3dcart are one of the most established ecommerce platforms in the market, having been around since 1997 and powering over 25,000 online stores, but are they any good for UK businesses?
I first came across 3dcart a few years ago and back then, they were primarily focused on the US market and the offering for the UK wasn’t great. But they seem to have put more of focus on gaining traction in the UK market over the last couple of years, which means that it is time for me to review them.
When I review a platform, I look at a few things. The first is the pricing and features that they offer and the second is how easy the platform is to use. That way I hope to give a good rounded picture of the platform.
Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to their services via a link in this post, I do receive a small commission. But and I cannot stress this enough, that this in no way influences my review, if I don’t like something then I will say so!
At first glance, 3dcart look very competitive on price, with their basic package coming in at $10 (they bill in $ not £’s) than pretty much all of their competition.
Price for 1 minute
Price for 1 minute
Upto $50k Annual Sales
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Online Support
1 Staff Users
Upto $100k Annual Sales
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Online & Phone Support
2 Staff Users
Upto $250k Annual Sales
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Online & Phone Support
5 Staff Users
And while all the packages from 3dcart are packed full of features, it seemed to me that they almost tried to hide the fact that all of their packages are turnover limited.
I say this because it is at the very bottom of the pricing page, after you click the button to compare all the plans. I would much prefer this to be front and centre of the pricing page as it is an important factor when choosing an ecommerce platform.
Due to being limited by space in my pricing table above, I couldn’t include their top pro package that costs £229.99 a month. This is the package for ecommerce businesses that turnover between $250k and $1 million annually.
If your business exceeds the $1 million turnover limit, then you can go up to their Enterprise Solution which is a custom built for your business to help you continue to grow.
You get to try before you buy with 3dcart as they offer a free 15 day trial, so that you can really test the platform out before committing to one of their paid plans.
3dcart Free 15 Day Trial
No Credit Card Needed
Before I get full on into my review, I thought I would take a look at what some of their existing customers thought of the platform. For this I look on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.
3.2 out of 5
The 3dcart platform certainly isn’t short of features! Even the basic plan comes with some features that aren’t even available on other platforms premium plans. On the higher plans, you get that many features that it would be difficult to list them all here, so I have just picked some of the features that stand out to me on the basic plan:
- Single page checkout
- Saved carts
- Social wish lists
- Mailchimp integration
- Mobile store
- Facebook store
- Dropshipping support
You can pick and choose which features you want to use on your online store as everything outside of the basic shopping cart features come in the form of modules. These work very similar to apps as they are simple one click activation’s.
Many of the features are already enabled on your site when you sign up but you can easily remove them by simply un-checking the box and clicking save.
On the larger plans, you are able to build your own affiliate network, ebay and amazon integrations, Facebook pixel and many different marketing options, there really aren’t many types of stores that you won’t be able to build with 3dcart.
3dcart offers a really good selection of 48 free, mobile responsive themes.
If none of the free themes do it for you, then you can always opt for one of the 43 premium themes, that range from $149 to $199.99. I didn’t see any options for having a custom theme built though.
3dcart have one of the largest offerings when it comes the amount of payment gateways that they offer with over 100 to choose from. This looks great but for UK businesses, there is a much smaller selection but all of the big names are there.
Including PayPal (inc Pro & Express Checkout), Stripe, Klarna, Skrill, Sagepay, Worldpay and Klarna. They are also one of the only ecommerce platforms that allows you to take payment in the form of Bitcoin with Bitpay. A nice little addition there.
Do 3dcart charge transaction fees?
No, the 3dcart platform does not charge any transaction fees, regardless of which plan you are on.
3dcart offer some really good support options to all of their customers. One thing that I did like was that you get a welcome call from one of the support team, who will take you through the basics of setting up your store and also answer any questions that you may have.
With every plan you get access to 24/7 support via their ticketing and live chat systems, you also get phone support if you are on any plan other than the basic one.
Outside of actually contacting their support team, they do have a comprehensive knowledgebase that is full of really good documentation. They also have a community forum, which is always a great place to get answers or just seek knowledge from other users.
3dcart Web Hosting and Performance
As 3dcart are a fully fledged ecommerce platform, you do expect them to offer some very robust hosting. While not immediately obvious, they do have a page on their site listing what they offer from their hosting and here are the best take aways:
- PCI Compliant Hosting
- 99.94% Uptime
- 24/7 Server Monitoring
- Cloudfare CDN
- Free SSL Certificate
- Unlimited Disk Space
This all looks great on paper but I like to check how their sites perform in the real world and to do this I put them through my tried and tested method. I took three of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s speed test tool, once a day for three days and you can see the results below.
