CartThrob vs...

Alright guys... it's comparison time. Just how does CartThrob stack up? Take a look at the competition and judge for yourself.

If CartThrob can't do it out of the box, it can be extended to meet your exacting requirements. So, why bother with other tools that just go halfway and stop? Learn once and use repeatedly. That's a recipe for success.

It's our intent to fairly represent the products below, though we're obviously partial. Please contact us if you find any discrepancies in this list and we will correct immediately. CartThrob is a great product and it stands on its own so there's no reason for us to make anything up.

CartThrob
Status Version 3
Version 2.5
Price

$249

$299

ExpressionEngine 3 Compatible
Yes
No
Guarantee
Yes

30-day money back guarantee

Yes

30-day money back guarantee

Yes

30-day money back guarantee

Overview

Battle-tested on sites taking in millions of dollars in transactions and processing hundreds of thousands of orders in a single day.

Uses EE & its channel system to the fullest.

Most comprehensive, powerful, feature packed solution available for ExpressionEngine.

Robust post-order management system included.

Support is available here

Is touted as a middle solution between CartThrob and Brilliant Retail in terms of features and capabilities.

All product pricing and option data is stored in 1 custom field (the Store fieldtype).

Includes comprehensive post-order management system.

Support is handled through a web-based portal

Ecommerce system with a preconceived feature set.

Does not use channels to store data.

Support is managed through forums.

Points of differentiation.

Easy to set up. Includes point and click auto-install templates feature Twitter Bootstrap.

Channels, and templates, the two killer-app features of ExpressionEngine are used to the fullest.

CartThrob is built to adapt to your custom business rules.

Built to be built upon. CartThrob is a framework, and existing add-ons gives it a tremendous advantage when it comes to long-term growth and maintenance

Opts for simplicity over flexibility. A single fieldtype (Store custom fieldtype) is used to manage product pricing, inventory and option data.

Strong focus on inventory management and ease of setup

Order data is stored in a custom database with options for six pieces of extra custom data per order.

Product data, categories, image management, files and descriptions are all managed directly by the application in a custom database (channels are not used).

Finite feature set is easy to enumerate

Sandboxed from other parts of ExpressionEngine.

Great marketing and mascot.

Showin' Off

Devot-ee Award-winning
Yes
Product and Developer of the year.
No
No
Cart platform used on Devot-ee
Yes
No
No
Built by team that brought you SafeCracker
Yes
No
No

Channel Support

Products Channel(s)
Yes
Yes
No
Orders Channel
Yes
No
No
Discounts Channel
Yes
No
No
Coupon/Vouchers Channel
Yes
No
No
Purchased Items Channel
Yes
No
No

Products

Donation support
Yes
Yes
Limited
Products can be free
Yes
Yes
Yes
Price-modifying Options
Yes
Yes
Yes
Add dynamic data to items in the cart (Gift notes, Special Handling requests)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Inventory control
Yes
Yes
Yes
Products can be stored in channel entries
Yes
Yes
No
Support for totally dynamic items
Yes
Yes
No
Automated Front-end Product Configurator
Yes
Yes
No
Support for downloads (including large files over 1gb)
Yes
CartThrob uses download chunking & streaming to process downloads of any size even while operating with a low memory footprint. Tested with 10gb movie files.
No
No
Support for product bundles with special group pricing
Yes
No
Yes
Product bundles with price modifiers
Yes
No
No
Product pricing per member group
Yes
No
Yes
Product pricing by quantity threshold
Yes
No
No
Product Search
Yes
Limited
Limited
Empty Cart Checkouts
Yes
Great for registrations and data capture
No
No
Multi-Add to cart functionality Add one or more items at the same time to the cart
Yes
Yes
No
Automatic add to cart Just by visiting a page, and item can be added to the cart
Yes
No
No
Automated Also Purchased Lists
Yes
No
No
Ability to upload a file when adding an item to the cart
Yes
No
No

