We're going to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly- so you can make an unbiased decision on whether CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is the right choice for you and your business.
Let's dive in!
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Review: What's CS-Cart Multi-Vendor?
If you're already familiar with CS-Cart, you'll be pleased to hear Multi-Vendor gives you access to all the same features in addition to their vibrant marketplace.
If you haven't heard of CS-Cart before, they're US-based self-hosted e-commerce platform. With over 16 years of experience to their name, they're now home to over 40,000 online stores and marketplaces across the globe.
You can create a virtual marketplace. Then, inside of that, singular vendors can sell their goods on a united storefront. If you're struggling to envision this, think eBay and Etsy- they're both very similar setups.
Check out the screenshot below to get a better idea of what we're talking about:
Vendors can sell virtually anything, so it doesn't matter what you're trying to market- there's a good multi-vendor will complement your industry.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Review: What Makes CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Different from the Rest?
CS-Cart multi-vendor showcases over 500 handy features for both vendors and marketplace owners.
Let's discuss some of these in more detail:
Separate Vendor Panel
When a vendor joins the marketplace, they'll get an independent backend. Here they can conveniently access:
- Their catalog (where they're able to create, edit, and delete product categories, filters, and features)
- Shipping information (under the ‘administration tab' vendors can list their different shipping methods, manage locations, currencies, etc.)
- Sales reports (under the ‘vendor's tab,' hit accounting to monitor transactions and balance withdrawals.)
- Call requests
All the settings and information vendors need are easily accessible and kept in one user-friendly place.
Have more than one manager?
Not a problem.
Under the ‘customer's tab,' you can add administrative vendors and permit them a higher degree of access to your backend panel (that's if you want to).
You're allowed numerous administrators and can moderate what each of them can access. Fortunately, the actions of your administrators won't disrupt one another (otherwise, it would pose a logistical nightmare!)
Customers may contact vendors directly by using the in-built messaging system displayed on individual product pages.
This is amazing for boosting sales and building trust with potential customers. If a buyer has a question before hitting the checkout, vendors can clarify their queries.
People love excellent customer service; it's a surefire way of enhancing user experience.
However, you'll need to set this feature up (don't assume it's already running). You can define which pages customers can contact vendors, as well as whose notified when a new message comes through.
Publish Your Terms and Conditions
Vendors can craft and publish their terms and conditions.
Once live, it becomes mandatory for customers to click a checkbox confirming they agree to your terms and conditions before purchasing.
In the unfortunate event, a customer files a dispute; you can refer them to the initial terms and conditions they agreed to. It's always best to cover yourself as much as possible (it'll save you a headache later down the line).
Informational Pages for Vendors
Vendors can craft valuable content for their micro-stores, in the form of:
This is ideal if you're running a special offer, posting a video tutorial or want to build a relationship with your following.
Posting content is pretty simple- head over to the ‘website' tab and select ‘pages.' Then, click the plus button and select the kind of content you want to create.
Fill out the necessary fields and publish. To add to the storefront head over to the layout editor and create the ‘pages block.' You can modify and save the changes to suit the aesthetic of your store.
Vendor Specific Categories
If you're a marketplace owner, you can offer your vendors subscription plans. These usually include the product categories available for the vendor to use.
You can either utilize CS-Cart's pre-populated vendor plans or create one from scratch.
The beauty of having vendor-specific categories is that you're able to increase the price of their subscription if vendors want access to additional product categories.
- They offer over 70 integrated payment methods, so your customers can make online purchase safely and securely. These include popular brand names such as PayPal and Authorised Net.
- SEO and other marketing features: From coss selling to loyalty bonuses, you can set up all manner of marketing campaigns to help improve your sales performance.
- The bulk product editing feature: you and your vendors can edit the properties of numerous products all in one go. This saves an incredible amount of time and effort!
- Easy to use. As shown in the above screenshots, the admin panel is incredibly simple. The menus are designed so you can get to any setting in roughly three clicks!
- Built-in database backup: This function's essential. You should regularly back up your data just in case anything ever goes wrong with your store!
- The pre-built storefront theme: this is already optimized for mobile devices, and easily customizable to reflect your branding.
- 26 built-in language translations: This is great for irradicating language barriers between customers and vendors. They can select their mother tongue, and it'll automatically translate everything into their chosen language!
- Advanced search: you can search for anything from products to customers in your admin panel. With 45 filters, you'll get super accurate results. Plus, you can save your search template to use again for another time.
- Security is critical: Users face little threat from hackers. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor continually updates itself to ensure its compatibility with up-to-date server technology.
What's CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Plus?
In addition to Multi-Vendor, CS-Cart has also developed Multi-Vendor Plus.
With this package, customers can access everything included with standard Multi-Vendor- however, they've added a few new handy features, such as:
1. A Mobile App for Customers
The mobile app provides customers with another convenient way of buying from your online marketplace.
It's compatible with both iOS and Android, so your customers can peruse through your market, on virtually any smartphone.
Plus, they're able to add bits and bobs to their wish list and cart. They have the choice of purchasing via PayPal Express Checkout or making an offline payment.
How does the app work?
All the data on the app syncs with your overarching digital marketplace. So, if you make any edits, rest assured, it'll aslo reflect on your app.
Plus, you can customize your app by changing the logo and color palette to reflect your branding.
When you're ready to launch your app, CS-Cart will upload it for you onto both Google Play and the App Store.
It's a pretty simple process!
2. Category Commissions
You can attract more vendors to your marketplace by offering affordable commissions on low-margin products.
This encourages people to sell low-priced goods which are usually popular with customers!
3. Common Products for Vendors
This feature enables you to prohibit vendors from creating new products, so they can only use the listings you've crafted. This works wonders for keeping your marketplace consistent.
However, if you want vendors to add their own products, you can edit this in your settings (the choice is entirely yours).
The thing I like most about this feature, is that it inserts a table on product pages that have numerous vendors selling the same thing.
That way your customers know they're getting the best deal possible- people love transparency, and this is one of the many ways you can achieve this on an e-commerce platform.
4. Advanced Vendor Restrictions
When you own a digital marketplace, it's essential to have total control over your vendor's admin panel.
With advanced vendor restrictions, you can either enable or disable their access to specific menus and set access privileges.
For example, if you have a vendor selling digital products, there's a good chance they won't need the shipping methods menu.
By hiding it from their vendor panel, you make their dashboard clearer and easier to use.
5. Design Editor for Vendors
If you wish, you can enable vendors to customize their micro-stores. This is a fun option if you want each shop to boast a unique design.
6. Separate Checkout by Vendors
This allows customers to purchase from different vendors, separately. Consumers love having this option. It enables a higher level of flexibility to both customers and vendors- so everyone's a winner!
7. Promotions for Vendors
Vendors have a better chance of increasing their sales when they run a promotion. This feature enables them to create deals relating to their product catalog or shipping.
It's fabulous way of attracting new customers and vendors without having to do much work!
How Much Will This Set Me Back?
- CS-Cart Multi-Vendor: $1,450 (This is a one-time payment that provides lifetime access, as well as a year of free upgrades and 90 days of tech support).
- CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Plus: $3,500 (Ditto the above brackets)
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Review: Are There Any Downsides?
Honestly, there are very few downsides to this software. However, I scoured the internet and managed to find one major complaint.
On the whole, users aren't a fan of their paid customer service model. Unfortunately, once you’ve used all your support credits, you have to spend your hard earned cash to get answers.
You also have to pay for any upgrades to their software after your first year- this also doesn't sit well with customers.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Review: Conclusion
In my opinion, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is perfect for small to medium sized businesses who want to create their own online marketplace. It's a comprehensive platform for launching a successful virtual shopping mall.
However, Multi-Vendor Plus is better for larger digital marketplace businesses. If you're generating substantial income, and have a flexible budget, Multi-Vendor Plus is the perfect solution for you.
If you have any questions or comments about this CS-Cart Multi-Vendor/ Multi-Vendor Plus review, let us know in the comments.