X-Cart Editor's Review


Editor's rating

The editor's rating is calculated based on the average of the following criteria, rated on a
scale of 1 of 5:

  • Installation: 5
  • Features: 4
  • Interface: 5
  • Customization: 4
  • Help and support: 5

Bottom line

"X-Cart continues to deliver on its promise of being an out-of-the-box ecommerce application that makes selling online amazingly easy, thanks to a feature-rich interface that streamlines the complex and technical aspects of running an online store." - Ahmad Permessur, Editor - HotScripts.com

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Has a dedicated mobile web app for the front-end.
  • Integrates nicely with social networks through social authentication or open graph META tags.
  • Includes nice extras like instant search suggestions and product comparison.
  • Features an extremely responsive and fast front-end through the support of CDN networks and compressed JS and CSS files.
  • Comes with a front-end design that is entirely HTML/CSS-driven, making it easier to skin.
  • Supports both tangible and downloadable products.
  • Integrates with X-Payments, a module that allows you to be PCI-compliant while safely storing credit card information for easier customer re-ordering or recurring billing.
  • Built 100% open source, so you are in possession of the files for added customization.

Detailed review

Within the past few years, X-Cart has continued to move toward its goal of becoming the de-facto application of choice for ecommerce. X-Cart easily rivals some popular free open-source applications thanks to its constant update releases, excellent support, and plethora of built-in features and modules.

We reviewed X-Cart version 4.4 back in 2011, and at that time found it extremely simple to use thanks to its flexible and customizable platform. Today, the flagship product has graduated to version 5, so we'll give it a test drive to see what has changed since we last looked at the product.

The new back-end is definitely sassy — it feels cleaner and makes great use of design patterns that segment different blocks of information. I really like how the sections have been organized to help minimize the complexity that usually goes into ecommerce applications. As such, you will easily find your way around without a lot of configuration options to intimate or confuse. The refreshed dashboard gives a nice overview of your store’s most-recent orders, a summary of the total orders and revenue earned for the day, as well as an alert section listing products reaching a low inventory level.

The Orders section is pretty straightforward. You can view an order, manage its status, review purchase history of that particular buyer, and print an invoice. One option I’d like to see added is the ability to re-send a purchase receipt or invoice via email to buyers.

The Orders section also comes with a Statistics area providing a high-level report, with order status broken down by different time ranges. If you choose to have the Google Analytics modules installed and configured, you'll be able to dive into deeper analytics.

The process of adding a new product to the store has been streamlined, with a couple of extra options added. These include the ability to easily mark a newly added product at a sale price, to define custom open graph META tags (the title, description, and image that shows when someone likes or shares your page on social networks), as well as setting your own permalink keywords.

X-Cart also has a feature that lets you define different membership levels and roles for users. Thanks to this user level system, you can define different minimum purchase quantities for a user group, such as a pricing structure for wholesalers or an exclusive buyer's group. As with the prior version of X-Cart, you still have the option of defining custom attributes and assigning a different weight or price to these.

In terms of store setup, most aspects of a store can be customized, from defining payment methods (merchant accounts), localization options, currency, contact information, etc. The introduction of XML sitemaps, a feature we highlighted as missing in our previous review of X-Cart, gives you the option of generating and submitting sitemaps to search engines to increase crawlability. X-Cart also comes with a couple of pre-defined store themes, but rest assured that it takes very minimal effort to create your own theme or customize any of the existing ones to your liking.

X-Cart's front-end also has undergone a refresh, becoming more lightweight and responsive. Product display can be easily toggled into different modes — from list, to grid, to table layouts. Social authentication has also been introduced to make it easier for buyers to sign in and checkout.

Speaking of checkout, the revised one-page checkout is even better than its predecessor. It sports a three-column layout that enables a quicker input of information, which can ultimately help reduce cart abandonment rate and improve conversion.

X-Cart comes with a mobile version offered as a web app powered by jQuery mobile. With mobile ecommerce soaring in popularity, this is a must-have for any serious business in today’s online marketplace. The application renders fine across most mobile and tablet devices. Most, if not all, of the front-end desktop functionalities are replicated in the mobile experience.

To conclude, X-Cart still delivers on its promise of being a great out-of-the-box ecommerce solution that easily caters to the needs of small or large online stores. The product continues to mature and adapt to today's tough ecommerce industry. We are extremely pleased to see that several features or issues we noted in our prior review of X-Cart have now been implemented in this new version.

Whether you plan on selling tangible or digital products, definitely consider giving X-Cart a try. With X-Cart now offered as a hosted ecommerce solution at a very minimal monthly fee, there's yet another reason to investigate it before choosing one of the more traditional outlets.

Screenshots

 
Disclosure

This is an editorial review; not a recommendation. All editorial reviews, some of which we may receive compensation to perform, express our objective findings and experiences with the specific product (including version) under review. The review expressed is of the editor only. Any product claim, statistic, or other representation should be verified with the provider.