How to Create a Seamless Checkout Experience with Thrive Architect and Thrive Cart
Are you losing customers at the checkout without even knowing it?
Any friction in your online checkout experience will impact your conversions regardless of how convincing your sales page is.
But creating a seamless sales funnel isn’t always that easy, and often requires integrating multiple additional plugins or tools that won't necessarily play nicely together.
In this video tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a seamless sales funnel that uses a popular product stack, Thrive Themes with Thrive Cart, and how you can deploy the combo to increase your conversions
A Note About Thrive Cart
Before we get started, I need to clear up a common bit of confusion: Thrive Cart is not one of our products, despite the similarity in their business name.
They have an excellent Checkout management tool which combined with Thrive Architect makes for a streamlined checkout process.
If you are looking to purchase Thrive Cart, they have an unusual marketing method: you can only buy a license through one of their affiliate partners and not directly from the parent company.
Although we aren’t actively endorsing their product, we can provide an affiliate link for you here. If you use our link, we will get paid a commission but at absolutely no disadvantage to you.
We currently don’t have a specific integration with Thrive Cart, but that won’t stop you from getting the two to work together.
Now with that cleared up, you’re about to learn how to set up a simple sales funnel that uses the Thrive Cart + Thrive Themes plugin stack. And once we’ve got that in place, I’ll show you two small changes you can make which will give you a powerful marketing advantage.
Let's get started!
Part 1: The Simple Sales Steps
To illustrate how this setup works, we are going to create the sales funnel for a fictional online Photoshop course, though this process would work for any digital product. There will be 3 main stages to this funnel:
The Sales Page: This page on your website, made in Thrive Architect, is where the customer learns about your product. After clicking the Buy Now button they’ll be directed to…
The Checkout Page: This checkout is hosted by Thrive Cart and is where the customer will enter their credit card details. After the purchase is confirmed, they’ll be redirected to…
The Thank You Page: This page is back on your own website and confirms the customer’s purchase, informing them of what will be happening next.
Let’s look at how to set up these pages correctly.
Step 1: Setting Up Your WordPress Pages
For this set up, you need to begin by creating two pages inside your WordPress dashboard: The ‘Sales Page’ and the ‘Thank You’ page.
For now, don’t worry about styling these pages. You simply need to publish them so that they exist inside of your WordPress dashboard and have a dedicated URL. You will need these URLs when you configure the product in Thrive Cart.
That was easy, wasn’t it?
Now it’s time to prepare the product settings in Thrive Cart.
Step 2: Creating The Product In Thrive Cart
Inside your Thrive Cart dashboard, you’ll want to set up a new Product. Each ‘Product’ represents a set of behaviors that will take place only when a purchase is made.
For our example, we’re imagining that our customer is purchasing an online Photoshop course. The purchase action will trigger an email automation that will send them the information they need to get started.
The same rules apply to any product, though. If you plan to sell an eBook or even a physical product, you would simply change the product behaviors that trigger upon purchase.
Thrive Cart will host the checkout form where visitors can enter their payment details to purchase this course.
Setting up a product in Thrive Cart is as easy as clicking ‘add new product’ and follow the setup wizard.
Thrive Cart will guide you through the 4 major parts of creating your product, each with sub-steps:
- Product Settings: name, price and payment processors
- Fulfilment: What happens for the customer after the order is completed
- Checkout: What type of checkout design, how it looks, and what information is needed
- Behavior: What automated actions need to be triggered after purchase.
What Behaviors To Set?
In this tutorial, I've set the trigger behaviors of Thrive Cart to subscribe a student to a mailing list and add them to an automation. But I never explained why.
There are many, many different ways to provide a product to a customer and that is not what we are focusing on in this tutorial. Perhaps you want to trigger a membership plugin on your site, enroll them into an external online course, or send their details to a spreadsheet with Zapier.
Whatever it might be, those customer behaviors are up to you and how you choose to deliver your product. We are only looking at their experience moving through the sales funnel itself.
For now, we are assuming that connecting them to a specific Email Automation will trigger the steps requires to deliver the product.
Step 3: Redirecting To Your Website Upon Purchase
When the product wizard asks for ‘Fulfilment’ options, you can set what happens upon purchase.
Select ‘Send them to a URL’. A new text box will appear, and that is where you’ll enter the URL for the ‘Thank You’ WordPress page that you made in Step 1.
Step 4: Customizing Your Checkout Design
During the Checkout step, you’ll have the option to choose from 4 different checkout templates. For our example, choose the ‘Tall One-Step Checkout’ option in the top-left.
After customizing your Checkout appearance in Thrive Cart, you’ll be asked to customize a Success Page. Instead of using their Success Page, you want to choose ‘Redirect to your custom page’.
This means that instead of showing a Thrive Cart hosted success page after purchase, the customer will be redirected to the URL you specified in the Fulfilment settings. If this all sounds complicated, don’t worry — Thrive Cart makes it very easy to follow along.
