How to setup WooCommerce Subscriptions?

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How to setup WooCommerce Subscriptions?

In this guide, you will learn how to successfully get started with selling subscriptions on your WooCommerce store.

Whether you need to sell physical products such as soap or coffee on a monthly basis, or virtual products such as hosting plans on a yearly fee, you are in good hands.

I would recommend setting up this plugin on a staging site first OR take a backup on your live site.

Let’s begin!

How to setup WooCommerce Subscriptions?

  1. Install and activate the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin
  2. Configure your subscription settings
  3. Allow customers to create account
  4. Check your Payment methods
  5. Create your first subscription product
  6. Do a test order with a subscription product

If you are more of a visual learner, see the video tutorial below.

1. Install and activate the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin

To get started, purchase the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.

Next, download the .zip file.

Then, on your WordPress dashboard, hover over Plugins and click “Add new”. Upload the .zip file and click “Install now”.

Finally, activate the plugin and go to the WooCommerce Subscription settings.

2. Configure your subscription settings

In your subscription settings, ensure that “Accept Manual Renewals” is unchecked. WooCommerce Subscriptions is setup to automatically run your customer’s payment method every billing interval (i.e. every day, every week, every month, every year). Unless their credit card is declined, this will continue to run without the need to re-add their payment method.

Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page and check “Retry Failed Payments”. If a customer’s payment fails on a renewal order this will allow the payment to be retried.

Finally, Save changes.

3. Allow customers to create account during checkout

Go to the Accounts tab in your WooCommerce Settings.

Make sure that you are allowing customers to create an account during checkout. You could also check the option to automatically create account for customer based on their email address. Their username and password will be emailed to them after Checkout.

woocommerce-subscriptions-account

For example, if John Doe (johndoe@gmail.com) was a previous customer and now tries to checkout with a subscription product, it will ask him to login or create his account for him.

4. Check your payment methods

Go to the Payments tab in your WooCommerce settings. To use WooCommerce Subscriptions, make sure you have at least 1 payment method that supports “Automatic Recurring Payments”.

woocommerce-subscriptions-automatic-recurring-payments

If you see a checkmark next to your payment method, you are all set!

If you do not have a payment method that supports WooCommerce Subscriptions, see the full list of payment methods that support subscriptions including Stripe, Authorize.Net, and PayPal Standard.

5. Create your first subscription product

Add a new product to your store. Name the product.

Next, scroll down to the Product data section and update the Product type to “Simple subscription”.

Then, add the subscription price, billing interval, etc.

In this example I am selling Coffee Beans and charging $10/month.

Finally, upload an image of your product and “Publish” your product.

Pro tip: If you already have an existing non-subscription product and want to offer this product on subscriptions, it may be easier to just “clone” an existing product using the Duplicate Post plugin. Then, edit that product and scroll down to the bottom and update your product to a “simple subscription” or “variable subscription”.

6. Do a test order with a subscription product

Now, let’s do a test checkout to simulate how a customer would go through this process.

Open up an incognito window and go to your Product page. Click “sign up now”.

Add the product to your Cart and go through the Checkout process. I would recommend using a email address that is not an administrator on your site. This will allow you to better understand how your customers will go through this process.

Check your email. You should have received a subscription order receipt.

On your Order Received page, click the “view” button to see more details regarding your subscription on your Account page. This will allow you to see the start date, last order date, next payment date, etc. You can also see the options to cancel, change your payment method, and renew now.

Also, navigate back to the backend of your WooCommerce store and click “Orders”. Reference the screenshot below for the difference between the parent order icons and the renewal order icons.

woocommerce-subscriptions-order-icons

Since this was a parent order of a subscription, your icon should look like the ‘blue’ section.

Video tutorials

  1. Sell Subscriptions with WooCommerce
  2. Setup All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions
  3. Synchronize renewals with WooCommerce Subscriptions
  4. Setup a simple subscription product in WooCommerce
  5. Setup a variable subscription product in WooCommerce
  6. Send follow-up emails in WooCommerce

Sell Subscriptions with WooCommerce

Setup All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions

If you want to see the full post, see how to add subscriptions to existing products.

Synchronize renewals with WooCommerce Subscriptions

Learn how to synchronize WooCommerce Subscriptions renewals in the video below.

