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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!
If you’re looking for a way to increase digital product or course sales and decrease cart abandonment rates, then it’s time for a shopping cart platform! These services help you create higher-converting sales landing pages, funnels, and shopping cart experiences. Two of the best online checkout platforms on the market are ThriveCart and Samcart. So, which one do you choose?
Both platforms have similar features and capabilities, and you’re going to get higher conversions with either one. It can be overwhelming to choose between two services when they’re so similar.
Of course, just like anything else, the small differences can decide which one you’ll end up absolutely loving!
I’ve used ThriveCart and Samcart extensively in my business and while working with clients. They’re both excellent services, and there really isn’t a wrong choice between them. But I do have a favorite!
Spoiler alert: I prefer ThriveCart overall because the features you get are a fantastic value. The one-time membership fee is a huge plus for me, especially when you add in access to ThriveCart Learn.
Still need more information before you decide between ThriveCart vs Samcart? Let’s dig into the details of the similarities and differences between these two platforms.
ThriveCart is a shopping cart and checkout service platform that can help you sell digital and physical products, including online courses, memberships, and coaching services. You can start from templates and use a drag-and-drop builder to customize sales pages and shopping cart experiences, with the end goal of adding more sales to your bottom line.
Plus, you get access to ThriveCart Learn, which is ThriveCart’s online course-building platform. ThriveCart Learn is, hands-down, my favorite online course builder for 2023. If you’re an online course creator, just skip the rest of this review and sign up with ThriveCart! It will save you tons of money compared to paying separately for online course and shopping cart platforms.
Samcart has been around a few years longer than ThriveCart, and overall they have a more established reputation as a shopping cart service. With Samcart, you can do most of the same things you’d be able to with ThriveCart, but the user experience is slightly more polished.
Both ThriveCart and Samcart use drag-and-drop page editors, so you can customize your own sales pages and shopping cart experiences, even if you don’t know how to code.
When you’re adding new products in ThriveCart, you can add each one’s individual URL, description, pricing & payment information, and upsell offers in one place. Samcart works in a similar way.
Because Samcart’s user interface is simpler to understand and navigate, adding products and design pages in their platform is slightly more accessible. ThriveCart’s builder isn’t challenging to use by any means, but Sam cart does have a little bit of extra polish that makes it more user-friendly.
However, ThriveCart allows you to customize more of the elements on the page. You can change everything to match your brand colors and move around any design element to suit your preferences. Samcart is more limited in this area. You can tweak the layout of the pages but can’t modify their configurations the same way you can in ThriveCart.
One of the most valuable features of any shopping cart platform is accessing and monitoring user activity to convert customers and make more sales. ThriveCart and Samcart both have multiple marketing tools to help you convert customers.
ThriveCart has built-in email triggers so that you can set up automations based on people’s actions. Did someone abandon their cart before checkout? Did an automatic payment get declined? ThriveCart will automatically send emails that prompt these clients to complete a purchase or update credit card information.
If you want to do the same thing in Samcart, you’ll need to integrate it with your current email marketing platform (and even then, you can’t set up as many triggers as you’re able to in ThriveCart.)
As for analytics, ThriveCart lets you check out real-time traffic data, clicks, and projected revenue down to the day. Samcart provides plenty of useful data, but it’s less in-depth than what you can find in ThriveCart. On the upside, their analytics dashboard is much easier to understand at a glance.
I love being able to send automated emails straight from the platform. And even though so much data might be intimidating for total beginners, as your business grows, it’s super helpful to have the option to deep-dive into customer activity.
When it’s time to design a sales page or shopping cart, starting with a blank page can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a beginner. How do you know which design elements you’ll need, where to put copy, and how to lay everything out on the page? That’s exactly why built-in templates are so helpful. It’s so much easier to create a strategic sales page or cart when all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
Fortunately, both ThriveCart and Samcart come with pre-made templates that you can use as a starting point. Even though ThriveCart’s templates are more than enough to get you started on building sales pages and carts, this is one area where Samcart has so much more to offer. They have a more extensive template library, making it easier to find a template you really like to use as a starting point. ThriveCart has really stepped up its template game lately, so I’m hopeful they’ll continue improving with updates moving forward!
