WooCommerce doesn’t support subscriptions by default. That’s why if you want to sell subscriptions on your WooCommerce store, you need a WooCommerce subscription plugin.
WooCommerce Subscriptions is WooCommerce’s official subscription plugin to bring subscription management to the platform. While WooCommerce Subscriptions is a solid plugin, it doesn’t bring end-to-end subscription management to WooCommerce, as users expect it to.
If you’re currently considering WooCommerce Subscriptions to add subscriptions to your WooCommerce store — or if you’re an existing WooCommerce Subscriptions user and are looking for an alternative — we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll look at five of the best WooCommerce subscription plugins and help you choose a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative that brings everything you need to sell subscriptions to your store.
If we had to summarize this post in just one sentence… we’d say: Get Autoship Cloud in place of WooCommerce Subscriptions. Autoship Cloud is the best WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative. It actually outperforms WooCommerce Subscriptions in many ways. See why we (and our customers!) say this by reading the full post. Also, sign up for a free 14-day trial. Take the plugin for a spin and see how easy it makes setting up WooCommerce products subscriptions.
Choosing a WooCommerce subscriptions alternative
When evaluating a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative, the most important thing to look for is if it brings end-to-end subscription management — because that’s the key challenge with WooCommerce Subscriptions.
WooCommerce Subscriptions: a few common struggles
If you have over a hundred products on your store and want to add an Amazon-like subscribe and save scheme to all of them at once, you can’t do so with WooCommerce Subscriptions. You will need an add-on extension like All Products for WooCommerce Subscriptions to convert all your existing regular WooCommerce products into subscriptions by adding a subscribe option to them.
Likewise, if you wanted to email your users before their automatic subscription renewal is charged, you’d need another premium addon like Enhancer for WooCommerce Subscriptions.
And in case you’re looking to build a WooCommerce subscription box store, you’d need yet another WooCommerce extension like Product Bundles.
That’s not all You’d need a plugin like Automate Woo to let your subscribers edit their delivery schedules — rescheduling an upcoming scheduled delivery for a day later, for example. (Offering subscribers such flexibility can bring down your churn rate that hovers around 40% for subscriptions of physical goods.)
Moreover, you’d need a plugin (like Minimum Periods for WooCommerce Subscriptions) to disable the default Cancel button that WooCommerce Subscriptions adds to your subscriber’s subscription page(s).
All in all: WooCommerce Subscriptions isn’t an all-in-one WooCommerce subscription solution
It needs many additional plugins and addons to create a subscription infrastructure. And we’re not even talking about the essential extensions a WooCommerce subscription plugin, including WooCommerce subscriptions, takes — for instance, plugins for enabling payment gateway integrations. Note that even WooCommerce Subscriptions alternatives need such extensions. These add to the build too.
The initial setup with WooCommerce Subscriptions, thus, is expensive and time- and effort-intensive as you have to integrate with several third-party plugins even for essential functionalities. Ongoing development and maintenance costs (and effort), too, add up fast for such a setup.
Now that you know what to look for in a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative (completeness!), let’s go over the top five options you can consider.
Autoship Cloud: An all-in-one WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative
QPilot’s Autoship Cloud is a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative that brings everything you need to launch Amazon-like subscribe and save schemes to the world’s leading eCommerce platform. Autoship Cloud is also the only WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative that lets you recreate Amazon’s subscribe and save system on your online store. You know, one where your users see both a one-time purchase offer and a subscribe and save offer right on your product page.
- Subscribe and save setup logistics: With Autoship Cloud, you can offer your users a one-time buy option as well as the subscription upsell directly on the product page. Autoship Cloud works on the cart page as well. Setting up a variable subscription product is as straightforward as creating a simple subscription for a regular WooCommerce product. Also, with its support for bulk actions, you can convert all your existing products into subscriptions within minutes. Users can purchase (multiple) subscriptions and regular (one-off) purchases during a single checkout.
- Support for payment gateways: Autoship Cloud integrates with over ten payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Autorize.net, Square, among others.
- Inventory/stock syncing: Autoship Cloud stays updated on your inventory status all the time and automatically disables sales of subscriptions if you run out of stock. But if you enable backorders for your subscription products, your users will be able to subscribe to them via Autoship Cloud.
- Subscription management tools for subscribers and shop managers: Autoship Cloud lets your users edit their upcoming scheduled orders to add or remove products or change their quantities. Your subscribers can also choose to re-schedule the delivery date. However, as the store manager, you can decide the number of days leading to the scheduled deliveries during which they can be editable. You can even notify your users before their scheduled deliveries are about to be “locked.” Other than this, your subscribers can easily pause, resume, upgrade, downgrade, or cancel their subscriptions. You, too, can do these from the admin panel. Autoship Cloud’s default my account templates allow subscribers to edit their payment options/methods, shipping addresses, apply coupons, and more.
