Recurring subscriptions are a great way to create a steady flow of income for your business as you will be able to see what orders you are expecting and forecast what resources are needed. Having subscriptions enabled in your e-commerce store will also make it easier for customers to order products from your store.
Subscriptions is available as a paid add-on to your Rocketspark Ecommerce Pro pricing plan.
Subscriptions are a way for buyers to create automatically repeating orders with a shop product or service. Subscriptions make the process of ordering and paying for products or services convenient for the customer—they set-up once and the rest is taken care of. Adding Recurring Subscriptions and payments to your website can be a great marketing strategy for your business.
- Consumables that someone might want to regularly refill/replace on a fairly regular cycle, e.g., coffee pods, eggs, milk, baked goods, butchery meats, fruit and vege, dog food and even pool chemicals.
- Bundles of goods people curate into a single product that they can sell on subscription such as food, grocery, household or beauty boxes.
- Every-day household essentials - shampoo/soap/tooth paste/brush/laundry etc.
- Memberships or online-classes.
- Services like cleaning, lawnmowing, garden service etc.
- Pharmacy or healthcare items like vitamins and supplements.
Subscriptions are an additional paid feature you can enable on your store, allowing you to set which products are eligible to be purchased on subscription. When buyers add eligible subscription products to their cart they can choose a delivery frequency from the options you have provided such as weekly, fortnightly, monthly, every 2 months, every 3 months or every 6 months.
Their first order will send straight away, then on the renewal date their payment card will be charged automatically and you’ll be notified that another subscription delivery is ready to send, and they'll be notified that their credit card has been charged via email.
See how to get Subscriptions on your Rocketspark store here.
Managing your subscription business
1. Editing your subscriptions
1.1 Editing subscriptions: Shop owners
Shop owners can manage subscriptions by doing the following for a customer:
- Pausing or cancelling a subscription
- Edit address details
- Edit variant/quantity
- Remove product from a subscription
- Change delivery frequency
- Change renewal date of a subscription
Shop owners Can’t:
- Add products to a customers subscription.
- Update customer credit card details on their behalf.
- Restart a cancelled subscription
1.2 Editing subscriptions: Buyers
Buyers can manage subscriptions by doing the following themselves:
- Add or remove products from an existing subscription
- Pause a subscription
- Restart a paused subscription
- Cancel a subscription - a permanent deletion of the subscription
- Edit address details
- Edit variant/quantity
- Update their credit card details
- Change delivery frequency
- Restart a cancelled subscription. They just need to purchase a new subscription.
2. Stock availability planning for subscribers
On the subscriptions home page (in your shop settings) you can choose from two display options:
- Upcoming deliveries
This will show you a runway of your upcoming deliveries with a useful traffic light system for stock availability, giving you a visual gauge of upcoming stock issues that you can sort out before they become a problem.
Important: The stock is not ring-fenced for upcoming subscriptions so stock levels could get affected by one-off purchases. The traffic light system gives you a quick temperature check of stock levels for subscribers. This might show multiple deliveries from the same subscription and you can see a delivery number count to see the sequential order of deliveries from the same subscription.
- All subscriptions
This is a way to see just each subscription as a line in the table itself. It also shows you the lifetime value of that subscription so you can see your most valuable subscribers quickly.
Export Stock Report
In addition to the runway of upcoming deliveries, you can also export a CSV stock report of stock that is available vs stock that will be required for subscription deliveries within a particular date range.
- Go to your Subscription Home Page (in shop settings)
- Select ‘Stock Report’
- Select and enter your Timeframe
- Click “Export CSV”
Are subscriptions right for my business?
Subscriptions are great for any business that has consumable products that someone might want to regularly refill/replace on fairly regular cycles. Eg, coffee pods, dog food, pool chemicals.
You can also curate your own bundle of goods as a single product that you can sell on subscription such as food or beauty boxes.
How much does Subscriptions cost?
