3dcart vs PrestaShop – one is a paid-for SAAS ecommerce platform, the other a free open-source option. The two solutions are very similar but there are key differences as this comparison will show you. Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you find the best e-commerce platform for you.

3dcart Overview

The 3dcart eCommerce software boasts a feature-rich toolkit straight out the box and offers merchants of all sizes affordable packages. The fully-hosted shopping cart solution has multiple built-in features and provides online businesses with opportunities to reach a wider audience.

Is 3dcart SAAS?

Yes, 3dcart is fully-hosted by 3dcart.

3dcart Setup Costs

Because 3dcart is a Software as a Service platform everything is included in the price of the plan you opt for. When you sign up, you can be paid monthly, or you could save 10% if you purchase a plan for the entire year.

Set up costs depend on the plan you opt for. Small businesses that are just starting out are advised to opt for the basic plan at a cost of £22 a month ($29) or £237 ($299) for the year if paid in advance. SSL certificates are free of charge on all plans. If you opt for a Pro plan you will pay £173 ($229) per month to access the 3dcart software or £2076 for the year.

If you choose a premium theme from a third party source, expect to pay $99/£75 and upwards for a template. Customising your website to suit your brand will also require a developer which can cost anything from £500 for tweaks and around £2000 for a complete custom makeover.

Enterprise plans cater for businesses with a turnover of £400,000 a year. Costs are negotiable depending on the features you want, but essentially you can get an all-singing all-dancing website for less than most other eCommerce platforms can offer.

3dcart Monthly Costs

3dcart offers a range of price points depending on the size of your business. Considering the eCommerce platforms offers unlimited products, storage and bandwidth together with no transaction fees, 3dcart is one of the most cost-effective shopping carts available.

The only other fees you will have to pay each month in addition to the price points given in the table below are the payment gateway processing fees – but this is standard across practice across the board.

Package   Monthly Price Transaction Fee Products Storage Space Bandwidth
Basic $29/£22 None Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Plus $79/£60 None Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Pro $229/£173 None Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Enterprise Custom None Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

3dcart Hosting Options

3dcart is a web hosted platform so you don’t have to incur additional costs purchasing a third party web hosting plan.

3dcart Set-up Skills

For the most part, the 3dcart user-interface is intuitive and not too dissimilar to WordPress. However, we can’t help but feel the desktop could be more user-friendly at times. There is no explanation for certain fields so you have to look them up in the support documents which is time consuming.

Having said that, there are plenty of support documents in the setup wizard that are useful. Setting up 3dcart is easier if you are technically minded and have some experience of backend software programs like WordPress. Otherwise, you may need to call on the ‘aided onboarding’ team at 3dcart, but that will set you back £302.

3dcart Theme Availability

There are over 50 free theme templates offered by 3dcart. In general, the designs are engaging and provide solutions catered for specific industries. However, free themes are one-dimensional and do not allow much scope for customisation.

If you want to include brand colours, fonts and images, you will need to purchase a premium template and possibly use a web developer. There are 100’s of premium templates available and cost anything from £75 to £150 for a basic theme without customisation. Budget around £50 an hour and 25 hours for a developer to fully customise a theme.

3dcart Day-to-day Running

For non-technical business owners, 3dcart provides an easy-to-use solution and has a powerful range of web tools. Adding products is a simple process and gives you plenty of room to work with.

Built-in social media tools make it easy to share products and promotions on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Blogs, newsletters and email are also built-in features you can use to provide information to your customers and upsell products to subscribers.

3dcart Payment Options

With over 100 payment gateways, 3dcart offers one of the most comprehensive range of payment options for customers. Payment gateways include the big-hitters such as PayPal, Stripe, Square and Authorize.net, all of which carry a 2-3% processing fee.

The only way to avoid processing fees is to adopt 3dcarts built-in gateway as your sole payment option. However, this will require your first-time customers to fill out an additional registration form which may deter customers that already use a trusted payment gateway (for example, Paypal) and have the one-click buy option set up on their computer or mobile device.

3dcart Product Attributes

The product attributes are in two parts. These are called options. There is no limit to the number of options you can add to a product in 3dcart.

3dcart Typical Annual Running Costs for first year then ongoing years

Year on year running costs do not change when you purchase 3dcart eCommerce software. Typical fees for related pricing plans are paid monthly unless you opt for an annual payment at sign up. See the table above.

3dcart Customer Support Options

Of all the eCommerce software solutions, 3dcart has one of the most comprehensive customer support teams. All the pricing plans include 24/7 personal support via email, live chat, social media and phone. In addition, there are video tutorials, a support forum, a knowledge base, webinars and an E-University.

