Paykickstart Review from a Beta Tester and VIP User

Paykickstart Shopping Cart and Affiliate Management Software

Features

Constantly upgrading and adding new features.  If you tell them a feature you want, they deploy it.  They are still building out all the features I want and when that happens, they will get the 5th star.

User Friendly

Setting up products and building offers is a little bit complicated.  If you've never done this before, it will take around two hours to learn.  They have a phenomenal walkthrough that will make it a breeze to learn.

Price

Slightly more expensive than my previous shopping cart, but pricing is on par with the competition.

Summary: As a professional Internet marketer, my shopping cart is my life.  Having been through the beta period with this shopping cart, the platform is now rock solid.  If you are serious about growing your online business, this cart is a serious contender.  The best thing about this company is the customer support.  When you request a feature, they immediately add it to the calendar.  This is quickly becoming the shopping cart of my dreams.

  • Allows instant payment of affiliates
  • Provides sophisticated data and tracking
  • Integrates with Stripe, Paypal, and Braintree
  • Build advanced funnels and processes
  • Responds to customers quickly
  • Doesn't notify you when a customer payment fails
  • Doesn't work with BitCoin or other payment processors (yet)
  • A little pricey for beginners and smaller businesses
  • Requires Zapier to handle some integrations right now

then $99/month

When I found out that a marketer I've known for a nearly a decade was releasing his own shopping cart I rolled my eyes.  I have worked with a lot of different carts and payment solutions since I entered this business in 2010.  In that time quite a few of my friends have launched carts and tried to get me on board.  I always refuse.  There is no way I would ever trust the key component in my business to some fly-by-night operation that might close down in a year.

But when Zaxaa messed up my systems last summer, I immediately got on the phone with Mark.  He promised to give me the experience I deserve with Paykickstart and I've never looked back.  This cart is now the backbone of my growing empire.

My Shopping Cart Betrayed Me

In the late Summer of 2016, ServeNoMaster was finally getting some legs.  This little blog was turning into the engine that could.  I built my entire business using the Zaxaa shopping cart.  A friend of mine recommended them and they even had their own membership plugin.

How could I turn that down?

These two components are critical to my business.  The shopping cart lets me take money and the membership plugin delivers the purchase to each customer.  For six months, I build my entire website around Zaxaa.

Then one day I get an email from a customer asking why my payment link no longer works.  I can't imagine what has gone wrong.  There is nothing worse than a customer wanting to pay you and your website not letting them.  

I find the page and sure enough, the link is now broken. 

I'm baffled.

I know that I set this up correctly and tested it a few weeks earlier.  I immediately reach out to customer support and discover that they deleted the product without asking me or informing me.  

They have a rule that if you don't sell a product in a certain time frame or meet other requirements, they simply delete your products.  My products are ONLY available through my website and I pay them to handle my links.  

After a great deal of screaming and rage, I realize that I have to rebuild everything.

I have customers with a recurring payment.  I can't leave Zaxaa for eight more months or I will lose those payments.

The thought of tearing down my entire website an rebuilding it from the ground up left me curled up on the floor in my living room on a Sunday morning weeping.  After a few minutes of tears I reached out to my friend Mark on Skype….

A New Home for My Business

I began searching in earnest for a replacement.

There was a big cart launch a year earlier that a few marketers I look up to were using and promoting.

I began to read all the reviews and I noticed that they were turning negative.  The company started strong but they weren't keeping all of their promises and people were starting to have problems.

I never trust a review that is all sunshine and roses.  It makes my suspicious that someone is just looking for a quick affiliate payday and they don't care if they are lying in their pseudo-review.

(Don't worry I'll point out the main Paykickstart flaws further down!)

After a lot of research I decided to get the information from the horse's mouth.

I have been friends with Mark for a long time and we have promoted each other's products in the past.  I've spent time with him in person and we have a good level of trust and rapport.

When I reached out to him on Skype, I asked how serious this new business was and we had a very frank talk about my needs and expectations.

I simply can't have another price shock where one of my tools breaks and doesn't even notify me.

He was honest that the platform was early days and they still needed to add in a LOT of features, but he promised that by the end he would build the best shopping cart in the world…and he did.

Is Paykickstart Right for You?

Paykickstart is $99 a month.

That's a lot of money.

If you are brand new to Internet marketing and making less than three thousand dollars a month, then I wouldn't recommend Paykickstart just yet.

Once you lock into a cart, it's very hard to change and your cart should not eat away ten percent of your monthly income.

If you're brand new and just launching a product or two, there are alternatives that charge a small percentage of each sale instead.  They only charge you when there is a transaction.  

