text, prices and tags. The product edit page is straightforward and contains a myriad of checkboxes and drop down lists that are intuitive and easy to understand. Finally, there is also a customer tab from which you can manage your customer list, create customer groups and respond to customer query tickets.

We found the store management centre to be simply wonderful – everything was easy to find and the level of detail was astounding. For those who want a comprehensive online store with a great deal of customization, 3dcart certainly excels in this area.

Themes

3dcart has a fantastic array of themes (both free and premium) that have been developed by various individuals, third-party designers and web developers. You can access the 3dcart themes through a dedicated section on their website (themes.3dcart.com) and the available themes are split by category. As mentioned previously, you can only edit basic template properties via the 3dcart editor; there is however a Theme customization package available that allows you complete control over the style and design of your template – this weighs in at a hefty $799.99 however.

Number of available themes (free and paid)

Free – 68
Premium – 47

We found it quite surprising that 3dcart actually offers a greater range of free 3dcart templates than it does premium – and these free templates all look simply fantastic. The premium themes range in price but the minimum figure we found was $99.99. When selecting a theme, you are taken to an individual description page that shows a large image of the homepage together with support information, a detailed description, and an option to view a preview of the template in your web browser.

Theme categories

Main categories – 3dcart / 3rd party / Envato 3dcart / Premium

Aside from the categories listed above, you can also find links to the aforementioned theme customization package, and also a link to the e-commerce affiliate page where you can sell your 3dcart themes for profit.

Responsiveness of themes

For the majority, the 3dcart themes we previewed displayed perfectly in a wide range of different browsers. When viewing the themes on a desktop computer, the layout and elements automatically re-sized to fit the width of the browser. Furthermore, individual products move around to also fit with the size of the browser window. If you drag the size of the browser you can watch the page actively re-size and the navigation element change from a full-fledged menu to a mobile style drop down.

Mobile accessibility

The 3dcart themes have clearly been developed with mobile browsing in mind. As mentioned above, the templates fit perfectly on mobile browsers and the elements re-size accordingly. There is no horizontal scrolling at all, and the product pages can easily be accessed and viewed. Furthermore, the shopping cart functionality and order process appears to work perfectly on smaller handheld devices. As you will find out later on in the 3rdcart review however, the mobile browser versions did not score particularly well on Google's Page rank speed insights tool.

Features

3dcart have a superb range of features relating to its online shopping cart and store. Aside from the features listed below, 3dcart offers over 100 accepted payment methods, various social media plugins such as a Facebook Store and a Facebook like button, and a beautiful 3dZoom feature for product images. Additionally, 3dcart has some fantastic plug-ins and integrations that enhance the functionality of your store and allow you to carry out advanced marketing and customer research.

Marketing Checklist

We have never seen this type of feature before but we thought it was a superb idea and greatly helps new business start-ups. In the online store dashboard, you can find a section entitled “Marketing Checklist”. This is an immense and comprehensive checklist of things you can do to market your online store and provide it with exposure to a wider audience.

The checklist is broken down into three sections – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each section contains an array of useful processes that you can carry out and a checkbox to show when you have completed it. Examples of beginner items include creating a Twitter account and making a detailed about page. Intermediate items include such things as enabling gift certificates and optimizing your sites META tags. Finally, advanced items include such things as enabling live chat, running a daily deal and enable abandoned carts notification.

Integrated Blog

Each 3dcart website has functionality to create a built in blog. A blog is an important aspect of modern websites as it can add value and useful content that customers can engage with. You can access the blog section through the 3dcart dashboard – the layout is simple – you can see all existing blog posts, edit current posts and add new ones. You can also change the blog layout and features such as hiding recent posts or enabling blog comments.

B2B eCommerce

Many online shopping cart vendors only cater to a B2C (business to customer/consumer) audience – 3dcart has a plethora of B2B (business to business i.e. wholesaler to retailer for example) tools and functionality for its online store platform. Notable B2B features include the option to provide bulk discounts, the ability to set minimum order quantities, and the ability to allow customers to perform one-click reordering. Furthermore, 3dcart has advanced shipping management, tax calculators and a range of flexible payment options – all of which are important for B2B.

