Updated 27 July 2021
Thrivecart is a stand-alone (SaaS) shopping cart and checkout platform. The purpose of this guide is to provide a detailed review of Thrive Cart and guidance on how you can use this tool for your business.
We'll also look at how ThriveCart features compare to our own OptimizeCheckouts solution.
We'll give you an unbiased, open and transparent guide so you can decide if ThriveCart will benefit your business.
Table of Contents
ThriveCart allows business owners to quickly create beautiful and high converting checkout pages.
Since its launch in 2016, the software has gone from strength to strength and is now arguably one of the most powerful checkout solutions available today.
Unlike most other dedicated checkout solutions, Thrivecart pricing is very competitive and is currently available to purchase for a one-time fee. Which is pretty remarkable considering the monthly subscriptions required for most competing solutions.
In addition to the power of the software and it's wealth of features, it is great value for money and a huge incentive for people starting out.
Checkout pages have gone through major changes over the last decade. As advances in technologies improved, so were the demands of the customer experience.
Many website owners began to notice these changes, with lowering conversion rates and the number of sales being made.
It simply wasn’t enough to have a standard checkout page on a site, with many of the most popular merchant services offering very little to no customization abilities.
Marketers and business owners faced an uphill battle in knowing where sales were coming from, with many challenges in being able to track and report their sales processes.
While many solutions arose to help solve this problem, Josh and his talented team set out to create a simple yet powerful checkout solution - something that wasn’t available at the time of development.
Offering the ability to easily add products, build funnels, bump offers, upsells/downsells, subscriptions as well as set up a comprehensive Affiliate and JV system, which we’ll get into later in this article.
The biggest incentive of all, which alleviates a huge problem with integrated checkout solutions is that you own and have complete control over customer transactions.
This means if you ever decide to no longer use Thrivecart, then you will still be able to retain your customers and transaction details with no fear of ever losing them.
The core part of Thrivecart has always been to create the most simple, versatile and powerful checkout solution for users. However, over the years of its development. Thrivecart has grown to include a few key powerful features rarely found in most other checkout solutions.
One of the biggest features to be released to the platform in early 2020 was the ability to design your own checkout pages with their brand new editor.
With their new checkout designer, you will now be able to fully customize your checkout pages using their simple to use, drag and drop visual editor.
This finally gives users the ability to create their own checkout pages, which they can also share with other users of the platform.
Under the Design tab is a button for sharing your finished design.
A lightbox immediately opens prompting you to select what pages to export along with a name and description of your design you wish to share.
Saving the changes will publish your design, and provide you with a URL link you can share and promote freely to other Thrivecart and non Thrivecart users.
What’s great about this feature is the community and camaraderie it builds of like-minded users with the goal of helping each other succeed by sharing what works.
A feature not really seen by other Saas based checkout platforms.
If you’re also an affiliate of Thrivecart, it will even attach your affiliate link to the bottom of the share screen, allowing you to automatically make a commission from anyone who sees your designs and decides to purchase.
In addition to the checkout editor, you also have the ability to completely customize your stats and analytics dashboard that best suit your needs.
This is ideal for business owners who may not want to know certain metrics in their business.
Use Case: Subscription Management
Let’s say you’re running a subscription based business and would like the option to only include subscription metrics on your main dashboard. This is easily done in Thrivecart by clicking on the ‘Customize Stats’ button at the top of the dashboard.
A stats option lightbox will appear showing you a list of all the different metrics available to add to your dashboard. Thrivecart has made this very simple by dividing the different metrics into separate categories.
You can see all the Subscription metrics you’ll be able to include on your dashboard, Selecting these and deselecting the ones that aren’t needed will allow you to see all of your stats at a glance.
This feature was a surprise update for early Thrivecart users who didn’t request an updated stats dashboard.
Proof of Josh’s ability to have his finger on the pulse to what customers really want in a checkout platform. Making it the perfect solution for marketers by marketers.
A huge feature for Thrivecart which is also one of their biggest strengths and a major selling point is their inclusion of a powerful Affiliate and JV system.
