I have used both Kajabi and ThriveCart for years – even integrating them into one system. Here’s what you need to know to decide which is better, Kajabi or ThriveCart

For the better part of the last decade, I have used a variety of platforms for coaching and courses, including Kajabi and ThriveCart. SaaS is my thing, I’m addicted.

Nevertheless, the more tools I use, the more I realize I need to actually use fewer, but more robust tools when creating and selling courses and products.

So, in this ThriveCart vs Kajabi comparison, we’ll share my experience with both platforms.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know which platform to commit your time and money to get the most value and returns.

ThriveCart vs Kajabi: Here is A Quick Overview

First, a quick background.

What Does Kajabi Do?

Kajabi is a full-featured online business platform that enables you to monetize your knowledge through courses and one-on-one coaching sessions.

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With Kajabi, you can also create subscription-based podcasts, a gated community, and paid memberships to build your audience and brand. You can use it to manage your entire digital business from A-Z.

If you are interested in learning more, refer this review on Kajabi that I have published few months back.

What does ThriveCart do?

ThriveCart is a robust online cart platform that is easy to use. And, they recently rolled out their LMS component called Thrive Learn. With it, you can also create and sell courses and knowledge-based products.

ThriveCart features

You can also sell physical products and services with ThriveCart, unlike Kajabi, which is designed to create, market, and sell digital products.

ThriveCart is a platform I use as a shopping cart for all my products. I reviewed it before. Also, it is a top SamCart alternative, and we’ve covered that in our ThriveCart vs SamCart comparison here.

Quick decision

👍 What I like about ThriveCart over Kajabi

  • Superior cart or checkout page tools: You’ll get features like one-click upsells, retargeting, tripwires, video carts, etc.
  • Sell physical products: ThriveCart lets you collect shipping details and fulfill orders with Kunaku and Lulu, unlike Kajabi.
  • Embed carts on any site: You can embed popup carts or code snippets anywhere to promote sales and allow customers to complete orders in seconds.
  • Great course structure: ThriveCart Learn (and Learn+) organize courses into simple modules and lessons that are easy to set up (for you) and follow (for your learners).
  • ThriveCart’s Lifetime deal: Pay only $495 or $690 once instead of paying monthly or yearly fees.

👍 What I like about Kajabi over ThriveCart

  • All-in-one digital business platform: It’s a single platform that offers everything you need to sell courses, coaching, and more. Minimal integrations required.
  • Excellent tagging: Kajabi’s advanced tag system enables you to segment your customers based on multiple factors and send them hyper-targeted emails to encourage upsells, cross-sells, and more.
  • Exceptional student engagement tools: Kajabi’s courses include tools such as assessments, quizzes, course completion certificates, and comments/discussions to keep students engaged and accountable.
  • Superior funnel building: ThriveCart emphasizes the checkout stage of the sales journey, but Kajabi enables you to create multiple, intuitive steps that convert casual website visitors into paying customers.
  • Excellent for branding: Kajabi’s website/blog/email/funnel templates can be customized or built from scratch to match your brand’s look and feel whether you are established or are just start out professionally.
  • Superior customer engagement tools: Blog posts, podcasts, webinars, memberships, and community engagements can help you attract, engage, and retain your learners.

Upfront bottomline

With Kajabi, you can operate your entire online business from just one platform since it includes most of the tools and services you’ll need. One Kajabi subscription can replace multiple separate tools.

Conversely, ThriveCart is more of a cart platform with an integrated learning management system. It’s designed to optimize checkout pages and conversions (and it works great!). The thing is you may still need to use separate tools (via APIs or Zapier) to compensate for what ThriveCart lacks on its own.

Kajabi vs ThriveCart: An in-depth comparison

Here’s my experience using Kajabi and ThriveCart to build online courses, funnels, and maximize sales for my online business.

Key difference #1: Kajabi supports coaching and podcasts

If you want to offer 1-on-1 coaching sessions and robust podcasts (both free or paid), only Kajabi supports this here.

Public vs private podcasts in Kajabi

Kajabi offers these alongside the ability to design, structure, and put together REALLY robust courses.

However, I like that ThriveCart Learn (and Learn+) support unlimited courses, unlimited modules, unlimited lessons, and unlimited students (something I’ve only seen from Systeme.io and Podia).

ThriveCart also supports Joint Venture (JV) contracts. This means you can team up with other content creators, influencers, and experts to create the courses and easily share revenue proportionately.

