In case you’re on the lookout for a Multi-vendor e-commerce business for your needs, there are three major solutions that you will come across: Woo Commerce Product Vendors, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor, and Dokan Multi-Vendor WordPress plugin. We have effectively done a top to bottom review of the most recent version of Dokan Multi-Vendor WordPress plugin (article here). Now it’s time to do an in-depth review for the latest CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.
CS-Cart is a mainstream and effective e-commerce program that permits you to run your site off of your own server, enhancing security and giving you complete control over your content and maintenance procedures. The standard bundle from CS-Cart doesn’t give any option to make a multi-vendor site, yet fortunately the company gives a separate bundle for this purpose. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is a broadened CS-Cart program that empowers you to make an online marketplace where multiple vendors can manage sales of their own products through one common web store
First, let’s take a quick look at the Pros and Cons before we get down into more detail.
- Tons of features with detailed configured settings
- Scalable software to build large e-commerce portals
- Increased security features with complete store protection
- Production ready software best suits for live stores
- Eye catching statistics and detailed reports
- Drag and drop layouts and blocks
- Front end design and translation
- CS-Cart is a well-known e-commerce software that you can purchase and install to run your own marketplace on the web. But the software comes at a heavy cost. You will have to pay $1450 if you want to own the multi-vendor version for a lifetime.
- Also, the support system of CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is somewhat daunting and complex. In order to receive support from CS-Cart Multi-Vendor, you have to first purchase support credits.
FEATURES FOR CUSTOMIZATION:
Theme Visual Editor
With the built-in theme editor, you can change your storefront background, color scheme, fonts, and more directly on the site. Choose one of the default design presets or create your own unique style. No HTML or CSS knowledge required
You can embed your existing storefront to another website, WordPress blog, and Facebook page with just a simple copy-paste. This CS-Cart unique feature makes multi-channel sales easier than ever.
CS-Cart includes a built-in layout editor that allows you to arrange content blocks in your storefront by simple drag & drop. The editor makes it easy to create elegant grid-based layouts, both fixed-width and responsive.
Beautiful Storefront Themes
Change look and feel of your store with different storefront themes that are easy to install and select in CS-Cart admin panel. CS-Cart Marketplace offers over 200 beautiful storefront themes to fit every taste.
Features for Administration
CS-Cart Admin Panel
Powerful Admin Panel
CS-Cart Multi-vendor store comes with a powerful admin panel. It’s packed with many components to help you get the full control over your store. All the essential apparatuses are exactly at the tip of your fingers, naturally organized and served under a spotless outline.
Built-in Content Management
The CS-Cart admin panel includes a full-fledged content management system. The inherent CMS offers a simple approach to making rich and SEO-friendly content pages for your site. You have full control over your page route and progressive system. A current online WYSIWYG editorial manager will help you make delightful pages in a matter of moments.
Unlimited Number of Vendor Accounts
It doesn’t make a difference what number of autonomous vendors are permitted to offer their items in your store – two or two hundred. The number of accounts is truly boundless and you can extend your business with no coherent limitations.
Root Administrator to Control the Store
The root administrator has full access to the store setting and the items sold by the vendors. In this way, you can completely control what is added to your item inventory and pre-moderate your vendor’s action if required.
Vendor Payouts Recording
CS-Cart tracks payable sums independently for each of your store’s vendors and gives a tool to record vendor payouts so that you always have your bookkeeping organized.
Features for Vendors
Multi-Store by Design
Although all storefronts share the same database, each vendor can customize their store individually giving it a unique look and feel. Also, every storefront can have its own customers and products isolated from the other ones. Each vendor is provided with a separate admin panel to manage own settings and products. Vendors will not interfere with each others activity
Powerful Product Option
CS-Cart gives powerful capabilities to control product options: create option combinations, add images for each option variant and combination, apply weight and price modifiers.
When creating an option, vendors can select its type. Besides the common option types—Select box, Radio group, and Checkbox—vendors can choose the Text, Text area, and File. The File type is useful for customizable products, where customers use their own graphic images.
Vendors can combine option variants to create an option combination. They add an image for each combination: when a customer chooses option variants on the product details page, the product image changes according to selected option variants.
Vendors can also add forbidden combinations. Customers cannot select option variants of the product if these variants make a forbidden combination.
Price and Weight Modifiers for Each Option Variant
Price modifiers reduce or increase the original price of the product if a customer selects a particular option variant.
Weight modifiers change product’s weight depending on the selected option variant. This feature is useful for delivery cost calculation.
By using sequential options vendors can let customers choose options successively, one after another. For example, if a product has two options, the second option is locked until a customer chooses the first one.
Thanks to this feature, customers choose only allowed option combinations.
Tracking with options
Tracking product inventory with options allows vendors to know the exact number of in-stock items with particular option combinations.
This feature is useful for tracking the in-stock quantity of apparel since apparel can be of different sizes and colors.
Tracking without options
If you track a product inventory without options, you will see the common number of in-stock items of the current product.
Do not track
Do not track the inventory, if the product cannot be out of stock: downloadable software, e-books, entrance fees, etc.
Downloadable Products Ready
With this feature, vendors can sell electronically distributed products in their online store. Enable this function in Settings / General / Catalog and you’re good to go!
Full Control of Export & Import
Data export and import feature are essential for a proper online store. CS-Cart offers the full control of the export and import functionality: you can export and import features, orders, products, subscribers, translations, and users.
