Meet CS-Cart 4.16.1 with Stripe Checkout and Improved Vendor Panel
CS-Cart version 4.16.1 is out now. In this post, we’ll cover the biggest and brightest changes of the new version. The full list of changes is in the documentation.
As always, the new version is released on the same day for all our products:
CS-Cart Store Builder for single-seller stores and CS-Cart Multi-Vendor for marketplaces.
It means that when you download On-Premises software from our site, you get version 4.16.1. The availability of upgrades from version 4.15.2 to 4.16.1 in the Upgrade Center may vary:
- For our On-Premises line of products (Store Builder and Multi-Vendor), upgrades to version 4.16.1 will initially be available in small batches, on the “first downloaded, first upgraded” basis. In a few weeks, we’ll lift the restriction.
- For the cloud Multi-Vendor No-Code, these new features are coming as well, but at a later date. Since we are the ones who upgrade all No-Code marketplaces, you’ll just find the new features in your marketplace one day, without the need to run an upgrade.
With the technical details out of the way, let’s see what improvements version 4.16.1 brings to the table.
- Improved vendor panel
- Stripe Checkout
- Updated Help Center
- Stripe and Stripe Connect in the mobile app
- Search the Add-on Market from the admin panel
Improved vendor panel for marketplaces
Sellers (or “vendors” in CS-Cart terms) are the main providers of products and services on the marketplace. The customer experience depends on how vendors interact with customers, manage their product catalog, process orders, make deliveries, etc. Vendors do all this through the vendor panel.
In version 4.16.1, we have improved the vendor panel: now you can speed up the onboarding process of new vendors, as well as make their daily work easier on the marketplace.
Onboarding guide for new vendors
The first thing your new sellers see are the tips for getting started. Customize them as you see fit: change their order, add your own texts or videos for sellers. If your vendors already know what to do, they can dismiss any tip at any time.
New installations of Multi-Vendor 4.16.1 will have the standard onboarding tips enabled by default. If you upgrade an existing marketplace from version 4.15.2 to 4.16.1, the tips will be there too, but hidden by default.
To enable or manage the tips, use the “Log in as vendor” functionality in the top right corner of the admin panel. When an administrator with sufficient privileges does it, they get redirected to the vendor panel and can see the editing modes on the bottom toolbar.
Announcements for all vendors
Let all your vendors know about something, like an upcoming site maintenance through the block with announcements. Unlike the tips, announcements will disappear only after the administrator removes them.
A new sidebar for vendor panel
In the new version, the possibilities for managing the menu bar expanded. Now you can:
- rename menu items, change their order, hide or show the ones you need;
- add new menu items, leading to specific pages of the vendor panel, or even to a different site.
What’s more, you can customize the colors of the vendor panel menu on the fly using ready-made color schemes or creating your own. In 4.14.1, we have already added the ability to edit the content and tailor the colors of the sidebar. In version 4.16.1, menu customization has become much faster and more intuitive.
To-Do List with hints for your sellers and admins
Automatic prompts now appear in the vendor panel when something needs doing. For example, this is how vendors will know if they need to edit a product after your moderation. The admin will also see that some products are pending approval after vendor changes.
We’ve also updated the look and feel of the dashboard: analytics now looks more organized and business-focused.
These changes also apply to your admin panel in Multi-Vendor and Store Builder.
Owners of an online store, for example, may see hints that it is necessary to assign a category to several products, otherwise customers might not see them; or that buyers have sent messages to the admin.
Stripe Checkout for easy and secure payments
The next change from version 4.16.1 will benefit both marketplaces and single-seller stores. Stripe Checkout is a separate page with a variety of payment options for your customers to choose from.
The best thing is that you only need to configure one payment method in CS-Cart, and you’ll get a lot of improvements out of it.
Plenty of new payment methods
Stripe Checkout allows for at least 20 various payment options. Provide customers around the world with familiar payment systems:
- Afterpay—for Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand;
- SofortKlarna, Przelewy24, SEPA Direct Debit—for businesses from Europe;
- WeChat, Alipay, Giropay—for Asia and beyond;
- and any more are also available for selection. Stripe expands the list of payment methods over time.
