SendOwl Review 2020

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Our verdict

3.5/5

Sendowl is a simple yet robust shopping cart solution for those who are not looking for extremely advanced features and don’t want to battle with tech.

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PROS

  • Super clean and easy to understand interface
  • Supports 29 different currencies
  • Integrates with most major payment gateways
  • Offers flexible payment models such as subscriptions, plans and trials
  • Supports discounts and coupons
  • Supports bump offers and one-click upsells
  • Custom checkout template builder (advanced)
  • Basic but workable affiliate management built-in
  • Strong list of integrations with Zapier support

CONS

  • Limited support for cryptocurrencies
  • Limited checkout and design customization
  • No A/B testing functionality
  • No emergency support, such as live chat or phone support
  • No Facebook community group
SendOwl Dashboard

SendOwl is a London based company founded by George Palmer back in 2010. The cart was built from the ground up to fill a much needed gap in the market: allow anyone to easily sell and deliver digital products from their website.

The software has since evolved into a feature-rich shopping cart and product delivery tool, and now even supports the sale of physical products and services.

In this review, we’ll do an in-depth, 100% objective analysis on where SendOwl stands today, and whether or not it truly holds its own against the big boys.

SendOwl Review: The Good, Bad, And The Ugly

For this review, I fired up SendOwl to see how it fares in comparison to popular alternatives.

From here on out, I’ll share my experiences using this tool, as well as what I liked and didn’t like along the way.

How Well Does It Accept Different Payments?

SendOwl Payment Methods

SendOwl currently supports various payment gateways such as the usual PayPal and Stripe, as well as Apple Pay and Bitcoin — though these technically go through Stripe.

Strangely, Authorize.net used to be supported, but it’s since been removed under the payment gateway settings.

SendOwl & Authorize.net Support

And, aside from Bitcoin, there’s no support for other types of cryptocurrencies, though very few shopping carts go beyond what Stripe offers here.

That being said, SendOwl still covers the basics well and even though I’d like to see other payment gateways listed, this will be plenty for the vast majority of users.

Let’s move on to payment models.

When creating a new product in SendOwl, you’re given the option to add a subscription:

SendOwl Subscription Setup

If you look closely at the screenshot above, you’ll notice that it also has a duration setting which allows you to limit the number of occurrences.

(Essentially, that means you can also use this subscriptions model to offer payment plans.)

Another nice touch here is the ability to set a trial period, which is something that we know can make a big impact on your conversions.

It gets better…

The advanced options found under each product allows you to do things like enable ‘Pay What You Want’, set a limit on the product quantity and choose between 29 different currencies!

SendOwl Trial Period Setup

For a tool that, on the surface, looks pretty bare in terms of features (not necessarily a bad thing), it’s surprising what you can do with it once you really dive into the settings.

Verdict:

While SendOwl doesn’t feel as feature-packed as some other shopping carts, when you it comes down to it, there really isn’t much it can’t do when it comes to accepting payments.

How Well Does It Convert Prospects?

We’ll start with the checkout templates.

Under the main settings panel, SendOwl allows you to choose between four different styles of checkout.

SendOwl Checkout Templates

This is where some confusion kicked in.

First of all, I wasn’t sure how to apply this to individual products… and as far as I could work out, you can’t. Templates are applied globally, to all products. Not ideal.

Secondly, aside from the design, it wasn’t clear how these checkouts were operationally different, even after using the preview.

(It turns out the top two checkout options are overlays, and the bottom two redirect your prospects to a dedicated checkout page — but it took some figuring out.)

Aside from what is obviously a very limited selection of templates, I also found the customization options a little… woeful.

Here’s one of the “configuration” windows:

SendOwl Checkout Template Options

So yeah, if you want these checkout templates to jive with your sites design and branding, this could be a little too restricting.

Interestingly, SendOwl allows you to build your own checkout templates.

SendOwl Checkout Template Building

I should point out that this is classed as an “advanced” feature, so I wouldn’t expect everyone to be able to use this right off the bat.

Of course, if you’re developer you might not be so intimidated.

SendOwl Checkout Template Edit

Anyway, before we wrap up this section, let’s talk about A/B testing.