If you have a lean month with no sales, you don't have to pay for that cart.  If you are still growing, then I would recommend checking out Jvzoo or Clickbank.  These are strong platforms that have a lot to offer.

If you selling multiple products, using a mermbership site, or building funnels with multiple upsells then Paykickstart is right up your alley.

I have used other platforms in the past that were far more expensive and the user experience was a nightmare.  

I'm not good with technology...

With more expensive carts you always have to hire one of their “recommended” techs to get setup.

I have worked with one of the most well known companies that starts out around $300 a month.  Their software might be powerful but you have to hire a full time employee just to make it work.  

Even when I paid over a thousand dollars for initial setup, their recommended person just drew me a mindmap and then explained that we would have to hire someone AFTER him to actually implement the software.

You probably know who I'm talking about, but I don't want to hate on too many companies in just one review!

The beauty of Paykickstart lies in the balance – the software is extremely powerful but it is also easy to learn.  Each time I want to add a new feature to my business, I can watch a training video and get it working in less than an hour.

I never need to get hire someone to do it for me.

If you are like me and can't write any code and don't know a single Excel shortcode, then you're going to love this software.

Do You Have Affiliates?

If you are only selling directly to clients and not dealing with affiliates at all, Paykickstart might be more car than you need.

You may just want to start off using PayPal to create simple buy buttons and cut out the middleman.

If you want to start recruiting affiliates, but have no idea how, this is the wrong platform.  

Affiliate sales are heavily based on trust and when people don't know you, there is no trust to leverage.  For that reason, a managed solution like Clickbank is better.  They take all the money and split it on your behalf.  They pay you and the affiliate directly, so there is no risk to the affiliate of not getting paid.

When you don't have your own trust to leverage, you can use the trust people have in Clickbank.

If you are selling anything for more than a few hundred dollars, however, that option no longer works.  They don't like to let new vendors sell things for more than around $150.  

If you want to sell coaching or consulting, then Paykickstart is the best option.

The monthly fees will be far less than what you pay per transaction with the competition and the software has the sophistication to handle your needs.

A Peek Under the Hood of Paykickstart

(warning: I did block out some private/customer information)

The Dashboard

When you login, the first thing you see is your main dashboard.  There is so much data that at first you may be overwhelmed.  If this is your first time using a shopping cart, don't worry, you can just start with the top numbers and learn the other features as you grow.

Your dashboard provides all your analytics and you can choose Vendor or Affiliate mode.  Vendor tracks your revenue selling your own products and Affiliate tracks what you have sold of other people's products.  

This is a very powerful platform that allows you to go very deep into your marketing.  You don't need secondary analytics or tracking tools to stay on top of your numbers.  You can track everything from recurring income to your churn rates, right from the dashboard.

Revenue Summary

The revenue summary is my favorite part of using Paykickstart.  It shows how much money I have made each month.  You can set it to show you your income today, over the past week, or any longer stretch of time you like.  It's one of the quickest ways to track the economics of your business and see any trends.

At the top right corner are two bar graphs showing your gross and net income.  Paykickstart uses a simple formula to generate the net income total.  

Gross Income – Refunds – Affiliate Commissions = Net Income

You can select date ranges at the very top right of the dashboard, and as you change the date-range, all the other numbers on the dashboard will update accordingly.

Sales Summary

The Sales Summary is a snapshot of your current campaign, providing a little deeper analysis of your revenue, refunds, conversion rates, and EPCs (earnings per click.)

This is the first place you will notice if there is a problem in your system.  If your conversion rates drop or your refund rates go up, then you know there is a problem in your system that you need to isolate and quickly repair.

I check these numbers every day, right after checking my main revenue stats.  Most affiliates and online marketers focus on EPCs as the ultimate statistic and it's nice that Paykickstart tracks that data.  Most competitors don't and require you to pay for another product just to track your stats.

Payment Frequency

The payment frequency tracker just shows how many of your sales are recurring versus one-time purchases.  I don't really use this feature very much, but as you grow it can become valuable.  This shows you how much money you can expect next month and how much money you actually need to earn by bringing in new customers.  I track this in a different place, but having it on the dashboard will be useful as your product offerings grow.

 

Traffic Summary

Every wonder which of your products get the most views and sales?  Now you never have to wonder that again.  

This stat is a little off for me, because I often create custom checkout pages for my coaching clients.  The need for custom products has changed as I can now create a custom price link for more core products.  In the future, this stat will be more accurate for me, but right now it's not very useful.

