SamCart Review: Pros, Cons, Pricing, Competitors & More!
SamCart Review Summary : SamCart is a high-end shopping cart for digital marketing professionals. Whether you're selling physical or digital products this cart software has all the tools & whistles to help you scale your business.
Beautiful high-converting checkout pages with advanced sales funnel features like bump offers & upsells.
Monthly pricing is okay if you're doing well. It's main competitor's pricing is not monthly.
Ease of Use
Adding products and services is simple, however some steps can get a bit tedious.
Excellent support center with articles & videos. Live chat & email support.
Did you know that 82% of people who make it to a checkout page leave before they buy?
This makes your shopping cart choice the #1 most important tool in your online business. SamCart aims to be the ultimate solution for online marketers who sell products and services.
In this [todaysdate format="Y"] SamCart review, I’ll cover the pros, cons, alternatives, and details such as:
- Payment Processors Integrations
- Templates & If They’re Any Good
- Split Testing Capabilities
- The Pro vs. Premium SamCart Pricing Options
- How it Compares to Its Main Competition
As you’ll see, SamCart has a LOT of benefits, but it’s not a fit for everyone as you'll soon find out.
What Is SamCart?
In 2013, Brian and Scott Moran founded SamCart, a web-based checkout platform that has stood the test of time (in online years). Designed to be one of the best online shopping carts, and continuously improving, SamCart has an army of loyal users.
Whether your goal is to sell digital products or physical products, SamCart allows users to create a fully functional checkout page in as little as half an hour.
Watch my SamCart review video below for a quick tutorial of SamCart's basic and advanced features.
SamCart has all the standard features you’d want in a shopping cart. In this section, I’ve fired up SamCart, and we’ll be covering the standard features found in the Pro Plan.
Along the way, I’ll share my experiences using this tool, what I liked and didn’t like, and how some of the features compared to SamCart’s main competitor, ThriveCart.
Advanced Features are discussed in the next section.
One of the first things SamCart has you do when getting started is set up your payment gateway(s) with Stripe or PayPal.
Stripe and PayPal, granted, are two of the most popular payment processors used for online business. But, these are the ONLY payment processors that SamCart integrates with.
SamCart does NOT integrate with the following payment gateways:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin)
This left me scratching my head a little because ThriveCart (considered SamCart’s main rival) offers Authorize.net, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. And it’s been around for only a few years.
Let’s now shift gears to the types of payment options you can set up & accept with SamCart.
With SamCart, you can setup offers with the following payment methods and options:
- One-Time single price offers
- Payment Plans (aka Split-Pay)
- Controllable billing frequency for payments plans and subscriptions (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and custom)
- Free Trials
- Choice of 8 currencies
- Quantity Limitations
- Test mode (aka sandbox mode) to test checkout before launching a SamCart checkout page
SamCart differentiates itself from ThriveCart, and its other competitor’s a bit by its detailed product selling flexibility.
Payment Gateway Summary:
If you’re planning on using payment gateways other than PayPal and Stripe, you’re out of luck.
Although SamCart is one of the pioneers in the cart software market, it hasn’t managed to add other payment processors into the mix. Other processors that ThriveCart, a fairly new competitor, offers to its customers.
That said, they gain some redeeming points with its awesome billing frequency options for payment plans and subscriptions.
High Converting Checkout Templates
Getting potential customers to your checkout page(s) takes time, money, and effort. And your checkout process goal is to reduce the bounce rate and have people make the purchase (convert).
SamCart provides 18 checkout templates tested for sales conversions in their template library.
This includes embeddable and popup checkout carts.
With this many templates, you’re bound to come across one you like and fits your business model.
As for customizing the templates, you can customize as much elements of a checkout page with few limitations. These are the checkout design customizations you can make:
- Preset Colors
- Define Your Colors
- Logo Upload
- Fields (Billing Address, Shipping Address, Phone Number, Email Confirmation, Zip Code, Quantity)
- Custom Fields
- Button Text
- Guarantee Title & Text
- Bullet Points Title, Bullet Points & Image
- Testimonials Title
- Custom Content
- Terms & Conditions Checkbox
- Terms & Conditions URL
SamCart has a rather old-school way of customizing checkout carts.
