In this guide, you will learn how to successfully get started with selling subscriptions on your WooCommerce store.
Use WooCommerce Subscriptions to sell physical products such as soap on a monthly basis.
Or, to sell monthly (or yearly) maintenance packages for recurring services.
Whatever the use case may be, let’s get started!
Pro Tip: I would recommend setting up this plugin on a staging site first OR take a backup on your live site.
Steps to setup WooCommerce Subscriptions
- Install and activate the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin
- Configure your subscription settings
- Allow customers to create account
- Check your Payment methods
- Create your first subscription product
- Create a variable subscription product
- Do a test order with a subscription product
- Video tutorials
If you are more of a visual learner, see the video tutorial below (over 30,000 views).
1. Install and activate the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin
To get started, purchase the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.
Next, download the .zip file.
Then, on your WordPress dashboard, hover over Plugins and click “Add new”. Upload the .zip file and click “Install now”.
Finally, activate the plugin and go to the WooCommerce Subscription settings.
2. Configure the WooCommerce Subscriptions settings
Let’s setup the optimal settings for WooCommerce Subscriptions!
On your WordPress dashboard, go to WooCommerce > Settings and click the Subscriptions tab.
Under the Renewals heading, uncheck “Accept Manual Renewals”.
Unless you have a reason to accept manual renewals, I recommend always unchecking this! WooCommerce Subscriptions is setup to automatically run your customer’s payment method every billing interval (i.e. every day, every week, every month, every year).
Unless a customer’s credit card is declined, payments will continue to run without the need for customers to re-add their payment method. A major time saver!
Next, scroll down to Retry Failed Payment ( bottom of the page) and check Enable automatic retry of failed recurring payments.
If a customer’s payment fails on a subscription renewal order this will allow the payment to be retried 5x in the next week. If the payment still fails after 5 retries, the order status will be updated to Failed. In my experience this rarely happens but something to keep in mind.
Finally, Save changes.
3. Allow customers to create account during checkout
Go to the Accounts tab in your WooCommerce Settings.
Make sure that you are allowing customers to create an account during checkout. You could also check the option to automatically create account for customer based on their email address.
Their username and password will be emailed to them after they Checkout.
4. Check your payment methods
Go to the Payments tab in your WooCommerce settings.
To use WooCommerce Subscriptions, make sure you have at least 1 payment method that supports Automatic Recurring Payments.
If you see a checkmark next to your payment method, you are all set!
5. Create your first subscription product
Add a new product to your store. Name the product.
Next, scroll down to the Product data section and set the Product Type to Simple subscription.
Then, add the subscription price, billing interval, etc.
In this example I am selling Coffee Beans and charging $10/month.
Finally, upload an image of your product and “Publish” your product.
Pro tip: If you already have an existing non-subscription product and want to offer this product on subscriptions, it may be easier to just “clone” an existing product using the Duplicate Post plugin. Then, edit that product and scroll down to the bottom and update your product to a “simple subscription” or “variable subscription”.
I created a quick video about how to easily setup a simple subscription on WooCommerce.
Create a Variable Subscription Product
Next from WooCommerce dashboard, click Products > Add New.
From the product page, scroll down to product data section and select “Variable Subscription” from the dropdown.
Next, click “Attributes” and then click “Add”.
Attribute #1 (Required)
From here, name your attribute, enter in the attribute values, and click the checkbox to enable visibility on the product page and used for variations.
Here is a example of the attributes we implemented for a customer to give you a complete visual for how to insert this information:
- Attribute Name: Billing Frequency
- Value(s): Month | Year
- Visible on the product page
- Used for variations
Next, if necessary, add an additional attribute (i.e. scent, flavor, color, etc.). Follow the same process as before, click “Add” and then entering the attribute information. Here is a example of the attributes we implemented for a customer to give you a complete visual for how to insert this information:
- Attribute Name: Grind
- Value(s): Whole | Ground
- Visible on the product page
- Used for variations
**Important**: My most popular question for variable subscriptions is how to setup multiple attributes. Thus, I provided this screenshot below to show how the product page will look like when each attribute was filled in on the back-end.
Create variants from all Attributes
Next, click “Variations” and select “Create variations from all attributes” from the dropdown and select “Go”.
Next, fill in pricing/SKU information for each subscription variation.
Note: you need to fill in the price for each variation, as subscription variations won’t display on your product page if they have no price.
I also created an awesome video about how to easily setup a variable subscription on WooCommerce.
6. Do a test order with a subscription product
Now, let’s do a test checkout to simulate how a customer would go through this process.
Open up an incognito window and go to your Product page. Click “sign up now”.
Add the product to your Cart and go through the Checkout process. I would recommend using a email address that is not an Administrator on your site.
This will allow you to better understand how your customers will go through this process.
Check your email. You should have received a subscription order receipt.
On your Order Received page, click the “view” button to see details about your subscription on your Account page.
Your customers will see the start date, last order date, and next payment date.
They also will have the option to cancel, change their payment method, or renew now (if early renewal is enabled).
Navigate back to the backend of your WooCommerce store and click “Orders”.
Reference the screenshot below for the difference between the parent order icons and the renewal order icons.
- Sell Subscriptions with WooCommerce
- Setup All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions
- Setup a Prepaid Subscription (billed yearly, ships monthly)
- Create a Subscription Box Site with WooCommerce
- Synchronize renewals with WooCommerce Subscriptions
- Send follow-up emails with WooCommerce Subscriptions
- WooCommerce Subscriptions Gifting
- Manually add (or edit) a Subscription in WooCommerce?
- How to setup a First Order Discount with WooCommerce Subscriptions?
Sell Subscriptions with WooCommerce
Setup All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions
If you want to see the full post, see how to add subscriptions to existing products.
Setup a Prepaid Subscription (billed yearly, ships monthly)
Create a Subscription Box Site with WooCommerce
Synchronize renewals with WooCommerce Subscriptions
Learn how to synchronize WooCommerce Subscriptions renewals in the video below.