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Include FREE Subscription without Subscribing


AlexWebsites
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Would be great if there was a way to offer a FREE/No Charge subscription option and have an option to not create an actual subscription, but move into a certain user group only. This way you can present this option alongside your paid subscriptions, to show a menu of subscription options, but not hold a subscription for each and every non-paid member.

I know products is more robust, but subscriptions and the way they are presented to members, tracked in ACP, and accessed by registered members, is so much better than using products for subscriptions.

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The logic sounds weird. Moving from “regular member” to “free subscription member”. But I do like the idea of having a default subscription, which every regular member gets. That’s how many commercial services work. You are in the “free plan” when you sign up, not in “no plan” and all plans (including free) can be shown together. 

Edited by opentype
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1 minute ago, opentype said:

The logic sounds weird. Moving from “regular member” to “free subscription member”. But I do like the idea of having a default subscription, which every regular member gets. That’s how many commercial services work. You are in the “free plan” when you sign up, not in “no plan” and all plans (including free) can be shown together. 

That's the point actually. I would not want to move any regular member to anything, just want to present a free option upon registration alongside paid options.

Right now, the only way to accomplish this is to create an actual $0.00 subscription plan. So if you don't create that free plan and force the subscription, you can't show a $0.00 option on the /subscription page or show the page during the registration process.

The way I see it, User 1 sees a FREE option block on the subscriptions page alongside your paid subscription options. User 1 clicks to join or subscribe to the free option and the system proceeds with normal registration (no actual subscription, since there is no monetary value) and moves to regular member group or whatever you designate as default. (Doesn't have to be called "FREE Group" and because no subscription is created, the user gets no badges and isn't actually a paid subscriber)

User 2 decides to go for a paid option, clicks and goes through the process and checks out. The system creates a subscription and moves into assigned group for additional features and benefits.

If I have a community of 10k members and purchase commerce to now have free and paid memberships, I really prefer not to create 10k free subscriptions...just to show a free option on the subscription page and show that page during the registration process.😀

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14 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

That's how I run... with a base subscription for regular members and then upgrades from there. 

I noticed you have a subscriptions page setup with a zero value/free subscription, but you don't show the page during registration. To do that you would have to enable the force setting:

image.thumb.png.b39d4ee3c2c2c70cfa47e879d1f2039e.png

 

So you must have members that use the quick registration and don't go into a subscription and then also some that sign up after they register to your $0.00 subscription? Is that correct? 

What differentiates a regular signup on your site that is free and that $0.00 subscription plan? This is kinda my point with this topic...

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4 hours ago, AlexWebsites said:

I noticed you have a subscriptions page setup with a zero value/free subscription, but you don't show the page during registration. To do that you would have to enable the force setting:

image.thumb.png.b39d4ee3c2c2c70cfa47e879d1f2039e.png

 

So you must have members that use the quick registration and don't go into a subscription and then also some that sign up after they register to your $0.00 subscription? Is that correct? 

What differentiates a regular signup on your site that is free and that $0.00 subscription plan? This is kinda my point with this topic...

I used to force a subscription, but I felt that it was deterring people from signing up. There is no difference in the plan.

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I put a feature request in about this last year 

I moved from products to subscriptions and my subscriptions halved, due to the free subsription I've setup requiring you to go through cart pages. There really needs to be a way to have a free subscription which bypasses the cart pages.

I only use the subscription option over the products as the appearance is much better.

 

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15 hours ago, CheersnGears said:

I used to force a subscription, but I felt that it was deterring people from signing up. There is no difference in the plan.

Thanks for sharing that and exactly why we need something like this.

9 hours ago, asigno said:

I put a feature request in about this last year 

I moved from products to subscriptions and my subscriptions halved, due to the free subsription I've setup requiring you to go through cart pages. There really needs to be a way to have a free subscription which bypasses the cart pages.

I only use the subscription option over the products as the appearance is much better.

 

I agree the appearance is much better and I like that there is a subscriptions link near user settings rather than going to manage purchases with products and all of that. 

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1 minute ago, asigno said:

There were so many subscription recommendations made for 4.3, shame they haven't been able to be put in 4.4. Does anyone know if there are any changes to subscriptions on the roadmap?

All changes for 4.4 have already been identified.  

Start praying for 4.5.  

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I basically did this via member groups.   My members post on the site with a basic set of posting settings.   Supporting Members have enhanced posting settings along with other some other perks via plugins or apps for an annual fee/donation via subscriptions.   

A few members I then manually change their member group to a "Supporting Member"  as they may support the site in other means vs financially.    These members are not managed via subscriptions but can be via member groups.

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As @InsideEdge and other mentioned... I don't understand the need to have a $0.00 Subscription?  What does that accomplish that what a regular, non-subscriber member gets?

We have about 10% premier members.  They can buy at any time or at the time of sign up.

Then, there are a few members that get free and I either do it via coupon if it is a one time thing, or manually adding the product and marking it paid.  Alternative is, if made premium permanently, then I just change their usergroup to that membership and that is it.

