Shopify is the market leader for eCommerce websites, but it’s expensive when you add in all the apps you need to have a truly high-converting site. In Jan 2023 Shopify increased its monthly charges by more than 30% giving you even more reason to move to another platform.
I’ve used Launch Cart for over a year and have spent hours on training calls with the CEO Greg Writer, so I know the platform and the company’s plans well.
In this Launch Cart review, I provide a detailed review of Launch Cart and explain why I use it instead of Shopify.
Key Take Aways – Launch Cart Vs Shopify
What is Launch Cart
Launch Cart is an eCommerce SaaS platform seeking to challenge the established brands of Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and others. The mission of the founder and CEO Greg Writer is to help people get online fast and without significant cost, whether they are a small business or large.
Launch Cart was designed by experienced marketers seeking to offer free software that you can actually use to sell items easily without a high cost of entry. With over 30,000 happy store owners so far, the platform is growing fast.
My Launch Cart Journey
I first came across Launch Cart when I was looking to build a niche print-on-demand store to test some designs that I had. I needed a cheap way to get started fast and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money building the store, adding apps, etc as I had no idea the designs would sell.
I was really excited when I found Launch Cart because it offered a free plan which would allow me to start my store without paying a monthly subscription.
With other eCommerce platforms like Shopify, I realized that there were some major limitations with the free plans and so-called free trials. For example, with Shopify, you can’t accept payments from customers during the trial and so you can’t sell any products. Launch Cart is different though. You don’t need to upgrade to a paid plan in order to start selling products. Launch Cart 1, Shopify 0.
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Example Launch Cart Store
Before going any further, let me show you an example Launch Cart Store in the Mountain Biking niche.
Why Launch Cart?
Launch Cart is an eCommerce SaaS platform focused on enabling online store owners to sell custom merchandise through integration with Printful (with more print on demand providers coming soon). You can also sell digital products, physical products, or custom merchandise/print-on-demand products and there are a high number of payment processors to choose from.
The platform comes with upselling functionality built-in, helping to increase conversions and average order value which is critical now more than ever due to the increasing cost of ads.
Launch Cart makes it easier for you to increase your store’s conversion rate and average order value as it comes with conversion boosting functionality built in as standard, which helps to improve your store’s overall performance.
With other eCommerce platforms, you may need to install additional costly apps in order to get this kind of functionality and these can add up very quickly.
As someone who wasn’t new to eCommerce but was completely new to the platform, I found Launch Cart easy to use and navigate. The user interface was simple to understand and it was quick and easy for me to start adding products and setting up my store. There are 7 themes available to help you get started, and I found it easy to customize my store’s appearance.
When I needed some support or help with how to do things, I found the Launch Cart team to be very helpful in the Launch Cart Official Facebook group. Whenever I had a question, they were always quick to help.
They provided support with setting up my store and with any questions I had about the platform. I found their customers support service via the ticket-raising system to be excellent and their support to be top-notch.
The limited number of themes means you are a little restricted in terms of the look and feel of your site, but it does also mean you can get your site up and running quickly without going down rabbit holes for days trying to get your site looking perfect.
More themes are being worked on and will be available in the near future and the use of CSS enables you to create a more personalized store.
Once you get used to the platform it’s easy to use, especially with print on demand integration via Printful which handles the product fulfillment on your behalf.
All the functionality I needed to get going was there straight out of the box with no need for more apps to be installed this surprised me. When I’ve built Shopify stores before I needed at least 3 to 6 paid-for apps to give me the functionality Launch Cart provides.
Launch Cart offers a wide range of pricing options to suit your needs including a free version.
You can choose from a range of monthly subscription plans that are aimed to meet the needs of store owners whether they are just starting out or selling at scale.
The free version allows you to build your online store and get going without the need to pay a monthly fee to sell your own products.
There is a 3% transaction charge from Launch Cart if you make a sale but you only pay if you actually sell a product. If you don’t make a sale you don’t pay a penny.
For many, the Lift Off plan (the first paid plan) will meet all your needs. It provides key additional features such as:
- Ability to export your sales data (ideal if you are using a drop shipping company or print on demand partner that isn’t yet integrated with Launch Cart.
