If you’ve been looking into selling products online, you’ve probably heard of Shopify. It’s one of the largest eCommerce builders in the world.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best builder for your business. Today, we will be comparing Shopify to SamCart — a lesser-known but popular alternative for selling physical and digital products online.
Setup And Hosting
It’s easy to get started with either SamCart or Shopify. Let’s talk about hosting on both platforms.
When using SamCart, you won’t have to purchase third-party hosting as you will host your online store on SamCart’s platform. This makes things easier — especially for beginners.
This doesn’t mean that your store will have “SamCart” in the URL. By default, you will get a SamCart subdomain, but you can purchase your own domain from Namecheap or GoDaddy and use Cloudflare to point the DNS towards SamCart’s servers.
Related: SamCart Review
Shopify also offers its own, self-hosted, eCommerce solution. By default, your store will be hosted on a myshopify.com subdomain.
However, like SamCart, Shopify lets you use a custom domain — you can even purchase one from Shopify instead of having to go to third-party domain sellers.
Buying a domain name directly from Shopify will land you a bonus — unlimited email forwarding for that domain name. You can create email addresses on your custom domain and have emails forwarded to your private Gmail account.
Designing Your Store
The next step is designing your storefront.
SamCart has a number of templates you can use to create your store. For example, you can use the one-page funnel template to create a single-page website; this is best for digital products and courses or if you are only selling a few products.
There are also various checkout templates you can use to make the checkout process quick and simple.
All templates can be fully customized with a drag-and-drop editor.
Shopify gives you three options.
The easiest one is to choose a design from their library.
There are many free designs you can use, or you can pay an extra price for a premium design so you stand out and don’t look like other shops.
If you want something truly unique, you can hire a Shopify designer to build a custom store just for your brand.
Finally, if you have the time to create your own template, you can design your own, custom template. Having design skills will help, but Shopify uses a simple programming language called Liquid that is easy to use if you have a basic understanding of CSS and HTML.
Explore: ThriveCart Vs Shopify
Mobile eCommerce takes up a large portion of the market, so it is important for your site to be optimized for mobile devices.
SamCart offers mobile-responsive funnel and checkout templates.
In addition to all themes coming with a mobile-optimized design and checkout page, there is also a Shopify app, which you can use on Android or iOS devices to track your sales and data. You can also enable push notifications to be notified whenever you make a sale.
Now that you’ve got your store set up and designed the way you like, it’s time to start selling products.
SamCart lets you sell three kinds of products:
By selling subscriptions and monthly memberships, you can earn recurring revenue every month.
You can host digital files on your SamCart site so customers can get instant access to their ebooks, PDFs, and videos.
There are various marketing tools designed to help you make more sales, which we will cover in the next section.
Shopify is often used for physical products, but there are various free and paid apps that you can use to sell digital products, including e-courses, videos, and consultations. You can also create membership sites.
In addition to online sales, Shopify also lets you grow your business by selling on various other sales channels. Their POS (Point of Sale) system lets customers do things such as:
- Browse in-store and buy online later
- Buy online and pick up in-store
- Buy in-person and ship from your warehouse
- Buy in-store and use the mobile card reader for quick self-checkout
- Earn rewards for purchases made in-store
Basic POS features are available with any Shopify plan. If you have a large store or multiple locations, you might want to go with the premium POS plan.
You can also purchase separate Shopify POS hardware for your store, including chip card readers, iPad stands, and other accessories. These are all wireless and integrate with your Shopify payment system.
There are also various other sales channels you can use:
- Use a shortcode to add products to your existing blog
- Sell products directly on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram
- Sync your Shopify products to your Amazon or eBay store
Also Read: ThriveCart Vs SamCart
Promoting Your Products
Both platforms offer various marketing and selling tools to help you reach more people, boost your sales, and scale your business.
SamCart’s selling tools help you earn more revenue and get more sales. Here are some things you can do:
- Let customers add additional products to their shopping cart
- Add upsells
- Add countdown timers
- Use A/B split testing to get higher conversion rates
- Make it easy for customers to update their payment information when a recurring charge gets denied
- Add guarantees, testimonials, product photos, and bullet-point features
- Use checkout popups so customers can check out right from the product page
- Add progress bars towards purchase completion
- Add FAQs
- Optimize for SEO by using tags and keywords
Shopify also has a wide range of marketing tools:
- SEO tools to edit descriptions, keywords, and tags
- Shopify Compass to help you grow your Instagram following
- Create and manage Facebook ads and campaigns from your Shopify dashboard
- Use the Google Shopping app to promote your products on Google Shopping
- Hire the Kit “virtual employee” to get updates and recommendations on your search engine and social media advertising campaigns, delegate tasks, and more
- Use Shopify Ping to manage all customer communications from one app
- Take advantage of the many apps in the Shopify app store to do things such as:
- Add popups, slide-ins, and welcome bars
- Collect email addresses
- Run promotions
- Get advanced analytics
- Add countdown timers to your page
- And much more
This takes us to the topic of add-ons or plugins.
SamCart allows for integrations with various third-party services; we will explore this in a later section.
