What is SendOwl?
SendOwl is a shopping cart program that will let you sell products from a website. It offers a connecting point between you, your customer, and your payment providers. Yay capitalism!
Founded in 2010 by George Palmer, SendOwl is a UK-based company with a small but devoted team of developers. They’re also heavily into owls — always a plus.
SendOwl makes 3 things better:
- You can use this eCommerce platform to create a smooth and user-friendly customer experience.
- SendOwl can handle the complicated and time-consuming aspects of making a sale for you, with no transaction fees, simplifying the sales process.
- SendOwl sets up a secure way to handle the money side of your operation, protecting both you and your customers — an important consideration, now more than ever.
With the basics out of the way, let’s dig deeper into this product, including how effectively SendOwl integrates with other tools you’re using, what level of customer support you can expect, and how much the product will set you back.
Table of Contents
Feel free to sit back and watch our SendOwl review instead!
SendOwl Review Features
Spend just a few minutes delving through SendOwl’s features, and one thing should stand out. SendOwl features are broad in scope.
The company’s goal here is that you have a complete shopping cart solution, with everything to handle the sales process – from the fun stuff like marketing (Right? Anyone?) right through to the nitty-gritty of staying in the good books with the scary tax people.
Ease of Setup
You may feel tempted to gloss over the setup deets, so I’ll be brief. SendOwl absolutely succeeds at making the shopping cart setup process pain-free.
I timed myself building a product description, generating bundles, and throwing in a few upsell options. It took me just over four-and-a-half minutes. And I didn’t need to delve into the support documentation once.
That’s significantly faster than I can achieve using other software. It’s really easy to use.
Another thing you’ll notice very early is that marketing and sharing options are built right into product setup.
The moment you have a viable product to sell, you can click a button to share the thing through Twitter, Facebook, your website, you name the sales channel. It’s also neatly set up to let you drop a payment link into your blog.
I like that you can control where in your sales journey you send a reader, from product description right through to the final point of sale. That’s nuanced stuff. It’ll help you calibrate how heavy to lean into a sale right from product setup.
Building a cart is never going to be a mindless process, but one strength of SendOwl is that you end up spending more time on important decisions connected to your strategy and less time on tweaking details. That’s useful.
OK, so let’s turn now to the pointy end of the setup process and look at payment gateways. I’ll go straight to the source here because I notice that different SendOwl review articles are saying different things about the payment options SendOwl Accepts.
According to their site, SendOwl supports PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Bancontact, Giropay, iDEAL, SOFORT, BitPay, and Shopify. That covers my bases, but yes, the list is not as expansive as an all-or-nothing ecommerce platforms (more on this soon).
Setting that potential negative aside, I’m struck by SendOwl’s flexibility.
Here are a few things I like:
- You can build multiple payment gateways into your payment page. Giving your customers options to pay is always a good thing as it can help with conversion rates.
- You can set a free trial period for a product. I could see it being a big deal if you sell digital products via subscription.
- You can set a duration for subscriptions. This means that if you sell something like a recurrent service, you don’t have to present your customers with a big, scary yes / no decision — something many customers hesitate to pull the trigger on.
- You can offer discount codes.
To summarize: SendOwl isn’t the strongest on its breadth of payment gateway offerings, but if it has the payment methods you need, there’s much to like here.
Shopping Cart Features
If there’s anywhere I want a ton of options, it’s right here where the rubber hits the road. In this, I have some mixed feelings about SendOwl.
I’ll break this down by main features the vast majority of users are likely going to care about. I’ll also draw some comparisons with ThriveCart, a similar platform with a slightly more “deluxe” design approach.
You get some nice, clean options for building your shopping cart through SendOwl. You can also brand your cart to deliver a seamless customer experience.
If these are your main criteria, SendOwl will keep you happy.
But I still think ThriveCart offers a cleaner look, out of the box. Much of this boils down to taste, but I feel like it’s easier to get your payment screens looking slick through ThriveCart’s templates and their new drag & drop editor. They’re just a bit closer to polished at step one.
