Good, but there is better out there.
3dcart is an ecommerce website builder offering lots of in-built features, but little creative control. Compared to other platforms, it’s difficult to use. But it does have way more payment options. So is it for you? Read our 3dcart review now to find out…
| 1. Useful features like SEO prompt |
2. Able to change themes anytime
3. Free plan for US-based users
| 1. More complicated than it's worth |
2. No mobile app for selling on the go
3. Unless you qualify for the free plan, it's relatively expensive
3dcart is an ecommerce website builder, founded in 1997 by Gonzalo Gill. Today, it’s used by over 17,000 people selling everything from superfoods to supercar parts. In terms of features, it has many, and it does well on the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) front.
So, as a business owner, you’re probably busy shopping around for the best ecommerce website builder for your online store. In a nutshell, 3dcart has:
- 200+ built-in features
- A wide range of free templates
- Over 100 supported payment gateways
Now for the big question: is 3dcart right for your online store? Well, we put it to the test – literally. After designing an ‘ease of use’ exercise, we invited people to build an online store with 3dcart.
In this testing we explored all the key areas: features, design, help and support, and value for money. It was then compared to its competitors for a fair reflection on where it sits in the market.
After the testing, they completed a scoring sheet and we interviewed them. This allowed us to find the most accurate and bias-free results. And those results are in…
Read about our testing methods here.
Easing you in with a 15 day Free Trial, 3dcart doesn’t pressure you for payments. And after signing up, you receive a welcome email with the important bits like your site’s URL, a trial login and password.
3dcart’s dashboard is clean and simple with a handy introductory tutorial video centre stage. The navigation menu is clearly listed with ten options. Overall, the layout is fine.
So what did our users say? During our testing, most people found 3dcart very difficult to use. Despite enjoying the visual aids and video tutorials, they disliked the inconsistent typography and color scheme.
The lack of an ‘undo’ button or keyboard shortcuts also appeared to hinder the majority of their building experience.
One user said:
“It does the job but not very streamlined. It feels like a little bit all over the place”.
This is a fair summary of 3dcart. It’s ok, but there are better options out there. It’s nothing to write home about.
On a more positive note, however, many people found adding products really easy. They also enjoyed the help and support function, with one person saying:
“I really liked the live chat, I felt at home with this feature, they were constantly on my case saying we are here should you need us.”
How about the navigation menu? Each option offers a drop down explanation of the next step. So when you click ‘Products’, you can jump straight to ‘Categories’, ‘Reviews’, ‘Images’ and more.
However, the transitions are not smooth, and it does get complicated. Unlike most ecommerce website builders, you cannot duplicate product categories. This means an unnecessary amount of clicks, spending time and not making money. It’s tiring.
Also, despite offering a buy one get on free promotional feature, they make it hard to implement. You have to fill multiple fields across multiple pages. This is even more time spent clicking and thinking.
You should see by now that finding your way around 3dcart isn’t so simple. Our testers found it really difficult to use, especially when compared to its peers like Wix, Shopify and GoDaddy.
So what do people actually think about 3dcart? Well, it was the least likely to be recommended out of all the website builders we tested.
Why? 3dcart is just too complicated to use. And here’s what a user had to say about it:
“It was even difficult trying to work out how to build separate pages.”
Now, building separate pages should be one of the easiest functions for a website builder. But not with 3dcart. Overall, the pros didn’t outweigh the cons for our users.
It is with features that 3dcart proves its worth. Even at the cheapest price plan, there are plenty of decent tools to play with. Also, it has a powerful API (Application Programming Interface).
Having partnered with Zapier, the easiest automated tool for connecting apps, 3dcart gives you access to over 1000 applications to streamline your business. These include Xero, Zendesk, Hubspot, and Infusionsoft and loads more.
So let’s take a look at what else this website builder has inside its cart.
Payment, Shipping and Transactions
This is where 3dcart does well. It offers over 100 payment options – more than any ecommerce builder on the market. Better yet, they have integrated the payment methods into your store, so you don’t need to code a thing.
Shipping costs are customizable within the product inventory page. As are the actual methods – you can go with providers such as UPS, Fedex, DHL and more.
On top of that, 3dcart offers a number of app integrations including Address Verification and ShippingEasy. These make the whole process easier by removing the added stress of PayPal payments. So, 3dcart delivers here.
