Countdown: 6 WooCommerce Subscriptions Features Your Website Needs

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Do you ever feel like this isn’t what you signed up for?
Like you expected the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin to be a lot more versatile? Like it’s missing some essential features that are key to your business?
It gets so frustrating sometimes that you even wonder if it’s time to look for a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative…
But wait. Hold up.
Before you decide to throw in the towel and make a huge investment, consider this: you can level-up your existing subscription website by customizing it.
Let’s start by getting a better understanding of some potential feature additions. Today, we’re counting down some of our top picks for much-needed WooCommerce Subscriptions features.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for any functionality that your site may need! The ‘game-changer’ you’re looking for might be just around the corner.
Please Note:

The features mentioned below are not existing plugins yet and will have to be custom developed for your website if needed.

Ready? Let’s begin.

#6 Preventing Subscription Renewal for Out-Of-Stock Products

The automatic renewal of subscriptions is a nice feature to have. That is if you’re selling ‘virtual products’ or ‘membership subscriptions’.
In the case of physical products, however, it’s a whole different story.
Right now, the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin doesn’t check the availability of your products. That means, your customers can get charged for products that won’t get delivered to them.
Not only will this anger your customers, but it’ll also cause a HUGE administration mess! Imagine having to deal with all the extra customer support queries and manually initiating multiple unique refunds.
What a nightmare!
Making ‘Automatic Subscription Renewal’ an option that the admin can select – and not a default way of operating – is one way of jumping over this obstacle.
Adding a ‘Pause Subscription Renewal’ option that can be selected when you run out of stock is also a good option.
You can even go one level higher by customizing your plugin to automatically restrict the renewal of subscriptions for products that aren’t available.

Bonus Tip:

Always try to keep your customers informed about the present situation and how you’re dealing with it. Setting up an automated email responder is a great way of doing that. 

#5 Editable Expiry Dates on WooCommerce Subscriptions

Currently, a user’s yearly subscription expires one year since the initial sign-up.

Consider the example of an online K12 school. Say, this school wants to renew the membership of students at the start of every academic year. In other words, they want the previous year’s subscription to end on a particular date

Their offer should ideally be ‘Subscription valid until 31st August 2022’, instead of ‘Subscription valid for one year’.
To terminate your user’s subscription on a specific date, irrespective of when they signed up, you have to manually edit the expiry date.
Such a waste of time, isn’t it? Especially for businesses that have hundreds of customers.
Being able to set or modify the expiration date of products would be a LOT more convenient. This feature comes in handy for any business that wants to offer renewals on specific dates.

#4 Setting a ‘Minimum Subscription Period’ Before Cancellation

Honestly, this one’s a complete no brainer.
A ‘Term Contact’ is a pretty standard feature for any subscription website to have.
A lot of these businesses can offer better deals because they have the commitment of their customers for a certain amount of time. That’s the basic premise they’re built on. Take that away, and the business may not even be sustainable anymore.
Setting a ‘Minimum Subscription Period’ or at least being able to charge an ‘Early Termination Charge’ is an absolute must-have WooCommerce Subscription feature.

#3 Subscription Activation That Is Independent Of Payment Dates

Not every subscription website needs to activate the user’s membership as soon as they pay up.
Take a product subscription box store for instance.
Say I want my users to be able to gift a subscription. Although they make a purchase, I should be able to delay shipping until the chosen delivery date. The actual subscription should get activated from when the first product is delivered, and not when the payment is made.
Let’s flip the situation now.
Consider the online school website again. Even though classes begin on a particular date, the school wants to give students a couple of extra weeks to pay up. In this case, the subscription would have to be activated when a user signs up, and not when the payment is made.
So, what’s the fix?
Building an editable ‘Subscription Activation Date’ functionality.
This would give you or your user the flexibility to choose a suitable date. You can even retain the feature if that fits better in certain situations.

#2 Bulk Updating the Price of Subscription Products

If you’ve been using WooCommerce Subscriptions, there’s a good chance you’ve come across this issue.
The plugin allows you to change the price of a particular ‘subscription’. However, it does not apply this change to the corresponding ‘product’.
So, even if you change the price, your users can go to the ‘My Account’ page and renew their subscription at the older rate.
Say, I’m selling a product for $200 today, and manage to gather about 100 paying customers. One year down the line, I decide to sell it at $240, due to the increasing demand, operational costs, or market rate.
I’m going to have to manually update the price of each of the 100 individual subscriptions!
Being able to ‘bulk update’ the price of these subscriptions, or being able to update the price of the product instead, would make the whole process so much easier!
Your customers can get notified about the change at the time of renewal. That way, they can decide whether they want to resubscribe to your products or services.
This WooCommerce Subscription feature is relevant for almost every subscription business, irrespective of what they’re selling.
Now, it’s finally time to find out more about the #1 feature on this list!
*Drum Roll!*

#1 Allowing One-Time Payments Option for Subscription Products

That’s a pretty basic expectation, isn’t it?
Charging yearly and shipping monthly is a very common way of selling subscriptions.
Can you imagine paying for your magazine subscription monthly and your newspaper daily?! That’s ridiculous. I would ditch my subscription only to avoid the payment hassle!
The only workaround right now for site owners is to manually keep track of the shipping cycles.
If you’re one of them, you’ll have to make sure the ‘billing cycle’ and the ‘subscription cycle’ are not linked to each other.

Parting Words

Don’t get me wrong. I love working with WooCommerce Subscriptions. In fact, I believe it’s one of the best subscription platforms available in the market.
But, the default plugin can definitely use some feature additions. Because let’s face it. No plugin can cater to every business’s unique requirements right off the bat.
The good thing for us though is that we’re using open-source software. In other words, we have unlimited flexibility when it comes to tweaking the system. We can customize WooCommerce Subscriptions to add any features that we need.
So, what do you think?
Did you spot a feature that your site really needs? Do you know of any other functionality that deserves a spot on this list?
Comment below and let us know!
Shreya Reddy

Shreya Reddy

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