I wanted to write more posts about when I first started out. About some of the solutions I found, as well as some of the dead-ends. One of the shining stars of the early period was SamCart.
Now before you click then wonder what makes this different than any other landing page, please take a moment to actually use it for free. This SamCart Review is a bit different, SamCart is underrated. I don't want to convince you that it's better. The truth is, you'll find out if it's better FOR YOU through reading through the rest of this article and then giving an hour of your busy schedule toward taking the free trial and playing around with it.
I know, I know. You might need someone to tell you exactly what to do and why, I'm definitely more of a compass guy rather than a map guy.
Let's take a look and see if it's a fit for you.
It is by far the easiest and cleanest way to sell online.
I know that ClickFunnels is more of an all in one tool, replacing a website and offering a fuller range of bells and whistles. The problem with ClickFunnels is more the dated look and clunky navigation than it's features.
And even though they are two very different tools, they will get compared as if they are alternatives. I even made this mistake, and later realized where SamCart shines while also accepting that most people will go for ClickFunnels because of it's utilitarian value. That's completely fine. I just hope you click my links 😉
I already dug into this in depth, but if you skipped down to this section please note that A/B Testing is one of the best practices for just about any task online in which you drive traffic and track conversions.
In a section labeled “Checkout Design” there are 18 templates for your one page checkout. Essentially this means you have a seamless landing/checkout page combo. The guys over at SamCart confess that the inspiration for this was from Amazon. Not a bad example to follow.
Upsells and Downsells
One of my favorite features is the ability to customize the customer experience based on teh product they checkout with. SamCart calls these funnels, I call it genius. Fully aware that the correct offer depends on timing and relevance, it’s easy to add the correct sequence of products based on how the customer got to checkout.
This took me by surprise and made me a huge fan instantly. The very clean and concise back office shows very clearly what you can do as a business owner to begin recruiting your very own army of affiliates. Additionally there are sections for Email Swipe, custom product links, and the most impressive; recurring, percentage or flat rate payouts depending on the product being promoted. This makes the idea of selling a product through affiliates much more feasible for someone interested, but not necessarily looking to build it from scratch.
I began messing with this feature earlier. I admit, it was very confusing for the first 10mins or so. But in the video below I’ve decided to take you through the process in real-time. Now, I could have edited or done it off-screen then came back, instead I decided to show you the overall ease of it in spite of my mistakes. This tool really is the best for getting your product launched and out into the market without all the drama that comes along with ClickFunnels or Shopify with it’s apps.
Another huge advantage SamCart has is the ability to sell and manage subscription/membership products right from the same platform you sell your physical and digital products. This may not seem like a big deal, but trust me it’s been a real task to do this with other platforms. I use Thrive Themes Apprentice for hosting the actual membership area.
If you’re in ecommerce, you’ve likely either tried to sell or considered selling an ebook, planner, or some sort of course or membership. This is handled masterfully in SamCart. Even allowing you to easily upload zip files for your convenience. This is a simple touch for many, but to someone like me this is the type of attention to detail that sets SamCart apart. The upload time was pretty slow, but that might be a result of all the tabs I have open!
Change is coming. There is a resurgence in physical products for small online solopreneurs and the like. I love how easy it is to sell physical with SamCart, keeping the process clean and simpler than other platforms.
(Almost) No Apps
Is there really much to explain here? If you’ve used an ecommerce platform before, you know that there are almost always apps for additional features. Even SamCart has integration, but it’s for email service providers. I connected my ConvertKit account for seamless tagging and sorting (perfect for emailing relevant offers in the future). This was perfect when I made my first sale using SamCart for Meditation Life within my first 24hrs of relaunching it.
Subscriptions and Payment Plans
If you follow my work at Blue Highlighted Text, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate for recurring revenue. If you happen to have some aspect of your business that fits into this model 1) I highly encourage you do 2) SamCart has a ready made solution.
Again no need to find a third-party solution. This is huge and adds a layer of flexibility to how and what you offer in terms of product, service, or membership/courses as a online business.
I set this up almost immediately for my SamCart account and this prompted me to build out the membership community for Project Newsense that I’ve been planning on but not executing. In other words, the ease of integration made me take action on an area I had a legit excuse for neglecting prior to.
