With the online course market set to surge by an outstanding 14.22% from 2022 to 2027, having the right platform to offer your courses is vital. And we’re here to help you pick the right one.
Let’s plunge into a head-to-head comparison between two frontrunners – Thinkific, a powerhouse in the online course arena, and SamCart, an innovative shopping cart tool that’s recently ventured into course creation.
We’ll guide you in choosing between these two distinct yet harmonious tools.
Table of Contents
- An In-Depth Look at Thinkific
- Core Features of Thinkific
- Pros and Cons of Thinkific
- Delving into SamCart
- Pros and Cons of SamCart
- SamCart vs Thinkific – All Main Differences At A Glance
- SamCart vs Thinkific – Pricing and Payment Plans
- SamCart vs Thinkific – Online Course Creation and Student Management
- SamCart vs Thinkific – Sales and Marketing Features
- SamCart vs Thinkific – Integration
An In-Depth Look at Thinkific
Thinkific is designed for passionate coaches, entrepreneurs, and educators like you. It opens the door to sharing your knowledge with a broader global audience.
It sets the standard for online course creation in the e-learning industry and is known for its user-friendliness.
This platform allows you to fuse your knowledge and expertise into creating engaging and interactive courses for your students.
But that’s not all! Beyond just course creation, Thinkific also allows you to sell membership subscriptions, community access, and eBooks.
Let’s say you’re a seasoned yoga guru looking to reach more enthusiasts worldwide. With Thinkific, you can build and sell your instructional videos and create a community that shares the same passion.
Core Features of Thinkific
Thinkific isn’t just a powerhouse for crafting courses. It’s also packed with features designed to take your teaching journey to new heights.
Online Course Creation
Thinkific began its journey in 2012 with one clear mission – to make online learning and earning easy. And this is what they applied to each tool.
Its intuitive interface requires zero coding knowledge. Just a few clicks are all it takes to build your interactive courses.
But this feature is great because Thinkific lets you mix and match different media formats to cater to every learner’s unique style – from dynamic video and audio to live lessons.
Site Building Capabilities
Imagine crafting a sleek, professional website for your business in a few minutes – that’s what you can do with Thinkific.
This platform offers a drag-and-drop editor and some unique templates and sections that bring your vision to life.
While it might not have every customization feature that more advanced platforms boast, Thinkific’s site-building tool is enough to meet basic needs.
In our vibrant, hyper-connected world, simply providing courses doesn’t cut it anymore.
The magic happens when you cultivate a thriving community where your learners can interact and learn from each other. Such a community can skyrocket your learner engagement and significantly boost customer retention.
Thinkific’s ‘Community’ feature empowers you to build this dynamic and interactive learning space. You can use it to host live webinars, post questions, share the latest updates, and more.
Student Assessment Tool
Every great coach knows that understanding a student’s progress is the key to effective teaching.
With Thinkific, you’ve got the perfect toolkit at your fingertips. Quizzes, surveys, assignments, exams – they’ve got it all.
They’ll help you measure the impact of your lessons, refine your modules, and even award your students with certificates when they finish your course.
Pros and Cons of Thinkific
- User-Friendliness. Thinkific’s interface is easy to navigate, which allows you to focus more on content creation and less on technicalities.
- Unlimited Courses and Students. The potential for your online business growth is limitless.
- 0% Transaction Fee. Retain all your earnings without worrying about deductions.
- Extensive Free Online Resources. A wealth of free resources of how-to videos and ways to improve your course creation and marketing strategies.
- App Store. Thinkific’s marketplace of integrable apps adds versatility to your digital products.
- Limited Templates. Advanced users might find the template choices somewhat restrictive. Only three available styles, and they are more of just like color change.
- Lack of Customization. There’s so much they can improve with the editing options.
Delving into SamCart
SamCart was once known simply as a powerhouse for online shopping cart solutions.
It was built for an eCommerce store or marketer who wants access to advanced tools for selling digital or physical goods. But it has expanded its reach to include online educators and coaches.
Previously, it was a common practice to integrate platforms like Thinkific or Kajabi. But with the unveiling of SamCart’s new course feature, SamCart Courses, it can now rival these specialized platforms.
Learn more about SamCart Courses App here.
As a big-league player among existing eCommerce platforms, SamCart shines in delivering features that make selling as smooth as butter.
Whether you’re selling tangible treasures or digital delights, SamCart has you covered. Thanks to its talent for integrating upsells, order bumps, and many payment options, the platform crafts a sales journey engineered for success.
Split or A/B testing allows you to compare two webpage versions to determine which performs better.
SamCart refines this process by enabling you to test different page elements to optimize conversion. For example, you could test two versions of your CTA button with different button colors to identify which gets more clicks.
