I admit I have always been intrigued with CS-Cart. Because I find this amazing ecommerce software not only user-friendly but also so powerful it’s good to used for ecommerce websites of various sizes, whether it is a small online store or a huge virtual mall.
CS-Cart was launched almost 10 years ago in 2004 and is implemented by tens of thousands of online stores. It is a complete shopping cart on its own. This means by using this software, you will be able to run a fairly complete ecommerce website, without the need to purchase other third party addon or software.
This shopping cart is also 100% open source. Many users’ recommendations and suggestions were taken into consideration in creating it. Moreover, you can expect a pretty strong community with active forums. And best of all, it is reliable and has high performance consistency.
If you would like to know more about CS-Cart, do check out my earlier review about them and you will understand my enthusiasm about this shopping cart software.
CS-Cart 4 Features
In this post, I would like to review the newly introduced CS-Cart 4.
Here’s a little interesting fact about this version. It was initially planned to be version 3.1.1. However, after considering the amount of changes and the huge significance of these new features, the team behind decides to release it as version 4 instead.
So what are these new features and how would it affect us. CS-Cart has loads of new features and here are some of them.
Recently, CS-Cart has also introduced a new edition policy of which CS-Cart 4 was the first release to conform to this new policy.
Consolidated Into 2 Editions
Current CS-Cart users or those who are familiar with CS-Cart products will certainly notice the absence of the free CS-Cart Community Edition in this new release. That’s because the Community Edition has been discontinued and replaced with CS-Cart Ultimate (Free Mode). However, current users of CS-Cart Community are not affected.
The other change in this new release is that the Professional and Ultimate editions were merged into the new Ultimate edition. Many users were finding it difficult to choose between these two editions and thus, combining them into one single edition help users get the best of out of both!
Ultimate (free mode)
This is the free edition of CS-Cart Unlimited, which provides you limited features. So you do get the feel of the interface and some usability but not the complete set of functions.
For example, you have 3 product filters compared to unlimited product filters in the commercial versions. You even get to try out the multi-store function but can’t implement multiple languages, currencies and product suppliers. And you don’t have access to technical support, although you can find helpful suggestions and advices from their forums.
When you wish to upgrade to the full-featured commercial Ultimate edition, all you need to do is to key in the commercial license key in order to gain access to locked features. Simple.
The Ultimate edition costs a one-time license fee of $395.
Now you can control your stores better by managing multiple stores from one single control panel. You also get over 50 built-in add-ons and unlimited product filters. If you wish to run a loyalty rewards program or offer discount coupons, these can be easily implemented too.
Customer support is available but you will need to purchase credits to access them.
This edition is has all the features of the Ultimate edition, and with the added capability for you to open up your marketplace for external vendors to sell their products and services! Think ebay and etsy.com. Each vendor has his own admin panel and can use their own shipping methods.
This edition is a yearly-based subscription and costs $590 annually. This is pricey, but the features list is great!
Admin Panel’s New Look and Feel
As requested by many users, CS-Cart’s admin panel has been given a facelift with a more modern design. It is certainly more intuitive and users will definitely find navigation much easier. For example, menus have been rearranged and sidebars now come with search and additional functionality. Creating, editing and managing orders can now be done on a single page.
Real-time Theme Editor
Imagine being able to change your stores’ layout and appearance and have it immediately implemented on your website. Yes, customization can now be done in real time. And no, you won’t need to know any hand-code HTML or CSS either.
All you need to do is pick a theme under Design > Themes. You can customize it further if you wish by adjusting the fonts, colors, icons, background and so forth. Once you are satisfied, deploy the theme.
There is a great improvement in terms of how fast the software is. It is significantly faster compared to previous versions and with majority customers unwilling to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load, this is definitely good news to business owners! At the same time, it also uses less CPU resources.
API (Application Programming Interface) is an interface which allows app-to-app communications. This means that you can now more easily integrate CS-Cart with other applications for various purposes, for example, your own inventory system, a local payment gateway, a third party vendor’s application and a local courier service system.
CS-Cart 4 is really quite an amazing shopping cart software in terms of ease of customization and functions. If you are a small online store owner, you will find that the Ultimate free mode edition is enough to meet your requirements. When your transactions grow, you will then have the option to upgrade to the commercial version. So, there is scalability too.
Interested? Why not check them out today? They offer a 15 day free hosted installation of CS-Cart Ultimate for you to test it out.
Alternatively, you may want to try out the Trial Mode which allows you a 30-day full access to either the CS-Cart Ultimate or Multi-Vendor editions. Once the trial period is over, you can proceed to purchase the licensed version or opt for the Ultimate free mode.