WordPress and a Preview of New Financial Features

What's new for October? An update to our WordPress plugin and a preview of some great new financial features we're working on!

Hi everyone! It’s Matt from CourseStorm again.

Hot off the heels of our recent launches, I’m pleased to tell you about some upcoming releases in our pipeline, including a preview of one of the powerful new financial features I’ve been talking about.

 

WordPress Plugin

First, I’m very pleased to let you know that our WordPress plugin is about to receive some much needed love with an update before the end of the month.

As you may already know, WordPress is an incredibly popular website builder that is estimated to power about 40% of the entire Internet. Many of our customers are WordPress users and love how it helps them update their sites quickly and easily.

To keep their websites up to date with the latest changes to their class catalogs, we built a WordPress plugin a few years ago that not only syncs their classes dynamically within their websites, but also enables integrated checkout so that students can register on CourseStorm without ever leaving the original website, maintaining a great registration experience for those students and parents!

As with all things technology, WordPress is continually updated to include new features and new processes under the hood, sometimes changing the way that these plugins must be built in the process, lest those plugins no longer function for their users.

Thankfully, our Engineering team is on the case to make sure our plugin stays up to date and our customers’ websites continue to offer a great registration experience for their students.

Later this month, we’ll be releasing the first of several updates to our WordPress plugin to improve functionality with the latest version of WordPress. So if you’re a WordPress user, check out your plugins list and make sure to download the latest goodies from our team!

 

Preview: Automatic Payouts + Refund Reserve

In my last post, I hinted at some great new financial features coming to CourseStorm. Today, I’d like to share a preview of two of them: automatic payouts and refund reserve.

But first, a quick bit of context.

As you know, we like to keep things simple here at CourseStorm and that’s definitely true when it comes to refunds. Rather than issue a refund to your student by check or through another department, we’ve always let you refund with a click of a button, sending the funds right back to the purchaser’s card. This was made possible by our unique payout schedule: waiting until the class begins to payout the funds to your program.

This worked great at first, but there was a downside.

Some programs, particularly those who take registrations far in advance of class (such as those offering summer camps), ran into an issue – they couldn’t wait until class to receive their funds. They needed it sooner to pay teachers, rent space, and buy materials. But, at the same time, they still wanted to benefit from the one-click refund features that they’ve come to rely on.

The ideal solution was obvious to us, but a bit complex to put in place – until now.

We’re pleased to announce that in our new Financial Service, we’ve overhauled the entire payout and refund process to get the best of both worlds. Using this new system, you will be able to configure your payout schedule yourself and set a refund reserve that you can use to refund any registration, whenever you like.

Customers using this new service will have a new Payout Settings screen. From here you can configure both the timing of your payouts (monthly, weekly, or daily) and the refund reserve. As soon as the next payout day arrives, we’ll release to your bank everything in your CourseStorm account minus the reserve you configure. Then, if you need to issue a refund, you’ll still have the funds in your account to cover it. And, if you’re ready to clear out your account altogether, just configure your refund reserve to $0 and we’ll release it all at the next interval. It’s that simple!

Refunds overall have been streamlined as well. Previously, refunds were only available if the funds for that particular registration were still in your account. If we’d paid them out already, refunding was no longer available. Now, though, you will have the flexibility to refund any registration at any point in time. If there’s money in the account, you can always refund – much simpler!

Availability

These new features will be entering beta before the end of the year and released to a handful of customers for initial use. If you’re interested in joining that privileged few, please reach out to us at hello@coursestorm.com and we’ll add you to the list!

🎉 Thank you!

Our entire team would like to give a huge thank you to the customers who have offered their suggestions and feedback on the new features and updates we’re announcing today.

A special thank you to:

And on the CourseStorm team, I’d like to thank the entire Engineering team for their herculean effort in redesigning such core functionality of CourseStorm. Thanks to Noah Howard, Brady Charron, Nicholas Riegel, Spencer Campbell, Sam Waggoner, Sophie Kummer, and Brody Looney!