Key difference #2: ThriveCart lets you create and sell both digital and physical products

However, only ThriveCart supports selling physical products alongside digital ones (again, like Systeme.io).

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You can collect customers’ shipping addresses through the platform, but fulfillment is handled by Lulu and Kunaki, which you need to integrate with ThriveCart.

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Kajabi is designed for creating, marketing, and selling digital products. Period.

Key difference #3: Kajabi enables you to build websites

Here’s the thing. If your focus is to create and sell a one-off course, or one at a time as fast as possible, ThriveCart will be just fine for you.

But if you are playing the long game, where you want to build a brand, audience, and monetize your email list over time, I recommend going with Kajabi. It includes website templates to get you started quickly, too!

kajabi design design

Kajabi will let you build a custom website and blog as well as collect emails and manage them in a dedicated CRM. In addition, you get a mobile app to manage your Kajabi account.

Plus, you can use Kajabi to build your own app quickly to help your students access your content any time, anywhere, on-the-go.

Key difference #4: ThriveCart lets you create website embeddable carts

What makes ThriveCart really stand out is that it offers modal and embeddable shopping carts.

You get five templates to begin with; multi-step (capture more customer details), single-step (faster checkout experience), sales cart, embeddable, and popup carts.

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To increase chances of making a sale without being too pushy, you can place them on any website (yes, even Kajabi websites and blogs).

And yes, I’ve seen these ACTUALLY help to increase my sales (and I mean both the conversion rate and income). Although Kajabi has good checkout page tools, they don’t compare to this (more on this below).

Key difference #5: Kajabi enables you to build robust memberships and communities

ThriveCart lacks memberships and community-building features — for now. Still, you can use it to manage subscriptions to membership and community websites you’ve created elsewhere, such as Kajabi (via Zapier), OptimizePress, Teachable, and MemberPress.

Meanwhile, Kajabi lets you create both free and paid memberships as well as full-featured communities (private and public).

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You can also create membership tiers/levels (plans) and charge for them all in one place.

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Key difference #6: ThriveCart supports split testing on checkout page

Kajabi does not natively support A/B tests or split testing.

In contrast, ThriveCart offers A/B testing (like Systeme.io). But unlike Systeme, which lets you test emails and sales funnel steps, ThriveCart offers A/B testing for checkout page elements only.

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Still, ThriveCart’s A/B tests rock because you can experiment with almost all aspects of your cart; prices, pricing options (such as one-time vs payment plans/split payments), testimonials, countdowns, payment methods, upsell options, and more.

Key difference #7:Kajabi supports advanced sales funnels, email marketing and automation

You won’t really be able to build full-featured sales funnels with ThriveCart. Essentially, ThriveCart helps build the checkout part of your sales funnel (including upsell or downsell pages).

building ThriveCart funnels

But you can also use rules to automate some things, such as adding customer emails to a customer hub, retargeting to minimize cart abandonment, and sending email follow-ups to drive upsells).

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Yet, you need a separate integration to send out these emails.

Meanwhile, Kajabi enables you to create advanced funnels, and even includes six Funnel templates:

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Your Kajabi funnel can include multiple steps based on your customer’s journey, such as:

  • Collect emails (for list building)
  • Engaging subscribers
  • Send cart abandonment follow-ups
  • Ping Thank you messages after a sale
  • Send a timely upsell offer.

Moreover, Kajabi has an in-built autoresponder, so everything happens in one place. ThriveCart does not, so you’ll need to integrate with platforms like Kajabi (yes), ClickFunnels, ActiveCampaign, Drip, etc (this is an additional cost AND another tool to manage).

Key difference #8: ThriveCart offers more tools to help you sell more

Both ThriveCart and Kajabi offer lots of conversion optimization tools, anti-cart abandonment features, and order bumps/upselling options.

You know them: payment plans, one-time payments, order bumps, one-click upsells/downsells, product bundles, % or $ discounts and coupons, offer deadlines, abandon cart emails, and more.

For Kajabi, the checkout settings page looks like this:

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However, I liked that ThriveCart offers tripwires (start low and raise prices later), video carts (video converts better than text), auto-follow ups, unlimited carts, and retargeting (target and recover customers who have visited your checkout page but didn’t purchase).

My favorite? ThriveCart provides dunning management. This enables you to automatically check expired payment details and prevent missed payments from reducing sales and recurring revenue.

