Magento vs 3dcart isn’t a common conundrum due to the fact both ecommerce platforms are wildly different in their approach. Magento is often seen as a heavyweight ecommerce platform, favoured by enterprise-level companies and big digital agencies. However 3dcart, while smaller and a SAAS solution is a worthwhile alternative to consider. While Magento does have a SAAS cloud option, it is expensive compared to 3dcart. Here’s our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs.
Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform best suited to large eCommerce companies. The ‘enterprise level’ software has a lot to offer but requires development experience so is best suited for companies that have an in-house developer or can afford to pay a third party developer.
Is Magento SAAS?
No, Magento is not SAAS. You will need to download and install the Magento code on your own server and therefore you will need to factor in hosting costs.
Magento Setup costs
A major bonus: there are no setup charges or transaction fees to use Magento. However, in order to set up the online store you want, there are a significant number of other set-up costs including payment gateways, SSL certificates, product and shipping plugins which can cost several thousand pounds. Not forgetting that, unless you’re technically savvy, you’ll need a developer to configure Magento for you.
Magento Monthly Costs
Magento targets large enterprises so is not the cheapest eCommerce software around as you have to factor in setup costs which usually involve an agency or specialist developer.
In addition to set-up fees, there are a number of other costs to take into consideration; hosting, payment gateways, development, and various set up costs. It is estimated that the annual running costs for a basic Community Magento Edition (CE) will set you back between £1,000 and £5,000, which equates to the costs of your server hosting fees, plus minor additions like SSL certificates, renewing plugins, etc.
Large eCommerce companies typically need the Magento Enterprise platform which cost between £20,000 and £580,000 a year to run, develop and maintain. The exact pricing plans for Magento vary quite widely as you can choose between the (self-hosted) Enterprise Edition or the Magento-hosted cloud version Enterprise Cloud Edition.
Magento Hosting Options
Magento is a standalone platform so you will need a web host, unless you opt for the enterprise Cloud Edition, which is only realistically an option for larger stores with big budgets. There are plenty of hosting companies offering good packages, but not all are optimised. Hosting prices vary from £40-£350 per month depending on which additional services you need in addition to basic hosting.
Magento Set-Up Skills
In general, Magento users need some technical skills. If you’re planning to manage the software in-house you will need someone with development skills. It is not the easiest e-Commerce platform to use. However, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, take advantage of the ‘Start My Store’ wizard which you will find at the top of the administrator page. This will help get you started and has demonstrations of how to create the design, add products, payments, shipping and everything else in between.
Magento Theme Availability
If there is one area which lets team Magento down is the lack of built-in templates. That’s not to say you won’t find a design suited to your eCommerce setup, but needless to say, you will have to pay for a decent template. There is a saving grace, however. ThemeForest list over 500 Magento themes starting from £30.
Magento Day-to-day Running
Although coding skills are required for to set-up your eCommerce store with Magento, daily management processes are relatively straightforward. The dashboard is clean and the intuitive user-interface makes navigation simple. The dashboard also gives you a quick overview of analytics and transactions.
Content can be easily imported from your computer’s hard drive and customising product pages does not require any technical skills. You use the admin panel to manage transactions; orders, fulfilment, shipping, invoices and extended credit are all accessed from one location. Overall, Magento is pretty easy to use and offers customer-friendly features such as a one-click buy button and zoom.
Magento Payment Options
The payment options in the Magento software has everything you would expect from an enterprise level software. Businesses can offer customers several gateway options, more than other eCommerce sites. This gives you more flexibility and professionalism.
Magento is compatible with PayPal, Simple Pay, Amazon Payments, Google Checkout and Authorize.net. Furthermore, there are no transactions fees or what customers may deem as ‘hidden costs’ – tax and shipping costs are built into the total invoice amount before customers head to checkout.
Another advantage of the Magento payment options is the “bill me later” program. This gives buyers the opportunity to set up convenient and affordable direct debits whereby they make monthly payments rather than a one-off payment. This is a feature online buyers appreciate for expensive items.
Magento Product Attributes (whether unlimited or not)
There is no limit to the number of products or product attributes that you can run in a Magento install.
Typical Annual Running Costs for the first year then ongoing years
Given Magento targets large eCommerce companies, the annual running costs are high. The licence for the hardware is £8,500 for the first two years and reduced to £6,500 in the third year. On top of that is the cost of a hosting plan which varies quite widely: from £400 upwards a month.
Magento Customer Support Options
Businesses that opt for the Magento CE are without technical support other than a users forum where you can tap into a huge knowledge base of active users. The Magento EE version does offer a tech support team.
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.
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.
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.