How to setup free trials (and sign-up fees) with WooCommerce Subscriptions?
Offering a free trial is a classic sales tactic to allow users to try out your product before paying for it.
We recently launched our first plugin for $19/year and offered a 60-day free trial to increase sign-ups and get feedback.
Let’s go over how to set this up on your WooCommerce store!
Before we dive into this post, be aware that you need the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin to offer free trials.
In addition, think about how you want to setup your free trial. Here are some common questions:
What product do you want to offer as a free trial?
How long do you want your free trial to last?
Do you want to require a user to put their credit card down initially?
Let’s jump into it!
Table of Contents
How to setup free trials with WooCommerce Subscriptions?
- On your WordPress dashboard, hover over Products and click Add New.
- Next, choose the product type as ‘Simple subscription’ or ‘Variable subscription’.
- Then, add your subscription price, expiration date, and free trial period.
- Finally, publish your Product.
We initially offered the plugin for $19/year with a 60-day free trial period. We also required users to put their credit card down before they got access to our plugin. This is enabled by default by WooCommerce Subscriptions.
When the customer goes through the Checkout process to get our plugin, here is how they are billed:
- Today: $0
- 60 days from now: $19
- 425 days from now (if they renew): $19
How to make a credit card not required during Sign-up?
You probably have noticed products or services that offer a free trial and state “no credit card required”. Here is how to set this up.
On your WordPress dashboard, hover over WooCommerce and click Settings.
Next, click the Subscriptions tab.
Then, enable “Allow $0 initial checkout without a payment method”
Finally, click Save.
Test this out by going through the Checkout process with your free trial product. On your Checkout page, no payment options should show!
How to setup a free trial (with a sign-up fee)?
You may be looking to offer your product at a high discount for the first few months but still want to charge an initial fee. For example, the Wall Street Journal offers their online-only plan for $1 for the first 2 months, then $20 for the next 12 months. After 14 months, the price becomes $40 per month.
- 1st 2 months: $1.00 (sign-up fee)
- Next 12 months: $40.00 per month (add recurring coupon for 50% off for 1st 12 payments)
- After 14 months: $40.00 per month (subscription price)
Here is how you would set this product up on your WooCommerce store:
Next, add a recurring product coupon for 50% off the first 12 payments.
You can set the coupon to auto-apply using the Smart Coupons plugin.
Here is how my coupon is setup:
Send reminder email to customer that their trial is about to expire
You can also setup a reminder email to automatically send to customers that their card will be charged in 7 days.
If the customer does not cancel their subscription, their payment method is charged.
Can I apply shipping costs for free-trial products?
No. The best way to do this would be to add a sign-up fee to your free-trial product. For example, I sell a premium coffee subscription for $20/month. Customers love it! I want to offer a free trial for more customers to try the coffee out that . They only would pay $3.95 on their 1st order for shipping so I set the Sign-up fee as $3.95.
After the 1 month free trial, customers subscriptions renew for $23.95 ($20 product price + $3.95 shipping cost).
If you are more of a visual learner, see how to set up and use this plugin with this video: