If you are preparing to sell your online course or membership from a WordPress website, you may be wondering which shopping cart solution is best for you. Both ThriveCart and WooCommerce provide all of the features you need, but ultimately serve different needs.

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing your cart tool. In this post we will break down those factors, evaluate price, look at each of the relevant features, and provide you with all the information you need to choose ThriveCart or WooCommerce.

Is ThriveCart or WooCommerce better for selling online courses with WordPress?

Unless you have a large number of SKUs, ThriveCart is the best shopping cart and sales funnel tool to sell online courses and memberships. WooCommerce allows for browsing products, adding to cart, and continuing a shopping experience. ThriveCart directly sells one product at a time to a user through a sales page.

This table provides a side-by-side, feature-by-feature comparison between ThriveCart and WooCommerce. I'm only including the features relevant to selling online courses and memberships. 

Header

ThriveCart

WooCommerce

Sales Pages

Yes

3rd-Party Paid Tool Required

Order Bumps

Yes

3rd-Party Paid Tool Required

Upsells / Downsells

Yes

3rd-Party Paid Tool Required

Two-Step Checkout

Yes

3rd-Party Paid Tool Required

Affiliate Center

Yes

3rd-Party Paid Tool Required

Customer Hub

ThriveCart-Hosted Page (TC Branding)

My Account Page

Coupons

Complex Coupons with behavioral conditions

Basic coupon support or 3rd-Party Upgrade

Sales Tax Calculation

Yes

Through JetPack (additional tool)

Subscription Management

Yes

Annual Paid Upgrade

Email Marketing Integration

Yes

3rd-Party Tools Required

Membership Tool Integration

Yes

Yes

Course Platform Direct Integration

Yes

Yes

Impact Hosting / Website Speed & Performance

No

Significant Impact on Hosting & Website Performance

Maintenance / Security

No maintenance or security issues

Mandatory maintenance and vigilance to stay on top of security concerns.

Price

$690 ONE-TIME

Base Price: Free
Cost for Upgrades: $647/year

Is ThriveCart or WooCommerce More Expensive?

In order for WooCommerce to have the same features as ThriveCart, you will need to spend $647 each year on first and third-party paid plugins. ThriveCart's one-time price of $690 becomes significantly more affordable when you consider WooCommerce's annual upkeep.

Thrivecart is also a hosted solution and does not impact your hosting requirements. The hidden cost of running WooCommerce that most people do not consider is the need for faster and more robust hosting.

WooCommerce taxes your server's CPU significantly more than a basic WordPress blog.

Failure to provide adequate hosting will result in a massive page speed drop, long load times, sluggish admin area, and inability for customers to complete payment. 

Which Plugins are Required for WooCommerce?

I recommend the following plugins in order for WooCommerce to have the features necessary to successfully sell a membership.

Feature

Tool

Price

Order Bumps, Upsells, Two-Step Checkout, Sales Pages

CartFlows

$299 / Year

Affiliate Marketing

AffiliateWP

$149 / Year

Subscriptions

WooCommerce Subscriptions

$199 / Year

Tax Calculations

Jetpack

Free (Hidden cost of impact on server)

Benefits of Using WooCommerce

Customer Accounts & Data are on WordPress

Since WooCommerce is on your WP site, your customer data is there as well. This makes integrating with other tools on your website very convenient. While ThriveCart can still integrate arguably as easily as WooCommerce can to Memership and Course platform, WP will integrate with far more on-site tools without the need for webhooks and extremely complicated tools.

Third-Party Developers

Although these tools add to the ever-increasing annual cost of using WooCommerce, developers are able to make tools that integrate with and extend the functionality of WooCommerce. CartFlows is a perfect example, and a fantastic tool.

Benefits of Using ThriveCart

Designed Specifically for Funnels

ThriveCart was built specifically to sell one product at a time. It was meant for funnels with upsells, downsells, order bumps, and sales optimization. There isn't a need to manipulate it or add additional tools. It does one thing and it does it extremely well.

Support & Community

ThriveCart has a really good community on Facebook where the developers communicate with customers. They also have a good support ticket system and can assist specifically with exact orders from your customers. Trying to get support from WooCommerce is an exercise in futility, and their support staff are rude.

Hosted SaaS

There's no maintenance or babysitting required for ThriveCart. This services is hosted, managed, and maintained by a the provider meaning once you have your funnels set up, you can forget about them and let them work. Contrast that to WooCommerce and you're going to be monitoring it daily or at least weekly to ensure everything is updated and working.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the three critical components to consider are price, maintenance, and impact on your website. On all three, ThriveCart comes out way ahead. 

While both ThriveCart and WooCommerce get the job done well, ThriveCart is the best choice for selling online courses and memberships.

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