CS-Cart offers end-to-end management with an incredibly simple-to-navigate structure. The clear tri-dashboard arrangement offers seamless navigation and a smooth onboarding process, helping you to master your tool quickly. I appreciated the powerful SEO support and wide range of features available within the dash, which offers flexibility to customize projects.

Possible limitations of CS-Cart include the mixed experiences I had with the customer support team, and its higher cost compared to other e-commerce tools. It may not be suitable for smaller or newly launched businesses looking to save on their tech stack. But I’m confident that CS-Cart is a safe and helpful tool for your business needs.

Read on for more information regarding the pros and cons of CS-Cart and key features of the tool that will help you grow and scale your business.

CS-Cart standout features
Support
  • Paywalled help desk
  • In-demo or in-platform contact form
  • Community forum
  • Video tutorials
  • FAQ
  • WhatsApp telephone line
  • Email (sales)
  • Developer-for-hire services available
Best forLarger businesses or companies looking to scale
Strengths
  • Comprehensive administrative panel for easy store management
  • Intuitive and professional storefront layout and features
  • Strategic and concise reporting for your store’s statistics at a glance
  • Easy-to-use page editor for simplified page creation and updates
Weaknesses
  • Higher priced than similar competitors
  • Less accessible customer support than other options
Promotion15-day free trial

What Are the Pros and Cons of CS-Cart?

While CS-Cart offers business owners an opportunity to save on monthly costs and fees, it’s important to look into the inclusions and add-ons that you’ll have to calculate into the final licensing costs. Although it can be used for various small- and midsize businesses that can afford the costs and fees, larger brands stand to get the most possible benefit from it.

Read on to learn more about what you can expect from choosing CS-Cart as your e-commerce software solution.

Pros of Weebly

  1. Easy-to-use page editor: I appreciated how easy it was to update pages with the native page editor, and that you don’t need any add-on services to enhance your page’s SEO quality or presentation. Everything is done through a centralized page editor housed in the admin panel.
  2. Versatility of goods and service support: Unlike other e-commerce solutions, this allows you to sell both physical and virtual products and subscription services or gigs. There isn’t a limit to what can be done or sold, as the platform supports in-depth product descriptions and feature resource creation to boost your chances of converting your sale.
  3. Rich native SEO tools and editability: Updating your site’s SEO strategy can be done in just a few clicks with the admin panel’s relevant section. You can access any necessary redirects, page data, or other elements without needing a secondary service or developmental pro.
  4. Open-source structure: CS-Cart is a completely open-source tool, which means you’ll have easier access to updates, advanced developmental capabilities, and fixes from other experts in the field. It also increases the possibility of future helpful third-party add-ons and integrations.
  5. Professional site structure and appearance: When I launched my store, I was happily surprised to see how professionally it was organized – offering me a strong starting point to tailor and refine. Although it is less editable and customizable than other services in its space, the comprehensive design was detailed and helpful enough to nearly overcome that disadvantage.
  6. Multi-vendor options for diverse marketplace structures: If your business features a unique marketplace structure, the CS-Cart multi-vendor licensure is the solution. It allows CS-Cart to function as a marketplace platform with vendor management assistance and customer relationship management (CRM) software, presented to your customers as a single, sleek storefront.

Cons of Weebly

  1. The software is dense: It took several days for me to explore every area of this software, which could pose a significant learning curve and hindrance to business owners looking to launch quickly. If you are choosing this software, be sure to build in time to adapt and transition any pre-existing processes you have. The migration may be more demanding than it would be with other services.
  2. There are fewer customization options: Compared to other sites, there are fewer opportunities to aesthetically customize the site. While I found the design comprehensive and easy to navigate, this may not be the best choice if you want an extremely tailored, customized storefront.
  3. It costs more than other services: CS-Cart is more expensive than others in the space. However, it does have more to offer in the way of SEO support and order management – which could help you to save more on monthly fees.

CS-Cart may be the best e-commerce platform for: Larger-scale brands with an assortment of products and services – whether virtual or physical.

