Shift4Shop Review: Pros, Cons, Alternatives

Shift4Shop, formerly known as 3dcart, offers a free e-commerce platform with dozens of useful features.

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Shift4Shop, formerly known as 3dcart, is an e-commerce software provider for online businesses. It’s customizable and has dozens of features including search engine optimization, website templates, sales tracking and domain name registration. The platform's free End-to-End plan (only available for U.S. merchants) allows businesses to run a fully functional website while only paying credit card processing fees.

Reviews from 3dcart users reported subpar customer support and a confusing interface, but Shift4Shop seems to have improved these problems following the 2020 merger. For online sellers looking to keep costs low — and willing to invest time into using its many features — Shift4Shop offers great value.

Deciding factors

Best for

Online-first U.S. businesses looking for a free, customizable website.

Software cost

Free. Paid plans for international or high-volume businesses start at $29 per month.

Payment processing cost

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction with Shift4 Payments.

  • 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction for online card payments PayPal.

  • Varied fees with over 160 other payment processors.

Accepted payment methods

Credit and debit cards, digital wallets including Apple Pay and Google Pay, gift cards, Bitcoin and more.

Contract length

None.

Payout timing

24 to 48 business hours.

Live support

24/7 support.

Ease of use

Mixed reviews; good on average though some users find the platform confusing.

How does Shift4Shop work?

Shift4Shop is a cloud-based e-commerce software that gives you the ability to build and launch an online store, sell products, accept payments and fulfill customer orders. The all-inclusive platform offers dozens of built-in features:

  • Website builder with mobile-functional themes, unlimited pages and features like carousel banners, product image animations, wish lists and an integrated blogging platform. If you want to keep your current store platform, you can connect any website to a Shift4Shop storefront.

  • PCI-compliant web hosting with free domain registration, renewal and transfer.

  • Payment processing with partner PayPal or any of more than 160 alternate payment processors, with checkout options including Visa Checkout, Masterpass, Apple Pay, Google Pay, financing and pay later options, Bitcoin and on-file customer payment information.

  • Shopping cart with single or multi-page checkout flows and real-time shipping rate, payment option and tax display.

  • Product management features for an unlimited number of products, categories and images. The platform allows you to upsell and cross-sell your products, offer discounts, sell digital products and create waiting lists.

  • Order fulfillment and customer relationship tools including phone ordering, return processing and customer account management.

  • Marketing and SEO features including sitemap builder, email campaigns, gift cards and affiliate referrals. You can also connect to Google Analytics and view store statistics from your dashboard.

  • Integrations including QuickBooks, Xero and Mailchimp, and sales channels including eBay, Amazon, Facebook Shop, Walmart and Square POS.

Pricing

Plan

Transaction fees

Features

End-to-End: Free.

Per-transaction fees through Shift4 Payments at 2.9% plus 30 cents or an alternate processor.

All available features in Pro plan; unlimited users.

Basic: $29 per month.

None. $100K annual sales limit.

Basic website, cart, and shipping tools; two users.

Plus: $79 per month.

None. $250K annual sales limit.

More advanced product, loyalty and shipment tools than Basic plan; five users.

Pro: $229 per month.

None. $1 million annual sales limit.

All available features; 15 users.

Enterprise: $1,999 per month plus $499 one-time setup fee.

None.

All available features plus advanced high-volume product management, shipping and automation tools; unlimited users.

Free plan

Shift4Shop now offers a free End-to-End website builder with no monthly subscription, PCI compliance or setup fees. Your only costs are per-transaction payment processing fees, which can be processed through Shift4 Payments, partner PayPal or another integrated payment processor.

If you currently have an e-commerce website on a different platform, the platform will also migrate your setup for free.

Paid monthly plans

Shift4Shop still offers three paid plan tiers from its original 3dcart setup. Since its free End-to-End plan offers all available features with unlimited users and no sales limits, there’s not much reason for U.S. business owners to consider a paid plan.

However, the free plan is only available to U.S.-based merchants, so international users will need to select a paid plan starting at $29 per month.

These plans, called Basic Store, Plus Store and Pro Store, offer an increasing range of features and capabilities, and unlike the free version, have no additional transaction fees. The highest-priced plan, Pro Store at $229 per month, offers advanced tools including auto-shipping, autoresponder email campaigns, pre-orders, back-in-stock notifications and other automated features.

Enterprise

If your business’s sales volume exceeds $1 million in 12 months, you can qualify for Shift4Shop Enterprise starting at $1,999 per month. This plan offers advanced shipping modules, product management and automation to accommodate high volume merchants.

Pros

Built-in features

Shift4Shop includes an impressive number of features at no cost and without relying on integrations. It offers capabilities you don’t always receive with other platforms, like single-page checkout, a built-in blog, product and customer reviews and digital downloads. If you need additional store-specific functionality, you can use a variety of free and paid add-ons from the Shift4Shop app store.

Price

Shift4Shop is one of the most robust free website platforms. Its features and functionality are comparable to competitors like Shopify and BigCommerce but with no monthly cost, and its built-in integration with PayPal keeps payment processing costs at the industry standard.

Cons

Usability

Many of the complaints about 3dcart have been resolved in its merger with Shift4Shop. Its theme designs are more modern and the platform no longer requires HTML or CSS editing. However, with so many tools and customization options, some customers still find the interface overwhelming and difficult to navigate.

Customer support

Customer support can be inconsistent, according to reviews. Some report that it’s extremely helpful and accessible or, conversely, that it’s inadequate and difficult. 3dcart offered subpar customer support according to user reviews, but it seems that Shift4Shop has made significant improvements in the rebrand, introducing a new technical support website and prioritizing phone and chat help.

Alternatives

Shopify

Shopify is known as one of the most user-friendly e-commerce platforms, standing out for its design and intuitive interface. It doesn’t include a free plan; pricing starts at $29 per month for Basic Shopify all the way up to custom pricing for enterprise.

Shopify offers its own payment processing solution, a free mobile app and a robust app store. If you’re looking for some of the intuitiveness and usability that Shift4Shop is missing, and are willing to pay a monthly fee, Shopify is a great alternative.

Shopify Ecommerce

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BigCommerce Essentials

Like Shopify, BigCommerce Essentials is very similar to Shift4Shop. It’s an all-inclusive platform starting at $29.95 per month with the added bonus of discounted payment processing rates with PayPal.

BigCommerce is also known for the user-friendliness of its platform. If you’re looking for similar functionality and pricing to 3dcart with more approachability, it’s a good choice.