Almost three months have passed since I started using CS Cart and I'm finally close to launching my marketplace. I imagine that many people are in doubt about adopting CS Cart or not, so I wrote a little about my experience over these three months.
In order not to write an extensive review, I preferred to separate the subjects into topics between the things I liked (the good), the ones I didn't like (the bad) and the ones that could be better (the ugly).
1- Easy to Customize: I tested several tools over the years and I can say that CS Cart is possibly the easiest solution in terms of customization (if you understand a little bit of programming). The possibility of using overrides is very useful and allows you to change many functions without necessarily creating a completely new addon.
2- Most complete solution out of the box: Cs Cart Multi-Vendor has a ton of features and I think that it has almost everything that someone would need to start a business out of the box. There are some flaws, but they can be solved with an addon or two in most of the cases. In comparison with other marketplace solution you probably will have more options out of the box that any other for the same price range.
1- Complex Third Party Addons Update Policies: This is not fault of CS Cart. When you choose a software you are choosing an entire ecosystem and in my opinion CS Cart has one of the most complex enviroments when you need to deal with addons update. In other software is common to offer one year upgrade licenses, but in CS Cart we have some that offer 6 months other that offer 3 months. Be prepared to spend a lot of money in updates.
2- Awesome Features in Expensive Plan: This is one of most frustrating thing of CS Cart for me. There are some features that are only available in the more expensive license plans from CS Cart what create a strange pitfall that can prevent many businesses to grow. A good example is "commission based on categories", most marketplace uses this type of business rule but it is available only in the intermediary plan of CS Carta nd precisely because it is in the intermediate plan, no developer ends up making an addon to meet this need. Another example are "storefronts", open a second marketplace can be a fast way to increase sales and scale the business, but this type of function is only available on the more expensive option of the CS Cart and there is no other option like to buy a single storefront instead of a full license. At this points instead of help you grow, CS Cart create a barrier that can discourage some business.
3- Third Party Developers Selling Incomplete Addons to Sell Customizations: This is a bad practice that is not unique to the CS Cart environment, but I've seen it an alarming number of times in only three months. Some developers seems to be selling addons that are intentionally incomplete, that is, missing basic functions that would be necessary for the addon to work properly. I know someone will say that what I think is basic for one client is not for another, but let's be honest there are addons that don't even follow the basic CS Cart standards like e-mail templates.
1- Third Party Encoded Addons: Each developer has the right to protect their own code, but why to encrypt code or use poor programing standarts like the use of GOTO as a protection? I rarely find this kind of thing in other solutions, but in CS Cart people like to use this feature often. I honestly don't know how effective this type of practice is, but at least for me it ends up pushing me away and making me think twice before buying another addon from the same developer.
CS Cart is a good tool to create marketplace, but until now my experience with third party developers has being most of the time bad and this is probably the major flaw until now. If you have a developer team or need no customation, CS Cart probably the right tool for you.
These were the main points of my initial experience with CS Cart, if I remember anything else I add :)