I am very proud to announce the official release of X-Cart 5 downloadable, our new-generation platform.
I have a lot to cover in this blog-post: new features of XC5, roadmap, upgrade options for those who decide to migrate; plans of XC 4 development for those who remain fans of old good X-Cart Classic.
- Features set
- X-Cart 5 roadmap
- Beta awards
- Public Webinar for Developers
- Future of v4 branch
We created a product which will be very useful for merchants and very flexible for developers. I believe that ability to tailor the eCommerce software to your business logic and business processes is extremely important since every single company is unique. Building an online store either for a startup or for a huge enterprise, sooner or later you will realize this necessity. So I am very confident that X-Cart 5 is definitely the right product for this.
Mobile on the board
I believe that in the near future every kid or grandma will have a personal smartphone and online sales via mobile devices will grow exponentially. That’s why in addition to a desktop version, all editions of our new-generation platform include a mobile skin out of the box. We tested it on a wide range of smartphones and like the result. See screenshots:
Layered Navigation, Instant Search and Feature Comparison
We wanted to develop the UI which helps your customers find the products they need – quickly and with ease. To achieve this goal we included these powerful tools:
- Search-as-you-type technology is a proven sales booster. So with InstantSearch, the lite downloadable version of CloudSearch service with which you’re already acquainted with, your customers will have best possible search experience.
- Online shoppers often like to narrow the search based on their preferences – colors, sizing, pricing options and so on. The ProductsFilters extension works with product attributes, product variants, product stock and prices, and of course with text keywords.
- One of the final steps of making a decision about the product is to compare it with similar ones. The ProductComparison add-on allows store visitors to compare the products based on their ‘attributes’ and other product values.
X-Cart 5 has a very powerful ‘Product attributes’ feature. Merchant can create global classes with a group of attributes assigned to this class, or a single global attribute like “Brand”, or even a custom attribute which will apply for certain products only.
As mentioned above, the attributes can be used by ProductsFilters and ProductComparison modules, but even without these modules they’re oh-so useful if you sell such goods which have options and variations. ‘Products variants’ is another add-on based on the attributes.
Simple TextArea, Plain Fields with price modifiers, Yes/No options – all this can be changed on the fly, locally or globally, for one product, for a group of products or for all the products of the store.
Social Login and User Access
We believe in social media. More and more customers prefer to use their social accounts to log in on the websites: you don’t need to remember multiple logins and passwords.
- Social login module doesn’t use any third party services to connect with social networks. We developed our own app, so merchants don’t have to pay for any third party services. Just create your own app in Facebook or Google (really simple, view how ) and you have a ‘social login’ feature without extra costs.
- With another add-on, UserPermission, the owner can create and configure so-called ‘roles’ for his staff and thus define the access level for each user of admin area: order management, catalog management and so on.
Checkout and workflow with guest customers
Big thank you to all those who shared their feedback about checkout workflow and about guest customers in X-Cart 4 and 5. You spoke and we listened.=)
- X-Cart 5 works with guest customers the same way as it does with registered customers: they both have address books and related orders. A ‘Guest customer’ profile can be merged with an existing registered user, or an admin can create a new ‘Registered user’ based on this guest customer’s profile.
- We also reworked the checkout process in accordance with your suggestions to make it truly a One Page Checkout, without the ‘continue’ button on each step. The only button now is ‘Place order’.
Even though the out-of-the-box solution is already powerful enough to sell online successfully and securely, the system is built to grow broad and deep. X-Cart 5 has a modular architecture based on OOP and MVC. All the mods are added in the form of modules ( not ‘customizations’ like in XC4), with the core of the software remaining the same. It makes the new system very flexible.
First of all, one-click modules installation like in AppStore or GooglePlay has become a reality.
Second, since I’m drawing a parallel with iOS, I should mention that even after the mods are installed, the upgrade will remain as easy, as on your iPhone. Just follow the wizard, and you always have up-to-date software with all the latest features.
Marketplace with X-Cart and third party add-ons
95% of X-Cart stores contain at least one third party module or template.They’re so popular, because there are hundreds of various X-Cart 4 extensions created by dozens of third party developers and companies. We created the marketplace and encourage the developers to list their products, so that customers can find these third party solutions more easily. Yet, many modules can still be found on the original author’s website only, and all of them could only be purchased directly from the site of the author. Last but not least, each module or template requires installation – manually or with a wizard.
X-Cart 5 allows a different approach: There’s a single built-in AppStore-like marketplace which shows all the approved extensions from both the X-Cart team and third party developers. It’s a win-win: the merchant can browse the marketplace within the admin area of his store, find and instantly install the module he wants in a couple of clicks; the partners will enjoy more sales and downloads.
Developers and Designers
It’s the right time to try the new system now, when there are not that many competitors 😉 Check out our partner program, you’ll like it!
Design templates for X-Cart 5
If you need more options here and now, our design team is happy to offer commercial templates for X-Cart 5 starting from only $99. Check them out here. Of course we will add more free skins later.
We also welcome third party designers interested in creating design schemes for X-Cart 5. Let me please introduce the first third party skin: FreshGreen template made by Perception Systems. This template is absolutely free and can be installed via marketplace.
X-Cart 5 roadmapWe have already done a lot, but even more is planned. You can find all the details of the next releases and planned features in this Roadmap. You are also always welcome to post your ideas on our forum and ideas tracker – we collect and work with your feedback carefully.
PricingThe price includes a lifetime license and one year of free upgrades. After the first year, If you want to keep receiving upgrades, you will need to pay the annual subscription fee of $99.95 (charged once a year in a single transaction). Or, if you don’t need upgrades, you may keep using the store without additional expenses. There are three editions of X-Cart 5.
Four months ago we started beta testing of X-Cart 5. There were 9 minor releases of beta, and the final product would not be possible without our wonderful community. I personally thank everyone who shared their opinion. Positive or negative, emotional or reserved, full of constructive criticism, your feedback was very helpful for our team and we really hope for future collaboration with you.
As you may remember, we have a special $15,000 fund to encourage our 30 top beta-testers. The names of these heroes – they will be awarded with X-Cart 5 Business license – are announced on X-Cart forum. Congrats! If you’re listed, our managers will contact you shortly to gift the license. Thanks again for your hard work!
Public Webinar for Developers
If you are considering developing for X-Cart 5, we’re inviting you to this webinar. Our developers will acquaint you with the architecture of the new platform, show how to write a module and answer your specific questions.
Speaker: Tony Sologubov, X-Cart Community Manager. View webinar here.
Future of v4 branch
We will continue supporting X-Cart 4 and releasing new versions of it. There are a lot of fans of this platform, both merchants and developers use it for their businesses, and that’s why we are NOT going to discontinue it. The next release of X-Cart 4, version 4.6.2 is scheduled for February.
Upgrade Path from v4 to v5
X-Cart 5 is a brand-new platform with an absolutely different structure of code and database. That’s why the data can be moved by means of scripts, however, all the custom work should be rewritten. So if you have a store powered by X-Cart 4, but feel that it’s the right time to switch to X-Cart 5, you need to:
- Buy a license exchange (view pricing – get the license exchange for free if you order data migration with us)
- Migrate your data yourself, with us or with one of our partners “Cart2Cart” (more details in a separate paragraph below)
- Add custom features and design if necessary. (We can help with it too 😉