[as of 20SEP2016]
It really hurts me to say that because I like what Brian Moran (founder) has done in the past and I really wanted to love this tool, but I can't.
The only time I might recommend it is if you are a complete beginner. If you've never put together a website, never setup a shopping cart, never setup any kind of payment processor, never done anything technical – SamCart might be a good fit for you because it's super simple to use.
This simplicity is probably why I don't really recommend it because it makes me feel like my hands are tied when I know there are other tools that are less restrictive, albeit they're more complex.
Having said that, I have high hopes for the future of this tool and believe it will be top-notch six months from now.
Why I Can't Recommend SamCart Right Now
1) No Page Builder
You are forced to use pre-designed templates, something I absolutely hate.
Having to cram my marketing message into a pre-determined box drives me freakin' nuts and makes me feel like a caged animal.
For this reason alone, I can't recommend SamCart right now.
Plus, you have almost ZERO say in what goes into the up-sell pages … they give you one video, a text box, and wish you luck.
Fortunately, they're adding a page builder.
2) Limited Cart Abandonment Functionality
Cart abandonment is a big deal; the latest results from the Baymard Institute found the average cart abandonment rate to be 68.63%. [source]
While you can manually setup cart abandonment functionality by hosting an alternate sales page elsewhere and then using SamCart to process the payments, it's a “sloppy” setup and not one I like doing, unless absolutely necessary.
By not having this functionality built-in, SamCart is directly hurting a business' bottom line.
Fortunately, they're fixing this.
3) You Can Only Offer 2 Payment Options
You're only able to offer 2 payment options to your customers.
This may not be a limiter for businesses offering digital products because they don't typically need more than two payment options.
But, for businesses that offer physical products, this is a huge limitation.
Here's why – one of the products I was trying to add was a supplement and the business wanted to give customers the option to buy 1, 2, and 3 months worth with varying price breaks.
Unfortunately, since SamCart only allows 2 payment options, we weren't able to set it up how they wanted.
Of course, we could offer greater quantities on the up-sell pages; however, this was not ideal in this particular situation.
4) Limitations On How Quantity Is Presented
Like #3 above, this deals more with physical products.
Customers are able to order more than one product at a time; however, they make their selection based on a simple drop-down menu where they can select to order 1 thru 10.
This selection method is way too simple and businesses should be afforded more control.
For example, what if I had bundles of 1, 3, 5, and 10? I wouldn't want someone to select 4 because it would mess up my flow and possibly result in two separate shipments of 1 and 3.
Also, I feel I should be able to offer price breaks based on these quantities. Unfortunately, I cannot with SamCart.
5) Poor Digital Asset Delivery
The digital asset delivery feature for SamCart is super simple.
You upload a file to their system, if someone buys it, a download link is presented to them …. and that's it.
There's minimal personalized experience. No membership area. Nothing. Just a, “Here's your file, thanks.”
Of course, this can be circumvented by using an integration with a membership platform (which you probably want anyway); however, at $99/mo … I'd expect more. Even a super simple membership portal would be better than what they currently have.
6) Lackluster 3rd Party Tracking (Google Analytics & Facebook Ads)
Tracking is absolutely critical for successful marketing.
While the built-in tracking SamCart offers is great, what it offers for 3rd parties is poor.
They don't currently support Ecommerce tracking within Google Analytics – and it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon.
Facebook Ads tracking is also poor; they don't offer the option for dynamic values, ie. how much someone spent. What if they selected one payment option over the other or a different quantity? What if they checked the Order Bump box? You won't be able to tell this via Facebook tracking which means you won't be able to properly assess ROI from ads. Ouch!
Also, the up-sell pages don't have unique URLs which makes creating custom audiences based on pages viewed, dang near impossible.
7) Zapier Integration?
Zapier integration is a must. I'd say 9 out of 10 funnels I build utilize Zapier in one way or another.
While SamCart doesn't “officially” integrate with Zapier at this time (they will soon), there is another way …
Why I Have High Hopes For SamCart
1) They're Fairly Receptive To User Input
They're looking for user feedback and appear to actually act on it: https://samcart.uservoice.com/
2) It's Very Easy To Use
SamCart is super easy to use. Pretty much anyone with a computer, the Internet, and something to sell could list a product online within as little as 30 minutes.
3) Their Blog Articles & Resources Are Top-Notch
They're constantly publishing in-depth articles on their blog at http://blog.samcart.com/. This shows me they know what they're doing and have a full understanding of the “hows” and “whys” a shopping cart platform can and should help a small business.
Also, their webinars and other Lead Magnets are full of useful information, whether you use SamCart or not.
4) They're Growing Fast!
The popularity of the SamCart platform has exploded in the last few months. With this increased popularity comes more money and resources … typically resulting in a better end product for the consumer.
While I can't recommend SamCart in its current form and price point, I think within 6 months time, it's going to be a really solid platform. I look forward to seeing how it progresses!