Running a WooCommerce store can cause a lot of duress given the need to upgrade your site every now and then. It isn’t only about adding the right products or setting the right price. Instead, there is a bundle of things that you must take into consideration when operating an online store.
An important thing here is the need to serve your customers in a way they expect it. Given that there are thousands of other online stores, one wrong thing and you might lose a customer. Hence, it is necessary that your store offers all of the necessary features and services that a customer would want. You can even take WooCommerce Payment Gateway support services if you are not good at handling the technical part of your online store.
Not sure what are we implying?
Well, this article is about WooCommerce Subscription Payment Gateway. Customers who purchase essential items are often bogged down by the need to revisit the site and repeat the order. An alternative here is a concept called WooCommerce Subscriptions. What this does is, after you subscribe for a product, it will be delivered to you at the decided date and the money is automatically deducted from your account.
For example, suppose that you have software or say an app that requires users to pay monthly/yearly to access it. Instead of having the customer purchase the subscription every month, give them the option to subscribe and automate the renewal process. Sounds good, right?
But how will you create such a system? This is where the idea of WooCommerce Subscriptions Payment Gateway comes into play.
What is WooCommerce Subscriptions Payment Gateway?
Like any other payment gateway, the WooCommerce Subscriptions payment gateway is also a WooCommerce extension that is equipped with a unique feature facilitating recurring payments. The plugin or the gateway is premium software. With this, you can easily create as well as manage products that fall under the recurring purchase category.
Irrespective of whether you have a store with virtual offerings or one with physical products, or a combination of both, the WooCommerce Subscriptions Payment Gateway works flawlessly in all cases.
Track your residual revenues, segment products into different categories, section them based on whether they are available for weekly purchase or yearly renewal, etc. In addition to the above, the payment gateway gives you the flexibility to onboard fees, set the due date, and even provide free trials before purchase.
In simple terms, the subscription-based model enables you to keep tabs on your sales and capture more residual revenue.
Why Use WooCommerce Subscriptions?
Even though you have heard a lot, there are many more reasons to convince you that WooCommerce Subscriptions aren’t an option but a necessity for your store.
Advantages of using WooCommerce Subscriptions
- Set up one or more billing schedules depending upon the product, the price, and the customer.
- Facilitates recurring payments and compatible with nearly 25 other payment gateways.
- Extended support for manual renewal payments via WooCommerce payment gateway. In addition to the above, it also sends automated notifications in the form of email invoices and receipts.
- Offers automatic rebilling on failed subscription payments helping you to keep track of your revenue.
- Empowers subscribers with the flexibility to track and change their plans. Whether they want to keep it the same or upgrade or downgrade it, the WooCommerce Subscriptions payment gateway supports all.
- It has an inbuilt renewal notifications system. The automated emails allow both the customers and the store managers to get all of the details of subscription payments.
- Generates reports and renders in-depth information enabling you to keep an eye on your overall revenue, along with the active subscriber’s list, and more.
WooCommerce Subscriptions Features
Wondering what are the features offered by the payment gateway?
Free Trials & Sign-Up Fees: With WooCommerce Subscriptions Payment Gateway, you can set up a 30-day or a one-week free trial option. You can also set a signup fee followed by the subscription fee to be charged on a particular date.
Variable Subscriptions:- Have one or more subscriptions giving your customers the ease to pick one from the list.
Subscription Management:- Visit WooCommerce > Edit to make changes on the Subscription. You can either cancel a Subscription or suspend it for a while or change the settings.
Subscriber Account Management:- Empower your customers with the ease to manage their subscriptions. They can too cancel an existing Subscription or change the delivery address or even the payment method for future references.
Multiple Subscriptions:- Have multiple subscriptions in the same transaction. This helps eliminate extra shipment fees, reducing overall expenses.
Subscription Coupons:- Offer your customers discounts or recurring coupons to lure them and convince them to make a purchase.
Customer Emails:- Set up the store operations in a way that automates the process of sending emails once the customers have subscribed for a particular product. Notifications can also be sent reminding customers of their dues.
