Introducing Fixed Price for Upgrade Subscription

By Yan Kulakov, June 9th, 2016 in News and announcements

Since now, the upgrade subscription price does not depend on the number of storefronts or anything else

Hi!

When you buy a CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor license, you get a free 1-year access to upgrades. This means you can get new CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor versions for free throughout that year, during which we release at least 4 new versions. All of them fix issues and most of them add new must-have eCommerce features to your store. After the first year, your upgrade subscription expires and you’ll need to purchase another to continue getting new features and fixes.

We haven’t previously published the exact upgrade subscription price because the price depended on a number of factors, including the number of storefronts in your store. You could calculate how much you had to pay for the upgrade subscription from our Upgrade Policy, of course, but we realized that could be hard to find on our website.

We considered we had good reasons for the old pricing policy, but now we realize it was confusing for you. From now on, we’re making it totally transparent, easy, and convenient. The upgrade subscription price is now fixed: a 1-year upgrade subscription for CS-Cart costs $160 and for Multi-Vendor—$385. You can buy the subscription in this special section of our shop:

Why Should You Upgrade?

As long as a website grows and evolves—it lives. To keep alive and to compete with other web stores, your store must stay fast, feature rich, and secure. We’re constantly monitoring the eCommerce market to stay fully cognizant of the latest eCommerce influences. That’s why our upgrades allow your CS-Cart store to evolve together with the eCommerce market.

If you follow our blog, you might know about our improvement directions—performance, feature richness, and fixes. No matter whether you use CS-Cart 1, 2, 3, or 4, an upgrade always has something to boost your store. Listing all the advantages of the upgrade from different CS-Cart versions could fill a thousand-page book! But here are the most important:

  • Your store can be fast and withstand high load. Performance is one of our priorities. CS-Cart 2 was quite fast but couldn’t serve too many customers at the same time. CS-Cart 3 was slower and could serve the same amount of simultaneous customers. The early 4.x versions were more feature rich but performance was not as we would wish. Starting from CS-Cart 4.3.1, we made a lot of performance improvements. The latest version, 4.3.8, is fast (over 90 Google PageSpeed points) and is ready for high load with PHP 7 support and full-page caching.
  • Compatibility with most hostings. Hosting providers keep their server software up to date: CS-Cart 2, 3, and the early 4.x versions might have compatibility troubles on new hostings and security troubles on old ones. CS-Cart 4.3.8 supports the latest server software, including PHP 7, and works fine and secure on most hostings.
  • Up-to-date integrations with shipping and payment services. Carriers and payment services regularly update their APIs to keep up with the latest shipping changes and security standards. In turn, we update integrations with those shipping and payment services so that they work fine with your store.
  • More features to increase your sales. The latest CS-Cart version offers tools to make the shopping process easier and increase your sales. You can assign payment methods to shipping methods, allow your customers to choose a shipping method for free shipping, create a blog inside your store, embed your store into any website, enable seamless checkout via PayPal In-Context Checkout, and more.
  • More features to brighten up your storefront. In the freshest CS-Cart version, you can modify the built-in Responsive theme without editing HTML and CSS code, change the product page template, edit storefront elements right on the storefront, and create unique layouts of every store page. Designing abilities here are richer than in CS-Cart 1, 2, 3 and early 4.x versions.
  • And more enhancements, including safer upgrades and painless migration to new versions via Store Import.

Of course, we don’t insist on your upgrading—it’s up to you to upgrade or not. But as long as your store meets present-day eCommerce demands, it keeps living and making the bucks.

If you have any questions about an upgrade, its benefits, or new features, feel free to ask us.

And One More Thing…

On May 20, we sent an email to all the CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor license owners, which contained three important CS-Cart announcements. In that email, we mentioned a poll for all our customers. The poll will help us collect your feedback and understand if we’re heading in the right direction.

This poll is ready and is waiting for you in your mailboxes. Each participant, who completes the poll gets a 30% discount on a 1-year upgrade subscription. With this discount, CS-Cart owners save $48 and Multi-Vendor owners—$115.

The poll is active till June 15. Check your mailbox now to participate in the poll and get your discount for the 1-year upgrade subscription!

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CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.8 Are Now Available

By Yan Kulakov, June 8th, 2016 in CS-Cart releases, News and announcements

Hi!

We’ve released a patch—CS-Cart & Multi-Vendor 4.3.8—with payment, shipping, and SEO fixes.

What’s Fixed?

  • Canada Post and Australia Post APIs are up to date. The previous CS-Cart version used legacy APIs of the Canada Post and Australia Post carriers. New Canada Post users couldn’t use Canada Post at all because it just didn’t work because of the outdated integration. Less severe but still annoying issue occurred for Australia Post: it returned the wrong rate calculation results. In version 4.3.8, both carriers work fine thanks to the updated APIs.
  • The Authorize.Net payment processor is up to date. On June 30, Authorize.Net will make an upgrade to transaction processing: all connections to Authorize.Net will go through Akamai SureRoute first. We have updated the payment gateway URLs of the Authorize.Net processor so that it works after June 30.
  • The Rocketgate payment processor works correctly for guest customers. Before, customers who purchased products as guests and paid with Rocketgate were considered a single customer on the Rocketgate side. This was because all those customers had the same zero Customer ID. We’ve fixed this issue: now Rocketgate recognizes guest customers correctly.
  • Credit card validation works fine. Because of the outdated credit card validation, customers couldn’t pay with Sage Pay if they used a 13-digit Visa or some Maestro cards. Also, Diners Club didn’t work for any of the payment processors. We’ve updated the credit card validation rules. Now, your customers won’t have any trouble with credit card validation.
  • Product SEO names generate correctly. In this patch, we’ve fixed two issues in the SEO add-on: 1) product SEO names are not duplicated when you open a new category for the first time, and 2) they are not changed when you delete one of your cloned storefronts.
  • Shipping is always available for vendors even if it’s disabled for a specific vendor. In Multi-Vendor, you can disable shipping for a vendor. The earlier version had an issue: if you disabled shipping for the first vendor, it was also disabled for other vendors. We’ve fixed this issue and now you can safely disable shipping for one vendor without being afraid that it won’t be available for other vendors.

See other fixes in the changelog.

How to Get Version 4.3.8?

Upgrade your store on the Administration → Upgrade center page. We’re distributing upgrade packages in batches. Don’t worry if you can’t see the available upgrade in your Upgrade center right away. You’ll get it within a week.

If you’re a newcomer, please download the CS-Cart installation package and buy a license.


We’ll be happy to get your ideas on how we can enhance CS-Cart. Please share them on our UserVoice.

Report bugs to our bug tracker—be sure we’ll deal with all of them.

To keep in touch with the latest news, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn about CS-Cart, subscribe to our YouTube channel: we regularly add new video tutorials.

Subscribe to our newsletters via the form below to get news and other cool stuff directly to your mailbox.

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PayPal vs. Stripe: Which Payment Solution is Best for Your Website?

By Yan Kulakov, June 7th, 2016 in Articles, Guest posts

Hello!

Guys from Hosting Facts help you choose between the two most popular payment services—PayPal and Stripe. From this article, you will learn interesting facts about these payment services and their pros and cons. Cool infographic included.


Which payment solution is best for your business and your website?
We take a look at PayPal vs. Stripe.

If you run an online business, you need to accept payments. But getting paid via an online portal has all kinds of challenges. You need to make sure your solution is secure, functional, and easy for customers to use.

You can have a web payment solution custom built for your site, but software solutions have already solved the biggests challenges, and you can buy their services for a reasonable price. Two of the most popular are PayPal and Stripe. Websites around the world accept payments from these two companies.

Today, we’re going to explore PayPal and Stripe. We compare the two on a number of factors—fees, security, APIs, and more, to help you discover which payment solution is best for your site.

What do PayPal and Stripe do?

PayPal and Stripe both accept credit card payments online and in mobile apps. Both solutions can be seamlessly integrated with an existing website. The two aren’t new to this game—they process billions of dollars every year, are two of the most trusted solutions for accepting mobile payment.

What’s the Deal with PayPal?

PayPal was founded in 1998 by Luke Nosek, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and Ken Howery under the name Confinity. In 2000, Confinity merged with X.com, Elon Musk’s online banking company. Soon enough, X.com would focus exclusively on PayPal, which was generating significant interest and respect.

PayPal had its IPO and was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002, and became eBay’s default payment solution. Today, PayPal operates all over the world. It has become an independent company again, spinning off from Ebay. PayPal moved $228 Billion dollars in 2014 alone.

