Building an online store using only the best ecommerce software is an absolute must. These highly rated shopping carts are going to be affordable, equipped with the necessary features and ready for the future. Two of the ecommerce software platforms we are going to look at are Shopify and 3dcart. While both of these shopping carts are hosted, they are different and are going to suit a different type of ecommerce store. In this Shopify vs 3dcart comparison, we are going to see which shopping cart is better for your online business.
Shopify and 3dcart are both feature rich shopping carts that are capable of helping you get online quickly and smoothly, without any hiccups. I will also note that both are very flexible as well.
I understand that your time is valuable and some of you might not have time to read the entire comparison. If you want a simple and cheaper shopping cart that has an incredible reputation, go with Shopify. If you want a shopping cart that has a strong focus on marketing, go with 3dcart.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – ACTIVE STORES
Comparing active stores is going to tell us this – which shopping cart ecommerce stores trust and use more. Basically, the cart that has more active stores is just going to work better.
Shopify Hosts 165,000 Stores – Out of all hosted shopping cart platforms, Shopify has the largest customer base. As of today, Shopify is used by over 165,000 ecommerce stores.
3dcart Hosts 15,000 Stores – With over 15 years in business, 3dcart does not have much of a customer base. When it comes to active stores, 3dcart is at the bottom of the pact – powering just a little over 15,000 ecommerce stores. I think other carts like Bigcommerce, Shopify and Volusion are the reason for low customer base.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – FREE TRIAL PERIOD
Free trials are great for trying out a shopping cart before having to commit to one. It is also good when comparing carts as you can use the free trial to see which platform is better for your online business. Thankfully, Shopify and 3dcart offer a free trial period.
Shopify Has 14 Day Free Trial – All Shopify plans offer a 14 day free trial. The signup form does not ask for a credit card and there are no contracts or commitments here. During the free trial period, you have full access to everything. You will not be able to launch the online store without choosing a paid plan (here is link for free trial).
3dcart Has 15 Day Free Trial – All 3dcart plans offer a 15 day free trial. Like Shopify, 3dcart does not ask for a credit card and there is no obligation to sign up. As with any other shopping cart, you will have to choose a monthly plan before launching the online store (here is link for free trial).
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – STORE SETUP
Aside from having a good business plan, the initial store setup is going to be the next most important thing when creating an online store – well, at least in my mind. Take it like this, you do not want to waste valuable time setting up an online store when you can spend that time selling products and making a profit.
Shopify Store Setup – There are no headaches or hiccups here. Shopify is known for a quick and simple store setup. The entire process is neatly organized and just about anyone can do it. A simple, but optional, setup tutorial wizard guides you through the process of choosing a theme, adding inventory and pointing the store to a custom domain.
Personally, I love the entire process as it looks like it was developed to make the process smoother for the average user.
3dcart Store Setup – 3dcart has a similar setup process, but takes a bit longer to fully customize and configure your online store. Thankfully, the optional tutorial wizard assists you in adding store information, choosing a store theme, adding inventory, configuring shipping options, setting up store payments and upgrading to a paid plan.
The only downside to 3dcart is their outdated interface and setup. While I do not see this as a deal breaker for me, I feel this might bother some users.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – PRICING
In the beginning stages of a small business, eliminating unnecessary costs is going to keep you in business and going forward. What I am trying to say here is why pay more if you do not have to?
Shopify Pricing – When comparing pricing options, Shopify is going to be very difficult to beat. Their plans range from $14/month all the way to $179month (see Shopify plans here). An enterprise plan is also available for large online stores. It is important to note that the cheapest plan does not offer unlimited bandwidth or storage.
3dcart Pricing – If you decide to go with 3dcart, you are going to have a lot of flexible plan options. Their plans range from $19.99/month to $129.99/month (see 3dcart plans here). They also have an enterprise plan. All annual plans are eligible for a 15% discount. The only downside to 3dcart plans is that all of them have limited bandwidth. Not so much a problem for small stores, though.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – TRANSACTION AND OVERAGE FEES
Transaction and overage fees are going to impact profit margins, especially in the beginning. That is why I stay away from shopping carts that have these fees.
Shopify Charges Transaction Fees – It might come as a surprise, but Shopify charges transaction fees, if you do not use their payment gateway. Depending on the plan selected, transaction fees can get as high as two percent. Thankfully, these pesky transaction fees can be waived.
Since all Shopify plans offer unlimited bandwidth, there are no bandwidth overage fees.
3dcart Charges Overage Fees – 3dcart is part of a small group of shopping carts that do not charge any transaction fees, regardless of the plan you choose or the payment gateway you use. However, since all 3dcart plans offer limited bandwidth, you can expect to pay overage fees for going over your monthly store visits. Current overage fees are $5 for every gigabyte that goes over the monthly limit.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – THEMES AND DESIGN
If you ever ran an online store, you already know the importance of the first impression. Shoppers are more likely to buy from a clean, professional looking store. Having the ability to edit default themes is going to be a big plus here.
Shopify Themes – We are all aware of the simplicity that comes with Shopify. It is probably the easiest hosted shopping cart to work with. Shopify has about 30 free themes and a bunch of premium themes as well. A vast majority of these themes are clean right out of the box and require little to no editing. Additionally, all of their themes are responsive across multiple devices – smartphones, tablets.
In terms of themes and design, the only downside to Shopify is their usage of liquid markup language. Basically, it is a template language that a lot of you are not going to be familiar with. Thankfully, it is easy to grasp and there are tons of tutorials.
3dcart Themes – When it comes to general themes, 3dcart is going to have a bigger selection – featuring over 90 themes. About a third of these themes are built using the HTML5 markup language. All of their themes can be customized using HTML and CSS. In addition, minor store editing can be done using their “drag n’ drop” editor. There are premium themes as well.
I have some issues with 3dcart in the area of themes and design. 3dcart fails to deliver professional looking themes that would be ideal for an online store today. Almost all of their themes are outdated and would require customizing. However, I understand that this is only my opinion and some of you might find their themes appealing. Just keep this in mind; the design of the online store is the first thing a potential customer sees.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – APP STORE
The availability of an app store may be enticing for some. Personally, I think it is beneficial to have an external app store, just in case you find yourself looking for additional features down the road. However, a lot of the hosted shopping carts out there tend to release constant feature updates.
Shopify Has An App Store – By now, you should know that Shopify has the largest external app store – when compared to other hosted shopping carts. With hundreds of already built in features, their app store can give you a big advantage over your competition. Their app store has additional tools and features in categories such as marketing, sales, social media, customer service, inventory management and shipping.
Personally, I find their extensive app store a big plus. You never know when you will need additional features.
3dcart Has Plugins – 3dcart does not have an external app store. It has a “plugins” section where you can integrate several different tools to your online store. Unfortunately, this section is very limited. It is nowhere near the selection one can find on Shopify. However, it is important to note that 3dcart has more built in features than Shopify.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – SUPPORT
You will not understand the important of reliable technical support until you run into a problem. Remember, you are opening an online business to make money, not to sit there confused and scratch your head. Regardless of which shopping cart you use, minor hiccups will always happen and you will need technical support.
Shopify Has 24/7 Technical Support – Their technical support is available throughout the day – 24/7. A Shopify Guru (technical support representative) can be reached via live chat, phone and standard email ticketing.
In addition to the human support, Shopify has an extensive resource section filled with helpful guides and documents. There is also an active community support forum.
3dcart Has 24/7 Techincal Support– 3dcart offers a 24/7 technical support via live chat, phone and email ticketing. Their average response time for live chat support is five minutes and 30 minutes for email support. Like Shopify, 3dcart has an extensive resource page filled with tutorials and guides.
Also, 3dcart has an active community forum. However, it is not as big as the forum included with Shopify.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – THINGS I HATE
Neither Shopify (read my Shopify review) nor 3dcart (read my 3dcart review) are perfect solutions. I am a very judgmental person so this is where I show the negativity of each cart. Here is what I hate about each shopping cart.
Things I hate about Shopify:
- Transaction fees. Even though transaction fees can be waived, I still have an issue with this.
- Shopify uses liquid template language which may take some time to grasp.
Things I hate about 3dcart:
- All 3dcart plans have limited bandwidth. They measure bandwidth on a “per visit” basis. Going over your monthly limit will cost you an extra $5 per gigabyte.
- A vast majority of the templates are basic and lack the professional image.
SHOPIFY VS 3DCART – WHY I PREFER SHOPIFY?
Both Shopify and 3dcart are good in their own way. I am a huge Shopify supporter and think that their shopping cart excels in all of the categories mentioned above. However, 3dcart is a strong contender and a good Shopify alternative.
I prefer Shopify because it is easy to use, more affordable, has unlimited bandwidth, offers great technical support and has a solid reputation. If you want a cheaper solution that is easier to use, go with Shopify. If you want a shopping cart that has a very strong focus on marketing, go with 3dcart.