Otherwise... to go with a $0.00 subscription you would then have at least 3 usergroups...

1. Regular member

2. Non-Paying Subscription $0.00

and 3. Paying member

How is 1 and 2 different and what does it accomplish?

This is a solution in search of a problem.

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16 minutes ago, Maksim said:

As @InsideEdge and other mentioned... I don't understand the need to have a $0.00 Subscription?  What does that accomplish that what a regular, non-subscriber member gets?

We have about 10% premier members.  They can buy at any time or at the time of sign up.

Then, there are a few members that get free and I either do it via coupon if it is a one time thing, or manually adding the product and marking it paid.  Alternative is, if made premium permanently, then I just change their usergroup to that membership and that is it.

Otherwise... to go with a $0.00 subscription you would then have at least 3 usergroups...

1. Regular member

2. Non-Paying Subscription $0.00

and 3. Paying member

How is 1 and 2 different and what does it accomplish?

This is a solution in search of a problem.

You just validated what this topic is about. 1 and 2 are exactly the same, so why would you need to create a subscription, EXACTLY. BUT...if you don't, you can't....

1. Present it during registration with your paid options (so you miss out on maybe capturing a paid subscription)

2. Present a free option on the subscriptions page alongside your paid memberships.

Question though, how do your members buy at time of signup like you mentioned? How do you present the /subscriptions page during registration without forcing a purchase in ACP?

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22 minutes ago, Maksim said:

As @InsideEdge and other mentioned... I don't understand the need to have a $0.00 Subscription?  What does that accomplish that what a regular, non-subscriber member gets?

I'll give you my example, I want ALL new users to see a membership join page. This page details the membership options for joining. Using the subsciptions page you would need to set a free subscription for users as there is no way to bypass the subscription choice page like what you can do when using the product subscription. 

So I need to have a free option, e.g free, standard ($), premium ($$). 

The problem is the free option goes through the cart pages and users have to enter their address details, this whole step should be bypassable as has impact on userabilty.

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4 minutes ago, AlexWebsites said:

You just validated what this topic is about. 1 and 2 are exactly the same, so why would you need to create a subscription, EXACTLY. BUT...if you don't, you can't....

1. Present it during registration with your paid options (so you miss out on maybe capturing a paid subscription)

2. Present a free option on the subscriptions page alongside your paid memberships.

Question though, how do your members buy at time of signup like you mentioned? How do you present the /subscriptions page during registration without forcing a purchase in ACP?

 

1 minute ago, asigno said:

I'll give you my example, I want ALL new users to see a membership join page. This page details the membership options for joining. Using the subsciptions page you would need to set a free subscription for users as there is no way to bypass the subscription choice page like what you can do when using the product subscription. 

So I need to have a free option, e.g free, standard ($), premium ($$). 

The problem is the free option goes through the cart pages and users have to enter their address details, this whole step should be bypassable as has impact on userabilty.

Ok... so seems like an issue with the free "subscriptions"?

Solution is easy... why use the half feature one and just do what you were always able to... Subscription/Products.

And you show the "products" on signup.  Customer has the option not to buy them and is a regular member.

 

image.thumb.png.02acb421d1dd0bf1f11d8e537926c42a.png

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4 minutes ago, Maksim said:

Solution is easy... why use the half feature one and just do what you were always able to... Subscription/Products.

Most importantly for me it looks awful in comparison to the subscription module, and secondly it's very clunky to use essentially store pages to sell a digital subscription.

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Just now, Maksim said:

 

Ok... so seems like an issue with the free "subscriptions"?

Solution is easy... why use the half feature one and just do what you were always able to... Subscription/Products.

And you show the "products" on signup.  Customer has the option not to buy them and is a regular member.

 

I do use products as subscriptions on one of my IPS sites but the new subscriptions is much much cleaner and simpler with the way subscriptions are presented to the user and in ACP. Its just much better if you don't need all those product features and running it through manage purchases, the store, etc. You have a manage subscriptions link right above your user settings and within the panel...and then a much much nicer block page for /subscriptions vs separate product pages for every product you use as a subscription. 

image.png.bc2d1adc9580bfb1b3cf0415aaca9677.png

 

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1 minute ago, AlexWebsites said:

I do use products as subscriptions on one of my IPS sites but the new subscriptions is much much cleaner and simpler with the way subscriptions are presented to the user and in ACP. Its just much better if you don't need all those product features and running it through manage purchases, the store, etc. You have a manage subscriptions link right above your user settings and within the panel...and then a much much nicer block page for /subscriptions vs separate product pages for every product you use as a subscription. 

image.png.bc2d1adc9580bfb1b3cf0415aaca9677.png

 

Cool.

So I would be pushing IPS to make it that easy to run Products as subscriptions. 😃

As far as making it easy to find them... I just run the subscriptions/products in one category, and have a link from the menu and sidebars directly to that category. 