Unlike SamCart, Shopify has a very large app store. There are thousands of apps on the app store in every category imaginable.
Regardless of what your needs are, you are sure to find an app that will work for you. There are both free and premium apps, and a majority of Shopify sellers rely on apps to accomplish some purpose.
There are tons of categories and sub-categories, as you can see in the screenshot above. Let’s go through apps that are trending now so you can get an idea of what you can accomplish on Shopify with apps:
Check Out: 3dCart Vs Shopify
- Image Optimizer & Compression: Get faster speeds and improve your SEO by reducing image size
- Trackhive — Free Track, Notify: Track shipments and notify customers of updates
- TipGenius: Ask for donations with a popup
- Preloader: Load professional animations on your site
- Instagram Feed + Stories: Show your Instagram content on your site
- Recipe Kit: Create SEO-friendly recipe cards on your website
- Growave — Reviews, Loyalty ++: Get more reviews on your site and improve customer loyalty with a rewards program
- Automatic Backup: Back up your website content automatically so you never lose your data
- Facebook & Instagram Autopost: Automatically post new content or products to your social media profiles for more exposure
- Talkable Referrals: Get more customers by incentivizing referrals
- EasyCall — Phone Number and Call: Get a phone number for customer support and manage your help desk
- Messenger Channel by Shopify: Sell your Shopify products on Facebook Messenger
- Newsletters by Promo.ai: Turn your blog posts into email newsletters
- Reserve In-Store: Let customers reserve products online to pick up in-store
- Klaviyo — Marketing Automation: A full-blow email marketing solution
As you can see, Shopify apps make your life easier and let you sell more. There’s no limit to what you can accomplish by taking advantage of Shopify apps.
Using email lists can help you get more repeat customers and increase sales with upsells and cross-sells. You can also improve customer satisfaction by sending purchase confirmation emails, abandoned cart reminders, shipping notifications, and other updates.
SamCart integrates with various email marketing service providers such as Aweber, Active Campaign, Mailchimp, and Hubspot. This allows you to email your customers, segment your lists, and send notifications.
You can create campaigns for SMS and Facebook Messenger as well.
Explore: Best SamCart Alternatives
Go to the Shopify app store and select the “Email Marketing” sub-category under the “Marketing” category to see apps for email marketing. Let’s go through some of the top email marketing apps for Shopify:
- Shopify Email: Shopify has its own email app, but not everyone likes it
- Privy — Popups, Email, and SMS: Privy is one of the most popular Shopify email marketing apps. In addition to email marketing, it lets you do SMS marketing
- Seguno — Email Marketing: Seguno is another popular app
- Klaviyo — Marketing Automation: Another you might like
- Recart FB Messenger Marketing: Send notifications and sales promotions to customers’ Facebook Messenger inboxes
There are various other apps for sending emails, creating popups, reminding customers of abandoned carts, adding gamified popups, and more.
In addition, since Shopify is one of the largest ecommerce solutions, there will be apps that will help you integrate with Mailchimp, GetResponse, and other popular email marketing service providers.
It’s important to provide customers with a safe and secure payment processing system and various payment options that work for them.
SamCart lets you accept payments from all major credit cards via Stripe. You can also sync SamCart with Paypal to accept PP payments.
Shopify Payments comes with your Shopify account and lets you accept payments via major credit cards, American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more, both online or in person.
You can usually increase conversion rates by offering discounts, free trials, and other promotions.
SamCart lets you offer coupon codes. You can also offer free or paid trials to incentivize customers to sign up.
In addition, to increase your sales even further, you can offer payment plans for those who can’t afford to pay the entire cost of your product up front. This works great for high-ticket digital products and coaching services.
Shopify has built-in support for discount codes and promotions. However, there are also many apps in the Shopify app store that give you even more opportunities to woo customers.
Let’s go through some of them:
- Rise — Gift Cards and Loyalty: Create a loyalty program that rewards customers with store credit for purchases and referrals
- Referral Candy: Create a referral program
- Quantity Breaks & Discounts: Lower prices when customers make larger purchases
- Bulk Discount Code Generator: Create unique codes in bulk to avoid coupon abuse
- Recurring Payments and Orders: Set up subscriptions for recurring revenue
- Split — Partial Payments: Allow for splitting payments between a customer and their friends
- Free Trust Badge: Improve your conversion rate by adding a security seal to your checkout page
- Conekta Offline Payments: Allow customers to pay offline, in cash
- Affirm Pay-Over-Time Messaging: Allow customers to pay off a product with monthly payment plans
- Invoice Falcon: Generate invoices and transaction reports
- Point of Sale by Shopify: This was discussed in detail above
Easy, cheap, and quick shipping options can help improve conversion rates.
SamCart — on most templates — lets you customize your shipping options based on quantity. You can give away products for free + shipping using one of the free + shipping templates.
You can also integrate with ShipStation or Shippo via Zapier to do things such as print shipping labels, send out notifications, and get discounted rates.