- Support for communications: Autoship Cloud offers native integration with SendGrid® to enable better email marketing. So you can send your users emails about all the critical events in their subscription lifecycle, including email notifications before a recurring payment is charged (automatically). Autoship Cloud’s easy-to-use email customizer helps you customize the plugin’s default templates’ copy and look and feel to make your emails your own.
- Marketing tools: Autoship cloud lets you offer one-time and recurring discounts. You can offer flat rate discounts or give percentage discounts on your users’ cart value and even on their shipping rates. It’s also possible to gift your users one-time products. You can even allow coupons that work only a set number of times for a subscriber. Setting minimums on item count, price, and weight are also possible. (These upselling/cross-selling tools are handy ways to increase your average order value metric.)
- Shipping and delivery logistics: You can offer your users flexible shipping schedules for their scheduled orders that they can even edit from their account page. You can present your subscribers with lower shipping rates and even make it free or set up a one-time charge. Autoship Cloud integrates with all popular shipping carriers. You can easily set up your shipping rates and rules to customize your shipping logistics via your qPilot account.
Here’s a video tutorial of the plugin setup:
YITH WooCommerce Subscription: A good WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative
YITH WooCommerce Subscription is a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative from YITH (a marketplace specializing in WooCommerce solutions).
While YITH WooCommerce Subscription is a solid WooCommerce subscription plugin, it comes with some of the same challenges as WooCommerce Subscriptions. For example, you can’t enable subscriptions for all your existing products at once. Moreover, there’s no way to offer your users both a one-time purchase option and the subscription upsell option on your product page (as Amazon does). You can only show the subscription option. If you want to enable a product to be sold as a one-off purchase and a subscription, you need to treat them as product variations.
Also, much like WooCommerce Subscriptions, YITH WooCommerce Subscription might eventually need you to get more plugins from the YITH family. For example, you might need YITH’s plugins for enabling better integration with payment gateways, YITH WooCommerce Customize My Account Page for designing a better accounts section for your subscribers, and YITH WooCommerce Product Add-ons & Extra Options for selling add-ons with subscriptions.
- Subscribe and save setup logistics: Configuring a new WooCommerce subscription product is easy with YITH WooCommerce Subscription. But note that your product page can’t sell a product both as a one-time purchase and a subscription — you can only offer the subscription option. Also, while you can offer multiple subscription plans, you need to set your subscription options as product variations, so it isn’t so straightforward.
- Support for payment gateways: YITH offers a host of (premium) payment gateway plugins that integrate well with YITH WooCommerce Subscription. If you get these plugins, you can unlock better integration between your desired payment gateway and YITH WooCommerce Subscription.
- Subscription management tools for subscribers and shop managers: Both you and your subscribers can pause, resume/resubscribe, cancel, and edit subscriptions. You can also easily charge a sign-up fee to cover your subscription costs.
- Support for communications: YITH WooCommerce Subscription comes with email templates covering all the key subscription lifecycle events. However, you can’t intimate a user about an upcoming automatic payment renewal.
- Marketing tools: YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions lets you set up a free trial for your subscriptions; such free trials can boost conversions. You can also easily offer one-time, recurring, and special sign-up discount offers. Creating coupons is simple.
- Shipping and delivery logistics: You can set up customized delivery and shipping schedules and streamline your deliveries to happen on a set weekday or a specific day (even if the billing cycle starts on a different date).
YITH WooCommerce Subscription is available for $199.99/ year. This plugin also offers a lite free version.
SUMO Subscriptions: A simple WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative
SUMO Subscriptions by FantasticPlugins is a comprehensive solution for setting up WooCommerce subscription products.
While the plugin is good, you will run into some of the challenges WooCommerce Subscriptions comes with (being unable to add a subscribe option to all existing products at once, for instance). Although SUMO Subscriptions supports autoshipping physical goods, its feature set seems more ideal for virtual and downloadable products and for selling memberships. This use case will also need you to get the SUMO Memberships Plugin.
Another limitation would be that SUMO Subscriptions only works with PayPal and Stripe. Also, do read the plugin’s support policy before signing up.
- Subscribe and save setup logistics: Setting up a new subscription product is very straightforward. But if you want to offer a subscription upsell option right on your product page along with our regular buy now button (the way Amazon does), SUMO Subscriptions can’t support that. SUMO Subscription tends to work well for selling virtual products (such as membership plans).
- Support for payment gateways: SUMO Subscriptions supports PayPal and Stripe for. It supports both automatic and semi-automatic renewal billing with both these gateways.