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Here's an example of the subscriptions page, still needs work but you'll see the difference.

image.thumb.png.d1cc8be3a7298cb7e0be16f9cdee6cd7.png

7 minutes ago, Maksim said:

So I would be pushing IPS to make it that easy to run Products as subscriptions.

No, because the subscriptions functionality is purpose built for subscriptions and is fully integrated with the users' membership option. Using products to sell digital member subscription is a hacked way of doing it, which is why it is very clunky (having to add to a cart, reviewing and checking out, order review, being able to zoom in to view product etc none of this is needed for essentially a membership option which should be streamlined as part of the sign up process), and I assume why IPB created a new subscription module. 

The ideal is to improve the subcription module from the current MVP it is.

Edited by asigno
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1 hour ago, asigno said:

Here's an example of the subscriptions page, still needs work but you'll see the difference.

image.thumb.png.d1cc8be3a7298cb7e0be16f9cdee6cd7.png

No, because the subscriptions functionality is purpose built for subscriptions and is fully integrated with the users' membership option. Using products to sell digital member subscription is a hacked way of doing it, which is why it is very clunky (having to add to a cart, reviewing and checking out, order review, being able to zoom in to view product etc none of this is needed for essentially a membership option which should be streamlined as part of the sign up process), and I assume why IPB created a new subscription module. 

The ideal is to improve the subcription module from the current MVP it is.

Looks good,

You are right in that Nexus/Commerce is not great for subscriptions but that is how it was for years after IP killed the old subscriptions.

Going through products, right now is the best way at least for micro managing it, i.e. who can buy, discounts, etc.  (which we fairly often use), especially for vendors and other services like directory listings, etc.

Should there be a subscriptions focus inside commerce?  Absolutely..., but I suppose like Clubs, when launched still needed a ton of enhancements to make it usable... just to get to the same level as what regular Product/Commerce provides.

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I would also add... Subscriptions would need A LOT more work vs Products as would need to be added...

1. Discount options for certain groups.

2. Ability to purchase more than one, have people buying more to support the site above and beyond, or Premium + vendor.

3. Different payment gateways for various subscriptions.  We use paypal + stripe.  Depending on costs and then some we require a payment agreement (monthly) others we do not.  Do not see it possible right now.

Most of all, changing over from the hundreds of people already on a subscription to move over to new system.  For a new site, absolutely see it, but much like moving from old subscriptions to Nexus was a MAJOR pain in the ass and lost revenue,  I see the same issues now moving from Nexus/Commerce/Products to less customized subscriptions.

This is why would be a huge fan of marking existing products as subscriptions, and providing the selection screen, etc... 

I can just see major headaches going from just one system to two... Commerce + subscriptions, especially for a community that sells other items. .. but would love to make it easier for users to compare the different subscription options.

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24 minutes ago, Maksim said:

Most of all, changing over from the hundreds of people already on a subscription to move over to new system.  For a new site, absolutely see it, but much like moving from old subscriptions to Nexus was a MAJOR pain in the ass and lost revenue,  I see the same issues now moving from Nexus/Commerce/Products to less customized subscriptions.

This is why would be a huge fan of marking existing products as subscriptions, and providing the selection screen, etc... 

I can just see major headaches going from just one system to two... Commerce + subscriptions, especially for a community that sells other items. .. but would love to make it easier for users to compare the different subscription options.

You can create subscriptions and import your members who are in products currently, into them from what I understand. I'm looking to do this on one site I am using products as subscriptions currently.

The main purpose of this topic and the suggestion is to be able to offer your regular free/no charge membership alongside paid subscriptions without creating an actual subscription for every single member that is only interested in a free membership. I am using products as subscriptions and have thousands of "free" members who checked out and are invoiced with a free product used as a subscription. Not ideal scenario, why invoice or track something that's free?

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5 hours ago, AlexWebsites said:

You can create subscriptions and import your members who are in products currently, into them from what I understand. I'm looking to do this on one site I am using products as subscriptions currently.

The main purpose of this topic and the suggestion is to be able to offer your regular free/no charge membership alongside paid subscriptions without creating an actual subscription for every single member that is only interested in a free membership. I am using products as subscriptions and have thousands of "free" members who checked out and are invoiced with a free product used as a subscription. Not ideal scenario, why invoice or track something that's free?

correct me if I am wrong, but this is ONLY an issue IF you "Force Subscription" at signup.

In essence you are merely asking for "Show Subscriptions on Registration."  Just like Products are available. 

Edited by Maksim
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3 hours ago, Maksim said:

correct me if I am wrong, but this is ONLY an issue IF you "Force Subscription" at signup.

In essence you are merely asking for "Show Subscriptions on Registration."  Just like Products are available. 

Yes and have a block for a free membership alongside paid subscriptions on the /subscriptions page but that block only continues to normal registration and doesn’t create an actual subscription/subscriber. If you don’t show this as an option, users may think you ONLY have paid options. I would settle for at least a text line that states “continue with a Free membership” or something like that below the boxes.

Look at @asigno image he shared of his /subscriptions page. To get that “free” block to show, he had to create a subscription plan for it. 

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