|X-Cart standout features|
|Best for||Mid- to large-size businesses who want to grow and build their brand identity|
|Promotion||Full-scale demo available after sales call|
What Are the Pros and Cons of X-Cart?
X-Cart is a rising star in the e-commerce space. While many similar open-source solutions offer less functionality and more code-heavy user experiences, X-Cart walks the line of both technically advanced and easy-to-use design.
The site allows development-savvy business owners the flexibility of additional customization while serving communities of business owners and brand leaders that may be less technically skilled. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons you can expect when choosing X-Cart for your e-commerce needs.
Pros of X-Cart
- Easy to edit: I appreciated how easy it was to implement and customize the suite of site design options and the variety that shop owners could choose from.
- Multiple payment gateway support: I liked how customizable the platform is and how many native gateways are supported. With 100+ options, it’s one of the most diverse and accessible platforms available.
- Simple migration support: X-Cart makes migration simple for business owners with previously established sites. It offers advanced support to keep sites going throughout the transition, avoiding potential loss of sales.
- Inclusive design and admin panel: I appreciated the light customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing capabilities that were natively included in the interface and the opportunities to enhance them with integrations.
- Multi-channel customer support: While many users have referenced customer service issues in the past, X-Cart seems to have addressed these in a multi-channel way. You can reach out via phone, email, chat, or forum, as well as can access any of the hundreds of articles or documentation in the knowledge base. My interactions with customer support were positive and prompt – I only received delays in the onboarding and sign-on process.
- Extensive product listing options: Out of all the platforms I’ve encountered, X-Cart had one of the most extensive product listing options to boost revenue and expand your brand’s identity across your catalog.
Cons of X-Cart
- Onboarding experience may vary: I did see positive feedback regarding X-Cart’s onboarding process. Yet my experience was a bit rocky as I had to have a sales call before getting access to the trial store. This caused a significant delay in my store’s launch timeline.
- High price points: X-Cart is more expensive than other e-commerce platforms with similar functionality. However, for business owners looking for more nuanced options, the perks explored in this review may be worth it for the price.
Abandoned cart recovery
The abandoned cart recovery feature is an included add-on to Ultimate, Platform, Marketplace, Auto, and Enterprise plans. This convenient addition connects you to customers on the verge of conversion, allowing you to automate, create, and execute reminders to encourage the possibility of a purchase. “Guest” customers (who don’t have a formal account with your site) can also be positively impacted by this add-on.
Although this add-on is automation-based, you can manually toggle abandoned cart tasks from your dashboard whenever you need to, protecting your autonomy and giving your clients and team members the best possible experience.
There are customer-facing benefits to this add-on, such as one-click recovery. This level of convenience increases the chance of a possible conversion. When paired with the Coupons add-on, e-commerce store owners can also offer customized discount coupon codes for the customer’s next purchase, sweetening the deal and encouraging a purchase.
With this add-on functionality, you’ll easily track abandoned cart revenue through the Abandoned Cart area of the admin panel, which is especially helpful for revenue reporting.
One drawback I found of the X-Cart platform is its lack of a native newsletter tool. If you haven’t yet scaled to the point of a newsletter, or are looking for a third-party tool to assist (such as Mailchimp), you likely won’t mind this gap in functionality.
While there is no natively included editor, you can opt into the X-Cart 5 Newsletter Subscription add-on. This adds an opt-in box to the footer of your website or connects your Mailchimp account – where you can create your own personalized and branded newsletters.
X-Cart has a simplified dash for order statuses in the admin panel, helping you easily track the current flow of inventory in and out of your site. While it isn’t as comprehensive as tools such as Shopify with its analysis of top sellers, you can easily see what’s in transit and what’s in the queue. This is explained further by the site’s dedicated Statistics tab for an even more in-depth profit study across purchases (pictured below).
Across my study of e-commerce management platforms, it seems you either get one or the other with inventory management. You get an inclusive modular system that tracks items such as fulfillment and order statuses or a more built-out, comprehensive reporting system in the dash – which tracks both order flow and revenue incoming. X-Cart offers shop owners the best of both worlds in a clean, easy-to-read package, which is suitable for stores at every stage of development.