Payment gateway which Support for Subscriptions?
WooCommerce Subscriptions is one plugin that is compatible with the standard payment gateways equipped with all of the features required to process recurring payments.
From Global Payments Gateway to Global Payments HPP, Merchant Warrior, Moneris, NAB Direct Post Gateway, Paysafe Gateway, NETbilling, Peach PaymentsPsiGate, RedSys, Sage Payments USA, TrustCommerce, and Chase Paymentech, each of these are compatible with the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension.
No matter which of these gateways you have installed within your WooCommerce store, you can simply add the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension and your store is all set to provide subscription features to your customers.
In case, you have a payment gateway other than the above and the one that doesn’t support Subscriptions, you will get s warning during the checkout process. Below, in the section where all the gateways are listed, a message would appear as a payment gateway not supported.
For Customers: They would receive the message and then be guided to the contact page to get in touch and have the issue fixed.
The above image shows the information being displayed on the checkout page.
For store administrators and managers: There would be a link that would direct them to a page that best describes the issues related to the setting up of payment gateways.
Add a Payment Gateway:-
Considering that there are no payment gateways installed that is compatible with the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension, you can check the guide on choosing the right payment option and get started with the process. You can also refer to the WooCommerce Subscriptions guide on payment methods indicating the various features offered by Subscriptions.
Enable a Payment Gateway:-
As mentioned above, there are tons of payment gateways that support and are compatible with the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension. Most of these have added support for automatic payments.
Once you have decided on which payment gateway to choose, you need to first install it within your WooCommerce store. Begin with logging in to the WooCommerce dashboard. Move down to the plugin section and here click on add new. In the search bar, enter the name of the payment gateway. Download the plugin and then install and activate the same.
Now that you have the payment gateway, we next need to enable the same to work along with the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension.
To enable the payment gateway, follow the steps given below:
- Move to WooCommerce, click on Settings and then tap on Payments.
- The page has multiple fields. Scroll down to the part that says Enable a payment gateway. Here, toggle the button adjacent to the name of the downloaded payment gateway to activate it, telling your store that it can use the said gateway.
If you have the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension activated, you will find another column just adjacent to the description one on the payment method page. The column would have a header as Automatic Recurring Payments. If the column is checked, it implies that the given payment method supports recurring payments. Besides the tick, you will have a question mark. Click on it to find all of the subscription features offered by the payment gateway.
Third-Party Extensions with Automatic Payment Support:-
In addition to the payment gateways mentioned above, there are multiple third-party extensions that are compatible with the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension. However, the fact that they have been developed by third-party developers, you won’t find them in the WooCommerce store or the plugin list provided on the WooCommerce plugin page. In order to install or integrate these third-party plugins within your WooCommerce store, you have to connect to their immediate authors or the official website to download them and integrate them into your WooCommerce store.
The commonly used third-party extensions with the WooCommerce Subscription extensions are:
- Fat Zebra
- Inspire Commerce
- Pay like
- Quick Pay
What type of subscriptions can I sell with WooCommerce Subscriptions?
Having said the above, one thing that might confuse you is what type of subscriptions you can sell using the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension? Or say, you have your store ready, the payment gateway is working and the subscription extension is all set, so what’s next?
What type of subscriptions does the extension support and which of these would help you level up your store operations?
To answer the first question, WooCommerce Subscriptions are designed in a way that you can use to sell any or every type of product or any service. For example, consider customers that purchase food items. It is known that they would need these products regularly. It could be tea, coffee, or any kind of edible food. The main idea being physical products that are shipped directly to the users can have a subscription option.
In addition to that, you can also have virtual products, say a video subscription or software that needs to be paid for gaining access, WooCommerce Subscriptions extension supports all of these options as a subscription. Note that you can also set up virtual subscriptions as and when needed to serve your customers the best.
How the buyer’s information and Payment details are collected and used by/through WooCommerce?
