To build an entire store right on your WordPress.org site, you’ll need WooCommerce, which is a free ecommerce plugin. To set up WooCommerce recurring payments, you’ll need the Subscriptions extension to create memberships, subscription boxes, and more. It costs around $16.58 per month for this easy-to-use extension.
Using the WooCommerce plugin for recurring payments is simple, and when you include the premium WooCommerce Subscriptions extension, you can begin accepting recurring payments for subscriptions or memberships on your website easily. The WooCommerce Subscriptions extension costs $199 per site per year, but Woocommerce is free. Start using Woocommerce for free today.
Here are the four steps to setting up WooCommerce recurring payments using the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension.
1. Create Your Plan for WooCommerce Recurring Payments
There are two ways to set up a plan. Choose either the Variable plan or Simple plan. You use Simple if the product or service doesn’t have different options to it. For example, if your store only sells the same red pens and blue shirts in size XXL, those are simple products, and you’ll use a Simple plan.
Variable plans give you control over prices, stock, and images whereas simple plans do not. You use Variable plans for a variable product like hair bows, where you can offer a large, medium, and small, and in different colors.
Here are the steps to set up WooCommerce Subscriptions:
- From the left pane of WordPress, click on WooCommerce
- Then, you’ll click on Products and Add Products
- Then, select whether you want a variable or simple plan as the product type
2. Set Your Pricing for WooCommerce Recurring Payments
With WooCommerce Subscriptions, you have the option to allow a sign-up fee and trial period. There is also an optional subscription length, where you dictate how long you want the subscription to last. This is a good option for something like a magazine subscription, where they’re only paying for a year’s worth. There are other required pricing selections.
Here is how to set up the required pricing selections:
- Under Subscription Price, enter the dollar amount you charge
- Choose whether you want this to charge daily, weekly, monthly, or annually; if you want biweekly payments, choose every second week; quarterly billing is every third month
- If shipping physical goods, it’s best practice to select the same frequency you’ll ship your product as your renewal orders coincide with shipping
3. Determine Shipping Options for WooCommerce Recurring Payments
The WooCommerce Subscriptions extension enables you to ship products multiple times or just once. If you’re shipping a physical product such as a remote control car, you’re likely only going to need to ship this once and would then select One time shipping. However, if your customer is signing up for a Remote Control Car-of-the-Month subscription box, you would not check the box for this option.
4. Establish Coupons for WooCommerce Recurring Payments (Optional)
Coupons are a great way to bring in bargain hunters or even encourage a repeat buyer using WooCommerce recurring payments. These coupons work great in emails, on social media, and on-site banners. You’ll first need to enable coupons.
Here’s how to enable coupons in WooCommerce Subscriptions:
- From the left pane of WordPress, click WooCommerce
- Next, you’ll click on Settings
- Then, click on General
- Check the box that says Enable the Use of Coupons, and then click Save Changes
Once you’ve enabled coupons, you’re able to use them with your subscriptions. Coupon types include recurring product discounts, limited payment discounts, and sign-up fee discounts.
Recurring Product Discounts Using WooCommerce Subscriptions
You will use recurring product discounts when you want to discount the WooCommerce recurring payments. For example, let’s say that you’ve got a software program that costs $100 to set up and $25 per month. A recurring product discount of $5 means that the user still pays the setup fee, but with the coupon will only pay $20 per month instead of the $25. There is a field labeled Active for X Payments that you will leave blank. If you put a number in that field, you’re using a limited payment discount instead of a recurring product discount.
Limited Payment Discounts Using WooCommerce Subscriptions
To offer a certain dollar amount off a fixed number of your customer’s WooCommerce recurring payments, you’ll want to use a limited payment discount. For example, you can offer $10 off their first six payments. You will use the recurring product discount and instead of leaving the field labeled Active for X Payments blank. Then, you’ll add how many payments they receive the discount for.
Sign-up Fee Discounts Using WooCommerce Subscriptions
If your product or service has a sign-up fee, you can also provide a sign-up fee discount for WooCommerce recurring payments. A good example of this is when you have a brand new product that requires technical installation. A sign-up fee discount provides either a complete waiver of the sign-up fee or so much off the price of the sign-up fee.
