Having trouble getting your subscriptions set up correctly in WooCommerce? Maybe there are too many options, maybe too many conditional variables, or maybe you just aren’t sure how to proceed.
We were recently tasked with setting up our first subscription-based WooCommerce store! As exciting as it was for us, it also came with hurdles that we hadn’t anticipated. The premise: contract plans for a service that can be paid month-to-month after signing a 12 month contract, or month-to-month with no contract. The rates will be set accordingly, and depending on the level of service you would like, the rates increase. There are also special rates for education and self-employed clients.
Now where this got tricky is the associated sign-up/equipment fees. Some of the packages give you the ability to buy the equipment outright or lease at a monthly rate, while others restrict clients by forcing them to purchase the equipment.
We began to try making the smallest amount of “products” with the most versatile options. At first blush, there were essentially 3 package types: residential, business, and educational. We initially tried to use the WooThemes Product Bundles and Composite Products extensions. However, we weren’t able to differentiate the equipment options correctly, as subscriptions are not fully supported by these add-ons. Our first try ended with fifteen “products” – and the options were so confusing that you’d have to be Einstein to try and figure it out – let alone buy anything.
We paused for reflection, and then it hit us – there were actually five of these “products!” There were three residential packages: one with a 12 month contract and equipment purchase, one with a 12 month contract and equipment lease, and one with a month-to-month contract and equipment purchase. The other two: the business package and the educational package, with no major equipment variations.
Using the WooThemes Subscriptions and Force Sells extensions, we made two “shadow” products to be used with Force Sells: “buy equipment” and “lease equipment” (Subscriptions already has a built-in option for sign-up fees, so we had that covered). In this way, the customer could decide which equipment option they wanted, then choose the plan with the level of service they wanted.
By getting the number of “products” down to five, we made the shop much less confusing. Sometimes it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. Our advice? Relax, meditate, have a good think, and build the slickest, simplest e-commerce solution you can.