I really like Thrivecart. I’ve reviewed it. I used it for awhile. But, I recently switched from Thrivecart to WooCommerce and in this post I want to explain why. It might be important for others to consider as well.
ThriveCart is, of course, one of the leading hosted third-party shopping carts. It is very well built, easy to use and reliable.
ThriveCart is also well known for (still) being available on a lifetime license. I know eventually that lifetime option will go away, but I have no idea when.
WooCommerce is quite a different shopping cart than Thrivecart. A night and day difference, really.
WooCommerce is a Wordpress plugin.
In some ways, it is more complicated.
Typically speaking, the kind of people who would love and use a solution like ThriveCart would think WooCommerce might be the thing to avoid.
But, I switched to WooCommerce. And here’s why…
Thrivecart Vs WooCommerce
I am not going to waste your’s or my time doing a feature-by-feature breakdown of these two platforms. There are already tons of places to find stuff like that and I’ve already posted a full review of Thrivecart you can read.
Let’s concentrate on the differences between them.
#1 – Wordpress Integration
This is a biggie and the biggest reason for my switch. I’ll discuss that more below.
WooCommerce is obviously built to work with Wordpress. It is literally built by the Wordpress people. It is VERY well supported by way of the developer community and integrations. Almost any other plugin you want to use in conjunction with your shopping cart, chances are it will integrate with WooCommerce.
Thrivecart literally has nothing to do with Wordpress. It is a third-party, hosted shopping cart platform.
There is no data integration between Thrivecart and Wordpress. You have to pass data INTO Thrivecart via variables and other things, then you can pass data back. It is a little bit nerdy, but it works.
Thrivecart is always…. over there. It is separate from your website.
For many, that’s a feature. They want ease of use. They don’t want to be responsible for the maintenance. They want an easier interface than Wordpress offers. I get it. But…
There are most definitely times with tight Wordpress integration is more important. And we’ll get into that further below.
#2 – ThriveCart is easier to use.
Absolutely no doubt about it. If you want to be able to quickly, easily and reliably make offers and sell them online, it doesn’t get much more convenient than Thrivecart.
The interface is simpler. You can build your cart pages with it. It has built-in capability for order bumps, upsells, funnels… all of it.
When you go with WooCommerce, you have more power. But, that power comes with more responsibility and potentially more headache. And more needed add-ons.
For instance, WooCommerce has no built-in ability to do order bumps and one-click upsells. Certainly nothing as easy as Thrivecart. That said, there are add-ons such as CartFlows that make all that doable. But, it is an extra piece.
#3 – WooCommerce Is Way More Flexible
As powerful and simple as Thrivecart it, WooCommerce is a powerful beast and you can make it do anything you want.
You can run a simple site selling just a few things and it will work very nicely. Or… you could run a full ecommerce store like Amazon itself. You can sell any kind of product you want, including physical products. You could even put affiliate products into a store environment with it. Thrivecart really is not set up at all for that kind of ecommerce store.
Thrivecart is purpose-built primarily for the sale of digital products and services. The target audience is mainly info marketers. If you want to do physical products, or even just have flexibility to do some physical and some digital, WooCommerce quickly becomes the better option.
The massive amount of WooCommerce addons, page builder integrations and other tools means you can turn WooCommerce into anything you want. Essentially, there are no limits.
The cart/page builder in Thrivecart is easy to use, but pretty limited compared to what you could do with something like Elementor or Thrive Architect.
Just about anything people are missing from Thrivecart and are waiting around for them to improve… you can already do it with WooCommerce using an add-on. Or maybe you won’t even need an add-on.
The Reason I Switched From Thrivecart To WooCommerce: Membership Sites
The entire Blog Marketing Academy is a membership site. This is a Wordpress-powered membership site. This is my business model and I am a massive fan of the membership site business model. For multiple reasons.
The fact that ThriveCart had no integration whatsoever with the very environment my customers are on – and logged into – was a problem.
I repeat… I have customers logged into accounts here. When they’re logged in, my system knows who they are already. This means I should not have to ask them their name and email address again to make a sale.
Not only that, they shouldn’t even need to SEE those fields on their checkout form.
Hell… they shouldn’t even need to re-enter their payment information. Stripe offers beautiful “card on file” billing so people can do one-click purchases of things on their existing account. It is all secure and I’m not storing any of that info. But…. Thrivecart doesn’t do it. And that’s because Thrivecart doesn’t create or manage customer profiles.
Thrivecart is fully transactional. It has no customer database. No logins for people. It just doesn’t work like that.
But, Wordpress does.
When a member logs into their account, they should be able to do anything without friction.
View past orders? Easy. With Thrivecart, they have to go into the “Customer Hub” and it is an additional thing. They have to jump through a hoop. And you can’t really brand it to look good except for popping a logo at the top.
