Kajabi was founded in 2009 by Kenny Rueter and Travis Rosser when they decided to build their own platform to sell information online. It all started when Kenny built a toy for his son and suggested to Travis that they sell it online, but the two were daunted by the intricacies of the manufacturing process. Instead, they chose to sell a course on how to make the toy at home, but there were no easy-to-use platforms for selling courses the way they envisioned. Kenny then put his programming background to work and created Kajabi to allow himself and others to sell their knowledge. Kajabi is based in Irvine, CA with Kenny continuing to lead the company as CEO.
Shift4Shop is a feature-rich eCommerce platform serving businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries across the globe. Offering an unmatched free eCommerce solution, the company provides everything you need to start — and grow — your business. This turnkey eCommerce experience includes powerful tools to help businesses succeed — a robust website builder, product and order management, customer marketing tools, and more. Customers can choose from dozens of professionally designed, industry-specific templates, all of which are mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, and highly customizable.
There are few things as rewarding as having something to share with the world, especially if it's a skill others can use to enrich their lives. That's why online courses have become so popular today, available on many different platforms and on numerous topics. Kajabi is a popular tool an online instructor can use to create and build a course, collect payments from students, and provide supplementary digital material.
Kajabi is a fine platform for online course creation. However, it's not a full replacement for an online store. The most important thing to understand about Kajabi is that it's an online course creator first and an online store platform second. Its primary focus is on tools to help you create and structure your online courses, with some website functionality added on. Its tools for course creation are highly regarded among users, and you can definitely create some great courses with Kajabi, but its viability for creating an eCommerce website is limited.
Kajabi is focused purely on creating and selling online courses, which can include videos and digital downloads. However, some course creators want to provide their students with other materials that will be needed as they follow the lessons. You can't sell physical items through Kajabi, which means your students will need to get their materials elsewhere — whether from your online store on a different platform, or from another source like Amazon. With Shift4Shop, however, you can sell both digital and physical products, meaning you can support your online courses with any materials your students will need, and therefore open up additional possibilities for revenue. Even instructors whose courses don't require materials may want to sell physical products, like accessories commemorating participation in the course, so it's better to have this option.
With its starter plan priced at $149/month, Kajabi isn't viable at all for an instructor who's just starting out. It doesn't become cost-effective unless you already have a following ready to purchase your courses from day one. But Shift4Shop is much more accessible: it even offers a free, completely unlimited plan. With Shift4Shop, you can afford to start building your audience from scratch via selling digital downloads, creating an email list, and other techniques. Once you've grown your audience and can fit Kajabi into your budget, you can start creating your courses there and selling them through Shift4Shop with our connector, with access to the customer base you've built through your Shift4Shop store. When the barrier to entry is much lower, it means more people can share their knowledge!
"I like Kajabi for building my online courses, but it just doesn't do everything I need. I can only accept a couple of payment types and to be honest, there are lots of limits on the platform. I needed to upgrade to sell more than 3 courses, which was rough on my budget, and I can't use it to sell the kits I made for the courses I teach. I went to Shift4Shop to sell these and it's very effective. Just know that if you use Kajabi you're probably also going to have to build a store elsewhere too if you want to sell anything else or get exposure. Shift4Shop fit the bill perfectly because it's so versatile. I started selling my courses through my Shift4Shop store with the connector, too, so I can give customers reward points for signing up."
- Current Kajabi Instructor
Part of building a reputation as an online guru is building a personal brand that your customers can identify immediately. However, on Kajabi, you'll need to upgrade to the Growth plan for $199/month to remove their branding from your website. This limits your ability to present yourself as an independent professional rather than "just another creator on a platform." Shift4Shop, on the other hand, never forces you to have any Shift4Shop branding on your website.
Your eCommerce website's design affects everything from your SEO to your customer satisfaction and beyond. Shift4Shop and Kajabi both offer free themes or templates to design your website in a snap, so let's compare the designs of each platform.
Kajabi doesn't have a theme library in the way you might expect. Instead, they offer a single theme that includes 6 Layout Presets. For practical purposes, this amounts to 6 extremely similar themes with minor differences. While you're able to customize many elements quite easily, you're still stuck with a website that looks like many others.
Shift4Shop offers dozens of free themes, covering a wide selection of different layouts and styles, and we frequently add new ones to our collection. Each theme is customizable via the Theme Editor, plus the HTML Builder for even more control (or edit the code itself, if you prefer!). No matter your level of web design expertise, Shift4Shop allows you much more choice for the look of your website.
Shift4Shop is powered by Shift4 Payments, which sets up in minutes and allows you to accept credit cards as well as several alternate payment types. You'll also have over 160 alternate payment gateways to choose from so you can expand your store with options like PayPal, plus digital wallets like Apple Pay and much more — even regional payment methods like Australia's ZipPay.
Kajabi does not have many options for accepting payments, providing only PayPal and Stripe integrations. While these are sufficient for many customers, it's been proven that offering more payment methods will attract more customers to your website. Many online shoppers will even leave a store if their favorite payment isn't accepted.
Shift4Shop understands how confusing eCommerce can be, especially with a platform that offers so much power and customization. That's why we have support available 24/7/365 through multiple channels, including chat, email, and phone calls. Sometimes speaking directly to another person is the best way to solve an issue!
Kajabi has 24/7 support, but only through chat and email, with no option to speak to a tech support specialist on the phone. Chat and email are both susceptible to delays (which is true for any platform), so it can take longer and be more frustrating to get an issue resolved, even if it's just a simple question.
Fortunately, you can get the best of both worlds by creating and hosting your courses with Kajabi and selling them on Shift4Shop — in fact, it's easy due to our Kajabi integration. This app forms a connection between your Kajabi account and your Shift4Shop store. When a customer buys your course on Shift4Shop, their information is automatically forwarded to Kajabi to enroll them in the course and ensure they receive their enrollment notification.
Selling your Kajabi courses through Shift4Shop allows you to use Kajabi's excellent course creation and management tools and benefit from Shift4Shop's advanced eCommerce functionality at the same time. You'll be able to use the more robust customer management and marketing features from Shift4Shop to help sell your Kajabi online courses. This will also allow you to sell other products for which Kajabi isn't suitable, like accessories and merchandise for your courses. Shift4Shop also integrates with more types of payments than Kajabi, which allows you to give your students more options and expand your customer base.