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 create checkout pages and scale your business.
SamCart aims to be the ultimate checkout system for online marketers who sell products and services.
In this 2020 SamCart review, I’ll cover the pros, cons, alternatives, and SamCart's many features such as:
- Payment Processor Integrations
- Templates For Your Physical or Digital Product
- Split Testing Capabilities
- The Pro vs. Premium SamCart Pricing Options
- How it Compares to Its Main Competition
- Types of support SamCart offers
SamCart has a LOT of benefits, but it’s not a fit for everyone. Let's get started.
What Is SamCart?
In 2013, Brian Moran 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 information products, digital products, or physical products, SamCart allows users to create a beautiful checkout page in as little as half an hour. SamCart checkout pages can be part of your sales pages (known as the 1-page funnel).
Prefer to watch rather than read? Watch our 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 Launch and Grow plans (plans explained in the upcoming pricing section).
Along the way, I’ll share my experiences using SamCart, what I liked and disliked, and how some of the features compared to SamCart’s main competitor, ThriveCart.
We'll discuss Advanced SamCart features in the next section.
One of the first things this cart has you do when getting started is to set up your payment gateway(s) with Stripe (for credit card purchases) or PayPal.
Stripe and PayPal, granted, are two of the most popular payment processors used online.
SamCart does NOT integrate with the following payment options:
- 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 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)
- Payment Processing with No SamCart Processing Fee
- Payment structure: controllable billing frequency for payments plans and subscriptions (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and custom)
- Free Trials
- Choice of 8 currencies
- Quantity Limitations & Shipping Options
- Free SSL Certificate
- Test payments: make sure to always use SamCart's test payments feature (aka sandbox mode) on checkout pages before going live and launching a new product
SamCart differentiates itself from ThriveCart, and its other competitor’s a bit by its detailed payment structure product flexibility. They have granular billing frequency settings for payments as well.
Payment Gateway Summary:
If you’re planning on using payment gateways besides PayPal and Stripe, you’re out of luck because SamCart hasn’t managed to add other payment processors into the mix.
They gain some redeeming points with its billing frequency options for payment plans, product delivery, and subscriptions.
High Converting Checkout Templates
Your checkout process goal should be to reduce the bounce rate and improve its conversion rates.
SamCart offers 18 checkout templates tested for sales conversions in their template library. This includes their infamous one page funnel product page template (a marketing strategy made popular by Brian Moran). As well as their embeddable and popup checkout pages.
With this many one page funnel design and checkout page template design options, it's easy for SamCart customers to get started by filling in their product info.
Embed your checkout cart to your site!
Have a popup checkout form right on your sales page!
As for customizing the templates, you can customize as many elements of checkout pages with a few limitations. These are the SamCart checkout design customizations you can make:
- Preset Colors
- Define Your Colors
- Logo Upload
- Fields (Billing Address, Shipping Address, Email address, 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. You don’t visually get to see the changes you make to the checkout designs.
Instead, you configure your customization settings on SamCart's dashboard product interface and click the preview button to see how your checkout page looks.
NEW: SamCart Now Has a Drag & Drop Editor!
SamCart now has a beautiful drag & drop editor (most SamCart reviews don't mention this).
Thus far, this is a game changer as not many carts offer this level of checkout page design for checkout pages. You'll be able to fully customize your landing pages across your sales funnel.
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.
The setup process to create SamCart split tests is straightforward in the advanced settings tab. You'll be asked for the new variation name. Once that’s set, you can click on which variation you want to edit settings for.
Split Test Your Checkout Process
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 difference in your test variation URL).
Checkout Page Templates Summary:
Excellent variety of checkout page templates. When it comes to customizing template design, SamCart now offers a full drag-n-drop builder for their templates! Plus you can run A/B testing on them (their A/B split tests could be more user-friendly).
Order Bumps, Upsells & Coupons
SamCart's value proposition is that their cart software allows you to easily maximize profits and increase customer lifetime value.
This section is about how their features help people make the most out of every sale using SamCart (without being a web developer).
Let’s start with bump offers (usable for either digital or physical products). In my experience the conversion rate for these quick offers are high!