SamCart offers an intuitive drag-and-drop page builder for customizing your sales and checkout pages.
And to make the process more effortless, the platform provides a selection of pre-designed checkout templates you can tailor to fit your brand. That’s why with SamCart, you can still create high-converting sales pages minus the stress.
Additionally, it also provides some reporting tools
Built-In Affiliate Center
Affiliate marketing can significantly boost your sales by utilizing the networks of others. SamCart provides a unified platform to manage and monitor your affiliates effortlessly.
Pros and Cons of SamCart
- Versatility. SamCart supports a wide range of products, catering to various business types.
- Extensive Payment Alternatives. With support for multiple currencies, various payment methods, and subscription options, SamCart makes transactions hassle-free.
- Simplicity. The platform is non-technical, meaning you can focus on selling rather than battling complex software.
- Unlimited Products, Pages, and Students. Like Thinkific, this allows endless business growth.
- Range of Pre-Designed Templates. It offers more template options than Thinkific, facilitating customized, quick, and easy page building.
- Absence of a Website Builder. You’ll need to rely on other platforms if you want to create a full website.
- Limited Marketing Tools. Although it has some features to build effective sales funnels, SamCart falls short regarding email marketing and comprehensive campaign management.
SamCart vs Thinkific – All Main Differences At A Glance
Both SamCart and Thinkific are powerful tools for online entrepreneurs. They’re designed to help you sell products but cater to different needs and have unique features.
Let’s dive into some of the key differences between these two platforms:
- Thinkific is primarily an online course creation platform, while SamCart focuses more on building basic sales funnels and checkout pages.
- With Thinkific, you can sell courses online, memberships, and digital products. SamCart, on the other hand, is perfect for selling digital and physical products and even professional services online.
- Thinkific provides community-building features, allowing creators to establish a collaborative space for their students. SamCart currently lacks this feature.
- SamCart shines with its extensive eCommerce features like dunning and A/B testing. Thinkific, while it can sell digital products, does not have these advanced sales features.
- SamCart offers a free trial, while Thinkific provides a free plan.
- Thinkific allows you to build a complete website to showcase your courses. SamCart does not provide a full-fledged website builder but focuses more on creating optimized checkout pages.
Now that we’ve covered the main differences, let’s delve deeper into each tool to understand its strengths and weaknesses.
SamCart vs Thinkific – Pricing and Payment Plans
Thinkific offers one free plan and four paid plans which are as follows:
- Free – $0/month
- Basic – $49/month
- Start – $99/month
- Grow – $199/month
- Expand – $499/month
Thinkific’s Free plan is ideal for beginners or those wanting to experiment with the platform.
It allows you to create one course and community, accept unlimited students, and try its course builder. You can start accepting payments even with the Free plan, but it’s limited.
So I suggest getting at least the Basic plan if you use Thinkific.
The Basic one allows you to offer courses and add a custom domain for branding. In addition, you can provide coupons and discounts to get more enrollees for your classes.
The Grow plan might be the most appealing if you’re looking to build a successful online course business.
It provides more tools to streamline the enrollment process and your operations. For instance, you can bulk-import students and get API access.
A significant perk is priority support, ensuring that issues or queries are dealt with promptly.
Meanwhile, the Expand plan is created for advanced users handling more students and communities.
This includes everything from the Grow plan plus five administrators, customizable checkout, and unlimited community spaces.
But if you’re running a bigger institution and feel like the Expand plan isn’t enough. You can check Thinkific Plus. It’s a more scalable version of Thinkific.
- Launch – $59/month
- Grow – $199/month
- Scale – $299/month
Quick Note: each plan includes SamCart Courses.
The Launch Plan of this online selling platform is perfect for starters.
This plan equips you with all the essential features necessary to sell products online, including access to a template library, creating unlimited pages and products, coupons and discounts, and tax computation.
Meanwhile, the Grow plan is the best if you’re in a growth phase that requires advanced features to optimize your online stores. It includes more admin users, better sales tools like upsells, and enhanced integrations.
But if you want to enjoy all SamCart’s best features, I suggest you go for the Scale plan.
It provides all the tools you need, like integrations with CRM and API, A/B testing, advanced and automated reports, subscription and cart abandonment tools, and up to 10 admin users.
In addition, you’ll get better support services. That includes priority email support and a dedicated expert if you go for the annual billing.
At first glance, you may think that SamCart is more expensive. But while it’s true on the Basic plan, you’ll notice that its Grow and Scale plans provide more value considering the suite of features and tools they offer.
