The subscription-based business model has taken a solid position in e-commerce. As for companies, it ensures predictability and sustainability and for customers, it provides convenience and personalization. We are certain you’re using numerous subscriptions yourself: like for streaming entertainment services and so on.
And now you’ve decided to start selling subscriptions yourself but you are confused about how to do it? We will take care of it. Aheadworks is here to help you sort out everything you need to know about the subscription business model so that you get a clear picture of whether it’s suitable for your business.
The topic is highlighted by Artem Kuznetsov and Denis Derilov: your subscription eCommerce experts.
Q: What types of subscription models do exist?
A: There are many models to choose from. But there exist two major types of subscriptions:
- selling physical products
- selling some services or memberships.
Both types have their own requirements and challenges. One of the main differences between service or membership and physical subscriptions is the end date of the subscription.
Unlike physical products, when you just ship a box to the customer, membership is the time of having access to the product that the customer paid upfront. The simplest example of membership is a subscription for Netflix: you can cancel your subscription after 15 days from the last charge, and you still will have access to the content for another 15 days as you’ve already paid for it.
Q: How to start a subscription business with Magento 2?
A: Magento doesn’t have any tools to sell subscriptions so you should look for third-party solutions. This can be either SaaS solutions or extensions, a more traditional approach in the Magento ecosystem.
So to pick up the right solution, you should ask yourself a few questions. Here is the checklist with the top 7 things you should take care of:
1. If you want to sell physical products, answer these questions:
- Can I offer free shipping to subscriptions? What are the limitations?
- Can I offer free shipping only to subscriptions, while having customers pay if they buy the same item as a one-off purchase?
- Can customers put their subscription on pause?
- Can customers update their shipping addresses?
- For configurable and bundle products, whether it’s possible for customers to edit product options without having to cancel the subscription?
2. For service/membership type, you usually don’t have to deal with shipping, but there are other challenges that you may face:
- Does it really support the service model? (Many extensions don’t)
- Can membership be easily integrated with the existing Magento build or the extensions that you are using? Think about providing subscribers with access to different areas of the site or similar challenges.
- If you are going to use a subscription solution to sell products in installments (some merchants do) think about how to secure yourself from fraudulent activities when customers just cancel after they got the product.
3. Further questions that can be applied to both subscription models:
- Is the solution PCI compliant?
- What payment methods are supported? The majority of solutions support ubiquitous Paypal and Stripe, but they may not support your payment method that is currently in use.
- What would be my subscription plan requirements:
- Do I offer a free trial?
- Can it be a different length from regular recurring billing cycles (e.g. 15 days of trial, then monthly charges)?
4. Take into account to what extent customers can edit the subscription:
- Can customers switch from one subscription plan to another with minimum effort?
- Can they update their payment details easily?
- Is there an option of easy subscription renewal after cancelation or when the subscription ends? Sometimes customers cancel their subscription by accident or change their mind.
5. What are the subscription management options for Magento administrators?
6. Is registration mandatory to buy a subscription?
- If it is possible for guest users to buy subscriptions, what are the limitations compared to registered users?
7. How many different subscription products am I going to sell? What works perfectly for a single subscription product type will not necessarily work when you need to manage loads of different subscription products.
Q: How does Aheadworks fit into the above-mentioned ecosystem?
Concerning Advanced Subscription Products by Ahedworks, we can say for sure that it supports most of the points mentioned above (the rest of the features you may find in our roadmap). We focus on flexibility of use, churn rate reduction while providing customers with diverse subscription editing opportunities and an extensive variety of payment methods.
Q: What are the exceptional features of Advanced Subscription Products by Aheadworks?
A: Billing information update.
This means that customers are able to add new payment details to their accounts.
The extensions charge $1 and refund it back in a few minutes - just like we all got used to. There is no need to cancel the subscription or buy anything with the new card. Thanks to this approach, customers have the opportunity to even switch between the payment methods any time they want to.
Flexible subscription management by customers.
They can perform any action they need without bothering the store admin:
- Remove the products no longer needed
- Swap subscription plans
- Change the date of the next payment
- Edit shipping address
Our great upcoming features.
- Customers will be able to add one-off and subscription products to the next subscription delivery! You don’t have to go through the checkout, and you will be charged on the day of the planned subscription. Sounds pretty cool, isn’t it?
- The option to modify the subscription to the same extent as customers can do, and place subscription orders on behalf of the customer without sacrificing PCI compliance.
To learn more details about Advanced Subscription products check the extension product page.