Optimized Customer Checkout

The online store checkout is an important aspect of any online store – if the order process and payment is tedious or confusing, it can cause customers to turn away or even cancel their order. 3dcart offers a optimized checkout system that can deliver customers a seamless and hassle free experience. Customers can checkout using their Facebook login (not everyone wants to create an account), and there is even abandoned cart functionality i.e. if a customer closes their browser part way through their shopping spree, the 3dcart store technology will save their cart contents for when they next visit the website.

Performance

The actual performance of an online shopping cart and website is vital to its success. If a user has to spend long periods of time waiting for product pages to load, or to add items to their shopping cart and process payments etc, they will often look elsewhere. An online shopping cart should be smooth, quick, and able to cope with a large amount of data and database information. The following provides a detailed analysis of the performance of various 3dcart hosted websites:

Desktop loading speeds

We used Google Page Speed insights to analyse the loading times and responsiveness of a range of websites created using 3dcart. Based on Page Speed insights alone, the result were certainly not favourable – the highest score was 72/100 (average) and the average overall score for desktop browsers was just 55/100 (poor). The main issue appeared to be image optimization and JavaScript rendering. When viewing the websites and navigating through the various shopping cart elements, the loading times did not appear to be too slow, but neither did they appear to be overly fast either.

Mobile loading speeds

Mobile loading speeds and optimization did not appear to fare well either – the average score for the 3dcart websites we reviewed was just 48/100 which was also classed as poor. Browser caching, JavaScript and compression appeared to be areas of concern. The responsiveness of the 3dcart website on mobile devices was fantastic however despite the poor rating from Google Page Speed Insights. The mobile versions rendered without issue and the site navigation turned into a neat drop-down menu – we found no issue with the actual visual appearance of the mobile version of the 3dcart sites we reviewed.

SEO Performance

3dcart claims to offer cutting-edge SEO features that are pre-built into your online store. The main SEO optimization features they offer include AMP (accelerated mobile pages), mobile-friendly, custom page URLs for products (which helps with keyword placement etc) and an unlimited amount of content pages (content is king in today’s modern online world!).

To break this down further, 3dcart offers URLs that include product category names, and the ability to create dynamic and canonical URLs which can help with page rankings. Furthermore, you can also edit your META tags including title, description a d keywords. Moreover 3dcart allows you to create a Google XML sitemap, and add alt tags for product images. Finally, 3dcart offers a range of dynamic content such as randomly generated featured products and dynamic meta tags to keep user content interesting and relevant.

Pricing

3dcart has a simple payment plan that is broken down into four different categories – basic, plus, pro and enterprise. It is possible to trial the shopping cart for free, but there is no free full version unlike some other web builders and shopping carts – the minimum you can purchase is the basic package. The following are 3dcart’s current price plans – it should be noted that as standard, each price plan comes with the following as standard – unlimited products, 24×7 customer support, unlimited HD file storage, unlimited bandwidth.

Furthermore, each price plan has the following extensive array of features – FTP Access, Real-Time shipping, Shipping Labels, Facebook Store, Built in Blog, Single Page checkout, Built in SEO Tools, product reviews, phone orders, API access, digital downloads, tax calculations, wish lists, gift certificates, coupons & discounts, POS module, QuickBooks connector, eBay integration, Amazon Order Sync, Mailchimp integration, Google Customer Reviews, Aweber integration, Facebook Shop Tab, Google Shopping Feed.

Price plans

Basic
– $29.00 p/month (or a 10% discount for 12 months payment)
– 2 staff users

Plus
– $79.00 p/month (or a 10% discount for 12 months payment
– 5 staff users
– Additional features: CRM, Customer Groups, Make-an-Offer, 3dFeedback, Store Credits, Abandoned Cart Saver, Email Marketing Newsletters, Email Accounts, Daily Deals and group deals.