This feature uses the CSV data format, which is commonly supported by other software. For example, you can export data from your store and then import it easily into any stock accounting system.
Testimonials & Product Reviews
With the Comments and reviews add-on enabled, customers can post product reviews, testimonials, and comments in the store.
Testimonials and reviews from real customers make the store look reliable and help attract new customers and increase sales.
The Buy together cross-selling tool can be used to group related products into a bundle and a discount can be offered for the bundle. This tool helps boost the sales by selling more useful products to the customers.
Promotions & Discounts
CS-Cart offers a variety of promotion options to attract customers to the store: catalog or cart-based, discounted flat or percent, and more. Setting a particular product discount is super easy: Set the list price lower than the actual price, and the discount will be calculated on the fly.
Customer Cart Tracking
This cross-selling tool can be used to show bestsellers, on-sale, similar, newest products, and more on the storefront. The Bestsellers & On-Sale Products add-on can be used to offer more products and worthy deals to customers.
Features for Customers
The CS-Cart Multi-vendor offers great features for customers to make their shopping experience more easy and pleasant.
Natural Customer Checkout
CS-Cart’s step-by-step checkout process is very easy to follow and is appreciated by many customers. All checkout steps are shown on a single page making the whole process intuitively clear for a customer.
From putting a product to the shopping cart and straight to the checkout, customers can enjoy smooth and fast transitions and rarely see the page reload.
Multiple Vendors, Single Storefront
Items from various independent vendors show up in the regular item list and site guests can shop at one web store regardless of the possibility that the items are supplied by hundreds of various vendors from everywhere throughout the world.
Bestsellers & On-Sale Products
This cross-selling tool allows customers to see bestsellers, on-sale, similar, newest products, and more on the storefront. Vendors can use the Bestsellers & On-Sale Products add-on to offer more products and worthy deals to their customers.
Products from Multiple Vendors in One Order
Customers’ shopping cart can contain products from several vendors, but they will still place one order and pay only once.
Multi-Language & Currency
CS-Cart is localized into 10+ languages. Customers can easily switch languages and currencies right in the storefront; the prices are converted on the fly.
With the built-in RMA add-on, a customer can quickly create a return request and track it on their profile page. All requests can be easily managed via the admin panel.
Product filters provide a convenient way to search through store catalog. With CS-Cart, customers can easily use custom product filters based on any product feature.
Features for Shipping and Payments:
With major payment options like credit card and PayPal available out of the box and minimum configuration required, CS-Cart lets you start selling online almost immediately.
Common Payment Processing
The money goes to the merchant account of the root store administrator who then manually distributes funds among the vendors according to the history of orders, which is tracked and managed separately for each provider.
75+ Payment Systems
CS-Cart offers a variety of payment gateways and processors to choose from. The world’s most popular payment options are ready to use right out of the box.
Real-Time Shipping Rates
Integration with major shipping providers like FedEx and USPS allows CS-Cart to deliver actual shipping rates directly to the checkout page. Delivery cost is calculated on the fly based on a customer’s shipping address and online data from the shipping provider.
CS-Cart meets all the necessary security requirements of the PCI DSS standard, allowing customers to pay with MasterCard, VISA, and other credit cards.
Flexible Tax Management
CS-Cart offers built-in advanced tools for complex and location-based taxation. You can define multiple shipping or billing address-based taxes and prioritize them the way you like.
Vendor-specific Shipping Methods
Each vendor can configure their own shipping methods and buyers whose orders contains items from several vendors can select vendor-specific shipping options at checkout.
Marketing and SEO
CS-Cart can help you reach potential customers through popular search engines by providing an easy way to edit page meta information in the built-in CMS. Also, With SEO-friendly URLs and powered by a built-in sitemap generation tool, your store will take top ranks in online search results.
Powerful SEO tools
CS-Cart has all the required and modern tools to gain the best ranking: configurable SEO names, meta tags, sitemap, 301-redirects, canonical URLs, Google rich snippet support and more.
Facebook, eBay, Google Shopping Support
CS-Cart allows you to export your products to eBay, Google Shopping, and even to Facebook. The Google export add-on comes with CS-Cart by default. The Facebook Store and eBay synchronization add-ons can be purchased separately.
Multi-Channel Commerce—Widget Mode
You can embed your store into any web page by inserting the widget code into the page. In fact, by using the widget code, you can create a widget of your standalone store on WordPress, Facebook, and other websites.
With the Blog add-on, you create a fully-featured blog inside your store. By posting store news and product reviews on your blog, you can attract more customers and generate more SEO-friendly content.
Social login add-on
With the Social login add-on, the customers can log in to your store using their social network accounts: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.
As already discussed, CS-Cart is toward the higher end. You will have to pay $1450 if you want to own the software for a lifetime. However, when we take a look at the long term view of how long you expect to run this site, and how much better the customer’s shopping will be with the CS-Cart Multi-Vendor, this may be a great investment.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor sets the sky as the point of confinement regarding customization of design and usefulness. With huge amounts of components and an exceptionally easy to use design process, the open source platform seems to just fall short in the customer support sector. In case you’re a smaller retailer with restricted specialized assets, this may become challenging, yet medium to large retailers with additional in-house web advancement skill won’t encounter as much pressure.
By the day’s end, consider CS-Cart Multi-Vendor as a best in class open source solution that gives an advanced, well worked out shopping cart experience. And don’t forget to let us know your experience with feedback below.