Prestashop Overview

Companies that intend to build a unique eCommerce website from open source agents should take a look at the Prestashop eCommerce software. This slick and powerful platform provides users with a finely tuned website that delivers an impressive shopping experience and a heavy dose of statistics right from the dashboard.

Prestashop Setup Costs

Theoretically, setting up an eCommerce website with Prestashop can cost next to nothing, but in reality, a professional website requires a sizeable investment. The eCommerce software itself is free and whilst there are over 600 features built-in, Prestashop is not always a low-cost solution.

In order to build a shopping cart customers trust on Prestashop, you need to invest in other software such as integration with certain social media networks, third-party payment gateways and integration with the Amazon and eBay marketplace, both of which costs $229/£172 and $289/£220 respectively.

Prestashop is also a licensed web platform which means you have to find a third-party host. Other expenses will include web development and the purchase of a premium design template. Because of the setup costs and development required to make a Prestashop platform totally professional, it is best suited for mid-sized to large businesses.

Prestashop Monthly Costs

One of the benefits of a self-hosted eCommerce platform is you don’t have ongoing monthly expenses. Furthermore, Prestashop doesn’t charge users for a monthly subscription fee or take a cut of your revenue like other eCommerce websites. Monthly running costs should, therefore, be minimal.

The most likely expense will be additional modules you want to install to help you grow your business and potential development issues caused by technical errors. However, the latter can be avoided if you (or your developer) takes time to research which plugins are most compatible with each other.

Whilst open source platforms do have benefits, they can also cause problems. Because the software and plugins you install on Prestashop are all made by different developers, there is not guarantee they are all compatible with one another. As a result, you may experience more technical problems than you might on other eCommerce platforms. Ongoing monthly costs are therefore difficult to predict and will depend on the complexity of your website.

Prestashop Hosting Options

Merchants using Prestashop need to find a third party host. Prestashop recommend 1&1 hosting (presumably because they have a deal with them), but you will probably find better deals if you shop around.

Prestashop Set up Skills

Unless you intend to build a bog-basic online store, eCommerce owners looking to build a shopping cart with Prestashop will need some technical knowledge or hire someone that does. Set up can be overly complicated if open source software clashes occur during the building process.

Prestashop Theme availability

There is no shortage of design templated available from Prestashop or third-party sources. You will find over 2000 themes in the Prestashop store, 500 of which are premium templates and another 600 designed by certified partners specifically for Prestashop. Templates start from $84/£64 whilst premium templates start from $157-$220/£120-£168.

Prestashop Day-to-Day Running

Once you are set up with Prestashop, the day to day running is straightforward. The dashboard provides an overview of all the most important statistics you need to run your business, more than any other eCommerce software.

Managing your shopping cart is also easy. Adding products and other various types of content is intuitive and built-in SEO features also provide guidance about keywords, metadata and other SEO-related factors that improve visibility on search engines.

Prestashop Payment Options

Because Prestashop is an open source software, users are free to add whatever payment gateways you require. Purchase of the payment gateway is a one-off purchase, but there is a processing fee charged by the bank or payment gateway for credit card payments on each transaction. Prestashop does not charge transaction fees like some of the other leading eCommerce platforms.

Prestashop Product Attributes

There is a wealth of attributes you can add to your product pages which help to improve sales and SEO. The product creation page is particularly well designed and allows business users to include extensive information about products together with adding multiple images.

Prestashop Typical Annual Running Costs

The annual running costs will depend on the complexity of your shopping cart and the web hosting plan you opt for. Once the initial setup costs are cleared and any technical issues are resolved, monthly ongoing costs can be kept to a minimum. Until you intend to expand, ongoing costs will not change significantly, although you will have to purchase an SSL Certificate each year. These typically cost $90/£70.

Prestashop Customer Support Options

Prestashop provides a comprehensive customer support service including live chat, email and phone. There is also a diverse user community that has built an extensive forum of problem/solutions that could help you resolve issues or even avoid them in the first place.

As mentioned earlier, when you install software that is developed by multiple sources, there is a higher risk of experiencing technical problems. So when you originally build your shopping cart, it is recommended that you tap into the wealth of knowledge provided by the Prestashop community and avoid encountering problems in the first place.

How The Content Works can help

Here at The Content Works, we specialise in Technical Website Audits. We’re here to find the issues on your website that are causing you to lose visitors, see poor conversions rates and ultimately we highlight the issues costing you money. Take a look at our services page to see the technical website audits we offer. Call us on 0207 305 5599 to discuss your situation and we’ll show you how we can add value to your business.

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