When looking for a popular open-source E-commerce platform, Magento and X-Cart are are likely to rise to the top of your list, along with other open source opportunities, like WooCommerce, OroCommerce, Prestashop, and Shuup. However, these two online store systems stand out from the crowd for a number of reasons.
At their hearts, Magento and X-Cart provide similar benefits – a strong, robust platform out-of-the-box to launch your internet storefront with, with lots of flexibility for customization. However, they have 2 fairly different approaches to how their offerings stack up, especially for SMB merchants.
Magento first released their beta of version 1 back in 2007, and in 2015 released Magento 2. X-Cart was originally released in 2000, and is currently in version 5, which launched in 2013.X-Cart 5 has had more time for bug fixes and improvements, compared to Magento 2, which is still has a couple of thousand open issues listed on their GitHub page.
Magento is based in the USA, with significant foreign investment, and while they do have SMB offerings, they have an ever growing focus up-market on large enterprise solutions.
X-Cart is based in Russia, and is better known as a faster solution to grow with for small and medium sized businesses.
Magento’s Community Edition is free, as is the entry-level version of X-Cart. From there, if you want more advanced package, a paid license is required. With Magento, this means Magento Enterprise, which will easily set you back $20,000+ per year. With X-Cart, this will include options ranging from $495 to $5,995 for a lifetime license.
The differences between versions are generally related to extra features and functionalities, as well as included support. X-Cart also includes some unique license offerings for merchants that aren’t looking for a traditional retail shop, such as their Multi-Vendor version for businesses that want to create their own Amazon style marketplace, allowing others to list products in exchange for fees.
Traditionally, Magento Community and Enterprise websites must be hosted by a 3rd party host.
Magento also offers their Cloud product, but this is cost prohibitive for SMB merchants. There are great Magento hosts out there, which we like to recommend on a case-by-case basis based around traffic expectations, support expectations, budgets, and other concerns.
Similar hosts specialize in providing server resources and management for X-Cart, which we can similarly recommend. However, for merchants that want to manage fewer vendors, X-Cart offers hosting plans starting as low as $27.95 per month, including support, daily backups, and other standard offerings using data centers all over the globe that your site can be hosted in.
For those that want a more local support team, there are great hosts in the USA that offer this service.
Support & Professional Services
Magento does not provide support for Community users. They do provide limited support for Magento Enterprise merchants, although this is a limited support model, as Magento isn’t generally taking into account the customizations, extensions, and other particulars of your website. Their support can be pretty generic as a result, and not always the most helpful.
X-Cart offers support subscriptions starting at $82.50 per month, with unlimited support requests. They also offer other hands-on services, such as data migration and web development services. Their web development services can include things like the creation of custom addons and extensions, support for 3rd party modifications, software upgrades, and assistance with performance issues. This means that the team responsible for creating and maintaining the platform can potential step in to address maintenance and customization at favorable rates. Magento by comparison does not offer these kinds of hands-on services for the SMB market.
With either platform, an agency like Rand Marketing can help with consulting:
- Web design,
- Web development
- Search Engine Optimization
- Pay Per Click management
- Conversion optimization
- Loading speed optimization
We do always recommend sticking with a domestic resource for design and marketing services, as these are more culturally sensitive areas of focus.
Extensions & Addons
Magento definitely has more Extensions when compared with the Addons available for X-Cart and it really comes down to what your needs are.
If X-Cart features, functionalities, and Addons meet your needs, then it can be a great opportunity. Additionally, if X-Cart can cost effectively help to create a new Addon or customization for you, or help you connect with a system for which there is no existing Addon, you may find that they’re still a great choice.
However, if you do find that more of your needs are met by Magento Extensions and existing connectors written for Magento’s API, Magento can absolutely make more sense from a launch perspective. There is something to be said for using existing technology in many cases, so if tried and tested solutions are available that will work together to meet your needs, this should definitely be among the deciding factors for you.
Magento hosts their annual Magento Imagine event which our team enjoys participating in. Tickets start at around $1,000 to attend, and go up from there. This is a massive industry event, with dozens of sponsors, booths, and breakout sessions, as well as major keynote speakers (people like Malcolm Gladwell, Steve Wynn, and Serena Williams). This is a multi-day event in Las Vegas, currently being hosted at the Wynn resort, and always a great experience for attendees.
X-Cart by comparison boasts a smaller footprint, so they host much smaller events. However, these events have been historically free 1-day events, hosted in different locations like Orlando and Tampa on the East Coast, and Los Angeles on the West Coast. One major difference is that X-Cart’s CEO and various other leaders are readily available to take questions, comments, and feedback. It’s a scrappier company that’s accustomed to providing more support, even for the smallest of its clients. From personal experience, we can say that they do listen to feedback. On the flip side, Magento has the footprint of a more traditional silicon valley style tech company, making it harder to route concerns up the chain of command and effect change.
X-Cart 5 offers 4 free fully-responsive skins, based on Bootstrap/LESS. There’s a webmaster mode to edit templates on-the-fly in a “visual” manner, and there’s a drag and drop layout editor, as well as several ready-made layouts to switch between 1, 2, and 3 column theme layouts.
Magento 2 comes pre packaged with the responsive Luma theme, as well as a blank theme, designed by the Magento development team. Luma is also built on LESS technology but the Responsive design is proprietary.
Both platforms offer more in-depth theme customization options for web developers with the necessary prerequisite skills. For such developers, X-Cart’s Symfony framework, which uses the MVC architecture, will likely be preferred to Magento 2’s MVVM architecture, which still seems to be in flux. This Magento 2 MVVM is still utilizing old Zend 1 framework.
Magento 1 Users
The vast majority of current Magento merchants are still using Magento 1, which is slowly creeping toward end of life. This means that Magento 1 users are looking toward their options for the future. Switching to Magento 2 will require a full rebuild / replatforming. If a merchant is happy with their experience with Magento 1, chances are, Magento 2 is going to make a lot of sense. On the other hand, merchants that found Magento 1 to be problematic for their organization, such as from a maintenance or cost standpoint, will probably find X-Cart as a strong contender for the next iteration of their E-commerce website.
Still not sure which platform is right for you, or need help with design, marketing, and other professional services? The team at Rand Marketing can help you assess the best platform for your needs, and help you to build your webstore and attract more targeted traffic and generate more sales. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at (954) 530-6125, or utilize the easy contact form on our website.