Setup a simple subscription product in WooCommerce

If you want to see the full post, see how to setup a simple subscription on WooCommerce.

Setup a variable subscription product in WooCommerce

If you want to see the full post, see how to setup a variable subscription on WooCommerce.

Send follow-up emails in WooCommerce

If you want to send follow-up emails to customers before their next payment date, see the video below or checkout our post on Follow-Ups emails.

Comments

  1. Nicole August 5, 2020 | 1:11 pm

    Hey Simon,
    Thanks for the help on getting this started! Would you be able to help remove the “-subscribe and save X%” from the pricing. It’s everywhere, on the homepage, shop, products, recently viewed products… Just makes the site look too busy. I can’t find anything on the internet about removing this. Thanks!
    Nicole

    • Simon Gondeck August 5, 2020 | 4:20 pm

      Yes for sure! The quickest way to remove the “-subscribe and save X%” from the pricing would be to add this to your CSS file:

      .wcsatt-sub-options {
          display: none;
      }
      
      • Simon Gondeck September 12, 2020 | 8:14 pm

        You could also add this filter and function to the bottom of your functions.php file:

        add_filter( 'wcsatt_price_html_suffix', 'apfs_remove_suffix', 10, 3 );
        
        function apfs_remove_suffix( $suffix, $product, $args ) {
        	return '';
        }
        
  2. Lindsay C. October 9, 2020 | 12:45 am

    Hi Sam, Thanks for these! you are a super star! Quick question – we are offering a yearly golf membership. the first 6 months of a year are set. then the last 6 months each have different prices. At the moment, the visitors has to chose e.g. june – dec and they get 1 price or they have to choose e.g. feb – dec and they get another price. do you think there is a way where this plugin can automate that e.g. jan – dec costs $100, mar – dec costs $80, nov – dec costs $20 – and that WP can automatically give them the cost based on the current month? hope that makes sense. Thanks for any help 🙂

    • Simon Gondeck October 9, 2020 | 1:16 am

      Hey Lindsay, anything is possible with the right developer and no perfect way to do this.

      What I would recommend is setting up a simple subscription product for $100/year and have it always renew on a specific date of the year (i.e. the 1st of January).

      Then, in your WooCommerce Subscriptions settings, under Synchronize renewals enable “Align Subscription Renewal Day”. In addition, set Prorate First Renewal to “Never (do not charge any recurring amount)”.



      Finally, edit your product and update the Sign-up fee price to what price you should charge for that period. For example, since it’s still October you would update the Sign-up fee price to $80. If customer John signed up for a membership in October, 2020 he would pay $80.



      On January 1st, 2021 his membership could automatically renew for $100 because that is the subscription price each year. Another example is for the month of November 2020…you would go back and edit the Sign-up fee price from $80 to $20. If Sam purchased a membership in November or December he would pay $20 on that date and then his subscription could automatically renew for $100 on the 1st of the year. What about the price for January – December? On January 1st, 2021 simply update the Sign-up fee price from $20 back to $100. If Katie signs up on February 5th, 2021 she would pay $100. Her next payment would automatically renew on January 1st, 2022. On March 1st, 2021 update the Sign-up fee from $100 to $80. On November 1st, 2021 go back and update the Sign-up fee from $80 to $20.

      Overall, this method requires you to update the Sign-up fee price only a few times a year but assures customers have the same renewal price. You could also look into prorating the $100 fee but that is calculated by number of days left in the year and not the months and could get confusing quickly.

  3. Pelle K. October 18, 2020 | 1:25 pm

    I got this message on checkout “woocomerce subscription No Available Payment Gateways Warning” I have set up woocommerce subscription with paypal standard what is the problem?

    • Simon Gondeck October 18, 2020 | 1:32 pm

      On your WordPress dashboard, hover over WooCommerce and click ‘Settings’. Next, click the ‘Payments’ tab and then click ‘Manage’ in the PayPal Standard row. Then, check ‘Enable PayPal Standard for Subscriptions’. Finally, scroll to the bottom of the and click ‘Save changes’.

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FAQ

Subscriptions

Mixed Cart
What is a mixed checkout in WooCommerce?

A Mixed Checkout in WooCommerce is when a single transaction includes both subscription products and one-time products.