CS-Cart LicenseCS-Cart Ultimate LicenseCS-Cart Multi-Vendor License
Price$1,350 (one-time fee)$4,500 (one-time fee)$1,450 (one-time fee)
Best forLarger brands with dedicated teams for development, scaling, and operational managementLarger brands who need help with key tasks, such as development and operational managementLarger brands
Businesses with amulti-vendor structure who want to centralize their e-commerce experience
Basic features
  • Comprehensive storefront creation
  • Subscription for FREE CS-Cart software version upgrades (1 year)
  • 30 days of FREE technical support
  • Order management, marketing, and CMS support
  • Same features as the basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Additional 30 days of FREE technical support (60 total days)
  • Unlimited storefronts for diversification into other streams of revenue
  • Same features as the basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Commission options by the vendor for easy financial management and setup
  • 45 total days of FREE technical support
Customer service
  • Option to pay for regular or VIP customer care “credits” after licensure purchase
  • In-portal support ticket structure for basic assistance
  • Video, FAQ, and community forum-based assistance
  • Option to pay for regular or VIP customer care “credits” after licensure purchase
  • In-portal support ticket structure for basic assistance
  • Video, FAQ, and community forum-based assistance
  • Option to pay for regular or VIP customer care “credits” after licensure purchase
  • In-portal support ticket structure for basic assistance
  • Video, FAQ, and community forum-based assistance
Scalability
  • User group and staff account designation via admin panel
  • User group and staff account designation via admin panel
  • User group and staff account designation via admin panel
  • Vendor account option for easier management and tracking
Sales support
  • In-depth product and feature options to boost conversion opportunities
  • Gift certificate functionality
  • International market functionality
  • Multilingual options
  • Currency conversion via add-ons in CS-Cart marketplace
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
Order management
  • Easy-to-use dashboard for seamless management
  • Manual order editing for customer assistance
  • Full list of abandoned or live carts
  • Included reporting functionality for most accurate possible data
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
Reporting
  • Strategic and concise reporting natively, can be enhanced with CS-Cart marketplace add-ons for specific metrics
  • Strategic and concise reporting natively, can be enhanced with CS-Cart marketplace add-ons for specific metrics
  • Strategic and concise reporting natively, can be enhanced with CS-Cart marketplace add-ons for specific metrics
Marketing
  • Catalog and cart promotion functionality for tailored deals and efforts
  • Newsletters, campaigns, auto-responders, and outreach – conveniently templatized
  • Gift certificates and reward points for gamification opportunities
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
Shipping
  • Ship and print label support
  • Manual and real-time calculation capabilities
  • User-group specific shipping options
  • Free shipping options for items of your choice
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
Security
  • Secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate functionality
  • Key chron script access for password change tracking
  • Password validity and protection for every subaccount
  • Secure connectivity function for higher website quality
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
  • Same as basic CS-Cart licensure
Point-of-sale (POS)
  • Available via Retail POS add-on in CS-Cart marketplace
  • Available via Retail POS add-on in CS-Cart marketplace
  • Available via Retail POS add-on in CS-Cart marketplace
Transaction feeNoneNoneNone
Tax calculations
  • Available via the Shipping and Taxes page of store (as of CS-Cart 4.15x)
  • Also available through TaxJar add-on for U.S. and Canadian rates
  • Available via the Shipping and Taxes page of store (as of CS-Cart 4.15x)
  • Also available through TaxJar add-on for U.S. and Canadian rates
  • Available via the Shipping and Taxes page of store (as of CS-Cart 4.15x)
  • Also available through TaxJar add-on for U.S. and Canadian rates

Store design

Store design
Source: CS-Cart

The CS-Cart store design library is diverse and works similarly to Wix’s template assortment and selection process. I found more than 200 themes in the CS-Cart marketplace. These themes have associated costs, which are important to factor into your overall budget and design process.

However, the ease of setup for the themes justifies the cost. The site offers a no-code storefront customization option via a native theme editor, which made it easy for me to toggle backgrounds, colors, and fonts. If you have adequate coding experience, the template editor also allows for HTML/CSS customization for more personalized looks.

Over the course of this review, I grew to appreciate just how complete the trial template truly was. It was more limited in customization options and design aesthetics (such as with Squarespace or more advanced WordPress storefronts). But it certainly provided everything I needed in a very minimalist, and sleek storefront.