I’m including both upselling and bump offers in this category because SendOwl handles these in a very similar way.
Right at the product creation stage, you can link out to any other product page or service as a complementary offer, specifying if they occur before or after the point of sale.
It’s probably worth pointing out that you can configure your cart abandonments settings here as well, so there’s something for the pessimists (you know who you are) as well as the optimists.
It feels simple. Depending on my mood (and how much coffee I’ve had), I find that both a positive and a negative.
The simplicity is a refreshing glass of water if you only want to do straightforward stuff. On the other hand, if you want to delve deep into linking one sale opportunity to another, you may not find everything you’re looking for in this eCommerce software.
Affiliate Management System
I have a similar reaction to SendOwl’s affiliate system tool-set. It’s unequivocally elegant. In minutes you can have all the moving parts in place to have other people gainfully employed in selling your products and services.
But what if you want precise control over how commissions work, maybe with a neat set of tiers for primary and secondary affiliates? There’s no simple way to make that happen in SendOwl — not that I can see.
My take-home is that the SendOwl affiliate system approach will suit you down to the ground if you use affiliate marketing as one rudimentary tool in your marketing toolkit.
SendOwl’s shopping carts offer great for overall flexibility.
The platform’s approach to bundling products is seamless. You just approach it as you would any product setup. I appreciated how simple it was to dive into carefully curating categories of items to sell as a package.
The only thing that mildly disappointed me was that I couldn’t find a way to bundle services and products, but that’s probably pretty niche.
I really like the drip-selling feature. Instead of selling your merch in one big chunk, you can release it gradually over time. Interestingly, this is available not just for subscriptions but also for one-off payments. This will be right up your alley if you sell an evolving collection of digital products.
I can instantly see ways I could harness that flexibility to sell digital products in a fresh and different way.
Pre-selling is another benefit worth a quick mention. Full disclosure that I don’t fully buy into hyping products and selling things before they exist, but at least two people I know in the creative space swear by it.
I had one cast her eyes over SendOwl, and she said it was hands down better than her current toolkit — enough that she’d consider it a major selling point.
If you like the idea of building a buzz to make pre-sales, SendOwl can equip you to handle that.
Checkout Page Integrations
If you’ve been at this a while, you probably have a bunch of existing tools you’d be reluctant to abandon.
The design challenge for shopping cart software is that it needs to play nice with your website and your payment gateway, but it also needs to integrate with how you reach out to your customer base. That’s a lot of integration to do well.
Email Marketing Tools
The platform supports all the usual email marketing tools, including ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, GetResponse, MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, Sendy, Campaign Monitor, Drip, Mad Mimi, and MailerLite.
That’ll likely make the vast majority of potential SendOwl customers happy.
Connecting SendOwl to your email marketing tool is simple. SendOwl’s knowledge base on integration setup are easy to follow, and I configured the platform to send buyers to a mailing list within a few minutes.
SendOwl currently supports S2Member Pro, MemberMouse, and WishList Member for membership management. That’ll cover a lot of folks’ requirements, but some big name online course platforms, like Thinkific and Teachable, are notably absent here.
By comparison, ThriveCart offers a somewhat more extensive collection of natively integrated membership platforms.
Of course, SendOwl rightly points out that you can use Zapier to bridge the gap, but many users will likely be hoping for direct support of their membership platform of choice.
Here’s where it gets less rosy. Webinar integration is not strong.
You can use Zapier to make up for this deficiency, but if webinars are one of your primary communication channels to sell digital products, SendOwl is unlikely to be your first choice. If you sell webinars, I’d probably look elsewhere, at least for now.
SendOwl has a well-curated set of support resources. Everything is clearly illustrated, and the support actually refers to the platform UI in its current version.
I had zero struggles finding my way around and swiftly resolving the few troubleshooting pain points I encountered.