What good is having a shopping cart platform if it’s something you can’t even understand how to use? It’s so important for online course creators to have a user-friendly service. A lot of work goes into creating an online course: planning and recording course modules, email and social media marketing campaigns, developing course materials…and the list goes on! Not to mention, you’re usually running your own business and working with clients at the same time. The last thing you want to have to do when building your online course is to have to invest hours into learning your way around a new software.
Thankfully, ThriveCart and Samcart are both incredibly user-friendly! I’ve never had a problem using either of these services – they’re both fairly easy to navigate. If I had to pick one overall winner, I would say Samcart is a little easier to understand because everything is arranged in a way that just makes sense for users. The page builder also looks more modern than ThriveCart’s, which makes it feel more intuitive.
On the flip side, Samcart is easier to use because its page design and analytics tools are pared down compared to ThriveCart’s. Some people prefer to have more control over every single element of a sales page or each offer in detail.
Winner: Samcart for beginners or non-techy people, ThriveCart for people with tech experience who love to get detailed with design and analytics.
Collecting and reporting accurate sales tax is complicated, but it’s something you’ll need to do correctly. This is especially true for international sales! If you plan on selling your products in other countries or regions, it’s always a good idea to do what you can to comply with tax law. The most significant difference in many other countries is that it’s mandatory to calculate and show the breakdown of VAT within each purchase.
ThriveCart and Samcart both cover this for you, calculating tax based on customer location, products purchased, and other variables that you can set.
You’re inevitably using a service like ThriveCart or Samcart because you’re selling something online, so having great support is important! Of course, the best-case scenario is that your online course platform runs smoothly, and you won’t need customer service support. But if you run into a problem, every minute of downtime can affect your bottom line – you’ll want to get any issues corrected as quickly as possible.
ThriveCart’s customer service team is available 24/7, but sometimes it might take them a day or two to get back to you. Once they do, they’re great about helping you solve your problem.
Samcart’s customer service is a little more challenging to get ahold of. They’re only open during regular business hours (9 am to 5 pm Eastern time) on weekdays and only answer questions during that time. It might take a couple of business days to get back to you.
In a perfect world, I’d love to see these services launch live chat customer support and have faster turnaround times. Even though neither service has immediately available support, ThriveCart’s availability is better than Samcart’s.
ThriveCart (including ThriveCart Learn) costs a one-time $495 membership fee. You can upgrade to pro and get extra features for another $195, but the basic account gives most people all the features they need. You can always upgrade later if you want to!
Samcart follows a monthly pricing structure. The entry-level tier is $59 per month ($468 per year), but it doesn’t include all of the options to add upsells/downsells and multiple customer payment structures. To access those features, you’ll need to upgrade and pay $119 monthly ($948 per year.)
No matter which one of these services you go with, you will make more sales than you would without a dedicated shopping cart platform. They’re both excellent services – it’s just a matter of figuring out which one is better suited to your business!
If you need a trial period before committing to a service, prefer month-to-month billing, want access to more templates, and like a more simplified interface, Samcart might be the best service for you.
If you want more control over every aspect of the sales page and cart design, in-depth analytics, and to save some money, ThriveCart is the way to go.
And, if you’re an online course creator…seriously, just buy ThriveCart! ThriveCart Learn alone is worth the membership fee, and it includes all the features most online course creators need.
Even if you’re only looking for an online shopping cart platform, ThriveCart’s pricing is a HUGE advantage over paying month-to-month with Samcart. The one-time fee comes out so much lower, even if you went with Samcart’s discounted annual price – you’ll save hundreds of dollars.
The lower price point, plus access to online course creation with ThriveCart Learn, put ThriveCart over the top as my favorite shopping cart platform.
I hope this in-depth review of ThriveCart vs Samcart has helped you decide which one is better for your business. If you have any questions about my experience with either platform, feel free to DM me on Instagram – I’m happy to help!
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