Here is how to add a coupon using WooCommerce Subscriptions:
- From the left pane of WordPress, click on WooCommerce
- Click on Coupon and then Add Coupon
- If you need to make changes to an existing coupon, click Edit instead
Coupon Usage Restriction Using WooCommerce Subscriptions
With WooCommerce Subscriptions, you get to choose how coupons get used using usage restriction. For example, you can specify coupons cannot combine with other offers. Another example is restricting the coupon for only those in certain countries.
The options to restrict usage include:
- Minimum spend: Including the cart subtotal and tax, this is how much someone needs to spend to use the coupon.
- Maximum spend: Similarly, this also includes the cart subtotal and tax. This is useful if your coupon provides a percentage rather than a dollar amount off so that you’re not giving away thousands of dollars on a high-ticket product.
- Individual use only: This is helpful if you don’t want a user to be able to stack coupons. Users can’t use a combination of coupons.
- Exclude sale items: Use this if you don’t want customers to be able to apply a coupon to sale items
- Products: A specific product needs to be in the cart to use this coupon. This is helpful if you’re doing a promotion that is similar to “buy a Nikon camera and get a printer free” where you’re telling them what they need in the cart.
- Exclude products: If there’s a product you don’t want them to use this coupon on, specify it. Companies like Target do this for several products. For example, on the back of one of their 15% off coupons given to new registries, it excludes things like Motrin Pain Relief, Tylenol, PS4 hardware, and Apple products.
- Product and exclude categories: Similar to the exclude products option, product categories restrict the use of coupons for categories, or require a product category to be in the cart. A Target example is requiring apparel in the cart for a discount or excluding a discount if you’re purchasing cameras and lenses.
- Allowed emails/email restrictions: Here, you can choose email addresses that can use this coupon. You can also include a wildcard character (*) to match multiple email addresses. An example of a time you’d use a wildcard character is during the anniversary of a particular email provider. Gmail turned 15 on April 1, 2019, so giving a 15% discount during the week of April 1st to Gmail users is a fun way to honor the anniversary.
Usage Limits Using WooCommerce Subscriptions
There are three different coupon usage limit settings under WooCommerce Subscriptions. These include usage limit per coupon, limit usage to X items, and usage limit per person.
Here’s what each usage limit means:
- Usage limit per coupon: This is the number of times all customers can use a coupon. An example of this is if you use a promotion such as “The first 50 people to buy get $100 off.”
- Limit usage to X items: The number of items a coupon applies to before being invalid. You will only see this field if you’ve got a product the coupon can be used with.
- Usage limit per person: Specifies how many times a single customer can use a coupon.
After configuring each of these coupon options, hit Publish. Now your coupons are ready for use.
Types of WooCommerce Recurring Payment Plans
Your reason for setting up a recurring payment plan can vary from wanting to attract new customers to want to engage current customers with a new product or service. Some ways you can use WooCommerce recurring payment plans include memberships, subscription boxes, subscribe and save plans, and recurring services.
Membership Plans Using WooCommerce Recurring Payments
A membership plan is when you offer a product or service in exchange for a fee. This fee is typically paid monthly or quarterly but can be paid in advance annually or even longer. An example of a membership plan is paying $14.95 per month for an Audible subscription. With Audible, you get a new credit each month that allows you to get an audiobook.
Another example is The Members’ Club by the Female Entrepreneur Association. For $47 per month, members access a community of female entrepreneurs, master classes taught by experts, and live Q&A sessions.
Subscription Boxes for WooCommerce Recurring Payments
Subscription boxes have become mainstream, with boxes ranging from free-range meat to beauty supplies and cupcakes. In addition to beauty boxes like Ipsy and Birchbox, subscriptions like Dollar Shave Club, Fabletics, and Hello Fresh are becoming increasingly popular in households all around the world. No matter the type of subscription box you’d start, using an extension like WooCommerce Subscriptions is simple.
Subscribe and Save for WooCommerce Recurring Payments
With automatic deliveries on your customer’s favorite items, they can receive a discount for setting up subscribe and save much like Amazon. These orders occur on a residual basis, helping your income be more predictable. The discount your customer receives is up to you, but Amazon gives 15% off when receiving five or more products in a single month to a single address on Subscribe & Save. This is an excellent option for consumable products.
Recurring Services for WooCommerce Recurring Payments
If you’re a service-based business, you can also set up recurring payments. An example is when a certified public accountant (CPA) offers a certain number of hours for a monthly price. Another example is a graphic designer on retainer for $500 per month to create 20 images for a client as needed.
Alternatives to WooCommerce Subscriptions Extension
There are many ways to set up WooCommerce recurring payments using extensions. Some extensions allow you to do things like send automated emails to customers and display related orders for each subscription. Here are some alternative extensions for you to consider.
YITH WooCommerce Subscription
For $199 per site, YITH WooCommerce Subscription is an extension to WooCommerce. This extension is good for ecommerce store owners who prefer to allow subscribers to defer payment rather than cancel their subscription.
With YITH WooCommerce Subscription, you can:
- Allow payment deferment
- Offer a free trial period
- Pause subscriptions
- Include variable products in subscriptions
- Require a sign-up fee when a user registers
- Cancel and renew a subscription
- Allow users to upgrade and downgrade their subscription
- Offer coupons
- Send automated emails to customers
- Track subscription activities
- Keep track of failed payments
To sell intangible and tangible products with WooCommerce recurring payments, you can add the Subscriptio extension for $49. This extension is good for ecommerce store owners who want customers to be able to purchase both subscription and nonsubscription products in the same transaction.
With the Subscriptio extension, you can:
- Use Stripe and PayPal for automatic subscription payments
- Display related orders for each subscription
- Allow users to purchase multiple subscriptions and any quantity of them
- Require users purchase subscription and nonsubscription products in the same transaction
- Charge a single sign-up fee to new users
- Turn both simple and variable products into subscriptions
For a single site, the WooCommerce Memberships plugin is $149. This extension is good for ecommerce store owners who want to have a membership site. These offer a way for businesses to have recurring revenue. For example, if your membership site costs $10 per month, and you have 200 members, that’s $2,000 in recurring revenue.
The WooCommerce Memberships plugin allows you to:
- Restrict content to members
- Grant membership with the purchase of a product, such as when someone purchases a kitchen gadget a recipe membership unlocks
- Release content over time, also known as “drip content”
Helpful WooCommerce Extensions
Small business owners rely on a variety of plugins and extensions to make their ecommerce websites successful. You use WordPress.org to design your site, a company like DreamHost to host your site at an affordable price, and WooCommerce to create an online store on your site. From there, you may need additional extensions.
You’ll use various other plugins and extensions to make each platform and extension work seamlessly and effectively to help you grow your business. WooCommerce is considered a plugin for WordPress, and there are many different extensions you can get to go along with it, each with their own uses and features. Some extensions allow you to do things like create courses and gift subscriptions to others.
WooCommerce Extensions for Your Ecommerce Store
Customers book appointments, make reservations, and rent equipment without leaving your site
Your customers have the option to use PayPal, PayPal Credit, and more
Accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB, and Diners Club with your store
Create an online course for your customers
Allow customers to purchase subscriptions for others
*Per-transaction fees will apply
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About WooCommerce Recurring Payments
This section includes the most FAQs about WooCommerce Recurring Payments. If you don’t see your question, head over to our forum, and post your question there. We have a whole team of industry experts who answer questions from small businesses every day.
Is there a fee for using WooCommerce?
There is no fee for WooCommerce, but there are fees for hosting your store and some extensions. The price of each depends on the WordPress.org host and extensions you choose. The WooCommerce Subscriptions extension is $199 per site per year.
What happens if a payment fails?
With the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension, failed payments automatically retry. The Failed Recurring Payment Retry System is configured under the Miscellaneous settings on WordPress.
Can a subscriber renew early?
A customer does not need to wait for their subscription to renew. Instead, they can renew it early by selecting Renew Now from their subscription page.
Now, you know how to set up WooCommerce recurring payments, and it’s easier than ever with the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension. Selecting your plan, setting your pricing, and choosing your shipping options are all that’s required to get started. Then, when you’re ready, you can offer coupons to your current and prospective customers.
With WooCommerce, you’ve got the most cost-effective way to set up recurring payments for your WordPress ecommerce store. The WooCommerce plugin is free, and the extension for WooCommerce recurring payments is $199 per site per year. Get started with WooCommerce today.