Eventually, once you’ve finished all the steps for creating a product in Thrive Cart, you’ll get a URL for the checkout form with the following URL structure: accountname.thrivecart.com/product
You’ll need this Checkout URL for the next step.
Step 5: Configuring Your Sales Page
Now that you have a URL for the Thrive Cart checkout and have configured it to return customers to your Thank You page, it’s time to design the sales page in Thrive Architect.
To do this, open the Thrive Architect editor for the sales page you created in Step 1.
Thrive Architect comes with hundreds of pre-made landing page templates that you can easily load and edit until they look exactly how you want them to.
For this tutorial, we are using the Video Sales Page from the Elementary Set.
Loading a template is as easy as clicking the ‘Change Template’ icon from the Architect Sidebar.
After you’ve made the appropriate changes to your sales page, it’s time to edit the ‘Buy Now’ button.
Select the ‘Buy Now’ button on your sales page to open its Button element sidebar. Look for the ‘Button Link’ option. This is where you want to paste the URL for the Thrive Cart checkout.
Step 6: Editing Your Thank You Page
Now that the sales page has been set up correctly, you will want to work on the design for your Thank You page too. In the video, we used the Download Page from the Elementary set and made some changes so that the page is correctly setting the customer’s expectations.
The Result So Far
With this 3 page setup, a visitor can now arrive on your Sales Page and work their way through the entire funnel. When they are ready to purchase, they can click ‘Buy Now’ which will take them to the Thrive Cart hosted checkout. After entering their payment details, they will be returned to the Thank You page on your website which will give them further instructions for what to expect next.
But Where Does The Course Live?
You might be wondering how exactly the student gets access to the course itself.
Thrive Cart can connect with many popular membership plugins which you can use to protect content on your website. If you're looking for a way to create and manage your course content, our plugin Thrive Apprentice lets you protect your lessons with a membership tool.
If you want to bypass the need for a membership plugin altogether, then look into our recent Thrive Apprentice + SendOwl integration for the quickest way to sell courses with just a few simple tools.
Currently Thrive Cart does not integrate with Apprentice. But if that is a feature you think you could use, just upvote the first pinned comment below this article to help us gauge how much interest there would be.
Part 2: Let’s Make Some Improvements
With a basic sales funnel set up, it’s time to make our first improvement: We’re going to use an Embeddable checkout on a WordPress page rather than directing the visitor to a Checkout on Thrive Cart.
There are three reasons why you might want to do this:
First, there is nothing restricting a visitor from simply typing the Thrive Cart checkout page URL into their browser and buying your product. If you want to create a limited-time discount or close your course enrolments, then this is a problem. By hosting the sale on your site, you’ll have more control over hiding your Checkout page.
Second, you may want to include more branded content near your checkout. Thrive Cart already allows you to add a video, box shot, testimonials and more… but perhaps that isn’t enough. With Thrive Architect you can brand the entire page, using your own fonts, headers, footers, and including any other elements you’d like.
Third, although the Thrive Cart checkout is already responsive, by constructing the same page in Architect instead, you have more granular control over exactly how it looks in tablet or mobile view.
But the greatest advantage we’ll save for the Part 3 of this tutorial. For now, let’s set up the embedded checkout.
Step 1: Getting the Embed Code from Thrive Cart
Inside Thrive Cart, click ‘edit’ to make changes to your new product. Under the product settings, select ‘Checkout Design’.
Currently it’s set to a tall one-step checkout, but now you want to choose the ‘Embeddable checkout’ option instead.
Once we’ve selected this option, click ‘Save & Get URL’. Instead of getting a URL, you’ll get an Embed code. This is the code we’ll need to place on our WordPress page for the checkout to display.
Step 2: Creating a New Page in WordPress
Back inside your WordPress dashboard, you’ll want to create a new page and name it ‘Checkout’.
Once again, we’ll use the Elementary Download Page template, though we’ll be making some changes to it. After stripping the page of any unnecessary elements, we’ll add a building block element to the checkout page called ‘WordPress Content’. You can also use the Custom HTML element, but it won't render the checkout inside the editor. You'll see it on preview or live pages, but for more control, the WordPress Content element will let you see what's going on.
Once the WordPress Content Element is on the page, you’ll have the option to edit it. Make sure you select ‘Text’ rather than ‘Visual’ in the upper right, and paste your Embed Code from Thrive Cart.
After saving the page in Thrive Architect, you’ll see the checkout form display. You can resize the maximum width of the WordPress element and center align it, to make your checkout sit in the middle of the page.
Step 3: Point The Buy Now button To The New Checkout Page
The last step is to make sure the Buy Now button on our Sales Page takes the visitor to the new Checkout page we just made in WordPress, rather than the external Thrive Cart checkout.