What About Stripe?

Stripe is much newer than PayPal, as it was founded in 2010. Founders Patrick Collison and John Collison created Stripe as a turn-key solutions for web developers who wanted to integrate payment processing into their websites. Stripe stands out from the competition because of how easy it is for software programmers to use.

Stripe received funding from Y Combinator in June 2010, and quickly grew. In 2014, Stripe landed a major partnership with Apple Inc. to help power Apple Pay.

Pros to Paypal and Stripe

  • Easy to use for non-coders
  • Extremely secure and the security isn’t on you
  • Customizable to your brand

Cons to PayPal and Stripe

  • Transaction fee charges
  • Not designed for brick-and-mortar locations

Other Web Payment Solutions to Check Out

PayPal and Stripe are two favoured payment solutions, but there are others that may better fit your needs. Here are a few worth checking out:

Authorize.net

Authorize.net is a comprehensive payment solution, allowing you to accept payments online, via mobile, or at a store. Authorize.net is a very high quality payment gateway, and the 24/7 support is unrivalled. Your customers can use any credit card, or even use PayPal.

Fees: 2.9% 30¢ transaction costs, $49 setup fee, plus $25 recurring charge

Braintree

Braintree is a simple, robust way to accept payments or enable buying from almost anywhere—in your mobile app or online. On top of the full breadth of PayPal and Venmo customers, Braintree’s integrations give you access to multiple payment methods, simple pricing, security, and customer support.

Fees: Your first $50K in standard card processing volume comes fee-free. This applies to all card and digital wallet transactions not through PayPal or Coinbase. After you reach $50K, it’s 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction, with discounted rates available for businesses who process over $80k per month.

CS-Cart supports PayPal and Authorize.Net out of the box. Get Stripe and Braintree in the CS-Cart Marketplace.


About the author:

John is the CEO of Hostingfacts.com, a web
hosting review site that boasts human edited and tested reviews of hosting
companies from around the world. He loves to code websites, make them
visually appealing as well as improving them UX wise.

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CS-Cart Free Version Is No Longer Available

By Yan Kulakov, May 11th, 2016 in News and announcements

Hi,

A heads-up that CS-Cart 4.3.7 no longer has the free mode.

Why?

Well, in analyzing the eCommerce market we understood that we need to focus on a single direction—paid professional eCommerce solutions. We arrived at a consensus that we need to work for those customers who are ready to invest in their businesses.

By concentrating our resources in that direction, we’ll be able to reach our goal—making CS-Cart a perfect shopping cart with the best support and service of all other eCommerce solutions.

Best Support and Service?

As we mentioned, our goal is to make CS-Cart the leading shopping platform among paid eCommerce softwares. It’s a big task we’ve laid out for ourselves over the foreseeable future, but we can share our short-term plans today:

  • Technical support based on SLA (Service-Level Agreement). SLA is an agreement between us as a service provider and a customer. This agreement will plainly describe the responsibilities and scope and quality of our support service, which will make the service clear and its quality measurable. This means our support team will react faster within the defined period in the agreement and will resolve customer issues satisfactorily.
  • Two new CS-Cart editions for the most demanding customers. These editions will be complete packages with unique features and premium support. Customers will be able to choose an edition that best suits their eCommerce projects. Stay tuned to our blog not to miss the announcement.
  • Absolutely transparent pricing. You will always know how much you pay and what for. For example, for upgrading a store that has several storefronts we now charge for each storefront. Previously, didn’t expect that and got confused. But no longer. We plan to improve our pricing policy to avoid such extra fees.

What Now?

Newcomers who start from CS-Cart 4.3.7 now have 2 options after CS-Cart installation: trying CS-Cart free for 30 days and buying a license. After a 30-day trial, they must buy a license to continue using CS-Cart.

Actual free version users with live stores continue using CS-Cart legally. But they miss out on 3 important things that guarantee security, feature richness, and no downtimes of their stores:

  • No upgrades to newer versions. It’s important to regularly upgrade your store to keep up with new features, optimizations, and bug fixes. We regularly enhance security and performance. For example, the latest version supports PHP 7 and full-page caching, which dramatically increase the speed and stamina of CS-Cart.
  • No support. Our support specialists are the guys we are really proud of. They can save the day and keep your store running without downtimes. With the free version, you’re on your own against store and server issues.
  • No must-have eCommerce features. With the free CS-Cart version you can sell, yes. But you cannot become a big player and compete with bigger online stores. The reason—the free version doesn’t have the most important eCommerce features that bigger stores have: cross-selling tools, customer reviews, reward points system, and more.

