One of the main reasons WordPress powers 40%+ of the web is its vast ecoystem.
There are thousands of high-quality plugins available that serve almost any purpose you can think of.
Whether its social sharing, security, speed optimization, SEO, or contact forms (we all love our form plugins), it's usually a matter of choosing a solution that fits best for you.
However when it comes to ecommerce, WordPress has always fallen short for options.
With nearly 200 million downloads, WooCommerce is by far the most popular.
It works well for traditional stores with a large catalogue of products, but has felt like an awkward fit for online business owners who focus more on digital products.
For these smaller stores, the downsides of WooCommerce are that:
- It's resource-intensive
- It impacts the page speed of your website
- It takes 3rd party plugins from various vendors to accomplish what you want
- Advanced functionality gets complex & expensive
- It's difficult to work with when migrating websites
There are also other ecommerce platforms like Easy Digital Downloads, but it's more targeted towards software companies and requires dev knowledge to customize the checkout experience.
With the recent launch of SureCart, we finally have a real alternative for selling digital products.
And let me tell you... I'm excited about this one.
*Since SureCart was recently just released, new features are surely going to come quick. I'm going to continue adding to and improving this review over the coming weeks.
Important Note: I personally use SureCart, and this review is in no way sponsored or paid for by the product creator. Some links may be affiliate links, should you want to buy the product. There’s no extra cost for you - it’s just a little way you can help support us. You can read about our affiliate promise here.
🛒 What is SureCart?
SureCart is a new headless ecommerce solution for WordPress.
It allows you to sell products and collect payments on your website through simple yet customizable order forms.
Wait hold on... a headless ecommerce solution? What does that even mean?
Headless ecommerce is a relatively new concept, and one that is still being refined.
In a nutshell, headless ecommerce refers to an ecommerce platform that decouples the front-end interface from the back-end database.
This means that you manage your order forms, customers, subscriptions etc. inside of the WordPress admin like you normally would, but all the processes take place behind-the-scenes on SureCart's servers.
The benefits of this are:
- Reduced load on your WordPress hosting server
- Increased security as sensitive data is not stored in your WordPress database
- You don't need to worry about optimizing your database or fixing bugs
- Easier to scale as your business grows
A headless setup like this does have its drawbacks though.
It means you have a dependency on SureCart being operational, and they need to implement proper procedures for handling your data.
That's why developer reputation is essential.
Luckily, I don't forsee any issues here, and I think the pros far outweigh the cons.
SureCart was created by Adam Preiser (from WPCrafter) and his team.
Having started by publishing helpful YouTube videos around WordPress, Adam has now quietly built an impressive portfolio of SaaS companies.
I've purchased and used CartFlows on client sites, and can personally vouch for its quality.
Also on the team are Sujay Pawar from Brainstorm Force (the makers of Astra theme), Ben Bartling who has had multiple successful SaaS exits, and Andre Gagnon, a talented designer/developer who was behind ProjectHuddle.
🧑💻 Who is SureCart for?
SureCart is still in active development, so this list will almost certainly expand over time.
At the moment, it works really well for:
- Creators who sell digital products such as courses, templates, and swipe files
- Freelancers or service providers who want an easy way to collect payment for their invoices
- Social organizations who want to collect donations from their supporters
- Entrepreneurs selling simple one-off physical products like books
- Event marketers who want to sell tickets to an online event
Currently, SureCart isn't the best fit for business with tens or hundreds of products that want a traditional 'shopping cart' ecommerce experience.
More options for physical product sellers are expected to come later in 2022.
🎮 How SureCart Works
The setup process for SureCart is no different than any other WordPress plugin.
Once you've installed and activated the plugin, you'll see SureCart added to your WP Admin navigation.
Clicking on it will start the onboarding process:
As I mentioned before, all the backend activity takes place on SureCart's servers. This means that you'll need to sign up for a free account:
It will ask you for your store details:
And to connect to a payment processor:
Once you're done, it'll give you an API key to copy over to the plugin settings:
Creating a Product
Now that we've got the setup out of the way, we're ready to create our first product.
In the WP Admin, go to SureCart -> Products -> Add New.
Here you'll get to set your product name and pricing options.
Currently you can choose from One Time Payment, Subscription, or Payment Plan (also known as Split Pay).
A One Time Payment is pretty straightforward, but there's flexibility with how much you want to charge.
You can have a set price, or if you enable "allow customers to pay what they want," this lets customers make a custom donation or choose their own price.
With subscriptions, you can have multiple pricing options per product.
And with the Payment Plan, you can choose how many payments are needed and the frequency of the payments.
Let's say you run a membership site. You can charge $99 for a monthly subscription, or give them 2 months free by charging $1000 for an annual subscription.
Or if you have a Website Care Plan, you can also do something like charge $299 one-time as a setup fee, and then $99/mth after the first month.
The pricing options are quite flexible, and you have full control over what gets shown on the checkout form.
If you hover over each pricing option, you'll notice a "Copy Buy Link" button. This gives you a quick way for someone to buy your product without needing to create a custom checkout (more on this below).
On the product page, there is also a section to upload files as a download.
Creating a Checkout Form
If you go to SureCart -> Forms, you'll notice that there's already a checkout form already created.
This will serve as your default checkout.
If you use the Copy Buy Link mentioned above, it will use this form.
Depending on the different products you're selling, you may want to create a custom form.
This allows you to show specific pricing options or collect specific information.
When creating a new form, you'll get to choose from a starter template:
Add your pricing options, and select if you'd like to use a custom thank you page:
What's really neat about building checkout forms is that it's all done in Gutenberg.
This gives it a familiar feel.
It also means that you can re-arrange and add fields as you'd like.
You can add headings, input fields, dividers, columns, checkboxes etc. wherever you want:
I love how much control this gives you. You can create the perfect checkout form for your product.
Selling a simple swipe file? You can just collect their name & email.
Selling a complex service? You can collect all the additional info you need.
Embedding Your Checkout Form
Now that you have your checkout form created, you're ready to embed it on a page.
If you're using Gutenberg, you can add the Checkout Form block and select your form.
You can embed it on pages, posts, or any other post type - including product review articles 👀
If you're using a page builder (like Oxygen or Elementor), you can go to SureCart -> Forms, copy the shortcode, and add it inside your page builder.
Since each form comes with a shortcode, SureCart is compatible with all WordPress page builders and themes.
Much like the rest of the platform, creating coupons is incredibly simple.
You can choose the coupon code text, whether it's a fixed or percentage discount, the discount duration, end date, and max number of redemptions.
On the customers page, you'll see a list of everyone who has ever bought from you.
You might notice that this list looks longer than you'd expect.
That's because SureCart collects abandoned carts as well.
Currently there is no way to filter the list to only see actual Customers, but I submitted a feature request and was told this is something they're working on.
If you click on a customer, you'll see their full profile.
Their profile shows all the purchases they've made, their active subscriptions, and their associated WordPress user account.
You can also refund orders, cancel subscriptions, and revoke access to files from here.
On the subscriptions page, you can view all the active and cancelled subscriptions.
Clicking on a subscription shows you the related orders and lets you cancel it.
Not only this, but you can fully manage the subscription as well.
You can change the quantity, add a free trial, or change the subscription to a different product entirely.
Most other ecommerce platforms don't give you this level of control when it comes to managing subscriptions.
It means you can upgrade a customer from your Basic to your Pro plan and prorate the change in pricing - all without your customer needing to lift a finger.
Configuring Your Customer Portal
Having all these controls on the back-end is great, but what if a customer wants to manage their own account?
After all, you probably don't want your customers emailing you every time they want to change their subscription or update their payment method.
That's where the Customer Portal comes in.
And it once again delivers.
By default, you're given a beautiful looking dashboard where users can manage their account:
It's fully self-service, meaning they shouldn't ever need to contact you in order to make a change.
