Deeper Look into X-Cart eCommerce Engine
You might have heard about such e-commerce brand as X-Cart. It’s been on the market for quite some time already, and we’d like to present our readers with an info on its weak and strong sides as well as suggestions on X-Cart usage.
To begin with, X-Cart is a commercial turnkey e-commerce package with a ton of options and various plug-ins that is offered at the fixed price and is quite easy to work with. Once you have purchased the package you need to install the X-Cart system. You can easily do it by using online step-by-step wizard. According to the reviews available on the net, its Smarty templates system are quite convenient to handle.
Using X-Cart solution has a little tricky point – it is not a free open source product. Some think that otherwise it could effortlessly win most of online shopping cart audience all over the world. In the meantime, X-Cart licensing fees amount to 149 USD. In spite of this fact the company claims that their cart is used by over 14,000 online stores on the net. And their success is no mere chance, as you may see from the text below.
X-Cart Gold and X-Cart PRO packages
X-Cart offers the GOLD and PRO packages for different purposes:
If you opt for the X-Cart GOLD pack you may sell the products and services that are produced by either your company or by any third parties, but the access to the back-end and ability to manage the store belongs only to the manufacturer;
If you decide to use X-Cart PRO you may get multiple third-party sellers manage the store as well. In this case the web store owner is the administrator creating all the major settings for the store, and the third-party sellers are providers able to access the back-end for their selling needs.
Some major X-cart features
- Store flexibility:
you may use a wide range of the shopping cart standard features as well as integrate a variety of modules with it.
quick and clear product search including advanced search option set by certain parameters, complex and intuitively clear toolbox interface, painless addition and removal of products, easy category manager and the ability to add as many categories as you wish.
- Multiple shipping options:
X-Cart provides a wide range of options that are easy to operate and include shipping fee per product, weight, flat rate, destination zone and multiple delivery methods – all you may need to provide the most convenient shopping for your customers.
- Flexible payment options:
you may integrate a number of payment gateways such as credit cart, debit card, Paypal etc. – the customers usually appreciate this convenience.
- System of automated invoicing and email notification:
automatically generates email notifications after member registration and subscription.
- Sufficient security level:
- Marketing Options:
search engine friendliness is ensured by the ability to set meta tags and custom keyword-rich URLs for both product and category pages; the traffic reports allow the store owner to be aware of the customer demand situation – it tracks the customers that enter the product link, add it to their cart and reveals their every single movement while checking out.
A Piece of Good Marketing Advice
X-Cart pages can run based on PHP or you may create static HTML pages. You may build these HTML using product names which for sure is perfect for search engine crawlers and pages optimization. Google barely indexes most of the X-Cart PHP pages since it recognizes them as repetitive ones, so it’s better to focus your attention on the static HTML store version.
X- cart Compared to Top E-commerce Solutions
To get a full view of the product we need to compare it to the other products of the same kind. Undoubtedly, Magento and osCommerce solutions are leading the rivalry between e-commerce products, but we can’t help mentioning PrestaShop, VirtueMart and Zen Cart as prominent carts and analyze the key differences between X-Cart and the rest of the e-commerce pieces of software.
Compared with PrestaShop, X-Cart (gold account) has Reseller discounts and Newsletters features, although the premium X-cart version costs $149 while PrestaShop is free of charge. So, in case you think Reseller discounts and newsletter features are worth the $149 price, X-Cart is better. Otherwise, get over the Reseller discounts and use some free tools for sending out newsletters.
X-Cart allows UPS and USPS, One Page Checkout, Affiliate, QuickBooks Integration. The cart is integrated with Google Analytics but not with Google Web optimizer like Magento is, but unlike osCommerce and Zen Cart it offers Cache Management, Coupon Usage Report, RSS feed for New Tags, Manufacturers module, Best Customers Report by Total and Number of Orders and Quick order features.
As for other lacking features compared to Magento, X-Cart doesn’t provide, Mobile Commerce. RSS Feeds for New Products, New Specials and New Tags, Product Tags Approve, Edit and Delete, Product Tags submitted are not possible with X-Cart while all other reviewed carts support these features with confidence.
Looking at the Shopping Cart Feature Comparison Chart for Magento, Oscommerce, Zen Cart, X-Cart and nopCommerce you will notice more red “no’s” in the columns for osCommerce and Zen Cart, while Magento looks quite decently against X-Cart and even surpasses it by many parameters. So Magento can be by right considered as the major rival for the X-Cart solution. The only two features it yields to X-Cart in is Manufacturers module and QuickBooks Integration. These options are provided at extra cost, while X-Cart offers them in its standard configuration. The yearly cost for Magento Enterprise edition is anyways far higher (app.$3000) than of an X-Cart gold solution ($149.00 ). It’s obvious that in all other respects Magento wins.
You may get a more detailed view of a comparison chart on the Magento-Exchange.com website. But some of the information presented in the chart is a bit outdated (especially regarding such features as Affiliate management, Reward Points, Polls and One Page Checkout that are already included in X-Cart 4.4.0 version that has been released about a year ago).
What Customers Think about X-Cart
What makes us purchase any software goods or services? Generally it’s the experience of other people that had a chance of working with this stuff. We have studied some adequate reviews left at the pages of Shopping-Cart-Reviews.com and figured out that X-Cart is quite convenient for the majority of users, especially for the technically savvy ones.
X-Cart store owners state that their shopping cart is flexible and configurable but it requires some basic technical knowledge to customize the templates. If you are a complete noob in this sphere don’t expect an easy customization.
According to the average user’s words “you can easily modify its relatively simple and unsophisticated code”, but there is “a lack of big variety of templates and themes offered by the vendor or third parties”. And this is true: we weren’t lucky to find any large and awesome collection of X-Cart templates on the net.
Other customers claim that some X-Cart features are not much suitable for the commercial use:
“Actually it is okay if you have a few tens products and you use only basic features of shopping cart. But if you try to use some extended facilities of x-cart (that’s why it was purchased) you will always in need to dig the code to fix something”. If bugs are associated with customization, you may get them fixed by the X-cart technicians but you will have to pay them some hourly fee according to the quote.
So on the whole the reviews sound positive, but there is always a fly in the ointment: X-Cart Gold is a box product meaning you will have to setup all the stuff on the server or pay $50 to make the support officers set it all up for you. You are to use their website to get some help on the software: it is provided by the FAQs, forums and reference manuals. It would be quicker and less painful for you to let the helpdesk guys set up the store for a minor fee for you. In case your friends don’t call you a geek, just avoid the headache of studying instructions and enjoy the end result.
The only inconvenience is the lack of any context–sensitive assistance meaning specific help to resolve your personal issue. Some personal approach could enhance the helpdesk efficiency and bring more help-dependent customers.
You usually choose the certain shopping cart based on the potential store size and the features you need to have at your disposal. X-Cart shopping cart software seems to meet the requirements of all kinds of enterprises: small, medium or big e-commerce projects. After analyzing X-Cart, we came to the conclusion it offers all the instruments essential for the successful online store of any size and business area. You can easily control your customers accounts, wishlists and order history. Moreover, this product is accommodated to multi-vendor marketing which is a great feature for such a modest license fee.
All in all, X-Cart offers a decent shopping experience for your customers and ensures a high level of safety and convenience. On the other hand, Magento is just as good as X-Cart is for 98% of eCommerce stores, so it’s up to you whether or not it’s worth spending $149 on X-Cart.
Feel free to share your experience of using X-Cart shopping cart software, all its conveniences and inconveniences. Do you feel the lack of X-Cart templates as well?
You may take a look at a few X-Cart-based customer sites below: