SamCart vs. ThriveCart Review: Which is the Better Choice?

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  • ThriveCart and SamCart are similar platforms with several key differences, such as features, support and price points.
  • In this video, I break down the most important elements of both to help you make an educated decision about which platform is best for your company’s needs.
  • **Update** – There’s some controversy in the comments here. A lot of affiliates of ThriveCart are trying to leave comments who have clearly not watched the video. The Founder of ThriveCart also left a comment, which I think is a good sign of a potentially good support experience.

“This is the new Tesla of online marketing,” says one testimonial for ThriveCart. Well, we’ll see about that, because in today’s video, I’m going to share my reviews of ThriveCart and SamCart, pitting them against one another.

Hey. It’s Matt here, founder of AutoGrow.co, with another daily dose of Matt Hacks. In this video series, I give you actionable tips to help you be more awesome at marketing and otherwise accelerate your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Back to SamCart and ThriveCart. These are the two most popular platforms if you’re in the market for a checkout tool. They offer some similar features, but there are really significant differences between the two of them. Let’s compare and contrast analytics, pricing, customer service, integrations and more.

SamCart vs. ThriveCart: Analytics

The first thing that we’re going to look at is the dimension of analytics. Now, the thing I want to tell you guys is that I am a happy customer of SamCart. So this review is my opinion, and it may be biased because of that.

It’s also important you know I am not an affiliate, so I don’t stand to gain anything monetarily from recommending one or the other in terms of features or overall.

So first thing’s first. With SamCart, when you log into your dashboard, you’re basically going to see a layout like this where it’s giving you kind of like a Google Analytics high-level point of view of where your business is at. SamCart gives you some other high-level stats here as well. Although I’m very transparent with the business, there are some stats I’m not ready to share just yet. I want to save those for future videos.

These stats aren’t 100% accurate, since there will be the occasional bug you might run into with any software tool like SamCart.

So, for example, with monthly recurring revenue, this number has been consistently miscalculated. That’s mainly because the way we do it with trials, is that sometimes it leads to a purchase for some customers. SamCart is not currently set up to track that accurately.

Now, let’s switch over and look at ThriveCart. So right off the bat, I really don’t like how ThriveCart is trying to sell their products. It comes off as too “internet markety,” if you know what I mean, and it’s not very polished.

For example, just in terms of trying to give you guys an accurate review of what their stats dashboard actually looks like, the best I can do is to show you this picture from their explainer video that they have on this landing page. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

They do give you some analytics, it seems, and they may be comparable to SamCart. From what I have read and what I see though, it seems like it’s probably a bit more basic, but they don’t give a screenshot here.

SamCart vs. ThriveCart: Integrations

In terms of integrations, both products are fairly comparable. They all integrate with the big players like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign and Infusionsoft, and they integrate with smaller email marketing software tools as well. This list actually may not be as comprehensive as all of the integrations they have today.

The list is likely to be longer for both of them because what I’ve found, at least since I signed up with SamCart, is that they’re always rolling out new features. The way they prioritize integrations, for example, is typically based on requests from customers. So it’s likely that both are fairly comparable depending on what email software you’re on. It’s likely that one or both will be a fit for you in that dimension.

SamCart vs. ThriveCart: Features

In terms of features, both tools are again fairly comparable. They both have one-click upsells. They both allow you to have upsell funnels where you sell one product after another and then maybe downsell another product. They both allow order bumps.

Those are some of the biggest features that I was most excited about, and just the fact that I would never have to write a single line of code using either one of these solutions seemed great. However, based on my research before making this video, it seems that ThriveCart may have a slight, slight advantage in some smaller nuanced ways in the way they allow you to do things.

For instance, when someone buys something from you and they’re redirected to a thank-you page, ThriveCart would allow you to only make that page available so that the customer could come back, for example, and download something that you gave them post-purchase for a limited amount of time or forever.

ThriveCart has some more nuanced micro-features like that, that give you more control. In terms of being fully fleshed-out, ThriveCart may have some advantage in that dimension.

However, I haven’t really found a need for any of the features that I’ve seen that ThriveCart has that SamCart does not, in my experience.

SamCart vs. ThriveCart: Pricing

In terms of pricing, this is where both products are very, very different. SamCart recently introduced a plan at $19 per month, which gives you some of the basic features. For AutoGrow, I have our company on the pro plan, which is at $99 per month.

Originally, I didn’t sign up, but they emailed me for a two-month free trial. I couldn’t resist because I was sick of trying to code this solution myself for our own checkout page. I tried it, loved it and I’ve stayed with it ever since. It definitely is paying for itself.

In terms of ThriveCart, according to one poll on their Facebook page, people responded saying the number one benefit they felt they got from ThriveCart was the price, which is a one-time price of about $600. Apparently, that gives you lifetime access.

Source: getthrivecart.com

I don’t know, but there’s just something about it personally that rubs me the wrong way, because I don’t trust a software-as-a-service (SaaS), that doesn’t charge a monthly fee or an annual fee to deliver quality support when it’s actually needed.

The economics of it long-term just don’t make sense when you think about it, right? You pay $600, but two or three years from now, you need support. It’s actually not in their interest to continue to give you support, or continue to help you solve a problem if something comes up.

This goes back to just the way their product is even sold. If you go to ThriveCart’s website right now, you will see this page right here, which is not even selling the product. It’s just saying that the product is actually coming soon. So I assume they’re trying to do some sort of evergreen type of launch, and you know, maybe that works for them.


The branding, though — and this is just a superficial opinion — but the branding is just awful. It’s inconsistent compared to SamCart, which feels much more elegant.

I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the quality of a website design or the brand and the level of support I receive later on. The support that I’ve received as a SamCart customer has been spectacular. They’ve actually added a feature in response to a specific request I gave them. That’s been wonderful, and I’ve been very happy with the customer support at SamCart. I’m very skeptical of the customer support you would get with ThriveCart because of the one-time payment.

The Verdict

In the end, I have to recommend SamCart because, as a customer, I found their feature set is perfect. It’s not too much. It’s not too little.

They take feedback from customers very seriously, where if you can make an argument or show them an example of how you would want to use a new feature or tweak it, they’re actually very open to it and iterate it very rapidly.

Compared to ThriveCart in terms of the branding, the feature set and the price point, I’m actually more than happy to pay a little bit more for a higher-quality experience with SamCart. Again, the customer support was fantastic.

One Action to Take Right Now

That is the key action to walk away from this video with. If you’re in the market and you’re comparing ThriveCart versus SamCart, if you have the money, it’s going to be well worth it in the short and long term to go with SamCart, in my opinion.

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22 thoughts on “SamCart vs. ThriveCart Review: Which is the Better Choice?

    1. Hey Kevin,

      I said that this was my biased opinion in the first 90 seconds of the video based on what I was able to review. Maybe you missed that, but I don’t think you did.

      Seems that you forgot to disclose you’re *actually* commenting here as an affiliate of ThriveCart.

  1. Hi Matt,

    As the CEO and owner of ThriveCart, I’d like to start by saying thank you for discussing our platform.

    However, I’d also like to bring up the fact that attempting to provide an accurate and balanced review (Which is surely what you want to provide for your audience?) when you haven’t even used both products, is going to end up with a review that is inaccurate, at best. (And sometimes downright misleading)

    We feel there are many compelling (and perhaps extremely beneficial) reasons ThriveCart wins the ‘taste test’ over any alternative platform out there. (And from what we see, the vast majority of our users feel the same)

    We’ve made software for entrepreneurs and online businesses for over a decade and have always provided first class care to our customers, as they will attest to. The pricing that you mention for the platform is limited and will be changing to a recurring fee soon.

    As for the economics of our pricing model and how we fund our extremely active ongoing development, I would be happy to sit down and explain this to you in an appropriate forum sometime.

    There are a huge amount of inaccuracies in this ‘review’ and it was brought to my attention by someone who thought that this may have been paid for by SamCart.

    Whilst I am sure this is not the case (and you do mention you are not an affiliate at the start of your ‘review’) I feel the fact that someone felt strongly enough to alert me and assume that fact, shows just how inaccurate and incomplete this article may seem to people who actually have used both platforms.

    When it comes to our ‘branding’ and how that affects the product… Firstly, our main site is not yet live (Which is mentioned on the site itself) and if I had to quickly encapsulate our mentality here, it would be that my entire team are much more focused on driving our platform forward, constantly updating and improving it, and serving our customers to the very best of our ability than we are focusing on creating a ‘pretty’ website and marketing image. (Which may be more important than the actual product to some people, but not us)

    I’d be happy to get on a call with you (Both live and private) and go over anything you would like, walk you through our platform and how we run our company… and share our many testimonials from happy customers who have used our software platforms for many years.

    Lastly, I thank you again for considering and for mentioning our platform on your website.

    1. Hi Josh,

      Thanks for commenting! I think it’s a really positive sign of a potentially good support experience when a founder follows up so quickly on an article like this. I’ll make a note of it at the top of this post.

      I’d be open to sitting down for a live interview with you. Shoot me an email.

      In addition, I’d be interested to get a free trial or demo version of your product to check out (no pun intended).

      As I mentioned in the beginning of the video, I was already a customer of SamCart and this video was my opinion, based on the 4 dimensions I was able to analyze (emphasis on the word “able”).

      The ThriveCart website holds a lot back as far as transparency and being able to see what the tool looks like and how it functions. I had to do a lot of hunting around to get a clearer picture.

      The biggest deciding factors in my review here were
      1 – the branding (is it launched? not launched?),
      2 – the pricing (it’s not sustainable to charge a 1-time fee and be able to deliver on-going support),
      3 – and the lack of transparency (little to no screenshots, video or interactive demo of the software in action, or free trial).

      Hope to hear more from you.

      Matt

  2. Is this a review? Typically you have to use both products to be able to provide one. I’ve used both and thrivecart is light years ahead on all fronts

    1. Would have loved to. But there was no trial, interactive demo, or clear screenshots etc. The way it’s marketed isn’t trustworthy (at this time).

      My review was informed by what I could gleam from their website, other videos and reviews found on YouTube, as well as the side-by-side comparison of features and integrations.

      ThriveCart seems to have more features, as my review said. I wouldn’t describe it as lightyears ahead.

      BTW, I’m going to assume you’re an affiliate of ThriveCart as well like most of the other comments here.

      Many of those comments, like your’s, wants to attack the legitimacy of the review rather than the substance of it in a constructive way.

  3. I have used both SamCart and ThriveCart, and I only use ThriveCart now for several reasons. The main things being that the affiliate center is much more intuitive and easier to use, and they have a native system for collecting digital sales tax (SamCart does not).

    The Zapier app with ThriveCart is also way more intuitive, and I can trigger things based on the product, and not just “when a sales is made” which makes it so I don’t have to use a premium zapier account (unless I get more zaps than what comes with the free one).

    ThriveCart also has many more features than Samcart including the ability to embed form in a page on my site (even for upsell/downsell). So the entire sales process can be kept on my site which is a huge bonus.

    Also with regards to support, ThriveCart is the best hands down. I have waited days and days for replies from SamCart before, only to get some incomplete lame answer.

    The list goes on and on but I would never go back to SamCart even if it was free, and no, the price was not the main factor for me. You’ll notice on the survey that it was we could click on multiple things, so I don’t think using that is 100% accurate.

    ThriveCart will launch as a monthly fee once the PIlot program has ended. I don’t recall if SamCart had a similar pilot program or not.

    The lifetime license hasn’t stopped them from adding features either. Almost every month or two I get surprised and excited when ThriveCart releases new features that not only work, but work right, in an intuitive way that makes sense.

    It doesn’t sound like you have actually given ThriveCart a try at all and I really feel that in order to give a proper review it might be something to consider doing. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and intuitive ThriveCart is.

    I wish you well regardless of what you use 🙂

  4. If you were doing a proper review.. where is the mention of Thrive Cart’s built in Affiliate system. You made no mention all the awesome innovative systems in Thrive Cart that SC users would die for, or the fact that Thrive Cart users can and are the only shopping cart to work directly with Paypal. Advice to readers of your post.. see the site before you listen to a totally fictional review. do course you post Matt Wolf’s poll and price was top DUH! who wouldn’t want to save money on their shopping cart? Josh has produced a saas that is almost bug free and before rolling out any upgrades to the system ( nothing can be totally bug free) it is tested to the max. unlike certain other carts that released buggy scripts which left many members to leave Sam Cart’s ranks. Thrive Cart will be a recurring fee when it is launched to the general public! and Josh has produced other SAAS products which are still running today, which is more then anyone can say about most of these platforms
    https://thrivecart.com/

    1. Nigel, I checked and you’re clearly an affiliate (like most of the other comments here).

      I’m sure Josh is a good guy as the Founder, he left a detailed comment here offering to hop on a call (probably a good sign).

      Both SamCart and Thrive have affiliate features.

      ThriveCart seems like a good product, but there were key elements in the marketing I didn’t trust which is why I didn’t recommend it (at this time) in my video review.