When you have a large collection of products (like I am building) this will start to show you which products are generating the most revenue and that's really valuable.  As my audience grows, this little piece of data will start to become critical and help me to prioritize my traffic strategies.

Affiliate Summary

Easy tracking for your affiliates.  You can see which affiliates have generated the most revenue, how much if it you get to keep and how much you owe anyone.  I've only done promotions with two affiliates on webinars, so my data is pretty simple.  When running a launch with a larger number of affiliates, this data can quickly tell you who is really performing.

Best Performing Products

This data is completely skewed.  These are all different names for my coaching packages.  When Paykickstart was in beta, I had to make a new product for each price point.  Now I can set different prices when creating a checkout page, so you don't have to worry about data issues like this.  My top seller is coaching and I often create different split pays for people and that is why my top five products are all really the same product.

I left out our Monthly Recurring Revenue and Churn Rate graphs, because I don't really use them.  They are for different business structures.  I don't focus on long term recurring products, like a software business would, so this data doesn't really affect my business strategies right now.

Payments

Under the Payments tab, you'll find detailed information for all of your Transactions, Subscriptions and Customers.

This is the first place I look every single time a new sale comes in.  I like to see what the customer purchased, who the customer is and if they have purchased other products from me in the past.

This tab lists all of my transactions chronologically, but if I click on customers it lists them all alphabetically.  This is where I check on a customer's status every time I get a customer service email.  I can quickly diagnoses if there was a problem with a transaction if someone is really a customer.

The subscriptions tab shows my split pays.  One thing that I have to get used to with Paykickstart is how they treat split payments.  Each time a person makes a payment, it's considered a separate transaction.  I'm starting to understand this approach for accounting, but it's now how I've viewed money in the past.  This is an area where I have to grow and catch up.  Most of my subscriptions are just one to three payments, where someone has taken a $1 trial of a product or chosen a split pay option. 

I mainly jump to this area to see if anyone has missed one of their payments. 

This section provides you with all the data you need to track your customers, blacklist serial refunders, track affiliate behavior and continue to grow your business and be fiscally disciplined.

One thing I really like is that Paykickstart usually finds a picture of each customer online and that helps me a lot when I'm emailing with someone to remember who they are.

Campaigns

Campaigns is where you build all your products out.  Once you create a campaign, you create your individual products within that single campaign.  As you can see, I have three campaigns setup, but only two of them are actually active.  I set up a duplicate campaign during beta testing to run product variations, but that's no longer necessary.  As with many features within Paykickstart, they have improved this a LOT since I started.

My main campaign includes all of my higher priced products and the Blueprint campaign is for my low-ticket products.  I really have two campaigns to help me organize everything.  You can isolate each campaign for affiliates.  So if an affiliates sends traffic to campaign one, they get paid for sales there but anything from another campaign they don't get paid for.

This is one of the more advanced ways of dealing with your affiliates (you can set affiliates to get paid based on funnel, campaign or lifetime.)

Most people will probably create one campaign per niche or website and when I add in new sites, that's probably what I will do.  But for now ninety percent of what I do is in that first campaign.

Creating Products

Creating products inside Paykickstart isn't that easy.  I had to watch a training video to get everything right the first time.  This is the tradeoff when you move up to a more powerful shopping cart.  The cart is so powerful that the options can become a little overwhelming at first.  It's like going from riding a bike, to driving a car, to flying a plane; there are so many switches in the cockpit that there is a learning curve.

Once you have made your first product, making more is pretty easy.  The biggest annoyance about Paykickstart is that they are constantly improving their checkout pages.  Each time a superior template is released, I have to go back in to each product and change to that design and customize it.  This is not a big deal, but when the latest design came out it took me a few hours to switch over.

Now the design setup is awesome, so I double I'll have to do this too often.

Step One: Product Details

Building a product inside Paykickstart is divided into three steps

  1. Product Name and Pricing
  2. Checkout Page Design
  3. Integrations

In this first section, I create the product name and a basic description.  The most important part of this section is setting up the pricing.  Sometimes, people try to create trials and recurring payments and get confused the first time they set this up.  But after you make the checkout page, you can quickly check to see if you made a mistake and correct it.  In my experience, if you run into a hurdle here you can submit a support ticket and they'll setup the product pricing for you.

You also choose which of your payment gateways you want to process these orders. Right now Paykickstart only integrates with Stripe, Paypal, Braintree and Authorize.net (who I loathe.)  I know they will be adding more gateways in the future and I have requested Bitcoin integration.

