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.
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 – while 3dcart's starter plan ($19.99/mo.) is priced a bit higher than that of Shopify ($9/mo.), 3dcart allows you to sell up to 200 products on this plan while Shopify restricts this number to 25. All higher-priced Shopify plans allow an unlimited number of products while 3dcart has a tired structure, with unlimited products allowed on their top two plans.
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 200 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.
In terms of responsive themes (themes that work well on any access device and screen) too, Shopify has an edge, with a large number of themes offered, while 3dcart offers a very limited number of such themes.
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 under paid 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 colours, 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 mode 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.
Ease of use:
As I mentioned near the beginning of this article, Shopify and 3dcart are both quite easy to use yet powerful ecommerce platforms.
Setup fees – neither Shopify nor 3dcart charge any setup fees and actually, both offer free trials – Shopify for 14 days and 3dcart for 15, so as to allow you to take their ecommerce platforms for a test drive for yourself.
Monthly fees – Shopify offers four different plans with monthly fees ranging from $9 to $299 as follows:
- Lite Plan : $ 9
- Basic Plan : $ 29
- Professional Plan : $79
- Advanced Plan : $299
Start a free Shopify trial by clicking here.
3dcart offers five plans, with monthly fees ranging from $19.99 to $129.99, as listed below:
- Mini Plan : $19.99
- Starter Plan : $35.99
- Professional Plan : $65.99
- Professional Plus Plan : $99.99
- Power Plan : $129.99
Start a free 3dcart trial by clicking here.
Bandwidth charges – none of the platforms charges any bandwidth usage fees on any of their plans.
Transaction fees – 3dcart charges no transaction fees on any of their plans (the standard transaction fees of the gateway you choose would apply, though.). Nor does Shopify, if you use their own payment gateway. If you use any of the third-party gateways, Shopify's transaction fee structure is as follows:
Lite Plan ($9/mo.) : 2%
Basic Plan ($29/mo.) : 2%
Advanced Plan ($79/mo.) : 1%
Unlimited Plan ($299/mo.) : 0.5%
Theme/Template prices – both platform offer a good number of free as well as paid themes, with premium theme prices starting from $80 at Shopify and $99 at 3dcart.
Though Shopify and 3dcart are both quite robust and powerful ecommerce platforms, Shopify offers greater ease of use and superior SEO capabilities, as discussed above. 3dcart‘s superiority in terms of offering 200 payment gateways can't be denied, so maybe if you plan to open a bigger store check it out.
The availability of a (much) larger number of free and responsive themes at Shopify is another factor that tips the balance in favour of Shopify. All in all, after weighing the pros and cons of both platforms, Shopify would come out the winner, but would encourage you to start a trial for both if you’re not sure.
To get started with a free Shopify trial, click here.
For starting a free 3dcart trial, click here.