To allow multiple subscriptions and products to be purchased in a single transaction, check the option for the Mixed Checkout setting in your WooCommerce settings under the Subscriptions tab.

woocommerce-subscriptions-mixed-checkout

If you do not want multiple subscriptions and products to be purchased in a single transaction, uncheck the Mixed Checkout setting. If you try to add a product to your Cart, you will see the following message “A subscription has been removed from your cart. Products and subscriptions can not be purchased at the same time.”

woocommerce-subscriptions-no-mixed-checkout

All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions
How can allow subscriptions and one-time products be purchased in a single transaction?

To allow multiple subscriptions and products to be purchased in a single transaction, check the option for the Mixed Checkout setting in your WooCommerce settings under the Subscriptions tab.

woocommerce-subscriptions-mixed-checkout

If you do not want multiple subscriptions and products to be purchased in a single transaction, uncheck the Mixed Checkout setting. If you try to add a product to your Cart, you will see the following message “A subscription has been removed from your cart. Products and subscriptions can not be purchased at the same time.”

woocommerce-subscriptions-no-mixed-checkout

 

1X Purchase Only
Can I buy 1 subscription product and a non-subscription product on the same order?

Yes, you need to purchase the All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions extension on your WooCommerce site.

Subscription Box
How to setup the synchronize settings for subscription boxes?

Let’s say you sell a subscription box for $100/month. In the WC subscription settings, you would need to enable “Synchronize renewals” so that you are able to align the subscription renewal date to the 15th of each month.

Next, under “Prorate First Renewal”, you would choose the option to Never (charge the full recurring amount at sign-up). Then, under “Sign-up grace period” add in 30 days prior to the renewal day.

wc-subscription-box

Finally, edit the product and make sure you set this to 15th day of the month.

woocommerce-subscriptions-synchronise-renewals

For example, if Matt subscribes to the subscription box on May 10th and Josef subscribes on May 28th, they would be subscribed to your box but not be charged until June 15th. If someone subscribes to the box on June 1st, they would be subscribed but not charged until their first renewal payment on July 15th.

Guest Checkout
How enable Guest Checkout for WooCommerce Subscription Orders?

How enable Guest Checkout for WooCommerce Subscription Orders?

  1. WooCommerce > Settings > Accounts & Privacy > Guest Checkout:
    • Disable: Allow customers to place orders without an account
    • Enable: Allow customers to log into an existing account during checkout
  2. WooCommerce > Settings > Accounts & Privacy > Account Creation:
    • Enable: Allow customers to create an account during checkout
    • Enable: When creating an account, automatically generate an account username for the customer based on their name, surname or email
  3. Click ‘Update’

Payment

Stripe
Does Stripe accept recurring payments?

Yes, Stripe accepts recurring payments and works on WooCommerce Subscriptions.

PayPal
Will PayPal Standard work with WooCommerce Subscriptions?

Yes it will but there are limitations (see bottom of this FAQ).

To enable PayPal Standard to work with Subscriptions, do the following steps:

  1. On your WordPress dashboard, hover over WooCommerce and click ‘Settings’
  2. Next, click the ‘Payments’ tab and then click ‘Manage’ in the PayPal Standard row
  3. Then, check ‘Enable PayPal Standard for Subscriptions’
  4. Finally, scroll to the bottom of the and click ‘Save changes’

enable-paypal-standard-for-subscriptions

However, if your WooCommerce Subscriptions are setup for the customer to downgrade or upgrade their subscription (i.e. change from 1 month to every 2 months or change recurring total from $50/month to $75/month) you will have to apply for PayPal Reference transactions. in your PayPal dashboard (typically requires subscription revenue to be $2,000/month or higher). Read more about how to apply here.

Does PayPal accept recurring payments?

Yes, PayPal accepts recurring payments and works on WooCommerce Subscriptions. Learn more by watching my video tutorial below:

What are the limitations of PayPal Standard with WooCommerce Subscriptions?

Read more about the limitations of PayPal Standard with WooCommerce Subscriptions here: https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/subscriptions/limitations-of-paypal-standard/

Amazon Pay
Does Amazon Pay accept recurring payments?

Yes, Amazon Pay accepts recurring payments and works on WooCommerce Subscriptions.

Authorize.net
Does Authorize.net accept recurring payments and work on WooCommerce Subscriptions?

Yes, Authorize.net accepts recurring payments and works on WooCommerce Subscriptions.