Step Two: Checkout Page

In the checkout page section I always use the Template editor.  When Paykickstart first came out, you could get away with using this basic page for filling out your product information, but not anymore.

The checkout pages have two many graphic elements and I need to see how things look on the actual page.  Paykickstart lets you upload two logos for each campaign – light and dark.  I reversed these because I thought they meant an icon to go on a light background, rather than the lighter version of my icon.  I had to manually changes pages constantly because of this dumb mistake I made months ago.  I finally fixed the images and it's not longer a problem, but that is one of many reasons why you want to use the actual editor.

On the left you can see the old Paykickstart checkout templates, which left a lot to be desired.  The newer templates are much better and they release new versions every few weeks.  This is one area where some competitors have better designs right now, but Paykickstart is constantly innovating and improving, so I expect them to surpass the competition very soon.

There are loads of features on checkout pages now and everything is customizable. Everything you see on the page can be changed, from the background color to the guarantee.  Right now you can change stuff around or make it invisible, but you can't move pieces around the page.  This is a level of customization that some people are looking for and as of right now Paykickstart doesn't have that.

However, you can use their form embed and create and checkout page design you want on your own page.  You aren't limited to their templates by any means.

Step Three: Integrations

It's pretty hard to give you an update on the integrations section, because Paykickstart adds a new one every week.  All the tools I use are now fully integrated, so I'm very pleased. The Zapier integration you see here was based on my request.  I asked for it and a few weeks later it was fully activated.

Right now I use ConvertKit, GoToWebinar and Wishlist member as my main integrations with Paykickstart and they all work flawlessly.

You connect your integrations in a different section and then customize them when working on a single project.  If you wonder if Paykickstart has the integration you want, it's pretty simple – if they don't have it they will build it when you submit a request.  They integrate with all the main email providers, membership plugins and webinar tools that I know about.  If there is something missing, they are quick to add it to their software.

Coupons and Licensing

I don't do a lot with either of these.  I know that the licensing platform works really well as one of my friends just ran a launch using it and has been singing Paykickstarts praises ever since.

Coupons are exactly what you would expect.  You can assign them to campaigns or single products, make them a dollar or percentage discount and create timeframes.  I ran a coupon for the holidays last year that ended on Christmas and it worked great!

Funnels

When putting together your products and sales pages, you don't get your checkout links on the product pages.  This is something new I had to learn when switching to Paykickstart.  A single product can be in dozens of funnels and upsell trees.  For this reason, you create your funnel and get links there.  Sometimes I find this annoying when I'm creating a one-off coaching product, but again this is what happens when a cart is this powerful.

Anything you could imagine doing in a funnel, Paykickstart can now do.  The one feature currently missing is order bumps, but those should be released this month. [UPDATE: Order bumps are now live and AWESOME]

Here is a picture of one of my real funnels.  Paykickstart is so powerful that I will probably fail to cover everything you can do here.  The basics are of course covered, you can create all your YES/NO decision trees.  You can set multiple products at the front of a funnel, so now you don't need to make a new funnel setup if you are using the same upsell sequence behind two products.

You can create a custom new price for each upsell right here, so that people see different prices for each up or downsell if you want.

One challenge is that you have to create multiple versions of each upsell page if you are going to have different branches in your tree.

Checkout Pages

Paykickstart now has some pretty nice checkout pages.  There are some competitors out there with better designs, but Paykickstart is innovating faster and will surpass them very soon.  The ability to embed a checkout form on any page you want means you can create any checkout page your mind can envision.

Right now I use the same template for all my products and I'm a big fan of this look.

Premium Features

I have to level with you.  As a beta tester, I get access to all three premium features without paying the additional price and I've never looked at any of these until preparing for this review.  I'm simply not this sophisticated in my business practices and I have less than 1,000 customers inside Paykickstart right now.

The demographics tool pulls as much social media data about your customers as possible and collates all the information for you.  The survey tool let's you gather data from your customers when they place an order, cancel a subscription or refund.  This can be helpful when isolating why people leave a product behind and allow you to correct the ship before it's too late.

The uptime monitor tracks any websites or pages and texts you if they go down.  In the past, I have used Pingdom for this service and now that I'm looking at this, I think I'll set it up right now to text me if there is a problem with any of my key sites.

Here is my current demographic data.  You can use this tool to build Facebook audiences and find out a lot about your customers.  The customer tool digs deeper than I ever imagined.  For each customer, I can see all of their data and links to each of their social media profiles.

You can see where your customers live and work, their genders, ages and so much more. I'm not that obsessed with big data, but as your company grows this could easily become the most valuable asset of your business.  This data can inform your media buying and future traffic strategies.

