You're probably reading this because you're in the process of selecting a suitable platform for starting or migrating an ecommerce store and weighing your options.
There are a variety of ecommerce tools out there that can help you to build the store that’s right for you. Shopify and 3DCart are just two examples of these tools, offering simple and affordable solutions for would-be entrepreneurs.
Shopify stands out as perhaps the most popular ecommerce platform on the market so far, offering incredible customer support tools, endless scalability with third-party apps, and amazing themes for your site too. Alternatively, 3DCart stands out as a slightly less popular, but still reliable service.
With 3DCart, you get a really strong inventory system, plenty of handy sales features, and you don’t have to spend a fortune either. However, some people find 3DCart less simple than Shopify.
3DCart vs Shopify: Background Info
Let’s start with a little insight into where both of these tools come from, and the kind of benefits that they can offer. Shopify and 3DCarter are two examples of ecommerce software, designed to help you build your online store.
Shopify started life in 2006, and has a headquarters in Ottawa, which is in Canada. Currently, Shopify is one of the most powerful companies in the world, particularly in the tech and online sales environment. They power hundreds of thousands of retailers around the world and have numerous partnerships with other leading companies.
3DCart actually goes back quite a bit further than Shopify, starting life in 1997. This privately-held solution for ecommerce gives businesses of all sizes from a variety of industries the tools they need to build websites and sell products online.
Unlike other ecommerce platforms, 3DCart tends to stand out because it focuses on search oriented selling and helping people in your industry find your store. You’ll find a lot more tools for SEO and blogging on 3DCart than you can get out of the box from Shopify.
3DCart vs Shopify: Basic Features
Basic online store functionality – as matured ecommerce platforms, both Shopify and 3dcart offer satisfactory basic functionalities for running an estore. Shopify, however, is popularly perceived to be at least a slightly better of the two platforms, a view that is generally shared by the author of this review.
Inventory management – Both tools can offer support for your inventory management needs, so it’s easier to track the stock you need to grow.
Calculation of shipping charges – this happens to be one of the basic features of an ecommerce platform and both Shopify and 3dcart handle this quite efficiently.
Provision for coupons and discount codes – Shopify is at a slight disadvantage here, as it does not allow this on the starter plan but only on the higher ones. 3dcart allows creation and calculation of discount/promo codes on all the plans.
Payment gateway options – this happens to be one more area where 3dcart out-performs Shopify, with support for as many as 100 payment gateways and methods as compared to 70 offered by Shopify.
Themes and Templates – Shopify comes out as the clear winner here, with hundreds of (free and paid/premium) themes available directly via their theme store as well as many third-party sites, while 3dcart offers only about thirty free themes. Shopify premium themes also start cheaper at $80 while 3dcart premium themes are $99 and higher.
Apps and Add-ons – the two platforms are tied here, both with an availability of over 100 apps and add-ons directly as well as via third-parties underpaid and free models, to allow you to add various types of special/custom features and functionalities to your online storefronts.
Multi-lingual capabilities – no site-wide multi-lingual capabilities are offered by either platform. However, Shopify offers this to a limited extent by way of multi-lingual support on the checkout pages while 3dcart offers limited support for languages that are based on the Cyrillic script. With both platforms, for closer implementation of multi-lingual capabilities, you have to resort to either hand-coding or third-party tools/support.
SEO capabilities – both Shopify and 3dcart offer high levels of SEO capabilities to help your store receive good volumes of organic traffic via search engines. However, an important point that should be noted here is that the SEO capabilities offered by Shopify are not only quantifiably better than those of 3dcart but also are the highest amongst all currently available ecommerce platforms, as demonstrated in great detail in this article.
Customization capabilities – both platforms offer a user-friendly, easy mode with which you can customize the basic elements (like colors, fonts etc.) of your online store as well as an advanced level interface with capabilities that allow you to fully customize the look and feel of your store via HTML/CSS code. While the basic model would generally suffice for most cases with basic to mid-level requirements, the advanced mode can cater to projects requiring greater levels of customization.
Blogging functionality – both Shopify and 3dcart offer integrated blogging functionality – a very useful feature for ecommerce stores today. As discerning web marketers, SEOs and ecommerce store owners have known for long, publishing a blog on your online store is one highly valuable and beneficial method of attracting, engaging and retaining customers with the end result of boosting sales. A blog also allows you to tell stories to facilitate (soft) sell – something that is emerging as a major ecommerce trend, as discussed in my post: 10 Eye-Opening ecommerce Trends for 2015.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Pricing
Let’s get down to brass tacks. We all have budgets we need to consider when it comes to making decisions about expenses like online shopping. Pricing is often the number one factor for any purchase, and that’s understandable in this landscape.
Shopify is often regarded as one of the more affordable tools for online selling. The cheapest way to get started is to simply add a “buy button” to your existing website or social media page with the Shopify Lite plan for only $9 per month. However, you don’t get any extra functionality with this.
If you need to build your own online store, then you’ll need to spend around $29 per month for the Basic package. The basic package comes with 2 staff accounts, 24/7 support, up to 4 locations, unlimited products, and discount codes and manual order creation.
If you choose to upgrade to Shopify, for $29 per month, you get all of the features of Basic, plus up to 5 staff accounts, and up to 5 locations, along with professional reports. Advanced Shopify for $299 comes with a host of extra staff accounts, third-party calculation for shipping rates, and more.
All of the Shopify packages come with Shopify POS Lite for offline selling, or you can upgrade to POS Pro for $89 per month. Notably, the more you spend on your Shopify package, the less you’ll spend in transaction fees, unless you’re using Shopify Payments, which remove the transaction fee entirely.
Shopify also has an Enterprise service called Shopify Plus which you can get with a dedicated quote for your specific business. All of the packages available come with a 14 day free trial.
3DCart is also very affordable for beginners. You can spend $19 per month on your startup store, for unlimited products, no transaction fees, and one staff user. Or the other packages include:
- Basic: $29 per month for 2 staff users, and the features of startup
- Plus: $79 per month for 5 staff users and features of Basic
- Power: $129 per month for 10 staff users and features of Plus
- Pro: $229 per month for 15 users and features of Power
If you want to stock and sell products in a highly scalable store environment, we recommend using at least the Basic store. You don’t have to pay any transaction fees with 3DCart, and there’s a free trial to get you started. All of the packages also come with unlimited bandwidth, a Facebook store, 100+ payment providers, API access, a built-in blog, and secure web hosting.
Every plan will also include domain registration, a shopping cart, 24×7 tech support, unlimited orders, and over 50 mobile ready themes. Overall, 3DCart is less expensive than Shopify on average, but Shopify might be worth the additional expense.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Ease of Use
Ecommerce platforms are tools to help you sell online and make a name for your company. However, some platforms are certainly more user-friendly than others. For most people, Shopify is likely to offer a slightly simpler experience than 3DCart.
3DCart benefits from a fantastic set of tools for things like inventory management and blogging but learning how to use everything can be confusing. The 3DCart experience feels cluttered and less intuitive in places. Many customer reviews note that it’s too difficult to get used to all the different components in the back-end.
Additionally, if you want to access extra customization options with 3DCart, you might need to tap into the API, which requires some developer knowledge. There are some benefits to the builder, with all core themes using responsive design and Google AMP as standard. You also get optimized code to ensure that all the important elements of your page load first.
Another bonus of 3DCart is that it follows the design conventions preferred by Google, increasing your chances of a higher ranking in the search results.
However, things like the core theme editor require a knowledge of CSS and HTML, which not everyone will have. The 3DCart experience is getting easier over the years, but it still has a way to go before it’s as user-friendly as Shopify.
Shopify is definitely one of the more attractive products on the market for user functionality. Shopify comes with a clear and easy-to-understand back-end. Plus, adding extra functionality through apps is as simple as just pressing a button on the app marketplace.
Shopify comes with an undo button so you can easily get rid of design mistakes, and there are a ton of keyboard shortcuts available to help you find what you need. While Shopify has a lot of features, which means that there’s a lot to learn before you’re ready to start growing online, there’s nothing that’s terribly confusing about using this service.
Everything is responsive and intuitive, and editing your themes is extremely easy too. You even get special theme features based on the industry that you choose your website for. However, it’s worth noting that if you ever want to change your theme, you will have to redo your entire website.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Selling
Sales features are on obviously critical aspect of choosing between two products like Shopify and 3DCart. While 3DCart is tough to navigate, it has some strong sales features, with space for unlimited products, and integrations with various shipping companies too.
Unlike other platforms you might consider for your ecommerce solution, 3DCart goes beyond taking credit card payments and offering shopping cart functionality. The tool also offers SEO functionality so you can rank better on the web and attract new customers to your startup. There’s even prompts available to help you take full advantage.
Still, despite it’s benefits, Shopify still outranks 3Dcart for sales features. There are virtually no limits for sales on Shopify, with the option to integrate with dozens of payment processes, and options to enhance your site however you choose. There’s a comprehensive app store, and you can link your ecommerce solution with tools like Amazon and social media platforms.
Shopify can help out with everything from tax calculation to shipping rates. If you’re looking for a tool that has it all straight out of the box, Shopify could be it.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Designs
For any store, offline or online, to thrive in the current marketplace, it needs to be attractive and appealing to your target audience. If your store doesn’t look adequately clean and professional, then you’re not going to get the right results. 3DCart offers 91 free templates, and a host of premium options too, which vary in price.
Just as the cost of your templates can vary, the quality does too. Many of these solutions are excellent, with professional components throughout. However, some lack basic features like navigation menus that scroll at the same time as you. There’s no mobile editing platform either.
Shopify is slightly less comprehensive than 3DCart on a customization and design level, with only a handful of free and paid themes to choose from, but they’re generally all great quality. It’s also worth noting that Shopify equips each template with different features depending on the industry that you work in. Where Shopify really stands out is with it’s fantastic mobile app.
