A newly-launched version of CS-Cart end of July 2012, has ignited my interest to do another review on this highly popular shopping cart software. Since my earlier review on CS-Cart Multi-store, the team at CS-Cart has recently introduced their latest cart ie CS-Cart 3.0.2. And boy, am I excited about his new shopping cart. You would too when you hear about the goodies in store.
What is CS-Cart?
But before I go into this latest addition to the CS-Cart family, do allow me to briefly talk about the company and its products for the benefits of those not familiar with CS-Cart products.
CS-Cart started back in 2005 by Simbirsk Technologies Ltd. Since then, they had gained the trust of many e-commerce website owners with their feature-packed and reliable shopping carts.
These shopping carts are standalone e-commerce platforms that offer its users complete control over their online business. What’s great about CS-Cart is the seemingly little effort needed to manage your online stores from adding products to inventory control to marketing your products.
This full-fledged e-commerce shopping cart is designed for medium size online businesses. Comes with lots of features to suit the hundreds of different businesses out there. Very affordable at $345 only.
This advanced edition provide users the ability to set up more than one store and to control all the stores from the same common administrator panel. This is great if you want to have different stores for different categories for your products for example. Priced at $650.
With this extended version, you can create an online web store where multiple vendors are able to personally control their own products. You can create a marketplace with this multi-vendor software. This edition costs $985.
This is the FREE edition. It is suitable for new or small online businesses with minimum requirements. There will however, be a copyright note and a link to CS-Cart on all your store’s pages and the administration panel. A one-time license fee of $65 is required to remove this link.
If you are new to starting an online store and just want to give CS-Cart a try, you can use the Community Edition which is completely free. It is a free shopping cart software that offers a basic set of features. You can effortlessly upgrade to the Professional Edition, or any other edition which suits your requirements at a later time when you are more ready.
Good News! Check out CS-Cart at their official website and download their 30-day free trial!
The 30-day free trial is available for the full commercial versions of the Professional Edition, Ultimate Edition and Multi-Vendor Edition. Great way to test out the options and see if it fits your requirements. Once the 30 days are over, you are to either purchase the license or remove the trial version.
CS-Cart 3.0.2 Features
So what’s so special about the latest CS-Cart version? Well, lots. For one, it’s more polished. The storefront default skin feels sleek and clean. The administration panel is updated to be cleaner and faster. Navigation is easier and fun with the more organized look.
Secondly, it has incorporated plenty of changes, bug fixes and updates. I am glad to report that Simbirsk Technologies has indeed listened to users’ feedbacks and a number of issues had been resolved.
Let’s take a look at some of its new features.
Store Import Add-on
This newly incorporated feature is what makes this version great. Previously known as the Database Upgrade Tool, the Store Import Add-on makes upgrading a breeze. What it does is to import your database from an existing store to the new version.
Upgrading the same editions from CS-Cart 2.2.4 and 2.2.5 to CS-Cart 3.0.2 is much easier with this tool. The Store Import Add-on also simplified the conversion from CS-Cart Professional to CS-Cart Ultimate.
Meanwhile, upgrading from CS-Cart 3.0.1 to CS-Cart 3.0.2 involves a few clicks in the Upgrade Center (within the Admin panel) and does not require this tool.
CS-Cart version 3.0.2 also comes with the mobile-friendly toolkit for online stores, Twigmo 2.0. Similar to the new shopping cart, this new Twigmo version too sports a new user interface.
Yes, you can now target a whole new set of potential customers ie those who shop using their mobile devices. Some interesting features of Twigmo 2.0 are the inclusion of banners on homepage, multi-language support, direct link and quantity discounts.
Just a note that recently Twigmo 2.1 was released. You can easily install/upgrade this latest version.
Other Changes and Additions
- All editions (except Ultimate Edition) come with the newest version of Searchanise, a product search tool made for online stores.
- Priority Mail Regional Rate shipping service was included
- Integration with 3 additional payment methods ie Plati Doma, QIWI and RBK Money
- Other improvements and fixes can be viewed on their changelog.
Well, I’m pretty happy about the latest version as there are load of improvements and I don’t have much complaints about them at all.
There is, however, one thing that I wish was a little different. That’s the number of default skins available. Currently, there is only one “Basic Skin” that is shipped together with the shopping cart. In previous CS-Cart versions, we were spoilt for choice with more than a dozen skins that comes free with them. I do hope that CS-Cart would offer more skins which are compatible with version 3.0.2 (or higher, if so released).
For the time being, you can check out some 3-party CS-Cart templates if you prefer a different skin.
With so many features and various editions to choose from, there’s little surprise why many websites are choosing to install CS-Cart. I would encourage you to take a tour to check it out too. Or if you prefer, try out their online demo, and even their completely free Community Edition.
You would be able to see for yourself just how simple creating and managing an e-commerce website is with CS-Cart, regardless of whether you are building a small online store or a huge multi-store virtual shopping mall!