The demographic tool does pretty much what you expect from Paykickstart and it digs far deeper than I've ever thought about going in the past.

What Types of Businesses Use Paykickstart?

I'm a direct response marketer.  I sell digital products directly through my website and deliver them in my member's area.  Paykickstart integrates wonderfully with my Wishlist membership plugin.  

But I realize that not everyone is in the same business as me.  What if you are in ecommerce or sell services?  You have different needs based on your business model.  One of the biggest challenges in writing this review is that Paykickstart updates every 1-2 weeks with new features.  Since I first started this review they have added a bunch of new features and now the order forms look amazing.  I'm sure you can tell which of the order forms below were made recently (hint:they look amazing.)

Just this morning they released a new update for capturing mailing addresses.  Paykickstart is now setup to handle selling physical products.  They are one step closer to being a great fit for ecommerce, and by the time you read this they might be there.

Not every business follows my structure, so here are a few business run by people I know with different business models.

Software as a Service - Liveleap

Liveleap is an amazing tool for livecasting on Facebook and distributing to multiple platforms at once.  You can have a live video broadcast on Facebook and they connect to your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.  It's all pretty amazing if you are doing anything in livestreaming.

I live on a tropical Island and I'm 12-15 hours ahead of the USA timezones, so livecasting isn't a great option for me.  However, I have helped several of my friends get setup on LiveLeap recently and the product is awesome.  I talked to the owner and he's looking at some podcast integration to automate that process as well.  It's all very cool.

They recently switched their entire platform to Paykickstart.  Their pricing ranges from $19-299 a month and they run their entire process on paykickstart.  

Here they have a two-step checkout form for their new customers.  This is one of the older templates and this look is being phased out as Paykickstart continues to release better and better designs.  

Business to Business/Service - VAStaffer

VAStaffer is a business-to-business seller of virtual assistants.  They have a large office filled with talented staff.  In this business, they sell you time.  You can order as many hours as you need per month and they'll take care of everything for you.  

This business model involves selling time as opposed to software or training.  VAStaffer sells multiple services and packages that are all built around their team of virtual assistants handling tasks for their clients.

I have tested this service with a small writing project and will use them to handle a lot of research for me in the future.  They have a good team and they have over fifty employees who depend on Paykickstart to deliver their paychecks every month.

They are still using the simpler forms for their basic services, but I'm sure this form will change in the very near future.  They run a LOT of money through Paykickstart, so I know this form works like a champion for them.

They owner of VAStaffer, Jeff, just launched a new digital product and training courses called 9010Life.  It's all about building your own massive business and using virtual assistants to get there.  

This is a newer product and you can see that his sales page is very sophisticated.

Here is an example of an embedded checkout form.  You can now create any look you want for your checkout pages and embed the Paykickstart form right in the page.  Jeff has built a beautiful form here that converts like crazy.

This is a beautiful form and it's quite easy to create with some of the newer Paykickstart templates.

Product Launch - Commission Sumo

My friend Cindy build CommissionSumo and then switched to Paykickstart for her shopping cart.  This software relies on the Paykickstart licensing feature to prevent software theft.  This integration is one of the big reasons she switched platforms.  In the past you had to use two separate firms for shopping cart and licensing.  Now you can handle it all within Paykickstart.

I am in the middle of developing some software myself and I will definitely integrate this licensing platform.  Here you can see what a full JV page looks like and how Paykickstart is deeply integrated into the launch.

If you click on the image above, you can see the real-time launch contest tracking.  In the past, you had to use a contest tracking plugin to let your affiliates know where they were in launch contests.  Or even worse, send out an email every day with date manually.

Paykickstart has a nice little piece of code you can add to any webpage to track the rankings in your launch contest.  When affiliates can see how close they are to getting that next prize, they will fight even harder to generate a few more sales!

Here is the beautiful and inspiring salespage for ComissionSumo.  As you can see, they maintain a consistent design throughout all of their pages.

The CommissionSumo checkout page uses the same templates as I do for all my products.  It's currently my favorite Paykickstart design, although they are working on a new design based on a template I sent in a few weeks ago.

This checkout page has a place to put your product images, support information, product description, refund policy and a few testimonials.  This is a great design that led to a great launch for Cindy and the team at CommissionSumo.

Alternatives and Competitors

It would be disingenous to pretend that Paykickstart is the only shopping cart in the world.  There are plenty out there, but Paykickstart is the cart that I use and it's the one that I personally trust with my entire business.

There are a few other carts that are quite similar or even better suited to different business models.

