X-Cart:Understanding X-Cart

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Functionality

X-Cart is a professional store builder and shopping cart solution. Although it is most often referred to as ‘shopping cart software’, X-Cart is not merely a shopping cart. It is a powerful e-commerce system featuring web-based administration, a completely customizable front end, a product catalog, inventory tracking, a side-bar shopping cart, shipping and taxes calculation, advanced website promotion tools, search engine optimization, multilanguage support and much more.

Designed to be a reliable and efficient platform for e-commerce websites, X-Cart allows you to build a professional-looking and easy to use online store as quickly and efficiently as possible. A variety of configuration options for appearance and general behavior ensures that a newly installed X-Cart based store can be fine-tuned to your environment and business needs in just a few hours. You have the ability not just to add products and prices, but also to define shipping and handling rates, taxes, discounts, shipping destinations to deny or accept, shipping methods to use, payment methods to accept, etc.

X-Cart’s web-based administration allows you to manage your online store from any computer connected to the Internet. An intuitive web interface provides capabilities for managing products, users and orders, virtually making the process of operating your store point and click easy.

Using a database for product management allows you to keep your product information up to date without having to worry about programming or writing HTML code.

Whether you are selling ten products or tens of thousands of products, X-Cart showcases them in a way captivating and informative to the site visitors. An intuitive interface, easy site navigation and product search support make your store an attractive e-commerce environment for customers.

X-Cart’s scalable architecture allows you to easily extend your store’s basic functionality with such powerful e-commerce features as detailed product images, product variations, newsletter management, fraud prevention, coupon codes, wholesale prices, gift certificates, wish lists and others.

Although X-Cart e-commerce software can be used ‘out of the box’, you can choose to customize it, so the front end of your store will have its own unique look and feel. X-Cart’s template-based structure and optimized code make the process of implementing even the most sophisticated design in an X-Cart based store a positive experience. A built-in template editor, a debugging console and a special operating mode for WYSIWYG text editing facilitate customization of X-Cart templates, making it fast and hassle free.

Due to the extensive set of features, overall flexibility and ease of customization, X-Cart has become e-commerce software of choice for thousands of online store owners all over the world. We are hoping it will become a solid foundation for your business and will help you succeed in e-commerce.

Technology

From the technological viewpoint, X-Cart is a PHP/MySQL-based web application using Smarty. After installation, this application runs on a web server and can be controlled via a web interface. This means that users can access the online store powered by this application from anywhere in the world provided there is an Internet connection and a web browser.

Of course, most people who will use your store will not care about the technical details; however, what is perceived by the users as simply browsing the store pages and selecting options is in fact a much more complicated process.

For those of you interested in the behind-the-scenes side of things, every page of your store is generated by X-Cart application in response to requests from the users’ browsers. When a person working with your store submits information through the application's web interface, his or her web browser forms a request to the web server where X-Cart software is running; on the server, X-Cart’s PHP code processes the browser request and connects to the MySQL database server to request retrieval of data from the store database (in some cases, data may also be written to the database); Smarty template engine finishes processing the request and handles output presentation. As a result, X-Cart generates a web page which the user sees from his or her web browser as a page of an online store’s storefront or back end.

X-Cart Editions

Starting with the release of X-Cart version 4.5.3 (September 25, 2012), X-Cart product line includes four editions: GOLD, GOLD PLUS, PLATINUM and ENTERPRISE. An overview of the said editions is available at our website x-cart.com.

X-Cart GOLD is our entry-level product designed to get you started. It is the best choice for small businesses and beginners in e-commerce. In X-Cart GOLD, the store's back end - the Admin area - represents a single environment where the user (typically the store owner or their assistant) configures the store's settings, adds products, manages users and orders, etc. It is possible to create more than one user accounts with access to the Admin area, but all such accounts will have exactly the same privileges: every 'admin' user will have access to all the products and will be able to make changes that will affect the entire store. This makes X-Cart GOLD an ideal solution for businesses where the store is managed and maintained completely by one person or by a small team of individuals capable of scheduling their activities so that they do not interfere with each other.

X-Cart GOLD PLUS is our product intended for experienced online merchants running Small-To-Medium and Medium sized businesses. It includes all the functionality of X-Cart GOLD as well as the most popular X-Cart extensions such as HotProducts, Banner System, Social Login (ex-Janrain integration), Advanced Customers Review and many more. See details at http://www.x-cart.com/compare-features.html.

X-Cart PRO, which used to be X-Cart's sole multi-vendor solution for many years, is going to be discontinued soon. With the release of the new line of X-Cart products, we have stopped development of X-Cart PRO packages. New X-Cart PRO licenses can be purchased till October 25, 2012, after which we will stop selling X-Cart PRO completely. Updates and patches for X-Cart PRO will be released for one more year, till September 25, 2013.

Multi-vendor functionality is now available in X-Cart's PLATINUM edition. X-Cart PLATINUM is our solution for large businesses. This edition includes almost all existing X-Cart extensions, 1 year support and installation service. The same way as it used to be in X-Cart PRO, the back end of stores based on X-Cart PLATINUM is in fact two areas with separate access: Admin area and Provider area. Store administration and management staff are given access to the Admin area of the back end, whereas the store's vendors are given access to the Provider area. This way each type of users has access only to the features they need to perform their specific tasks: 'admin' users control and manage the store in general, whereas 'provider' users add and manage products and control the settings specific for their region and product set (tax and shipping rates, discounts, etc). For more information on the types of tasks and features available to the different types of X-Cart users, see X-Cart: Types of User Accounts.

X-Cart ENTERPRISE is our fully customized “all-in-one” solution for enterprise clients that includes everything from X-Cart product line plus our dedicated support team and much more.

For a detailed comparison of X-Cart editions please refer to the comparison chart at http://www.x-cart.com/compare-features.html.

Single vs Multi-vendor stores

Single store

(Gold and Gold Plus)

Multi-vendor store

(Platinum)

Front-end The same shop for all products and categories. Customers shop through a single catalog.
Back-end One store owner/administrator for an entire shop. A store administrator with a separate back-end. Each provider has his or her own password-protected area to upload and maintain items and settings.
Orders All orders go to the site owner. Each provider gets orders only for his products. Respectively, after having placed a single order a customer gets separate invoices for the items supplied by each provider.
Payments All payments go to the merchant account of the administrator. All payments go to the merchant account of the administrator. The administrator can check the income of each provider at any time. The store administrator takes care of transferring funds to providers, controls the amounts due and actual funds transfers. Please note: X-Cart does not hold information on how much the administrator pays the providers. The deal is between the administrator and the provider.
Shipping The administrator fully controls the shipping. The administrator controls the list of available shipping methods and specifies whether real-time shipping cost estimation is enabled or not. Each provider defines rates for user-defined shipping methods and specifies the origin location for real-time shipping cost estimation via carrier companies (USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, Canada Post, Australia Post).
Taxes The administrator fully controls the taxing system. The administrator creates a list of tax types applicable to customer orders. Each provider assigns his or her own rates to the tax types which the store administrator has defined.
Support service Available as extra paid service. Professional support service is included into the packages.