WooCommerce Subscriptions is one of my favorite extensions for WooCommerce. The developer behind it is a friend of mine, Brent Shepherd over at Prospress. I have used it multiple times on past membership sites as setting monthly payments for my coaching packages.
I wrote my first post on this plugin three years ago and figured it was time to update it.
WooCommerce Subscriptions Extension
I have written a lot about subscription sites on this blog and have watched the industry grow over the last several years. Recurring income is so popular that you see subscriptions being offered in retail, training, software, you name it. And it’s not going away anytime in the near future.
So let me walk you thought this extension and show you just how powerful it is.
The Subscriptions Settings
Once you have installed the extension, you will now have a tab under your WooCommerce settings specifically for this extension.
A simple but very useful option. This is not only good because it gives you an option to customize the text in these buttons, but also if you have other products on your site, you can make your call-to-action with subscriptions stand out.
Again, this gives you the chance to assign subscribers to a specific role. Where I might use this is if I have several different subscriber-like roles. Let’s say I allow subscribers to my blog and as a result they end up with a profile on my site. Then I also have the customer role for clients who purchase my coaching. I might then use a plugin like the User Role Editor to create custom user roles for my subscribers and call it subscriptions. That way I can more easily organize all the users I have on my site.
And of course I can do the same for inactive subscriber roles.
This is where the benefits of this plugin are and the recurring payments. By default, most store owners won’t want the manual option compared to the auto-renewal. Giving your customers the need to go in and renew manual will likely end up with more people canceling their subscriptions. So unless you do have a specific reason to use this option, it’s there.
But the option to give subscribers the ability to renew early is something you may want to consider. I know there have been times I did this on subscriptions I have and there is often a reason someone may want to do it while they are thinking about it.
Another great option is if you have different variations of subscriptions where customers can either upgrade or downgrade. In these settings you can easily allow people to switch to another subscription, hopefully upgrading to the next level. You can allow them to switch between Subscription Variations, Grouped Subscriptions, or both.
This is a useful feature if you want subscriptions to renew on specific days and whether you will offer prorating or not.
And if you do choose Never (charge the full recurring amount at sign-up), you are given a field for the sign-up grace period.
Here are a few additional settings that might come in handy. For example, you might have subscriptions where it makes sense to give a subscriber an option to have multiple subscriptions. In other cases, not so much. Also, the ability to provide drip downloadable content could be be useful.
Once you have activated and set up your payment gateways, they will appear here and you will see which are set up for recurring revenue. In this example it is obvious from the choices that PayPal would be the only one.
As you can see, no payment gateways capable of processing automatic subscription payments are enabled. If you would like to process automatic payments, we recommend the free Stripe extension.
Payment gateways which don’t support automatic recurring payments can be used to process manual subscription renewal payments.
You can check out the gateways that support automatic subscription payments over on WooCommerce.
You will also be able to take advantage of coupons that come with WooCommerce. As you can see here, the option for either a flat or percentage discount on both sign-ups and recurring fees.
Under your WooCommerce Settings > Emails you will find several different emails that are related to the subscription extension.
Setting Up a Product Subscription
With subscriptions, you have the option of Simple Subscription and Variable Subscription
As you can see there are several options here for how you can control your subscription price. The drop down menu gives you several variables for the number of days, weeks, months or years, as well as options for expiration by number of months. Sign-up fee is optional if different than the subscription fee and setting a free trial or a sale price is easy to do.
These are very similar to setting up other variable products, which you are either familiar with having used WooCommerce, or you can learn more about here. But as you can see here some fields are unique to subscriptions.
In the Advanced tab you will find one specific setting for subscriptions that will let you allow a single customer to have limits.
Managing Your Subscriptions
It is easy to manage your subscriptions as you start acquiring them. Each subscription can be opened up like an order and you will have all the data you need for viewing any single subscription.
Extend Your WooCommerce Subscriptions
You may need to give your customers more options such as:
- Skip Next Shipment
- Ship Now
- Change Next Payment Date
- Change Frequency
- Edit Existing Subscription
- Add Products to Existing Subscription
- Edit Product Quantities in Existing Subscriptions
Instead of messing with your code, their is an extension that will do the trick for you call Toolbox For WooCommerce Subscriptions.
Also, there are these two extensions that will extend subscriptions.
So if you need to set up recurring payments with WooCommerce, this is the option I recommend. As you can see it has a lot of features and easily lets you control subscriptions. Learn more by clicking here.