Subscription products provide many advantages for online store owners. For instance, the recurring revenue of subscriptions offer businesses more stability due to the predictability of future earnings and the lifetime value of your customer. And automated billing and payment with repeat purchases provide for greater efficiency and loyalty versus one-time purchases.
SUMO Subscriptions is a WordPress subscription plugin from Fantastic Plugins that aims to give you all of these advantages and more. It’s a highly customizable, feature-rich WooCommerce extension that allows you to create and sell digital, physical, and virtual products and services as recurring subscriptions. Users can create subscriptions around WooCommerce Simple, Variable, and Grouped products.
The plugin includes built-in payment gateways for PayPal and Stripe for automatic subscription renewals. And for manual subscription renewals, it works with all WooCommerce supported payment gateways.
In this review, we’ll take a look at the features of SUMO Subscriptions, how to set it up and use it, and tell you what we think about its offerings for the WordPress community. To find out more, read on.
Main Features of SUMO Subscriptions
SUMO Subscriptions works with all WooCommerce supported themes and lets you create subscriptions for Simple, Variable, and Grouped products and services. Here are its main features:
• Set the subscription price, subscription duration, and the number of allowed renewals.
• Order subscriptions for non-subscription products.
• Synchronize subscription payment renewals among your subscribers, including the ability to prorate charges.
• You can let your customers buy subscription and non-subscription products together in a single checkout. They can also purchase multiple quantities of subscription products in a single checkout (whether they’re the same or different subscription products).
• Set automatic subscription renewal through PayPal, Stripe, and the SUMO Reward Points plugin, or choose manual subscription renewal with any WooCommerce supported payment gateway. As the admin, you can change the renewal date for any subscription.
Subscribers can switch between automatic subscription renewal or manual subscription renewal. They can also choose to (or be forced to) pre-approve subscription renewal payments.
• Send single or multiple payment reminder emails to your subscribers, with separate email templates for manual subscription renewal and automatic subscription renewal.
You can choose when to send payment reminder emails to your subscribers, and the time before the due date for creating renewal orders. SUMO Subscriptions also supports features for overdue payments.
• Choose whether to include or exclude shipping and tax costs for your subscription renewals. You can also choose to include or exclude coupon code discounts for subscription renewals.
• Limit subscription purchases and subscription trials (choose from No Limit, One Active Subscription/Trial per Product, One Active Subscription/Trial per Site). You can also offer free or paid subscription trials, including the option to charge trial fees and signup fees.
• Subscribers can cancel or pause their own subscriptions, while administrators can cancel or pause any subscriptions (immediately, at the end of a billing cycle, or on a scheduled date). Subscribers can even resubscribe to expired or canceled subscriptions.
• Subscribers can switch between identical subscription variations.
• Admins can manually create a subscription order and assign it to any user.
• You can view a list of purchased subscriptions as well as a log history for each subscription. A Master Log records all the transactions throughout your site.
• SUMO Subscriptions supports content dripping for downloadable subscription products.
• You can use bulk updating to quickly change sitewide settings for your subscriptions.
• SUMO Subscriptions can be extended through other SUMO plugins.
For example, the SUMO Donations plugin lets you accept recurring donations, the SUMO Memberships plugin allows for membership subscriptions, and the SUMO Reward Points plugin provides a points and rewards system to subscription purchases and social activity.
• WPML (WordPress Multilingual) compatible/Translation ready
Types of Subscriptions
WooCommerce is the online store platform that SUMO Subscriptions works with. Because of this, you’ll obviously need WooCommerce installed and activated, as well as a basic knowledge of how it works.
There are many different product and service that can be sold through subscriptions. Here are some ideas that fit nicely with the subscription model:
• Magazines/books (digital or physical)
• Home maintenance (e.g. lawn care, security)
• Arts and crafts products
• Beauty products
• Online courses/training
• Consumer goods (e.g., coffee and tea)
• Organic goods
• Software as a service (SaaS)
• Recurring services/services on retainer
These are just a few of the many types of products and services that can be sold as subscriptions. The key is to consider your niche and interests to see where you might be able to offer this recurring business model to your audience.
Installing SUMO Subscriptions
Here’s how to install SUMO Subscriptions:
1. Download SUMO Subscriptions from CodeCanyon.
2. Unzip the sumosubscriptions.zip file.
3. In WordPress, go to Plugins… Add New… Upload Plugin.
4. Click the Choose File button and choose the sumosubscriptions.zip file on your computer (inside the folder you unzipped in step 2).
5. Click the Install Now button.
6. After the plugin is finished installing, click the Activate Plugin button.
After the plugin is installed and activated, you’ll see a welcome screen with links to other plugins developed by Fantastic Plugins (including those compatible with SUMO Subscriptions). You’ll also see a Contact Support button, and a Go to Settings button.