With an average load time across the three sites of 1.52 seconds, it puts them just slightly ahead of Shopify, who are their main competition and just behind EKM and ShopWired. With two sites coming in under the golden 2 second mark and one just slightly over, this shows really good performance from the 3dcart hosting set up.
How Easy is 3dcart to Use?
Offering an great selection of features will only get you so far with me as it means nothing if the platform isn’t easy to use. That is why, when I test a platform, I also see how easy it is to use and I look at 5 main areas:
- Getting Started
- Navigating the Dashboard
- Customising your theme
- Adding and Managing Products
- Managing Orders
The sign up process is really easy with 3dcart, all you need to do is enter your name, email address and a contact telephone number. You will then be sent an email with a link to your dashboard and your username and password.
When you first log in to your dashboard, you will be greeted by a very well laid out homepage consisting of a short welcome video, which while very nice, doesn’t provide much information and short set up guide to help you get started with the platform.
There are also links to the documentation so that you can learn more about certain modules that can help you increase the amount of sales you get on your site.
Navigating the Dashboard
3dcart have opted for a sidebar navigation within their dashboard and it is pretty easy to navigate around your admin area.
The sections are well laid out and with every section bar modules, you get a drop down selection of sub-sections that are also well labelled.
The only thing that got me with the 3dcart dashboard is that all of the design controls don’t get their own main section. Instead they are a sub-section of settings, this is a little bit odd to me as it is not immediately clear where you need to go to start customising your theme.
Customising Your Theme
Customising your theme is an important aspect of building an ecommerce store as you want the look of it to really fit your brand and business. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this the easiest thing to do with 3dcart and in an unusual step for me, I asked one of the 3dcart team to go through the process with me.
Yes, there are quite a few customisation options that you can make to your chosen theme but in the main customiser, you are limited to just changing the theme, button and font colours, along with some font sizes.
You can also edit some of the content on your pages using the content editor tool, along with being able to change the images using the carousel manager.
I was a big disappointed that there was no control over the layout and display of your pages as you basically have to choose a theme that fits what you want, then change the little things to make it fit your brand.
While not the worst system I have used, the lack of control over the look and layout of the themes did let this down for me. Some sort of drag and drop builder would be a good addition and would make it more user friendly for people new to building a website.
Adding and Managing Products
Fortunately things do get better when it comes to adding and managing products. The add product page is a well laid out single page, with all the sections you would expect on an add product page such as pricing, title, shipping, description and images.
Adding a new category is even easier, on the category page, clicking add new brings up a small pop up where you add a name and whether it is a parent or sub category. It is probably the easiest add category system I have used.
Once have added a new category, you can then edit it on the category management page and this brings up all options such as SEO, any page content you want to add and how to display your products.
Managing your inventory is pretty easy and can be done directly in the product overview page by selection Inventory from the more options drop down menu in the top right hand corner. There is also a price editor in the drop down menu as well.
The one thing that I did note is that you get far more options when you are editing a product or category than you do when adding them in the first place. I would have preferred to have all these options available when I first create the product/category, rather than having to go in and edit it afterwards.
Order management with 3dcart is pretty straight forward and you can do all of the important stuff directly in the dashboard.
You can print invoices and packing slips using the drop down menu at the bottom of the page and also update order statuses in bulk.
You can also do this individually if you wish and also add comments to orders, if there are any special requirements. If you use any third party software, you can export your information via CSV format and one thing I did really like is that you can import tracking numbers in bulk, which can save you a lot of time.
So is 3dcart a good choice for UK Businesses?
While it is a competent ecommerce platform, the learning curve is a bit steeper than the majority of the platforms that are available and the lack of theme customisation options don’t help it either.
For UK businesses there are better options out there and I would recommend both EKM and ShopWired over 3dcart as they are both easier to use, offer a great selection of features, are better set up for UK businesses due to being based here in the UK and both offer excellent support for their users.
What I like:
- The amount of features available
- 24/7 support
- Theme selection
- Payment gateway selection
What I don’t like:
- Theme customisation
- Steeper learning curve than most platforms
- Design not being a main section on the dashboard