The eCommerce arena has seen great acceleration during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has become the largest contributor to global retail sales in 2020. Owing to the sense of comfort that it provides, experts predict over a 70% domination of eCommerce sales in the total retail sales.

During such growth, as rational businessmen, we must identify the right eCommerce platform for their business. Deciding the right platform to host your eStore can make all the difference in the traffic.

Here’s where WooCommerce, the most prominent eCommerce platform, comes into play. Before deciding whether to hire a WooCommerce developer or not, let’s understand a few basics.

What Is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is one of the many WordPress plugins that allow you to convert your regular website into an eCommerce website. With just a few steps, your WordPress website turns into a fully-functional e-commerce store website. You can quickly get the plugin from the WordPress free Plugin Repository or right from your WordPress dashboard.

What Is A Subscription?

A subscription is a system where goods and services are sold periodically rather than individually. In simple words, the end-user must pay a recurring payment at regular intervals like monthly or yearly for access or get the product.

How Does Subscription Functionality Work With WooCommerce?

One-time purchases sure are great but converting those customers into recurring payments is rather challenging. But here’s where WooCommerce comes into play. Given the wide popularity of this eCommerce platform, hiring a WooCommerce developer can unlock great customization options and enable a unique website just for your brand. Now that’s Amazing — after all, automatic recurring revenue is the most popular nowadays.

With WooCommerce and WooCommerce Subscriptions plugins, you can easily create your subscription store using WordPress. What’s more, you can sell all kinds of products and goods:

Physical products — like a monthly or yearly subscription box where you deliver a new product (or products) each month.

Digital products – like ongoing access to your library of stock photos and books.

Services – like a monthly coaching and tuition fee that you charge clients.

In this blog, we’re not going to describe what to sell or who to sell it to. But we are going to show you exactly how to sell recurring subscriptions using the WooCommerce plugin.

Before you can start selling subscription products and services, you’ll need to have an essential working WooCommerce website; then, you must have the WooCommerce Subscription plugin installed on your website.

How To Set Up WooCommerce Subscriptions Plugin

Ready to start selling WooCommerce subscription products? Let’s get started.

For this WooCommerce Subscriptions tutorial blog, I’ll use an example of a physical monthly subscription product. I like food recipes, so let’s create a monthly subscription product where subscribers automatically get a new food recipes book each month.

Here’s an example of what the product page will look like for the subscription product:

Food Recipes Subscription

Note: The main thing is that we’ll assume in this blog is that you’ve already set up the WooCommerce plugin, completed the setup wizard, and purchased and installed the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin on your website.

1. Choose The Right Payment Gateway

WooCommerce offers lot’s of different payment gateways options, but not all of them:

  • Work with automatic recurring payment systems.
  • Support all the automatic recurring payments functionality.

What do I want to convey by “all the automatic recurring payments functionality”? Basically, there are lots of essential details that go into managing automatic recurring payments.

Can end-users or store administrators cancel a subscription from your WordPress online store (rather than the payment gateway’s websites)? Make sure your chosen gateway supports that functionality.

To see all of the supported and working payment gateways and which features they support, you can go to this reference doc page:

If you are confused, I would recommend using Stripe. Not only is it in demand, but it also supports all the different WooCommerce Subscriptions functionality.

If you didn’t set it up previously, you could go to Plugins → Add New → Search the WooCommerce stripe: after that, you need to install the plugin.

Stripe Payment Gateway


Once you have installed the plugin, you can go to WooCommerce → Settings → Payments to set up the primary gateway:


2. Configure WooCommerce Subscriptions Settings

Once you’ve selected a compatible payment gateway, you’re ready to set up the basic WooCommerce Subscriptions settings that how your subscription products function.

Below all the settings:

  • Can end-users choose whether or not their subscription automatically renews?
  • Can they renew early?
  • When do subscriptions renew?
  • Etc.

For change or access these settings, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Subscriptions:

Stripe Subscription

All of these settings are very important, so I would recommend reading through each setting carefully.

3. Create Products Subscription

Once you have configured all the subscription settings, you’re ready to create the actual subscription products that the customer will purchase.

It is a normal process that you have to follow when you create a standard product in WooCommerce — go to Products → Add New and add the necessary product details like:

  • Product name
  • Descriptions
  • Categories
  • Product images

Stripe Product

Once you have completed this, the magic happens in the Product data section. When you see the product type options, you’ll get two new options:

Simple Subscription: single subscription option — users get no choice for variation.

Variable Subscription: users can choose between different subscription options and also add the variations.

Simple Subscription

These function the same as regular WooCommerce Simple and Variable products; the only difference is that they use recurring subscription payments for the subscription products.

For this example, we would like the same Food recipes book for all users, so we’d use a Simple Subscription option. The same basic rules will apply to Variable Subscriptions. The only difference is that you will need to set up attributes/variants before confining the subscription settings for variable subscriptions.

For a simple subscription, you can configure everything about your subscription from the General tab in the product data section:

Subscription Price: Here, you can set the subscription costs and also set for renews. You can go anywhere from daily to yearly. If you charge a shipping fee, it will be added on top of this price count every month.

Expire After: whether it automatically expires after a set duration or the subscription just keeps renewing until the end-user cancels from my account section.

Sign-up Fee: you can charge a one-time full payment at the sign-up time for your product and services. On renewal, end-users will not pay because we have already collected the whole amount for the service.

Free Trial: you can offer a free trial subscription (this is probably more applicable for digital products or services) to your end-users.

Sale Price: you can offer a discounted price to your end-users and set it to run during specific times automatically.

Let’S Say Our Food Recipes Book:

  • Costs $12.50 per month
  • Never expires
  • Has no signup fee or trial period
  • It doesn’t have a sale price.

Here’s how you’d configure it:

Product Data


And that’s it! Here’s our Food recipes book on the front-end of the site.

Congratulations, you just did your first WooCommerce subscription product.

How WooCommerce Subscriptions Works For Shoppers

Ok, so you saw the awesome Food recipes book subscription product above.

Here’s how the entire subscription process works…

When end-users click the buy now button, it adds the subscription to their shopping cart.

Subscription Cart

On the checkout page, you will see an order summary; also, check how the initial renewal is actually on the first of the month.

Subscription Checkout

You can see that Alvin ( dummy user ) charged £12.50 right away for the current month’s subscription amount on the confirmation page. Next month automatically create a subscription order for the same.

Subscription Order

And then, if Alvin wants to cancel or adjust his subscription, he can do that from the My Subscriptions tab in the front-end My Account area:

Subscription Payment Gateway

How WooCommerce Subscriptions Works For Store Admins

On the WordPress Admin side, you can manage your subscriptions explored by WooCommerce → Subscriptions. There, you’ll see an all-subscription order of all your subscriptions, along with their status (e.g., active or canceled).

Store Admins

If you click on a specific subscription order, you’ll be able to manage it in much more detail. For example, you could extend the trial period or change the next payment date, etc.:

manage subscription

Useful links for subscription plugin:

For more information, please visit the WooCommerce site.

Wrapping Up

WooCommerce dominates the eCommerce market by powering over 28% of the total online stores. As things go back to the post-COVID condition, the eCommerce arena will become the new normal in the retail sales industry. When you hire a WooCommerce developer, you unlock a great deal of potential for your website. Your WordPress website is not merely an eStore but a haven to attract 2x traffic. Through this blog, we’ve seen how the subscription functionality works in WooCommerce. It is a helpful piece of information for newbie developers and DIY-ers.