by Dave | SamCart
SamCart is taking a “winner takes all” approach with their new Courses App capability.
The app is available on all price plans with unlimited students and unlimited courses at no extra cost.
If you are paying for a service like Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi, Podia, etc. and have been using SamCart to take payment, you could kiss that additional payment goodbye.
Let’s start with what I don’t like.
This is an easy one.
I don’t know.
It is new, untested. OK, maybe not untested, but I can almost guarantee that something won’t work exactly right, or need to be tweaked, or might not even exist or is broken. Just don’t know yet. Now that is a potential problem if you are thinking about moving your course or courses over from another platform.
Here is what I like.
+ It is not a paid upgrade. Who does that? (Think “Winner Takes All”). It is now standard on all SamCart plans.
+ Currently they allow unlimited customers and unlimited courses as of today. Taking an educated guess, I suspect “unlimited” goes away some time in the future.
+ Passwords. Hold that thought for a minute. I know, who would have thunk something as mundane as passwords would be considered a pro in a pro / cons list? Go with me on this one. When you integrate one service, ex – SamCart, with another service, ex – Thinkific, you have to handle giving access to the customer. It all works. But not always seamlessly. Sometimes, the Thinkific email with the express signin url ends up in a spam folder. Guess what – unhappy customer. Plus, who wants to wait for an email with login details. Yuk. With SamCart Courses, all events occur within the SamCart system. Customer purchases + automatic login = happy customer. Told you passwords was a pro.
+ Course cross-sells … this is big. SamCart is keeping the customer’s payment method readily available. How is this good you ask? Let’s say your customer is enjoying one of your courses. The customer can preview the other courses inside SamCart. Guess what they can also do? That’s right, buy access to the other courses right there without having to talk to their significant other and get permission. Just kidding … sort of. Their payment details are stored and ready to be used. As of this writing, that feature is in beta. Let me just say it again, this is big.
By yours truly …
In this video of the new SamCart Courses App I’m going to give you the Pros and Cons as I see it and then we’ll also do a brief setup to see it in action. One little thing, I haven’t used it yet. With all plans on SamCart you have access to unlimited courses and students, there’s currently no limitations.
That in my opinion could change in the future, they haven’t said that oftentimes that’s the kind of thing that happens.
SamCart’s going to give you the ability to allow your customers to buy other courses easily, they don’t have this released yet it’s in beta it’s called Course Cross-Sells, and one thing SamCart’s doing that they haven’t done in the past is they’re going to start storing payment information, that means is if somebody’s inside the SamCart environment they will already know their credit card so that way the customer doesn’t need to type in their credit card again of course they can add a new one but it just makes it that much easier to purchase, that is a big thing in my opinion it just makes it that much easier for somebody to buy something else.
I wrote down password, I know this might sound a little strange or trivial but honestly it’s kind of a big thing.
For other sites that have Course capability and especially if you buy from for instance a cart like SamCart to get transfer or to another place where the course gets delivered, passwords are a major hassle. Sometimes they get lost in other words and the email gets sent out with a password and login information and people miss it for whatever reason.
This setup when somebody purchases they have automatic auto login access, so there’s no reason to even have to know your password though I’m pretty sure they’re going to give you one it just makes it smooth transition from purchase to access immediate, and then in my opinion SamCart’s taken a winner take all approach and their competition in my opinion is thinkific, teachable, kajabi, podia, others, and the reason I’m saying winner take all is because for instance they’re allowing unlimited courses in students the ability to buy other courses they take care of the password stuff, thinkific, teachable, kajabi and i don’t think podia they all have for instance the ability to accept payment however they don’t do it nearly as well as SamCart. The best example I can think of is Bump, Slash, Upsells, and DownSells. SamCart just cleans them relatively speaking.
So there’s a lot more upside in terms of revenue for you as a result of what SamCart has done relative to the other platforms. So now let’s dive into a SamCart App and see what it looks like!
Inside your SamCart account if you go to Apps you’ll see Courses Apps below, so I’m going to go in there and I haven’t done anything so I’m literally starting from scratch no idea what to do so let’s just do what they say create your first Course and I might end up speeding up some of this stuff but we’ll get to the end.
I know a little cheeky using SamCart on video but what the heck, so so far pretty easy nothing fancy I mean it’s nice that they got little help things to give you an idea what the heck it is but man it really does look straightforward, a lot of capability to add in additional content and I’m just going to move along so this will be the course this would be the units and lessons and what do we do here we’re going to create oh and here’s the other thing you’ve got different tiers.
So in other words you might have a gold silver bronze level, if they have the bronze level they get access to two out of four, if they have the silver they get access to three out of four if they have the gold they get access to four out of four. So you’ve got a way to basically divide up your course into different levels if you will.
I’m gonna go ahead and create a unit and we’re gonna call this unit one and it looks like there’s a default basic tier and I’ve got some editing capabilities. What’s nice is when I go back it doesn’t lose it so I’m going to go in here and actually put something let’s view or edit that’s kind of a nice feature and it looks like I can add whatever I want videos, just another way to access things so I’m going to go ahead and save that all right so now let’s go back.