Add-ons & Integration

Subscriptions
Yes
No
No
Fees
Yes
No
No
Giftcards Sales & Redemption
Yes
No
No
Credits
Yes
No
No
Micropayments
Yes
No
No
DevDemon Credits Integration
Yes
No
Yes
Wishlist
Yes
No
No
Global Item Options
Yes
No
No
Affiliate Marketing
Yes
No
Yes
Multiple Shipping Locations
Yes
No
No
Expired Cart Notifications
Yes
No
No
Event Registration & Sales
Yes
No
No
Wedding Registries
Yes
No
No
Location Configurator currencies, shipping methods, taxation methods can change on the fly
Yes
Limited (Shipping matrix only)
No
ExpressionEngine Multi-Site Manager Support
Yes
Yes
Yes
Works with Safecracker
Yes
Yes
No
NSM Addon Updater Compatibility
Yes
Yes
No
Quickbooks Integration
Yes
Via ConsoliBYTE
No
No
Quote Creator
No
Yes
No

Orders

Dedicated Order Management
Yes
Orders can be managed via the included order manager or as order channel entries. There's also a third party addon just for order management if you need even more power.
Limited
Built in order manager has no ability to store data in an order channel.
Limited
Built in order manager has no ability to store data in an order channel.
Order statuses
Yes
Using built-in EE statuses, or create your own unlimited field for setting order statuses. That's the beauty of channels!
Yes
Create unlimited order statuses in the order management utility.
No
Orders can be stored in channel entries
Yes
No
No
Order Search
Yes
Limited (backend only)
Limited (backend only)
Post-order detail view
Yes
Manage data within the order management utility, export orders, print packing lists, invoice, resend emails, add additional charges to existing customer (requires supported gateway), or use standard channel entry editor for more advanced needs.
Limited
Export orders, view invoices, add payments, authorize transactions and make updates within order manager. No front-end editing in EE templates or custom administrative capabilities are possible.
Limited
Includes order management utility, where you can add payments, change status, notes, and view order details. No ability to use EE channel data or manage within EE templates.
Custom order fields
Yes
Limited to six
No
Guests can view invoices
Yes
Yes
No
Control Panel Access
Yes
Settings & Reports are controlled by completely different modules.
Yes
No

Custom Administration

Can create & save products in templates
Yes
Yes
No
Can modify orders in templates and create custom interfaces for orders
Yes
No
No
Admins can checkout as a member
Yes
No
No
Admins can checkout as a guest, and register the guest during checkout
Yes
No
No

Reporting

Point and click creation & saving of custom reports
Yes
No
Yes
Template based reports
Yes
Yes
No
Order report
Yes
Yes
Yes
Order exporting
Yes
Yes
Yes
Daily sales report
Yes
Yes
Yes
Customer report
Yes
Yes
Yes
Product Report
Yes
Yes
Yes
CSV export
Yes
Yes
Yes
PDF report export
No
Yes
No
Customizable report export
Yes
No
No

Members

Guest checkout
Yes
Yes
Yes
Create member during checkout
Yes
Limited
Yes
Saves member data
Yes
Saves to EE's member system as well as to channel entries when used with Profile:Edit
Limited
to EE's member system
Limited
Uses its own member data storage system
Dedicated add-on repository
Yes
No
No
Flexible customer flow
Yes
Yes
Limited
Includes templates for cart, checkout and thank-you pages

Member Permissions / Access Control Levels (ACL)

Permissions management is like member groups on steroids. You can attach permissions to each product sold, and choose to show and hide content to your members based only on their purchased permissions, not on their membership. Member groups are great for content administration, but lousy for access control. That's where permissions management comes in.
Permissions based content access
Yes
No
No
Permissions Admin Panel
Yes
No
No

Notifications

Email notifications
Yes
Yes
Yes
Can use EE template tags in emails?
Yes
Yes
No
Can create additional email notifications
Yes
Yes
No
Uses EE's standard template system to create, edit, and store email templates
Yes
No
No
Low stock email notifications
Yes
No
Yes
Multiple order status change email support
Yes
Each status can have own template. Different emails can be sent based on starting status (eg. backordered to shipped, versus processing to shipped)
Limited
Each status can have own template
No
Uses one template
API for third party notification support
Yes
No
No

Security

SSL support
Yes
Yes
Yes
Cart data stored in database
Yes
Yes
Yes
Cart data encrypted
Yes
No
No
Session fingerprinting available This allows you to have greater control over who accesses the cart. If your data is extremely sensitive, this can help keep phishing attacks and cart hijacking at bay.
Yes
No
No