I was a bit puzzled by the lack of community support. You won’t easily find that other niche user who figured out a workaround for the weird and convoluted thing you’re trying to do, which bites a little. Sometimes community support can be incredibly useful.
If you like hands-on support, bear in mind that you’ll be stuck with the comparatively slow process of exchanging emails.
If you think you might be in a situation of needing instant customer service – if you regularly run time-critical product launches, for example – you may want to spend extra time preparing your approach if you aren’t confident with this stuff.
SendOwl offers four different regular plans:
- Basic Plan – $9 per month
- Standard Plan – $15 per month
- Premium Plan – $24 per month
- Business Plan – $39 per month
The Basic plan offers a maximum of 10 products and 1 GB of storage. The Standard plan offers a maximum of 30 products and 3 GB of storage.
The Premium and Business plans offer 100 products, 5 GB of storage, and 250 products and 15 GB of storage respectively.
View the SendOwl Pricing table for more feature details and start selling products online.
Compared head to head with other per month cart software, 15GB of storage and a product line of 250 products is reasonable, bordering on generous, for $39 per month. However, the basic option is amazing for $9 per month.
Bear in mind that this tier is well-featured enough that you can genuinely use the product at this price point. You’re not just paying for a glorified guided tour with a ton of ad boxes trying to convince you to upgrade.
If you’re new to this and looking to get your feet wet with a shopping cart platform, I doubt you could do much better than SendOwl. You can get started with a SendOwl free trial (no credit card required).
SendOwl Review – Who Should Use SendOwl?
Before you make any decisions, it’s worth looking at SendOwl specifically in relation to the kinds of stuff you sell.
SendOwl for Digital and Physical Products
If you sell digital files (and/or products), or physical products, SendOwl will give you a nice balance of simplicity and power.
You might be able to get more nuanced in how you build bump sales and upselling into your strategy using other platforms. You could do more with the ThriveCart or the SamCart affiliate program systems.
But the groovy thing about this platform is that you can do all this easily in SendOwl. I get back to the fact that with SendOwl, I could configure all those strategies in less than five minutes for a cluster of products.
You also get some genuinely useful add-on features. For example, if you sell software, you can task SendOwl with handling the issuing and management of license keys.
If you’re a creative or content marketer looking for safe digital delivery, you can use SendOwl for “PDF Stamping” to slap robust copy protection on your PDF files.
The time you save on that drudgery is time you can spend on something more strategic and lucrative elsewhere in your business. If like me, you feel that saving time is the same as finding a crisp twenty-dollar bill down the back of the sofa, SendOwl won’t disappoint. They do a great job.
I’m less convinced that SendOwl glows out as a platform for selling physical products. It’d work.
You can easily set up mailing address functionality around your physical goods, but it doesn’t feel quite so thoroughly integrated, at least at an intuitive level. Maybe that’s quibbling.
SendOwl for Selling Services
Sell services? Selling digital products is very similar to selling services on SendOwl. Simply treat your time as though it were a digital product, without the neat little download at the end.
I’d love to be able to intuitively build hierarchies into my service offerings. It’d be great if I could more easily show how my services connect. You can do these through SendOwl, but you’ll need to flex your brain cells to do it well.
SendOwl Review Conclusion
That’s my full review. I get why this SendOwl is popular.
I can’t guarantee you’ll find every single bell and whistle you could hope for in SendOwl or that you’ll make more sales.
The good news is I’m positive that 9/10 people will build sophisticated and effective selling strategies through this platform — and in a fraction of the time.
It’s easy to use. The support documentation is on point, and it’s intuitive enough that it just seems to make sense.
The $9 per month entry-level price point is worth a repeated mention as well. That’s excellent value for money, and it opens the door wide for people who are just at the beginning of their online business journey.
SendOwl simplifies a complicated task just enough but leaves you with the serious toolkit you’d expect of a contemporary eCommerce platform.
Start selling your digital products and services today on SendOwl with their free trial (no credit card required)!
I hope this SendOwl review helped figure out of it’s the right choice for selling your products online!