Here’s how it works: you don’t visually get to see the changes you make to the custom settings.
Instead, you configure your customization settings on SamCart's dashboard product interface and then click the preview button to see how your checkout page looks.
For the monthly recurring price, I expected a drag-and-drop checkout page editor...
It works, but sheesh, we’re in 2019!
A great sales cart software will have the ability to do A/B testing. Once you know which cart variation works best through testing, you'll watch SamCart increase conversions daily.
SamCart lets you split test quite easily.
In your product’s Advanced Settings tab, you’ll be able to add a New Test Variation.
The process is straightforward. SamCart will ask you for the new variation name. Once that’s set, you can click on which variation you want to edit settings for.
You’ll notice which variation you’re editing when the screen quickly refreshes and brings you to the Product Details tab (you’ll see a change in your URL).
Checkout Page Templates Summary:
Excellent number and variety of checkout page templates. When it comes to customizing template design, it could use some improvements instead of making blind changes and then previewing.
As for A/B split testing, make sure to click the center of the square image (you’ll see a “C” for control and “V2” for your variation), or SamCart won’t change the variation you’re editing. Other than that, A/B testing on this shopping cart is great!
Order Bumps, Upsells & Coupons
SamCart claims their cart software allows you to easily maximize profits and increase customer lifetime value.
This section is about how their features help do just that.
Let’s start with order bumps (aka bump offers).
You can add bump offers to your checkout page in the Upsells tab. Be aware, to have add a bump offer; you need to have a pre-existing product in your account. This bump offer can be a digital product or physical product.
When a bump offer is added, it inherits the price of the added product. I see this as a small con because there’s an extra step if you need to adjust the price of the product you want to use as a bump offer.
Either way, bump offers look great in SamCart!
Let’s cover one-click upsells. Upsells can undoubtedly increase the overall value of your sale.
SamCart upsells are handled in a different section of the dashboard (sigh), but behave similarly to bump offers. You’ll be setting up upsells in the Upsells dashboard.
Think of the Upsell dashboard as a section of Upsell products. Here you’ll be able to customize your upsell pages to your liking and assign them to the main product.
Customization includes upsell copy, video insertion, and what you’d expect a standard upsell page to have.
So how do SamCart upsells behave like bump offers on their platform? Just like bump offers inherit pricing of the original product, upsells also inherit the price configured in the Upsells dashboard.
This could pose a slight frustration if you’re running a promotion throughout your sales funnel (front-end and upsells).
Because you’d have to duplicate the original upsell page(s) and configure a different funnel. This is what I like to call the “SamCart struggle” (#firstworldproblems).
Last but not least are SamCart coupons and discounts! Unlike bump offers and upsells, coupons can be created within the same Product dashboard (yay). All you have to do is switch the Allow Coupons toggle on and click the +Add Coupon button.
This will bring up a plethora of coupon options.
SamCart first has you choose a coupon code and then configure the following settings:
- Coupon Duration (Applied Once or Recurring)
- Coupon Description
- Coupon Type (Percentage or Flat Rate)
- Coupon Discount Amount
Once those settings are configured, it’ll ask you to apply it to a product. Setting up coupon codes with SamCart is easy, and you can set up multiple codes!
Order Bumps, Upsells, & Coupons Features Summary:
SamCart does an excellent job at allowing you to create beautiful checkout pages plus marketing tools such order bumps, upsells, and coupons (commonly used in sales funnels). However, having to set up individual products for bump offers and upsells brought down my user experience just a tad.
One of the first things you’ll want to integrate any online shopping cart with is your email marketing autoresponder. When someone makes a purchase, you’ll want to add them to your list!
SamCart integrates with the following email marketing providers:
- Constant Contact
If you don’t use one of the email marketing services above, you might have to use a Zapier integration (more in just a sec).
