HOW TO TAKE PAYMENTS FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS
There are a few options, depending on how often you want to account for payments, how long the contract term is, and how likely it is a customer might modify their standing order.
1. "Repeat Order Service" aka Standing Orders
The repeat order service automatically creates a draft order immediately after submission of the initial order. The customer selects the repeat interval. At the repeat date, the draft order will be submitted, and the process begins again. This is great for home or restaurant food replenishment, retail stock replenishment etc, as it gives the customer a chance to cancel or make changes to their order at any stage. The assumption in this process is that a compatible recurring payment option is used (as below), or that payment is made on account, via an accounting system like Xero, that may tally up weekly/fortnightly orders and take a monthly payment. In any case an invoice is sent to the purchaser each time the order is submitted, with the option to pay by the usual method of payment. The obligation remains with the merchant to confirm orders have been paid, or meet their terms of engagement, before fulfilling an order. Orders will simply show as unpaid in our system, until marked as paid in Xero, or actually paid by some other means.
As a subscription renews on the target date, there are 2 orders or relevance. One order is the last order to be fulfilled. The other order is the next draft order in the sequence. You can review all subscription orders, by choosing the view orders filter option called "subscriptions". This will show both closed and draft orders.
1b. Repeat Order Service with Automatic Payments
A very few payment options allow an automated payment service, that automatically charges the credit card after each repeat order/subscription renewal. Example payment options include WindCave and Paymark
The process is very simple, on the target repeat order date, we will close the current order, and start a new draft order of the same.
If the payment method is one which allows automatic token/billing repeat card payments, then we will initate the payment.
2. Membership subscriptions
Consider using our membership widget. Our membership widget will allow new members to signup and pay for immediate access. Thereafter, it will send them a reminder near to their expiry date asking them to renew their membership. This sort of approach works best with 3 month, 6 month or 12 month terms, where renewal is not automatic. If you are using the automatic payment options from limited providers, then you could consider using a shorter term for renewals... Please note that invoices / receipts are emailed on each renewal.
3. Set and forget payment plans, aka Payment Provider Subscription Services.
Subscriptions such as gym membership, then you are best not to use our shopping cart for this process. The best way to setup a recurring payment plan, is to find a payment provider such as stripe or paypal who have special features for managing all of your subscription payments. Each of them will allow you to add some "widget code" anywhere in your website. Inside our website builder CMS, you can paste this code as HTML. This is a very simple interface, with all management of subscriptions taken care of by the payment provider. Such services are designed for minimal customer interaction in the process, minimal email notifications, and minimal technical support on our part, as the process is managed by the payment provider.
4. Single Payment Setup - Ordinary Shopping Cart
You may also consider using our shopping cart to offer new customers their "first subscription". Thereafter, you can set up a recurring payment plan in an accounting system like Xero, and use their methods of payment, or reconciliation system to manage that.
5. Direct Debit Authority
If you have a direct debit authority you can also initate the subscription with a "one time purchase" and the customer provides their bank details and authorisation during checkout, along with completing a T&C checkbox. This approach is sufficient to initate direct debit authorities, but it is up to you to manage the direct debit authority yourself, with whatever process is available to you. Our system does not manage the direct debit authority.
You can create subscription/recuring billing in some payment gateways like Paypal
- Signup to paypal, login etc
- Click on merchant services
- Click on "Subscriptions and Recurring Payments"
- Customise your button and consider your own business logic calculations.
- Enter any amount if you want this to be dynamic later
- Generate the code
- Login to our CMS
- Shopping - Setup - Credit Cards - Custom HTML
- Paste your code snipped
- Replace the fixed amount with [AMOUNT] to ensure that the field is dynamic. However, if you only have 1 product for sale, which represents the full value of your contract term, then you might consider just assigning a fixed monthly value here.
If you want to have anything more complicated, then you will need to get a programmer to do this for you.
If you want to have automatically redirecting form, then you can select the alternative Custom Form, but you need to separate the FORM descriptor into the individual components
Or do away with the shopping cart, and just make heaps of these buttons from Paypal and insert onto your website in appropriate places using the Insert... HTML options
Trouble Shooting Automated Repeat Order Payments (WindCave , PayMark)
Repeat order automated payments are strictly limited to specific payment gateways that are configured for that purpose, eg WindCave and Paymark... You must ensure you have informed your account manager that you want to used tokenised payments, for repeat billing/subscription purposes... So that they will disable some other card security features like 3d secure. Otherwise, we cannot initate payment attempts without the card holder being involved in the process.
If a subcription/repeat order repeats, but remains unpaid, there are many reasons why this might be. It could be insufficient funds, expired card, revoked authority, or many other errors that may originate by the payment gateway. Or those issues as above.
Our system will attempt to initiate the payment for an order every hour, for about 24 hours after an order is renewed. This allows for temporary glitches. You will receive a notification of failed transaction attempts. You would alternativelly receive a reciept once complated ok.
It's important to note, that our ecommerce platform cannot see inside your payment providers control panel. Only the merchant has the access to confirm if a payment has been successful. Our ecommerce platform is dependent on a payment provider notifying us that a payment was successful. There may be occassions when our system has the wrong unpaid status. You can easily mark any order as paid in our system, if you believe that the payment was indeed paid. Merchant takes responsibility for confirming the paid status via the payment providers control panel. Our support team cannot provide you support about a payment status, as that is the responsibility of your payment provider support team.
If an order remains unpaid, there are some options to take.
- Confirm if the transaction was actually paid in your payment providers control panel, and then update the status to paid manually in our CMS/Control panel.
- In our control panel, in the payment tab when viewing the order, you can initate the payment attempt as if the customer was doing it themselves, or as if the system was attempting an automated payment. This way you can see for yourself what the error message or other consideration is... Followup with your payment provider if they are the one that appears to be preventing a payment continuting to a successful result.
- You can followup with the customer, sending them additional copies of the unpaid invoice/order, and requesting the continue with the payment process to enter a new expiry date or whatever.
- In our control panel, in the orders area, you can cancel an order that remains unpaid. In this case, you are making the decision that payment is unlikely, and therefore you want to not continue with the subscription. If you cancel a membership subscription, you need to manually revoke a members special privilidges. If you cancel the last subscription order, you usually need to cancel the next/draft subscription order also... If that is your intention.
The ideal situation is that a customer logs in to your website, and edits their draft order. There is a link on the bottom of each of their invoices instructing them to do that.
If you find your customer has created a brand new subscription, you may need to cancel the old subscription. To do that, you must cancel their next draft order in the old sequence. If the wrong sequence has already renewed, you may need to manually cancel and refund the customer.
Subscription and automated payments are an advanced feature, requiring having just the right configuration across multiple providers.
Human users and third party payment systems, can introduce all sorts of real world considerations. If you are unable to navigate these considerations, then you will need paid consultancy to help.
Please do not expect free support for this area. If you want help, this time will be chargeable, and a consultant will be happy to provide you with the support/training you need.