We all do it, we like to try before we buy. SamCart has this feature built-in as well.
Don’t tell my girlfriend that (really don’t, she won’t think this is funny).
Additionally, you can offer a paid trial if that’s something you’d like to include in the mix.
Whether paid or free, trials are another way to get people on and using. Again, the idea is to provide something of quality that people will gladly pay for once they get a taste for the value. Netflix absolutely kills it with this model, thanks to SamCart you can too.
Pay What You Want Pricing
This is one of the huge advantages I thought Gumroad had as a platform. Essentially the ability to offer my first book using a pay what you want offer was a huge win in my eyes. As a marketer and a fan of Nipsey Hussle’s iconic Proud to Pay campaign I had to try my hand.
Although Gumroad is a pretty cool platform, it’s not as robust or easy to navigate as SamCart. Once I dug around the Help Forum I came across an article boasting the software’s ability to set-up pay what you want pricing.
Making it natural and non-salesy, SamCart has great layout flow and it’s all on one page for a convenient and quick checkout experience. I can’t say that enough. I really believe that Shopify doesn’t even come close to this level of detail and convenience placed on encouraging the potential customer to complete the order. It’s one of the most frustrating parts of e-commerce, but I think they have addressed it well.
Custom Checkout Fields
I used the custom fields in order to capture sizes for T-shirts I included as order bumps. This also opened the idea that including it as a required option might be a good way to surprise customers with free merch from time to time.
This is very much interesting to consider and one of the biggest takeaways from using SamCart. Aside from traffic, it challenges you to find ways to use and manipulate the page to your advantage.
Presentation As a Sign of Legitimacy
SamCart was the only e-commerce platform I used other than Big Cartel that was easy to set-up. Where it beat all the other platforms was how modern, clean and smooth the interface appeared. The most neglected area of all e-commerce has famously been the checkout area. Not only the look and feel, but having the opportunity for upsells integrated naturally became a huge advantage.
Later I’d understand just how valuable this was, especially when relying on paid traffic.
It’s one of those things you really need to experience and I encourage you to try it for 14 days. I figured this out early on in my journey, using the cheapest or most popular software wasn’t always the correct answer.
Hell, it’s usually the worse.
If you’re strapped for cash, this might be too big a bet to get started, check out a demo here and bookmark this article for a future date. In the meantime, I’d recommend Big Cartel over Shopify any day. Starting out should be simple and cheap, make some decent money and then upgrade to SamCart so you can maximize.
Everyone is different indeed, and you’ll take to certain interfaces and controls different than others. I’m bias to the user experience and brand building. I know people who are strong advocates for other software. I’m not looking to discredit other’s thoughts on software, I’m here to offer my own experience more than just another hollow opinion.
Seamless Templates Make People Buy
When we have a very clear understanding as to what we are offering and what we want the consumer to do, life is easy.
For so long, I would unknowingly overcomplicate my business while probably confusing the hell out of my potential customers. I got a feel for what to do as I stack failure on top of failure and was forced to really start building for the consumer rather than myself.
Guess what eliminates this. SamCart does!!
Make it simple and start testing your idea. Stop hiding behind complexity. Yes you may be smart, but that doesn’t count for a sell most of the times. There is genius in simplicity. Find out what really works, stop guessing, get your offer out there before it’s what you may consider perfect. Chances are, your initial idea for what will work won’t.
Concise like Amazon
I think early on in the journey we don’t want to seem inadequate. I’m sure of it actually.
This is so much the case that we actually over complicate our offering.
Think about the last time you went to a social outing and started the typical “what do you do?” type of conversation. Without fail there’s always someone that seems to blab on and on about their title, daily tasks, degrees, etc. It’s like someone has an <insert ego> prompt and they just go nuts. If you haven’t experienced this, you should network more. I’ve experienced it and even found myself to be that guy on a few occasions I’m not proud about.
The point I’m making is that our business does need to sell, but we get to choose how we sell.
We can sell like Ferrari sells, or we can miss the mark and be the sleazy used car salesman that fights for approval and likability all for the mighty dollar.