WooCommerce doesn’t have a flexible payment system and hence, the need for a payment gateway. It can also be said that these payment gateways are largely encrypted and all types of transactions done via them are totally secured. Now all of this sounds good but how does the two interoperate, exchanging data and ensuring that nothing goes wrong midway?
That’s what the beauty of WooCommerce is. It allows you to set up desirable payment gateways. The site, at first, collects all of the customer information, which is then shared with the payment gateway, one that you have enabled within the WooCommerce site.
For instance, consider that you are using a manual payment gateway, say BACS. Once the customer proceeds to the checkout page, all of the information is gathered and then sent to the payment gateway so that they can process the payment.
Few payment gateways support automatic payment. In simple terms, an automatic payment gateway is one application that will gather the information from the customer, and the same is sent to the third-party payment processing service. It could be a credit card processor or any payment portal such as PayPal. The information is authenticated and once the payment is confirmed, the user is directed back to the WooCommerce store with a message stating order complete.
It is seen that a few payment gateways have a unique feature where they are bundled with the WooCommerce store. In case you are looking for payment gateway plugins, look no further as we have an array of premium gateway plugins.
To sum up, having a payment gateway enables the third-party payment portal to:
Step 1: Authenticate and validate all of the billing information of the customer.
Step 2: Check the customer account to confirm that there’s a sufficient balance to process the payment.
Step 3: Deduct payment from the customer’s account and add it to the store account.
Step 4: Once the payment has been complete, a confirmation is sent back to the WooCommerce site suggesting that the payment has been successful.
An important thing to note here is that online payments aren’t the only mode of payment. A few payment gateways provided extended support for methods such as C.O.D. and Cheque. As and when needed, the payments can be made offline either in cash or via a cheque.
Does my WooCommerce shop keep credit card data of my store users?
Security is of paramount importance. Entering private details on the website, customers often worry about their privacy and wonder if the website would retain the credit card information.
To answer that, there’s nothing to worry about as under no circumstances will the store or the payment gateway ever store the card details or the security code. Enough measures are undertaken and all of the data is directly sent to the processor.
However, entering the credit card information every time a purchase is made, seems to be troublesome. To deal with that, there are a few integrated payment gateway plug-ins which when embedded allow customers to store their card details without harming their privacy. This is done using a secure method named tokenization. With this, users can easily opt for recurring payments, pre-orders, or simply for their convenience, saving the pain of remembering the details for their future purchases.
e-Check tokens have the final four digits of the e-Check numbers. On the other hand, the credit card tokens show the four digits of the corresponding card, along with the expiry details, the type, and the brand of the card. This is done to ensure that the customer can verify their details before making the payment.
How to choose a payment gateway?
The next thing to talk about is how can you select the right payment gateway? Given that there are tons of gateways available, here’s a quick checklist to pick the one that suits your purpose best.
- Redirect: One way of processing payments is where the customers are forwarded to the Payment Gateway and once the process is complete, they are redirected to the WooCommerce site.
- Direct: A second way here is when the customer pays on the WooCommerce site. it is important that the site has an SSL certificate as part of PCI Compliance.
Get more information here.
Cost: Cost is an important thing to consider when selecting the payment gateway. Note that the cost would include:
- Amount to be paid to buy the payment gateway, given that it is not free
- Any Signup fees as charged by the company of the payment gateway.
- Transaction fees
- Any yearly, or monthly subscription fees
The next thing is the currency and the shop location. There are a few companies that serve stores located in specific nations. Also, a few provide support to only US dollars or Euros. Before deciding on the payment gateway, you must be sure that the payment gateway supports the required currency and is functional in the said nation.
Finally, security is something that you need to keep tabs on when selecting a payment gateway. The fact that customers share all of their credentials, make sure that the chosen payment gateway has an SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate encrypts all of the data shared between the customers and the website. More info is available here – SSL FAQ.
In case you wish to know more about how to choose a payment gateway, please visit this link.
Now that you are aware of all the aspects of WooCommerce Subscriptions and the payment gateway, move ahead to pick on and enhance your store functionality to increase sales. For WooCommerce support services related to payment gateways, you can also contact WPCustomify.