  5. Hola. Buen artículo. A mi tampoco me gustan la aplicaciones de un solo pago, por los mismos motivos que explicas, pero thrivecart me ha sorprendido ya que desde que lo compre han ido actualizando he implementando nuevas funciones asombrosas, solo tengo una queja, y es que prometieron agregarle soporte para productos físicos para diciembre 2017 y hasta ahora no lo han hecho, dicen que aun no supera las pruebas, Y quizás es por lo que dice, que es una plataforma de un solo pago, y no se sienten motivados, pero en su lugar implementaron soporte para múltiples opciones de pago y crearon la opción de área de cliente, en donde los cliente pueden actualizar sus datos de pago si la tarjeta caduca. Bueno en si es una aplicación buena y no se si mejor que SamCart, pero para un precio único ellos siguen Actualizando, y lanzarán una tarifa mensual cualquier fecha de este año.

    Translation:
    Hi. Good article. I also do not like the applications of a single payment, for the same reasons you explain, but thrivecart has surprised me since I have been updating since I have been implementing new amazing functions, I only have one complaint, and they promised to add support for physical products for December 2017 and so far they have not done so, they say that they do not pass the tests yet, and maybe it is because of what they say, that it is a one-payment platform, and they do not feel motivated, but instead they implemented support for multiple payment options and created the customer area option, where customers can update their payment information if the card expires. Good in itself is a good application and I do not know if it’s better than SamCart, but for a single price they keep updating, and will launch a monthly fee any date of this year.

    (Note from autogrow-co.local: Frank is an affiliate of ThriveCart)

  6. I have used both products – apparently unlike the author?I was forced to leave samcart about a year ago after they repeatedly messed up my billing. If I had to characterize both products, Samcart seemed to dash out ahead and add a feature that more often than not, required fixes or tweaks, whereas Thrivecart doesn’t release a feature until its rock solid stable. I wish both platforms success. Competition is good for the consumer.

    1. Thanks for the detailed comment Geoff. I’ve come across your site in the past. Like the branding on your services page.

      I would have loved to actually use ThriveCart but there’s no demo, trial, interactive demo, little to no screenshots etc. The marketing funnel really rubbed me the wrong way.

      But(!), the founder of ThriveCart left a thoughtful note here, so maybe I’ll get that chance and update this review later on.

      As I said in the intro, this review was my expert – but biased – opinion based on what I was *able* to see across the 4 dimensions covered in the video.

  7. I’m not sure how you can ethically compare two products without actually using one of the two. There’s no talk about feature comparisons and the discussion about support couldn’t be further from the truth. Thrivecart is well-known for having the best support in the industry.

    For the poll graphic that you took from my site… That wasn’t from the Thrivecart page. That was from my own group and done independently from the Thrivecart team. People had the ability to add their own answers and most people saw that the early lifetime offer was super valuable. That doesn’t mean it will always be lifetime. It’s in a private pilot launch temporarily and people jumped at the opportunity. When SamCart launched, they offered a lifetime account as well for the lucky bunch that got in early. So using that as the main basis for your comparison is a pretty poor point. You would have had to say the same thing about SamCart in their early days as well.

    Luckily, I think this post has done a better job at raising awareness for Thrivecart and the community that supports it than it does sell people on getting SamCart.

    1. Matt, Thanks for the comment. I agree!

      What are the ethics of a product’s marketing where there’s no transparent demo, interactive demo, or trial, little to no screenshots, and an evergreen “coming soon” launch despite the fact that the company was founded 3 years ago?

      Say nothing of the ethics of comments from affiliates (your’s) who forget to disclose that in their comment… 😉

      Regarding price — I think that’s a good benefit for some people. But it isn’t sustainable for the long-term and the site does not say when (or if) this would be ending.

      It’s bad for branding and that’s why it was an important factor in my review.

  8. ThriveCart is an outstanding product and has so many features that are built to make this a beast of a program. I agree talking about a program helps others understand, but it’s difficult to take a recommendation if the reviewer hasn’t tested it. Please do. Then offer your new feedback. Josh will gladly take it to heart and improve the program. The best part though is the support and community behind the program. Other users will literally boost your knowledge of the program and make it even easier to use, so that you can focus on your product or service – what you love!

    ThriveCart offers a lifetime deal with the ability to refund, so do try it.

    [ affiliate link removed ]

    Josh is an amazing and incredibly supportive owner and developer. I’ve never seen customers happier with their purchase.