The setup process for adding bump offers to your checkout page is in the Upsells tab. Be aware, to add an offer; you need to have a pre-existing product in your account.
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, SamCart makes their bump offers look unique!
Let’s cover one-click upsells. Upsells can undoubtedly increase the overall value of your sale.
The setup process for SamCart upsells are handled in a different section of the dashboard (sigh), but behave similarly to bump offers. You’ll be setting up one-click 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, they also inherit the price configured in the Upsells dashboard.
This could pose a slight frustration if you’re running a promotion throughout your funnel.
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 is SamCart coupons and discounts! Coupons are 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.
Once you've decided on your coupon code, SamCart also lets you 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 discount codes with SamCart is easy, and you can set up multiple codes!
Order Bumps, Upsells, & Coupons Features Summary:
SamCart does an excellent job of allowing customers to create beautiful checkout pages plus tools that enhance the sales process such as bumps, upsells, and coupons (commonly used in sales funnels). However, having to set up individual products for bump offers and an upsell funnel 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. For every sale SamCart will automatically add the customer to your email list!
SamCart integrations for email providers are:
- Constant Contact
Integrating is as easy as copy pasting your API key. If you don’t use one of the email marketing tools above, you might have to use a Zapier integration for email integrations to add people to your email list with SamCart.
SamCart has stepped its game up with membership site integrations. Previously, they only supported four membership sites. They've recently added three more. From the looks of it, membership platform integrations are tough for online shopping carts.
SamCart integrates with the following:
- WishList Member
- Post Affiliate Pro
- Member Mouse
- Digital Access Pass
If you’re using a platform like Teachable (or another platform for membership sites), you can use a Zapier integration.
Marketing Automation Integrations
For those of you using marketing automation software, tracking tools, and other sales processing, these are native integrations:
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. However, Zapier can integrate SamCart with GoToWebinar and WebinarJam.
SamCart integrates with most of the major players in the email marketing autoresponder and membership markets.
If your marketing tools aren't on the native integrations lists you can always use Zapier to connect your tool(s). 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 support:
- Help Center Documentation
- Live Chat Support
- Email Support
- Facebook Group
Their 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 their 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.
Expect anywhere from a few hours up to 24 hours. 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 2020.
SamCart, like most online cart companies, does not offer a direct support phone number line.
Customer Support Summary:
Support is limited to email support, live chat option, the Facebook group, and helpful articles (many of which have great tutorial videos). The most expensive plan gets priority support.
SamCart Advanced Features
In this section, we’ll cover SamCart's advanced features: Dunning (nicknamed “The Subscription Saver”) and The Affiliate Center.
Dunning is built into SamCart. As the nickname implies, dunning is mainly for users who have subscription products and want to maintain and/or increase customer value.
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. SamCart makes a complex process easy to set up for their premium users.
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.
It's a sophisticated process that requires automation to work with the customer to update credit card details after payment attempts start to fail in their subscription payments.
A dunning tool can cost you $100+ every month. SamCart has dunning built-in.
Dunning configuration can be set up in settings.
If you're looking to setup dunning, SamCart has a detailed support article which includes a video tutorial to help you get started. Their Premium plan also gets dedicated support, so setting up dunning won't be a problem.
The SamCart Affiliate Center
This center used to put SamCart miles ahead of other affiliate platforms. However, these days it's main competitor (ThriveCart) is catching on.
In the affiliate management dashboard, you’ll be able to do the basics like setting up affiliate commissions, configure payout periods, affiliate signups, affiliate approvals, and cookie expiration.
Here’s where SamCart’s affiliate center shines through. It was one of the first affiliate systems 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 big or small business owners who publish 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!
The downside to their affiliate dashboard is there is no affiliate tracking IDs for affiliates (it's not a must-have, but a nice-to-have).
When compared to ThriveCart's affiliate program feature, SamCart loses. ThriveCart now has the ability credit affiliates with commissions based off any URLs as well and they let 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 sales page and you're planning on having affiliates promote your product, consider the SamCart affiliate center. It'll generate an affiliate signup page you can share with affiliates.