“Buy now, pay later”
Change the way your customers pay for products, allowing them to purchase without paying upfront. For example, consumers can pay for their purchases in four interest-fee installments charged every two weeks, or pay the entire amount within 30 days. Klarna and Afterpay pay you immediately in full and then collect payments from buyers themselves.
A “safer feel” to checkout
CS-Cart software uses only trustworthy payment processors and never actually stores credit card data. But even though it is absolutely safe, customers might not know that.
Provide a sense of security and reduce the potential anxiety about the safety of customer personal and financial information. When customers use familiar payment systems for their online purchases, they are less likely to abandon their carts. Additionally, the payment process and interface are well-known for customers, it can make the checkout process quicker and more seamless.
Split the money automatically in all those scenarios
All of the above changes from Stripe Checkout also work with Stripe Connect, a multi-party payment solution for marketplaces. And if a customer paid for their goods, for example, in installments on your marketplace, the scenario may be as follows:
- You immediately receive the full amount;
- Stripe Checkout automatically split funds between you and your sellers;
- Buyer pays in installments to Klarna or Afterpay.
The ability to use Apple and Google Pay in Multi-Vendor deserves a special mention. Now marketplace owners can apply automatic funds distribution when the buyer uses the above payment methods to pay for products.
To add all these sweet payment-related changes, it is enough to set up one payment method with Stripe or Stripe Connect processor and enable Stripe Checkout in its settings. Your customers leave their address and contact information in the store, and then proceed to the Stripe page to make the payment. Depending on their currency and location, Stripe automatically determines the payment options.
Access to all our resources in one place through the Help Center
A significant part of the work with an online store or marketplace takes place in the Help Desk. However, CS-Cart has quite a lot of resources with useful information: documentation, video tutorials, Academy, forum. In version 4.16.1 we have collected all our resources in one place—Help Center (opened by clicking on the question button). The updated Help Center has become more convenient, and the content in it is now divided into several sections:
- Info on the functionality relevant to the page you’re on. For example, on the “Products” page you’ll get the best articles and videos we have on product management in CS-Cart.
- Your communication with Customer Care, and the status of your latest tickets.
- Reсent changes to CS-Cart or important news and updates.
- Links to other resources, such as forums, blogs, etc.
Keeping up to date with the latest news is much easier with the new Help Section. Now, if there is an important change, you will know about it right from the admin panel.
Mobile application: Stripe & Stripe Connect support
We receive many various suggestions from you on how to improve the CS-Cart mobile app. In version 4.16.1, we addressed the one that got brought up the most often: support of Stripe and Stripe Connect payment methods in the app. This means that when a buyer wants to purchase something via a mobile application of your marketplace, they will be able to pay for the order easily and quickly with a debit or credit card through Stripe.
Multi-party payments through Stripe Connect now also work in the app. Example: a customer has ordered several products from different vendors through the application, and paid for the purchase through Stripe, making one payment for all products. Stripe Connect will distribute the profits among vendors and the marketplace automatically.
Set up payments via Stripe and Stripe Connect in your application and get:
- Secure transactions. Stripe uses secure encryption technology to protect customers’ sensitive payment information.
- Global coverage. Accept payments from customers in multiple countries, making it possible to expand client reach globally.
- Increased sales. Offering a user-friendly payment experience and supporting multiple payment methods can potentially increase sales and customer satisfaction.
Search the Add-on Market from the admin panel
A huge number of CS-Cart features are included “in the box”. But if you want to make your store even more beautiful, functional, and user-friendly, then add-ons from other developers come into play. The Add-on Market is a place where you can find add-ons, themes, or a developer who can extend the standard functionality of CS-Cart.
In version 4.16.1, you can find all third-party add-ons and themes in your admin panel. To do that, just go to Add-ons→ Add-on Market. Select add-ons at discounted prices, search by name or by the vendor’s name using multilingual search. When you find the add-on you need, click the Buy button to go to its page on the Market and complete the transaction.
These are the main improvements in 4.16.1, the full list of changes is in the documentation.