Shopify Shipping is an all-in-one solution to manage your shipping needs. However, it’s only available for orders fulfilled from fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In the United States, Shopify Shipping uses USPS, UPS, and DHL Express. This allows you to do three things:
- Calculate shipping rates based on distance instead of just showing a flat-rate price
- Get discounts on shipping rates
- Print shipping labels directly from your Shopify account
What if you use a different shipping carrier? You can connect your Shopify account to them as well (not available on the basic plan) to display their rates at checkout.
Shopify Shipping has some other benefits as well, such as being able to buy up to $5000 worth of insurance to protect your shipments (available only in the US).
All this is Shopify Shipping; however, there are various apps in the Shopify app marketplace that you can use to manage your shipments instead. Let’s go over some of the top shipping apps available:
- Shippo: Print labels in bulk, compare rates from over 50 carriers, and get discounts on rates from major carriers such as DHL and USPS
- EzySlip: Integrate with carriers such as FedEx and DHL, manage returns, and generate invoices
- Shiprocket — Shipping In India: Integrate with top shipping carriers in India
- Route — Shipping Insurance: Allow customers to purchase shipping insurance
- Advanced Shipping Rules: Create advanced shipping rules to increase conversions
- ShippingEasy: Manage your shipments, track your inventory, and send out email notifications
- Trackiest — Shipping Tracking: Track your packages and send out tracking notifications
Which third-party services does each platform integrate with?
SamCart integrates with services such as Paypal, Stripe, WordPress, OptimizePress, Digital Access Pass, Post Affiliate Pro, Aweber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, Husbpot, and many others.
In addition, SamCart integrates with Zapier. This helps SamCart catch up with Shopify in terms of capabilities, because through Zapier, SamCart lets you use more than 750 other automations and tools.
Check Out: SamCart Vs WooCommerce
Shopify also integrates with Zapier in addition to all the integrations you can find on the app store.
One way to get more sales is by creating an affiliate program and rewarding affiliates with a commission for each sale they make.
SamCart’s Affiliate Center lets you manage your very own affiliate program. You can customize your commission rates, create tiers, supply your affiliates with marketing materials, and more.
Shopify has various apps that you can download from the app store to set up and manage an affiliate program. Here are five top-rated affiliate program apps:
- Affiliate Marketing GoAffPro
- Affersion — Affiliate Marketing
- Secomapp — Affiliate Marketing
- Shoutout — Affiliate Marketing (includes MLM)
- LeadDyno Affiliate Marketing
It’s important to track your sales, visits, conversion rates, and revenue to ensure your store continues performing well.
SamCart lets you create custom reports to track your page views, customer lifetime value, sales, returns, conversion rates, and more. This is not available on the basic plan.
Through Zapier, you can also connect your store to Google Analytics.
Shopify Analytics will give you analytics to your store. The type of data you will get will depend on your Shopify plan.
You can also connect your store to Google Analytics.
Finally, there are a number of Shopify apps to get deeper insights from everything from your sales to your inventory. Here are some of them:
- Better Reports
- Conversific — Store Analytics
- Glew— Multichannel Analytics
- Lifetime — Profit and LTV
- Trackify X Facebook Pixel App
- Segments Analytics
How do SamCart and Shopify compare in terms of pricing?
SamCart offers a 14-day trial on all plans, as well as a demo store you can view without signing up for a plan.
There are three pricing options:
- Launch @ $49/month: Create a one-page website with SamCart branding. Access to the most important features. No reporting.
- Grow @ $99/month: 3 users, no SamCart branding, pre- and post-purchase add-ons and upsells, multiple payment options, reporting, customer management, advanced subscription cancellations, and payment reminders, and more.
- Scale @ $199/month: 10 users, allow customers to self-cancel subscriptions, affiliate center, cart abandonment reminders, A/B testing, CRM and custom integrations, and priority support.
Let’s take a look at Shopify’s plans now. Shopify offers a 90-day trial, which is a lot longer than SamCart’s free trial.
- Basic Shopify @ $29/month: Access to the most important features.
- Shopify @ $79/month: Everything in basic + professional reports, more staff accounts (5 instead of 2), more locations to assign inventory, better shipping rates and discounts, and better credit card charge rates.
- Advanced Shopify @ $299/month: Pricey but allows you to add up to 15 staff accounts and 8 locations. Shipping discounts of up to 72 percent. Better credit card charge rates. Advanced custom report builder, third-party shipping rates, and more.
As we can see, Shopify’s basic plan is cheaper than SamCart’s basic plan. Not only that, but it gives you access to more — such as abandoned cart reminder emails and an extra staff account.
You can also use the Shopify app store and add apps for things such as an affiliate center even when using the basic Shopify plan. An affiliate center is not included with the Basic SamCart plan.
Similarities And Differences
Here is a quick reference chart outlining the main similarities and differences between the two platforms:
SamCart Vs Shopify — Which One Is Better?
While SamCart works fine if you want to sell an ebook or digital product on a single-page website, Shopify emerges as the clear winner in all regards.
It gives you more flexibility, a lot more options in terms of apps you can download and what you can do, and better and cheaper pricing plans.
There’s nothing you can do with SamCart that you can’t do with Shopify, and Shopify also offers phone support as opposed to just live chat and email like SamCart does.