When you make the experience with your brand one that is simple and streamlined, people like that and they get to make clear-headed decisions quickly with little to no friction. There’s no trickery, no complexity, no “Gotcha!”
Concise Doesn’t Mean Short
We need to A/B test and find the perfect solution of course. Don’t think just because you removed all the fluff you have what you need. Virgil could have done that with his AJ1, but the typography really takes the collab to an entirely different level (If you get this reference please comment, I need friends).
Finding a balance between what is left out and what is concluded is the stuff of legend. This is the type of stuff the best Ad Men and Copywriters were able to build fortunes behind. And although I’d like to say the best version of this very article you’re reading is the first draft, the truth is I’ll be working with an editor (whadup Tyler) to cut this down and make it more concise while also adding elements that make it more entertainment, relevant, and easy to read. All that to say, SamCart will allow you to A/B test while forcing you to get your message across concisely (1 page) from the jump.
Have you ever had the dream of setting up a commission only sales program?
Imagine A whole army of commission only sales people, all integrated and clean on the backend so you can see who is performing and their commissions.
You can do just that with SamCart’s Premium version.
At $200, it cost that same as ClickFunnels, but when you’re starting out you probably won’t even need that and can go with the $100/month basic plan. Again SamCart is all about setting you up to sale quickly with all the bells and whistles you might need and none of the ambition halting busywork that we’ve all experienced. It’s nice to know that you won’t need to find separate software once you’re ready to build a sales team.
This is where SamCart absolutely shines.
When I began my trial I immediately decided to sell merch for my non-profit. I was running Facebook ads that linked directly to the one-page funnel I set-up in about 10mins. I absolutely love the flow of the page at this point, a few clicks and the customer has what they want and can go on with their day. This includes upsell offers, subscription feature, payment plans, and even an affiliate center.
Granted, you can use Sendowl for subscription and digital product delivery. But, the presentation, upsells, and affiliate center don't compare, and this is all about comparison. For someone that wants to create this type of concise, drama free, online shopping experience, it's a no-brainer. The software is worth every penny, and I will continue to prefer SamCart to Shopify.
A crazy statistic even says that “Average Shopify user makes $30,000. Average SamCart user makes $100,000.” I believe it to be true, it makes sense.
At some point your job as a creator is to provide a beautiful and painless experience for users. I know, it's very Steve Jobs-ish, but the truth is Apple absolutely crush the competition because they stood for the complete user experience. In considering SamCart, I'm in the camp that as an entrepreneur, you've got to understand your customer and what they could appreciate from your brand (if that's what you're looking to create).
Utility has its place
If you are looking for function over form, or even on a budget and needing a swiss army knife of a software, use ClickFunnels by all means.
Greg Jeffries has a free course for you here if you decide you want to earn a living like he has as an affiliate.
This is the type of thing you see and think to yourself how awesome it is. The problem is the huge linked ClickFunnel you’re using may work very well. In honesty, it’s probably unnecessary for you and doubly unnecessary for a beginner.
We all have been there, we get caught in the weeds instead of finding ways to easily test and tweak based on the data being presented.
The overcomplication has to stop.
They have a huge following, and Russel Brunson is a Rockstar. A quick search online and it's like they have their own cult following as it's definitely changed a ton of entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers, and digital marketers' lives. It's awesome indeed, but it's not for me. I care more about the aesthetic and user experience. I want them to be able to quickly and cleanly interact with me and move on to being on my email list as a paid customer that I can then curate more content toward. I don't like the 90's style graphics (even if they are proven to convert better).
SamCart is a choice based on my gut rather than 100% based on performance. It's the pretty one, I don't care as much about the popularity or extensive functionality, because to be quite honest I won't use most of the features anyways.
Think about it this way, although major car magazines test the latest and greatest performance sports cars year after year, it doesn't change your preference for YOUR dream car.
Remember, you get to choose what you like and don't have to have reasons why!!
But, for those who care to know my reasons. I decided to offer this thorough post in efforts of waking us all up to the prospect of choice based on our own experience rather than the latest or hottest software around.
I was thrilled to have used it and uncover everything it does so seamlessly. I will be going back to it once I actually create a sustainable business. You see, there are different tools for different levels of business success. I learned this the hard way after trying to bootstrap for a couple years.