ThriveCart

There is a lot of hoopla around this platform lately.  If you run a search online you will see TONS of positive reviews that all end with affiliate links.  Scouring through these, it seemed like most of those reviews are not by people who actually use that shopping cart.

In preparing for this section, I took the time to read the most popular pro-ThriveCart review and comparison with Paykickstart.  I noticed that ALL the images in that review come from the Thrivecart website and NOT from inside the platform.  It's very unlikely that this reviewer actually uses ThriveCart.

IMPORTANT – This is NOT the same company that makes Thrive Themes

I was confused the first time I came across this product and thought that it was part of the Thrive Themes product suite, but it's not.

ThriveCart boasts a few features that Paykickstart lacks, such as order bumps.  I don't use ThriveCart, so I can only compare features that they mention on their salespage or I see in product reviews.

ThriveCart is the only shopping cart that I know of right now that offers ApplePay.  I don't know how important that feature is to you as I have never bought or sold anything using the Apple payment platform, but I could see the value if you have a lot of customers on their iPhones.  

I spoke to the CEO of Paykickstart, Mark, recently about adding in Bitcoin and it's in their development future.  I'm sure that Paykickstart will eventually add Apple Pay as well, but as for right now ThriveCart is the winner.

ThriveCart has a built-in digital tax calculator, while most other shopping carts use an integration with Taxamo.  The last time I checked Taxamo said their pricing starts at 19euros per month.  I'm not sure if this is true as they have removed the pricing data from their website.  That makes me a little leery.

The balance is that Taxamo ONLY does tax tracking and if you are a larger company you certainly want to collect and track your taxes properly.  I'm not sure how much I trust ThriveCart to keep up with the constant changes to taxes worldwide.  I don't use Taxamo, so again this point goes to ThriveCart for now.

Another feature that ThriveCart boasts about is their one-click order bumps.  Paykickstart doesn't have this feature yet, but I have been talking to their development team for the past month and this feature should be live in the next couple of weeks.

You can get a rough idea from the images above how the checkout pages for each platform looks as well as a mockup of the upcoming Paykickstart order bump look.  This was a pre-release mockup one of the developers send me and not from a live offer.  As soon as the order bump setup is complete, I will be adding them to my pages.

I do like the look of the ThriveCart checkout page, I think it looks pretty nice.  With ThriveCart, you can edit the checkout pate in a lot more detail and really customize the look.  Paykickstart is more limited and is similar to LeadPages in that you can either turn off a section or change the text, but you can't move sections around.

For now, is is a slight edge to ThriveCart.

As far as integrations, both platforms have loads and Paykickstart is adding more all the time.  If you need a specific integration that they don't have, they will usually find a short term workaround (often using Zapier) and then add the integration to their development schedule.

As far as integrations, it's pretty much a tie between the two platforms. 

Why I Prefer Paykickstart

ThriveCart's big selling point is that you can signup for a one-time fee of $595.  That seems like a great deal…at first.

I've worked with a lot of software as a customer and as the vendor.  And when software is a one time purchase, the software eventually fails.  All the money they make from their initial sales cycle will eventually disappear. In order to fund developers, updates and new features they will have ton constantly acquire new customers and if their customer acquisition cycle ever slows down, the software could go under.

Now they might have a plan for that, but it certainly makes me nervous.  Additionally, Paykickstart has LOADS of features that Thrivecart doesn't, including:

  • Software Licensing
  • Mobile App
  • Surveys
  • Demographics
  • Contests & Leaderboards

The reason I left Zaxaa was that they didn't treat me right. I  switched to Paykickstart because I know the owner and they make the changes and integrations I need in a timely manner.  That's worth it's weight in gold to me.

Additionally, I can't find anyone I know who uses Thrivecart or a single review from an actual user of the cart.  Until I do, I will definitely shy away.

Samcart

When I decided to dump Zaxaa, my intention was to switch to Samcart.  I messed a few of my friends to see what they think and that's when I started hearing grumbling.  If you look online, most of the Samcart reviews are from the first few months after the launch.  There are loads of glowing reviews and that certainly peaked my interest…

But my friends told me that they platform was slowing down.  The updates weren't coming in a timely fashion and there were issues with customer support.  This makes me nervous as your cart controls your income.  

Samcart has reviews and testimonials from people that I know or respect and I think it's much more of a direct alternative to Paykickstart.  The features are very similar and Samcart has a lot going for it.

A quick keyword search on Facebook pulls up posts of rage, but also posts from people who sweat by Samcart.  I want to offer you both sides with these two screenshots.  There are people who love and hate every platform.  But I heard enough negative things that I decided to go with Paykickstart instead.

