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How to Setup WooCommerce Subscriptions Product? (Easy Steps)

Learn the steps to create WooCommerce subscription product and some best tools to grow and manage your subscriptions business.

Last updated on April 9, 2024

Want a thriving and surviving business? Go for a recurring subscription business model.

Newspapers and magazines are successful examples of it. Amazon, Netflix, Dollar Shave Club and even milk and grocery brands offer a subscription-based product, generating millions of dollars from repeat purchases.

Then how come WooCommerce be left behind? You have both digital and physical products offered on a subscription basis today.

So in this blog, beginners will learn how to create WooCommerce subscriptions products. And for users already selling subscription products, you’ll find smart tools to grow your business.

Why are subscriptions a win-win?

The success or failure of any business is determined by their product quality, customer understanding and support.

A changing customer behavior trend can drive changes in businesses models, and businesses that adapt early are more likely to survive. A subscription model is a perfect example.

In simple terms, a subscription is an agreement where you will receive products or services from a company by paying on a regular basis until canceled. For example, Amazon Prime Membership.

Not just businesses, it benefits customers owners as well.

Pros of subscription model

For business owners:

  • Guaranteed revenue from customers until canceled.
  • More the customers, more the money…gets double, triple in the long run (provided churn is low).
  • Increase in customer lifetime value.
  • Businesses can predict revenue, volume and demand in advance.

For your customers:

  • Subscriptions are easy on the pocket.
  • The automatic payment process gets rid of all the buying hassles.
  • Flexibility – upgrade or downgrade plans, switch, cancel or re-subscribe easily.
  • Customers receive the product on a regular basis.

Cons of subscription model

  • Customers are vary of contracts initially and are reluctant to trust the product initially (though Free trial takes care of this).
  • It gets challenging to get people to commit into a long-term regular payment.
  • Maintaining the product value and service quality up to the subscriber satisfaction is difficult.
  • It’s hard to retain customers or keep the churn rate low.

It is evident that the businesses who have opted for the recurring revenue model are experiencing tremendous success. So, despite a few drawbacks, the subscription model has plethora of benefits compared to the cons. It’s worth the risk and money-making.

Let’s see how Woo subscriptions can change the game for businesses.

How to set up WooCommerce subscriptions product?

Here, we will set up subscription product using the official WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin. It has 80K+ active installs and you can purchase it from the Woo marketplace.

The plugin allows you to set up various subscription products and services with recurring pricing models.

Most of WooCommerce store owners have multiplied their revenue exponentially with the use of this subscription plugin.

Top features

  • Create subscriptions for physical and virtual products or services.
  • Multiple billing schedules.
  • Integrates with 25+ payment gateways.
  • Options to set sign-up fees, free trial periods, expiration dates.
  • Manual renewals and automated renewal options and email notifications.
  • Supports variable pricing, so you can have multiple options for a product with different prices for each option.
  • Allow customers to upgrade or downgrade their plans as needed.
  • Summarizes subscription information and customer data in detailed reports.
  • Performs rebilling for failed payments.
  • Offer discounts to customers on their monthly payments or sign-up fee using coupons.

Pricing: $279

Let’s move to the steps.

Steps to set up WooCommerce subscriptions product

It is very simple and you don’t need any technical knowledge.

Purchase and install WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin

Once you purchase the extension, navigate to Plugins > Add new under your WordPress Admin panel. Upload the Woo Subscriptions plugin zip file and activate the plugin.

Configuring WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin settings

WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin settings

Navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Subscriptions.

  • Button Text - This text will appear on the sales page. You can set it for the Add to Cart and Place Order CTA, with the default text being customizable.
  • Roles - This option will let you change the default role of a new subscriber from those available in the drop-down. Similarly, you can also set the role of an inactive subscriber.
  • Renewals - Check the Allow manual renewals box to enable subscribers to pay manually for their renewals. Check the Turn off automatic payments box if you want to disable automatic payments for the subscriptions.
  • Switching - Allows users to upgrade or downgrade between subscriptions.
  • Miscellaneous - Includes multiple options like allowing the user to suspend their subscription, mixed checkout, free initial checkout, enable dripping for downloadable content, and enable automatic retry of failed recurring payments.

Refer this doc for more details

Create a new subscription product

After configuring the settings, you can create simple subscription products or variable subscription products, much like you do for creating simple products in WooCommerce.

Here, we’ll see creating a simple subscription product.

Create a subscription product in WooCommerce
  • Go to WooCommerce > Products > Add Product.
  • Under Product Data, select Simple subscription. Set SKU, subscription price, sign-up fee, free trial for X number of days if any. Customers can sign up for one subscription option at a set price.

Next, set the subscription terms.

Setting the subscription terms
  • Subscription price:
    • Price - The cost of the subscription product.
    • Billing interval: How frequently customers are charged (every one, two, three, four, five or six periods).
    • Billing period: How often customers are charged (daily, weekly, monthly or annually).
  • Expire after: How long the subscription will stay active before expiring.
  • Sign-up fee: Additional fee required at the time of signup.
  • Free trial: How long customers can use the subscription for free before signing up for paid plans.
  • Add other product details as required.

You can also do the following:

  • Set sale price
  • Apply coupon on sign-up fees
  • Limit subscription

and more...

Finally, publish it.

Congratulations! Your subscription product is now ready.

Refer to this Woo Subscriptions plugin in-depth docs

Choosing and configuring payment gateway subscriptions

WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin supports both automatic and manual types of recurring payments.

But, due to additional security measures associated with storing customer payment information, not all payment gateways support it.

However, major WooCommerce payment gateways like Square, Stripe, PayPal and Amazon Pay support subscriptions.

Each has different features you may want to consider when choosing which to offer on your site.