Here’s another feature they have which is kind of in my opinion important they can you can drip out the content, instant access if you want, so let’s just see what drip does for us. Day of the week or days from previous so for instance somebody purchases on a Wednesday you could say seven days from them and what is exempt? Ah! got it! So you can have a drip schedule and make certain content available readily at that time so you can click on the exempt.
And I know there’s for instance quiz capability in here things like that, and here we go we can assign products. So that was it, that was literally pretty darn easy to get set up and ready to go, let’s take a look around here of course no students because we haven’t set this up before. Settings, course, library, localization, so there we just went through the setup for a course um and we created one relatively quickly and it doesn’t look fancy and my guess is there’s change the colors and I’m guessing the layout’s going to stay pretty much consistent but in general that was relatively easy to set up and get going.
So that’s the SamCart Courses App Review.
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Under the Apps tab in your SamCart account there is a Course App link. Click it. Since this is the first course you are setting up, this is what you will see.
Well? What are you waiting for?
Click the “Create Your First Course” button sitting right there in the middle.
The Course Details page is where you edit the homepage of your course.
Hopefully it is obvious what to do here – just start typing 😁
It should be straight forward.
Provide an appropriate Course Title.
The Course URL is already created, nothing for you to do there.
Course Synopsis is a brief description of your course that appears on the Course Dashboard page.
The Course Description allows for a number of details to be added – images, videos, links, tables, buttons, etc.
The Status can either be Draft, Published or Trash.
You can provide either a Featured Image or a Featured Video. If it is an image, you can upload the image to SamCart. If a video, you provide a link to the source. By default, Youtube, Vimeo and Wistia videos are supports. Or you can direct link to a video with either of the following file extensions: .mp4, .webm, or .ogg.
Also, a nice feature in the upper right hand corner of this page after you click the Save button, is the View Course button allowing you to see what your customers would see.
This is where you get to organize the Units and Lessons in your course and they order they appear for your students.
So you know, the hierarchy is Course > Units > Lessons.
Before you click the Create New Unit button (which I am sure you want to do), note the Access Tiers section on the right hand side.
The Access Tiers give you a powerful capability, mainly the ability to separate your audience into multiple levels. For example, you could have a “Bronze” level that only grants access to the first lesson. Students are assigned a tier based on the offer that they purchase. Powerful stuff.
OK, now click on the “Create New Unit” button – doesn’t that feel better?
Provide a title for the new unit. You can click on the Edit button in the unit section. You will be taken to a page that prompts you for a Title and Description. From there you can set the status to Draft, Published, or Trashed. Save it and go back to the course.
Also, this is where your assign a tier. By default, SamCart has this assigned to a tier called Basic.
Underneath each unit that you create is the ability to “Add New Lesson” or “Import Existing Lesson”.
If you are adding, provide a title and the click the “Edit” button.
Unlike the unit section, the lesson section allows for much more content to be added – text, images, videos, etc.
This is also where you add Downloads, Quizzes, and Worksheets.
Keep repeating adding (or importing) Units and Lessons till your course is built out.
There are two types of scheduling: Instant Access or Drip Scheduling.
I am going to skip Instant Access as they … well, hopefully doesn’t need any explanation.
With Drip Scheduling you have a lot of options.
Do you want the scheduling to be relative to the units or lessons?
When you toggle the “Release Entries By…” from Unit to Lesson or Lesson to Unit, the Content Timing options change appropriately.
Regardless, you decide if you want to release on either Day of Week, ex – Sunday, or days after previous, ex – 7.
One well thought out feature is the ability to Exempt a unit or lesson from being released on and just have it immediately available. Golf clap for that one 👏.
Additionally, you can make lessons required. This is great (or usually great) for industries that have regular training requirements, ex – teachers. However, I am not sure that SamCart has the ability to generate a certificate for completing a course. Might be a feature request coming in hot.
OK, this is where is gets a little murky.
You will need to go to Products > Click the product > Share This Product > Copy the “Checkout Link”.
Then back to the Public Details section and paste in the link to the Purchase Button URL field. URL will look something like this:
You also provide Purchase Button Text, Public Course Synopsis, Public Course Content and Featured Media.
This is where you assign Products to Tiers.
This gives you a lot of flexibility in what you offer to your customers. When someone buys a particular product associated with a particular tier, they get access to the tier level of that course.
SamCart has created some new templates that work well with selling courses. For example, Declutter and Guitar.
It is easy enough to start with one of these templates and tweak it to get the desired look and feel that you want.
For a minute there, I thought SamCart may have forgotten one important feature with courses.
No they didn’t.
You can track student’s behavior through your Courses and do something appropriate.
For instance, if a student finishes a course, that can trigger adding a tag to that person’s record in your email system which then triggers an email sequence that sends a congratulations email.
I feel like we are just getting warmed up.
Like I should do a full blown comparison to other learning management systems like Thinkific, Teachable, Podia, Kajabi, and anything else you might want to throw in there.
Like I said, I think SamCart is going for “winner take all” status.
They have an excellent shopping cart with beautiful page builder.
Now they have added on a robust course app that keeps the important stuff in house – passwords and payment methods.
Check out the SamCart Courses App now!