Subscriptions is available as a paid add-on to your Rocketspark Ecommerce Pro pricing plan. Regular billing applies for the Ecommerce Pro plan, but you won’t be billed for the Subscriptions add-on feature for the first 3 months).
After the 3 months you’ll be billed for the Subscriptions add on monthly, or for annual plans, a pro-rata amount will be billed to see you through to your next annual bill cycle.
Billing for Recurring Subscriptions as a paid add-on will be:
NZ - $30 + GST per month or $300 + GST per year
AUS - $30 per month or $300 per year
UK - £15 + VAT per month or £150 + VAT per year
See How to get Subscriptions to get started.
Can buyers do mixed carts by adding one-off items and subscription items to their first purchase?
It is possible to add subscription products and one-off products to your first order. Then from the second recurring order, the customer would only pay for the subscription products and the one-off item would only exist in their first order.
What payment gateway can I use with subscriptions?
Currently, Subscriptions is only available with Stripe.
Rocketspark is using the latest version of Stripe’s checkout, which is compatible with SCA (Strong customer authentication) and provides a higher level of security.
With this new level of security, there might be a chance your subscriber will be asked for further verification at the time of their first payment OR when a future payment is due, before it can be processed. If this extra verification is required, a pop-up will appear or the customer will receive an email with a link to click. If they fail to complete this verification step once requested, the transaction won’t go through and will be put on hold until the next subscription is due. At that time, if there is still no payment, then their subscription will be moved to the declined state.
Stripe has a minimum order value of $0.50 - If the total amount is less than $0.50 Stripe will not show up as a payment option.
What delivery frequency options can I choose to offer?
You can choose to offer the choice of one, some or all of the following delivery frequency options on your shop which is set shop-wide for all subscription-eligible products: weekly, fortnightly, monthly, every two months, every 3 months, every 6 months. Giving people the choice means they can tailor the frequency to how quickly they might consume those products.
Can buyers have multiple subscriptions with my shop?
A subscriber can have 1 of each subscription frequency that you offer. So if you offer fortnightly subscriptions and monthly subscriptions, a customer could have a maximum of 1 fortnightly subscription and 1 monthly subscription. The delivery dates would be based on the anniversary of the start of the subscription.
Can I bulk apply subscription eligibility status to all products?
When you turn on Subscriptions, none of your products will be eligible to be purchased on subscription by default. You can either enable this on a product by product basis, bulk-update using the CSV import feature, or contact the Rocketspark support team and request a bulk change.
How do I use the CSV import to set a product’s eligibility for subscriptions?
First export your products CSV file from the “import & export” screen in dashboard. Here’s how to export your products from your Rocketspark dashboard. Open this file using Excel, Numbers or another similar program. Identify the column for “buy_on_subscription. Edit the current value for each product to either “canBuy”, “cantBuy” or “mustBuy” depending on your preference. You can then use the CSV import feature to save your changes to Rocketspark. Here’s the guide on how to import products into your Rocketspark website shop.
Can I sell bundles or items such as food boxes or beauty packs?
You can create the bundled product as a single product for customers to purchase in your shop. You could then use the three variants available in the shop to enable customers to customise their pack.
An example food box:
- Variant One: Box Size = Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large
- Variant Two: Preferences = More Veggies, More Fruit
- Variant Three: Organic Status = Organic Only, Not Organic
Can I use subscriptions to sell services, digital or any non-delivered products?
Although this version of Rocketspark’s Recurring Subscriptions feature is designed for the recurring delivery of physical products, you are able to add a service to your shop as a product. For Rocketspark Subscriptions to collect payment for services or digital products you would need to manually fulfil the order, ie. email the digital product to your customer.
I only deliver to specific areas - can I auto-verify a valid address before subscribing?
Currently, you can use Rocketspark’s standard delivery address options to verify regions or areas that you deliver to but there isn’t a way to create a geographical ring fence around detailed delivery areas. Register your interest in this feature by contacting us.
What happens when a buyer’s subscription renews?
