X-Cart (current version 5.4.0) – is an open-source software for users who seek a simple and powerful shopping cart solution for their eCommerce projects. Established in 2001, the platform has been on the market for almost 2 decades featuring more than 38,000 live stores published in over 100 countries across the globe. It was designed to help small and medium entrepreneurs as well as huge international enterprises to build up successful online storefronts with no technical skills.
The system comes as a self-hosted solution with enough facilities to store all your online shop assets and ensure its smooth operation despite the number of products, traffic, etc.It also has a downloadable X-Cart 5 version t be installed for free. The system delivers a bunch of great features that include simple store setup, product and inventory management, enhanced design tools marketing features, and has a free plan for unlimited products to sell online.
Is it really that good? Let’s have a closer look at this shopping cart software.
1. Ease of Use
X-Cart is very easy to use. It does not require any special skills or technical knowledge. The initial idea is to let users build online stores with no coding.
To do so, the system comes with an integrated Setup Wizard that will guide you through all the stages of the fine-tuning process. All you need is to sign in and customize already operating webshop.
The signing in process is fast and simple. The system asks users to type in their emails and passwords. The lack of social and Google account links for instant registration might be an issue for some people. We do not find it crucial. In addition, you need to indicate the approximate business size right here in the registration form.
There are 4 major options that include:
- Small (up to $50,000 of revenue per year);
- Growing (up to $1,000 000 of revenue per year);
- Medium (up to $100M of revenue per year);
- Enterprise (more than $100M of revenue per year).
Select the size that applies to your business and move on to the next stage. Oh, and don’t forget to check your email with all the credentials sent after you complete the registration. There you will find some contact details as well as ways to get in touch with the support team directly. Now, you are ready to set up your first store using X-Cart.
Setting Up the Store
When the registration is completed, you will be transferred to the control panel. It looks clear and intuitive with all the necessary tools and settings in your left sidebar. If you are unsure whether you can handle the setup yourself, simply follow Wizard tips to fine-tune the store with no technical background. The entire procedure contains several simple steps.
Step 1 – Add New Products
The software lets you sell an unlimited amount of items from a single store as well as several storefronts at the same time. To add your first product, you only need to download its image, type in the product name, set prices and go to the next stage. Once you have added a new item, it will be automatically displayed in your storefront. To put users at ease, X-Cart offers several demo products to have a look at how they will be displayed inside the shop.
Step 2 – Company Logo
At this stage, you have a chance to upload your own custom logo to stand out from competitors. The system accepts and processes images in JPEG, GIF or PNG formats. Make sure your logo meets the resolution requirements to have it displayed without errors. If you do not have a ready-made logo, you may skip this stage and add it later.
Step 3 – Geo Settings
This is where you will need to handled geo configuration in case you need to keep your local customers aware. Users will see three major fields to fill in. They include country, currency, and weight. Simply edit the default values and go to step #4.
Step 4 – Company Info
Another vital stage in case you want to connect your local consumers and target audience. Users have to insert all available company info from the country and real address to ZIP code, state, and phone number. The more contacts you provide the better online reputation your brand will have.
Step 5 – Shipping Settings
The stage lets you set up your shipping configurations in case you plan to deliver products. If not, you may simply skip this stage. Once again, advanced Shipping and Tax settings can be accessed right from your control panel. You may do the fine-tuning a bit later if you still cannot make up your mind on the business model.
Step 6 – Payment Gateways
X-Cart supports over 120 different payment options. They can be connected from the Add-ons section. At the same time, the system comes with default support for PayPal. You may also select the Phone Ordering option, which means your customers will place orders by phone. As we have stated earlier, you will always be able to integrate new payment gateways later. The Wizard offers some baseline settings to get started.
Step 7 – Go Live
The system offers a free template on default. It means that your store is ready to go after you have completed each of the previous stages. There is only one free template with a chance to switch to numerous paid layouts divided into categories. We will discuss X-Cart theme options a bit further.
The control panel has a preview button to check how your website will look right in your browser. Unfortunately, we haven’t found the mobile preview mode. It is only available in the template shop before you enable a chosen layout. The set of editing tools is quite limited. You may only add favicon, replace custom images, and change layout grids. On the other hand, experienced coders and web designers will appreciate access to the template’s CSS & JS.
The good news is that X-Cart is a self-hosted platform. You do not have to look for a separate hosting provider although you will still need to get a domain name. Otherwise, the system will offer its custom https://yourstore.x–shops.com/ domain that comes with an already connected SSL certificate.
2. Features & Flexibility
X-Cart has a handful of features. The software has everything you need to set up and customize your store in minutes. From simple product and inventory management tools to a selection of add-ons, marketing, and SEO features – the platform is certainly worth paying attention to.
Advanced Product and Inventory Management
Apart from a simple algorithm of adding a new product we have discussed earlier, X-Cart has advanced product settings. Users are able to set SKU and product names to indicate specific vendors as well as apply a needed category to a product. Here you may also write a short and detailed description highlighting all the item benefits in addition to its high-res photos.
Here in the control panel, you are also able to set market and sales prices, enable or disable automatic rewards or discounts, indicate shipping weight and item quantity available on stock. The software makes it easy to integrate free shipping options and limit it by weight. There is also a backorder function.