This means you do not need to purchase an external affiliate program management software like FirstPromoter (what we use) or AffiliateWP (designed for WordPress). This can mean you could save hundreds of dollars a year or more.
If you’re a growing business owner, one of the core components of scaling is allowing others to promote your products for you using a commission based system.
An affiliate management tool becomes an essential part of the process and being able to do it inside one platform can save you time and avoids learning another platform.
What’s more, Josh has made it very easy by ensuring the process of setting up affiliates, just like every part of the platform is as simple and straightforward as possible.
When you click on the Affiliates area in Thrivecart, you will be greeted with the Affiliate Dashboard.
Here, you’ll be able to see a list of all of your affiliates, the products they’re assigned to as well as all of the commissions made at a glance.
You can also filter the commissions made by product and date and by a specific affiliate so you can pinpoint which of your affiliates are generating you the most revenue.
This will allow you to set specific rules to allow them to push your products even more.
When you click on the Rules tab, you’ll see a list of powerful options to automatically assign your affiliates to various things depending on certain criteria:
From these selections, you will have a wealth of options to begin setting up different rules for your affiliates. Some examples:
The Payments tab will allow you to set up automatic and manual payouts for your affiliates, which will make your business truly hands-off so you can focus on the more important tasks of your business.
Lastly, a really cool feature of the Affiliates platform is the ability to allow your affiliates to recruit their own 2nd-tier affiliates. This means you’ll be able to set up a commission structure for every affiliate they recruit who makes a sale, further incentivising and pushing them to recruit even more.
A very powerful feature for removing the grunt work of having to recruit your own affiliates and improving your sales.
Downsides of ThriveCart Affiliate platform
Thrivecart is actively promoted to your affiliates which might not suit some sellers.
In addition to the Affiliate platform is the option to also set up JV or Joint Venture partnerships.
If you’re a business owner who has created a product in partnership with another expert or authority figure, the JV system will allow you to assign and calculate the revenue share to be paid out between you and your partner(s).
Under the JV Contacts tab, you’ll be able to set up a new contract with your partner and the revenue share to be paid out each month. You can again assign rules to truly make this process automated and hands-off.
With the Affiliate and JV system, you can begin to see how powerful this can be for your business and opens up a lot of opportunities to further promote and partner up with other businesses and expand your reach of potential customers.
Selling digital products on the internet has come a long way since the early days. Complex systems had to be put into place in order for a transaction to take place, with Paypal providing a very basic processor in order to achieve it.
With Thrivecart, you are given a range of options to choose from.
When creating your product, you will be given the option to select from whether it’s a digital or a physical product.
Once selected, you will be taken to the product options area that is designed as a step-by-step process:
The first step is to give your product a name, an optional label, a URL slug and whether to set the product Live, In Testing or to Disable it completely.
The next step is to give your product a price.
You’ll be able to select from the currency you would like to use, whether it’s a one-time, subscription, split-pay or to set your own price, set up tax calculation and the option to customize the invoice that will be sent to customers upon purchase.
In addition to the pricing options, you will also be able to add a bump offer to your product and a payment processor you would like to use in order to begin collecting payments.
Of course, a product can’t be complete without setting up a delivery mechanism for your customers.
Thrivecart once again has made this very easy by integrating with a range of the most popular Membership platforms using their unique API system.
One of the most crucial things when getting customers is making sure you deliver their products without any technical problems from their end. This is made simple with the fulfillment options area.
Here, you will be able to input the email your customers can use to email their support queries, and set what will happen upon purchasing your product.
You will have the option to either send them to a URL, Add them to your integrated Membership platform or simply send them to their product/invoice area.
The remaining fields will differ depending on which option you select.
Before, setting something like this up would have taken a lot of technical knowledge and would have been a barrier to entry for anyone less savvy.
All of this will be able to be achieved in just a few minutes of set up.
Thrivecart has also made it easy to setup Upsells, Downsells and conduct A/B tests of all of your checkout pages.
Using their simple interface, you will instantly be able to create an Upsell or Downsell of your choice and assign it to any of your existing products using their integrated sales funnel feature.