To do this, reopen your Sales Page in Thrive Architect and select the Buy Now button. Under the Button Link settings, type in ‘Checkout’. Thrive Architect will automatically search for any pages on your website that contain the word ‘checkout’, and you should be able to select your newly created page from the drop-down that appears.
Now when a customer clicks ‘Buy Now’, they are taken to a WordPress page on your own domain with the Thrive Cart checkout embedded. Once they enter their payment details and the payment is accepted, the visitor will be redirected to your Thank You page.
At no point in this checkout flow will they leave your Website. Why is this important? Read on…
Part 3: Creating a Scarcity Lockdown Funnel
This is where the real fun starts.
Now that all your pages are managed within WordPress, you can create a Scarcity Marketing Campaign with our plugin, Thrive Ultimatum. That means we can schedule the availability of the online course, or whatever product you wish to sell.
Why would you want to do that? Because Scarcity is an important element when creating a high-converting sales funnel. Providing a deadline or a limited-time-discount is a time-tested way to get potential customers to take action.
And with Thrive Ultimatum, it can be set up in less than 10 minutes.
Step 1: Creating a ‘Closed’ Page in WordPress
There is one final page we need to make in WordPress to apply this particular scarcity strategy. Add a new page and call it ‘Course Closed’.
This will be the page that shows when someone tries to access your sales page outside of the promotional period. Rather than letting the potential customer escape, you want to invite them to join your mailing list instead.
So this time we’re going to load a template called 1-Step Lead Generation from the Elementary Set.
Change the text on the page to explain that the course is closed and that they can join the waitlist by entering their email address into the Lead Generation form. If you aren’t sure how to connect with a mailing service, you can read our tutorial on how to do it here.
Step 2: Setting Up Thrive Ultimatum
This probably goes without saying, but you’ll need to have Thrive Ultimatum installed and activated to complete this step. Once it is, you can select the Thrive Ultimatum dashboard from the WordPress menu. Inside Ultimatum, select ‘Create New Campaign’.
Although there are multiple types of campaigns, just choose ‘Build From Scratch’ for now. Give it a name and then make it a ‘Fixed Date Campaign’.
This is where you can choose which days your Sales Page will be open for purchase.
In our example, we’re making it a Christmas Sale that starts on 18 December and ends of the 25th.
Step 3: Setting Your Lockdown Campaign Pages
Thrive Ultimatum will first ask for you to set some Display settings. In this tutorial, we’re only scratching the surface of what Ultimatum can do so for now, just select your ‘Sales Page’ and ‘Checkout page’ under the Display settings.
Once you have set the dates for the campaign and the Display settings, it’s time to activate a Lockdown Campaign. This means your sales page will not be accessible outside of the dates you have set. Click ‘Edit’ to configure these settings.
For both the Pre-Access Page and the Expired Page, select your new ‘Course Closed’ page.
For your Promotion Page, you’ll need to enter your Sales Page, and then press the Plus Icon to enter another one, your Checkout Page.
Step 4: Create Your Countdown Timer
The last step inside Ultimatum is to create your Countdown Timer Designs.
For this example, we’re only going to choose the Short-Code design, and select from the available templates.
There is nothing more you need to do after selecting the timer except save it. In Ultimatum, you have the option to set ‘states’, just like in Thrive Leads, and these states will show at different times during your promotion. But we won’t worry about those features now.
Once this is all configured correctly, Thrive Ultimatum will show you a Timeline that counts backwards from the Campaign end date. The Main State for your Shortcode should be selected to display by default.
This means that during the 7 days of your campaign, this shortcode will be actively counting down.
Step 5: Adding The Timer to Your Pages
Now you need to place the timer on your Sales Page and your Checkout Page.
Open them in Thrive Architect and you’ll find the ‘Ultimatum Countdown’ element available in your building blocks. Drag and drop this element on to the page.
Now this will load your timer and keep it linked to your campaign. It should look like this:
Now if anyone tries to access your Sales Page or Checkout Page outside your campaign promotional period, they will be automatically redirected to your ‘Course Closed’ page and have the option to subscribe to your mailing list and join a waitlist for the next product launch instead.
And if they try to access the page during your campaign dates, they will successfully see your Sales Page. If customers click through from that sales page to the the Checkout page, both pages will also be showing active countdown timers informing them how long they have to purchase before the course closes.
And, of course, once they purchase they will still be redirected to your custom Thank You page as well.
You Can Do This
Often we get requests from our users regarding integrations. In some cases, they’re necessary, but sometimes a solution already exists.
Although there’s a few moving parts to manage when building a sales funnel like this one, once it’s working, it’s seamless.
Have you tried using Thrive Ultimatum yet? Let us know about the creative ways you are using it in your sales funnels by leaving a comment below!
And if you think you would benefit from an integration with Thrive Apprentice and Thrive Cart, upvote my comment below so we can gauge how much interest there is.