Samcart is owned by Brian Moran and I travel in the same circles but don't personally know him.  Some people that I'm friends with use the product and love it and some people have left it behind and only have bad things to say about the customer experience.

These whispers were enough to push me in another direction.  I like that I know the people behind Paykickstart personally and I like that they fix any problems very quickly.  The customer support is super responsive and the experience is excellent.

Samcart certainly has some great features and their checkout pages are beautiful. But there are a few key features that Samcart just doesn't have, including.

  • True 1-Click Upsells
  • Vendor-Branded Affiliate Links
  • Integrated Licensing System
  • Customer Blacklisting
  • Demographics

To get the full suite of Samcart tools, including the critical affiliate platform, you have to pay TWICE as much.  Samcart premium is $199 a month, so you will be spending double to use a pretty similar cart with a spotty customer support record.

Samcart may work out the kinks as far as customer support and responsiveness, but until I hear better I'll be keeping my distance.

Other Options

There are some other competitors out there that offer shopping carts, but the suite of features are very different.  They aren't direct competitors and don't have the features you are going to get from Paykickstart.

The first type of cart is much simpler.  These platforms have strong affiliate recruitment tools, but they charge you a percentage of each transaction.  These are great platforms to start with, but you will eventually outgrow them just like I did.

  • JVZoo
  • WarriorPlus
  • Clickbank

There are loads of carts out there and I'm sure you can think of some that I didn't cover.  If you have any direct questions, just put one in the comments below and I'll be sure to answer you.

I've tried to cover the two main competitors with similar suites of features and explain why Paykickstart is superior.

What do other users have to say about Paykickstart?

After he big CommissionSumo launch, Cindy posted the message above to say how ecstatic she was about her experience using Paykickstart to license her software and manage her launch contest.  Chris was an affiliate for a similar launch and can only sing praises.

If you prefer to watch videos, here are a couple of big marketers who made the switch and will not be looking back any time soon.

Conclusion

Whenever I read a review of a product, I ask one critical question – “Does this person actually use it?”

If all I see are screenshots from the product homepage, or a review video that doesn't show them logging in to demonstrate the product, then I don't trust that review.  We both know that if you click the link below, I will get an affiliate commission.  But if that's the ONLY reason someone writes a review, then that's not cool.

The ultimate reason to try out Paykickstart is that I actually use it. It's one of the core technologies in my business' infrastructure.  I depend on the product, I know the owner and I use it every day.

I asked Mark to give me a special link and that's why you get a whole month to check things out when you use my link – if you decide you don't want me to make a commission, you can go to the Paykickstart homepage, but you'll just get a 14-day trial.  (When I first started with Paykickstart, I only got that same two-week trial.)

You have enough time to mess around with the platform and really kick the tires before you pay anything.  If you are looking for a powerful cart that doesn't charge a percentage of each transaction then Paykickstart is just about as good as it gets.  The product is always improving and I'm not just a fan, I'm also a user.

UPDATE: May 2017

PayKickstart have been very busy since I first wrote my review three months ago.  In that time they have released multiple major updates and they continue to improve the product every day.  The following features have been added to the platform since my review:

  1. Order Bumps
  2. Currency Support (up to 32 countries)
  3. VAT Tax Integration
  4. WebinarJam/WebinarJeo Integrations
  5. Affiliate Link Tracking Reporting
  6. Ability to Change/Update Affiliate for Transactions/Subscriptions
  7. Improvements to Physical Product SupportJV Contracts
  8. Checkout page Translations into Twelve Languages
  9. Customers can Now Update Their Own Billing Information
  10. Advanced Affiliate Link Tracking
  11. Chargeback and Dispute Handling
  12. Funnel Builder Override Pricing Settings
  13. Trigger Multiple Membership Integrations per Transaction
  14. Webinar Ignition Integration
  15. Appending Coupon to Checkout Page URL
  16. Chart Mogul Analytics Integration

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Paykickstart Review Score 90 Percent
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4.5 stars
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Jonathan Green
 

Living the dream on a tropical island, Jonathan is the author of Serve No Master and the host of the Serve No Master Podcast.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 14 comments
Ian Brodie - May 11, 2017

Hi – the reason you don’t see many screenshots of Thrivecart users is partially because you mustn’t have looked very hard (Matt Wolfe has been sharing his setup for months) but mainly because it’s still in pilot mode. Up until earlier this month, only a couple of affiliates who knew the business owner well were allowed to promote it. So there simply weren’t many reviews. As of a couple of weeks ago a number of experienced pilot members have been allowed to promote too, so you can now see a lot more reviews with live screen shots. The market is also different – it’s not really aimed so much at internet marketers

If you want, I can point you at my review with screenshots of my cart and behind the scenes in the behaviour rules

Ian

Reply
Ian Brodie - May 19, 2017

Thanks Jonathan – good to see someone not afraid to discuss differing opinions.

