When it comes to hosted, third-party shopping cart services, ThriveCart is certainly one of the top options. It is certainly worth your attention for multiple reasons that I will spell out, but it is also important to know what it does well… and what it doesn’t.
I did a full review of ThriveCart roughly 3 years ago. It is worth the read if you want a deeper dive into ThriveCart, but here let me summarize it and cover the pros and cons as I see them today.
Because, I barely ever use ThriveCart anymore. I still have a few people billed from there. My wife also uses it for a little side business she has. But, I am no longer running the bulk of my own revenue through Thrivecart. This has nothing to do with the product having issues but instead just a change in how I wanted to manage things.
Why ThriveCart Is So Powerful
Out the gate, ThriveCart is an incredibly powerful shopping cart package. Some of the core features include:
- Highly reliable
- Integrates with the rest of your tech stack pretty well
- Supports all major profit boosters, such as upsells, downsells, order bumps
- Has nice, user-friendly stats to track performance
- Can host your entire sales funnel if you want (including the sales page itself)
- Handles tax stuff
- Automatically handles churn and dunning for recurring billing
- Built-in affiliate program (on Pro accounts)
- Ability to integrate the checkout right into your site
The list goes on, really. ThriveCart is very feature-rich.
ThriveCart is a great solution for people who want all the power, but not the complexity of trying to set it up yourself nor the responsibility of making sure it works. ThriveCart enables all the “big boy” conversion tactics marketers love, but it just works without any fuss and you don’t have to sit there and fret about bugs and software conflicts.
Since my original review, ThriveCart has gotten even more powerful. It now has a full visual builder for each page of your checkout funnels. It even now has an online course creator so you can build and host your online courses inside your account and sell them right then and there in one of the tightest integrations possible.
Lastly, ThriveCart is available as a lifetime purchase. Which means you pay once and you can use it forever.
I don’t know how long that lifetime pricing will remain in effect, but I can tell you that it has been that way ever since I became aware of it. The price did increase once, but it is still lifetime.
Why I Stopped Using Thrivecart
I take nothing away from the power of Thrivecart. It is an awesome package… especially considering the pricing. However, I do not use it anymore.
It comes down to using the best tool for the job. In my case, I am using a WordPress-focused tech stack. My entire business runs right here inside of WordPress. Ideally, my customers would be able to manage their accounts and view their account history right here in WordPress. Everything would be seemless.
Since ThriveCart is a hosted shopping cart, it does not have a tight integration with WordPress. Sure, I can embed a checkout form, but that’s it.
For customers to view or manage their accounts, I need to send into Thrivecart’s “Customer Hub”. It is a separate URL. It has no tie-in to the user profiles here on my site. It looks entirely different. And frankly, it is just way more confusing for my customers than to have everything instantly accessible right inside their member account.
Not only that, but as nice as the visual builder in ThriveCart is, it simply doesn’t hold a candle to the power and flexibility of using Elementor to build my funnel pages.
So, I switched to WooCommerce and put CartFlows there and brought everything back in house right on top of WordPress. It works beautifully and is incredibly tightly integrated into the rest of my tech stack.
Yes, there are certain conveniences I had to give up. For instance, Thrivecart’s one-click upsells even work great with Paypal. That requires a special setup with Paypal which is far more annoying to get working with a WordPress site so I simply don’t. Also, the stats inside of ThriveCart were easy to deal with. It requires a lot more clicks to get to things now.
But, overall, I have way more flexibility and power by having my own cart rather than use Thrivecart.
So, that begs the question….
Who ThriveCart Is For (And Not For)
ThriveCart is ideal for people who run information-focused businesses or simple service businesses and just don’t want to deal with the potential complexity of setting up and running your own in-house shopping cart system.
It really was built for information marketers and that is who it works best for.
If you have an extensive product line, I wouldn’t use ThriveCart. The way the software is built, each product has it’s own funnel. The moment your product line gets rather big, it will prove incredibly tedious and annoying to manage all that with ThriveCart.
ThriveCart is best for people with a few products that they just want to sell the bajeezus out of. 🙂
Also, if you are going to have a WordPress-focused tech stack and you want your customers to be able to manage their accounts right on your site, I wouldn’t recommend ThriveCart. If you’re running a membership site, I don’t think I would tell you to use ThriveCart. You’d be better off with WooCommerce.
Final Thoughts On Thrivecart
If you like the simplicity of a hosted shopping cart system with all the features and are running the kind of business that works best with it, Thrivecart is solid as a rock and a seriously good buy with their lifetime price.
That lifetime price keeps getting better, too, because they do periodically make updates to add more functionality. I can’t say their development schedule appears very fast. Every now and then, you get updates from the founder (Josh) in their Facebook Group and he makes it sound like they’re really busy working on it. They probably are, but the outward appearance is that updates only come periodically.
But, it works. It works very well.
And even though I am not using it much these days, my lifetime account means I can still use it for a few things from time to time when it is the right fit and I don’t have to even think about it. I’m glad that I have Thrivecart in my toolset.
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