Jump to content

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Cs Cart Multi-Vendor Experience - 3 Month Review - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Rate Topic   - - - - -

 
  • shanower
  • Advanced Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 27-Jul 19
  • 97 posts

Posted 10 September 2021 - 09:03 PM #1

*
POPULAR

Hi!

 

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).

 

The Good

 

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.

 

The Bad

 

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.

 

The Ugly

 

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 :)



 
  • maimai
  • Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 07-Aug 21
  • 26 posts

Posted 16 September 2021 - 12:54 PM #2

About the multiple "storefronts", if you know some programming, you can build addon to make multiple "storefronts" for your needs even with the basic multi-vendor license, $1450 one. however, it will takes a lots of time and work. so you need to compare does it worth to those time and effort or just buying ultimate license is better. but on the ultimate you will have to face another issue as well. for example it doesn't have really addons settings for each storefront, you can't install some addons for only specific storefront only.

 

yea, at first I also didn't like too much, but while learning more and more, I really love cs-cart.

 

I completely agree with you about 3th party addons, never buy or use encrypted addons. those who encrypted the addon can access your files, server, cs-cart backend at any time. it's like this meaning; you get married with this girl, but I will f*ck her at anytime whenever I want and you don't have the right to complain, or you can complain about cs-cart company but not me. another word, it's not secure and don't have any privacy. I strongly recommend don't use any encrypted(example ioncube) addons, never, and never.

 

really some Russian coders are amazing, really amazing. in 2006 I have discovered Xrumer, in 2008 another(hidden name), in 2009 SphinX. what brilliant brains and coders. very late I have discovered cs-cart system.

 

but cs-cart has missing really 1 big thing, SphinX integration. but they sell you as separate service called searchnize addon. it's really stupid and stupid thing. why marketplace owners has to share a data with anyone? why cs-cart company doesn't include it in cs-cart? they charge $50 per month for searchnize, but you can rent a server for $50 in these days and do it by yourself for free. in this case you have your own privacy as well. but cs-cart not doing it and all cs-cart system users not demanding or not caring. probably majority cs-cart users don't know the tech details?

 

cs-cart is great, but cs-cart company kind of stupid or what? this type amazing system has to/can replace the other shopping cart system like magento, bigcommerce or whatever there are many of them. but they have a free versions, people can learn and test before invest any money. for that reason, there are a huge developers on those systems. cs-cart has very few developers comparing to them. also very less market capacity comparing to them.



 
  • FDGWEB
  • Junior Member
  • Authorized Reseller
  • Join Date: 20-Aug 10
  • 164 posts

Posted 20 September 2021 - 09:42 PM #3

Re: 3rd-party developers:

 

It's really no different from any other platform. Magento is riddled with the same issues with their extensions. WordPress has this problem to a lesser extent because to be included in the plugin repo you have to meet and maintain their minimum standards. Shopify only minimally has this problems because all app developers there merely interact with their API.

 

So, this is usually more of a project-architectural issue than a platform issue.

 

E.g. 

 

Any project that is going to rely on 3rd-party extensions without a comprehensive development plan is going to have more problems and generally risk falling apart over time.

 

It is akin to building a house with half a dozen contractors that never interact with each other and never see the same blueprint.

 

So, I feel you pain. We work in that pain point frequently as an agency.

 

I am not sure CS-Cart could do much to stop the poor programming practices that are so rampant in the marketplace.

 

It's pretty much what keeps large firms like ours busy. Either we're designing in what our clients need from the beginning using proper coding practices and custom addons or we're trying to fix a patchwork of addons that someone:

 

  • hopes will all work together
  • hopes will continue to be developed and secured
  • hopes will have a cohesive roadmap so you can chart your software's lifecycle

-Tom


FDG Web, Inc - Seattle Web Design : Custom CS-Cart Programming & Design | Toll-Free: 877.239.3083

Download Proposal Templates & Web Design Contract Samples

 
  • harmsmitsdev
  • Senior Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 22-Feb 20
  • 212 posts

Posted 21 September 2021 - 07:03 AM #4

Third Party Encoded Addons

 

This I can understand though. Add-ons get 'nulled' a lot of the time. Besides a lot of people just cancel their payment, get their money back, and keep the add-on.