As I said, I can’t compare Thrivecart to Paykickstart as I’ve never used the latter – but the primary reason you don’t see many reviews of Thrivecart is that it’s not really open to the public yet other than a couple of affiliates who’ve been using the system for a while – and even then, most have only been able to promote for a few weeks now.

Thanks for digging out my review – I didn’t want to post it without your permission.

best wishes

Ian

Reply
    Jonathan Green - May 19, 2017

    I want people to make informed decisions and I always welcome more comments 😉

    Reply
Mike - May 20, 2017

Thanks Jonathan! that was an amazing, thoroughly done review. I’ve also done extensive research on the competitors ie. samcart and thrivecart but paykickstart really seems to be the clear winner here.

I noticed the last update ot this review was back in Feb…so was wondering if the “bump” feature is already live and if so do you have any thoughts about how well it works?

Thanks!

Reply
    Jonathan Green - May 21, 2017

    Hey Mike,
    The Order Bump Feature has been added and I’ve used it successfully for a while now. There have been THREE major updates since I wrote this review. It’s hard to keep up because they are constantly adding amazing features.

    Reply
Tomasz Siemienczyk - June 15, 2017

Hi
Thanks for great review. Do you have bonus for buying through your link?
I follow Mark some time and for sure going for that.
BR
Tomasz

Reply
    Jonathan Green - June 17, 2017

    If you buy through my link, I’ll help you set up your first funnel and answer any questions you have 😉

    Reply
Israel - July 12, 2017

If we utilize YOUR link you will help us set up our first funnel? Wow? But how? And to what extent? I certainly don’t expect someone to do it all but I’m curious how MUCH help would one received from you? I have been all day studying this entire genre of Click funnels, Thrive Themes etc, actually three days and what led me to Pay Kick start was I used Tapfiliate last year for some affiliates for a digital product. Had no problem but we moved to fast.

NOW ready to do it again and was just wondering about CLICK FUNNELS and affiliate management. They suggest Lead Dyno which I had TERRIBLE experience with so I checked for Tapfiliate and found this Paykickstart and watched every video. The one thing I appreciate about your review is it seem Kickstarter MAY be “to much car” for me right now (shucks, cause I was sold)…..and that’s OK, but still curious about your offer to help with first funnel, and what that means.
Thanks.

Reply
    Jonathan Green - July 13, 2017

    I will spend 1-2 hours walking you through a setup for sure. I have a new bonus that I’ll be adding to this page in the next few days, so this is your last chance to get in under the wire with my help 😉

    I also sent you a direct email, so check for that!

    – J

    Reply
Jeff - August 2, 2017

Can we use Paykickstart on WordPress websites? Sorry I’m totally new to IM

Reply
    Jonathan Green - August 3, 2017

    Great Question Jeff! Yes you can. This site is WordPress and I use Paykickstart on it!

    Reply
Nyla - October 18, 2017

Hi,

I’m seriously considering this payment gateway. But I’m confused why you would still need to integrate Paykickstart with PayPal, Stripe or Braintree?

Is it only a shopping cart? Not a payment gateway? So confused here.

I just want to know if it works like PayPal or Stripe, where it collects money and then transfers it to my bank.

I don’t want to work with PayPal or Stripe. Stripe sucks because it serves a very limited range of services. If they got a new financial partner, then they would be good. Right now for IM, they are not good.

I hate PayPal, but looks like I have no other choice for small businesss like me. Can you help recommend a good payment gateway that’s simple to use like Stripe and PayPal, for small businesses?

Thanks

Reply
    Jonathan Green - October 29, 2017

    Hi Nyla,
    These are great questions. PK works with a gateway, but it does not replace one. It basically adds the features to Stripe/PayPal/Braintree that are missing, like recurring payments and connecting one customer to multiple products. I mostly use Braintree for lower price products and Stripe ACH for my high-priced offers. I really don’t know of a better solution than Stripe at this point for a small business in the IM space, other than Braintree. I’ve never had any problems with these gateways, so I’m not sure what features you are looking for? I’ve run a LOT of transactions through PK in the past year and I couldn’t be happier.

    Reply

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