However, there might also be cases where you don't want your customers to have free-reign over their subscription.
For example, you might not want a hosting customer to cancel their subscription before having a chance to tell them what would mean for their website.
Or you might not want an email marketing client cancelling their subscription if they're in the middle of a 12-month contract.
Luckily SureCart let's you decide what your customers can and cannot do:
You can turn off subscription changes, quantity changes, and cancellations.
Aside from managing their account, the Customer Dashboard is also where users can go to view their orders, see their invoice history, and get access to their downloads.
Much like creating checkout forms, you once again have full control over your customer dashboard using the Gutenberg editor.
You can create new tabs and add your own content.
Each section of the dashboard is its own Gutenberg block, so you could actually create your own custom dashboard from scratch if you wanted to.
SureCart currently supports both Stripe and PayPal.
They've said that they plan on integrating with many more payment processors over the coming months.
Integrations are going to be a big selling feature for SureCart.
It already has a few core integrations built directly in the app, along with a whole separate platform called SureTriggers (coming soon) if you want to take things further.
Currently, when someone purchases a product you can add them to a LearnDash or TutorLMS course, assign them a WordPress user role, and add them to a SureMembers or MemberPress membership.
The idea is that SureCart will let you connect your products to the rest of your WordPress site.
If you want to perform more complex actions like adding customers to a Google Sheet, sending Slack messages etc, then that's where SureTriggers will come in.
📊 Advanced Features
Upsells, Downsells, and Order Bumps
These are not available in the beta version, but will be added as part of a Pro plan in the coming months.
It hasn't yet been decided if you'll be able to use SureCart to manage your funnels in the future.
In the meantime, we love using Happy Files to manage our pages.
There are screenshots in their FB group of a reporting dashboard, but this is not currently included in the beta.
SureCart comes with free tax calculation built-in.
It uses TaxJar - which has cost per usage - so the fact that SureCart is including it for free is a fantastic bonus.
🚲 Ease of Use
One of SureCart's core tenets was creating a product that is easy for everyone to use.
I think they did a great job of it.
The UI is intuitive, responsive, and looks really clean.
I felt like I understood the platform within a few minutes after first using it.
And if you do get stuck, SureCart is already pretty well documented considering that it is still in beta.
Most of the documentation currently only comes in video form, but a more in-depth knowledge base will be added closer to the official release.
Support & Service
In my experience with SureCart thus far, the support has been top notch.
After uncovering a couple of bugs in an early beta release, one of the developers reached out to me the same day and resolved the issue within 24 hours.
However, early beta testing vs. support at a mass scale are two different ball games.
I'll continue to monitor the level of support over the comings months as SureCart is rolled out to more users.
Given the developer's reputation, I don't see support becoming an area of concern.
For the initial release, only a free version of SureCart is available.
The free version is really quite generous. It has everything you need to start selling products and collecting payments on your website.
A Pro version is expected to come out in either Q3 or Q4 2022, and will include more advanced features like order bumps, one click upsells, an affiliate platform and more.
Given where the product is at with the free version, I'm excited to see all that the Pro version includes.
🔥 Do I Recommend SureCart?
It's early days, but I really love where SureCart is headed so far.
Because of the bloat and resource usage, I've always been hesitant to use WooCommerce to just sell a few simple products.
ThriveCart has been great, but isn't WordPress-based and can sometimes feel disconnected from the rest of my website.
SureCart solves both of these issues, and provides an ecommerce experience that is simple, looks great, and is fun to use.
☁️ How to Download
SureCart is officially now available for download on the SureCart website.
That's all for this one.
Hopefully you found this SureCart review helpful, and be sure to let me know in the comments section below if you ever decide to try it out.
Thanks for reading!
SureCart is a new headless ecommerce solution for WordPress. It allows you to sell products and collect payments on your website through simple yet customizable order forms.
Product Brand: SureCart
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: Free
Product In-Stock: InStock