Pro
– $229.00 p/month (or a 10% discount for 12 months payment)
– 15 staff users
– All the basic and plus features
– Additional features: Automation Rules, Gift Registry, Product Q&A, Reward Points Loyalty Program, Facebook Dynamic Adds, Houzz Order Import, Pre-orders, Sales Rep Management, Priority Support
Enterprise
– Contact only for price plan
– Unlimited staff users
– Recommended for businesses with sales of over $400k p/annum
– All the basic, plus and pro features
– Additional features: Technical account manager & custom programming

As you can see, the 3dcart pricing plans are straightforward but even the basic package has a great host of features. Additionally, each price plan has a suggested target user i.e. the plus plan is promoted as the perfect choice for home and start-up businesses.

Payment options and billing

As mentioned above, there is a substantial 10% discount if you are prepared to commit to a 12 month subscription to 3dcart. If you chose the plus plan for example and paid monthly, 12 months of payments would cost you $948.00. If you opted for the one off annual payment however, you total bill would work out at only $853.00 which is nearly a saving of $100 – a figure not to be sniffed at, especially for new businesses who may have a small cash flow. It should also be noted that 3dcart offer an additional discount for charities and non-profit organizations.

Payment is made immediately when selecting a plan – you must either pay the first month up-front, or the full amount for 12 months if you choose the discounted option. Current accepted payment methods include only credit and debit card and the transaction is processed in US Dollars.

Customer Support

3dcart has a superb range of customer support options and a brilliant technical database. Their dedicated customer support team is based in the United States and is available 24/7 through a range of different contact methods. Contact methods include email, 3dcart support ticket, phone and live chat. The live chat and telephone line are the best methods to contact for immediate issues and support, whereas email and the ticket system can be used for those queries that are not as important.

Aside from the customer support contact options and team, 3dcart also has a superb university section and 3dcart knowledge base. They have a dedicated tech support section on their website that has hundreds of Q&A’s, step by step tutorials and detailed FAQ’s. Furthermore, 3dcart provides an online user manual that is easy to use and they even have a YouTube channel that features cool tutorial videos. Finally, 3dcart also provides a community forum where users get involved and share ideas – you can also search for third party design experts if you need help building your shopping cart and website.

Conclusion

As far as online store builders go, 3dcart is certainly a firm choice. Their four distinct price plans contain a plethora of features, and even the basic package for small businesses or home users provides great value for money. 3dcart claims to be a one-stop-shop for developing and implementing an online store and from what we can see this certainly holds true – the functionality of the store is simply brilliant and the level of customization and the features included is more than enough to create a comprehensive and profitable online store. Some other highlights of 3dcart are listed below:

Highlights
– Ability to integrate shopping modules such as Amazon, Visa Checkout and Facebook Connect
– Dedicated business reports for sales, products and inventory etc
– Large range of well-developed free shop templates
– Add product reviews and customer comments to your items

3dcart clearly understands the need for analysis, flexibility and control – using their store builder solution you can manage customers, create invoices and process orders. Moreover, you can integrate third party plugins and create useful store features such as gift certificates, newsletters and automated order confirmation responses.

This online store builder is all about control and functionality and a business of any size or level would surely benefit from the advanced features provided. Our thoughts regarding this store builder have been validated after reading the various 3dcart reviews from satisfied customers – you only have to search the web to find a host of positive feedback.

Pros

– Vast array of store features and controls
– Advanced features for order processing and customer management
– Easy to use interface and store dashboard

Cons

– Lack of advanced customisation for templates/themes
– Must have some knowledge of web coding to edit templates
– Less than desirable performance rating for mobile devices

We feel that 3dcart is a worthwhile investment, but if you require the ultimate level of control concerning the appearance and design of your shop, you should be prepare to spent a little extra. That being said, if you have a rudimentary knowledge of HTML and CSS coding, you can easily edit the templates and put your own stamp on your 3dcart store. Hopefully you have found this 3dcart review beneficial and now have an understanding of what this product is all about.

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