3dcart is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that serves merchants large and small. With a wide range of pricing options and loads of features right out-of-the-box, 3dcart is an appealing option for those looking for an affordable, fully-hosted selling solution.
Founded in 1997 by Gonzalo Gil and released to the public in 2001, 3dcart hosts over 25,000 customers. What are the three “Ds” in 3dcart, you may wonder? Well, Mr. Gil wanted to create a store-building platform centered around what he saw as the three primary dimensions of eCommerce: store owners, shoppers, and search engines. The search engine dimension remains a big priority for the company to this day, as 3dcart promotes itself as “the best eCommerce platform for SEO.” Of course, the mileage you’ll get out of this claim will vary depending on your knowledge and skill in the SEO arena.
With an ever-expanding pool of features and partners, 3dcart has tracked along with the evolving eCommerce software marketplace as newer (and often larger) competitors have arisen on the scene. It doesn’t seem like 3dcart has plans to slow down anytime soon, and we are continually monitoring its progress.
Keep reading for a full, unbiased analysis of 3dcart. We’ll look at potential downsides of the software as well as aspects that set 3dcart apart from the competition.
3dcart has a range of pricing options, which allow the platform to work for many different business types and sizes. All plans come with a monthly fee, but no additional per-transaction fee is charged by 3dcart beyond the normal payment processing fee from whichever card processor you choose.
There are five main subscription levels — Starter, Basic, Plus, Power, and Pro — as well as additional levels for Enterprise merchants. The key differences between the five core plans are:
- Available features
- Store annual revenue
- Number of staff accounts
- Number of hosted email accounts
- Customer support channels
3dcart uses revenue caps to help users determine which plan is best for their business. If your annual sales exceed the level stated in your pricing plan, you automatically move up to the next pricing plan. Here are those annual revenue caps:
In a somewhat rare move for a SaaS platform, 3dcart lets users request à la carte features if needed. Here’s what the pricing FAQ says:
We can customize any of our plans to fit your needs. Contact our sales team at email@example.com to find out how we can add a specific feature to any plan or add extra staff users.
No further information is given regarding how this may affect pricing or other aspects of your package. Still, we don’t typically see this option publicly advertised by SaaS eCommerce software providers at all.
Note that because plans are billed on a month-to-month basis by default, 3dcart does not require you to sign any contracts. However, if you decide to stay with 3dcart, you can purchase a year-long plan and receive a 10% discount. There are discounts available for students and nonprofits as well as special promotions for just about every holiday in existence. That said, you should be 100% confident that 3dcart is the software for you before you make a long-term commitment.
Here’s how 3dcart’s regular, non-discounted monthly pricing shakes out:
3dcart’s Startup Plan costs $19/month and includes:
- Sell up to $50K/year
- One staff user
- Two hosted email accounts
- Email and live chat support
- Unlimited products, bandwidth, storage, and orders
- Unlimited product variations
- Real-time shipping
- Shipping labels
- Facebook store
- Built-in blog
- Single page checkout
- Product reviews
- Gift wrapping
- Coupons, discounts, and gift certificates
- Digital downloads
- Tax calculations and reporting
- Manual order creation
- API access
- 256-bit SSL certificate
- And more
3dcart’s Basic Plan costs $29/month and includes everything in the Startup Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $100K/year
- Two staff users
- Five hosted email accounts
- 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support
- Returns RMA module
- Survey and review module
- Daily deals
- Group deals
- Affiliate program
- eBay and Amazon integrations
3dcart’s Plus Plan costs $79/month and includes everything in the Basic Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $250K/year
- Five staff users
- 10 hosted email accounts
- Customer groups
- Purchase order module
- Product comparison features
- Product Q&A
- FedEx Hold At Location and FedEx Returns
- Blog subscriptions
- Promotion scheduler
- Pay-what-you-want pricing for products
- Issue store credits to customers
- Abandoned cart saver
- Email marketing newsletters
- Gift registry
- Reward loyalty program
3dcart’s Power Plan costs $129/month and includes everything in the Plus Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $500K/year
- 10 staff users
- 10 hosted email accounts
- Autoship recurring orders for subscriptions
- Waiting lists and back-in-stock orders
3dcart’s Pro Plan costs $229/month and includes everything in the Power Plan, plus:
- Sell up to $1 million/year
- 15 staff users
- 30 hosted email accounts
- Automation rules
- Delivery estimates
- Send quotes
- Quick start onboarding session
- Advanced filtered search features
- Allow preorders
- Shipment notifications
- Autoresponder email campaigns
- Houzz integration
- Track sales, leads, and commissions
As mentioned, 3dcart also has enterprise-level packages for larger merchants who outgrow the Pro plan. Pricing starts at $499.99/month and requires a $299 one-time setup fee. Additional features include more staff accounts, disk space, email hosting, security features, site speed, etc. Visit the 3dcart website for more information.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
3dcart is a SaaS solution based in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about managing your servers or updating your software.