Shipping

Overview One of Expresso Store's selling points is it's powerful rate matrix, which allows you to create multiple rules for Shipping. CartThrob has an analogous system with even more power called Multi-Location Manager (available at no extra cost) which allows you to set shipping methods, currencies, taxes, pricing schemes and control other configurations based on country, state, zip, region, or custom data that's been added to the cart. Multi-Location Manager is also integrated with EE's ip2nation module, so it will attempt to guess customer locations upon entry.
Location based configurator
Yes
Yes
No
Plugin based shipping methods this allows for expansion and modification of shipping calculations
Yes
No
No
Per Item Rates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Per Location Rates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Per Location Price Threshold Rates
Yes
No
Yes
Per Location Quantity Threshold Rates
Yes
No
No
Per Location Weight Threshold Rates
Yes
No
Yes
By Weight
Yes
Yes
Yes
Flat Rates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Shipping Cost Override Per Item
Limited
Calculations depend on shipping plugin used
No
No
Non-shippable status per item
Yes
Yes
No

Live Rates

Australia Post
No
Yes
Yes
Canada Post
Yes
No
No
FedEx
Yes
No
Yes
UPS
Yes
Yes
Yes
USPS
Yes
No
Yes

Taxes

Display item prices with taxes included
Yes
Yes
No
Set items to tax-exempt status
Yes
Yes
No
Plugin based tax methods this allows for expansion and modification of tax calculations
Yes
No
No
Add tax classes to items
Limited
requires custom tax plugin
No
No
Tax methodology can be changed based on location

Limited
requires Multi-location add-on, or custom tax plugin
No
No
Tax & Shipping Regions

Countries listed in dropdowns can be adjusted point & click. Also, countries, and supported regions can be edited in the locales config file. Control panel support for country and region editing Static

Discounts, Sales & Vouchers/Coupons

Promo Codes / Vouchers
Yes
Yes
Yes
Per item sale pricing
Yes
Yes
Yes
Restrict discounts by member group
Yes
Yes
No
Restrict via date
Yes
Yes
Yes
Restrict via use limit
Yes
Yes
Yes
Restrict via per-member user limit
Yes
No
No
Restrict to specific products
Yes
No
Yes
Restrict to categories
Yes
No
Yes
Plugin based logic
Yes
No
No
Fixed Discounts
Yes
Yes
Yes
Percentage Discounts
Yes
Yes
Yes
Shipping Discounts
Yes
No
No
Buy one Get One
Yes
No
No

Payments

Overview Our wildly robust and flexible payment library makes it possible to support direct, direct post and offsite payment methods of all kinds with tight integration and full feature support. If we don't currently support a gateway, our seasoned team can build just about any gateway with a little bit of documentation.

North America & Global Gateways

AlertPay (offsite)
No
No
Yes
Authorize.net AIM (direct)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Authorize.net SIM (offsite)
Yes
Yes
No
Authorize.net CIM (token)
Yes
No
No
Authorize.net DPM (direct post)
Yes
No
No
Beanstream (direct)
Yes
No
No
CardSave Server (offsite)
Yes
Yes
No
CDG Quantum (direct)
Yes
No
Yes
Chase Orbital (direct)
Yes
No
No
Google Checkout (offsite)
No
No
Yes
Echo NVP (direct)
Yes
No
No
Eprocessing Network (direct)
Yes
No
No
FirstData Global Gateway (direct)
Yes
No
No
iTransact (direct)
No
No
Yes
Moneris (direct)
Yes
No
No
PayPal (offsite)
Yes - Express
Yes - Express
Yes - Standard
PayPal Pro (direct)
Yes
Yes
Yes
PayPal Hosted (direct post)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Payflow Pro (direct)
No
Yes
No
Payleap (direct)
Yes
No
Yes
Pivotal (direct)
Yes
No
No
Sage (direct)
Yes
No
No
Sage ACH (direct)
Yes
No
No
Samurai (direct post)
Yes
No
No
Stripe (direct post)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Shopatron (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Skipjack (direct)
Yes
No
No
Transaction Central (direct)
Yes
No
No