Product upload

Product upload
Source: CS-Cart

With CS-Cart, I chose between two main ways to add my items: either via bulk-add for larger catalogs or manually. Multi Variant Bulk Order allowed me to add products to the cart in bulk using a single add to cart button and select the quantity in accordance with their variant or color type (such as small, medium, or large).

Multi Variant Bulk Order
Source: CS-Cart

You can easily access the bulk-add option by going to the “Products” tab in the admin panel of the shop. Simply navigate to the right-hand side of the page and click the gear, choosing the “bulk product addition” option. Then toggle the on-screen prompts and migrate items to your shop.

bulk-add option
Source: CS-Cart

It is easy to edit your product descriptions at any time in the “Products” tab, to toggle features, variation settings, SEO tools, and any sort of relevant “buy together” or reward options to enhance your customer experience. Also, you can edit any relevant shipping information by-product for a more personalized approach to e-commerce store shipping.

Products settings
Source: CS-Cart

A great native feature that I haven’t seen commonly across platforms is the video gallery – allowing your customers a tailored walk-through experience of each product’s use and “feel” virtually. It’s very thorough and offers you different options and SEO tools to help boost your organic reach.

Products settings 2
Source: CS-Cart

Abandoned cart recovery

Abandoned cart recovery
Source: CS-Cart

The abandoned cart recovery feature is housed in the “Orders” tab of the admin panel. I found it an especially helpful insight for tailoring my retention strategy. You can see a live feed of customers currently shopping and who have abandoned their carts. This data is tracked separately by storefront as of CS 4.15.x.

While this information is helpful, I didn’t find an easily accessible way to translate this information into an abandoned cart campaign. You would have to manually track and review chronically open carts or non-converting customers as you refine your strategy and outreach.

To enhance the native tool, you can consider the Abandoned Cart Recovery PRO add-on in the CS-Cart marketplace, as well as any other third-party abandoned cart email tools of your choice.

SEO

CS-Cart gives visibility into your SEO impact on every page of your site, offering an exclusive tab under the “Website” area for SEO rule tracking, redirect management, and your robots.txt files. I was also able to customize SEO elements by product listing and subpage, allowing a comparable range of flexibility that you’d see with WordPress or other more tailored platforms.

SEO settings
Source: CS-Cart

The on-page SEO customization area by listing offers a variety of ways to tailor your strategy. These include editability on key elements such as:

  • SEO page name
  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords
  • Rich snippet preview
  • Sitemap
  • Video and image description

These tools, also available in the multi-vendor licensure package, are designed to help you to rank organically in your space. If you’re looking for more enhanced services and benefits, consider any of the available SEO add-ons in the CS-Cart shop.

Payment processing

50+ Payment Systems
Source: CS-Cart

CS-Cart goes the extra mile to make customer transactions completely seamless for both seller and client – integrating UX-based strategies and a variable payment gateway system that can accommodate over 50 international payment processors natively.

Some of the most common options include:

  • FuturePay
  • ChronoPay
  • HSBC
  • Merchant Warrior
  • PayPal and PayPal Pro

A single-window payment experience can help customers more easily complete the transaction, minimizing the risk of bounces throughout the payment process.

Another benefit is the lack of transaction fees. I confirmed with customer service that no transaction fees currently apply across any of the service’s licensure plans, giving e-commerce business owners a way to save in the long run.

I also appreciated the international serviceability and range of options natively included in CS-Cart, which helps to give the global e-commerce community a second option and platform to consider for their businesses.

Mobile support

CS-Cart App page
Source: Digital.com

CS-Cart offers a convenient mobile application that’s optimized for its multi-vendor license holders. In testing, I was able to conveniently and quickly view and manage my shop.

While the multi-vendor site and template designs are created to be intuitive and mobile-friendly, I found loading speeds problematic for more intensive operational tasks and site support.

Certain multi-vendor license holders can create a mobile application that’s essentially white-labeled for their store. This is possible because the current application is created off of open-source code. You can give the development team all the information necessary (such as a style guide and links) and completely configure the look and feel of your app, which gives you a new way to connect with customers.