What Do You Get with the License?

As we mentioned above, the license unlocks must-have eCommerce features and allows you to upgrade and get professional support. Take a good look at what you get with the license.

Premium Technical Support

Sometimes you can encounter issues in the store or on the server. Some of them are minor and some can paralyze your store. The longer the downtime, the more money you lose. In this case, you need help ASAP. Our support team provides fast and professional help.

Before becoming a part of our support team, each candidate receives intense training. Each must pass a tough test to become a certified support expert. After their initial training, support specialists continue to improve their skills: they forward the most complicated issues to our architects and get the advice that solves the most complex of issues and keeps your business running.

Over 50 Built-In Add-Ons

The add-ons expand the functionality of your store and help increase conversion, average purchase size, and make your store more trustworthy and friendly in customers’ eyes. The free version only had 14 add-ons, but the license gives you access to over 50 add-ons, such as:

  • Cross-selling add-ons: Bestsellers & On-Sale Products, Buy Together, Customers Also Bought, and Required Products. These add-ons help you sell more to each customer, which increases the average purchase size. Use these cross-selling tools to offer more useful products to your customers.
  • Comments and Reviews. With this add-on, customers can post reviews for products and comment on the blog. Feedback from real customers makes your store look trustworthy and helps other customers to choose the right product.
  • Google Analytics. Metrics is essential for analyzing the effectiveness of your marketing. This add-on integrates your store with the Google analytic service, which provides detailed statistics about your visitors and gives a powerful insight into your store traffic. By monitoring the statistics you know on what marketing aspect you need to concentrate.
  • Reward Points. Thanks to this add-on, your customers get reward points when buying products. They can spend these points to pay for other products or reduce a product’s price. This tool motivates customers to buy more and makes them return to your store.
  • Newsletters. This add-on allows you to benefit from email marketing without using paid email services, such as MailChimp. Send newsletters to your customers right from your store.

Powerful Marketing Promotion System

The promotion system allows you to offer your customers bonuses, such as free shipping and discounts. To get a bonus, a customer must fulfill conditions.

CS-Cart has two types of promotions: catalog promotions and cart promotions. In the free version, you could only use catalog promotions that gave product discounts. The licensed version unlocks cart promotions that offer more bonuses and conditions:

Other Cool Features

One post isn’t really enough to talk about all the advantages of the full CS-Cart version, so here are a few extra cool features that we’d like to mention:

  • Multiple storefronts—connect additional storefronts and manage them via a single admin panel (you’ll need to purchase additional storefront licenses).
  • User groups—assign customers to user groups and set privileges for your managers.
  • Multiple languages and currencies—add as many languages and currencies as you need.

And much more…

Any Discount for Buying the License?

Yes! We offer a 30% discount coupon to current free version users, which will work until and including May 17, 2016. After that date, the coupon becomes inactive. We’ll send the coupon to all the free version owners via email within a day, so monitor your mailboxes.

The coupon code that you’ll receive in the email is for free version owners only. Please do not disclose the coupon code anywhere on the Internet and do not share it with anyone.

To buy a license using the discount coupon, click the button below, add the CS-Cart license to the cart, and enter the coupon code to the Got a promo code? field.

Presenting CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.7 with Admin Improvements and without Free Mode

By Yan Kulakov, May 10th, 2016 in CS-Cart releases, News and announcements

Hello, how are you?

Meet the new minor upgrade—CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.7.

A major change in CS-Cart 4.3.7 is that the the free version is no longer available. Also, the upgrade brings five usability improvements for store administrators:

  • A customer can specify the email subject when sending it to the administrator through a form.
  • An admin can create statuses for shipments, so managers who usually process many orders don’t get confused.
  • In Multi-Vendor, admins can enable a shipping method for all the vendors with a single click.
  • The Store Import add-on doesn’t come with the installation package—admins download it free from the CS-Cart Marketplace.
  • PayPal In-Context Checkout is enabled by default in the new CS-Cart installations.

See other changes in the changelog.

No Free Version for Newcomers

Removing the free mode from CS-Cart was the biggest change that we discussed.

