Talking with Qualiteam (X-Cart, LiteCommerce)

I was able to talk with the folks at Qualiteam, an Eastern European ecommerce vendor. They have two shopping cart products, X-Cart and LiteCommerce.

Thanks for talking with, guys. Where are you located?

Our company is headquartered in Cyprus, with partner company offices in the Russian Federation.

How many people does your firm have?

At this time, we have more than 150 people working in our company.

Tell me about the products. In particular, I’m having trouble understanding why you have two apparently competing products. I read the comparison chart, and it seems to suggest that X-Cart is more mature and fully featured. Why didn’t you create an X-Cart lite? As a customer, how do I decide which is right for me?

The concepts behind these two products are quite different.

Both solutions are stable and mature, and both of them provide a rich feature set and can be used as ready-made shopping cart solutions or e-commerce platforms/engines for custom online store solutions. They are widely integrated with numerous payment and shipping services and other third-party solutions. Moreover, our company provides the whole range of accompanying services including software installation, custom development, web design and shopping cart hosting.

However, there are some significant differences: X-Cart is equipped with a wider range of built-in features (at a higher price), while LiteCommerce is a very modular architecture which provides convenient mechanisms for customization, such as an API for third-party add-ons. Designers also like LiteCommerce’s WYSIWYG editors. LiteCommerce is also easier to maintain for store owners and administrators, thanks to the built-in QuickStart wizard along with a Control Panel and installer for Windows.

So in a nutshell,

  • X-Cart is a powerful, ready-made, fully-featured solution with a wide range of ready-made add-ons and third-party solutions
  • LiteCommerce is a more flexible, easy to use and customizable solution.

And of course, our sales representatives are always happy make recommendations based on client needs.

Is X-Cart considered a legacy product? Are you actively in development?

X-Cart is under active development, with releases containing new features, enhancements and bugfixes being provided on a regular basis. By no means is it a legacy product.

How many people are using the products? Any segments in particular that
prefer your software?

Our products power more than 20,000 live online stores worldwide. Since both products are highly customizable, they can be tailored to almost any industry, and that is why the range of segments greatly varies. Among the most popular are: books, videos, clothing, electronics, toys, and e-goods.

Your add ons for the LiteCommerce product are very modestly priced. How did you
decide on this strategy? Why have you kept X-Cart add on prices high?

The main idea behind this approach is to allow a client to combine a desired feature set himself and expand it when there’s a need for extended functionality. For example, a client can buy a basic version of LiteCommerce and extend it with additional components at a later date without having to spend too much extra money up front.

With X-Cart, the approach is different since many advanced features are already present in the stock version. Add-ons provide some complex, powerful features, that is why they are priced higher.

What’s your support plan? How do you deal with the time difference?

Our support system is based on support points. Each incident (an issue, problem or question related to our software) is classified by category and rated in points depending on its complexity. Points can be bought at any time, they are simply added to your account and can be spent later. However, we advise our customers to maintain a positive account balance in order to cover the work, and most of our customers buy points in advance.

The point system means that a customer can buy as much support as needed and avoid unnecessary spending. Also, each of our products comes with a free support package so that clients can receive assistance on the basics.

As for the time difference, it’s not an issue for our customers since the support service is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Are you primarily marketing to developers or to storeowners?

We think of both groups as our target audience, since it’s possible either to use our software as-is, customize it yourself or hire our developers to customize it for you.

Why did you make your forum members only?

In our experience, a forum open to the public attracts those who simply wish to promote their products and are not interested in providing assistance for our solutions at all. That is why we have limited access, so that people could actually receive assistance and participate in relevant discussions. In addition, there is a great deal of code available on our forum which we also want to protect for security and licensing reasons.

How many commercial 3rd party developers do you have in your community?

It’s hard to tell the exact number, however, we can definitely say that there are a number of individuals and studios who are very active in providing custom solutions and add-on modules and whose services are based solely on our products.

What are the differentiators between your solution and Zen Cart, OSCommerce or Magento?

ZenCart/OSCommerce are surely among the best picks from free e-commerce products, however, they mostly succeed in skilled hands since they’re quite difficult to customize. Store owners may still have to pay a lot for the extra work which in our case is built into the product.

As for Magento, it is surely an attractive product and it deserves a lot of attention, but the code quality and maturity is still uncertain, whereas X-Cart has a long development history and most of glitches are fixed by now. It’s also not clear what level of service Varien will provide (i.e. will they do custom programming themselves?) and this is a very important consideration for many clients.

