We’ve got an entire post category devoted to creating a membership site, so there are lots of options available to do so. However, what if you want to sell other products aside from your memberships, or you need to ship out products as part of your membership? That’s where deciding on the right combination of plugins can get tricky.
This will eliminate some of the plugins with membership capabilities for your store, as they don’t include the level of support you’ll need to sell physical products.
If you’re going this route, you’ll probably want to use an eCommerce plugin with a membership add-on. One of the most popular platforms you can use for selling physical goods and memberships is WooCommerce, as it provides a lot of flexibility and options for selling your physical goods.
In order to turn WooCommerce into a membership solution, you’ll need some premium add-ons that will add subscription payments and / or content restriction to your WooCommerce site. Today we’ll take a look at two new premium plugins to sell an online membership with recurring payments: Subscriptio and Memberships from RightPress.
The WooCommerce Subscriptio plugin is available for $29, and will add the ability to accept recurring payments on your WooCommerce site. You can currently accept automatically recurring payments with the bundled Stripe gateway, or can accept manual payments for a subscription via other gateways. This will require customers to log in and pay for a subscription to renew it.
When you install the plugin, a “Subscriptions” menu is added that will allow you to configure basic settings. This will allow you to set up email reminders for payments and to allow for a grace period (an “overdue” period) for customers that manually renew subscriptions from their account before their subscription is suspended.
You’ll also be able to enable the built-in Stripe payment gateway from this menu.
You can create a subscription with both simple and variable products by enabling the “Subscription” checkbox. You can also configure several options for the subscription, such as payment cycles, maximum duration, setup fees, and trial lengths.
Subscription payment cycles, duration, and free trial lengths can all be set in terms of days, weeks, months, or years. For variable products, this can be adjusted on a per-variation basis. The only catch here is that you must update the product after adding variations to then add subscription options (or membership options if using that plugin as well).
When a customer purchases a subscription, a subscription flow is started, which consists of the following actions in a chronological order:
For renewal orders, the customer will automatically be charged if using the built-in Stripe gateway, or they can manually pay via their account using other payment methods, as renewal orders are set to the “Pending payment” order status.
The plugin does a great job of allowing you to set up basic and variable subscription products, and ties to RightPress’s Membership plugin as well to sell online memberships with recurring payments.
- Set flexible payment schedules
- Enable free trials, even on a per-variation basis
- Add subscription signup fees
- set maximum subscription duration
- allow for a grace period for manual renewals
- send payment reminders on a schedule
- can use Stripe for automatic billing
- customers + admins can cancel / pause subscriptions
- can’t manually create subscription orders (even if subscription product added to order)
- variable product must be updated to add subscription options
- no subscriptions upgrade / switch
- can only use Stripe for automatic payments (no other credit card gateways)
- variable products display the lowest price instead of range
The plugin is fairly new and still has room to grow and mature, but it provides a solid set of features and integrates seamlessly with RightPress’s membership plugin.
The WooCommerce Memberships plugin from RightPress is available for $24, and will add the ability to create basic content restriction rules that are tied to product or subscription purchases.
When installed, the plugin will add a “Memberships” menu that will let you add membership plans to your WooCommerce site. You’ll be able to view all members with this membership and any products that grant access to the membership (if configured). You’ll also be able to “link” other memberships, so that access to a given membership also grants access to others.
This is useful for bundled or tiered memberships. For example, a “gold” membership might also grant access to the “silver” level membership.
Once you’ve created your membership levels, you can then begin to restrict pages or posts on your site. You’ll be able to grant access to members only or non-members only, and can even create restrictions for certain plans.
I also loved that these rules can be bulk-added to pages and posts for quick content restriction. This makes setup far easier for sites with lots of posts and/or pages.
The final step is to tie a membership plan to a product so it can be sold. When you add a product, you can enable the “Membership” checkbox to add one or more plans to a purchase, and set an expiration date for the membership purchase. You can also add these options to variable products:
Content restriction is easy to use, and the ability to sell membership products as a WooCommerce product or tied to a product purchase provides flexibility for several types of membership sites.
- link plans for tiered / bundled memberships
- easily restrict content for all members/ members with certain plans
- bulk add content restriction to pages and/or posts
- manually grant membership plan access to users
- set custom expiration lengths for memberships
- view a list of members for each plan level
- delay access to linked plans if desired
- can’t manually create orders for memberships (even adding product won’t apply membership plan)
- manual order access can’t have an expiration
- manual access to memberships won’t show on customer’s “My Account” page
- restricted content 404s – no message / excerpts / teasers
- no content dripping rules *
- You could roughly use linked plans for dripping, but doesn’t work well for dripping single posts or pages, as you’d have to have a plan for each one.
If you’d like to combine these plugins, you can sell your online membership with recurring payments, as the plugins integrate with one another easily. If a subscription expires, is cancelled, or paused, membership access will also pause to reflect this change.
You can add both subscriptions and memberships to simple products:
Or to variable products:
Using variations can allow you to set levels with different pricing and access levels, which is great for tiered membership types. You can add more than one membership plan to a product or variation so that access is granted when purchased (when the order is paid).
This creates a seamless experience for customers, as they can manage subscriptions for their membership with recurring payments from the “My Account” page (Subscriptio provides this functionality). Pausing or canceling a subscription will pause the membership as expected.
This also provides the flexibility you need as store own to sell memberships with a set length, a membership with recurring payments, and subscriptions for physical products along side of your other WooCommerce products.