Shopify vs. 3dcart  – Ecommerce Platform Comparison

Shopify vs. 3dcart  

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.

Shopify and 3dcart are two of the popular ecommerce platforms offering a variety of features for creating, operating and managing an online store. My comparison of these two platforms follows.

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 –  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 TemplatesShopify 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 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.

Try-Shopify

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.

Costs:

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

3dCart Shopping Plans

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 platforms offer a good number of free as well as paid themes, with premium theme prices starting from $80 at Shopify and $99 at 3dcart.

Conclusion:

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 favor 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.

 

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.

7 Responses

  1. Thank you for the review. However, you are incorrect on “No Bandwidth Charges”. I’ve received an extra $10-15 charge using the Basic Plan for 3dCart when my bandwidth exceeded 2G.

    They were not upfront about this information either. I suggest you investigate and correct your article.

  2. I recently reported a fake shopfront (i.e. 419 advance fee scammers) operating on 3DCART to the 3DCART support team. Do you know what their response was? They told me that I have the right to choose to avoid purchasing from that specific vendor.

    This is an absolutely pathetic reply. My report was backed up with evidence, including a database entry at aa419.org. My advice to 3DCART customers is to be very careful when making purchases on 3DCART, because these people are obviously indifferent to criminals using their services. When complaints eventually emerge about fraudulent sites on 3DCART, I will publish 3DCART’s damning emails to me about the report mentioned above.

    Get serious about fraud on your site, 3DCART. Protect your customers or suffer the consequences.

  3. Very helpful article. Thank you for providing the breakdown. It can become overwhelming to dive into eCommerce as a newbie. When you are a startup on a small scale there is a natural tendency to go for best pricing and do with the minimum in the beginning without researching and comparing other seller’s experiences in the long run.

  4. I get poor service so consistently when I call in for help, I have decided to send 3dcart an email every time, and to make my experiences more public on social media and complaints website. Your agents are not rude, they are not mean, they are just categorically unhelpful. You literally have to convince them there is a problem and prove it to them. They are unapologetic. They try to pass you off to any outlet that gets you off the phone. I deal with a lot of other SASS and online companies, and 3dcart phone staff are distinctly the least helpful – I would say even an actual impediment to finding solutions. “Demola” was this week’s frustrator-in-chief in 3dcart tech support. On the other end of the spectrum, I think it is very important to note that James in online chat support is maybe the only source of actual, helpful, technical knowledge I have ever received. I can only get stonewalled by your phone agents so many time without having any recourse or being able to pass along feedback on them. You can easily ignore my emails, but you’ll eventually have to do something when enough people see my complaints on social media, and enough searchable text and keywords on my complaints start creating negative search results when prospective 3dcart clients are doing searches.

    Just so you know, I’ve used 3dcart for 5+ years, I’m a highly capable user, we’ve paid for premium services. I would love to purchase more if I had any confidence in its value and thought it would actually make my life easier, instead of being left with something that further inhibits my business. If you never have an issue and never need any help, I would give 3dcart 4.5/5, but in reality dealing with them it is painful.

  5. Yea i get that 3DCART offers more apps and all…but what good does it do if these apps don’t even function and cause you to lose money/business?? I’d rather have limited apps that works.

  6. Well done.

    You’ve diligently explored all the important aspects of an ecommerce platform. You offered up a mild taint up front showing your slight favor toward Shopify – an honesty that is greatly appreciated. Then in summary you not only objectively displayed both choices but also offered links to both for free trials, even though Shopify (which I agree) already won the battle.

    Nice work. I’ll be back.

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