With Shopify, you can edit your site on the move as much as you like, although you can’t change from one theme to another very easily. Before you choose your site design with Shopify, make sure that you’re 100% happy, as you may not be able to change your mind later.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Customer Support
With so many features to consider on your standard ecommerce platform, it’s easy to overlook some of the additional issues that you need to be aware of. For instance, having good levels of customer support is crucial for any ecommerce platform. If you have the right customer service, you can fix issues easily and quickly, minimizing any amount of money that might go missing.
Shopify has a comprehensive solution for customer service which includes live chat support, 24/7 phone and live chat support, a bespoke center dedicated to knowledge management, and even dedicated agent support if you opt for a slightly more expensive plan.
3DCart delivers amazing support end-to-end too, although you might find that you won’t always get a quick response with the live chat functionality. You can’t reach the company via email, either, which might be a problem for some. This means that Shopify is a little more comprehensive with the kind of customer care it can offer.
If you’re concerned, think about reaching out to both companies separately and finding out whether you can get a quick response from both of them. Your customer service team should be able to respond pretty quickly, even if you’re just asking about pricing packages.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Integrations and Extensions
Although both Shopify and 3DCart both offer plenty of functionality out of the box, they also give customers opportunities to extend the feature set with extensions and integrations. Shopify’s app store is home to 500 different app extensions to choose from, developed by third-parties and in-house teams. You can access tools for gift cards, SEO, email marketing, CRM management, and real-time shipping tracking, among other things.
3DCart offers plenty of ways to adjust the performance of your ecommerce website through something called API2Cart. This solution provides a unified API experience so you can integrate with numerous shopping carts without a problem. There are dozens of shopping cart options and marketplace integrations to choose from, and there’s no need for separate integrations.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Payment Processing and POS
Both Shopify and 3DCart aim to ensure that you can build a flexible business anywhere, including both online, and offline. Since flexibility is crucial in business, every Shopify pricing plan and 3D cart solution comes with a range of ways to take payments. With 3DCart, you have the freedom to integrate with over 100 different payment providers in a range of countries.
There are specialized payment processing services, local currency support, and so much more. There are no additional integration or transaction fees to worry about when you choose a payment method with 3dcart. Additionally, you rest assured that your site and it’s checkout features come with PCI compliance built in.
A PCI certified website builder ensures that business owners don’t have to worry about security issues when they’re accepting credit card and debit card payments.
Shopify is also extremely flexible when it comes to payment management. As the market leader for advanced features in the ecommerce world, even the basic Shopify experience gives you plenty of great features, from cart recovery to dropshipping.
You can use a range of payment providers with Shopify, but there are transaction fees to consider with all of them. The only solution that doesn’t have additional fees is Shopify Payments, which is the internal payment processing system from Shopify.
Shopify Payments gives you plenty of freedom to take payments the way you choose, despite the extra expenses. Additionally, because there’s an extensive app marketplace where you can access extra functionality, there are very few limitations.
It isn’t just online payment processing that’s a consideration here either. Shopify and 3DCart also allow you to take and manage payments offline too. Barcode scanners, receipt printers, and label printers are all available to use with Shopify as standard. The company sell its own hardware solutions to help you get active in the offline world almost immediately.
One thing to be aware of with Shopify POS is that you’ll need to access Shopify POS Pro to get the most out of this system. This is quite an expensive extra function which is available for $89 per month. If you want to access POS functionality with 3DCart, the process is pretty simple too.
3DCart integrates with a variety of POS solutions out of the box, so you can simply sync your offline and online selling strategies regardless of which hardware you might be using. Like Shopify, 3DCart goes above and beyond to ensure that companies can access all the advanced features they need to run a successful business in one place. Whether you’re buying a domain name and building a store from scratch, integrating with eBay or Amazon, or selling offline, both tools have got you covered.
You can check out the 3DCart knowledge base for extra guidance if you’re concerned about anything to do with selling offline. There’s documentation available to guide you through everything from payment options, to order management, and FedEx shipping.
Shopify vs 3DCart: Verdict
It’s safe to say that both Shopify and 3DCart have plenty to offer business owners in exchange for their monthly fee. You’re not going to miss out on any functionality with both of these tools. With various payment processor options to choose from, in-depth order management functionality, endless plugins, and more, both solutions are very appealing.
Shopify stands out as the ultimate top rated solution for website building. It even integrates with Stripe, PayPal, QuickBooks and a range of tools to help you stand out on the search engines. A Shopify store is a great choice if you’re looking for a secure site with a secure SSL certificate, plenty of features, and the potential to scale quickly.
The huge range of features from Shopify, including multiple sales channel options and abandoned cart recovery features really help the solution to stand out. There’s even a great support team to help you with everything from building your site, to shipping through USPS.
For ease of use, Shopify easily outperforms 3DCart, because it has more comprehensive support, an easier back end environment, and better designed themes. Though 3DCart definitely has a lot of great functionality, it struggles to keep up with some of the little extras that Shopify offers as standard.
3DCart can give you SEO tools, integrations, and ecommerce solutions for easy selling, but similar to other services, like BigCommerce and Magento, it doesn’t offer the same simplicity. There are some techy parts to figure out.
To get started with a free Shopify trial, click here.
For starting a free 3dcart trial, click here.