For a burgeoning online retailing operation there are several core building blocks with which to make your business a success.
A competent web hosting service is critical as is a reliable payment processing gateway, but even more core than those is your ecommerce shopping cart platform.
With that focus in mind, 3dcart does a very solid job providing e-tailing startups and fast growing operations the features they need to move forward, especially around mobile customers.
While its feature set isn't quite as deep as that of our Editors' Choice winners, PinnacleCart and Shopify, it's well worth consideration.
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Like Pinnacle Cart and Shopify, 3dcart offers a free trial to give sellers the opportunity to actually set up a store and test transactions before committing to the platform.
Except 3dcart gives you an extra day to make up your mind, as the trial is for 15 days—both our Editors' Choices for shopping cart tools offer 14 days.
As I mentioned earlier, 3dcart doesn't charge for registering a domain.
This is a good deal if you don't already have a website—but keep in mind that if you ever leave 3dcart, then you lose the domain, too.
3dcart offers four pricing tiers, starting with a $29 per month plan that can be accessed by two different administrators.
This plan, and all 3dcart plans, offer unlimited products, no transaction fees, 24/7 support, unlimited bandwidth, a Facebook store, a built-in blog, product reviews, phone orders, appplication programming interface (API) access, point-of-sale (POS) support, and more.
With the $79.99 per month Plus package, you'll be given five administrator seats, access to a lead generation tool, customer groups, abandoned cart savers, email marketing, and daily deals, among other features.
The $229-per-month Pro plan gives you 15 staff subscriptions, email auto-responders, gift registries, loyalty programs, recurring orders, pre-orders, and priority support.
3dcart also offers an Enterprise-level plan that has customized pricing.
Enterprise users will gain access to a technical account manager and custom programming.
If you decide you don't like 3dcart, then you can cancel your account at any time.
3dcart also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is unusual among shopping cart services.
Setting Up a 3dcart Store
I started with a trial plan.
Signing up was extremely easy.
I entered my name, email address, and phone number.
A button took me straight into the dashboard and the system sent me an email with my account details and links to helpful tutorials.
The dashboard is where you do all of the work.
It shows all of the information about existing orders, product inventory, and customers.
When I came into the dashboard for the first time, the site launched a window that offered a nine-step wizard to help me select a template, add products, and define payment options before launching the store.
I could also just dig deeper through each menu, for Orders, Customers, Products, Reports, and Marketing.
The wizard walks you through setting up your company information, and it also lets you customize invoices, including the logo that appears on the invoices, the numbering system, and invoice terms.
You can choose from among 50 free templates or buy one of the premium ones.
3dcart provides WYSIWYG editors to make it easy to edit the CSS and HTML to customize the templates the way you want them.
The drag-and-drop editor simplifies the process of building the pages.
The site editor isn't just about putting together the site elements.
You can also add products, pages, categories, and even blog posts while using the editor.
Unlike Pinnacle Cart, if you step out of the wizard in 3dcart, then you can't easily return to the spot you were in.
The main work area on the dashboard displays a six-step map to help you stay on track.
Considering the wizard has nine steps and this map has only six, I spent lot of time trying to figure out the discrepancy.
If you wanted to add a product, then you have several options.
You can import a file containing your product database or add each product individually.
As with Pinnacle Cart, you can organize your product database to show digital as well as physical goods.
I had the choice of using an existing domain or registering a domain through 3dcart and letting the company act as my domain registrar.
I used an existing domain for this review.
I found the video tutorials helpful when it came to configuring the DNS records on my own domain.
3dcart supports add-on tools, such as tax calculators and marketing tools, and it also integrates with accounting software Intuit QuickBooks, fulfillment system Shipwire, email marketing service Constant Contact ($20.00 Per Month at Constant Contact) , live chat software Olark, and affiliate-marketing tool ShareASale.
3dcart also lets you link to a Facebook page from which customers can directly purchase items and share your products.
You manage Facebook sales through your dashboard.
Customer Experience and Dashboard
Sellers need to pay attention to the actual shopping experience.
You may be selling the best jar of pickles on the East Coast but, if the customer can't find the pickles on your site or can't easily give you money, then that buyer is going elsewhere.
I found my 3dcart storefront easy for the buyer to use, from selecting a product to using the shopping cart to checking out.
On the seller's side, 3dcart's dashboard displays the transactions in a logical format, making them easy to track.
Back orders are possible with 3dcart, too.
Like most other shopping cart tools, 3dcart can also manage your inventory, keeping track of how many things you have left before something goes out of stock.
You can always see daily sales totals, new orders that have come in, new orders to you need to fulfill, and statistics on monthly sales.
Considering the plans vary by site visits and products sold, you need to regularly check your Reports page to track your usage.
3dcart integrates with 100 other payment gateways, such as Authorize.net, BitPay, Dwolla, and PayPal.
By default, the platform offers PayPal and Stripe.
Like Pinnacle Cart, 3dcart does not charge any transaction fees.
For this review, I set up PayPal Express Checkout.
Remember that PayPal sets its own credit card transaction fees.
3dcart also supports Visa Checkout, MasterPass, Pay with Amazon, Google Pay and ApplePay.
Since we initially reviewed 3dcart in 2015, the company has added robust search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities.
The feature is designed to load pages quickly, develop custom URLs for all product pages, and make sure that all pages created within 3dcart follow Google's PageSpeed best practices.
3dcart offers an extensive collection of video tutorials, which are clear, easy to follow, and readily accessible.
3dcart offers 24/7 phone support, and live chat that is fast and incredibly helpful.
A Nice Mix of Advanced Features
When compared to other shopping cart software such as Shopify or Pinnacle Cart, 3dcart doesn't have the shiniest shopping cart, but it offers a lot of reporting tools and built-in features such as gift certificates, live chat software, and the option of bundling multiple products together.
These features would typically be considered add-ons for other platforms or would require buying into higher tiers.
While we consider the Editors' Choice tools to be more robust and more user-friendly, 3dcart is among the best in its class, and its price point demands that you at least give it some consideration.
The Bottom Line
While 3dcart doesn't pack quite the punch of our Editors' Choices, but it still provides plenty of oomph, especially if you're looking to get your online store off the ground quickly with an eye towards mobile customers.