Within every 3dcart price plan, there are no transaction fees. They are committed to every user’s success, and therefore don’t penalize customers for growing their business. However, as usual, credit card charges will be made as per the payment gateway.
3dcart’s SEO prompts are useful and original. What they do, unlike any other builder, is make SEO functions visible throughout the site, like when adding products. Moreover, pop-ups will remind you to fill in some SEO stuff to make your page rank higher on search engines.
Overall, they have made a tricky topic easily manageable.
Most customers are on the move these days. But 3dcart does not offer any mobile apps. So, much like the security brakes, your shopping cart stops in its tracks as soon as you leave the store.
Read our Weebly ecommerce review here.
A recent study found that the Average Cart Abandonment Rate Across All Industries is 69.57% – bad news for ecommerce stores. But don’t worry, 3dcart knows this. Their abandoned cart notifications allow you to email customers who didn’t finish their purchase (but left an email address!)
All in all, 3dcart has some decent features. Especially with their Zapier integration letting you personalize your online store with 1000+ apps.
3dcart offers 110 free templates – the most of any ecommerce platform. And they cover every industry, apart from DIY. So, if you need to create a template for your tools, you’ll really need to do it yourself.
A selling point is that you can change templates and it will reformat your content automatically. Something you can’t even do on Wix.
How do they look? Most themes are sleek and designed on-brand. But in some cases there are design issues, such as navigation menus not scrolling down with you.
You also need to be careful when selecting a theme, because they all support different features. Some offer a quick view, while some remove product reviews.
So, getting creative without apps is hard with 3dcart. This goes for all ecommerce builders. They excel on the management tools, sacrificing creative capabilities. On the other hand, the all round builders, such as Wix and Weebly, offer much more flexibility, with Squarespace being the frontrunner for design.
Read our Wix ecommerce review here.
24/7 support is available 365 days a year. Based in the USA, the customer support team can be reached via phone, email, or live chat. Phone is the quickest solution solver, with the live chat vulnerable to hour-long response waiting times. Also, despite the 24-hour promise, it sometimes appears they are not available at certain times.
Don’t have time to phone? Submitting a web ticket is quick and easy. You can also reach them on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Within the site itself lie some key nuggets of information, however these can be hard to dig up. The question mark help button is tricky to locate. Hint: check the bottom left corner.
- Basic Store ($29 p/m
- Plus Store ($79 p/m)
- Pro Store ($229 p/m)
- End-to-End Ecommerce ($0.00 for US users)
If you’re based in the US, the good news is that you can build your 3dcart store without spending a single cent. The only catch is that you need to use their credit card processing to qualify. If you operate outside of the US or don’t fancy using their payment option, you’ll need to pick a paid plan.
This is pretty good news in terms of value for money, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you want advanced functionality, you’re going to need to spend extra for additional apps. This will increase your monthly outgoing, so it might not be as cheap as you initially think.
Whether you qualify for the free option or not, all 3dcart plans include generous features. You’ll get no transaction fees, a Facebook Store, and unlimited orders with all of them.
Even with the additional apps thrown into the mix, 3dcart is, on average, cheaper than Shopify and BigCommerce. So it’s a good option for those who want some powerful management tools and a lower cost. Ideal for small, yet ambitious online stores.
Looking to branch out from 3dcart? Read our BigCommerce Review.
Heads up!If you don’t qualify for the free plan, you can save 10% off the cost of your online store when you commit to a year in advance.
So what do we think? 3dcart is certainly a popular choice (just look at the membership numbers). And it’s certainly not a bad product, if you know your way around a keyboard. But it is rated our ‘least likely to recommend’ website builder for a reason: it’s hard to use.
One user summarised the customization frustration with:
“Godaddy does it so much better, the balance between ecommerce functionality with the creative control was a lot better than 3dcart.”
On the other hand, you should consider 3dcart for its affordable Startup Store price plan and the ability to customize with 1000+ apps. And sure, it’s not for everyone, but if you need a powerful platform and don’t mind getting involved with some techy bits, you could do a lot worse.
You can also rest easy knowing that 3dcart is fully VISA PCI certified, so you won’t have to worry about whether your store meets the required standards – 3dcart does it all for you.