Online and Offline Payments
As it was mentioned before, X-Cart supports over 100 different payment methods to process online purchases seamlessly. The default options include PayPal as a separate e-wallet and the All-in-One solution powered by Braintree to use across the globe and receive payments from France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Here you will also find X-Payments Cloud and Aithorize.net that can be enabled with a click. If you crave for other methods, click on “Add new” and choose from the huge list of e-wallets and payment gateways.
Offline payments consider using a business model with phone ordering. X-Cart makes it simple to configure it. Shop owners are free to choose from multiple options that also include fax ordering, COD, checks, money orders, etc. Enable a preferable method with a click and add payment instructions, descriptions, and other details required.
Marketing and Promotion
Settings on the right contain a separate Marketing section that will help you grow your target audience and increase the conversion rate. Here you will benefit from seamless MailChimp integration and newsletters to send personalize offers or launch email marketing campaigns. The tool contains additional instruments to launch ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram with the help of a special add-on.
The Discount section comes with promotion functionality where you may create new coupons and edit volume discounts. Here you may also craft and launch loyalty programs to boost your customers’ satisfaction. Let your buyers earn points in exchange for special prizes and freebies.
Apart from specialized promotion and marketing tools, X-Cart delivers a set of SEO options. They include not only baseline meta titles and descriptions editing. You actually get full control over your webshop SEO and have extra tools to boost its ranks. Here you may set the 404 pages, insert focus keywords, modify the page title format, and go to Sitemap settings and indicate the desired renewal period for different page groups.
Apps and Add-Ons
Website customization is the last but not least in our review. X-Cart has a big enough marketplace with add-ons and widgets to connect. They include free and paid apps from different categories. The control panel keeps all your connected add-ons in one place making them easy to reach and manage right from the dashboard. The list of app includes checkout forms, Amazon Feeds, buy buttons, cart abandonment reminders, social media add-ons, etc.
3. Design & Templates
We have already mentioned that each user gets a free default template to set and deploy the store in minutes. In addition, it has its own template marketplace with a selection of paid themes divided into different categories. Here we have 29 different niches with 54 different layouts to choose from. They include automotive jewelry, industrial Health & Beauty, and many others. The price ranges between $99 and $139.
If you have some web design skills or simply do not want to overpay, you can make the most of integrated customization tools. Users may add their exclusive images, upload favicon, and make some slight layout changes. If custom instruments seem to be limited, the system provides access to CSS and JS.
4. Customer Support
The support team can be accessed in several ways. They include instant contacting methods, email, and technical eCommerce support from X-Cart specialists. The easiest way to use the Live Chat option that can be enabled right from the control panel. Simply type in your name, email, and question you want to ask. Support specialists are available round the clock.
The second way is to consult X-Cart eCommerce experts when resolving different issues. They will handle upgrades, perform website audits, advice on SEO strategies, etc. The key downside here is that such support is available only on a paid basis. Here we have three different support packages:
- Standard costing $165 per month.
- Premium costing $250 per month with major and minor upgrades.
- Pay-as-you-go package for smaller issues that do not require much technical involvement.
We are not to blame them for that. However, paid customer support looks a bit strange. Let’s have a look and other plans and paid packages delivered by X-Cart.
5. Plans & Pricing
The X-Cart platform itself is sold at a one-time payment. It means no subscription plans or monthly fees. Moreover, it has a free plan with some baseline functionality though still enough to launch a small fully functional online shop. The system offers a 30-day free trial to check how the rest of the packages work. If you are satisfied with the software, you may opt for:
- Business Plan costing $346.50 for growing shops with X-Cart extensions.
- Multi-Vendor costing $1046.50 for stores that work with several vendors at the same time.
- Ultimate Special Edition costing $4195.50 for global marketplaces with all unlimited features.
Apart from X-Cart software itself, you will also need to pay for its hosting unless you already have a hosting provider of your own.
The system claims to have powerful hosting assets and facilities to ensure smooth shop running densities the size or traffic. The prices are as follows:
- Starter costs $22.46 per month
- Basic costs $37.46 per month
- Enhanced costs $149.25 per month
- Enterprise costs $299.25 per month
Once again, the choice will depend on the shop size, amount of products media files, content, expected traffic, and other crucial factors. However, opting for a cheaper hosting provider might be a better idea considering plenty of alternatives for eCommerce projects. For example, Bluehost will let you save money and benefit from powerful server solution for eCommerce. Your X-Cart store will run smoothly on either shared, VPS or dedicated hosting solution start at $2.41 per month.
6. Pros & Cons
X-Cart is certainly a worthy software that meets eCommerce needs. It comes with a bunch of features and tools to manage products and inventories, promote your store, and more. However, some of the issues look more than arguable.
| ✔ Simple product management.|
✔ Ease of use.
✔ Enhanced inventory and shop management tools.
✔ Free plan with unlimited products to sell.
✔ Marketing and promotion tools.
✔ Stats and reports.
| ✘ Paid technical support.|
✘ Limited design tools.
✘ Separate paid hosting plans.
✘ A single free template.
X-Cart is a flexible eCommerce software that will work out for any shop despite the size or business model. A self-hosted platform brings everything you need to set up a ready-to-go store in minutes. Newbies will find it easy to add and manage products as well as promote their stores while experienced users may benefit from extra customization freedom derived by CSS and JS access.
The system has a free plan. However, you will still need to purchase a paid template to stand out with your shop as well as by a separate hosting plan not mentioning paid technical support. As a result, X-Cart may appear to be a more expensive option even with its free package.