Snipcart vs. Gumroad Review: Comparing E-Commerce Alternatives
Gumroad has been around for almost ten years, serving creators around the world. Initially focused on selling digital goods, it has now evolved and improved.
Since there is a significant overlap in features when it comes to our own product, we decided to craft this Snipcart vs. Gumroad review.
We’ve explored both solutions’ pricing, features, and benefits to see if Snipcart is a decent Gumroad alternative.
We did our best to review both products and highlight their best sides fairly. Hopefully, it should settle which one of the two is best for your next e-commerce venture.
Let’s start by introducing our options.
What is Gumroad?
Gumroad was created in 2011 and is self-described as a super-simple e-commerce platform for creators.
Right off the bat, we can observe their unique positioning in the market: targeting creators especially, i.e., people selling films, books, courses, music, etc. It does not mean you can’t use Gumroad for other types of product, but its user-friendliness and hosting for digital content makes it a good fit for these.
It can be integrated into any website or blog and comes with an e-commerce back-office, analytics, and other features we’ll explore later on.
It’s a widely popular tool and one of the big players in the e-commerce market. This Gumroad review and comparison will highlight the reasons why, but also its limitations.
What is Snipcart?
We allow merchants to sell any product from any website without taking anything away from their personalized brands. Plus, integrating Snipcart is about as low friction as possible if you possess web dev basics. Just copy and paste a few lines of code, easily define your products, and you’re up and running.
At the end of 2019, the team released Snipcart v3.0. This new version enables even more template customization flexibility for developers while ditching any tech dependencies (bye-bye jQuery!)
Check out what others have done with Snipcart right here.
How much do they cost?
Pricing is always a deal-breaker. Let’s compare it for both e-commerce solutions right away.
Gumroad is one of the rare e-commerce tools offering a“free” plan, i.e. you only pay once you make sales.
This “Getting Started” plan looks like this:
No monthly fee + 5% + charge fee (3.5% + 30c)
So, if you make 500$ in monthly sales under this plan, you’ll end up paying around 42$ each month. But you’ll miss out on more advanced features, mostly when it comes to customization.
The other plan, “Creator”, looks like this:
10 to 250*$/mo + (3.5% + 30c)
*Depending on the number of customers
Let’s say you have under 1000 customers and make 500$ in monthly sales, with the “Creator” plan you’ll end up paying around 27,50$ per month.
This plan gives you access to the entire Gumroad feature set. Here, the monthly fee is determined by the number of customers, as opposed to Snipcart, which is determined by sales volume, as we’ll see below.
On their website, Gumroad doesn’t seem to offer other custom plans for users with specific needs.
2% + payment gateway fees (2.9% + 30 cents)/transaction
With Snipcart's standard pricing, you pay 2% of monthly transactions, plus payment gateway fees. If, say, you were using Stripe as your payment gateway, your total pricing would be: 4.9% + 30 cents / transaction.
With the same example as above, a merchant making 500$ in monthly sales will end up paying around 25$ each month.
It’s also important to note that, with Snipcart, the 2% transaction fee cannot go under $10 per month. Thus, $10/mo would be the minimum price assuming you made less than $500 in sales per month.
Just like Gumroad, you can use Snipcart free during the integration and testing process as long as you want. The difference is that you’ll start getting charged once you go live, even though you make no sales. However, as we’ve seen, once you start selling Snipcart is the cheaper option.
For more information about our payment structure, check out our pricing page for details.
Gumroad & Snipcart: What do they have in common?
So far, we’ve learned that Snipcart and Gumroad are similar on a few fronts. Both can be integrated into any website quickly. They offer on-site, customizable checkouts and e-commerce back-offices to manage your online store.
Here are some of the features you’ll have access to with both solutions:
APIs & webhooks
Shipping rates calculation
Sales analytics and reports
Technical support is offered on all plans for both products and seems to operate similarly, prioritizing written support. Gumroad seems to only offer it via email, while you can get Snipcart support in the dashboard via a widget.
Gumroad vs. Snipcart: How do they differ?
Here are features that you’ll find only in one of both products, or only in a limited fashion on one side.