Best Brands Support - We empower your business!

info@bestbrands.eu


 
  • shanower
  • Advanced Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 27-Jul 19
  • 97 posts

Posted 23 September 2021 - 07:06 PM #5

 

I am not sure CS-Cart could do much to stop the poor programming practices that are so rampant in the marketplace.

 

 

It's like I said, it's not a CS Cart problem, but something that permeates it :)

 

It seems to me to be a matter of culture, so only time and a increase of number of third party providers will solve this. I considered important to highlight these issues involving third-party software, as it is something that often goes unnoticed by the main software developers and usually causes a lot of headaches for customers.

 

 

Third Party Encoded Addons

 

This I can understand though. Add-ons get 'nulled' a lot of the time. Besides a lot of people just cancel their payment, get their money back, and keep the add-on.

 

I understand why they do this, but in the end who is penalized is the real the customer. One thing that I learned selling digital products is that if someone want to null something, encode will not prevent.

 

I will not say the vendor name, but I bought three addons from one of the most expensive developers in the CS Cart Marketplace. I only noticed that the addon was encoded after I found a bug and tried to check it before report to the developer. After discover this probably I will try to create my own version of the addon, instead of continue with the support, I cant rely in a code that I cant see clearly what is happening.



 
  • harmsmitsdev
  • Senior Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 22-Feb 20
  • 212 posts

Posted 24 September 2021 - 09:48 AM #6

We do work with a trust factor in this case. Customers that have been using add-ons for over a month automaticaly get un-obfuscated updates from our update server. This is a perfectly fair balance. I don't know how other companies do this though.


Best Brands Support - We empower your business!

info@bestbrands.eu


 
  • tbirnseth
  • CS Cart Expert
  • Authorized Reseller
  • Join Date: 08-Nov 08
  • 12119 posts

Posted 04 October 2021 - 09:37 PM #7

Our addons utilize our own license/upgrade server (implemented nearly a decade before CSC came out with a solution).  Licenses are checked regularly and updates (by default) occur automatically.  We don't encode our addons..

 

When a request is made for a refund, we simply send the customer a checklist for complete removal and destruction and ask them to attest that they have done so.

 

CSC is encouraging encryption of addons purchased through the marketplace.  They consider it a service to the developers.  We choose not to sell directly through the marketplace. 

1) we'd have to raise our prices about 50% to do so,

2) volume of addon purchases for cs-cart is very low in relation to other platforms.

3) CSC used to see addon developers as partners and didn't replicate functionality in the standard product.  They stopped that several years ago so CSC is actually in competition with addon developers. 

 

The environment is less than friendly now days.


EZ Merchant Solutions: Custom (USA based) B2B Development, Consulting, Development and Special Projects (get a quote here).
Commercial addons, payment methods and modifications to meet your business and operations needs.


 
  • shanower
  • Advanced Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 27-Jul 19
  • 97 posts

Posted 04 October 2021 - 10:02 PM #8

I opened my marketplace to the public a couple of days ago and now I am being able to really see CS Cart in a real enviroment and I have no other way of summarizing this experience than "frustrating".

 

I don't think I've ever regretted a choice as much as I do now.



 
  • tbirnseth
  • CS Cart Expert
  • Authorized Reseller
  • Join Date: 08-Nov 08
  • 12119 posts

Posted 05 October 2021 - 08:43 PM #9

I don't think I've ever regretted a choice as much as I do now.

 

What are your top-5 issues?  Ar they theme/UI/UX issues?  Or functionality of the system?


