With business trying to reinvent the conventional shopping model, a new trend that has been emerging, is the subscription based shopping store. The reason why this model is popular, is because it is convenient, and on an average, the cost for the consumer is low. The idea behind such a store is that, a visitor has to become a member to your e-store, to purchase products. He pays you a fixed amount on a timely basis, in return for the goods he purchases.
Take for example the case of a subscription based grocery store. You can add members on a yearly or half yearly basis. Depending on the rules set, a member has to pay a fixed price on a monthly basis, and is allowed to pick a decided number of items. The package of the items picked will be delivered to the member on a certain date every month. A member is free to change the selected items before the delivery date, but the number of items which can be picked is always fixed.
How a Subscription Based Online Store Works
Let’s take the above example further and explain the actual flow of the use case.
Store is available only to Members
When a person lands on your grocery store page, he is shown a membership login/register page. Upon logging in the user can view the entire list of products.
Members can Customize Products Package
From the list of products, the member can select a fixed number of products to make a package. It’s similar to adding the products to the cart. But there is no option for checkout. The items are not priced individually. The cost is always the same.
A Monthly Subscriptions Package
The user can reconfigure the package he creates, before the delivery date (or a few days in advance). Every month the package of the selected items will be delivered, and the user will be charged a decided amount.
Creating a Subscription Based Online Store with WooCommerce
To create such a store, start by choosing a responsive theme. You do not want to lose your customers on a mobile device. When looking for a good theme, ensure that it is compatible with WooCommerce, because we will be using WooCommerce to set up our e-store.
WooCommerce Plugin and WooCommerce Subscriptions
Use the WooCommerce Plugin to set up your products store. The reason why we choose this plugin is because it provides a lot of options with setting up any kind of store you need. Along with WooCommerce, you would need WooCommerce Subscriptions extension, to create a subscription product. In our case there will be only one subscription product. Our membership.
Using the Subscriptions extension for WooCommerce, you can set the amount which will be charged to the user on a monthly basis. There are options to cancel or suspend the subscription by the site administrator, but some customizations have to be made to allow user to unsubscribe or suspend the subscription. If you need a flexible date per-user basis, when products package will be dispatched, additional customization needs to be made.
An Extension to WooCommerce plugin to configure packages
An extension plugin has to be used to provide a member the facility to alter products in the package.
Allow User to Configure Package: The number of items that can be added will be saved in the settings of the plugin. The user will be allowed to choose from the products list, the ones he wants to add to his cart.
Create a Shipping Order: When a member has selected the required number of products, the extension plugin will create an order a day prior to the shipment date.
You may also like to read: How to Sell User Customized Product Bundles in WooCommerce
A subscription based store allows consumers the possibility to buy selected products on a timely basis, at a fixed price. Such a store can be set up using simple WordPress plugins and a custom extension. Additional customizations can be made, to create membership levels, or provide holiday offers and deals.