Similar to the fulfillment options area, you’ll be able to quickly set where your customers will go once they’ve gone through the funnel and made their purchase. You can have as many as 5 Upsells and Downsells.
You can of course test all of your pages by creating duplicates of your products and running them side by side.
Thrivecart will intelligently remove the losing variation and keep the page that made the most sales while retaining the original URL you test was run.
In addition to product delivery, Thrivecart has also made it very simple to acquire your customer’s contact information for future marketing.
By Integrating with many of the most popular autoresponder solutions, you will be able to add all of your customers to your email system post purchase and begin nurturing your relationship. An important part of building and maintaining a profitable business.
These services include:
Of course, none of this would be as simple without knowing where your customers came from.
ThriveCart also allows you to assign tags to your customers depending on where they are in the purchase process.
This means that on purchase or refund, your customers will immediately be added to your email list with their tags so you will instantly know what they’ve bought/refunded and make it easier for you to market to them with relevant products.
One of the Holy Grails for all of business is recurring subscription revenue.
The theory is if you can get a bunch of your customers to pay you monthly or yearly for a service, it will allow you to better organise your business spend and prioritise on things such as advertising and further promotions for your business.
The process for setting up subscriptions in Thrivecart is again very simple. By selecting the Subscriptions option in the Payment Type dropdown, a new set of options will appear.
You’ll be able to select from Billing Frequency as well as whether you would like to offer your subscription with a Trial Period. Ideal for if you’re selling software and would like your customers to try before they commit to a full subscription.
However, along with setting up subscriptions is perhaps one of the most valuable inclusions to the Thrivecart platform that will save users hundreds of dollars in monthly costs.
Thrivecart has also included Dunning, which you’ll be able to set up and run in the background.
This will allow you to retrieve failing or failed payments by sending recurring reminders to your subscribers, reminding them to update their credit or debit card details.
The revenue you will save with this feature alone is invaluable and worth the price of the platform.
Selling physical products on your own website through your own sales funnel and customized checkout is one of the best ways to increase the revenue of your ecommerce business.
If you're selling books, t-shirts, tickets, products, gadgets, merchandise, or anything else that takes a physical format (where you require a shipping address) this is considered a physical product.
It's no longer advisable to sell your physical products through a typical ecommerce "store" - it's often now better to create a customized checkout flow (or funnel) for each of your products to optimize the value of every customer going through your website sales process.
ThriveCart includes a number of excellent features for selling physical products:
You can even customize the shipping options based on specific criteria such as when your customer orders X of your products - you could offer a lower priced or free shipping option.
When you're selling physical products, you need an easy way to fulfil the creation or shipping of your products. Depending on what you are selling, ThriveCart includes a wide range of services available to allow you to fulfil your orders.
Whichever Thrivecart integrations you decide to go with, you can rest assured that Thrivecart has you covered and ready to begin selling your physical products quickly and easily.
At this point, you may be wondering how Thrivecart compares to OptimizeCheckouts and are left scratching your head with which one to use.
Both platforms offer similar functionality, offering the ability to create sales funnels and an easy to use Checkout builder.
However, we’re also aware that many of you will want to know the key differences so you can be better informed when it comes to making a decision on which to use for your business moving forward.
Runs on WordPress
One of the main selling points of OptimizePress is the ability to have complete control over your website assets. You are not binded with a monthly subscription and have complete control and flexibility of where you host your website and how to use it.
Organise your pages under one funnel
All of your pages can be organised under one funnel using OptimizeFunnels and will be able to see and track all of your stats individually for each funnel. Making it easier to spot holes in your business and make improvements.
Assign products to multiple pages.
With OptimizeCheckouts, you do not need to create identical products for different checkouts and can simply assign a single product to as many pages as you want. With OptimizeCheckouts, simply add a checkout element to the page with the product you wish to assign and you’re good to go.
More Payment Processors & Integrations
As well as Stripe, you will also be able to integrate with Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Authorize.net, providing the customer with more options to pay and increasing conversion rates.
You will also have access to even more integrations and flexibility when it comes to managing your products and services and improving customer experience.