When someone’s subscription renews, Rocketspark checks that stock is available and then charges the card for the amount of that order. The order is created with the shop and they then ship the product to the customer. When the subscription is processed the subscription orders will appear in your usual order reports in the same manner as one-off purchases do.
What happens if items in a subscription are out of stock?
Subscription orders with out of stock items are blocked due to the stock issues and that delivery goes on hold until either the product comes back into stock, the merchant or buyer removes that item from the subscription or the next delivery tries to occur.
What happens when someone's automatic payment is successful?
Both the customer and merchant will receive confirmation emails, your stock levels are adjusted, any integrations such as Vend or Xero are updated and the renewal date on the subscription advances according to the subscription frequency (e.g. by 1 week on a weekly subscription).
What happens if someone’s automatic payment fails?
The Rocketspark system will automatically try recharging their card for 5 days. At that point, if the card hasn’t successfully recharged that order will cancel and the subscription will try again with the next delivery.
What happens if my customer needs to update their Card Details / update expired Card?
If your customer needs to update their card on their account that subscription orders are charged to they can do this by logging into their Customer Account on your site and updating their card details there.
How can I provide coupons and promotions for subscription purchases?
For Coupons - Single-Use and Multi-Use
Using coupon codes you create through the Rocketspark shop can provide discounts to specific customers. Here’s the help guide on how to set up a coupon discount code for your online shop.
There are a number of different coupon options available to you with Rocketspark.
- Single-use coupon: Give the coupon to a specific customer who can use the coupon once. Single-use coupons will only apply to the first order of a subscription.
- Multi-use coupon: Give the same coupon to multiple customers and customers can use the coupon multiple times. Multi-use coupons will apply to the first order and subsequent orders until the coupon reaches its end date or it gets deleted by the merchant. If the coupon is edited, eg if the discount amount changes, these changes will apply to any subscriptions that are using that coupon.
- Single use per customer coupon: Give the same coupon to multiple customers and each customer can only use the coupon once. Learn more about this type of coupon on our blog.
- Smart coupons that are only valid for a specific brand/s, product category/ies and tag/s.
+ You also have the option to set a start and end date that the coupon is valid for and to set a minimum purchase amount, required for the coupon code to be applied to a basket.
If you wanted an existing subscriber to change to the discounted rate with a coupon code, the subscription would need to be cancelled (by you or your customer) and then a new subscription will need to be created using the coupon code.
You can also set the coupons to either ‘Allow coupon with subscriptions’ or set the coupon to ‘Do not allow coupon with subscription’. Currently, there’s no option to only allow coupons for subscription products, however please see the below.
*you will not be able to create a 100% off coupon as Stripes minimum value fee is $0.50.*
Subscription Only Product
A great way to restrict subscription only products to a coupon code is restrict the coupon code to a tag.
You can easily set up Product Tags when editing the product such as “Subscription Sale”. Be sure when restricting the coupon to this tag to “Allow coupon with subscriptions”.
Another great way to show your subscription products are for a special price is to set up Price Comparison Labels. This can be done in your shop Settings -> Currency Details -> Tick “Price Comparison Label” -> Enter in the text you wish to show.
Once you have this setup when editing your product enter the Normal Price as well as the Price you would like to show and sell the product for.
Once you have this set up your product will look like this:
Promotions automatically apply to both one-off purchases and subscriptions. You can exclude either one-off purchases or subscriptions from a promotion by tagging your subscription products and using tags on the promotion to specify which products it applies to. Each time the subscription recharges it will check if the promotion still exists and hasn't reached its end date. If it has expired, the next recharge won't apply the promotion discount.
See the help guide on how to create promotions here.
If a product goes on promotion, do subscription customers get that discount?
Yes. Any subscription orders generated during the time the promotion is running will automatically get promotion discounts that apply to the qualifying products in the subscription.
What happens if I remove a frequency option?
If you try to remove a frequency that has customers using it, it will warn you. If you proceed anyway then those existing subscribers will be unaffected and the previous frequency option will remain for those subscribers, even though not available to new subscribers. If you want to remove those frequency options also from current subscribers you would need to cancel the customer's subscription and ask them to create a new subscription.
