Editor's note: In a rush? Skip to the comparative review's conclusion right away
In 2013, a great e-commerce product was released, straight out of San Francisco's tech haven: Selz. It offers a simple way to add shopping functionality to any site, à la Shopify Buy Button. It's a "competing" product people ask us about regularly. So today, we're going to answer these questions:
Is Snipcart a good Selz alternative? Can you explain how they differ?
We'll start this Snipcart vs. Selz review by highlighting differences and similarities between pricing & features. Then, we'll try to suggest the best use cases for each solution. If you believe we fail at doing so, please let us know, and we'll adapt.
What is Selz?
Selz is an e-commerce solution that lets you embed storefronts, products, or buy buttons on any site. These functionalities necessitate copying and pasting code, but no programming experience is required to put together a Selz store. It also allows you to build simple hosted e-commerce sites, and sell on social media channels. You manage all your online store operations in a clean dashboard.
Read more about it in this Merchant Maverick Selz review.
What is Snipcart?
See the GitHub repo for this custom theme.
At the end of 2019, the team released Snipcart v3.0, enabling even more template customization flexibility for developers and ditching any tech dependencies (bye-bye jQuery!).
How much do they cost?
Using Snipcart or Selz will cost you payment processing fees, and a transaction fee. The biggest difference here is that Selz adds fixed monthly fees to its pricing plans.
Selz offers 3 different monthly pricing plans:
All plans include processing fees—or payment gateway fees— respectively of 2.9% + 30 cents/tx, 2.8% + 30 cents/tx, and 2.7% + 30 cents/tx
So, if you make 500$ in monthly sales with the Basic Selz plan, it should cost you around 40$ total.
The Basic plan leaves out features such as tax invoices, custom receipts, custom fields or real-time shipping rates. All plans give you access to buy buttons, embeddable widgets, analytics, customer management, Facebook & Instagram store, discounts, digital goods, tax calculation, etc.
There's also a new, fourth plan called "Do It For Me". For $599/mo Selz can assign a team of marketing, design and e-commerce experts to manage a user's account, taking them through creating a store, setting up advertising, etc. Read more about it here.
2% + payment gateway fees (2.9% + 30 cents)/tx
Snipcart's standard pricing is 2% of monthly transactions, plus payment gateway fees. No fixed fee.
With Snipcart, 500$ of monthly sales on your store would cost you around 25$ total.
Note: The 2% can't go under 10$ per month. We also offer custom-tailored pricing for merchants with high-volume & seasonal sales. See our pricing page for details.
Snipcart vs. Selz: feature set similarities
Like Snipcart, Selz allows you to sell on any site. Which tends to create many similarities between the two e-commerce solutions. Here's a list of features both have in common:
Multi-languages support—5 languages for Selz, unlimited locales translations for Snipcart
Automatic tax calculation
Sales analytics and reports—Selz includes more traffic metrics like referrals and on-site views
Integration with Google Analytics
In-app customer communications
Regular and priority email support
Customized emails—Selz uses pre-defined templates; Snipcart uses Handlebars.js templates
On-site transaction processing
Now let's move on to key differences.
Snipcart vs. Selz review of important distinctions
→ Social selling
With its buy buttons, Selz makes it easy to sell on social channels—be it Facebook (full store offered) or Instagram. If social marketing generates lots of engagement from your audience, this could be a great feature for you. And that's something Snipcart doesn't offer.
Don't get us wrong: we are interested in developing social selling features! But we're waiting on an increasing demand from active and potential users to do so. As a small bootstrapped team, we have to commit ourselves to prioritize features requested by most merchants.
→ E-commerce website creation
Like Ecwid, Selz doesn't limit itself to adding shopping functionalities to existing sites. It also allows you to create a simple e-commerce site from scratch. And they've made it super easy to do so. If you're happy with their templates and don't put too much importance on choosing a site builder/CMS, that's a big plus.
Snipcart won't allow you to create your website: you'll have to pick the tool best fit for your current & future needs!
When using Selz's hosted site option, you can also categorize products for smarter displays. With Snipcart, you handle this with a little code on your own site.
→ 3rd party integrations
Selz offers a limited but interesting number of "one-click" integrations: email marketing platforms like MailChimp & Campaign Monitor, and comments systems like Disqus & Yotpo (the last two are paid).
Such integrations are handled manually with Snipcart, using our webhooks.
Out-of-the-box vs. paid features
Selz distributes its features among three paid plans, while Snipcart doesn't.
Here's a list of features Snipcart offers by default, but that will require additional fixed fees on Selz:
Full shopping cart—adding more than one product to an order
Additional payment gateways
Adding custom fields to cart orders
Abandoned carts recovery
Advanced shipping rules
Store & shopping cart customization
Embeddables on Selz
The embeddable store and widgets use Selz's default design, which looks neat. It may or may not be a fit for you, depending on your site's design. Developers can play around with these design properties with Selz's jQuery plugin.
