Qualiteam, the makers of X-Cart, announced a new update for our favorite shopping cart system. On September 25th, 2012, X-Cart 4.5.3 was released to the public bringing with it a slew of questions from existing users. Not only was a new version released, but the company website was overhauled and the product has been broken up into four distributions; X-Cart Gold, X-Cart Gold Plus, X-Cart Platinum and X-Cart Enterprise.
In this blog posting, we’ll be covering only the changes that have happened in the new 4.5.3 release. We will be posting a different article with regards to the new distributions that were released shortly.
The top features on the list are as follows:
Featured Products Catalog on Facebook
Ever wanted your X-Cart store to post pictures of your products on Facebook? Well now you have it! X-Cart has streamlined the ability to upload new products directly to Facebook with just a few clicks of the mouse. This feature is available in the base level shopping carts of X-Cart Gold, X-Cart Gold Plus and X-Cart Platinum. As an added bonus, if you integrate the f-Commerce GO plugin developed by Qualiteam, you can get a lot of expanded functionality too.
Instant Search with Suggestions
We’re used to this feature in Google. When you type in a word and based upon previous searches it suggests popular search terms. This new feature enables dynamic product searches in real-time with instant suggestions and “search-as-you-type” functionality. The service is being released as CloudSearch, and requires a subscription to the service.
Create Orders in the Back-End
This is something that has been present in older versions but has received a major overhaul. This product feature allows a store manager/administrator to create orders directly from the back-end of X-Cart. This has been included in the X-Cart Gold, X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions through the Advanced Order Management section.
Integration with 1-800-Courier
1-800Courier is the leading provider of same day delivery service. Unlike FedEx and UPS, these guys deliver the product on the same day as long as the shipping address is within 30 miles of the distribution center. Obviously you’re not going to get Ice Cream from New York delivered to California in the same day, but if you’re running a local service this is a great integration step. We’re sure to see some new businesses popup that offer delivery of foods, movies, ice cream or office supplies. Personally, I’m looking forward to Ice Cream! We already have Pizza delivery, so this is a great avenue of expansion. The integration likely will not be used by 99% of all store owners, but it’s nice to know it’s there!
This module is no longer available in the X-Cart Gold software. If you have already purchased the module, it will continue to work, however if you have never purchased it, it’s now only available in the X-Cart Platinum version.
Another module that will be missed by X-Cart Gold users, and is available only to the X-Cart Platinum users. This module allows you to sell composite products with various optional components effectively allowing the buyer to build their own product configurations.
Multiple Currency Support
This is a much loved feature over the past few years that has now been removed from the X-Cart Gold Version is only available on the X-Cart Gold Plus and X-Cart Platinum versions. This feature allows you to display your product in multiple currencies. The currency is updated automatically as it’s integrated with Google Finance Currency Converter, so you only need to define your product in Dollars, and it will automatically update the products as the currency changes each day around the world.
You’ve seen this on a thousand different websites. Even our own website here at Hands-on Web Hosting has this feature. You can log into the store using your favorite social media login such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, OpenID, AOL, Yahoo or LinkedIn. Forget about having separate logins for the store, now your clients can log in directly and quickly. This feature is only available on the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
Email Account Activation
This is a great spam prevention tool. When a visitor registered in X-Cart, the user is sent an activation email with a link. The account is temporarily disabled until the person clicks the link to verify the registration. This is used constantly on various websites from Forums, Blogs, and places such as Google or Facebook. Unfortunately, much like some of the features above, this feature is only available in the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
Advanced Customer Reviews
This feature allows your customers to post detailed information and feedback about your products in your store. It expands the capability of what was previously included in the X-Cart Gold software. Standard Customer Reviews are available in the new X-Cart Gold version, however in order to receive the Advanced Customer Reviews, you will need to be using the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
Ever wished that your shopping cart would send out a notice to clients if they signed up for notifications? Well now you can! This module will send out notices when there’s a Price Drop, Low Stock or Back In Stock for a product that a client is watching or wanted notices on. This feature is only available in the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
Much like the Product Notifications, this is a feature only for the X-Cart GoldPlus an X-Cart Platinum. This feature allows you to feature or showcase the latest additions of products to your cart in your catalog. It is not a notification system, it is strictly for product display.
Similar to the above, this is a product display feature which provides a method for promoting specific products in your store by putting them on sale. A little graphic shows on the individual product when it is a Sale Item. People love Sale Stickers! This is a feature that is only available in the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
Previously Ordered Products
A handy feature for repeat customers. This feature was a highlight in the old X-Cart Pro version but is now only available in the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum version. It allows your customer to review previous purchases, add it to the cart quickly and re-order the products that they had previously ordered at your store.
Want to schedule a specific banner to show on a certain date or certain products? Now you can! The Banner System allows an administrator to place both images and HTML Code banners anywhere in X-Cart by using a special interface in the admin area. This is handy for marketing promotions and scheduling into the future. People love things that change, so a rotating banner, or a banner that displays on select days is a perfect addition to the store. This feature is only available on the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
We’ve all been waiting on this one, the ability to integrate the store directly with MailChip and send out email marketing or newsletters to customers. There is a basic integration in the X-Cart Gold version, but there’s an extended version available for X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum versions.
So that’s everything included in the new release. There’s no major security or bug updates in this version release, this appears to be more of a separation of the products into multiple versions. You’ll notice that the majority of the features listed above are for the X-Cart GoldPlus and X-Cart Platinum version, and you’re probably thinking “What happened to X-Cart Gold?” Well the good news is that nothing has happened to it. It’s still there! The Plus and Platinum versions are including a lot of things that were previously paid modules developed by Qualiteam.
Think of it like this:
X-Cart Gold has remained the same and will continue to do so
X-Cart GoldPlus has a few extra options, and is a stepping stone to the next level
X-Cart Platinum has all the things that were previously included in X-Cart Pro.
X-Cart Enterprise is something we didn’t even discuss here, but if you have the $12,950 per year that they’re asking, we’ll be happy to discuss it with you! Yes, you read that right, that’s a PER YEAR price tag! All other versions of X-Cart are still a one time price, but the Enterprise version, designed for huge shops at an Enterprise Level, comes with a hefty price tag.
Hands-on Web Hosting is your one stop shop for X-Cart Web Hosting. We’ve been hosting X-Carts since the development of X-Cart in 2001, and we’ll be continuing to host the carts long into the future. If you are in need of Shared Web Hosting, VPS Servers, Dedicated Servers or wish to operate on a Cloud System, our support staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have!