Last updated - March 23, 2018
Payment gateways play a big role in ensuring the best customer experience for eCommerce users. Therefore, you need to take particular care while deciding on the payment gateways to be featured in your online store. However, a specific concern of store owners regarding payment gateways is how they handle subscriptions. As you know, subscriptions are a great way to ensure predictable income and more eCommerce stores are going that way. To ensure that your subscribers are charged on a periodic basis, you need to set up recurring billing on your store. Thankfully, WooCommerce provides dependable solutions for both – to set up subscriptions and recurring billing. This article finds out how you can set up Stripe recurring payments on your WooCommerce store. You will also find some of the best practices you can follow while running a subscription business.
Setting up WooCommerce subscriptions
Subscriptions are a great way to ensure recurring income on your WooCommerce store. You can read about some of the successful subscription models here. You will find some amazing extensions to help you set up a successful subscription plan on your WooCommerce store. Here is a quick look at some of them.
This is a free plugin that you can download from the WordPress plugin repository. It helps to create simple and variable subscriptions on your store with different billing periods and intervals. You can create subscriptions for physical as well as digital products on your store, and even for virtual products or services. The plugin is quite simple to use as it creates subscription products just like you create any other WooCommerce products. In the product type drop down, the plugin creates two more options for simple and variable subscriptions. It also provides an option for mixed checkout, where your customers can checkout with subscription products along with other usual products on the store.
This WooCommerce extension helps you create and manage subscription products with recurring payments. You can add a fee for subscribers to sign up, set up a date for the expiry of the subscription, or even give free trials for a specific period. The extension offers multiple billing schedules that you can choose according to your strategies. It supports around 25 payment gateways that offer automatic recurring billing. Moreover, your customers can manage their plans on their own – to upgrade or downgrade.
An advanced feature of this extension is the synchronized payment option, where you can align customers to a single term for a subscription. If you want to ship your subscription products only on specific days of the month, that is also possible with this one. For new customers joining a plan, you can charge an initial amount based on the days remaining in the ongoing billing period. Prorating the first payment like this is especially convenient when you deal with subscriptions on your store. You can purchase a single site subscription to this extension for $199. 5 site subscription is $249 and 25 sites one is available for $399.
Setting up Stripe recurring payments
Stripe APIs provide great options to manage all aspects of your recurring billing. While the whole billing process works automatically, you will still get great control and flexibility. You just need to connect your customers to subscription plans and Stripe bills them based on the specified time period. In case users decide to discontinue a plan midway, Stripe will do the calculation for that too.
The rising popularity of Stripe to handle subscriptions is due to the fact that it can handle any complex calculations. It can handle usage-based plans that change every billing period or the ones where there are a base price and a usage cost. Moreover, it easily manages the calculation of any ‘add-on’ costs if you are offering any of your products. You can read more about product add ons here. Stripe offers support for subscription plans for 139 currencies around the globe.
With the help of this plugin by XAdapter, you can accept payments through credit/debit cards, Alipay, Apple Pay, and Bitcoin. If you want to read more about Bitcoin, you can find some information here. The plugin enables you to accept payments directly on your website, without the need for any redirects. Stripe accepts payments by all major credit cards, and the plugin provides an option to restrict specific cards. And it supports recurring payments for WooCommerce Subscriptions. As it supports Apple Pay, your customers are able to get another secure option to make their payments. Your customers can checkout using their credit or debit cards with one touch using Apple Pay. A range of devices are compatible with this payment option, and your customers would be happy to authorize payments using Touch ID. You can even enable flat rate shipping for customers who are checking out with Apple Pay.
With this plugin, you can provide full or partial refunds from individual order admin page or Stripe overview page. Another interesting feature of this plugin is the email receipt, where Stripe sends a transaction receipt to customers. Options like currency conversion and customization of visual features add a lot more value to this plugin. However, it is a great idea to check if your country supports Stripe payments before going ahead with the purchase. The single site subscription of the plugin is available for purchase at $59. 5 site and 25 site licenses are available for $89 and $189 respectively.
WooCommerce extension for Stripe provides a great option to accept payments using credit cards as well as Apple Pay. All major credit cards, Apple Pay and even Bitcoin payments are accepted with this extension. The major advantage of using Stripe is that it has no hidden costs like setup fees. It offers great support for subscriptions, which enables you to manage recurring payments effortlessly. Moreover, your returning customers can checkout faster, as Stripe has a way to save card details safely.
