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4.2.2022

Shopify

How to Sell Tutorials & Classes on Shopify [Step-by-Step Guide]
  • / Why sell tutorials?
  • / Step 1: Product page templates
  • / Step 2: Adding tutorials to Shopify
  • / Step 3: Adding product metafields to your tutorials
  • / Step 4: Locksmith App to restrict access
  • / Step 5: Personalised confirmation emails
  • / Step 6: Customising the account area
  • / Step 7: Add a class chat using Hyvor

What will we cover?

In this guide, we run through our exact process that helped an Irish-based art company, Paintclub, to sell their in-person painting classes and tutorials on Shopify. At scale with a global reach.

This will be relevant for any company that is looking to add an additional revenue stream to their business and to their Shopify store. It could be training videos, tutorials, classes, or any digital product that sits behind a paywall.

We run through the apps we used and how they have been set up. Allowing our client’s Shopify store to sell tutorials with minimal input from their team once they had been uploaded to the site. Helping them to passively generate income.

But first, why sell tutorials on your store?

Selling tutorials and classes (like any digital product) is a great way to boost revenue with little input.

After the initial cost of filming the video and getting it added to the website, that one tutorial can then be purchased multiple times from all over the world without any additional cost to you or your team!

So, how do we go about doing this on your Shopify store?

The apps and tools we used

Below, we’ve briefly outlined the tools and apps that let us sell tutorials (or classes) on Shopify. There are likely alternatives but these are the ones that worked for us. And we’ll dive into each one in more detail later on. But, for now…

Shopify 2.0: we’ll look at exactly how we set up Shopify. Our guide relies on your site using Shopify 2.0 – you can read more about that here.

Vimeo: so you can upload your tutorials which then can be embedded on the pages of your Shopify store.

Locksmith: this lets you lock certain pages on your store, so only people who have paid for a product can access the tutorial or digital product.

Hyvor: not essential, but this lets you have a class chat on each tutorial page to increase customer engagement.

How to sell tutorials on Shopify

Step 1: Product page templates

If you currently have a store with physical products and you’re looking to sell tutorials (or digital products) alongside them, you’ll need to create a new page template.

This gives you one template for tutorials and one for physical products. Due to the nature of the tutorials, it’s best to have them use a separate page template. One that is geared around selling them.

The product page you use for physical products could work, but it won’t be as good as converting customers as a page specifically for tutorials.

For this step, Shopify 2.0 will make your life a bit easier!

This update introduced the use of JSON template files to render the pages, this meant we could create dynamic sections as Liquid files which could then be used across all page templates on the site.

This also makes each section available to be added by the client through the dashboard with the customiser, which automatically gets added to the JSON template file.

A great Shopify tutorial explains in further detail here with a video tutorial below.

Step 2: Adding your tutorials to Shopify

For this step, you can use any video hosting provider. They will let you upload your video to their site and give you a script or code to embed that video back on your own website. Think YouTube, Vimeo Premium, Spotlightr.

We went with Vimeo because it let us restrict the video to only be played on the client’s domain. So nobody can copy the video Vimeo URL and play it elsewhere.

After the client uploaded a video to Vimeo, we took the embed code and copied this into a Page on Shopify. We developed a custom Page type in Shopify that a video could sit in nicely in. This included a class chat, which we’ll talk more about later.

This resulted in every video sitting on the client’s Shopify store, on its own page, with its own unique URL.

This is important.

Because you need to connect the video tutorial’s URL up to the relevant product on the Shopify store. So, when a customer buys your tutorial, they receive access to this video through that URL.

But how do we do this? …metafields enter the chat!

Step 3: Adding product metafields to your tutorials

In Shopify, think of metafields as bits of specialist information, relevant to your product, that don’t fall under the usual eCommerce specs e.g. Size, Weight, Price etc.

You can use metafields on your products to give you greater control over the information you display to customers. In this case, we wanted to add specialist information relating to our tutorials e.g. Instructor Name, Duration, Difficulty, Subjet and so on.

