This could be a very short blog post because the #1 reason why choose Thrivecart for selling digital courses (or digital products) is that it’s a one-off payment for lifetime use. No monthly subscription.
(NB This post contains affiliate links meaning I make a commission if you buy using my link. But I’m only recommending Thrivecart because I’m so happy I found it and it solves months of stress for me.)
At the time of writing that is a one-time fee of $495. If you want the Pro version, like I did, it’s also a one-off fee at the moment and is $195. Together, those cost less than some course (LMS) platforms do for just one solitary year. But with Thrivecart, that payment is all you’ll ever pay.
This is apparently some kind of limited offer so there’s no telling when it will end. The low price of Thrivecart compared to literally everything else is perfect for everyone. I can’t think of a reason to use another platform (and I’ve tried trials of LearnWorlds, Teachable, and had a disastrous few months with Memberpress that were so bad I asked for a refund. I’ve also had my own cobbled-together workaround with Google Drive and Woo Commerce for payments which worked and was almost free but, like any patched-together fix, was full of holes and created a lot of work).
What is Thrivecart?
This is a good question because I thought I knew what Thrivecart was but I didn’t.
I knew it was for taking payments, a shopping cart that lets you build a sales funnel with upsells and downsells and order bumps and an easy system for customers to buy and pay online. And in the features page describing it on their site, it talks about those shopping cart-type features.
But it doesn’t mention the thing that makes it so special in my opinion: choosing Thrivecart gets you a course builder, basically an LMS platform, called Learn for no additional cost.
Why choose Thrivecart?
You don’t need to only choose Thrivecart because it’s the most cost-effective as there are lots of other fantastic features that beat the other platforms I’ve tried. Here are my top 3 favourite features – after the unbeatable price.
Thrivecart has a FREE course builder
Thrivecart Learn means you can build online courses and sell them all from the same platform. You can set up unlimited courses, have unlimited students enrolled, drip feed content, and manage students.
You can add modules, lessons, upload worksheets and any other documents you need to in a really easy-to-use block builder. It doesn’t host videos but you can embed them from YouTube or another hosting site like Vimeo.
You can arrange the pages in different ways eg columns of text and text with images, change fonts and colours, basically brand it.
I had all my content in Google Slides from my workaround course materials and transferred a one-hour workshop across to Thrivecart Learn in about an hour the first time I used it. Another half hour to test it and set up the cart and I was done.
Loads of people already choose Thrivecart so there are plenty of resources online. Anything I wasn’t quite sure of was easily Google-able and led to short tutorials I could implement right away. I’ll make some myself one day perhaps!
When students buy your course, they pay and receive the link to log in which is super quick and then gives them access straightaway. I think (but have not tried it yet) that you can create a login button on your website, or to put in your emails. That way students have easy access to the course if they forget where they’ve kept that info or have deleted the emails.
Compared with the other platforms I’ve trialled or used, Thrivecart Learn was much, much easier. And, of course, it’s FREE with Thrivecart just in case I haven’t mentioned it often enough.
Thrivecart is an all-in-one system
Thrivecart creates and sends an invoice to the customer which I was having to do myself with my cobbled-together system. And this invoice is available to me to send to my accountant too.
You can create sales pages in it which you send customers to from your website, or you embed payment forms/create popup payment forms directly into your website’s sales pages if you have the Thrive Architect plugin. I’ve not tried this yet.
It has a dashboard to see clicks and conversion rates which is all at-a-glance.
It’s a sales funnel so I can add order bumps and upsells, to add products at the cart, and downsells to a cheaper product if people don’t buy.
You can send customers to a webpage when they buy so your thank you page can have whatever you want the customer to see next. And you can hook it up to your mailing list (though for me that means paying for my Mailerlite account so I’ve not done that).
Why choose Thrivecart Pro?
Again, for me, choosing Thrivecart Pro version was a no-brainer. For the features I wanted, I would have had to pay extra with almost any other platform.
Thrivecart Pro means VAT is calculated and applied according to the rules of where your customers are. VAT is a HUGE headache in Spain because there is no threshold below which VAT isn’t charged. I have to add VAT to the bill of any client in the EU basically. It’s a massive pain in the neck for lots of reasons I won’t go into here.
Why choose Thrivecart Pro for VAT calculation vs other platforms?
LearnWorlds will calculate VAT only if you pay an extra $49 a month for Quaderno on top of the Learnworlds monthly fee.
Teachable and Memberpress include VAT application at no extra cost but there is an ongoing monthly or annual platform subscription. However, Teachable alos remits the VAT for you ie pays it to the relevant countries governments which will make a difference for you if you don’t have an accountant already handling you VAT.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plug-in that handles sales of digital and physical products and will work out and apply VAT. However, I found that it adds VAT as soon as the customer clicks buy and then takes it away again if a customer who isn’t in the EU adds their address. It makes people who know they shouldn’t be paying VAT think they’re about to be overcharged and you don’t want doubts like that at checkout as people don’t buy. I’ve had people email me about this and been able to explain and get the sale, but who knows how many have been scared off.
Again, other platforms charge you for this as they tend to partner with software eg Memberpress/WordPress encourage you to buy third-party Easy Affiliate which has a yearly subscription fee of $99.
With Thrivecart Pro, that’s included so you can easily manage affiliates who earn commission from marketing your products. Again there’s an at-a-glance dashboard to manage this but you have to make the payments to affiliates manually. I’ve not set this up yet but, if the Thrivecart experience so far is anything to go on, it will be easy.
Downsides of Thrivecart
Thrivecart Learn doesn’t host videos within the platform itself because Learn is a free platform and storage costs a lot!
It is not a website and does not have a blog so you need one of your own which you probably need to pay annually for. For me, this wasn’t a disadvantage as I love WordPress and anyway do not want the pain and hassle of migrating all my content.
It doesn’t have facilities for including live classes via Zoom etc within the platform like LearnWorlds does on some of its subscriptions. These calls and the call recordings need to be hosted elsewhere – I pay for Google Workspace for 10.40€ a month.
I’ll add to this post in future or write others and link to them from here as I get to know the platform more and use all its features. I’ve not included every single thing Thrivecart does, only the ones that were important to me. But I’m pretty sure if you’re a course creator, especially one in the EU, these are the things that matter to you too.
Saving money and making smart financial decisions are what I teach on my beginner investing course so Thrivecart very much fits with my philosophy. You can see all the free and paid things I offer by clicking the image below.