Affiliate & JV System
The built in Affiliate and JV system can potentially save you thousands in extra costs in using a third-party solution and has everything built into the platform.
Allowing you the ability to add promoters and partners to your products, help increase revenues and reach a bigger audience.
If you’re an ecommerce store and would like to have the ability to provide physical shipping for your customers, then Thrivecart already has these options available with a range of Physical shipping options to select from.
Whether you’re selling self-published books, clothes or merchandise, you will be able to integrate with a range of vendors that will work directly with Thrivecart and do all of the heavy lifting in the background.
With a range of checkout solutions to select from, there will inevitably be a lot of similarities and differences between them. But beyond this, selecting the right platform will all ultimately depend on personal preference and whether it fits the needs of your business.
Here are some of the most popular platforms we’ve listed along with their notable features.
Founded in 2014, Brian and Scott Moran created a very robust and feature rich solution and were one of the very first checkout solutions available for marketers looking for ease of use and customization. Notable features include:
More Checkout Templates
With the release of their new visual editor. Samcart offers a range of templates you can get started with immediately, with new templates being constantly added.
Add Multiple Bump Offers
A big feature added recently is the ability to add multiple bump offers to the checkout, giving customers the option to select from whichever offer they want in addition to the main product. Increasing the chances of making more revenue and increasing the value of the customer.
View abandoned cart emails
If you ever wanted to know who abandoned your cart so you can reach out to them at a later date, then Samcart provides the ability to export your prospects and import them to FB for running ads to or send them to your preferred email platform for future followup.
Founded in 2016, the company has grown to now have over 1000+ customers using their platform and has proven to be a powerful competitor in the checkout marketplace. A few highlights include:
More Direct Autoresponder Integrations
If you’re using an email system that doesn’t currently integrate with Thrivecart, then Paykickstart may be the solution to take notice of.
Currently integrating with 18 of the most popular autoresponders, it will be more than likely that you’ll be using an email service that will support the platform without requiring anything extra.
More Currencies supported
Paykickstart prides itself for supporting a wealth of currencies. If you’re running a business that’s limited from the currencies used in Thrivecart and looking for an alternative workaround. Then Paykickstart may be the service for you.
Lower entry price point
If you’re a startup with limited funds, then shelling out a hefty price for a solution may not be an option. Paykickstart provides a low barrier to entry with their low cost startup plan and may be the perfect solution for you if you’re looking to get started quickly.
Founded by Russel Brunson, Clickfunnels isn’t just a checkout solution, but a solution for your entire business.
Offering the ability to create Sales funnels, membership portals and even email autoresponders without having to invest in any separate services. A few standout features include:
Clickfunnels prides itself of having a huge catalogue of funnel templates to choose from. So you don’t have to worry about the technical setups required in order to get started. Simply select a template you would like to use, and Clickfunnels will immediately add it to your project ready to begin customizing.
Dedicated Email Autoresponder
With Clickfunnels, you do not need to invest in a separate autoresponder service and will have the ability to manage all of your emails directly inside the platform. Cutting out any extra costs required and keeping your business all in one central area.
Dedicated Membership Platform
Similarly, you will also be able to run all of your secure memberships inside the platform and save you hours of technical difficulty with setting this all up manually.
Remember: The OptimizePress Suite is a great Clickfunnels alternative and provides the same core feature set for a significantly better pricing structure
Currently, Thrivecart is being sold for $497 with the Pro upgrade being sold for an extra $97 with plans to switch to a subscription based model in the near future.
Due to Thrivecart’s already competitive pricing, Thrivecart does not offer payment plans. However, it is possible to set up payment plans for your own checkouts inside the platform.
Thrivecart is a great platform for setting up products, funnels, bump offers, upsells, downsells as well as a whole host of powerful features under a one-time pricing.
If you would like a flexible checkout platform with the ability to control all of your website payments under one roof. Then ThriveCart is the perfect solution to get started.
However, if you require more control over your website assets, are more accustomed to WordPress and require a simpler solution to get started. Then OptimizeCheckouts will be the platform for you.
Our range of tools and supporting templates will help you get setup and making sales quickly and without the stresses of design and other technical challenges.