For instance, the admin users you can get on SamCart’s Scale plan are the same as those on Thinkfic’s Expand plan, which is almost double the price.
Next is that even with the highest tier, you can’t get the A/B testing feature on Thinkific. This is an important tool to learn which approach is more effective and profitable for your business.
And lastly, Thinkific only allows you to customize your checkout page in the Expand plan. This is something you can do with SamCart’s lower plans.
Winner – SamCart
SamCart gives you more tools for less money, which is essential if you want to sell a lot and grow fast.
SamCart vs Thinkific – Online Course Creation and Student Management
Thinkific and SamCart both allow you to build and manage online courses. They offer tools for adding lessons, drip content, and instant access. They also support diverse formats like videos, quizzes, and more.
Thinkific adds live videos, presentations, surveys, and app integrations.
Neither is top-notch in design customization, but Thinkific has more options. Overall, both platforms are great and effective. Yet, if you want simplicity, you might even like SamCart’s Courses App better.
SamCart and Thinkific make viewing student info and purchase history easy.
Yet, Thinkific goes a step further with its ‘Groups’ feature. It lets you organize students in large numbers depending on the customer purchases, activities, or characteristics. This lets you easily create analyses and reports for your business.
The success of a course can often be determined by the quality of communication between the course creator and the students.
Thinkific shines in this area by offering multiple communication channels. You can create a community for collaboration and sharing additional resources.
Comments can be enabled on lessons, facilitating a lively exchange of ideas, clarifications, and knowledge. This tool is helpful in scenarios where students might need to clarify doubts or expand on the lesson content. Feedback on the course can also be gathered from students.
Unfortunately, SamCart currently lacks these features. However, their Courses App is relatively new, and we can expect more additions.
Winner – Thinkific
Thinkific takes the lead due to its more comprehensive tools for course creation, superior student management features, and versatile communication channels.
SamCart vs Thinkific – Sales and Marketing Features
Neither platform provides all the tools for building advanced sales funnels. However, Thinkific and SamCart offer some to promote your courses and products.
Thinkific enables you to create web pages and utilize its built-in affiliate center to expand your reach.
On the other hand, SamCart lacks a website builder as it primarily focuses on checkout pages. But it allows the creation of a one-page sales + checkout. And like Thinkific, it also offers an affiliate marketing tool.
Regarding SEO, both platforms let you add titles, descriptions, and featured images. The only difference is that Thinkific limits SEO options to the landing pages of your courses, while SamCart restricts it to your sales pages.
Both platforms offer basic sales features like an extensive choice of preferred payment processors, currency change, upsells, order bumps, and customer coupons and discounts.
I already expected that SamCart would provide multiple payment gateways. But Thinkific amazed me by also doing the same and offering digital wallet payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Both platforms offer flexible subscriptions and payment plans to cater to a broader audience. Besides that, they allow you to provide free and paid trials.
However, SamCart has an exclusive feature that allows donations. You can enable this so your clients can pay the amount they choose.
SamCart still has the upper hand in sales despite Thinkific’s commendable performance, as it offers advanced tools that help reduce churn rate and promote customer retention.
The “Add to Order” feature lets your existing customers buy additional products or renew a subscription using the payment information from their last order.
The Dunning feature automatically emails customers with a secure link to update their payment information.
Lastly, SamCart also calculates the sales tax for you. You can say goodbye to the complexity of calculating your tax.
Winner – SamCart
SamCart edges out Thinkific in terms of sales features. However, both platforms fare comparably in terms of marketing tools.
SamCart vs Thinkific – Integration
Thinkific and SamCart both facilitate third-party app integrations.
Thinkific hosts an App Store with a marketplace that offers over 90 native integrations, including email autoresponders, chatbots, sales and marketing tools, and much more. If your preferred app isn’t listed, you can connect it through Zapier.
Conversely, SamCart offers quality direct integrations but fewer in number. These integrations include email marketing services, membership software, CRM, and automation platforms.
Winner – Thinkific
With many integrations, Thinkific takes the lead in this aspect.
And with that, we wrap up our detailed comparison between Thinkific and SamCart. I hope the information provided gives you a clearer perspective and helps guide your decision.
At their core, both platforms excel in different areas.
If that’s your main goal and you’re okay with simple checkout tools, Thinkific is a perfect choice.
Conversely, SamCart has just begun its journey into online course hosting but has special checkout software with advanced sales tools. Its edge lies in its superior checkout experience and funnel optimization.
SamCart is your best bet to increase your sales and offer more products on top of your courses.
Still undecided? Try both platforms! Sign up for Thinkific’s free plan or get a SamCart’s free trial. This way, you can get hands-on experience and decide which can help you create your premium strategy.