How is shipping calculated on subscription orders?
Shipping is recalculated automatically as changes are made to the subscription products and quantities, delivery address, or shipping prices. The final shipping price is determined at the time the subscription renews using the same logic used in the checkout. If the shop has “Free shipping over $100” enabled, adding/removing products will affect whether free shipping is given. The shipping price shown to the customer in their my-account area is always up to date based on the items in the subscription and the current shipping rules.
What happens when a customer restarts a paused subscription?
When restarting a paused subscription, the next delivery date will occur in line with the normal cycle. Eg if a monthly subscription is usually delivered on the 18th of the month, then the next delivery date will be the next ‘18th’ in the calendar after the restart date. The system will not ‘catch up’ on orders that were skipped while the subscription was paused.
What happens if I edit a product that is used with a subscription?
When you edit a product in Rocketspark, a blue warning message will appear saying that the product is being used on active subscriptions. It is up to you (the merchant) to notify the customers if you are making changes to products that are on active subscriptions. This would be especially important if the price of the product is increasing.
What happens if I delete a product that is used with a subscription?
As with editing products, you will be warned if a product is used on active subscriptions. If you are deleting products it is up to you (the merchant) to advise customers of the changes.
When a product is deleted it will be removed from all subscriptions and the subscription totals will update accordingly. If that product was the only product on the subscription, the subscription will be paused.
What happens if I edit or delete a product from outside of Rocketspark?
If you are editing products from Vend / TradeGecko / CSV import, then there is no warning message if the product is being used on active subscriptions.
What if I need to remove a shipping region that is used by subscriptions?
The Rocketspark dashboard will not allow you to delete a shipping region that is being used on active subscriptions. Before you can delete the shipping region, you should switch these subscription customers to a new shipping region, or cancel those subscriptions.
What emails does Rocketspark send automatically to subscribers?
- Order confirmation for first and subsequent recurring orders.
- Payment declined email up to 5 times when the subscription renews
- Order cancelled email if the payment fails for 5 consecutive days
- Credit card expires soon email, sent approx 2 months before the card expires
- The credit card has expired email, sent once the saved card has expired
How is the renewal date for a subscription calculated?
In most cases, the renewal date is calculated based on the date that the order was placed.
- If a weekly subscription order is placed on a Friday, it will renew the following Friday.
- If a monthly subscription order is placed on 9th May, it will renew on 9th June.
Subscriptions will always renew shortly after midnight on the renewal date. This is so that all subscription orders are processed at the same time and ready for packing first thing in the morning.
So if a weekly subscription order is placed at 3pm Friday, it will renew next Friday, in the early hours of the morning.
If you also have scheduled ordering enabled, the renewal date is calculated as the delivery/pickup day minus the minimum wait time. If "2 days, 12 hours” was the delivery minimum wait time and a customer ordered a subscription on Friday at 3:15pm, to be delivered the following Wednesday, the renewal date would be calculated as follows:
- Start with the delivery date (end of Wednesday)
- Subtract the minimum wait time of 2 days 12 hours (equals Monday, 12pm)
- Subscriptions always renew shortly after midnight on the renewal date
- Therefore the subscription will renew on Monday morning, shortly after midnight
See this help guide for more information: How do I make my subscription orders all renew at the same time?
How can I change the date a subscription renews on?
Sometimes you may want to change the date a subscription renews on. To do this, simply edit the subscription and click Edit beside the renewal date. This will allow you to select a new renewal date. Please note that once changing the renewal date, all future renewal dates will shift as well - if you moved a weekly subscription to a Friday, it would then renew each Friday until stopped. We recommend you inform customers if you change their renewal date by more than a couple of days.
This is useful for when:
- A customer requests that their subscription renews on a different day of week or month
- You would like to have all subscriptions renew on the same day
- A customer would like to pause a subscription until a specific date
- You need to temporarily delay some subscriptions because of stock or other issues