By analyzing the eCommerce market, we arrived at the consensus that we need to concentrate our resources on a single direction—the highest-quality product with the best service and support among paid eCommerce solutions.

Starting from CS-Cart 4.3.7, the free mode is no longer available. Now after CS-Cart installation, you have two options: you can try CS-Cart free for 30 days or you can buy a license.

Actual free version users with live stores continue using CS-Cart legally. However, when they decide to upgrade, they will have to buy a license. We offer a 30% discount coupon to free version users who decide to buy the license immediately. Monitor your mailboxes not to miss the email containing the coupon.

Please carefully read this post explaining our decision to remove the free mode.

Specifying Subject for Emails Sent Through Forms

A clear, precise email subject is important in business communication. The right subject explains the contents of the email without opening it, which can save you time.

In earlier CS-Cart versions, customers could not input the subjects of their messages sent to you via forms (such as the Contact Us form). Your customers’ email messages had the name of the form as the subject, which wasn’t very informative.

The built-in Form builder add-on now adds the Subject field to the forms. When customers send you messages through forms (Contact us, for example), they input their emails subject. For example, messages sent via the Contact us form have the exact and clear subject instead of the meaningless subject “Contact us”. You can pre-define subjects or allow your customers to write their own.

Creating Shipment Statuses

We bet every day you or your managers process a lot of orders. If the number of orders large, you can easily become confused about which order you packed, which shipped, and which still needs packing.

To avoid confusion, CS-Cart 4.3.7 now allows you to create shipments statuses in Administration → Shipping & taxes → Shipment statuses. On the Orders → Shipments page, manually set statuses to track each shipment’s state. On the shipment details page you also can change the shipment date and the comment:

Enabling a Shipping Method for All Vendors in Multi-Vendor

In Multi-Vendor, vendors share shipping methods. In earlier versions, you had to assign a shipping method to each vendor manually. Imagine that you have 500 vendors: assigning a new shipping method to each would take too much time.

In Multi-Vendor 4.3.7, you can assign a shipping method to all your vendors with a single click on the shipping method editing page:

Store Import Add-On on the CS-Cart Marketplace

The Store Import add-on allows you to upgrade to a newer CS-Cart version by importing your current store’s data into the new CS-Cart installation. This upgrade method is safe and convenient—you import data to your new store and configure it while keeping the old one up and running.

Since Store Import helps you move to the new version, it requires a special attention: it must be error-free and work smoothly and effectively. That’s why we excluded the Store Import add-on from the release package and moved it to the Marketplace. Now we can devote more time to improving Store Import and will release new versions of the add-on more often.

After the upgrade to CS-Cart 4.3.7, your Store Import add-on will be disabled and you won’t be able to activate it. Download the latest version of the Store Import add-on from the Marketplace. It’s free.

PayPal In-Context Checkout Enabled by Default

PayPal In-Context Checkout is a setting for PayPal Express Checkout to allow customers to pay via PayPal without leaving your store for the PayPal website. With In-Context Checkout enabled, the PayPal pop-up opens right in your store.

Starting from version 4.3.7, PayPal In-Context Checkout is active by default. This feature improves conversion rates thanks to seamless and secure checkout. We recommend you to enable PayPal In-Context Checkout, if you haven’t enabled it before:

  1. Go to Administration → Payment methods
  2. Click the payment method that uses PayPal Express Checkout
  3. Switch to the Configure tab and tick the Use In-Context Checkout checkbox
  4. Click Save
PayPal In-Context Checkout is only enabled by default in the new CS-Cart installation. If In-Context Checkout is disabled in your store, after the upgrade to version 4.3.7 via the Upgrade Center it stays disabled.

How to Get

We will distribute upgrade packages in batches, as always. License owners with active upgrade subscriptions will see upgrades available in their admin panels within a week. If you missed the upgrade availability notification, go to Administration → Upgrade Center and check for the upgrade.

If you are new to CS-Cart, download for CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor 4.3.7 installation package and buy a license.


We would be happy to hear what you think about the new release, so please comment.

If you have any great ideas about how to enhance CS-Cart, please let us know on the CS-Cart Uservoice.

Reporting any discovered bugs to our bug tracker guarantees that we’ll take care of them.

Feel free to ask questions about the changes we’ve made in the new version here in the comments or in the CS-Cart Forums.

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