Inventory management

Inventory management
Source: CS-Cart.com

I appreciated that CS-Cart offers multiple convenient ways to handle your inventory management tasks. The first method, featured in the image above, is with an at-a-glance style dashboard that shows your total sales, product count, out-of-stock items, and other important counts.

You can also get more accurate tracking by setting your inventory properties to “track without options,” which tabulates the total number of product types without variation. The other choice is the “track with options” that lets you count by variation amount and type.

I was able to set low stock thresholds for easier item management. You can find this under the “General” tab in Settings, where you set the amount needed to trigger an email notification regarding the stock levels of each product. It’s especially helpful to set inventory to “track with options” for greater data and reporting accuracy.

Email marketing

CS-Cart Email marketing
Source: CS-Cart.com

CS-Cart offers a comprehensive suite of email tools to help you create compelling campaigns for your clients. I liked the full range of editability across SMTP server settings, how you “present” to clients from your vendor email experience, and the ability to add encryption to my communications.

The interface does have a decentralized design, housing newsletter templates, campaign settings, and mailing list functionality under the “Marketing” tab. This can be a bit of a learning curve as it’s completely separate from the other e-mail settings.

Once launched, the native editor was easy to use. It lacks some graphic and aesthetic elements I’ve used in design services such as Klaviyo or Mailchimp.

Reporting and analytics

CS-Cart Reporting and analytics
Source: CS-Cart.com

Reporting and analytics are housed in a single centralized dashboard in the “Home” area of the Admin panel, which covers several key metrics. These include elements such as:

  • Registered customers
  • Out-of-stock products
  • Order statuses (complete, open, failed, processed, back-ordered)
  • Sales
  • Taxes
  • Abandoned carts
  • Income
  • Total order amount

I found the reporting and analytics options available in both the basic CS-Cart licensure and multi-vendor licensure options very light compared to competitors such as BigCommerce or Wix. It’s far less comprehensive with little to no marketing tracking support for strategy refinement or operational updates. I saw very few add-ons in the CS-Cart marketplace that would add value either, as they instead focus on tasks surrounding reporting, such as the generation of summarized sales reports and export of files.

Shipping options

CS-Cart Shipping options
Source: CS-Cart.com

CS-Cart offers a range of customizable shipping options, so I was able to set my shipping policies en masse or by item and opt for either manual or real-time rate calculation. You can also choose to go with free shipping if that better suits the needs of your business.

CS-Cart currently offers shipping options through Canada Post, DHL, FedEx, Swiss Post, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, and Australia Post. The comprehensive shipping guide provides you with more information about specific partnerships and setup options.

CS-Cart Security
Source: CS-Cart.com

CS-Cart is very transparent with business owners about how it protects its open-source structure. It conducts regular and rigorous cybersecurity testing and code review for every in-license element. The company has also incorporated built-in protection from cross-site scripting and request forgery operations (CSRF) that could compromise your store.

It also includes secure data transfer channels via various encryption methods at the database level, giving your clients the confidence they need to buy.

CS-Cart Support Chat
Source: CS-Cart.com

CS-Cart has a more limited customer support range than other e-commerce tools; this can be difficult for business owners who need additional technical and onboarding support. E-commerce shop owners have two main ways of getting their questions answered: via paid customer support packages, chat, or supplementary support options on the site or in the dashboard of the shop’s back-end page.

While both are helpful, the chat and related support pages and forums aren’t suitable for in-depth technical needs. They’re designed to be a customer service resource for account questions and other lighter topics. User experience varies depending on the customer service representative you’re sent to.

Additional supplementary support options include:

  • Chat: This option is convenient, although the staff adheres to specific support hours. I received a response in about five minutes. You can access this feature through the native chat support “bubble” to the bottom right-hand side of your dash or via WhatsApp.
  • Support ticket: It took longer for me to get a support ticket response (24 to 48 hours). This type of support is suited for light developmental questions or account support tasks.
  • Documentation and community forums: Helpful tools for those who prefer written tutorials and community assistance with common problems.
  • Video tutorials: If you’re looking for a more advanced support method or prefer to follow along with a verbal guide, this is a good option.
  • Developer for hire: If you get stuck, you may consider hiring a contracted developer from its pool of specialists. This a strong choice if you’re dealing with specific roadblocks or are looking for new ways to take your site to the next level.