Its unique affiliate system lets you leverage content URLs for your affiliates. For their Premium pricing, I was expecting the ability for affiliates to add tracking IDs to their links.
Pros and Cons
- User-friendly platform to sell digital or physical products online
- An amazing checkout experience
- Sales funnel capabilities: checkout popups order bumps, & one click upsells to increase order value
- Advanced stats reporting like Lifetime Value
- Coupon codes are easy to create (% or $ off)
- Payment Models: one-time, subscriptions (product payment frequency control), payment plans, trials
- Landing page A/B split testing
- Knowledge base has SamCart trainings resources
- Checkout page cart abandonment capabilities
- Built-in Dunning System will attempt to update your customer's payment information upon product/service renewals
- Drag and Drop Editor for checkout pages (move elements such as a sales video anywhere you want)
- Money back guarantee
- Only supports Stripe and PayPal
- Monthly pricing starting at $49 per month
- No digital sales tax calculation built-in
- Affiliate system doesn't have tracking IDs affiliates can use
So, how much does SamCart cost?
SamCart offers four monthly pricing plans.
- $49/month for the Launch Plan
- $99/month for the Grow Plan
- $199/month for the Scale Plan
- $399/month for the Enterprise Plan
The SamCart Launch Plan is suited for online entrepreneurs who are launching their first digital product or physical product. It's not suited for subscription business owners or those who want the one click upsell or payment plan features. These features are unlocked in the Grow and Scale plans.
The SamCart Grow Plan includes what the Launch Plan lacks. It includes features like customer management, subscription charge reminders, advanced subscription cancellations, and more.
The SamCart Scale Plan includes Advanced SamCart's features. It includes all the features available in the Launch and Grow plan along with their built-in dunning tool, their Affiliate Center, cart abandonment, built-in A B testing, CRM integrations, webhooks and priority email & chat support.
The SamCart Enterprise Plan is for big companies. This plan gives you a dedicated account manager, integration setup, and everything you need to get started quickly,
Note: SamCart has updated their pricing page and changed the names of their plans (originally known as the Basic Plan, Pro Plan, & Premium Plan).
Each SamCart pricing plan has a free trial option and a money-back guarantee.
Is SamCart the Right Choice for You?
Let's figure out if SamCart is the right shopping cart solution for you before you start a 14 day free trial.
You want a drag & drop shopping cart platform
In late 2019, SamCart upgraded its platform to be able to configure checkout templates with their brand new drag & drop editor. If you're looking for a WYSIWYG use SamCart!
You have a subscription-based business
The Scale Plan is worth it if you have a subscription products because of their dunning system. Take advantage of their 14 day free trial if you need this.
You want to provide your affiliates with multiple types of tracking links to promote your product(s)
SamCart has a great affiliate feature for product owners who have existing content that funnels leads to their products (all tracked)
Not Recommended IF:
You want to add another monthly subscription charge
SamCart's pricing options are good, but when compared to ThriveCart, which does most of what SamCart's Grow and Scale plan can do, I'd recommend paying $495 one-time (review link) for ThriveCart if you want to avoid the monthly fee.
You want to your affiliates to know where their sales are coming from
Like I previously said, if you want affiliates to help promote your product(s), SamCart works, but you won't be able to provide them tracking capabilities going with SamCart's affiliate platform.
Although a SamCart account is a hefty monthly investment, no one can deny that it's a powerful platform for any internet marketer (especially their Scale Plan).
Aside from its advanced features, their easy-to-use interface (and new drag & drop editor) will let you build beautiful checkout pages that will separate you from your competitors.
However, SamCart is not without its own competition. ThriveCart is giving them a run for their money for checkout page software (they have a drag-and-drop cart page builder too) by charging a one time payment.
Having used both platforms, I'd recommend SamCart's Scale Plan at $199 per month and ThriveCart instead of SamCart's Launch or Grow Plan (sorry Brian M.).
Bottom line: use SamCart , the free trial lasts for 14 days – enough to see if their shopping cart software fits well with your online business!
Thanks for reading my SamCart review out of all the SamCart reviews out there!