Buy things right on your site? So many themes (including BuddyBoss, which I use) integrate directly with WooCommerce and make the cart look good. With Thrivecart, I can embed order forms but I have all the same problems with passing data through.
Want to customize prices for members or do other cool marketing things? Easy with WooCommerce. In fact, by using WP Fusion as well, I’ve got more marketing power than I know what to do with. 🙂 With Thrivecart, all that data I have in my own platform is useless because…. Thrivecart is separate from the rest of the tech stack.
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Running A Wordpress-Powered Membership Site? Don’t Use Thrivecart.
With the right set of tools on your site, there is SO MUCH power available to you on Wordpress. You can provide a seamless, frictionless, EASY environment for your members to do anything.
Having your sales platform as a totally independent component and not part of your tech stack will constantly prove to be annoying on Thrivecart.
Can you sell memberships and subscriptions on Thrivecart? Of course. All day long. And for some, that’s all you want. You want simplicity. And I get it.
But, I wanted more.
I wanted my members to be able to EASILY manage their accounts in-house without leaving my site.
I wanted my members to be able to make purchases without re-entering their info.
I wanted to be able to easily customize the sales experience based on the data I know about them in their member profile and my CRM.
I wanted the sales platform to be nicely integrated into my actual site.
I wanted to be able to manage all of this in one place.
And for that… WooCommerce was clearly the better fit.
Practical Considerations Of Thrivecart Vs WooCommerce
Clearly, one of the biggest draws to Thrivecart is the simplicity. You buy one lifetime account and you’ve got it forever.
That platform does everything. No limits on sales. You’ve got all the cool capabilities like one-click upsells, order bumps, tax calculations, pay-what-you-want pricing, subscription management, etc.
That’s really easy. It is certainly what attracted me to Thrivecart. And to be honest, I didn’t really want to switch away from Thrivecart. I still really dig the tool and I think many of you reading this will really appreciate the speed and simplicity of the tool.
WooCommerce… is more work. There’s more geekery involved.
Mind you, it isn’t difficult. For a long time, I always kept WooCommerce at a distance because, in my mind, I had it categorized as bulky and complicated. And, it can be. But, honestly, I was surprised how simple the platform can be. At it’s core, it is not a difficult thing to use whatsoever.
You will need add-ons to make it do what Thrivecart can already do, though. For instance…
- You’ll need WooCommerce Subscriptions for doing memberships.
- If you want one-click upsells and easy funnels like Thrivecart does, you’ll need to use something like CartFlows, WooFunnels, LaunchFlows or something similar. I myself am about to hop into CartFlows.
- If you want “pay what you want” pricing, you’ll need something like the Name Your Own Price plugin for WooCommerce.
- For designing your actual pages, you’ll be using either what’s built into your theme, or a page builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect. Those builders are more complicated than Thrivecart’s builder, but certainly WAY more capable.
In terms of cost, that’s a matter of consideration, too.
ThriveCart is a one-time fee for a lifetime license. Even though this is hosted software and they deal with the complexity, you still only pay once. Which is pretty incredible.
WooCommerce pricing is more complicated. The core product is free. But, many of the addons are not.
Keep in mind, however, that Wordpress is a GPL world (in terms of software licenses). This means that, technically, a lot of those WooCommerce add-ons are free and open source. What you’re really paying for is the support. So, you can get some of the addons without paying for them and it is all perfectly legal. For others, it is certainly worth paying for the support.
So, there’s more power with WooCommerce. But, it comes with more responsibility. It comes with the need to tack on additional plugins to do what you might want to do. It isn’t difficult, but certainly not quite as “set it and forget it” as Thrivecart.
Final Thoughts On Switching To WooCommerce
I’ve used so many different shopping carts in my time online. I’ve used several hosted shopping carts and several different membership plugins.
I’m glad I am now using WooCommerce. And now that I’m set up on it, I doubt I will ever need to change anything again. It does everything. And no matter what wild ideas I might get in the future, I know I can handle the billing for it using WooCommerce.
As for Thrivecart, I still have some ongoing subscriptions getting billed through there. I may still use it for some other stuff in the future. I have a lifetime account, so Thrivecart remains a nice tool in my online business arsenal. I fully expect I will use it for other projects.
I continue to love Thrivecart. Sure, there are things I wish it did that it doesn’t do, but what it does do it does very well.
I am a membership site owner, though. And I’ve built my platform on Wordpress.
And it is really hard to nicely integrate Thrivecart into a Wordpress-based tech stack.
Everything becomes easier for me… when I bring it all back in house again.
Plus, I’m a web geek and I love a platform that I can shape and mold my own way without limits.
So, I switched from Thrivecart to WooCommerce.
If you have any questions at all about either of these tools, I’m happy to help. Just ask below in the comments or head on into the community and ask away.
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