Subscriptions have been an integral part of the product marketing strategy for a long time now. Despite being overshadowed in the last few years by the newer, shinier versions of email marketing, sales analytics teams have tracked a resurgent growth in sales due to subscriptions.
Given their usability in marketing, WordPress has several different types of subscription plugins that can be used to increase conversions on the website. Let us explore these in greater detail.
Types of Subscriptions for WordPress
#1 Product Subscriptions
Subscription plugins for products include recurring orders, such as for subscription boxes, and are used to deliver orders at fixed intervals.
#2 Membership Subscriptions
In membership subscription plugins, the product is the membership purchased, which has to be renewed at regular intervals. These subscriptions are generally for longer periods of time, such as for a quarter, six months, a year, or so on.
#3 Email Subscriptions
Email subscriptions are used to avail of the newsletters sent out at regular intervals by the company. These can be chargeable or free and are generally spaced as every day, week, or fortnight.
Membership and product subscriptions for WordPress use an ecommerce platform for functioning. In case of physical products this can be WooCommerce, while for digital products, one can opt for Easy Digital Downloads.
We shall discuss the plugins in context to physical products here.
Hence, the platform of choice is WooCommerce and the subscriptions discussed are product subscriptions.
Product Subscription plugins for WooCommerce
Product subscription plugins entail addition of recurring payments while sending out product boxes. Here, the recurring physical product is bundled and delivered to every subscriber at the specified interval. Product subscription plugins help the administrator set up the delivery and billing schedule and keep track of all products delivered to subscribers. Subscription product boxes like Birchbox, Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club and more are based on this very concept and deliver assorted goods as per their respective themes. The various product subscription plugins that can be used to this end are mentioned as follows:
YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions
The YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin lets you control your sales volume by regulating the delivery of all physical and virtual products. Subscriptions for various levels of memberships can be created and a fixed, monthly recurring schedule can be set up for content distribution. The administrator can allow trial periods, easy-switching of plans, and set up a one-time sign-up fee for new registrants.
In addition, there are several optional subscription discounts built into the plugin that can be offered to recurring customers to ensure customer loyalty. The comprehensive back panel includes the subscription list at a glance, quick settings for subscription management and easy activation/deactivation of subscriptions.
The YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is priced at $91 for a single site license, $149 for 6 sites, and $249 for 30 sites. There is also a free, trial version that can be downloaded from the plugin website.
WooCommerce Subscriptions is WooCommerce’s very own plugin for adding product subscriptions. The plugin adds a comprehensive functionality set to your WooStore, including periodic billing schedules, automatic invoice generator, front-end subscription management, drip content setup, free trials, multiple subscriptions setup, in-built email notifications, flexible billing schedules, and more. The plugin is a premium add-on for WooCommerce, and can be purchased for a yearly license of $199.
Subscriptio – WooCommerce Subscriptions
The third popular plugin for subscriptions for WooCommerce is Subscriptio – WooCommerce Subscriptions. Compatible with the latest versions of WordPress and WooCommerce, the plugin has a clear and distinct process delineating the flow of subscription processing, right from the moment a user registers on the website.
It features all the necessary functionalities, such as automatic renewals, simple and variable product subscription support, combined checkout of subscription-based and non-subscription based products, and multiple, flexible billing cycles.
The Subscriptio – WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is available on Envato and is priced at $49 for a Regular License and at $249 for an Extended License.
A Look at Membership Subscriptions
Choosing the appropriate subscription plugin depends on the scope of your subscriber list and your site scalability. As of now, these three are the reigning plugins for product subscriptions.
In case of membership subscriptions, the way it works is that you create a membership site with the various different membership plugins available for WordPress and then sell those membership plans to your subscribers.
It is necessary to understand that subscriptions are not the same as memberships. People often confuse one with the other, as their concepts seem similar. To clear up these concepts, here is a brief overview.
A Membership is when a user creates an account on the website and becomes a part of the community. For instance, when a student enrolls in an e-learning course on the website, he becomes a part of the whole e-learning institution. He can participate in group discussions, add queries, interact with other course takers and more, without having to pay any additional fees.
A Subscription is the recurring amount to be paid by a user to continue using the privileges given to the member. That is, after a user registers as a member on the website, he will have to pay a small monthly amount to continue being a member. However, it is not mandatory to become a member to start a subscription. For instance, whenever you subscribe to a magazine, or updates on Amazon, you do not interact with the other subscribers. The interaction is strictly between you and the company.
As mentioned before, membership subscription plugins simply sell the membership as a subscription product as opposed to a physical object. As the object of our article is the analysis of the best subscription plugins, we shall not be studying membership plugins in detail.
Nevertheless, here is a list of the best plugins for WordPress that can be used to create a marvelous memberships-based site.
Membership Plugins for WordPress
A comprehensive plugin that includes variable plans, restricted content access, automated billing, and of course subscription support, MemberPress is one of the best membership plugins for WordPress.
Paid Memberships Pro
In addition to comprising of all the necessary features of a membership plugin, Paid Memberships Pro also has dozens on integrations with notable email marketing, networking, and social integration plugin, that make it one of the best options for creating a membership site which offers subscriptions.
WooCommerce Memberships incorporates substantial features that help transform your store into a complete membership system. These include flexible membership plans which can be upgraded and downgraded as per requirement, content restriction depending on membership level, multi-level discounts for various membership levels that are redeemed at the store, a notes area for documenting information about members, and more.
The combination of WooCommerce Subscriptions and Memberships provides a dynamic duo that leverages the best functionalities of both the plugins.
Restrict Content Pro
Equipped with multi-level plans, exclusive access, variable subscription packages, assorted discount codes, and integrated site performance analytics, Restrict Content Pro is a great membership plugin. The plugin works well with both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
This concludes our list of product and membership subscription plugins. Each of these has robust technical support and plenty of customizable hooks for developers, to make their own characteristic additions.
What other subscription plugins for WordPress would you suggest? Tell us your opinions in the comments section below!