WordPress offers several WooCommerce plugins including subscription plugins to help with the operations of your online store.
WooCommerce subscription plugins add valuable subscription-based features, that are otherwise not available, to your WooCommerce store. For instance, WooCommerce doesn’t offer any customizations to set up recurring payments that are essential for a subscription product. This means that to mark a product as a subscription product in your eStore, you will have to first find a plugin that offers subscription-based features for WooCommerce.
There are a large number of plugins available to assist online business owners in setting up eCommerce stores with WordPress. Because of the availability of a sheer number of plugins with almost similar functionalities, finding the best one for your business is not an easy task. Nevertheless, if you wind up using a badly coded plugin, it can have serious impacts on your store such as security and performance glitches.
If you are in search of a subscription plugin for your WooCommerce store, we recommend you look for one that abides by the coding and security practices put forth by WordPress. Tech support should also be a priority.
To further help you down the process, we have hand-picked a few subscription-based WooCommerce plugins with the best performance and reviews in 2022, take a look.
What do you mean by Subscription and why do you need it?
The subscription model refers to paying a fixed amount of money by the members/customers to a business/organization on a periodic basis to keep receiving their products/services. Businesses use subscription-based business models as a medium to ensure recurring sales. Also, the customers signing up for an account or purchasing a subscription product can be added as a target audience for other promotional email marketing campaigns run by the business.
Launching a subscription-based business has several benefits. Listed below are some of them, take a look.
- Lower customer acquisition costs
Acquisition cost refers to the amount of money that a business spends to convert a lead to a customer. The subscription model helps to cut down customer acquisition costs by engaging customers who trust your brand and is comfortable with your products.
- Customer referrals
Word of mouth or customer referrals are highly influential and helps scale the traffic and sales. The subscription model has the capacity to generate more referrals as the customers of the product will already be happy with the brand.
- A custom target audience for promotional campaigns
The customers of a subscription product can be targeted to sell new products via large email marketing campaigns and such. This means less energy spent on developing a custom target campaign audience.
Types of subscription services
A subscription model is nothing new, they have been around for a long time now.
During its early years, subscription services were prominently used by newspapers and magazines to ensure sales during the next cycle. In recent years subscription has evolved into something more complex than just sales. Of course, the end goal is sales, but businesses are even happy with subscription models that land them on the pathway to sales, rather than outright sales.
That said, let’s look into different types of subscription services categorized based on their objective.
- Product Subscription
The model specializes in delivering physical or intangible products to subscribed customers at specified intervals of time. For example, a subscription for a physical product like a magazine or a ‘subscription box’. The payments can be done on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis depending on your need. Moreover, a single product can have multiple subscriptions. For instance, a product can have a monthly and an annual plan where the customers can pay upfront for the entire year with possibly a discount or they can choose to go with a normal monthly plan if they so choose.
- Membership Subscription
Here, organizations offer product/service memberships to the customers in return for their subscription. For instance, customers pay monthly or yearly subscriptions for unlimited Netflix streaming.
- Email Subscription
Here the customers will receive communications from the service provider/organization in return for their subscription. The communication can include information regarding new sales, promo codes, product updates, and more. Companies are building potential email marketing targets with email subscriptions.
Pros and Cons of Subscription models
- Recurring payments provide stability to your revenue
- Helps to build a potential target for up-selling and cross-selling
- Staging payments in a monthly or weekly cycles instead of a single payment helps attract more customers
- Subscription enables you to offer competitive prices for expensive products (This is a sure purchase recurrence, this helps to pacify your dip in revenue because of the price lowering.)
- Easier to set up free trials for customers
- Easier for customers to upgrade or downgrade their subscription
- More churn and uncertain revenue during initial phases until you establish yourselves in the market
- Customers may be hesitant to commit to a recurring payment unless you provide new actual value to them every time thus making it difficult to acquire new customers
Best subscription plugins for WooCommerce in the market
1. Subscriptions for WooCommerce by WebToffee
Grow your store with Subscriptions for WooCommerce!
Subscriptions for WooCommerce is a premium subscription plugin by WebToffee which helps you set up and manage recurring payments/billing for your store.
The plugin offers both simple and variable subscription models for physical, virtual, and downloadable products. You can set up free trials and charge sign-up fees with customizations in the product. Moreover, you can create a recurring discount coupon for your customers. If the customers apply the coupon to the subscription order once, the coupon will be automatically applied during all renewals.
The plugin supports all major payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, etc. Also, you can add multiple billing schedules with the plugin.
Subscription rates for simple subscription products are calculated based on the subscription interval, whereas the subscription rate for variable subscription products may vary with pricing and billing schedules.
Additionally, the plugin offers customizations that enable you to automatically notify your customers/subscribers via email if something happens to your subscription, for example, account expiration, free trial, suspended account, completed, and so on.