As an added bonus, ThriveCart AUTOMATICALLY deducts/cancels affiliate commissions for returned products, which is super handy (and often overlooked elsewhere).

Affiliate commissions and refund rates in ThriveCart

Key difference #9: Kajabi won’t require you to have more integrations

You can run your entire online business with just one Kajabi subscription; it’s an all-in-one platform.

kajabi integrations

ThriveCart specializes in optimizing the checkout process for your customers. This means TC requires separate integrations for different functionalities, such as WordPress (website/blog), ActiveCampaign (email marketing), Drip (funnels), LeadPages (longer sales pages), etc.

ThriveCart integrations

I’m all for using the fewest tools possible. I find adding platforms can make everything more complex, harder to manage, and introduce hidden costs.

But then again, Thrivecart lets you start with the basic functionalities you need and add additional integrations/features with Zapier and webhooks — at your own pace. Your choice.

Key difference #10: Kajabi offers advanced customer support

If you need emergency help (or a bit more hand-holding), Kajabi provides live chat between 6am-5pm Pacific time, if you purchase the Basic $149/month plan — and 24/7 with a higher plan.

And if you need more hands-on training, they offer 1-on-1 live sessions (Kajabi Access for $99 for one hour).

Or, you can watch their free, daily live training webinars (or replays 3 hours after) for Q&As, expert tips and tricks to make the most of your Kajabi subscription.

Kajabi live training webinars

Otherwise, the usuals are also available; email, knowledgebase, Facebook group, video tutorials, and ticketing system.

With ThriveCart, you need to submit tickets, browse FAQ pages, and knock yourself out to help articles. To their credit, they do have a responsive support team — and it won’t cost you a premium to get useful advice compared to Kajabi.

And speaking of paying up, here’s how ThriveCart and Kajabi compare in pricing.

Key difference #11: ThriveCart pricing offers a lifetime deal

Picture this:

ThriveCart pricing

That’s right. When I first learned about ThriveCart’s Lifetime Deal, I thought it was a way to steal customers from competitors like Kajabi and LearnWorlds, then increase prices. Nope. You can still order ThriveCart’s standard plan for a one-time fee of $495.

If you want the pro edition, it costs just $690.

ThriveCart Pro Lifetime Pricing

No monthly/annual fees. No transaction fees. No handing over a share of your earnings (as in Podia’s “Free” plan).

But if you’d like to test ThriveCart before committing your time and money to it, there is no free trial or free plan available. The 30-day moneyback guarantee runs out pretty quickly, so…

In comparison, Kajabi is a subscription platform. You need to pay up a minimum $149/month for the basic plan, $199/month for more capabilities, and $399/month for the unlimited edition. Check this out:

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So, what course creation and digital selling platform delivers the most value?

ThriveCart vs Kajabi: Verdict

Now, you can see which tradeoffs you might have to make if you choose Kajabi or ThriveCart. Here’s a quick refresher.

Kajabi is a powerful, all-in-one online platform for creating and selling courses, 1-on-1 coaching, podcasts, webinars, website/blog, and advanced sales funnels (including tagging). The minimum investment is $149 per month. Then again, Kajabi can replace many of the separate tools you already have, probably saving you more time and money.

Take ThriveCart if you don’t need Kajabi’s bells and whistles. That is, you can live without an in-built autoresponder, advanced sales funnels, a website/blog, memberships, and communities or you have an existing setup, but you want to boost sales with advanced checkout page tools like tripwires, video carts, and retargeting.

Heck! You can even integrate ThriveCart’s cart popups with Kajabi or another LMS platform directly or via Zapier.

ThriveCart vs Kajabi FAQs

Does Kajabi have a free plan or trial?

Kajabi offers a 14-day free trial, but no free plan.

Can you pay monthly for ThriveCart?

No. You pay a one-time fee of $495 for Standard or $695 for ThriveCart Pro

Does ThriveCart have a free plan or trial?

No, only a Lifetime plan.

Is Kajabi worth it for the price?

If you actually use the many capabilities it offers, yes.

How much does ThriveCart cost?

$495 for Standard or $695 for Pro forever

How many products can I create with ThriveCart?

Up to 6 different products or pricing options

Is Kajabi good for memberships and online communities?

Yes. You can create and manage tiered memberships and communities seamlessly.

Is ThriveCart good for online courses?

Yes, Thrive Learn offers a competitive course creation platform as part of the ThriveCart subscription. Learn+ requires the Pro plan.