There are many shopping cart options available. Most are very limiting and don't offer much value and yet are more expensive than their competitors. We have found three gems that are distinctly different and offer plenty more in terms of flexibility, overall value and cost.
Our analysis is based on what these three platforms offer comparitively. All of these are a web-based checkout solution which comes with a litany of features all designed to increase conversions, track and maximize profits and profit-sharing, as well as plenty of extras. How do they all stack up?
All these platforms offer extremely similar options, and while there are others out there which may overlap some of the features, we've excluded them for brevity's sake since there weren't enough items in common to warrant mention.
There are traditional options and additional options.
Traditional options are the ones you'd expect to find on any product of its like. Additional options are also referred to as features and all three carry plenty. Since we weren't able to verify definitively yes or no on some of the features, we left them with a U for unverified. The rest are either a Y for yes, or an N for no. If it's a yes, or additional information is needed, it will be stated in the tables below. A description of what each item does briefly follows.
Templates options customization
Embeddable Shopping carts
Y (& conversions & 32 languages)
Language options (speech/written)
Payment Processing options
Duplicate purchase protection
The very first option in all three comes with additional information because there are a different amount of templates and options available from all three. Which you prefer best depends on how badly you need to customize the fields, and how particular you are about your formatting. We felt PayKickstart offered the best options in terms of customization, with SamCart Pro a close second.
Embeddable shopping carts - this allows you to place your cart directly onto your website using the program. Both PayKickstart and ThriveCart offer this, but SamCart does not.
If you're a business that sells all over the globe, having multiple currency options as well as the capability to convert that currency is a big plus. Only PayKickstart can do all of those things with a whopping 32 languages. ThriveCart is only able to offer the option to handle multiple currencies and is second to PayKickstart with a healthy 16 languages supported. SamCart cannot do either of these things.
In tandem with the currency options comes the language options, which make sense if you have a world market. All three offer language support with PayKickstart in 1st again with 12 languages, ThriveCart next with 10, and SamCart with 6.
Having a customer "hub" is incredibly important. It's the portal the customer gets to use to contact the product's makers and is their point of contact as well as a huge source of self-help options. It can help reduce refunds, demands on helpdesk staff, reduce failed charges, and help customers get instant answers when they need it most. It gives them a sense of security knowing that the makers are so sure their product is incredible and worthwhile that they're available for contact thereafter. Only two carry the customer hub, ThriveCart, and PayKickstart.
In terms of payment processing options, PayKickstart pulled ahead of the other two, but ThriveCart is a very close second.
Lastly - since the rest needed little explanation - All three offer an affiliate platform if you offer that option, but SamCart's you can only get in their 'premium' version.
More integrations within a solid and stable program are always a good thing. PayKickstart comes with many, as does ThriveCart. SamCart has options but they're more standard in nature.
Blocking duplicate purchases is something quite useful because it can keep customers from being accidentally double-charged however it happens.
Campaign Refinery is a customer relationship management tool that can help keep you on project/task.
A partial refund is necessary if a customer is given an upsell they take, and then regret. This can erase the upsell and give them their partial refund for just the upsold portion, while still allowing them their basic or standard version purchased first.
PayKickstart offers more than the other options; it's also very easy to use and navigate and has great support. We also liked that, unlike it's closest competition in terms of what's on offer - Thrivecart - it can be paid monthly rather than a once-off larger payment. More people have a bit extra each month than those with a large lump sum of money for an investment, and we felt this was an important option.
Disclaimer: We selected Paykickstart for our personal business and have used it since before it was officially launched. We have thus had the opportunity to watch it grow and blossom into the platform we hoped it would become and early indicators show it can only improve with the continued support and investment the creators and developers put into it.