7 Click the Go to Settings button to start configuring and using SUMO Subscriptions.
SUMO Subscriptions Settings
After adding SUMO Subscriptions to your WordPress site, you’ll see it in your WordPress admin sidebar, along with submenus for:
List of Subscriptions
Let’s briefly go over what’s in the Settings menu of SUMO Subscriptions.
The Settings menu is divided between six different tabs:
Add to Cart Button Text
Lets you change the button text for subscription products created using SUMO Subscriptions.
Renewal Order Settings
Number of days before a subscription renewal order is due that it must be renewed. Also controls whether shipping, tax costs, and coupon code discounts from the original subscription order are included in renewal orders.
Renewal Order Email Notification Settings
Set the number of days before the subscription renewal date that a payment reminder email is sent.
Overdue and Suspend Settings
Sets the number of days beyond the subscription due date that a subscription is considered overdue or suspended. The account remains in the overdue or suspended status until the user makes the required payment.
These options control the number of subscriptions and subscription trials a user can purchase/access. Choices include No Limit, One Active Subscription per Product, and One Active Subscription throughout the site.
Automatic Subscription Renewal Settings
This setting lets you remove the subscriber option to choose between automatic and manual subscription renewal. It also lets you enable the PayPal Standard subscription API for orders placed through the default PayPal payment gateway.
Inbuilt PayPal Reference Transactions Settings
These options control the look of the PayPal checkout page. You can choose a page style, upload a logo, and select a border color for the PayPal payment page.
My Account Page Settings
These are account options that subscribers can control. For example, they can pause or cancel their subscriptions, resubscribe (with the same subscription price) to an expired or canceled subscription, switch between similar variations of a subscription product, turn off automatic payments, and change their shipping address.
This setting enables synchronization for subscription products.
Downloadable Products Settings
Gives you the option to drip content to subscribers for downloadable subscription products.
Additional Digital Downloads Settings
Lets you link downloadable digital files to subscription products. Subscribers can access the downloadable files after their subscription purchase.
Order Subscription Settings
This setting lets users set an order of multiple products as a single subscription at checkout, with payment charged accordingly. (This option does not pertain to SUMO Subscriptions and SUMO Memberships plan access products.) You can make this the default option and also change the checkbox label for this option.
Advanced Settings provide a number of options, including:
• Allow users to purchase non-subscription products with subscription products in the same order.
• Always show payment options, even when an order amount is zero.
• Set the amount of time (in minutes) between an initial order and renewal order.
• Number of times (per day) SUMO Subscriptions will attempt charging for a subscription renewal when an automatic payment subscription becomes overdue or suspended.
• How SUMO Subscriptions should behave when a user manually removes access to preapproval/billing methods, or automatic payment fails. Options are to cancel the subscription or allow subscribers to choose a payment method through email.
• Subscription number prefix settings
• Change background color settings for the status of a subscription (trial, pause, active overdue, pending, suspended, canceled, pending cancellation, failed, and expired).
• Customize background color settings for subscription notes (processing, success, pending, and failure).
Bulk Action Settings
The settings here let you make bulk changes to your site’s subscription information for: all products, selected products, all categories, or selected categories.
By checking the Update box next to a field, you can customize its information. For example, by selecting Enable for the SUMO Subscriptions field, you can activate or deactivate SUMO Subscriptions for certain products and categories.
You can also control subscription durations, trial durations, whether to enable trials (and if they are paid or free trials), whether you charge a signup fee, and how long recurring subscription cycles are.
Settings for Messages
In this tab, SUMO Subscriptions displays the various shortcodes and messages you can use for your subscriptions.
You can use shortcodes to display subscription information for price, duration, recurring cycle, signup fee, trial fee, installments, prorated fee and date, synchronized next payment date, subscription number, next payment date, and scheduled cancel date.
You can also customize many message settings, including general subscription messages, synchronization messages, durations, cancel dialog messages, error messages, and more.
The Help tab tells you where you can find documentation for SUMO Subscriptions, and provides a link to their support center (where you can view their support FAQ or open a support ticket).
It also lists the other SUMO plugins that are compatible with SUMO Subscriptions.
List of Subscriptions and Master Log
Now that we’ve looked at the Settings submenu, let’s briefly go over the other two submenus for SUMO Subscriptions.
List of Subscriptions
The next SUMO Subscriptions menu item after Settings is List of Subscriptions.
This page lists your product/service subscriptions, along with their status, subscription number, product name and number of people subscribed, order ID, buyer email, subscription start and end dates, trial end date, last payment date, next payment date, and renewal count.
The final submenu in the SUMO Subscriptions menu is the Master Log.
The Master Log displays user names, actions, results, subscription product names and numbers, order IDs, events, and dates.
Creating Subscriptions with SUMO Subscriptions
Creating Subscriptions is fast and easy with SUMO Subscriptions, and Fantastic Plugins did a nice job integrating their subscription features into the WooCommerce interface. Let’s take a look at how to do that now.