- Subscription management tools for subscribers and shop managers: Both you and your subscribers can pause, cancel, resume, upgrade, and downgrade subscription plans. As the admin, you can even change the renewal date for a subscriber. You can also charge a signup fee to offset your subscription management costs.
- Support for communications: You get email templates for essential communications like manual and automatic subscription renewals, including payment reminder emails (required for manual recurring payment processing).
- Marketing tools: Setting up free and paid trials is simple. You can also offer one-time and recurring coupons/discounts. It’s also possible to set up coupons that a subscriber can only use for a fixed number of times during their subscription lifecycle. You can even customize coupons at the user level.
- Shipping and delivery logistics: You can choose to waive off recurring shipping fees for subscribers.
SUMO Subscriptions is available for $49; you get six months of support with this.
Subscriptio: A light-weight WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative
Subscriptio is yet another WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative that you can find on Codecanyon.
If you only want to set up basic subscriptions, especially for digital products, on your WooCommerce store, Subscriptio might be the WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative you need. Again, like WooCommerce Subscriptions, you might end up needing a host of plugins from the author for offering a good subscription experience and infrastructure.
The plugin is getting a complete overhaul in the upcoming 3.0 version, so do contact support to learn more. Also, review the plugin’s support policy.
- Subscribe and save setup logistics: Subscriptio lets you convert any simple or variable WooCommerce product — physical or digital — into a subscription. Charging a one-time subscription sign-up fee is rather straightforward.
- Support for payment gateways: Subscriptio supports two payment gateways: PayPal and Stripe. Subscriptio supports semi-automated and automatic recurring billing. In the first option, users authorize their subscription payment by clicking a Pay Now link from Subscriptio’s email, and with automated recurring billing, payments get charged automatically. However, you’ll need to implement some coding to enable automatic billing with Subscriptio.
- Subscription management tools for subscribers and shop managers: Both you and your subscribers can pause, resume, and cancel subscriptions. Edding shipping addresses is accessible too.
- Support for communications: Subscriptio comes with a few emails you can send to your subscribers, including emails reminding them of their payments — necessary, if you consider semi-automatic billing schedules.
- Marketing tools: You can easily offer free trials with Subscriptio. However, there’s no support for coupons or discounts. For these, you’d probably need WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing & Discounts (another plugin by the same author).
- Shipping and delivery logistics: You can charge a one-time shipping fee and disable it for recurring orders.
Subscriptio costs $69; you get six months of support with this.
Subscriptions for WooCommerce: A new and noteworthy WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative
Subscriptions for WooCommerce is one of the newest WooCommerce Subscriptions alternatives. While WebToffee’s Subscriptions for WooCommerce looks promising and offers many essentials a WooCommerce subscription setup needs, it doesn’t come across as a full-fledged subscription solution as of now.
- Subscribe and save setup logistics: There’s no way to add a subscription option to an existing WooCommerce product with Subscriptions for WooCommerce. You’ll have to set up a product as a new product to sell it as a subscription. If you’re hoping to offer an Amazon-like subscription upsell on your current product page along with its regular one-time buy option, that’s not possible.
- Support for payment gateways: The two payment gateways Subscriptions for WooCommerce supports are PayPal and Stripe.
- Subscription management tools for subscribers and shop managers: While pausing and canceling subscriptions are possible, resubscribing/resuming isn’t.
- Support for communications: Subscriptions for Woocommerce comes with a host of subscription-related event emails, including emails about successful renewals, expired subscriptions, and more.
- Marketing tools: You can easily set up fixed and percentage-wise (one-time and recurring) discounts with Subscriptions for WooCommerce. You can also offer free shipping. You can even set up a free trial period.
- Shipping and delivery logistics: You can synchronize the shipping dates of your scheduled orders, so a subscription will autoship on the 1st of the following month(s) even if a subscriber signs up on the 9th of the current month.
Subscriptions for WooCommerce plans start at $89.00/year.
Wrapping it up…
WooCommerce Subscriptions extension can be a complete WooCommerce subscription solution — but with the “RIGHT COMBINATION OF PLUGINS,” as a user stresses in his plugin review. That’s really the problem.
If you’re looking for a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative that brings everything you need to sell subscriptions on your WooCommerce store, right out of the box, go with Autoship Cloud. With Autoship Cloud, you can publish your first subscription product by the end of the day and even convert all your existing regular products into subscription products at once. Watch Autoship Cloud in action.
Sign up for Autosip Cloud’s free two-week trial now. With a few easy steps, you’ll be all set up to add subscriptions to your existing sales mix or pivot to a subscription business model. Plus, our very responsive support team is here to field your support requests. Check out Autoship Cloud.