EZ Merchant Solutions: Custom (USA based) B2B Development, Consulting, Development and Special Projects (get a quote here).
Commercial addons, payment methods and modifications to meet your business and operations needs.


 
  • harmsmitsdev
  • Senior Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 22-Feb 20
  • 212 posts

Posted 06 October 2021 - 05:58 AM #10

Our addons utilize our own license/upgrade server (implemented nearly a decade before CSC came out with a solution).  Licenses are checked regularly and updates (by default) occur automatically.  We don't encode our addons..

 

When a request is made for a refund, we simply send the customer a checklist for complete removal and destruction and ask them to attest that they have done so.

 

CSC is encouraging encryption of addons purchased through the marketplace.  They consider it a service to the developers.  We choose not to sell directly through the marketplace. 

1) we'd have to raise our prices about 50% to do so,

2) volume of addon purchases for cs-cart is very low in relation to other platforms.

3) CSC used to see addon developers as partners and didn't replicate functionality in the standard product.  They stopped that several years ago so CSC is actually in competition with addon developers. 

 

The environment is less than friendly now days.

 

They are not being competitive to add-on developers. They just don't want a customer to have to buy 100 add-ons before their store is up and running. Its just not very customer friendly.

 

Also, a very large portion of the add-ons in this market has serious flaws. AlexBranding has had numerous SQL injection vulnerabilities in their add-ons, and some are just plain out badly programmed (300 database queries for product lables? cmon). All of this causes bad optics for CsCart, and loads their helpdesk even more. Also, they will have to bill the customer for the support since its not their add-ons that are breaking, which is just something they do not want.

 

Also, raising your prices 50% seems like a stretch. Maximum fee is 20% for the marketplace.


Best Brands Support - We empower your business!

info@bestbrands.eu


 
  • tbirnseth
  • CS Cart Expert
  • Authorized Reseller
  • Join Date: 08-Nov 08
  • 12119 posts

Posted 06 October 2021 - 07:54 PM #11

They are not being competitive to add-on developers. They just don't want a customer to have to buy 100 add-ons before their store is up and running. Its just not very customer friendly.

 

Also, a very large portion of the add-ons in this market has serious flaws. AlexBranding has had numerous SQL injection vulnerabilities in their add-ons, and some are just plain out badly programmed (300 database queries for product lables? cmon). All of this causes bad optics for CsCart, and loads their helpdesk even more. Also, they will have to bill the customer for the support since its not their add-ons that are breaking, which is just something they do not want.

 

Also, raising your prices 50% seems like a stretch. Maximum fee is 20% for the marketplace.

Don't think you have the context of what cs-cart was like 10 years ago as it relates to addon developer relationships.

 

So penalize or address the issues with developers who are providing junk.  I'm sure AlexBranding is still selling products via the Marketplace.

 

I can't use  my banking so everything requires more labor and time to process.  It breaks the systems I've setup to run my business for years without adding any value to me or to my customers.


EZ Merchant Solutions: Custom (USA based) B2B Development, Consulting, Development and Special Projects (get a quote here).
Commercial addons, payment methods and modifications to meet your business and operations needs.


 
  • shanower
  • Advanced Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 27-Jul 19
  • 97 posts

Posted 08 October 2021 - 06:39 PM #12

What are your top-5 issues?  Ar they theme/UI/UX issues?  Or functionality of the system?

 

There is a mix of problems, some are UI/UX, others the own business model.

 

1- Support Period is Too Short: There are several bugs which are impossible to verify if you don't put the site online, so their 45 days support (from CS Cart Multi Vendor) is not enough if you need to develop anything before to launch. Probably you will find yourself with the necessity of a patch to solve a bug that wasn't fixed in your version, but you dont have any support anymore.

2- Many Things Doesnt Make Sense in UX Point of View: There are many UX decisions that doesnt make sense when you compare with other ecommerce solutions. Why require shipping address for all orders but not billing address? Why to include non paid orders in the download list? Why include a download button for products on non-paid orders? Why the notification e-mail send to vendors is the same for users?



