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.
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 2020 SamCart review, I’ll cover the pros, cons, alternatives, and details such as:
- Payment Processors 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
As you’ll see, SamCart has a LOT of benefits, but it’s not a fit for everyone as you'll soon find out. 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 digital products or physical products, SamCart allows users to create a fully functional checkout pages in as little as half an hour. The checkout pages you create with SamCart will usually come after sales pages.
Prefer to watch rather than read? Watch 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 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 didn’t like, and how some of the features compared to SamCart’s main competitor, ThriveCart.
Advanced SamCart features will be discussed in the next section.
One of the first things this cart has you do when getting started is 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. But, these are the ONLY payment processors that SamCart integrates with.
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
- Test payments: make sure to always use SamCart's test payments feature (aka sandbox mode) on checkout pages before launching a new product
SamCart differentiates itself from ThriveCart, and its other competitor’s a bit by its detailed payment structure product 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 pages takes time, money, and effort. And your checkout process goal should be to reduce the bounce rate and improve conversion rates with the people who land on them.
SamCart offers 18 checkout templates tested for sales conversions in their template library. This includes their infamous one page funnel template. As well as their embeddable and popup checkout pages.
With this many one page funnel design options, it's easy for SamCart customers to get started. You’re bound to come across one you like and fits your business model.
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, 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 2020!
NEW: SamCart Now Has a Drag & Drop Editor!
As of late 2019, SamCart has a beautiful drag & drop editor!
Thus far, this is a game changer as not many carts offer page builders to design checkout pages.
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 your product’s Advanced Settings tab, you’ll be able to add a New Test Variation.
The process is straightforward. 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.
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 for anyone to get started easily. When it comes to customizing template design, SamCart now offers a full drag-n-drop builder for their templates!
As for A/B split tests, 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'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 a web developer).
Let’s start with bump offers (usable for either digital or physical product). 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 (yup SamCart also offers upsells). 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, upsells also inherit the price configured in the Upsells dashboard.
This could pose a slight frustration if you’re running a promotion throughout your 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.
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 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 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. Every sale SamCart will automatically add the customer to your email list!
SamCart integrations for email providers are:
- Constant Contact
If you don’t use one of the email marketing services 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 membership sites:
- 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 can use a Zapier integration for Teachable and/or other membership sites.
Marketing Automation Integrations
For those of you using marketing automation software and other tracking tools, 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 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.
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 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 helpful articles (many of which have great tutorial videos).
SamCart Advanced Features
In this section, we’ll be covering features that only come in the Scale plan. These advanced features are Dunning (aka “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.
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. SamCart makes a complex process easy to setup 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.
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 tool can cost you $100+ every month. SamCart has dunning built-in, hence the nickname “Subscription Saver.”
Having a dunning built into a shopping cart puts it miles ahead of its competitors. Although dunning is a complex process, SamCart has 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 Scale 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 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.
Now, that doesn’t sound too fancy.
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 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 dashboard 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 program feature, 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 sales page and you're planning on having affiliates promote your product, I’d consider SamCart.
Its unique affiliate system 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 offers 3 monthly pricing plans.
- $49/month for the Launch Plan
- $99/month for the Grow Plan
- $199/month for the Scale Plan
The Launch Plan is suited for online entrepreneurs who are launching their first digital product or physical product. However, it's not suited for subscription business owners or those who want upsell or payment plan features. These features are unlocked in the Grow and Scale plans.
The Grow Plan includes what the Launch Plan lacks. Features such as customer management, subscription charge reminders, advanced subscription cancellations, and more.
The 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 AB testing, CRM integrations, webhooks and priority email & chat support.
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 pricing plan has a free trial option and a money-back guarantee.
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 you use SamCart and one when I wouldn't - simple.
In late 2019, SamCart upgraded its platform to be able to configure checkout templates with their brand new drag & drop editor.
The Scale Plan is worth it if you have a subscription products because of their dunning system.
SamCart has a great affiliate feature for product owners who have existing content that funnels leads to their products. This could be YouTube and/or blog content. Any page that has your content marketing established. 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 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.
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 for online marketers (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 these days. ThriveCart is giving them a real run for their money (they now have a drag-and-drop cart page builder too).
Having used both platforms, I'd recommend the SamCart's Scale Plan at $199 per month and ThriveCart instead of SamCart's Launch or Grow Plan.
Give SamCart a try, the free trial lasts for 14 days - enough 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 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. Since TC is a lifetime price, it doesn't offer a free trial.
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.
Are there other shopping carts you're wondering about? I've got a few requests for a SamCart vs Clickfunnels post. Let me know in the comments!