Not only this, metafields are integral to giving users access to your tutorial.

As we mentioned before, every tutorial you upload now sits on its own URL in Shopify. We want to create a product metafield object labelled “tutorial video link” or similar (we went with “On Demand Video” in the example above). So you can then paste the video tutorial’s URL, relevant to that product, into the metafield space.

Now we have added metafields, it’s time to restrict access to your tutorials for paying customers only.

Step 4: Locksmith App to restrict access

As it stands, each of your video tutorials sit on a unique Shopify Page URL. However, anybody can access this URL from your sitemap or if they get sent the link. This is where the Shopify App, Locksmith comes in.

Locksmith blocks access to a page unless a user has completed a certain action. In our case, paid for our product/tutorial in Shopify.

You can restrict users in a number of ways. And you can stack these restrictions too. For example, set a rule to only give users access to the page if they have paid OR they enter a passcode you have given them.

The App also lets you hide that page from your sitemap and noindex it so search engines cannot index your page. Minimising the chances of any unwanted people coming across your tutorial or classes.

Locksmith has a great guide on how to set up their App, and we briefly run through our setup here.

We only wanted to give access to users for 7 days or 30 days, depending on the product they bought. To do this:

  • Each product/tutorial had two variables – one for 30 day access, one for 7 day access
  • Each variable has a unique SKU e.g. product-7 or product-30
  • In Locksmith:
    • create a rule to give access to the tutorial page for seven days if a user has purchased a product with an SKU containing -7
    • create a rule to give access to the tutorial page for thirty days if a user has purchased a product with an SKU containing -30
  • Note: you can overwrite this and give access to anyone by adding the customer’s email or allowing users to enter a password.

Step 5: Personalised confirmation emails

Unfortunately, metafields don’t automatically pull through to your order confirmation emails. So you will need to customise your Shopify email templates so customers can find and watch the tutorial or class they’ve paid for.

In step 2, the URL containing your video tutorial was linked to each product by adding that URL as a metafield.

We can now embed that metafield you created then into the order confirmation email using Liquid syntax. This will then pull in the metafield value (in this case, your video tutorial URL) to the order confirmation email sent to customers.

You can edit confirmation email templates in Settings > Notifications and use HTML and Liquid, which will look something like below:

Step 6: Customising the account area

We went one step further and added the video tutorial metafield value to the customer’s account area. So users can access the tutorial here without having to dig through their emails.

You don’t need to build out something as complex as this. But this allowed us to resell the tutorial to the customer by adding a “buy again” button once their tutorial expired.

To do this we pulled in the product URL and added this as a link underneath the tutorial in their account area. This link was inside an if statement which checked to see how long the customer had access to the product for, and, if access had expired, it would show the “Buy Again” button.

Step 7: Add a class chat using Hyvor

Not essential, but one great feature that we added to the video tutorial page template was a class chat. We used Hyvor (they don’t have a Shopify App), but you can embed the script they supply you into the Liquid file of your tutorial page template.

Hyvor is a commenting platform and it allowed users to ask questions to the instructor, upload pictures of their paintings, and chat with other members. All of this was in aid of increasing engagement on the website.

What next?

So, there we have it! Seven steps to follow that will let you sell tutorials on Shopify. Once you have this initial setup in place on your store, you can add as many tutorials and classes as you like.

You can then focus all of your efforts on driving traffic to the site, knowing that when a user (or even 100 users) pay for a tutorial, there is no additional work needed by you.

If you have any questions, please send me a message on one of the social channels below. Or read more about Spaced Digital’s Shopify services.

Post Author
Stephen White, Director

Stephen started his career as an SEO, learning his craft at web design agencies and multinational media agencies. Working on household names such as Huggies, Old El Paso, and Birkenstock. In 2018, he took those years of experience and founded Spaced. A strategy-focussed web agency that helps launch and nurture bespoke digital solutions.