One of the most common questions people ask me is “Jack, should I use WooCommerce with LearnDash?”
And like most questions to provide an answer, more questions need to be asked to see if it’s a good fit.
Let’s look at the positives and negatives of using WooCommerce with LearnDash.
Positives of Using WooCommerce With LearnDash
1: Payment Gateways
Out of the box LearnDash includes PayPal, and has official extensions for Stripe and 2Checkout (does anyone even still use 2Checkout?). Apart from that there’s also the add-ons to utilize platforms like SamCart and ThriveCart.
Chances are if you’re in America or the UK like me then you’ll be using Stripe yet a lot of European countries have their own preferred gateways, take the Netherlands with iDEAL, and Portugal with it’s Multibanco system.
That’s where WooCommerce comes in, chances are if the gateway you want to use has an application programming interface (API) then there’s going to be an extension available for WooCommerce.
2: Coupons and Invoicing
At the time of writing (January 2022), LearnDash doesn’t include native support for invoicing and coupons, while there are workarounds for this using Stripe (LearnDash’s official Stripe extension includes support for coupons via Stripe).
If you want to do more complex coupons then something like WooCommerce is perfect.
3: If You Already Use WooCommerce
If you already use WooCommerce on your website to sell other products then it makes sense to continue using WooCommerce to sell your LearnDash courses to provide a cohesive user experience to your website visitors.
Negatives of Using WooCommerce With LearnDash
No one looks at WooCommerce and goes “wow, that’s a lightweight eCommerce plugin”. The fact is, WooCommerce is a 400lb gorilla, powerful, impressive but step back and think if you really need everything WooCommerce has to offer.
It’s a big, complex plugin to add for a single feature if you can do the same thing with other easier to maintain workarounds.
2: More to Learn
Not necessarily a bad thing but if you’re a subject matter expert that wants to release your course asap, do you want to spend the time learning how WooCommerce works?
Despite what some may say, WooCommerce isn’t a particularly plug and play, plugin. With a multitude of setting screens, configuration options, extensions, and more.
It can be overwhelming when you just want to get people taking your course.
3: Optimizing Checkout
Out of the box, LearnDash’s native registration is purpose built to get your students into their course in as few clicks as possible, with a straightforward checkout.
WooCommerce comes with an array of different checkout fields, some you may or may not want, not to mention then trying to configure unique checkouts for different courses which would require you to use something like Cartflows, adding another layer of complexity.
How to Decide Whether to use WooCommerce With LearnDash
It’s not always easy making a decision about your website, let’s take a few examples of where, when, and why you should or shouldn’t choose to use WooCommerce with LearnDash.
Do you want to use Stripe or PayPal to take payments and don’t need any additional payment options? Then don’t use WooCommerce.
Do you want to use Stripe and create basic coupons for your course? Then don’t use WooCommerce.
Do you want to create complex up-sells, cross-sells and upgrade paths? Consider using WooCommerce but also look into Membership plugins.
Do you want to use your country’s own payment gateway? In most instances use WooCommerce unless you have a developer who can build an integration for LearnDash.
Do you want to charge sales tax and automatically detect VAT and Tax numbers? Use WooCommerce.
Do you already use WooCommerce on your website to sell other physical or digital products? Use WooCommerce.
As you can see by asking yourself some straightforward questions it’s quick and easy to deduce when to use WooCommerce with LearnDash.
While WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce plugin for WordPress, it isn’t always the solution and shouldn’t be crammed into every website.
LearnDash has native functionality which when combined with payment gateways like Stripe can mean you don’t need to use any additional plugins.