Managing subscriptions

Managing WooCommerce subscriptions

WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin provides an administration page to view and manage subscriptions of your store.

The Manage Subscriptions page can be found at WooCommerce > Subscriptions.

When a subscriber subscribes to your products/services, they will appear here. You can even edit the subscriptions from here when the subscribers request changes.

Over time, you can decide to change your subscriptions in a variety of ways. You can lower or raise the price, add new products or services, or adjust a variety of other options for your customers.

This is somewhat easy for a few subscriptions.

But the uphill task is managing these subscriptions in bulk. How can you manage 100 or 1000 subscriptions easily?

Let’s talk about some popular tools to better manage your WooCommerce subscriptions and grow sales.

Five smart solutions to manage and grow your subscriptions business

You need something quick and easy. There is much more to subscriptions than creating products. It’s about managing them, your customers, growing sales, and more.

Smart Manager

Smart Manager plugin helps you manage and bulk edit Woo subscriptions using an Excel-like spreadsheet within minutes.

You can bulk edit, make inline edits, export CSV, apply advanced search filters, delete and duplicate…and do a lot more for subscriptions and any post type – products, orders, customers, coupons, etc.

manage WooCommerce subscriptions with Smart Manager

With Smart Manager, you can:

  • Extending the trial of your hundred customers in one go.
  • Reduce the sign-up fee for selected products quickly.
  • Cancel subscriptions in bulk based on filters.
  • Change subscription statuses, re-activate or cancel subscriptions in bulk.
  • Edit subscriptions directly without moving to individual subscriptions.
  • Search through thousands of subscriptions and edit them right away.
  • View orders, users, refunds at a glance.
  • Export subscriptions as CSV – all or based on filters.

Get Smart Manager plugin


Putler provides you subscription reports, analytics and insights for multiple WooCommerce stores…all at one place.

Putler WooCommerce subscriptions dashboard

Get real-time data for your MRR, churn, and other SaaS metrics to identify where your company is heading towards. You also get 100+ KPIs on products, sales, customers and visitors.

Try Putler for Free

Smart Offers

Smart Offers is a powerful plugin to create sales funnel and targeted offers.

Being compatible with the Woo Subscriptions plugin, you can easily run upsell, cross-sell offers on subscription products and earn more revenue.

Upsell subscription product using Smart Offers in WooCommerce
Upsell subscription product using Smart Offers

As per the above example, you can use Smart Offers to upsell a higher plan subscription license and pocket more revenue.

With Smart Offers, you can specify who you want to show offers to and increase conversions by using targeting rules, one-click upsells and direct checkout using Buy Now links.

Get Smart Offers plugin

Affiliate for WooCommerce

Affiliate for WooCommerce is one of the hot-selling plugins on the Woo marketplace. Being compatible with Woo Subscriptions, your affiliates can easily earn recurring revenue from subscription products.

same commission for parent order and renewals

The plugin provides you the option to allow different commissions for parent and renewal orders.

Get Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin

Smart Coupons

Smart Coupons is the official and all-in-one WooCommerce coupons plugin. It offers discount vouchers, gift cards, bulk generation, advanced restrictions and other powerful features.

In addition, it seamlessly integrates with the Woo Subscriptions plugin. So you can use it for a variety of applications:

  • Restrict sign up discount coupon for customers in the US.
  • Bulk generate coupons to redeem on subscription products.
  • Give a recurring flat discount coupon valid till six payments for all subscription products from the ‘Themes’ category.
  • Use gift cards/store credits towards renewal payments

and a lot more…

Get Smart Coupons plugin

How to sell membership as a subscription product?

There is a huge difference between WooCommerce memberships and subscriptions, so I decided to simplify them!

In simple terms, membership is about Access. You restrict things/products/services to members only. Other people don’t have access to it. For example, club membership of WordPress themes.

As with subscriptions, it is to accept recurring payments, at a fixed interval for products.

However, you can sell memberships as a subscription product.

For example, you have resorts across Europe. You offer three membership plans – Gold, Platinum and Diamond based on features. Jason pays $2000 every year for your Platinum membership. This means, John has subscribed to your Platinum Membership plan on a yearly basis.

The best part is that you can set up memberships on your store using a very popular WooCommerce Memberships plugin, which is compatible with WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.

Final thoughts

You can earn a lot of money by selling subscriptions on your WooCommerce store if you play your cards right. Guaranteed!

And the best part is that you do not need to go elsewhere hunting for things. You have a powerful plugin Woo Subscriptions and all the other plugins listed in this article to grow your business.

It’s extremely easy and quick. So get started now. We wish you a thriving business.

Any questions or suggestions? Share your thoughts in the box below.


What is the difference between simple and variable subscription in WooCommerce?
In WooCommerce, a simple subscription is a product that offers a fixed price and duration for regular deliveries of a specific product or service. For example, a monthly subscription for a magazine.

On the other hand, a variable subscription allows customers to choose different subscription options, such as subscription length, frequency of delivery, and pricing based on product variations.

How do I reactivate a canceled subscription in WooCommerce?
You can easily reactivate it from the WooCommerce admin panel. You can read Subscription resubscribe guide for easy understanding.

Are there any limitations or restrictions on the types of products or services that can be sold with WooCommerce Subscriptions?
WooCommerce Subscriptions allows for a wide range of products and services to be sold as subscriptions, including physical goods, digital products, memberships, and services.

However, there may be limitations or restrictions depending on payment gateways and third-party add-ons used, as well as local laws and regulations.

Does WooCommerce allow subscribers to delay their subscriptions?
Yes, WooCommerce allows subscribers to delay their subscriptions. This can be done through the subscription settings where customers can choose to postpone their next payment date or delay the start of their subscription. Additionally, merchants can also set up automatic delays for certain products or subscription plans.

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