What is SendOwl?
SendOwl is a powerful standalone cart allowing you to handle payments and deliver both your digital and physical product.
Quick reminder: a cart is what makes the link between the payment processor (Stripe, Paypal,...) and your product.
It was created in 2012 and is a UK based company and has been one of the most popular cart platforms in the online course industry, especially for those not using self hosted platforms (like Kajabi, Teachable, Kartra,...)
Features: What Can You Do With SendOwl?
SendOwl is a robust online checkout platform and offers pretty much everything you could wish for on that side of things in your selling process:
Who is Sendowl for?
You can tell why this is a powerful tool many course creators choose to use. It's probably most widely used for WordPress LMS that don't really have a cart and need a flexible solution.
However, some people frustrated with the limitation of a native cart on platforms like Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi etc. can also find what they're looking for in something like SendOwl.
Ok so now let's breakdown and review some of the key features you will care about as a course creator:
Cart feel and design
About 70% of shoppers get to the cart and don't complete their purchase? so the design of your cart matters a lot!
SendOwl offers different templates you can use depending on the type of product you sell, your branding, etc.
You can customize your checkout a little, add custom fields, logo, brand colors, add T&C?
But also add shipping rates if this is a physical product!
All of these templates are conversion optimized and can then be either used on-site - with a button triggering a popup, this enables your customer to not have to leave the site to purchase, or with a standalone page link.
So once people have paid, how is the product being delivered and how does SendOwl let you handle this?
This depends on what the product is. Sendowls allow for a hosted delivery of PDF and videos for example. Don't confuse this with an actual course platform where you'll be able to create modules etc., but once people paid they can download/access the content directly from the there that you have uploaded.
Note that SendOwls allow for large file uploading (above 1GB) using FTP. No more capping on that!
You have the ability to stamp these documents, setup expiration, manually revoke access and protect against copying and printing if you wish to.
This will work for PDF and other documents but if you're a course creator you're probably using something like Teachable or a WordPress LMS to host your course, and that's where you need proper access to be granted.
SendOwls integrates natively with a few platforms to allow this:
One to add to that list would be Thrive Apprentice from the Thrive Themes suite - and a deep integration with Sendowl.
Otherwise, you'll have to either use API, Webhooks or some Zapier magic!
Lastly for each purchase, you'll be able to natively integrate your favorite email marketing software and assign a list and tag for each Product however you want.
All the big email marketing tools have a native integration so you shouldn't need Zapier for this:
Pricing: You can choose any type of pricing for your product using SendOwl, from the basic to the most advanced: one-off, trial, bi-weekly, daily, monthly, payment plans,...
But also gifting and pay what you want:
The only thing that you can't do and some people are interested in is picking the date of charge. For example monthly subscription boxes like to charge everyone on a specific date just before they ship? But as a course creator this shouldn't be a problem!
Note that when setting up pricing, you can also automatically add Apply EU VAT rates based on the country of purchase, or simply manually add any other taxes! Super useful to deal with the headache of EU purchases and accounting.
You'll also be able to filter some region or countries to avoid suspicious and fraudulent payments.
Lastly you can create advanced discount code with quantity and expiration dates as you wish!
This is at sometimes one of the main reason course creators use a 3rd party checkout instead of the native cart of their course hosting platform.
SendOwl allows for a lot of flexibility for affiliates, including payment delay, cookie preferences ( first touch vs last touch), cookie expiry (1 week, 30 days, 60 days, whatever you want!).
Your affiliate will also have their own dashboard where you'll provide different links they can send traffic to.
You'll even be able to customize this for each affiliate including adding the people they send to a specific list, override commission percentage.
Last cool thing to note for affiliates, you have the ability to allow direct selling, meaning they could have more flexibility to sell your product from their website, instead of directing people to yours.
Another important feature I wanted to review was again one that has many course creators switch from a native cart to a solution like SendOwl.
One-click upsells and cart abandonment follow ups are a favoured tool in the online marketing world as they allow for capture a lot of extra revenue.
You will be able to have 1 one-click upsell in SendOwl and one only. This may be a bit of a disappointment for some as other carts like ThriveCart allow for a more advanced funnel and as many upsell/downsell as you want?
One cool thing with these in SendOwl though is the ability to have the upsell BEFORE the first sale: ?Hey thanks for picking this item, maybe you'd like to instead have this better upgraded package??.
Of course you can also still have the upsell after people have entered their CC information for the first purchase. In that case you have the choice for the upsell to replace the first purchase.
So for example if you're selling a tiered membership and someone pick the lowest tier, checkout and then take you up on your upsell of a higher tier, then this will replace the first one and you won't have to worry about revoking access etc?
But we also need to note the rather limited design customization you'll have for your upsell, at least compared to ThriveCart or what you'll see in ClickFunnels.
And the last feature I want to highlight is the cart abandonment capabilities. Which allows you to follow up with someone that has got all the way to the cart but hasn?t completed the purchase.
SendOwl allows for some pretty nifty things here, with obviously first and foremost the ability to add these people to a specific email list so you can trigger a follow up sequence
This will surely give you a lot of options to maximise conversion rate.
User Experience: Is SendOwl easy to use?
I really like the user experience of using SendOwl. Nothing super fancy but it's really easy to navigate and intuitive.
I mean comparing that to something like ThriveCart which can incredibly complex, SendOwl is a walk in the park!
Each tab is simply enough with big buttons to easily see what to do in that section, a simple menu at the top to see all of your options?
Again nothing crazy on the design but it really takes some of the complexity out of this tools which are in essence not always for beginners.
Special mention to the Settings tab where you can see everything you may want to adjust at one glance:
If you have trouble finding anything you can also simply use the search bar at the top!
From the end-user point of view, things are looking very slick too. Depending on what checkout template you pick, you have enough customization options to make it look great while still keeping it functional and conversion optimized.
If you really feel techie, you can even design your own checkout template with custom coding!
Affordability: How much is SendOwl
SendOwl?s pricing is based on a few things.
First of all, whether or not you want your files to be hosted on SendOwl, and therefore benefit from their protection, expiry dates etc. or if you want to deliver them via your own file storage.
If you're a course creator this question is probably not a big dilemma since you'll only deliver courses through your course hosting platform.
And then of course the biggest difference is in the amount of product you'll need. Here again as a course creator you should be able to get away with the lower tiers.
Overall, SendOwl isn't necessarily on the higher end of price range and really does have a lot of value for its pricing.
Community & Support
SendOwl has a rather small team and it shows a little on the support side?
Although as mentioned before the platform is very intuitive and easy to use, you may still need to contact support every now and then.
You'll be able to go through a very robust and helpful Help Center
And then if that's not enough you can submit a ticket. Which does tend to be helpful!
But no live chat available unfortunately, which can be a problem is your problem is very time sensitive. Keep that in mind when running campaign and double down on testing!
Lastly, there is no community or facebook group for the platform. This isn't a massive deal for a cart tool but would be a nice addition to the value of investing in SendOwl...
Our Overall Rate: 4
Community & Support Rating:
SendOwl is indisputably one of the best solutions for an external cart as a course creator. It uncaps your potential for that part of the buying process and allows you to easily integrate it in your marketing funnel.
I do think there are some limitations as outlined in this review but I'm thinking about the average course creator for whom it won't matter as much as an easy-to-use out of the box cart they can start playing with to take payments and won't outgrow.
In that regard, SendOwl is a great option and worth every penny for the value you'll get, and that's why you should give it a try for free for 30 days.