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Thrivecart: best combo cart, funnel & affiliate tool

What is ThriveCart?

Thrivecart is a payment processor, sales funnel tool and an affiliate tracking tool.

Taking payments on ThriveCart

It allows you to take payments through any of these tools: Paypal, Stripe (which just looks like credit cards to your users), Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Authorize. And it can process them all from one sales page (so people don’t need to decide on whether to pay with Paypal or credit card on your sales page, and those different buttons won’t clog up your design).

And not only one-time payments — you can set up payment plans, subscriptions, and “pay what you want” choices.

You can set up standalone checkout pages, or set up your checkout as an embedded form or a button-click pop-up. Talk about versatile!

Setting up sales funnels on ThriveCart

Once you get people onto the checkout page, there are 3 ways that you can encourage people who are already ready to buy to spend a bit more in their payment:

  • Bump offer: A bump offer is on the checkout page before the user hits submit. I often use this to add in an extra product as a bundle (like my Your First SEO Content product has a bump offer to include my SEO Workbook and I call it the “DIY SEO Bundle”) or add a consulting call with me to a self-paced course.
  • Upsell offer: After the user has bought, instead of being re-directed to a thank you page or an invoice, they’re given a better offer than what they just bought, typically at a high discount, that is only available at this moment. People will use this for variations on an offer, like offering a lifetime deal on a product instead of a monthly rate. I use an Upsell offer for people who have just bought my SEO Set-up Success self-paced course to invite people to join my Attract & Activate program & get more hands-on support from me.
  • Downsell offer: If the user doesn’t take the Upsell offer (typically below the “buy” button on the upsell offer there’s a little button that says “No thanks I’m not interested” or something like that), they’ll be direct to a Downsell offer, which is typically more than the original offer but less than the upsell.

You can add up to 5 upsell or downsell offers to your process. (Sometimes when I find myself in a really badass funnel like this, I click through all the offers just to get ideas!)

Affiliate tracking & payouts

And if you want somebody else to promote on your behalf, you can set that person up as an affiliate and approve them to promote any or all of your products.

ThriveCart will auto-create links that you can send to anywhere on your website, not just your product sales page. This is different that many course delivery software that say that they have affiliate tracking, but the only place that you can send people is directly to the sales page on their site. That’s an ok solution, better than nothing but limiting.

With ThriveCart, my affiliate promoters can send their audience to my free offers or to a webinar sign-up page — something much more desirable & lower commitment for a cold audience — which will leave a cookie on that person’s browser that will claim that affiliate’s “ownership” on my site.

So if an affiliate links to my lead magnet, then later their referred traffic comes back to buy a product, the affiliate will still get credit for that sale (as long as that user doesn’t clear their browser cache).

When I set up the affiliate system, I can set the payment terms within ThriveCart (like sending a payment immediately or waiting 30 days), and when affiliates sign up they share their PayPal account info … so when that sale goes through, ThriveCart will automatically send their affiliate payment. I don’t have to think about it. (I can also set it up for manual approval if I want to double-check my affiliate sales.)

Why can’t I just use the checkout on my course platform? (Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, etc)

You totally can! Especially when you’re getting started, the important thing is to focus on validating your offer & making money, then you can build out more complicated funnels & tracking.

BUT. Once you know that your offer is selling well, you might want to have more control over the process.

Drawbacks of using course platform payment processing

Often course software will charge an additional processing fee, on top of the Paypal/Stripe processing fees … so instead of making $96.80 on a $100 purchase, an extra 2% fee would bring your takehome would be $94.80. “But Meg, that’s only $2, what’s the big deal?!” Listen, I know it’s minimal, but that 2% adds up over time. And we’re being frugal, remember?

Plus course platforms have limited affiliate tracking. Your affiliates can send people directly to the sales page (the one hosted on Thinkific or Podia), but not to anywhere on your website … so if you have a freebie or webinar, your affiliates won’t get tracked if they promote that. You could use an affiliate tool like SendOwl to work around this process, but then you’d have to manually track & pay out the sales. Not cool.

5 ways ThriveCart is better than SamCart

  1. ThriveCart is a one-time fee of $690, SamCart has plans from $49-199/mo … but in order to get bump offers & upsells you need the $99/mo plan, and the affiliate tracking is at the $199/mo plan … so if you’re trying to decide between them, your ThriveCart investment will pay itself off within 4 months compared to SamCart.
  2. ThriveCart allows you to create one product with multiple payment options; in SamCart, every payment option is a different product. It can get overwhelming to track (and you know much I love tracking all my metrics!), and can muck up your sales page with multiple payment options.
  3. ThriveCart has direct integrations with more software (like my fave webinar software Demio, and other fan favorites like Slack, LeadPages & MemberPress), whereas SamCart is reliant on Zapier for more integrations.
  4. ThriveCart’s affiliate payout system is simpler, you can “set it and forget it,” whereas Sam Cart has more hoops to jump through (like manual approvals) … and as somebody who has been an affiliate for products on both platforms, I find the ThriveCart interface MUCH easier to find the right link easily. (I can go into a product to find it, whereas SamCart is just a list of links.)
  5. ThriveCart has better customer service. Not only does it hep with more languages, their answers are robust, both through their support center and their Facebook group. I’ve heard of many people frustrated by lack of support from SamCart.

There are a lot of other cool features that ThriveCart exclusively has (videos on cart pages, partial refunds, more coupon functionality, etc) but those are the top reasons I prefer ThriveCart.

Pricing: Is it worth the upgrade to ThriveCart Pro?

ThriveCart has two options: Standard ($495) and Pro ($690).

  • If you plan on asking any affiliates to promote your offers (which I highly recommend — it’s a great way to get warm leads & support your friends, instead of need an alternative lead source like constantly feeding the Facebook Ads beast), it’s 100% worth the extra $195.
  • If you might run a membership or subscription, the Pro is worth the upgrade because it has Dunning functionality — meaning it will follow-up with customers if their payments fail.
  • Plus the Pro also has more features I didn’t talk about here, like JV Contracts (when I work with other entrepreneurs to co-create products, this is a great way to make sure nobody gets shorted).

In almost all cases, I suggest upgrading to Pro because of the additional functionality as your business grows. I have no idea if it’s possible to upgrade to Pro later, so it’s probably worth the investment now.

Pricing: But do I really need to spend almost $700 for this?

Listen, friend: We’re frugal, not cheap. We don’t want to spend a ton on our software … but we also want to invest in the right software that won’t be an ongoing drain on income as a long-term expense.

ThriveCart has more functionality for a one-time fee than pretty much any other option on the internet, and will allow you to make more money on your offers with their sales funnel options.

I was hesitant at first (there’s no free trial, which kinda sucks, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee) but I decided to give it a shot … and I made back my investment in my first launch just by putting a $60 bump offer on my cart that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to include.

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