Developed by Simbirsk Technologies Ltd., CS-Cart first made its debut in August 1st, 2005. The usage of the Smarty Template Engine meant that the core files of the shopping cart were isolated from the design elements which users would want to tweak according to their own preference. Hence, because the essence of the software is separated from the design files, it also meant that the CS-Cart would be very stable and easy to customize.
CS Cart version 2.0 is a pioneer in shopping cart technology as Simbirsk engineers introduced the concept of empowering CS-Cart users with the option of add-on features to their existing CS-Cart without having to modify the core software. Today, the folks at Simbirsk Technologies Ltd. have strengthened their e-commerce shopping cart business with technical support, installation assistance, web design and even custom programming.
CS-Cart can be obtained either for free or through license purchasing, depending on the edition of shopping cart you are interested in. The three editions currently available consist of CS-Cart Community, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor and CS-Cart Professional.
CS-Cart Community – Free Shopping Cart
Of the three versions, CS-Cart Community is the only version of CS-Cart which is free. The software includes basic ecommerce features which should be sufficient to help a newbie launch his or her very first virtual web store. Said features include built-in content management system, automatic inventory control as well as support for popular online payment systems and shipping services.
In return for this free software, users of the CS-Cart Community are required to maintain a copyright note that links back to the official CS-Cart website on every web page. Alternatively, one could also pay a onetime fee of US$65 to permanently remove the copyright note.
The Professional version is designed for small and medium-sized businesses in mind and it contains the most practical and applicable features one needs in order to run a fully-functional web store. There are over 50 payment services included in CS-Cart Professional which includes Google Checkout, Moneybookers and Paypal.
CS-Cart Professional also comes with plenty of shipping methods including the Australia Post, Canada Post and DHL. In terms of web store security, CS-Cart users will also be able to enjoy secure HTTPS/SSL for administrators and customers.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is meant to help connect a whole variety of vendors under one network, such as those operating in shopping malls. With this shopping cart, every vendor manages their own portion of the business such as picking out the featured products, managing orders, configuring their own shipping methods and payout balance.
This version of CS-Cart is essentially the same as the CS-Cart Professional version, except that it also comes with an advanced feature to connect vendors together and cataloging all of their products into one centralized marketplace. This makes shopping online much easier and faster!
Why CS-Cart is a Great Shopping Cart
Easy to Customize Shopping Cart
CS-Cart comes with a Block Management module where users can create content in blocks which can then be dragged and placed on a specific spot to create the shopping cart layout. This means that anyone can design the look of their shopping cart now, regardless of whether or not they have any experience in HTML or PHP.
The Admin Control Panel is web-based and its AJAX interface is simple enough for any user to configure according to their preference.
Features Rich Shopping Cart
CS-Cart makes your job of uploading products much easier as well, thanks to its bulk product management tool. The software allows administrators to upload an unlimited amount of products into its database.
Under the product options, users can also key-in specific localized tax calculations as well such as the VAT in the England and the GST in Australia. The software also comes with over fifty integrated payment systems and a wide array of shipping options that are typically used by online retailers. CS-Cart also comes with marketing and promotional tools such as gift certificates, Return Merchandise Authorization, reward points, coupons, discounts, affiliate programs and SEO options.
Special Features for Customers
Your online customers will appreciate customer-centered features such as password reminders, their order history as well as special pricing for members of your store. Other features include adding a product into a “Wish List” and invoices printing when required. For repeat customers, they will also have their shopping cart content stored in the CS-Cart database for their convenience.
Hands down, CS-Cart is a very powerful shopping cart software that is certainly worth paying US$345 as compared to other premium shopping carts that can cost as much as US$1,000 per license.
The great thing about CS-Cart is that it is built for people who have no programming background and yet it comes packed with plenty of excellent features such as SEO, one-page checkouts and support for popular payment gateways. More seasoned shopping cart users can further addon other features to their CS-Cart as well without fear of compromising the functionality of the existing source code.
We recommend that you start off CS-Cart Professional rather than the free version, so that you can utilize the full potential of the software. Important features that are only present in the Professional version are such as Marketing and promotion tools, 40+ professional design templates, Membership levels and access permission rules, Bonus system and customer loyalty rewards, and Multiple languages support.