Hosted site on Selz
There's a limited selection of decent themes for your hosted Selz store. You can't make huge changes to their core design structure. But there are a few things you can tweak without a line of code, in their WYSIWYG editor. A few Selz examples regarding themes:
For more advanced design customizations, developers can use Selz's HTML/CSS theme editor:
Selz themes use Liquid templating, like Shopify. So you'll have to deal with this tech if you start customizing your hosted store. And if you're intent on using Selz hosted sites to sell but want to create a more customized site, you could take the time to develop your own theme.
While Selz offers a nice checkout process, the shopping cart and checkout themselves can't be much customized.
With Snipcart, cart visuals & behaviour look and feel however you want. Developers can make sure your site's branding and checkout experience design are organized in one seamless user experience.
Snipcart-exclusive features & characteristics
With Snipcart, merchants can pick from 6 different payment gateways to process secure transactions. We also offer a custom payment gateway feature that allows developers to manually connect Snipcart to any payment gateway.
Selz offers a more limited choice (2) with Selz Pay, and PayPal.
Both Selz and Snipcart have out-of-the-box integrations with international shipping providers (6 of these for Snipcart). The main difference is that with Snipcart real-time shipping rates are provided from the get-go, while you'll have to subscribe to Selz's Advanced plan ($179/mo) to have access to it.
If you prefer, with Snipcart you can also do custom flat rates, handling fees, and webhooks-triggered shipping costs.
While Selz's discounts system is quite decent, it's fair to mention that Snipcart supports more scenarios & triggers:
With Snipcart, you can enable on-site customer dashboards displaying orders history, pre-filled billing & shipping info, and active subscriptions.
Recurring payments and subscriptions
Using our subscription feature, you can sell recurring plans or products (supports only Stripe, not available for v3.0 yet).
Multi-currency display & transactions
Selz lets you choose in which currency you want to sell products. However, with Snipcart, you can set up multiple currency prices for each product, display these on your store with triggers, and even process transactions in different currencies. Details here.
The two last features aren't available for v3.0 yet. We want to fix that in the next few months, so stay tuned for more upcoming releases!
API & webhooks
Both products offer webhooks to integrate with external systems. However, thanks to Snipcart's set of APIs, you'll get more flexibility in that regard.
The SEO features Selz offers are pretty basic (definition of page title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for the hosted store). The alternative, using their embeds buttons or products, means search engine optimization will be handled on your site: you might want to add images with proper alt tags, and in-depth product descriptions, reviews, etc. on your product pages. You'll likely have more leeway when it comes to serious SEO by using your own site rather than Selz's hosted sites.
Snipcart in and of itself has 0 impact on your SEO. It's up to you to optimize your site's code, pages, and media for SEO and performance. If you're working with a developer who knows his/her stuff when it comes to SEO, that's good news. If you're not: find one. Organic traffic and search engine rankings will do your e-commerce site much good.
Conclusion: Snipcart vs. Selz review
Now, for the killer question: which one should you choose?
The boring answer is that it depends.
Both solutions allow you to sell all kinds of stuff on your site and undoubtedly increase your go-to-market speed.
Selz does a few things at the same time: e-commerce on external sites, social media, and hosted sites. How you decide to use it will be key. For instance, they have really nailed the handling of various digital goods use cases. So if you're a writer, artist, musician looking to easily distribute your creations online and on social media by yourself, you should definitely try to leverage the power of Selz embeddables. Plus, Selz just has a beautiful checkout experience (in our opinion, you should pick it over Ecwid).
If you don't have complex e-commerce needs, and don't want to work with a developer (or aren't one) at all, you're better off with Selz than Snipcart.
If you were to choose Selz's hosted site option, you might be slightly limited in terms of customization and on-site optimization (unless you have serious inputs from a developer). And if you were to embed Selz products on your site, you'd still be limited when it comes to cart and checkout customization. So if you're willing to work with a developer to create a more authentic and customized experience for your brand, we'd advise trying Snipcart here. You'd have more control on the overall look and feel of your site.
And if you were to push your e-commerce further and scale it inside a CMS or via other systems, our robust APIs & webhooks might come in handy.
Also, it's worth mentioning that you'll get more features for a smaller pricing with Snipcart.
If you're opened to collaborating with a developer to build a uniquely tailored e-commerce business, you should choose Snipcart as a Selz alternative.
The choice is yours!
We hope this Snipcart vs. Selz review helped better position both products on the e-commerce spectrum. If you found it valuable, go ahead and share it on Twitter. As mentioned in the intro, let us know if we missed something. Feel free to share your thoughts on Snipcart or Selz below!