X-Cart customers have the opportunity to launch their own branded app through the X-Cart interface. This is unique, as many platforms don’t offer the functionality for this type of perk. The idea is that you can easily keep retention up and better target customers with tools such as notifications and mobile-only deals.
This app has an easy-to-use mobile checkout option that’s compatible with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, giving your customers the ease and convenience that’s needed to boost your conversion rates solidly.
One of the biggest perks of this feature is that it’s continuously syncing with your store in the background, avoiding the lag that’s normally associated with stand-alone apps until they’re optimized. It runs off of the X-Cart’s Representational State Transfer (REST) API, which can be configured to suit your site’s unique needs.
This perk is available with any X-Cart subscription purchase and can be self-developed to save on additional costs. Otherwise, you can consider hiring an outside developer for the project or an X-Cart developer for an additional cost – determined at the time of purchase with your X-Cart sales rep.
X-Cart connects with 100+ different shipping gateways, allowing you to boost your conversions through convenient and safe options for your customers to use. For business owners who have both in-person stores and virtual storefronts, X-Cart has rolled out a POS system for easy syncing and tracking.
While X-Cart doesn’t have as robust of a security system in place as other tools, business owners can rest assured it doesn’t offer payment processing services. Instead, the service partners with outside payment processors (such as PayPal), who are responsible for protecting and processing the payment. I appreciate this, as it eliminates a lot of the concern and risk involved with using an open-source tool for sensitive customer data – such as payment information.
There are plenty of options for international buyers and sellers too, which makes X-Cart an especially strong choice for those who have global businesses.
You can easily build out your virtual storefront using X-Cart’s intuitive interface. Choose a manual upload process for one-off uploads, or you can create your CSV file for easy transfers. The CSV only needs two fields to function (the SKU and the product name), making this a straightforward process for newer or less technically-inclined business owners.
There are over 20 types of accepted and recognized fields that business owners can input while creating their CSV, saving hours spent with migration operations on the back end. The site has even compiled a convenient documentation article about what types of syntax are allowed when you create your CSV file for maximum convenience and accuracy. You can read up on what’s required here.
I prefer the build-your-own CSV method, as this can save more time and be more accurate than using a pre-built template that may have extra fields you don’t need – or worse – not enough to suit your product description needs.
Digital.com’s expert provides more context here:
Reporting and analytics
While I didn’t see extensive reports for areas such as marketing, social, and other auxiliary elements of business ownership in its native interface, X-Cart does offer extensive shipping and operational reports to help you to run your shop well. Areas of tracking include:
- Average order value
- Customer lifetime value
- Total sales
- Total shipping costs
- Repeat purchase tracking
- Sales by product
- Sales by category
These analytics are in addition to what is covered in the “Statistics” area (such as gross profit, queued orders, and live tracking) and the “Backordered Products” section, giving you valuable insight into the skeletal reporting you need to refine and optimize your business operations.
I appreciated how the reports remain the same across all price tiers, rather than being locked behind price walls as you’d see with other services.
Compared to other services, I was pleasantly surprised that X-Cart included SEO in its native dashboard rather than exclusively in add-on form. With other open-source platforms, you could expect to see this as an auxiliary purchase, limiting your organic reach unless you have the time and resources to toggle with it. X-Cart took it a step further, digging into XML sitemap optimization, meta work, titles, and 404 optimizations.
For newer business owners or for those who aren’t as technically inclined, X-Cart goes the extra mile and provides resources for common SEO needs, such as:
- 301 redirects
- “Clean” URLs (offering you direct access to URLs without random characters or “bulk” that hinder your performance and click-thru rates)
- URL history
- SEO optimization (general topics)
I could easily access other indirect forms of organic reach optimization, such as Google Product feed appearance settings, ads and search engine marketing (SEM), as well as Facebook and Instagram social ads.