- More custom pages
- Notifying customers when an out-of-stock item comes back in stock
- Customize the look & feel of the email capture popup
- Customizable review widget
- Checkout page editor
The Life Off plan $12 per month cheaper than Shopify’s basic plan. The inbuilt functionality in Launch Cart requires additional costly apps to be installed in Shopify which takes time (to find the right one) and can become costly as shown by the graphic below.
Shopify charges a 2% transaction charge if you don’t use Shopify Payments as the payment processor which again can add up.
On the paid plans, Launch Cart does not charge a payment processing fee regardless of who you use and they provide more options too, including the recent addition of NMI and Opennode which allows you to accept bitcoin as payment.
Simple User Interface
Launch Cart makes it easy for you to start your own e-commerce store. The user interface is simple to use and navigating the platform is easy. This makes it quick and simple for you to start adding products and setting up your store. There are 7 themes available to help you get started, and you can easily customize them.
Ability to sell digital, physical or print on demand products
Launch Cart allows users to sell digital, physical, or print on demand products. This makes it an ideal platform for business owners of many types as they can choose the type of products that they want to sell and it gives options to diversify into other areas as well.
Conversion Boosting Functionality
Launch Cart comes with checkout page order bumps and upsell functionality that helps to increase conversions and average order value. This makes it an ideal platform for store owners as they can increase the chances of making a sale and increase the average order value.
With other eCommerce platforms, you may need to install additional costly apps in order to get this kind of functionality.
Page builder and checkout page editor to build funnels and increase trust.
Launch Cart comes with a drag-and-drop page builder and checkout page editor that helps store owners to increase trust and conversions. With other e-commerce platforms, you may need to install additional costly apps in order to get this kind of functionality.
Thoughts on Using Launch Cart: One Year On
I’ve been using Launch Cart for well over a year now and have come to really like the platform. You can spin up a store in a short amount of time and test new products without major investment (time or money).
I liked it so much that I signed up for a seven-week intensive training course to become a Launch Cart Certified Partner. I believe in it that much.
I’ve previously sold custom merchandise on Shopify and Woocommerce as well as having used other platforms for my online store so I am well-placed to give feedback on the platform.
Launch Cart has a number of unique features that I haven’t seen elsewhere in other eCommerce platforms.
Custom Design Marketplace
Within the platform, there is the ability to purchase designs to put on and sell custom merchandise such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, etc. A nice extra if you get a little stuck coming up with designs.
Every Launch Cart user gets a free Launch Links account. Launch Links is similar to link tree as it provides a page to create links to various sites, your online store, etc which can then be used in your social media profiles.
Launch Cart has plans to develop this further and add new functionality to it, but it’s already a really great bonus tool.
Future Plans for Launch Cart
Having spent time on calls with Greg Writer (Launch Cart CEO) I know they have big plans for the eCommerce platform and many new features planned and being developed as we speak.
Conclusion of Launch Cart Review
Whilst Launch Cart doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some other eCommerce platforms have, it is a great choice for many.
It doesn’t have all the integrations or apps that Shopify has, but in some cases, that’s because the functionality is built in.
Launch Cart may not integrate with lots of POD providers, for example, if you use Printful and Printify (soon to be added) you can get your print on demand ecommerce journey started for free.
The amount of functionality you get out of the box for free does make other platforms look like money-grabbing bastards. If you sell digital products or other physical products Launch Cart is a great choice too.
Try it for yourself
As Launch Cart has a free plan, why not try it for yourself? Click Here and sign up for a free store and see how easy it is to get going.
Want a paid plan? As a Launch Cart Certified Partner, I get access to special offers and have secured 3 Months Free on any paid plan. Just go to Launch Cart and enter the code LSPPFREE3 at checkout.
Is Launch Cart Cheaper Than Shopify?
Yes. Launch Cart has a free monthly plan that allows you to make sales without the need for a monthly subscription.
The Lift Off plan is cheaper than Shopify by $12 per month and includes functionality you would need to pay for with Shopify via additional paid apps.
Launch Cart Vs Shopify – Which Is Best?
Shopify dominates the market of eCommerce platforms and there are many good reasons for that. It’s simple to use, you can create great stores and there is an app for just about everything.
However, a lot of those apps are costly which can drive the monthly price of Shopify sky-high. Launch Cart has a reduced number of themes and not many apps. But additional apps aren’t required as Launch Cart has included key functionality for free.
So if you want to get a site up quickly and cheaply Launch Cart could be a great choice.