How do you do upgrades? What’s the cost?

As soon as the new version is released, we provide upgrade packs at no additional cost so customers can perform the upgrade themselves. If code changes are minor, X-Cart can be upgraded using the automated script. An upgrade between versions involves automatic database upgrade and manual re-implementation of modifications.

Still, if necessary, clients are always welcome to order a custom upgrade to be done by our engineers.

What percentage of your revenue is derived from professional services vs. selling software licenses?

In general, the largest part of our revenue is generated by software sales.

Great! Well thanks for your time guys, and we’ll see you on the web.
Qualiteam’s e-commerce offerings are X-Cart and LiteCommerce. Check them out.

8 thoughts on “Talking with Qualiteam (X-Cart, LiteCommerce)”

  1. Version 4.4 of X-Cart integrates all the previous add-ons into the store itself. There is a modest inscrease in price (from $115 to $149) but it may be well worth it to have all these add-ons already built in.

    X-Cart open source allows for modifications and customizations. ?Integration with external systems like bookkeeping, inventory, POS, CMS (Joomla) are possible with the open source code.

    Also, there is a (very) large user base and a committed company behind the product. If you plan changes to the code just make sure you go with an experienced, professional resource (firm or individual) as the code must be handled with care.

  2. X-Cart is a very flexible ecommerce platform to work with, however, the documentation isn’t so great. Depending on your skills, since its written in PHP and smarty you can create great mods quickly. We’ve migrated many sites to various versions of x-cart with great success. Good luck!

  3. There are many solutions available for ecommerce sellers these days. The point is not which cart is the best, or has the most features, but more about which cart is “best for you, based on your current and future growth needs.” All kinds of things impact the type of cart merchants sell on whether it’s cost, hiring a design team, custom programming or modules, SEO and marketing and more. Both X-cart and LiteCommerce are top notch, and have been on the market for many years, through many versions. They are time tested and proven for users whose current and future growth needs have been met. Good article! Found the comments interesting thought I’d offer my 2 cents.

  4. I did a great deal of research before settling on x-cart. It is an exceptional package with many add-on modules. It does take some programming to get the unique look-and-feel and not look like a standard skin. However, I too, ran into the issue of their support team charging up a storm. Yes, they get back to you in 24 hours, but it’s usually just and acknowledgement that you have a problem, not a solution. The first few engagments are usually boiler plate responses and to get to real support, it takes at least 3 days. I think they do this so that you would double your cost to “rush” a support issue, which is a support option. At that point, it’s getting pretty expensive to solve even simple problems.

    I have also used qualiteam for customization, which they do a fair and comprehensive job. However, I’ve found that I can cut my cost in half if I go to ex-qualiteam developers, such as MyCustomXcart is just as good and much more flexible to work with.

    I still use qualiteam for support of non-critical issues and basic questions, but for critical issues I need to get addressed quickly or more comprehensive customization, I go to a good outside developer that knows what their doing.

  5. X-Cart is a reliable software, many people have switched from their shopping carts to X-Cart and haven’t regretted it.

    For those who want to switch but haven’t done it yet – there’s web service Cart2Cart. It automates migration to X-Cart. Please check for more details.

  6. I currently have litecommerce and a slew of modules for it. My experience with their quality team however has been top notch. I always use the help desk and always post a detailed description of my problem which are replied to within 24 hours, even on weekends.

    However I am always trying other ecommerce solutions. I have tried all those in the listing plus a few more. Most require programming skills to get the look and feel that you want. Yes there are many templates and skins out there, but who really wants a cookie cutter site?

    Right now though I have my eye on dotshoppingcart. It is and the pro version comes with a built in cms portal. You can add forums and blogs on the fly. Arrange your content on the page with just a few clicks and from the look of it with a slight learning curve you can make skins via Visual Studio.

  7. I researched cart software carefully, especially tech support offerings, before buying X-Cart. I spoke with the X-Cart folks at great length. One year later the software is fine, but the tech support is awful. Currently it takes Qualiteam 7 days to respond to an email, which is the ONLY way to reach tech support. Phone calls get you reprimanded by a stern gatekeeper, and pointed to email. Also, I have YET to ever get a problem fixed for the amount of tech support points advertised. For some reason it always ends up getting escalated and costs twice the rate. I’m actively looking for new software.

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