    1. Hi Matt,

      I would try it but I honestly didn’t trust the marketing funnel. just like I don’t trust many of this comments since they are coming from affiliates like yourself. Nothing wrong that, but it means that you have a profit motive to promote the product and saying you disagree with my review.

      Your point is valid. I think for my audience this is a great lesson. The lesson is: using sales tactics that work isn’t the same thing as building trust.

      And I didn’t try the product and I still don’t because of how it’s designed and marketed. If the founder wants to give me a demo (as he offered… if I don’t post and update at the top of this article that means he didn’t follow thru) or a free trial that’s cool. I’ll try it. I’m open to changing my mind.

      For now though, I’m not risking losing $500 to a company I don’t trust (currently). The fact that the founder commented here IS a good sign though. I want to be fair and say that.

      For my audience: look at SamCart’s design and then look at ThriveCart’s. Take into account the additional details given in the video. And Remember…

      This is an example to show that marketing tactics that convert do not mean they also build trust.

  9. Hey all,

    This is Chris from SamCart. I just wanted to first say thanks to Matt for sharing his experiences. Your kind words really do mean a lot to us! We’re working tirelessly to implement some huge features this year, and it’s great to see all the hard work beginning to pay off! I also just wanted to address a few concerns brought up in both the video and the comments.

    In regards to some of the points in the video, you mentioned some inconsistencies in reporting and specifically MRR. You completely nailed the reason why MRR reporting isn’t perfect right now, and we are in the process of completely overhauling our invoicing and reporting system to correct this. We really want to be the best in the business when it comes to reporting, and while we’re not there yet, we should have this fixed within the next few weeks!

    Also, for the link expiration you had mentioned, you can actually edit that in your Marketplace settings. Head to Settings > General and you can make the change! If your customers leave the thank you page without downloading your product, as long as the link hasn’t expired yet, they can go back and download again.

    Lastly, I wanted to address some of the concerns brought up from commenters. In regards to some of the comments about billing issues (for SamCart subscriptions), I’ll be the first to admit that in the past our system was a bit flawed. Our initial launches, which took place long before 95% of the current staff was here, did cause some problems with our customers being overcharged. We have since completely overhauled our Support team and protocols, and have genuinely worked tirelessly to fix our reputation when it comes to these issues. We pride ourselves on being honest, upfront, and approachable when it comes to any billing issues you might have!

    Our customer satisfaction score is consistently above 95% these days, and Matt graciously went out of his way to discuss how positive his experience with SamCart Support has been so far. If you have a problem, our Support and Success teams will work with you until your problem gets fixed. If we can’t fix your issue, we will present your problem to our developers in an effort to build something that can accommodate you.

    In regards to building “buggy” or “incomplete” features, that is also a thing of the past. It’s hard for me to speak about how things were long before I arrived here, but SamCart recently hired a new CTO who has already helped make vast improvements to SamCart’s speed, stability, and functionality. He has also provided us a strategical and technological framework that allows for big changes to happen with our platform. On top of that, we’ve hired a bunch of new engineers and even opened a second office in Austin, Texas. The roadmap for the next six months is packed with sought-after features that we guarantee will help put more money in our user’s pockets!

    If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]. I’d love to chat about where SamCart is headed!

    1. Awesome, thanks for much for that thoughtful comment, Chris.

      As I said in the video I recommend SamCart (as a happy customer, not as an affiliate).

      Even with the occasional minor bug, as mentioned in the video, SamCart still gets stars from me.

      Oh, and thanks for pointing that out about the page expiration settings! That’s a feature I didn’t realize SamCart also has. That means — feature-wise — the two options here are more on par with one another.

      Originally I had said in the video that based on my comparison, ThriveCart appeared to offer more nuanced capabilities like that.

      Thanks again, Chris. Keep up the good work.

  10. Currently trying to wrench my money from the clutches of Thrivecart 14 days in.

    That’s about the time a trial would have ended. A trial would have been nice because then I could have seen how not intuitive it is with integrating PayPal. I could have seen that I didn’t really like the website embed (Thrivecart branded too after I paid $700).

    I’m sure they’ll say I didn’t check it out properly or I didn’t watch a video or I could remove the branding if I wanted like their support is trying to tell me right now, but I don’t want Thrivecart.

    They have no trial. They have no money-back guarantee. They want to “work with you to get it running”.

    I had a launch today, so I’ve already had to move on to something that worked, was intuitive, and just delivered some buy buttons and an affiliate program.

    Sometimes, keeping it simple is needed.

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