The premium service clocks in at $200/month, that being the case, it’s important to tune into the idea that you’ll want to use this service once you have tested and proven to have a product or service that sells fairly well. There are a few features that I really like and believe set SamCart apart.
What's The Difference?
I’m excited for what I’m about to share because I really think it’s going to be groundbreaking for how it can be used within the affiliate space. I remember a year ago I tried the service and thought that the set-up was extremely easy and straight-forward. I specifically remember how seamless the upsells and checkout were. At that stage in my business, the cost of the tool coupled with Facebook Ads and my ongoing Shopify membership just didn’t make much sense to use for me. This is one of those mistakes I made based on price alone.
As I’ve gotten more sophisticated with my understanding of making money online, I’ve realized that there are so many shortcuts built into the software that more than make it worth the monthly cost.
Comparison to ClickFunnels
The idea that ClickFunnels is a direct competitor is obvious but not entirely warranted. One of the things that is so crucial in the journey of selling online is the time it takes to set-up and configure a page that is not only functional, but also good looking!! I hate to break it to you, but ClickFunnels is outdated. It’s popular, it’s highly-recognized, and it’s the same price. But…
There’s a Kim K BUT here.
It isn’t a quick set-up nor a visually modern look or feel.
I’ll take it further in saying that I wholeheartedly believe that CF has more capability overall. The reason I love SamCart is the ease of use and the combined features that easily integrate on the backend once you mature your business and dig deeper into your level of sophistication.
Why Do I Say SamCart is Underrated?
In the world of building an online business I feel like SamCart is the modern version of ClickFunnels.
This isn’t some big reveal, rather it’s a truth that is coming forth for several businesses that have made improvements in function and design over the years.
We saw Snapchat try to be the modern version of Facebook/IG (although it failed in some regard, it still has its loyal following).
We saw Netflix uproot Blockbuster.
Tesla is the face of electric cars after Fisker tried and failed.
Now I’m not saying that one needs to be declared the winner and another the failure. All I’m suggesting is that if you are considering SamCart or Clickfunnels compare them before you commit. I’d bet my bottom dollar that you will feel the same way I did in setting up SamCart versus CF.
The ability to build an offer into checkout is huge. SamCart does this seamlessly. It doesn't load new pages or have a fuzzy look to it that ClickFunnels sites tend to have. It just looks clean and easy. I often visit a CF site and question the security of the site, but that might just be me.
WIthout being too pushy, this allows customers to add additional products at checkout. This is before an upsell, but offers a check box to the customer as they finish checking out. Think of Amazon's “Customers who bought this item also bought”. Admittedly, they did build SamCart to mimic Amazon's experience.
Higher ticket items are sometimes just out of reach for some customers. I definitely found this out the hard way and made a major adjustment on my first businesses site to include a payment plan. Having a quick and easy way to pay over time is a huge benefit that other similar services just don’t provide without 3rd party integration.
People buy expensive items all the time, often times it's not the price that scares them away, it's the ability to walk out the store with the item in hand and a plan in place.
If you don’t compare you’ll never know what to improve. A/B Testing is a crucial step that I only recently started using thanks to Thrive Themes. If continuously test, determine a winner, then tweak and test again, you will come across a winning combination of copy and layout. This is a MUST, I can't tell you enough. Whether you're a business owner or a marketer, the guy/girl you look up to tests their pages, their offers, their copy.
Two words – Recurring revenue
I learned this through Freedym and love the valuable tips they provide, especially if you're selling a physical product and building a brand.
Getting users onboard and keeping them on board can lead to some serious dough!
Who subscribes without a 7 day trial nowdays?
Along with subscription, SamCart provides an easy way to onboard people to test drive your offer. I think this is huge because 1)You get to communicate with the potential subscriber 2)You're less likely to have someone join that doesn't love what you offer (i.e. less complaints and issues).
The standout, this is where SamCart wins hands down. I was able to have a great looking page up and ready for checkout within 15mins of subscribing to the free trial. This really stuck because I was fresh from setting up both Shopify and BigCommerce stores.
Although SamCart is a bit more show than go, who says that you buy a Ferrari to push it to the edge?