Advantages of using Stripe recurring payments
When you are using Stripe payment gateway for the recurring payments for your subscriptions, there are some obvious advantages. Let us take a look at some.
You will be saved from the complexities of recurring payment
The primary advantage is that Stripe will take care of all the needs for recurring billing. All you need to do is attach customers to specific subscription plans and let Stripe manage the rest. Whatever term and interval you specify for your subscription plans, the payment will happen accordingly. Furthermore, if a user decides to change the terms of subscription in between, Stripe automatically adjusts the payment. Such aspects that can cause headaches to store owners are neatly bypassed if you are using Stripe.
Accommodates diverse subscription models
Another marked advantage of using Stripe is that it can very well accommodate different subscription models for varying business needs. For example, subscriptions of digital products often have usage-based prices. This may vary for every billing period, and Stripe helps to automate the calculations in such a scenario. Another subscription model that is common in SaaS tools is per seat pricing. For the base subscription, your customers would have to pay a certain fixed amount every billing period. The varying cost is determined based on the number of users who use the service during the period. Also, if you want to let a single customer subscribe to multiple plans, that is also possible. Moreover, it allows subscribers to customize their plans using add-ons.
Safety for user’s data
Stripe offers great security for your customer’s data that you need to store for recurring billing. You can continue to renew or upgrade subscriptions without really worrying about data security. And, repeat customers will be able to checkout faster.
Helps in acquiring new customers
Stripe is not only about managing existing customers. It even has a great number of tools to help you acquire new customers. Stripe API has built-in tools to reach out to potential customers. You will find tools to experiment setting up new discounts, and maximize renewals. A common strategy used by most businesses dealing with subscriptions is offering a free trial period to users. Stripe also offers coupons that will provide great flexibility to set up discounts on your subscription plans.
Better management of failed transactions
Stripe helps to minimize the number of failed payments by repeatedly testing to reach an optimum retry logic. You can even customize these options according to your requirements. Another advantage is how Stripe manages changes in card number or card expiry dates of subscribers. If the account with the specific card is open, Stripe manages to avoid transaction failure consistently. Stripe achieves this by collaboration with card networks including Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
Great data analysis options
Analyzing user data on a consistent basis is really important when you are running a subscription business. Stripe provides great options to help you with data analysis. You will be able to store relevant information including metadata for all your products. Moreover, you can access all data with the Stripe API, or export charges to external tools like Quickbooks.
Easy integration with external tools
Another great reason to use Stripe recurring payments is its ability to integrate with numerous other eCommerce tools. These tools might range from accounting tools to customer relationship management.
Best practices while choosing a payment option for subscriptions
Apart from credit cards, there are quite a large number of payment options that support a subscription business. The payment method that you choose is dependent on multiple factors ranging from customer choice to international regulations. So, here is a quick list when you are looking to find the best solution for your subscription business.
Offer options other than credit cards
Even in the current eCommerce landscape, credit cards are predominantly used for subscription payments. However, there are numerous other options that are gaining popularity owing to the convenience. Though offering all the available payment methods are not necessary, some of them might add value to your store. You need to carefully consider your customer preferences and opt for a suitable option. The right option should enable you to improve conversions on your store.
Consider financial and operational viability
With larger choices available for payment methods, you can choose the right one that fits your financial and operational comfort zone. Often the cost of payment methods increases as the number of transactions grow. After acquiring a good customer base, switching from one payment method to another might not be practical. You need to carefully study the terms and conditions of payment options before finalizing on one. A thorough market study to find out the most popular option will also help. For example, Stripe offers options other than credit or debit cards and hence you will have better prospects when dealing with varied customer demographics.
Devise strategies according to the business model
The choice of your payment method differs based on your business model. Often B2B and B2C models demand different approaches when it comes to customer retention strategies. However, some of the aspects of offering a seamless user experience remains a priority in any model. Offering a free trial is one of the most effective strategies in subscription business. This offers a chance for the customer to experience your product before they pay for it.
Subscription business goes hand in hand with recurring payments. However, the challenge before eCommerce store owners is that not all payment options support recurring payments. Stripe is one globally preferred option when it comes to enabling automatic recurring payments. WooCommerce has seamless integration with Stripe and its one of the best options (in countries that support it). This article has listed out some of the best options to set up Stripe recurring payments on your WooCommerce store. Try out this subscription plugin and Stripe integration for best results. Let us know if you have any queries.