Consider the overall annual cost if you’re planning on purchasing customer care options. Currently, Standard Customer Care licensure is $2,000 per year. With it, you’ll get:

  • Unlimited requests: Concierge assistance with any element of your store’s function and developmental needs.
  • Site modifications: Four minor modifications of CS-Cart’s back-end code per year, giving you a more tailored website experience.
  • Website updates: Automatic website updates whenever new CS-Cart updates come out.

Alternatively, you could go with the premium customer care option ($3,600 per year), which includes the standard licensure perks plus:

  • Online chat support: Helpful for one-off questions and basic support on daily tasks.
  • Web server configuration: Great for a more optimized and competitive site experience, giving you better overall performance.
  • Mobile app assistance: If you qualify for a mobile app (via the select multi-vendor licensure plans), you can have concierge assembly and maintenance, ideal for non-tech-savvy or busy business owners.
  • Dedicated care team support: Two hours per week of dedicated customer care and service to enhance your CS-Cart experience for yourself, your team, and your clients.

New compatibility with Stripe Connect

CS-Cart Stripe Connect
Source: CS-Cart.com

Stripe Connect is a payment method that distributes the total cost of the order between the vendors and marketplace. This improvement is vital to the engagement and quality of experience your vendors can gain, as the Express Accounts associated with Stripe Connect are far easier to use and register.

New vendor panel for more on-brand experiences

If you use the multi-vendor license package, you can enjoy a new and improved vendor panel – designed for intuitive use, convenience, and branded experiences. You can utilize the Vendor Panel Configurator tool to offer a tailored experience across your vendors, clients, and brand landscape.

Category shifts across storefronts

Depending on the multi-vendor licensure package you chose, you can have multiple storefronts, which can be more easily populated with divided categories between them. This allows you to quickly stock a store and tailor different storefronts to different audiences and location targets for more efficient use and management.

Increased Google PageSpeed score for mobile

Increased PageSpeed score
Source: CS-Cart.com

While CS-Cart storefronts already had competitive results for the Google PageSpeed score on desktop, the developers took it a step further and focused on mobile optimization. According to CS-Cart, as of the 4.14.1 version, the average default PageSpeed score across devices was up by 14% for multi-vendor license users.

Features coming soon to CS-Cart

While there haven’t been confirmed new upcoming updates for CS-Cart, the developers are committed to continuing to enhance the product for every user’s needs. We look forward to seeing additional developments in the future.

Compare CS-Cart Alternatives

CS-Cart is a competitive tool for e-commerce. However, if you’re a smaller business or looking for a more affordable solution, you may be better off going with competing services such as BigCommerce, Wix, Magento, or PinnacleCart.

We’ve taken the time to evaluate each platform by its service offerings to provide objective information so that you can make the best possible decision.

Read on to learn more about how CS-Cart compares to other platforms in the e-commerce space that are approved by the team at Digital.com.

E-Commerce platformPricingMultichannel salesBasic plan featuresCompare
CS-Cart

Overall rating
(3.9)

Licenses starting at $1,350Yes
  • Comprehensive storefront creation
  • Subscription for free CS-Cart software version upgrades (1 year)
  • 30 days of free technical support
  • Order management, marketing, and CMS support
Shopify

Overall rating
(4.1)

Read our full Shopify Review

$29 per monthYes
  • Easy-to-use site editor
  • 24/7 support options available
  • Full en-suite of marketing tools
  • 2% transaction fee
CS-Cart offers more robust and diverse SEO support and no transaction fees on any license plan. While Shopify does offer more support and marketing tools, the inclusive design and SEO toolkit are more competitive on CS-Cart.

Consider Shopify for: More advanced customer support and in-depth reporting capabilities

BigCommerce

Overall rating
(3.9)

Read our full Bigcommerce Review

$29.95 per monthYes
  • 24/7 support (phone, email, chat)
  • Advanced marketing support
  • Advanced reporting capabilities
BigCommerce offers more comprehensive reporting options and a variety of customer support options for business owners in need. But the professional and easy-to-use framework that CS-Cart provides across most areas of e-commerce management for larger brands is more competitive overall.

Consider BigCommerce for: More in-depth reporting and marketing support.

Magento

Overall rating
(2.8)

FreeNo
  • Easy back-end customization process with light development support
  • Open source and sleek
Magento offers easier to customize back-end code elements when compared to CS-Cart, but CS-Cart has more valuable developmental assistance and outsources to pros in the field.

Consider Magento if: You don’t mind coding the various elements of your brand and site experience, or if you want a more customizable version of CS-Cart’s open-source software.

PinnacleCart

Overall rating
(3.0)

Read our PinnacleCart review.

$79.95 per monthYes
  • Ticket and live chat support
  • Advanced reporting and marketing assistance
  • Easy to navigate and use for new business owners
PinnacleCart is a comparably comprehensive option compared to CS-Cart, but CS-Cart offers more unique opportunities in its inclusive design.

Consider PinnacleCart if: You want an inclusive and easy-to-navigate site design, or if you’re a new business owner who wants a comprehensive e-commerce tool.

Wix

Overall rating
(3.0)

Read our full Wix review.

$27 per monthYes
  • Aesthetically pleasing template library with a greater range of design customization
  • Easy-to-use and in-depth reporting and analysis tools
Wix is a more affordable option, offering additional opportunities for customization and style. But CS-Cart is more inclusive than Wix, justifying its cost with its wide range of supportive tools for business owners.

Consider Wix if: You want a done-for-you design experience with endless customization opportunities.

WooCommerce

Overall rating
(3.2)

Read our WooCommerce review.

FreeNo 

  • Endless add-on opportunities through the marketplace
  • Robust customer support
WooCommerce may seem more affordable, but CS-Cart offers a more comprehensive structural design without a fraction of the add-ons that you would need for similar functionality in a WooCommerce store.

Consider WooCommerce if: You’re looking for an open-source solution for your WordPress site or if you want to experiment with a variety of plug-ins to enhance your site experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About CS-Cart

How much does CS-Cart cost?

You can do a 15-day trial period on any one of CS-Cart’s license options. After that, you’ll determine if you need the basic CS-Cart licensure or the multi-vendor licensure for marketplace-style businesses. CS-Cart basic licenses cost $1,350, or you can upgrade to $4,500 with an additional free one-year access to upgrades and 60 days of tech support.

If you opt for multi-vendor, expect to pay $1,450, or $3,500 if you want multi-vendor plus and the ability to white-label an app for your business.

Do you need to be a designer or developer to use CS-Cart?

Part of the convenience of CS-Cart is that you do not need to be a designer or developer to use it. The comprehensive site structure can be kept and operated in template form and has developers-for-hire if you want to take it a step further.

What do you need to start selling on CS-Cart?

All you need to start selling on CS-Cart is a full inventory of items. If you’re looking to launch quickly, consider preparing by creating your SEO-friendly descriptions, planning a few marketing campaigns, and segmenting your client lists for easy import or manual input.

Can you use your own domain name with CS-Cart if you already have a website?

You can, but not easily. It does require quite a bit of development work. We’ve saved you a few clicks, though, and have linked the walk-through here.

How many products can you sell on CS-Cart?

You can sell thousands of products across an unlimited number of categories with your CS-Cart licensure.

Can you have multiple stores on CS-Cart?

Yes, you can. Simply choose the CS-Cart ultimate license or the ultimate B2B license to enjoy unlimited storefronts.

How I Rated CS-Cart

Digital.com’s rating process goes through a detailed evaluation of the features offered in the CS-Cart platform in comparison to other options. We know what e-commerce business owners need to be successful – which has informed our approach to evaluate every key area of business you need to thrive. Through direct testing with dummy shops, we get a true understanding of what every user will encounter.

As I walked through the shop launch process, I evaluated key parameters and metrics for e-commerce success. Some of the most notable include the scalability, security, and usability of the site, as well as the available design elements and the presence of customer support.

CS-Cart is impressive and extremely comprehensive for the price. I was blown away by the ability to white-label my own app (with certain license packages) and by the depth of developmental support available. The unfortunate part was that most of the customer support came at a hefty cost. Despite this disadvantage, this platform is ideal for larger businesses that are able to spend a more significant amount for a one-time license, or that know what their developmental needs are to make the most out of the service.