Hardware & Software Requirements
None. You just need a computer, an internet connection, and a reliable web browser.
Specific Size Of Business
Because 3dcart is offered at varying price points and comes with lots of features right out-of-the-box, 3dcart fits businesses across the board. The $19/month Startup Plan has made 3dcart an even more appealing option for startups. Additionally, the emergence of a relatively inexpensive plan for enterprise merchants could help larger businesses make smoother transitions as they grow.
Ease Of Use
3dcart offers a no-risk 15-day free trial, and you can even ask for an extension if needed. When you sign up, you’ll receive a welcome email that lists your user login and password as well as your site’s URL. The email also includes links to several video tutorials.
Upon logging in to your admin, you’ll be presented with a setup page that includes videos and tips at each turn.
If you run into trouble, you can wait for your “trail coach” to give you a call if you’ve provided a phone number (I did not). I also received an email from my coach. However, I think you should be able to figure out most functions on your own. Little gray circles with “?” symbols offer brief, in-dashboard explanations of most input fields to help guide you along.
The 3dcart dashboard is fairly straightforward and is similar to the user-friendly models you find on platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce. One big difference I’ve noticed, however, is that many functions involve a two-step process. Often, you must save a preliminary screen with a few basic input fields before you can move on to more complex configurations of the feature. There are pluses and minuses to this system, but my advice is to just complete and save the first screen as soon as possible, so you can move on to the full version of the feature. You can still adjust the basic configurations from the second screen.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of how this works:
Adding a product is a two-step process. First, you’ll be asked to enter basic product information:
Once you save this screen, you’ll have access to a second interface with a new menu bar across the top, which lets you configure more detailed information, such as product options/variants, SEO tags, related products, and bulk discounts.
Here’s the product options interface, which I found quite intuitive to use:
Products are easily previewed on your storefront at any time during the process:
Discount creation follows a similar two-step model. You’ll find your discount generator located under the “Marketing > Promotion Manager” tab in your admin.
You’ll first enter basic promotion information:
After saving, you enter a detailed interface that helps you create much more specific and complex discounts. I’ll drop the full screen below so that you can see how extensive it is:
I am thoroughly impressed with the flexibility of this tool. I could see it becoming a bit overwhelming for some, but if power and control are what you want, you’ve got it here.
During my trial, I also took a look at 3dcart’s order management features. From the orders section of the admin, you can review and process orders and print pre-generated packing slips and invoices.
The green links in the orders dashboard represent modifiable portions of the order, and you can use the dropdown “Actions” menu to perform additional functions:
Perhaps not surprisingly, order management was another robust (and therefore somewhat complex) feature.
My tests of 3dcart’s ease of use have led me to the conclusion that, while it’s mostly a user-friendly piece of software, the system is best suited to moderately tech-savvy users who are not easily intimidated by a slight learning curve and a bit of trial and error. In the end, these users will benefit from the flexibility and quality of the tools available.
As we’ve watched 3dcart’s platform evolve over the years, we maintain that it is a very solid option for a lot of online sellers. The plans are reasonably priced, and there are tons of important features already built-in. 3dcart ought to scale pretty well as you grow, particularly because 3dcart offers to customize a subscription plan with the precise features you need at every stage of your business. Meanwhile, the vast array of payment processing options is also impressive, and we appreciate that no additional transaction fees are charged by 3dcart itself, regardless of which processor you choose.
We think 3dcart is best suited to merchants who’d like to take advantage of a set of robust and flexible eCommerce features but who also have the necessary patience to learn to use these powerful tools properly. The moderate learning curve seems to be worth the investment for the degree of power and control you have in managing your store, and once you get the hang of it, your day-to-day operations should be quite simple. Regarding storefront design, the currently limited design editing tools reinforces our opinion that 3dcart is geared toward tech-savvy folks who are comfortable with HTML and CSS, or those who’d like to hire someone to create a custom design.
Customer service reports continue to be mixed, and the same goes for our own experience with tech support. While we still come across negative feedback about delayed and unresolved web tickets and poor customer service, we have observed a slight decrease in these complaints. We’ll be watching to see if this trend continues.
Whichever eCommerce platform you ultimately end up with, we always recommend that you try out the software yourself before you make any decisions. It takes only a few seconds to sign up, and there are no commitments required. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a demo is worth a million. Give it a go.