Business owners will also appreciate the easy integration that X-Cart can facilitate with whatever Secure Socket Layer (SSL) provider you choose, as the search engine favors safe and secure sites for purchase purposes.
If you’re looking to go deeper, there are plenty of SEO add-on options in the X-Cart App Store to help you tailor the website to your unique needs.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how many different shipping options X-Cart includes natively, as other platforms generally require the use of add-ons or extension programs to have the same functionality. Shop owners can choose to set custom table rates based on categories for easy access, or go for carrier-calculated rate options across any of the partnered services. These include:
- U.S. Postal Service
- Australia Post
- Canada Post
Additionally, the site allows for one-day, free, and local shipping options across certain zones using customer addresses. You can also select fixed-rate or free shipping over a certain purchase threshold.
X-Cart’s store design is incredibly user-friendly and is one of the most competitive I’ve seen across other e-commerce platforms. There is a block-style editor, similar to what you’d see in WordPress, minimizing effort and time spent. It’s great for those lacking technical skills, without compromising the customization options developmentally-skilled business wonders could access through custom JS and CSS coding paths.
There are plenty of options in the Template Store, both free and paid. Something unique I appreciated seeing was the possibility of a free design quote for business owners. If none of the templates work for your brand vision, X-Cart designers can support you in making something unique.
I got enough functionality to successfully launch and customize my storefront without diving deep into the code portions of the tool. However, X-Cart is a competitive choice for those with more complex design needs and extensive catalogs due to its potential for customization and adaptation.
X-Cart has inherent antifraud systems in place and does regular updates to minimize the risk of penetration. But it’s still largely on the shop owners to promote safe site environments via server setup and certificates to keep the site as safe as possible. I used X-Cart’s insight into exactly how to do that via a user-friendly security guide.
The main areas of recommendation are that store owners should host on a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)-friendly server to protect sensitive customer information, and invest in an SSL certificate for the site.
Customer service is a massive part of the e-commerce experience for shop owners, especially when you’re setting up or migrating. I really enjoyed the convenience and connectivity that X-Cart has across its channels. Below are the ways that you can connect with a representative in minutes:
- Chat: I used this multiple times over my store’s launch and connected to a representative in two minutes or less 24 hours per day. This was invaluable as a shop owner, and the assistant was skilled in resolving my question in a single conversation.
- Email: Generally replies took up to 24 hours as X-Cart email support runs on a helpdesk system, which is fairly average. I preferred the round-the-clock chat support feature. Onboarding over email was difficult, as I had to follow up multiple times and was asked to do a sales demo call before gaining access to a sample account.
- Phone: I had mixed results on phone calls, so I definitely recommend chat support for faster resolution.
- Community, knowledgebase, and documentation: These resources were especially helpful as secondary resources to help me to launch my store in confidence.
Compare X-Cart Alternatives
X-Cart is an excellent platform for your e-commerce needs. Yet you might be looking for a less developmentally heavy and modular platform, like a cloud storefront or store-in-a-box solution such as Shopify or Wix. Read on to see how X-Cart stacks up compared to other e-commerce options:
Frequently Asked Questions About X-Cart
How much does X-Cart cost?
Do you need to be a designer or developer to use X-Cart?
Where is X-Cart based?
Is X-Cart open source?
What do you need to start selling on X-Cart?
Can you use your own domain name with X-Cart if you already have a website?
How many products can you sell on X-Cart?
Can you have multiple stores on X-Cart?
Can you build an app with X-Cart?
How I Rated X-Cart
I test e-commerce providers based on the following factors:
- Value: What do you get for each plan — and does it hit that sweet spot of cost ratio to features?
- Ease of use: Is it simple to use the platform with intuitive tools, familiar interfaces, and supportive tutorials or tours?
- Features: Does the platform offer tools that support your business, including marketing integrations, plug-ins, reporting, and management? How effective are the features?
- Security: Which measures does the platform take to protect your business? Does it offer Payment card industry (PCI) compliance and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates?
- Support and improvements: How well does the platform help when you need it? And will it continue to grow with your needs?
Learn more about our review methodology.