Subscription Commerce With WordPress: How to Get Started

You might think of WordPress as just another website builder, but there’s a reason it’s used to create 37% of all websites on the internet. It’s versatility has allowed developers to use it as a content management system powering some of the largest websites on the web.

Many WordPress users have noticed the success subscription businesses are enjoying and would like to implement some subscription services themselves, but they have one important question: Do subscriptions work on WordPress? Absolutely!

How to Make Subscriptions in WordPress

If there was one word to describe WordPress sites, it would be “versatile.” Remember when the iPhone was released, and Apple used the marketing campaign, “There’s an app for everything?” Well, in WordPress, there’s a plugin for everything. Currently, there are over 57,000 plugins available in the WordPress database.

Plugins are the key to managing your subscriptions in WordPress. Some are designed for content subscriptions, and others are for product subscriptions. There are even some that can handle both!

Content Subscriptions

Your site is filled to the brim with great content. As the Joker said in “The Dark Knight,” “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Many WordPress users are monetizing their content by implementing content subscriptions.

Content subscriptions are when people pay a recurring fee for access to your content. When a user goes to access your content, it prompts them for a username and password. If they’ve paid the subscription fee, they can simply log in and enjoy your excellent content.

There are many WordPress plugins you can use to manage your content subscriptions (such as Slatwall for WordPress) and build out your content offerings. These plugins can help you manage your content subscriptions and collect recurring payments with ease. But keep in mind that each plugin offers different features, so make sure you choose one that’s built to scale, can be launched quickly, and is completely flexible for design and layout.

Product Subscriptions

Product subscriptions are trickier than content subscriptions. It’s not as simple as “pay subscription to get content.” Subscription information needs to be linked to your eCommerce platform and online store. When someone subscribes, the system needs to understand that billing and shipping of products need to recur automatically on a recurring basis.

Because product subscriptions have more moving parts compared to content subscriptions, product subscription plugins are a bit more intensive. There’s more to keep track of. They can be integrated with your WordPress site the same way. Just find the best plugin that works for you, download and activate it, and work your way through the menus to input your specifications.

Key Takeaways:

  • Content subscriptions are for access to information on your website, like articles, stats, and whitepapers.
  • Product subscriptions are recurring orders for items set to automatically ship after a designated period.
  • Plugins are the key to making and managing subscriptions on your WordPress site.

How to Choose the Right Subscription Plugin

No two subscription plugins are the same. That’s why it’s important to look through all the features available and choose the subscription platform that best fits your unique needs and goals. You’ll want to consider these aspects:

  • Ease of use
  • Compatibility
  • Features

When it comes to ease of use, most plugins come with two options: lightweight and full-featured. Lightweight options are designed for speed and ease. They don’t have all the options of a full-featured plugin but are much simpler to start using right away. Full-featured plugins give you more control over your subscriptions but typically aren’t as user-friendly.

WordPress sites use many themes and plugins, so you want to make sure your subscription plugin will be friendly with your existing website features. It’s a good idea to test plugins on your local WordPress install to see if they’re compatible before adding them to your live site. It’ll save a lot of frustration and embarrassment.

Once you know the plugin will work with your team and your site, make sure it works for your goals. What subscriptions do you want to sell? What payment options do you want to accept? Do you want to send drip content to your subscribers? Determine your goals and find the platform that offers the right features to help you achieve them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Test plugins on your local WordPress install before adding them to your live site to make sure they’re compatible.
  • Your business goals will help determine which features you need in a subscription plugin.

Find a Platform that Can Scale with Your Needs

Many WordPress plugins are designed for smaller businesses and limited subscription applications. While that might be fine to start, pretty soon your business will outgrow it. Then, you’ll have to spend time and money researching and implementing a new subscription platform all over again.

Eventually, you’ll need to upgrade to a dedicated commerce platform that can bring scalability and flexibility to your online store. A headless eCommerce platform offers the best approach here, giving you a way to manage commerce functions entirely separate from WordPress itself.

Many commerce platforms come with pre-built CMS options that limit what you're able to do, but headless platforms let you integrate any and all commerce options you need without requiring changes to your CMS. All inventory, product, and subscription details can be adjusted in the platform, guided by APIs.

This opens up new options for your storefront that basic eCommerce plugins can’t match, but it also allows you to easily push content across different devices, including mobile phones and tablets. If you’re getting serious about your eCommerce strategy, you’ll want to have these tools at the ready and ensure that your sales goals aren’t limited by platform restrictions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Many businesses outgrow traditional WordPress plugins.
  • A third-party solution like headless commerce offers more flexibility and can support more products and subscribers to scale with growing businesses.
  • By subverting traditional commerce platform architecture, headless platforms make it easy to integrate new functions, deploy content to multiple devices, and even manage multiple storefronts at once -- all from a single interface.

Scalable WordPress Subscription Management with Slatwall Commerce

If you want a platform that can integrate with your WordPress website and handle subscription selling, look no farther than Slatwall for WordPress. Slatwall lets you manage both content subscriptions and product subscriptions from a single interface and “push” updates to your website using an API key. That way, you can make changes and manage your subscriptions without worrying about altering your WordPress layout.

Want to learn more about managing subscriptions on your WordPress site using Slatwall? Contact us and see if Slatwall for WordPress is right for your business.

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