Marketers LOVE to run split-tests to see which variation of an offer converts best, whether those changes include changes in design, pricing or the product itself.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about it here, since there’s no A/B testing feature built into SendOwl — though you could, in theory, pull this off manually.

Verdict:

Very limited checkout templates and design customization. You can attempt to build you own, but it’s not for the faint hearted. There’s also no A/B testing environment.

Does It Help Boost Your Sales?

If the last section was about making the sale, this one’s about increasing the value of that sale.

All of the magic happens under the “Marketing” tab.

SendOwl Marketing Tab

The first item on the list is ‘discounts and coupons’.

Unsurprisingly, SendOwl offers a ton of options here while also keeping things clean and simple.

SendOwl Discounts and Coupons

Despite the fact most people will find everything they need here, I should point out that it’s not quite as flexible as something like ThriveCart.

(For example, SendOwl doesn’t allow you to attribute a discount code to an affiliate.)

What about bump offers?

At first, I couldn’t see an option to add any kind of bump offer, but SendOwl actually treats them as “upsells”.

SendOwl Bump Offers

Yet again, SendOwl does a great job at simplifying sales concepts to make the platform easier to understand. I like it.

Finally, let’s look at affiliate management.

Personally, I find this to be one of the weakest areas of SendOwl, especially when compared with the configuration options of ThriveCart.

Here’s what you get:

SendOwl Affiliate Program Configurations

Much like with discounts and coupons, the vast majority of users will find everything they need here.

That being said, it would be nice to have more granular control over individual affiliates, such as custom commissions and the ability to add second-tier affiliates.

I also felt the affiliate sign-up page could have allowed for more customization options, especially since the branding is very prominent.

SendOwl Affiliate Signup Page

Verdict:

From discounts and coupons, bump offers and 1-click upsells, SendOwl seems to have it all covered. Only slightly let down by a barebones affiliate management portal.

How Well Does It Fit Into Your Tech Stack?

When it comes to shopping carts, having them properly integrate with the rest of your software setup is essential.

Email marketing is often the first thing to consider when introducing any new tech into your business, and SendOwl doesn’t disappoint.

SendOwl Email Marketing Integrations

Can’t argue with that.

For those who use membership platforms like S2Member, Wishlist Member or MemberMouse, you’ll be please to know that SendOwl is way ahead of you there.

SendOwl Membership Integrations

Not terrible, but I would have liked to see a more comprehensive list of membership integrations here, such as LifterLMS, MemberPress and even platforms like Teachable.

Depending on how you gate your content, that could certainly be a deal-breaker for you.

Interestingly, SendOwl also has a native integration with Shopify — though I’m not sure what the benefit of doing this is, since Shopify has a very robust shopping cart built-in.

SendOwl Shopify Integration

As for webinar platforms? That’s where SendOwl’s native integrations start to dry up.

The good news is, SendOwl is supported by Zapier, which means you should be able to get around most missing integrations unless you’re setup is a little more obscure.

SendOwl Zapier Integration

Verdict:

SendOwl covers all the major email marketing tools, though I felt the membership integrations could have been more extensive. Zapier is also supported.

Does It Always Have Your Back?

Your shopping cart is the money collector, which makes it one of, if not the most important piece of software in your business.

Any roadblocks that may arise, whether that’s understanding how to use the software, potential technical challenges or even unscheduled downtime, you need to have somewhere to turn for help.

One thing I LOVE about SendOwl, and I know I’ve said this numerous time already, but SendOwl is incredibly easy to use.

While it isn’t as feature-packed as something like ThriveCart, it still gives you a great blend of simplicity and raw power.

But let’s be honest, issues can and will arise.

And, as with most software companies, the documentation is where you’re expected to start. SendOwl is no different.

SendOwl Help Center

Despite being super easy to use on the whole, I did find myself digging through the “Help Centre” on more than one occasion, and it was actually well documented.

If you need a more personal touch when it comes to support, you’ll have to submit a request through the contact form.

SendOwl Support Contact Form

But this isn’t gonna cut it in the event of an emergency.

The real question is, who can you call on in the middle of a big launch when you need immediate assistance?

Well, that’s the thing.

As hard as I looked, I couldn’t find anything that would put me directly in touch with a human. No live chat. No phone support. Nada.

