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How to Create Recurring Subscription Products in WooCommerce?

How to Create Recurring Subscription Products in WooCommerce?

Adding Recurring Products to WooCommerce

WooCommerce Subscriptions or subscription products are an extension of the normal products in WooCommerce. Unlike conventional products, recurring subscription products are repeatedly delivered to the customers (a.k.a. the subscribers) at regular intervals. 

Subscriptions are highly advantageous for store owners as they ensure recurring revenue. Moreover, subscriptions always help to keep you and your customers close. This can improve the sales of other products in your store. Subscriptions, inadvertently, offer free promotions for your store and your brand. Also, retaining customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones as investing in customer acquisition is draining, both emotionally and economically. 

Even though subscriptions are now a big part of the retail economy, WooCommerce does not, by default, offer subscriptions to its users. Therefore, a WooCommerce feature extension plugin is the only solution for offering subscriptions. 

In this article, we are going to analyze WooCommerce recurring subscription products and how to set them up in your store. So, let us jump right into it! 

Why Should I Add Subscriptions to My Store? 

Before digging deep into setting up WooCommerce subscriptions, let us first address why subscriptions are desirable. 

Subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular these days. It is mainly because of the convenience it offers. In this fast-paced environment, automatically receiving products at recurring intervals of time by just setting them up once is extremely convenient. This drives customers towards stores providing subscriptions. 

A customer visiting to purchase a subscription might also purchase other products from your store. This helps to improve the total sales figure of the store. Also, a subscription is like a guarantee towards recurring sales, i.e, the same quantity of the product will be sold during the next recurring period. It brings stability and predictability to the average revenue. 

A subscriber is not a one-time customer. They will stay a customer for a prolonged period, at least until the subscription expires. So, nurturing this bond or attachment between the store and the customer can create a perfect ecosystem where both you and your customers can thrive. 

One of the biggest modes of advertisement for a store offering subscriptions is the word of mouth. This free promotion tactic works if your store has long-lasting and highly satisfied customers. Such customers, who trust your services, refer your store to the users at their disposal. The new users might definitely check out your store. This means, customer acquisition at zero capital investment.  

Subscriptions are also a great way to retain customers. Subscriptions, therefore, present a perfect environment for the growth of your online retail business. 

What Tools Should I Use to Set up subscriptions? 

Third-party plugin solutions facilitate offering subscription services through your store since it is not innately available in WooCommerce. 

There are several tools available for this purpose including the flagship product from WooCommerce, the WooCommerce Subscriptions. The plugin is rich in features and is considered to be one of the best in the niche. However, the market also offers competitor plugins that are similarly rich in features, and are reliable and trustworthy. One such plugin that stands out is the Subscriptions for WooCommerce from WebToffee. 

One of the biggest differences between these two subscriptions plugin is the difference in price. The subscription plugin from WebToffee is priced from $89/year to $199/year. Whereas, the plugin from WooCommerce is priced at $199 annually. Take a look at this article to find the complete comparison between the two subscription plugins. 

The superior quality subscription plugin from WebToffee can be used to create and manage subscriptions and recurring payments in a WooCommerce store. In this article, let us take a look at setting up subscriptions in the WooCommerce store with the WebToffee subscription plugin. 

How to Set Up WooCommerce Subscriptions? 

Since we are using the Subscriptions for WooCommerce plugin from WebToffee the first thing you should do is to install the plugin. 

To install and activate the plugin, 

  1. Purchase and download the WooCommerce subscriptions plugin from My Account > Downloads on your WebToffee account. 
  2. Login to your WordPress account and navigate to Plugins > Add New
  3. Upload the zip file that you have previously downloaded and click on Install Now
  4. You may then activate the plugin to further use it. 
adding recurring subscription plugin to wordpress

Once the plugin is activated you can then proceed to set up subscriptions. 

Creating Recurring Subscription Products

To create subscription products (tangible or digital) that are to be repeatedly delivered to the customers at recurring intervals, 

  1. Go to Products > Add New on your WordPress admin panel. 
  2. Add a product name and provide the product-related data such as its category, description, and such. 
  3. Scroll down to the Product data widget and change the Product Type to Simple subscription or Variable subscription. Let us select simple subscriptions now. 
  4.  Check the boxes virtual or downloadable if your product is non-tangible. 
  5. You may now provide the details regarding the products in the respective tabs. 
  6. Once that is done, you may click on Publish to add the subscription product to your store.

Now let’s look into some of the subscription-based setups and features available in this subscription plugin. 

Simple and Variable Subscription 

A simple subscription is similar to a simple product. These are the subscriptions that are only available in one variation. For example, toothpaste can be a simple subscription. 

However, if you have multiple variants of the same product and want to add them under a single product banner, choose a variable subscription. For example, if you have 50 and 100 grams of toothpaste tubes, you can add both of these as a single subscription. A customer buying this product can choose the variant that they want. Such subscriptions are called variable subscriptions. 

