After using CubeCart on two sites for about a year I can definitely say the honeymoon is over. I was perhaps hasty in giving it the glowing recommendation I did, after only using it a short period of time. I really can’t recommend it to anyone anymore, it isn’t pay cart quality, it is free cart quality. I would not pay for it again nor recommend anyone else do the same.
The small bugs I mentioned in my above review are still not fixed, and that is just indicative of an overall culture of incompetence on behalf of the CubeCart developers. They remind me of building contracts who do just the bare minimum to get by. Far too many commonly desired features, needed features, features that would be standard in other carts, are passed off to third party developers. A common excuse given on CubeCart’s official forums is that such-and-such feature exists as a third party hack and so doesn’t need to be a part of the official core or supported as such (such as… a contact us form. CubeCart doesn’t come with a way for customers to contact the store owner through the website, you need a third party mod to do that. Unbelievable? Believe it). Unless you pay more for it, official support is all but absent, it is nearly impossible to get a word from a developer. Contrast that with vBulletin (which is in my opinion the best produced software in this class), which has rampant official support on their forums, ticket system, and otherwise.
The backend system, which initially seemed nicely designed, is anything but. When you actually start needing to do work on it, you often have to play “guess the file” to figure out which file controls which feature. Asking a developer which file it is so you could do the fix yourself would be a simple question for them to answer, but they do not. Another annoyance is their official site requires no less than 4 separate logins for 4 separate systems to use fully. I kid you not.
Then there are all the little annoyances. They give you the option to put a captcha on everything, or nothing, with no middle ground. So you can choose to not have a captcha on user reviews, email to a friend features, and email contract forms, or you can choose to have a captcha in all those places that need one, but also in the checkout form just so you can be sure that no less-than-savvy perhaps-elderly person ever buys a product from you, and of course all those spam bots with credit cards don’t buy Christmas presents through your site. What does a spam bot want for Christmas? I don’t know, but apparently the developers at CubeCart wanted to be sure that they couldn’t buy from you! (note, no other cart does this).
Then there are the emails, the email confirming an order before an order is complete is both annoying, and confusing, and can cost you money. One of the most popular third party modules out there turns this off. Does CubeCart consider adding a simple admin option in an update to turn it off? No, because their culture of incompetence means that if a third party individual provides a hack, let their customers mess with it, they don’t need to include that feature. Also consequently stock levels are decreased by these incomplete orders, which makes their stock management nearly worthless.
There are many minor issues and bugs that if I were hiring someone to code this for me custom, I would not have released final payment yet because they aren’t fixed, really simple fixes that just go ignored.
They also do not provide an easy way to add new order statuses outside of the default. Many times a store owner will be able to do this from the admin area of the cart, but not with CubeCart. You need to edit at least two files, I say at least two because I’ve found one and made edits but it hasn’t stuck, so there must be another, which I’ve been unable to find, and yes, I’ve asked for help. No such luck there. If this were a forum script it would be equivalent to not allowing the creation, edit, or deletion of usergroups in the admin backend.
All told the admin options of CubeCart are probably the weakest of any cart I’ve seen. Usually most software in this class has pages of admin options, CubeCart has a page. When you just install it with default settings this doesn’t matter, but as you use the software for a longer period of time and start to want to change things, this is a huge roadblock you run into.
Order management is also lacking. The inability to search for orders by customer name is a real hassle. You can search for customers, and then view orders for that customer, but it is very easy to cut those steps in half, and most shopping carts do that. Then the way they display order information means that if a customer has a longer name or address all of it is not available on the screen at one time, you literally have to scroll multiple text boxes to view it all, which increased the labor needed to process each order for shipping. Finally, they need to offer more control on order-page-based email communications with customers.
I’ve been asked by the developers of both X-Cart and Interspire to review their carts, and I plan to do so in the coming months. Whichever one I like more I’ll likely switch my CubeCart sites to, and recommend instead. I’ve already used Interspire (started my testing of it) and their admin area is awesome, except for one issue, which I’ve informed the CEO about, and he has told me they will fix it in the next version. I’ve not yet started testing the brand new version of X-Cart, but the press release lists some new features that make me drool. Interspire is a lot more expensive, but X-Cart is on parity with CubeCart price wise, and so if you need a cart to use right now and can’t wait for my reviews, perhaps try one of these.