(Strangely, this seems to be a trend with shopping cart companies)

If that wasn’t enough, there also doesn’t seem to be any kind of online community surrounding the product.

SendOwl Facebook Group Search

As someone who spends more time than I’d like to admit in Facebook groups, this is a bit of a blow.

Verdict:

Detailed documentation and email support available, though a lack of community and more immediate communication channels could pose a problem for some users.

Price

SendOwl comes in as one of the cheapest Shopping Carts I’ve seen on the market, and certainly the cheapest from this review series.

Here’s what the pricing looks like:

SendOwl Pricing Options

I particularly like that you for number of products, since it allows you to scale up as needed.

I mean seriously, you can start selling products through SendOwl for a measly $9 per month!

Let’s look at how other shopping carts are priced, so you can get a better idea of where SendOwl currently sits in the market.

Shopping CartFree PlanTrialRefundLow End Cost
Samcart logo pngNo14 days45 days$99/month
ThriveCartNoNo30 days$595 (one time)
PayKickStartNo14 days30 days$29/month
SendOwlNo30 daysNo?$9/month
GumRoadYes14 daysNo?$240 p/m

Note: the pricing above reflects the lowest tier monthly plan for each of the shopping carts, and should not be seen as a direct comparison since the features and limitations vary a lot from cart-to-cart.

Is SendOwl Right For You?

Now that I’ve covered all the different features and functions of SendOwl, weighing up the pros and cons and giving my experience along the way — let’s talk about YOU.

As with any tool, SendOwl isn’t going to be the right choice for everyone, so I’d like to get to the bottom of who exactly this page builder is suitable for.

Can SendOwl Be Used To Sell Digital Products?

No.

Just kidding, of course it can.

Digital files and software products are the first options SendOwl gives you when setting up a new product.

SendOwl Digital File Product Checkout Setup.pg

Not only can you upload and protect a file, but you can also dictate things like the ‘Download Folder’, ‘Download Attempts’ and ‘Download Validity’.

SendOwl Digital File Protection

Do you sell a software product?

SendOwl even helps you generate license keys, whether it’s auto-generated, from a list, or from a URL.

SendOwl Software Product Checkout Setup

And, while it’s not strictly tied to digital products, SendOwl’s in-built affiliate centre works GREAT when it comes to building an army of promoters.

Can SendOwl Be Used To Sell Physical Products?

Yeah. Kinda.

SendOwl does have an option for physical products when setting up a new product, so it’s clearly doable:

SendOwl Physical Product Checkout Setup

The only real difference I could see from this, however, was the checkout page asking for a shipping address.

SendOwl Shipping Address for Physical Product

Sure, it works… but I can’t see it being an optimal for solution for anyone with more than a handful of products.

If you were to use SendOwl for a larger selection of physical products, I imagine the Shopify integration would be more useful, but again, I can’t see why you’d forego the Shopify checkout.

(If I’m missing something there, please let me know in the comments)

Overall, SendOwl can be used to sell physical products, but I wouldn’t recommend using it primarily for that purpose.

Can SendOwl Be Used To Sell Services

Is Trump the US president?

Yes, SendOwl can be used to sell services, and in case you didn’t pick it up in the previous screenshots, there’s an option for it under the product creation settings…

SendOwl Service Checkout

Now, I should say that from SendOwl’s perspective (or any shopping cart for that matter), there’s little difference when it comes to selling a digital product versus a service.

Essentially, it works the exact same way as a digital product, without the option to download a file attachment.

SendOwl Service Checkout Setup

Fortunately, you can also leverage the same marketing tools for services, such as bump offers, upsells and affiliates.

Overall, SendOwl is a reasonable choice when it comes to selling your service(s).

Conclusion

I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for SendOwl. Truth be told, I hadn’t even heard of it before starting this review series.

So what’s the verdict?

Even though it’s not quite as feature-packed as some of its competitors, the “plug n’ play” aspect of SendOwl makes it easy to understand why it’s such a popular choice.

It won’t be for everyone, but considering the ease of use, respectable feature list and entry price of $9 per month, there’s little reason to at least give it a spin.

If you’d like to see exactly how SendOwl compared against 5 other shopping carts, click here to read the full roundup.

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