 
  • teosu
  • Senior Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 09-Oct 14
  • 922 posts

Posted 09 October 2021 - 06:59 AM #13

cs-cart is very slow to adapt to innovations,
There are too many shortcomings in currently working applications,
and they make no effort to fix them.


 
  • tbirnseth
  • CS Cart Expert
  • Authorized Reseller
  • Join Date: 08-Nov 08
  • 12119 posts

Posted 11 October 2021 - 08:37 PM #14

Why require shipping address for all orders but not billing address?

Because for the most part it's not needed.  You can add it by adjusting the litecheckout "layout" in design/layouts adding the fields you want.

 

 

Why to include non paid orders in the download list?

Assuming you are referring to "export orders".  You should be able to select specific status to download.  All order statuses is the default.

 

 

Why include a download button for products on non-paid orders?

Are you referring to EDP orders (electronic goods)?  Or are you referring to something in the admin?  Many merchants do their CC billing "offline" and hence need unpaid orders in a download to drive other applications or to drop-ship orders.  Any merchant worth their salt will not charge a customer until an order ships.  But most here charge at time of order.

 

 

Why the notification e-mail send to vendors is the same for users?

You can edit/modify the email that is sent to vendors in the email editor.

 

I'm surprised that after 2+ years using the product you haven't discovered these option on your own or by reading the documentation.


EZ Merchant Solutions: Custom (USA based) B2B Development, Consulting, Development and Special Projects (get a quote here).
Commercial addons, payment methods and modifications to meet your business and operations needs.


 
  • shanower
  • Advanced Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 27-Jul 19
  • 97 posts

Posted 22 October 2021 - 03:03 PM #15

I'm surprised that after 2+ years using the product you haven't discovered these option on your own or by reading the documentation.

 

We are not 2 years user of CS Cart. We started using it a little over 4 months ago, most of which was during development. We have been working with the platform for the public for less than a month.

 

The points I covered above regarding UX in my last post are simplified explanations. I found solutions for most of them, but none that didn't require a certain degree of development. The point is, finding a solution doesn't mean there are no problems. I will cite as an example the case of downloads that appear in the list of downloads.

 

A customer with a cancelled order will see this order in the page where all download of his account are listed (orders.downloads). You dont have idea how many tickets we are receiving from users that visit the download page (orders.downloads), see the downloads from a cancelled order in the list and ask us why they cant download. We are working in a filter to remove all cancelled orders, but this does not mean that the decision of include all orders with all status is very bad from the UX Point of View.

 

Just to know, there are some users here in the forum that make CS Cart be more friendly and you are of them @tbirnseth :)



 
  • tbirnseth
  • CS Cart Expert
  • Authorized Reseller
  • Join Date: 08-Nov 08
  • 12119 posts

Posted 22 October 2021 - 10:39 PM #16

Well the forum join date in your avatar says join date 27 Jul 19.  That's what I was using to get my "2 years".  Sorry about the missunderstanding.

 

Think you'll have to bring that issue up with help-desk or submit to bugtracker.


EZ Merchant Solutions: Custom (USA based) B2B Development, Consulting, Development and Special Projects (get a quote here).
Commercial addons, payment methods and modifications to meet your business and operations needs.


 
  • termalert
  • Senior Member
  • Members
  • Join Date: 14-Jan 09
  • 1023 posts

Posted 03 November 2021 - 12:38 AM #17

Hi guys.
Sick to death of Shopify's paid add ons plus our customers
prefer to pay on the spot.
We went to Shopify because CS-Cart didn't have AfterPay

in Australia.

Want to move back to our old CS-Cart ( which we left idle on
original server ).

Went to get a demo to check out the latest version but it appears

that I can only get a MultiVendor demo.

Why can't I get a single store demo ??

 

All sorted. Now have single store to test drive.