Creating a Simple Subscription with SUMO Subscriptions
1. In WooCommerce, go to Products… Add Product.
2. As you do with any WooCommerce product, give it a title and description, as well as a short description and product image (if desired).
If your subscription product is a virtual product that is intangible and not shipped (e.g., consulting) or a downloadable product that includes files (e.g., software or ebooks), you’ll need to check the appropriate box next to Virtual or Downloadable.
3. Below the description box, choose Simple product from the Product data drop-down menu.
4. Give the subscription product a Regular price, along with a Sale price (if desired).
5. Next to SUMO Subscriptions, select Enable.
6. Choose the Subscription Duration.
Your options are 1-90 days, 1-52 weeks, 1-24 months, or 1-5 years.
7. If you’d like to add a Trial Period to your subscription product, select Enable.
To make the subscription trial optional, check the box next to Subscription Trial Is Optional.
To determine the trial type, select Free Trial or Paid Trial in the drop-down next to Select Trial Type.
If you choose Paid Trial, you’ll need to enter a dollar amount next to Trial Fee ($).
For Trial Duration, your options are 1-90 days, 1-52 weeks, 1-24 months, or 1-5 years.
8. If you want to charge a fee for signing up for the subscription product, select Enable next to Sign up Fee and enter a dollar value for Sign up Value ($).
If you’d like, you can give the subscriber the option to make signup optional. To do so, just click the box next to Subscription Sign up Fee Is Optional.
9. Choose the Recurring Cycle for the subscription. The default is Indefinite. You can choose between 1-52 installments.
10. Click the Publish button.
Note: If Synchronization is enabled in the General tab, and Synchronized Renewals needs to happen for your subscription product, choose the day that renewal needs to happen in the Synchronize Renewals option.
Also, if you’re giving downloadable products with your subscription product, select the Enable Additional Digital Products checkbox. Then, select the downloadable products in the Choose the Downloadable Products field. (Additional Digital Downloads must be Enabled in the General tab.)
Creating a Variable Subscription with SUMO Subscriptions
Variable subscription products can be based on almost any product/service differences, such as:
• Subscription length (e.g., larger discount for longer customer commitment)
• Varying quantity within a product
• Varying quality within a service
Basically, variable subscriptions are done the same way as simple subscription products (see instructions above), with the following differences:
• In step 3 (above), choose Variable product from the Product data drop-down menu.
• After choosing Variable Product, Click the Attributes tab to create your attributes for the subscription.
• After creating the attributes, create the Variations tab to add your subscription variations.
• After creating your variations, you can continue with step 4 (above).
Creating a Grouped Subscription with SUMO Subscriptions
Grouped subscription products consists of simple subscription products that are grouped together. Because of this, to create a grouped subscription product, you first need to create more than one simple product (see above for basic instructions on creating simple subscription products). The basic instructions below assume you’ve already created multiple simple products.
Here are the basic steps for creating grouped subscriptions:
1. In WordPress, go to Products… Add Product.
2. As you do with any WooCommerce product, give it a title and description, as well as a short description and product image (if desired).
3. Below the description box, choose Grouped product from the Product data drop-down menu.
4. Click the Linked Products tab.
5. In the Grouped products field, select the products that will be part of the group.
6. Click Publish.
Support & Documentation
The developers behind SUMO Subscriptions offer support through an online support ticket system. Users can register and open a support ticket on their site for sale questions, general support, and new feature requests.
Support is available Monday-Friday, with an average response time of 1-2 days.
Fantastic Plugins includes documentation for SUMO Subscriptions within the plugin’s download file from CodeCanyon. The documentation links to a webpage that thoroughly explains the features and setup of the plugin.
They also provide tooltips within the user interface, which is a nice touch a very helpful.
SUMO Subscriptions is available from CodeCanyon for $39. They also sell an Extended License, which can be purchased for $195.
Pricing includes all future updates and six months of support from Fantastic Plugins, the developer of the plugin.
Currently, the plugin support can be extended to 12 months for $13.13, a $17 savings.
Conclusions & Recommendations
WooCommerce is arguably the best ecommerce platform for WordPress. It’s relatively easy to learn to use and comes with impressive features built-in to its core package.
But one of the more powerful features that WooCommerce lacks out-of-the-box is product and service subscriptions.
SUMO Subscriptions aims to fill that void. It allows for Simple, Variable, and Grouped subscriptions for physical, digital, and virtual products and services. It includes built-in payment gateways—including PayPal and Stripe—for automatic subscription renewals. And for manual subscription renewals, it works with any WooCommerce supported payment gateway.
In general, it offers extensive features and customization options that can meet the needs of many WooCommerce store owners.
If you’re interested in developing your business around the benefits of recurring revenue with subscriptions, SUMO Subscriptions just might fit the bill. To find out more, you can check them out at CodeCanyon or visit their website here.