Mobile App for CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor: FAQ

Important

We offer a native mobile app for the customers of your CS-Cart store or Multi-Vendor marketplace. It is written on React Native and supports Android and iOS devices.

Part 1. General Questions

What Is All This About?

By default, CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor have responsive design. The store will adapt to fit into the screen nicely, no matter what devices your customers use. This allows customers to make purchases from the store via their smartphones or tablets.

However, there is another way to interact with the store—a mobile application. It is a program that customers can install on their mobile devices. It exchanges data with the store, so customers can see what products are available, purchase them, add them to wish list, and more.

Why Bother with an App When a Responsive Site Does the Same Thing?

  • An app is designed for mobile devices. A responsive web site has to look fine and work fine on all kinds of screens, from a smartphone to a large monitor. A mobile app has no such concerns: it just has to work on smaller screens with touch functionality.

  • An app is faster. When you view a web page, you do it via a browser; the browser has to load all the elements of the page (interface, images, etc.) from the Internet. A mobile app works differently: the interface is already stored on your device, so the app only has to download the data that matters (such as updated products).

  • An app is a way of advertisement. Firstly, the logo of the store (or any other image of your choice) appears on Apple App Store and Google Play as the app icon. Secondly, if customers install the app, they’ll be seeing that logo on the screens of their smartphones among other apps regularly.

    A responsive CS-Cart web site compared to a Mobile App.

How Does the App Synchronize with My Store?

The app has all the products that you offer in your store. If you add or remove products, categories, shipping and payment methods, they will appear and disappear in the app as well.

A customer who has an account in your store uses the same credentials to sign in to the app. By registering in the app, a customer also gets an account in your web store.

If a customer adds a product to cart or to the wish list in the mobile app, it will carry over to the store, and the other way around. Orders made in the app are no different to orders made at the web site: you manage them in your admin panel, and customers always see the full order history that includes orders from the app and from the site.

What Shipping and Payment Methods Are Supported?

The application supports all shipping methods and the following payment methods:

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Offline payment methods (such as “Discuss with manager”, etc.)

What Languages Does the App Support?

For now, the app supports only English and Russian: when one of these languages is selected on your device, the app will be displayed in that language. These translations are provided by the CS-Cart team.

The texts of the mobile app come with CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor as a part of the Mobile Application add-on. Once other languages are supported, translations into them will be made by the CS-Cart community and checked by our partners in our project at CrowdIn.

CS-Cart translation project at CrowdIn.

Does the App Support Push Notifications?

Yes. If you enable them, customers will be able to receive information about order status changes as messages displaying on their mobile phones. To set up push notifications for your app:

  1. Register at https://firebase.google.com.
  2. Create a project for Android & iOS.
  3. Enter the key in the settings of the Mobile Application add-on. The add-on comes with CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor, but isn’t installed by default.
  4. Use the Download config button to get an archive with the application settings.
  5. Send the downloaded app_settings.zip archive to us.

Can I Get the Source Code of the App?

Yes, but not as part of our standard plans. For more information, please check the Pricing section of our app pages for Multi-Vendor or for CS-Cart.

The technical support for the source code is limited. The license agreement allows using the source code only with one CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor installation and forbids publishing the source code or handing it over to third parties. However, you get to publish the application from your own account on Apple App Store and Google Play and showcase your company as the app developer.

Who Will be Listed as App Developer?

If you get the source code, you’ll be able to publish the app from your own developer account. Otherwise we’ll publish it from our account on your behalf. In that case the app developer will be listed as follows:

Part 2. Acquisition

How Do I Get a Mobile Application for My Store?

  1. Check the descriptions of our mobile apps for Multi-Vendor or for CS-Cart.

  2. If you decide to get the app (or if you have any questions), contact us via the forms on those pages.

  3. We’ll need some information from you, so that we could create your app and publish it on Apple App Store and Google Play.

    CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor come with the add-on called Mobile Application that isn’t installed by default. That add-on allows you to:

    • Provide the information necessary for publishing the app (texts, images, links, etc.).

    • Configure the look of the app (colors, logos, etc.). You may also want to edit the texts of the app at this point.

      The interface for editing the colors of your mobile application.

    The add-on by itself doesn’t create you a mobile app. Once you specify and save all the settings, you press the Download config button and get an archive called app_settings.zip. Send that archive to us, and we’ll have all the information we need to publish your app.

Can I Test the App before Buying It?