- Simple and Variable subscriptions can be set up for both physical and downloadable products
- Supports setting signup fee.
- Supports offering a free trial.
- Ability to synchronize and pro-rate subscriptions
- Offers multiple billing schedules.
- Send automatic email notifications to subscribers.
- Automatically re-bills/re-initiate failed subscription payments.
- Compatible with payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, etc.
2. WooCommerce Subscriptions by WooCommerce
The WooCommerce Subscriptions is a premium WordPress plugin for WooCommerce that enables you to set up a fully functional subscription-based e-Store. The plugin provides features such as multiple subscription creation, periodic billing schedules, automatic invoice generator, etc.
It also offers other functionalities like sign-up fees, free trials, multiple billing periods, and expiration periods for subscription products. Additionally, the plugin allows your customers/subscribers to upgrade, downgrade or crossgrade between their subscription plans.
WooCommerce Subscription offers a plethora of payment gateway options for automatic recurring and manual renewal payments. Manual renewal payments done through the WooCommerce payment gateway automatically generate email invoices and receipts.
The plugin is really handy and easy to work with. You can even control most of the plugin functionalities from the dashboard itself.
- Provides subscribers the flexibility to manage their own plans
- Enables setting up multiple subscription products
- Automatic renewal notifications to subscribers
- Automatic re-billing of failed subscription payments
- Compatible with a large number of payment gateways
- Enables customers to upgrade or downgrade their subscription plans
3. YITH WooCommerce Subscription Plugin
YITH WooCommerce subscription plugin enables you to sell simple, virtual, and downloadable subscription plugins to customers. The plugin allows you to create unlimited subscription plans for your products that the customers can purchase. The YITH plugin also makes it easy for users to upgrade, downgrade or switch between the plans.
The plugin also provides the configurations to let customers pause the subscription, cancel the plan, and more. With Yith, you can decide what should happen to a subscription if the user fails to make the payment.
You can also set up email notifications to send you and your customers alert on major actions like failed payments, subscriptions getting suspended, etc. Additionally, the plugin facilitates two additional coupons which offer discounts on the signup and recurring fees.
The plugin also enables the following functions: integration with YITH WooCommerce Membership, payment synchronization, export subscriptions to CSV file, monitoring subscription and income from the dashboard, etc.
- Offers free trial and signup fee options for subscription products
- Options to allow customers to simultaneously purchase multiple subscriptions
- Options for users to switch between subscription plans of products
- Supports multiple payment gateways
- Offers automatic subscription renewal
4. Subscriptio – WooCommerce Subscriptions
Subscriptio is a WooCommerce subscription plugin that enables you to add recurring payment capabilities to your e-store. The plugin supports both semi-automatic and fully automatic billing on subscription products.
In semi atomic billing, the plugin sends emails to customers notifying them of the payment, they can complete it with the help of the call-to-action button on the email. Additionally, semi-automatic billing works with all WooCommerce payment gateways.
In fully automatic billing, the recurring payments can only be automatically initiated after implementing some additional functionalities in the payment gateway extension. Subscription is fully compatible out-of-the-box with PayPal and Stripe.
- Ability to set up product trials of any length
- Enforces no limits on the number of subscriptions a customer can have
- Enables users to purchase subscriptions as normal products
- Allows you to set billing cycles of any length
- Fully compatible with PayPal and Stripe
5. SUMO Subscriptions – WooCommerce Subscription Plugin
SUMO Subscriptions is a comprehensive WooCommerce subscription plugin with which you can create and sell simple, variable, and grouped product subscriptions.
The plugin offers features like payment synchronization, custom subscription duration, custom number of renewals, pre-approved subscription renewals, prorate synchronized subscription, etc.
The SUMO Subscription plugin has built-in PayPal and Stripe payment gateways for automatic renewal of subscriptions without user authorization. Additionally, the subscribers have the option to switch between automatic or manual payment renewal. They can even cancel their subscription at any point in time.
The WooCommerce admins can control features like manually generating subscription orders, assigning the order to users, adding or deducting shipping charges and tax during renewals, etc. in the SUMO plugin.
- Offers subscription payment synchronization
- Enables customers to purchase subscriptions with normal products
- Has built-in PayPal and Stripe gateways
- Enables subscribers to switch between manual and automatic subscription
- Facilitates free and paid product trials before the subscription
- Works brilliantly on all themes that support WooCommerce
Selecting a plugin to handle your WooCommerce subscriptions is a delicate and troublesome process. It’s much risker than other plugins as this can directly impact your subscription sales and revenue. For that reason, we have provided you with a hand-picked selection of WooCommerce Subscription plugins to help you set up a fully compatible subscription-based WooCommerce store.
Have you tried out any of the products yet? Do let us know what you think in the comment section below.