If you do some Google searching to find out which is the best PHP-based eCommerce system, Magento wins the popularity hands-down.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still people who prefer others like OpenCart or osCommerce and some will point out that Magento can be over-kill and runs slow.  But in the end, Magento is the most popular and esteemed as the high-end solution for enterprise eCommerce.

Now, I have been very familiar with using X-Cart for many years, and I almost left it just before they released the newer version in 2011 that had a major overhaul of the entire admin interface and introduced a One Page Checkout that is used by default (and I think is fantastic).  In general, I found that X-Cart had so many great features that were much easier to use than the older versions.  We did a few complex eCommerce projects with it and those clients are still thrilled with their websites even now.

So after many clients and the industry in general has been pushing towards Magento, we started learning it.  After digging in a bit, I realized that there are some features completely missing or they are seem to work backwards from what they should do.  Here are some issues I noticed.

Product Variants

In X-Cart product variants work wonderfully.  You just define the product option groups and their option values and then the variants list gets automatically created for you.  You can use filters to drill down into sets of variants to change quantities, images, etc.

Magento, however, was not so nice.  Apparently, you need to manually create each and every variant one at a time and then create the configurable product to include those variant products within it.  With several hundred variants to do, this was a ridiculous proposition.

Bulk Edit

In X-Cart, the bulk editing feature is absolutely fantastic.  You can check the boxes of many products, click edit, and it goes to a page where you can select which product you want to populate the form fields from and then check the box next to a field that you want to change for all selected products, make the change, and save.  Huge time saver!  It’s great!

Magento, however, seems to completely lack this functionality altogether.  I suppose there might be some add-ons that I would need to install (and maybe pay extra money for), but I would think this feature should come stock in what the internet community calls “the best eCommerce system”… I don’t buy it.

What do you think?

As I said, I’m still a newbie with Magento, so I may be complete off base here.  Let me know in the comments if I’m missing something.  Tell me why you think Magento is better than X-Cart, because so far I’m not convinced.

2 comments on “Magento vs X-Cart: Which is the Best eCommerce System?

  1. Michel Leconte on

    Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for the article. I

    I’m quite familiar with shopping carts :-), including Magento and X-cart. I found that fundamentally both are lacking in terms of front-end content manageability, and flexibility.

    Most solutions in the market are based on the same initial shopping cart paradigm from the commercial Internet early days (you know these times where we had 3 SF guys trying to live in their room off food exclusively ordered over the net) and comparing them is certainly of interest but I believe the next big thing will eventually come from solutions offering a totally new approach.

    Ecwid and SEOTOASTER (open source & free too – disclaimer: we’ve built that one) are 2 solutions that offer new perspectives on E commerce. I’m convinced more will come, and that the E commerce solution you will want to work with is among them.


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