Subscription Price 

Unlike ordinary products, subscriptions are charged repeatedly. That is, the subscribers will have to remit the regularly scheduled payments to keep receiving the product or service. The plugin offers integrations with payment gateway provider plugins that support both manual and automatic processing of payments. 

The plugin supports daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly payment recurrence. 

Two of the most prominent payment gateway plugins that support recurring payments and are compatible with the subscription plugin are WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway and PayPal Express Checkout Payment Gateway for WooCommerce. 

Subscription Length 

A subscription can have an expiration period. For example, you can set the subscription length as two years if you only want to offer your product or service for two years. However, you may never want your subscription to expire, in such cases, you can choose not to restrict the subscription length. 

Subscription Discount Scheduling 

You can set up recurring discounts for the subscription with the subscription discounts. However, if you do not want to offer discounts for the full length of the subscription, you may schedule the sales with this plugin. 

Sign Up Fees and Free Trial 

Subscription sign-up fees refer to any fees associated with the setup or installation of the product. It may also be any fees that are charged in addition to the recurring subscription fees. These fees are charged only one time, ideally at the inception of the subscription. 

As the name suggests, a free trial for a subscription refers to the amount of period that you allow your customers to access your subscription services without paying for it. This is essentially like a taste test. You are giving your clients a taste of how the product is going to be. This is also a great marketing strategy that makes your customer interested in your product. For example, a free one-month trial for all Spotify users. 

Subscription Synchronization 

Subscription synchronization refers to synchronizing the payable date for all clients of a particular subscription product. 

To understand this easily, let’s take an example of product A. Say, three customers purchase product A (which is renewed monthly) on the first, 10th, and 20th of the month. This means that they will have to renew the payments on the same date the next month. Now, consider there are 100 subscribers for this product and you have tons of other products in your store. You will not have the time or energy to keep up with the finances or make arrangements for the delivery, particularly when the renewals are scattered around the month. 

This is why subscription synchronization is desirable. It syncs the renewal date of any said subscription product for all its subscribers. For instance, all three subscribers who purchased product A will have to renew their payments on, say, the 3rd of every month. This makes subscription management easy. 

Payment Pro-Ration 

Pro-rating payment is a one-time event associated with subscription synchronization. Let’s consider our previous example of product A to understand this better. If product A is purchased on the tenth and renewed on the third of the next month, your customers will be paying for an extra seven days that they have not used. So to rectify this we have payment pro-ration.

With pro-ration your customers will only have to pay for the actual number of days they have used the product. Note that this is only applicable for the first payment. In this example, the client will only have to pay for a total of 23 days instead of 30. From the next month, onwards the subscription will be charged on the third. All subsequent subscription payments will have to be made on a pre-fixed date. So there will not be any issue regarding extra or unavailable days. 

Dripping Downloads 

A downloadable subscription product will be available for download upon remitting the payments. Usually, when you have a downloadable subscription product, say for example a downloadable edition of a magazine, you usually should replace the product with the new editions on your product page. If your client has made the payment, they will be allowed to access this product. But these customers are not forced to make the renewals for downloading the replaced new editions. This is where download dripping is necessary. Dripping enforces subscription renewals for accessing the new edition of the product. 

Manual and Automatic Payment Processing 

This WooCommerce subscription plugin from WebToffee is compatible with several payment plugins that accept both manual and automatic payments. 

An automatic payment refers to automatically debiting the renewal amount from the customers. Whereas manual payments refer to manually initiated subscription renewal. Take a look at the supported payment methods to identify the payment gateways that support manual and automatic payments. 

Subscription Emails 

Subscription emails refer to the emails sent to your customers to notify them about the subscriptions. These emails are sent automatically by the plugin at pre-defined time intervals. You can disable these emails if required. You may also customize its contents as per your business standards. 

Apart from customers, some of these emails are also sent to the admins. This is to notify them about the major changes in the subscription. For example, when a subscription is suspended or canceled. Take a look at this article on WooCommerce subscription emails to know more. 

Conclusion

Setting up subscriptions in your store is an amazing opportunity to maintain constant revenue and build a loyal customer base. Moreover, subscriptions are not a complex thing, your customers can purchase subscriptions just like any other products in the store. There are no difficult hurdles or unknown parameters while purchasing subscriptions. However, you will need to make purchasing subscriptions as smooth as possible. Plugins are a good way to go for this. You will need subscription plugins to help set up and manage subscriptions and payment plugins that support recurring payments to collect the fees. 

In this article, we have looked into Subscriptions for WooCommerce plugin from WebToffee. The plugin is a great alternative to the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin from WooCommerce. It is available at a much more affordable price range and offers all features required for practical applications. 

We have selected this plugin for you after careful consideration and we are confident that this plugin would deliver the best results for your store. We hope that this article was of help to you. Do let us know what you think in the comments below.

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