We have demo applications for Android and for iOS based on our Multi-Vendor demo store. Feel free to install those apps, go around the catalog, register an account, add products to cart or wish list, “order” them, and so on. Of course, we’re not actually selling anything at our demo store; it is just there to show how our software works.

How Soon after the Payment Will You Release My App?

Releasing a mobile application takes some time. We guarantee that we will build and upload the application to Google Play and Apple App Store within one month since the moment of receiving the app_settings.zip archive from you.

If we take longer to upload your application to Google Play or Apple App Store, and the delay is on our end, we can extend your subscription period for free. Please note that we do this only on a case-by-case basis. Contact us via Help Desk regarding that.

What Data Do You Need to Build a Mobile Application?

Most of the data described below is provided via the Mobile Application add-on along with the colors of your future app:

  1. Images:
    • App Icon—a 1024x1024 image to serve as the logo of your app. The required size is so big because Apple requires it. Please make sure that the image will look fine even if it is resized to 256x256.
    • Feature Graphic image—a 1024x500 image shown on the Google Play page of your application. For more information, see the “Feature Graphic” section of Google Play instructions.
    • Splash Screen Logo—an image in two variants (1536x2208 vertical & 2208x1536 horizontal). It will be displayed when you start the application on your mobile device.
  2. App details:
    • Application name—up to 30 symbols.
    • Application short description—up to 80 symbols.
    • Application full description—up to 4000 symbols.
  3. Your contact information:
    • Support email—the email address to which customers will send you feedback about your app. This address will be displayed on the page of your app in Google Play and Apple App Store.
    • Privacy Policy URL—the link to the privacy policy page of your store.

Important

Before we release the application both in Google Play and Apple App Store, we’ll give you a test app either for Android or for iOS devices. Depending on the platform you choose for testing, please let us know your email address either in Google Play, or in Apple App Store.

The interface for editing images and app store texts of your mobile app.

Part 3. Post-Release Customization

What Can I Change In My Mobile Application?

Once the application is published, it will automatically exchange data with your store. But you can also make some changes to the look of the application without contacting us and asking your customers to update their apps. Here’s what you can change:

  1. The content on the home page. You can use blocks of 5 types there:

    • Banners

    • Categories

    • Vendors

    • Products

    • Pages

      The interface for editing the colors of your mobile application.
  2. Links at the bottom menu of the sidebar. The top sidebar menu (with icons) is always the same, while the bottom menu is customizable: you can add and remove links as you see fit.

    Important

    The changes to the home page and sidebar are made in the admin panel of your store: go to Design → Layouts and switch to MobileAppLayout. It will appear only if the Mobile Application add-on is installed.

What if I Want to Change Colors or Logos after You Publish My App?

If you make changes to any of the settings of the Mobile Application add-on (such as changing the colors or enabling push notifications), these changes won’t automatically affect your published app.

  1. Make changes and save them.

  2. Use the Download config button to get the app_settings.zip archive from the add-on again.

  3. Send the archive to us, so that we could apply these changes.

    The interface for editing the colors of your mobile application.

    Important

    Asking us to make changes to the app after we publish it falls under “tweaks on request”, and some plans have limitations on those tweaks.

How Do I Change the Texts of My App?

The texts of your app are a part of Mobile Application add-on and can be edited in the admin panel of your store. Changing these texts works the same way as translating CS-Cart:

  1. Go to Languages → Translations.

  2. Run a search for mobile_app.mobile_ in the sidebar on the right—the results will include the texts used in the mobile app.

  3. Once you’ve changed the texts and saved your changes, you’ll need to download the app_settings.zip archive from the Mobile Application add-on and send that archive to us.

    Searching for the texts of the mobile app in CS-Cart admin panel.

    Important

    Asking us to make changes to the app after we publish it falls under “tweaks on request”, and some plans have limitations on those tweaks.

Home Page: How to Show or Hide the Titles of Blocks?

The titles of blocks on the home page may or may not appear. That depends on the wrapper that you select for blocks in the admin panel of your store.

Go to Design → Layouts and switch to MobileAppLayout. Select the Homepage tab and click the gear icon of any block to open the block’s settings. There you will be able to select a wrapper for the block:

  • Select -- if you want to hide the title of the block at the home page in your mobile app.

  • Select any other wrapper if you want to show the title.

    A block wrapper in CS-Cart determines the block title will appear on the mobile app home page.