Australia & New Zealand

ANZ eGate (direct)
Yes
Yes
Yes
eWay Hosted (direct)
Yes
Yes
Yes
eWay Shared (offsite)
No
Yes
No
Paystation (offsite)
Yes
No
No
DPS PaymentExpress PxPay (offsite)
Yes
Yes
No
DPS PaymentExpress PxPost (direct post)
No
Yes
No
NAB Transact (direct)
Yes
No
Yes
PSIGate (offsite)
Yes
No
Yes
SecureTrading (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Vanguard (offsite)
Yes
No
No

Europe

2Checkout.co (offsite)
No
Yes
No
CardAccess (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Commidea (direct)
Yes
No
No
Elavon VirtualMerchant (direct)
Yes
No
No
GoCardless (direct post)
Yes
Yes
No
iDeal (offsite)
Yes - Rabobank Omnikassa
Yes
No
Netcash (offsite)
Yes
Yes
No
Nets B (direct)
Yes
No
No
Nets M (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Ogone (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Ogone (direct)
Yes
No
No
Paypoint (direct)
Yes
No
Yes
Paymentsense (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Pay4Later (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Przelewy24 (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Pin.net (direct)
Yes
No
No
Realex Remote (direct)
Yes
No
Yes
Sage (direct)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sage Server (offsite)
Yes
No
No
Worldpay (offsite)
Yes
Yes
No

China

Asiapay PayDollar (direct)
Yes
No
No
Alipay by PayDollar (offsite)
Yes
No
No
China Union by PayDollar (offsite)
Yes
No
No

General

Note: CartThrob handles transactions that don't require immediate payment as well
Offline Payments, Save Order, Pay by Check
Yes

Payment Tools

Accept manual payments
Yes
Add manual payments to your order channel if you'd like, or use preset options for 'offline payments', 'pay by account', 'pay by check',  'pay by phone', 'save order'
Yes
You can create unlimited manual payment options and then capture them in the order manager when payment is received.
Yes
Preset options for 'mail in', 'pay at store' and 'no payment required'
Take partial payments during checkout
No
Yes
No
Payment history
Yes
Yes
No
Authorize & Capture
Limited
All gateways can be modified to support auth-only transactions
Yes
Authorized payments can be captured from the control panel
Limited
Authorize.net only
Process refunds
Yes
Can be processed directly from the control panel for supported gateways
Yes
Can be processed directly from the control panel for supported gateways
No
Vault/Token Payments
Yes
No
No
Ability to add additional charges after purchase
Yes
Where supported by the gateway. Requires gateway with token support.
No
No
Additional gateways
Yes
Custom gateway development is available, generally for a flat fee of USD $800
Yes
Custom gateway development is available (cost not advertised)
Yes

Templates

Auto-installation of channels
Yes
No
N/A
Auto-installation of templates
Yes
No
Limited
Upload template files & sync templates to load
Sample templates feature Twitter Bootstrap
Yes
No
No
Javascript Tools
Yes
In sample templates all customer data is submitted via ajax. Gateway fields change dynamically based on user selection of gateway. CT Configurator JS automatically changes displayed SKU and stock level based on customer selections.
Yes
SKU and stock level changes based on customer selections. Region dropdown is updated when country is selected.
Yes
Shipping options change dynamically based on user selection.

Hardcore Development

Cart Object Easily Accessible to Third Party Addons. CartThrob is seriously expandable
Yes
Cart Object & Methods are available everywhere in modules, extensions, and plugins just by instantiating EE. The cartthrob loader method makes all cartthrob libraries and files accessible to your application.
Backoffice / ERP Data import and export options available
Yes
Generally requires custom development on top of basic framework
No
No
Extension Hooks Available
Yes
hooks
Yes
hooks
Yes
hooks
SDK Available
Yes
No
No
First party freebie addon repository
No
No
Shipping API
No
No
Coupon/Discounts API
No
No
Tax API
No
No
Payment Gateway API
Yes
And the payments library is even open source too!
Yes
Price Fields API
No
Yes
Third Party Notifications API
No
Yes
Support

Direct support is available via Phone or Skype.

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Docs

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Devot-ee

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Changelog

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Videos

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Features

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Gallery

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Add-on Repository

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