SamCart has stepped its game up with membership integrations. Before, it only supported four membership integrations and has recently added three more. From the looks of it, membership platform integrations are tough for online shopping carts.
SamCart offers the following membership platform integrations:
- WishList Member
- Post Affiliate Pro
- Member Mouse
- Digital Access Pass
If you’re using a platform like Teachable, you’re out of luck until SamCart works out an integration with that platform. However, you could always try a Zapier integration.
Marketing Automation Integrations
For those of you using marketing automation software, these are native integrations offered:
Currently, SamCart doesn't offer any webinar platform integrations, which is unfortunate as many digital product owners use webinars to sell their products online these days.
In conclusion, if there's a tool you must have work with SamCart, even though there's no native integration, you can always use Zapier.
Zapier currently has over 200+ integrations you can use with SamCart including Teachable, GoToWebinar, WebinarJam, and much more.
SamCart integrates with most of the major players in the email marketing autoresponder and membership platform markets. They have room to build out more native integrations like Teachable (a popular membership platform).
If your marketing tools aren't on the native integrations lists they provide you can always use Zapier to connect your favorite tools. For monthly pricing, I was expecting more native integrations.
With software, things are not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes you’ll have a technical issue that you need help with. Having an excellent support team in your corner is crucial.
SamCart support offers the following types of customer support:
- Help Center Documentation
- Live Chat
- Email Support
- Facebook Group
Their Help Center support articles are thorough (as they should be) and include easy to understand how-to videos and/or helpful GIF images.
Here’s an example of a thorough Conversion Pixel Tracking support article.
As thorough as the Help Center articles are, sometimes you need a bit more immediate help.
For that, there’s their live chat or email option.
Typically they reply within a few hours if not within minutes for live chat.
For emails and live chat, you can expect anywhere from a few hours up to 24 hours. But, keep in mind that their support hours are weekdays 9 am - 5 pm ET.
And the last support option they offer is their Facebook group that can over 14,000+ members as of [todaysdate format="Y"].
SamCart, like most online cart software companies, does not offer a direct customer support phone number line.
Customer Support Summary:
Customer support is limited to email support, live chat, the Facebook group, and the help center. The Help Center has thorough articles (many of which have great tutorial videos).
SamCart Advanced Features
In this section, we’re going to be covering the features that only come in the Premium plan. These advanced features are Dunning (aka “The Subscription Saver”) and The Affiliate Center.
“The Subscription Saver,” aka dunning, is built into SamCart. As the nickname implies, dunning is mainly for users who have subscription products.
You see, subscription-based businesses worry about customer churn. Customers can pay for an online subscription for a few months, decide to cancel, or for some reason, their credit cards fail. Dunning is concerned with saving failed payment attempts.
Here are a few reasons why customer’s credit cards could fail:
- Card expiration
- Card has been replaced
- Card has been shutdown
- Banks have blocked a transaction
Dunning software works by using different tactics such as sending email reminders to customers that their card is about to expire.
As you can see, this is a sophisticated process that requires automating working with the customer to update credit card information after payment attempts start to fail in their subscription payments.
A dunning software can cost you $100+ every month. SamCart has its own dunning software built-in, hence the nickname “Subscription Saver.”
Having a dunning software built into a shopping cart puts it miles ahead of its competitors. Although dunning is a complex process, SamCart offers a very detailed support article which includes a video tutorial to help you get started. Their Premium payment plan also get dedicated support, so setting up dunning won't be a problem.
The Affiliate Center
The other main reason you might consider going with the Premium plan is if you’re planning on having affiliates to promote your product(s).
This Affiliate Center used to put SamCart miles ahead to other affiliate marketing platforms. However, these days it's main competitor is catching on. Plus, there’s a slight downside (more in a sec) to their links.
In the Affiliate dashboard, you’ll be able to do the basics like setting up affiliate commissions, configure payout periods, affiliate signups, affiliate approvals, and cookie expiration.
Now, that doesn’t sound too fancy.
