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Addressing the LearnDash / WooCommerce New Account Creation Dilemma?

I'm a big fan of LearnDash and WooCommerce. They provide a great combination for selling your online courses and giving new members access to their course purchases.

HOWEVER, the out of the box this configuration falls short.  WooCommerce's default set up is perfect for selling physical products. Those are orders that require delivery. In this article, I walk you through some simple steps for adjusting the default set up to provide an elegant solution when selling online courses.

When you install both WooCommerce and LearnDash, you need the LearnDash WooCommerce for LearnDash add-on. You turn that feature on by visiting the LearnDash→Add-Ons page. Make sure to confirm it is turned on.

This will add an option to the WooCommerce product general configuration tab that enables you to enroll members in a course when they make a purchase. That set up step is straightforward.

Once this add-on is enabled and you place a product in the shopping cart, two new fields appear in the checkout page. The checkout page requests a username and password field at the bottom of the purchase form. The idea behind this is that the buyer enters a username and password they will use to log when they go to access their course.

But this is a big problem. Your customer is ready to make a payment and we are placing an obstacle in their way. They will wonder, "What are these two fields for? Why do I need to fill this in?" This is NEVER a good thing when selling a product online.

What I recommend instead is to configure WooCommerce to automatically create an account 0n the new members behalf as part of the purchase process. WooCommerce will then:

  • generate a username for them,
  • send them a welcome email message that allows them to set their own password and
  • enable them to access their course content using these credentials.

This removes the obstacle on the checkout page and postpones the password creation process until after the purchase.

Let me walk you through the settings in WooCommerce get this to work this way.

Visiting the WooCommerce->Settings->Accounts & Privacy tab. There you will find two checkboxes with the following labels under the Account Creation heading.

  • When creating an account, automatically generate an account username for the customer based on their name, surname or email
  • When creating an account, send the new user a link to set their password

Checking these two boxes removes the two input fields from the checkout form.

With this complete, we now want to update the thank you page. When your member makes their purchase, the system lands them on the thank you page. When they arrive at the thank you page, the WooCommerce logs them into Wordpress. . Their purchase enrolls them in the courses they just bought.

So they now have full access to their content, but it won't be apparent to them. There is nothing on the default thank you page to tell them so. The thank you page contains receipt of their purchase, but no instructions.

To enhance the thank you page with instructions on what to do next, we recommend adding the following above the [woocommerce_checkout] shortcode on the checkout page.

"Upon completing your order, visit the Course Dashboard to gain immediate access to your course materials. Check your email inbox for additional instructions for setting up your account."

The underlined "Course Dashboard" is a link to the page where your courses are displayed. I like to call this the dashboard page where members typically go to get their course materials.

This message that will appear every time members arrive at the checkout page. Members will see it when they first arrive at the checkout page from the shopping cart. They are are being prepared even before they buy as to what will happen next. If you are using any one of many membership tools like Memberium, MemberPress, or Wishlist Member, you can keep this message from appearing until after the purchase is made by only displaying this message for members that are already logged in. Check with your membership tool documentation to learn how to do that.

So we have a member that arrives at the thank you page and sees what he has to do to get access.

I have another article that covers a last step we always recommend which is to modify the WooCommerce email message sent out when new accounts are created. This takes the process another step up so new members are given a very good experience post purchase for accessing their course.