The popularity of subscription-based websites is on the rise, as they offer the promise of passive income. WordPress and WooCommerce make it easy to set up a paid subscription site, but it’s important to be aware of the challenges that come with managing such a site. In this article, we’ll discuss five common pitfalls of WooCommerce subscription sites and how to tackle them.
1. Renewal Processing Headaches
A user-friendly renewal process is crucial for the success of any subscription-based model. When building a WooCommerce subscription site, it’s important to choose the right payment processor and configure renewal payments properly. Using PayPal Standard as the payment gateway can lead to limitations in terms of adjusting recurring billing dates and modifying recurring totals in subscriptions. This can cause problems when managing customer renewal dates and payments.
Additionally, failed transactions are common in recurring payment structures. The WooCommerce Subscription plugin automatically retries failed subscriptions five times over seven days at certain intervals. However, if payments continue to fail, you’ll need to take care of it manually.
2. Providing User Support
As a subscription e-commerce site gains more subscribers, customer questions, support requests, and user errors are likely to increase. It’s important to plan for customer support costs when building a new site, as these costs are often overlooked. Confusion between business owners and development support teams can also arise in terms of which support requests require development-level attention.
To reduce the number of user support requests, consider adding an FAQ page to the website and providing intuitive messaging on how to do basic user edits on the site. Live chat is also a quick way for users to get responses and can increase conversions and sign-ups.
3. Reporting & Analytics
Reducing churn rate is a common goal for subscription e-commerce businesses. Reporting and analytics are essential for assessing the success of the website and business. The WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin offers several upgraded reporting features, but discrepancies can occur between payment gateway reports and website reports. Setting up e-commerce tracking within Google Analytics is also essential, but discrepancies can arise if a user exits the site immediately after paying or if a subscription is manually entered into the backend of the site.
4. Offering Discounts & Promotions
Offering promotions on a subscription site can be challenging in terms of execution and management. It’s important to consider factors such as whether the discount is on the initial sign-up fee or the recurring subscription cost, and whether the discount lasts indefinitely or for a certain number of renewal periods. Utilizing Subscription Codes or Recurring Product Discounts within WooCommerce Subscriptions can help with these challenges.
Communicating the promotion to customers is also important to avoid misunderstandings and support requests. Watch for reporting discrepancies between payment gateway and website reports if offering a permanent free subscription to a customer.
5. Implementing Major Site Changes
When making major changes to a WooCommerce subscription site, it’s important to be careful not to impact online sales. Utilizing a WordPress hosting solution that offers a production area and implementing daily backups can help in these scenarios. Turning off email notifications on the production version during development work can also avoid confusion for customers.
Testing plugin and WooCommerce updates in a production area before implementing them on the live site can help avoid disruptions for customers. Catching any small issues before testing on a live, high-traffic site can help avoid customer disruptions.
In conclusion, WooCommerce subscriptions are still one of the best options for e-commerce subscription set-ups. By being aware of these common pitfalls and taking steps to tackle them, you can keep your site running smoothly, support your customers, and enjoy a steady stream of revenue from your subscription site.