Here’s where SamCart’s affiliate center shines through. It was one of the first affiliate platforms to let you create affiliate links that send visitors to any web page of your choice and credits affiliates if a potential customer decides to make a purchase.
This works well for product owners who have content. You can set up your affiliate promotion links to send people to a sales page (this is standard), webinar registration page, squeeze page, even a YouTube URL and your affiliates will still get credited if a sale is made!
In other words, SamCart’s affiliate tracking works no matter what affiliate URL your affiliates use when they're signed up to your affiliate program.
The downside to their affiliate platform is there is no affiliate tracking IDs for affiliates.
For example, if an affiliate wrote a review article and made a YouTube video review promoting your product, they won’t know which traffic source (blog or YouTube) produced the sale. This is why tracking IDs are important for affiliates.
When compared to ThriveCart's affiliate platform, SamCart loses. ThriveCart now has the ability credit affiliates with commissions based off any URLs as well and they let your affiliates add custom affiliate tracking IDs to their links, so they know exactly where their sales are coming from. I talk more about this in my ThriveCart review article.
The Affiliate Center Summary:
If you have content on the web that funnels people to your product and you're planning on having affiliates promote your product, I’d highly consider SamCart.
Its unique affiliate platform lets you leverage your existing content URLs, letting your affiliates send traffic to them as well. However, for the Premium pricing, I was expecting the ability for affiliates to add tracking IDs to their links.
Pros and Cons
SamCart has two pricing plans. The Pro Plan, which costs $99 per month, allows unlimited products, 18+ checkout templates, multiple payment methods, with features ranging from coupon discounting to 1-click upsells and bump offers.
If you need advanced features, you'll need SamCart's Premium Plan, which costs $199 per month. This plan includes all the features available in the Pro plan along with The Subscription Saver (their built-in dunning software) and their Affiliate Center.
As you can see, this is one of the higher-priced shopping cart solutions on the market.
Is it worth $99/month-$199/month?
I'd say the Premium Plan is worth it, but the Pro Plan, not so much... More in this next section.
Is SamCart the Right Choice for You?
Now that we've covered SamCart's standard and advanced features let's figure out if it's is the right shopping cart solution for you.
I've boiled this SamCart review down to two cases when I would recommend SamCart and one when I wouldn't - simple.
The Premium Plan is worth it if you have a subscription-based business for their dunning system.
SamCart has a great affiliate platform for product owners who have existing content that funnels leads to their products. This could be YouTube and/or blog content. Any web page really. You'll be able to set up these pages as affiliate links your affiliates can use (aside from the main product page affiliate link).
Not Recommended IF:
SamCart's Pro Plan is good, but when compared to ThriveCart, which does most of what SamCart's Pro plan can do, I'd recommend paying $495 one-time (standard account price) if you want to avoid the monthly fee.
Like I previously said, if you want affiliates to help promote your product(s), you won't be able to provide them tracking capabilities going with SamCart's affiliate platform.
Although SamCart is a hefty monthly investment, no one can deny that it's a powerful platform (especially their Premium Plan) for online marketers.
Aside from its advanced features, their easy-to-use interface will let you build beautiful checkout pages that will separate you from your competitors.
However, SamCart is not without its own competition these days. ThriveCart is giving them a real run for their money.
Having used both platforms, I'd recommend the SamCart's Premium Plan at $199 per month and ThriveCart instead of SamCart's Pro Plan.
Give SamCart a try, free for 14 days to see if their shopping cart fits well with your online business! If you have questions, leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading my SamCart review out of all the reviews out there!
Embeds & Popups
Gumroad is a budget friendly shopping cart and an easy to use shopping cart solution. They offer a free account plan, but there's not a lot of customization or advanced sales funnel features like upsells and order bumps that come along with it.
ThriveCart is SamCart's #1 shopping cart competitor because they offer one-time pricing for many of the same features.
SendOwl is a great looking shopping cart if you want to have a popup checkout process that integrates seamlessly with your website.
PayKickstart is a solid platform I've yet to review fully, but I have heard good things from users.