Gumroad advantages review
→ Digital content hosting: Gumroad is quite unique in the fact that it’s a shopping cart and a membership platform. They can protect paid content in their backend, hosting images, videos, or audio for users. This content can then be distributed only to customers (or “members”) paying recurrent fees for access to your content. Hence the appeal for creators.
With Snipcart, you can also upload and securely store digital products in your dashboard, but the distribution of content is less sophisticated.
→ Social selling: You can use Gumroad to sell on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and more.
It’s not something currently available with Snipcart. It's something we’ve been tempted to experiment with, but in our 6+ years of growing our business, it just hasn’t been something our customers have shown much interest in. Our mind can be always be changed by our users and we’re pleased to read their feature suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
→ Different widget options: Gumroad gives you three options on how to direct customers to their cart and checkout. The first one is a hyperlink that sends customers to a Gumroad product page, which has the downside of taking them away from your website.
Otherwise, there are two widgets available, the Overlay and the Embed. Their different behaviors give multiple options for the feel you want for your shopping UX.
Snipcart has a single default template but gives you more flexibility in customizing the look and feel after the integration. More on this later.
Snipcart advantages review
→ Multiple payment gateways: Snipcart has out-of-the-box integrations for 6 different payment gateways. You can also connect any payment gateway to Snipcart thanks to our new custom payment gateway feature. It ensures that our shopping cart can be used to sell everywhere.
Gumroad works differently as it is its own payment gateway. Apart from handling all major credit cards, the only other payment option is Paypal.
→ Multi-language: To sell anywhere, you need to speak many languages. Snipcart checkout flow can be translated into any language. A few edits in your codebase is all that’s needed to expose your cart in French, Spanish, Italian, etc. Something Gumroad doesn’t offer.
→ Abandoned cart recovery: Identifying abandoned carts is a great way to reach near-conversion visitors and increase sales. With Snipcart, you can not only get a list of abandoned carts in your dashboard but create automated recovery campaigns.
Snipcart’s greatest strength is the flexibility it gives developers to customize its shopping cart to fit seamlessly with any website. The word “developers” is important as customization demands basic HTML/CSS skills.
Snipcart also never gets in the way of how you want your shop to look and feel like. It allows you to define product attributes on any HTML element on your code (could be a button, a text link, an image, etc.). In this sense, you're in charge of displaying product and product pages however you'd like!
Here are some examples of what Snipcart users’ have done for their e-commerce website:
Gumroad customization is minimal on their “free” tier, on which you’re stuck with the Gumroad branding through your checkout flow.
Upgrading your plan will allow you to disable it, while also giving you the ability to add your own CSS and pushing customization further. If you’re a merchant or a creator working on your own, this will probably mean getting external help from a developer.
It all comes down to each and everyone’s specific needs. There’s no definitive answer to which of both e-commerce solution is the best.
However, Gumroad and Snipcart both have precise positioning in the market, which should help you quickly decide which one is the best for you.
If you’re a creator working on your own looking to distribute and sell your creations, Gumroad is probably the best fit. It’s particularly true if your craft is digital content, in which case Gumroad’s membership platform becomes appealing. It’s easier to use than Snipcart for non-technical folks. We’re okay with that! We've always tried to remain as developer-centric as possible.
More traditional e-commerce businesses with advanced needs in sales funnel or upselling will stumble upon this solution’s limitations.
If you’re a developer working as a freelance or within an agency who has clients with e-commerce needs, Snipcart might fit the bill better. We understand that e-commerce is only one part of your projects, so our shopping cart is made to not get in the way of any other functionalities your websites need. Developers will find that it’s easier to make it your own and customize it in a way that’s unique to any brand.
That said, Snipcart also remains a great option for very simple e-commerce side projects that don’t require a lot of customization. We’ve got users rockin’ both small shops with minimal configurations and more complex integrations leveraging advanced e-commerce features.
Either way, both solutions are reasonably priced options when getting started that you can look forward to scale as your business grows. No matter which one you finally choose, make sure to create a kick*ss e-commerce project! :)
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