Samcart vs Thrivecart: Which Is Best To Sell Online Courses 

 Updated: August 16, 2023

samcart vs thrivecart

SamCart and ThriveCart are some of the popular checkout software for online businesses.

They allow you to sell any type of products, digital and physical, very easily.

samcart courses

They also both now offer an online course feature which enables you to build a basic online program directly there, without the need for a specialist platform.

Today we compare the two platforms and which one is best specifically for online course creators.

What’s the difference between SamCart and ThriveCart?

Overall SamCart and ThriveCart are very similar platforms.

We’ll dive deeper into the specific features further in this article but the two platforms are more alike than they are different.

Feature Breakdown: Samcart vs Thrivecart

Let’s now take a more in depth look at some of the most important features for online course creators and see how SamCart and ThriveCart compare.

Checkout & Funnel

This is of course the area of expertise of these two platforms. Specifically when it comes to offering the most flexible checkouts.

That means first of all in terms of design, where you can build a full sales page/checkout.

samcart templates

SamCart Page Templates

That being said, let's be clear here that neither SamCart or ThriveCart do an amazing job here and are not a replacement for a proper website builder.

SamCart offers quite a few templates for you to play with that can be either just for the checkout, or for a 1-page sales page.

The front-end designers us easy to use and offer a wide range of blocks you can design:

samcart upsell page

SamCart Page Builder

ThriveCart also allows for a front-end checkout builder but not with as much flexibility…

The interface is a little clunky and looks dated, the text editor is lacking and the formatting can get a little wonky.

With some time and effort you should be able to build a well-designed page, but it might take a bit more time.

ThriveCart page Builder

Alternatively, you can buy 3rd party ThriveCart templates and import them into your account.

Both platforms allow for multiple Upsells and Downsells and to build a sophisticated funnel for your offers.

The way this work is by setting up Upsell #1, then the Downsell associated to Upsell #1, then Upsell #2, etc.

ThriveCart Funnel Builder

The upsell page itself also uses the page builder mentioned earlier.

We did find that ThriveCart offers more options when it comes to configuring your upsells, such as the ability to replace an upsell with a product already in the order.

So for example if a customer purchases a monthly subscription, then upsells successfully to a yearly one, the first subscription (the monthly one) is replaced.

In terms of pricing options, both platform allow for one-time payments, subscription, free and paid trial, split payments,etc.

samcart price options

SamCart Price Options

There is a difference between the 2 platforms in terms of payment processors options.

  • SamCart allows for:
  • SamPay (powered by Stripe)
  • Stripe
  • Paypal
  • Braintree
  • EasyPayDirect

ThriveCart allows for:

  • Stripe
  • Paypal

Most people will use Stripe and Paypal but depending on where your clients are you may have a preference for more.

Note that both platforms allow for A/B testing (but only on higher tiers for SamCart).

Affiliate Program Feature

A big reason some users are switching to a specialist platform such as SamCart and ThriveCart, is because of the advanced affiliate features they offer.

Affiliate programs are very often tied to a checkout system and therefore if you’re selling your products on either one of these systems, you will have to use their affiliate feature.

Both SamCart and ThriveCart have their strengths in that area.

ThriveCart allows for example to make the distinction between Affiliate and JV’s.

ThriveCart Affiliate Feature

Affiliates being regular partners promoting your products and getting paid a commission when a sale happens.

JV’s on the other hand, would be real partners that essentially get a share of all your sales, much like an equity partner would.

SamCart works a bit differently but just as well, allowing you to create different Tiers of affiliates and set commissions differently for each tiers.

SamCart Affiliate Tiers

Both platforms allow for commissions to be a fixed amount, a percentage of the sales, recurring or not for subscription products.

You can extend the window for the affiliate cookie exactly as you want for both platforms. Meaning that you can choose how long a sales made by lead sent by an affiliate will generate a commission.

Both platforms also let you create Affiliate Assets to share with your partners

ThriveCart Affiliate Assets

These can be images, banners, videos, swipe copy, logos,etc.

Affiliate Payouts can be set up automatically via Paypal

Overall SamCart and ThriveCart are very similar when it comes to this feature.

Online Course Feature

In an effort to expand their reach, both platforms have launched a new feature aiming to help course creators deliver their program directly.

This is why you’ll now find a separate section on these platforms to build your online course!

ThriveCart’s course builder is a bit more robust with an easier drag and drop section design.

ThriveCart Online Course Builder

SamCart’s course builder is a bit more clunky and looks more like a text editor.

But you could arguably build very similar looking modules.

samcart course builder

Kajabi Coaching

Both platforms are overall fairly limited in terms of the course layout and customization, note that neither of them takes care of video hosting.

Meaning that you will have to pay for a 3rd party video host (Vimeo, Wisitia,etc.) to build a video based course.

The upside of using SamCart or ThriveCart is that if you course is very simple, you don’t have to use an online course platform.

It’s also very easy to set up cross-sells when using the online course feature here.

One last feature to compare here is related to the drip release of your modules.

SamCart only allows for 2 options: “Days after purchase” or “Specific Day Of The Week”

ThriveCart has a lot more flexibility here and offers many different options:


This includes:

Time period (eg. 2 days after enrollment)

  • Day of the month
  • Specific calendar date
  • After a trial

Again, depending on the kind of online course or membership you’re selling, this could make a big difference!

Pricing Comparison: Samcart vs Thrivecart

Finally, one other significant difference between SamCart and ThriveCart is their pricing structure.

ThriveCart has 2 one-time pricing options:

ThriveCart Pricing

  • ThriveCart Basic: $495
  • ThriveCart Pro: $690

ThriveCart Pro is necessary for some of the advanced features such as the affiliate program.

SamCart works on a subscription basis, with 3 different tiers:

Samcart pricing

SamCart Pricing

  • Launch $39/mo billed yearly
  • Grow: $79/mo billed yearly
  • Scale: $199/mo billed yearly

If we were to compare the two platforms directly, to unlock the full feature you would need to invest $199/mo for SamCart, but only $57.5/mo for ThriveCart.

The big difference is that ThriveCart is a one-time payment for lifetime access!

Samcart vs Thrivecart The Bottom Line

Overall the two platforms have more in common than anything else.

Some features such as the affiliate marketing or the online course builder are essentially identical.

SamCart does have a better page builder but its pricing model, which is a recurring subscription might be a deal breaker for most people.

ThriveCart might be the best option for most creators.

Joey Mazars

Online Course Platform Expert

Hi, there! I've literally spent thousands of hours helping clients build their online courses on these platforms through my marketing services.

I've become obsessed with helping them find the right fit for their needs and decided to guide other creators through their decision process with these detailed reviews.

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