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Managing successful online communities

4.5: Commerce Trials

One of the most popular requests we get for Commerce is for a free trial period for subscriptions. We've heard from many clients that wish to allow their members a free, or reduced cost trial period before auto-renewing the full price.

I'm pleased to say that we've now added this functionality into Invision Community 4.5. Let us take a look at how it works.

Initial Terms

In 4.5 you can now specify an initial term that is different to the normal renewal term for any subscription plan or product. For example, you could make the initial term $0 for 1 week and the normal renewal term $10 per month which will allow you to create 1 week free trial. The initial term doesn't have to be $0, you can use any special price for the initial term you like.

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 2.16.31 pm.png

Subscription Plans showing Free Trials

For developers creating their own applications with Commerce integration, this functionality is also available to you simply by passing a DateInterval object representing the initial term when creating the invoice.

Collecting Payment Details for Free Trials

Previously, if you were buying something that is free, the entire of the last step of the checkout would just be skipped and the invoice marked as paid.

In 4.5, if:

  • The user is purchasing something which has a free initial period, but also has a renewal term (i.e. is a free trial), and
  • You have a payment method which can collect card details (Stripe, Braintree, etc)

The user will be prompted to provide payment details that will not be charged until after the free trial. If the user already has a card on file they will not be prompted to provide the details again but will see a confirmation screen rather than the order just being marked paid immediately.

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 2.21.21 pm.png

Checkout Process for a Free Trial

As you can see, allowing a free or reduced cost trial period has never been easier. We hope that you enjoy using this new feature of Invision Community 4.5.



Recommended Comments

OMG, this is worth in gold. Can't wait for it to launch please. Thank you soooooo much guys.

Hope it includes following suggestions too:

Coupon code for subscriptions 

Discounts for subscriptions 

Changing annual/monthly with flick of button than displaying same subscription twice. Its neat, space saving and above all less confusing or paralyzing for buyers.

Make checkout super short just to grab credit card first and then display all the fields on next page to expedite checkout.

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Nice to see these improvements to subscriptions! Thank you. 

On a personal note...

Funding an IPS Community is certainly challenging when you can't do it as a hobby anymore. I've had no regular income since 2027 following redundancy due to austerity cutbacks. It's hard to keep justifying the expense when you can't pay your mortgage or food. So I invested in Commerce for subscriptions when they were relaunched in order to help save my main community site going after almost 2 decades, and unfortunately it was a huge financial mistake. I have just 2 subscribers, and one caused me no end of frustration in the process.

I've tried giving everyone access to the GIF feature for 6 weeks which is available with subscriptions, affordable prices and promotions but nobody wants to pay anything for the site they say they love. My community asked for t-shirts so I launched two fabulous Spreadshirt stores, and got just 3 orders since October. My members have no interest in starting Clubs, a feature of paid subscriptions.

So I'm hoping this free trials feature might encourage members a little but honestly I'm getting close to the point where I don't want to visit my own community and instead of having the choice of bronze, silver 3 month and gold 12 month packages, I now have just the $5 monthly bronze package available in case I have to pull the plug, and they still won't subscribe!

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@The Old Man please share here or in PM your community URL and Im happy to help you suggest many ideas from my experience.

Long story short, your community should have

  • Valuable and/or entertaining/engaging content
  • Above content should be locked for paid user after a free preview.
  • Above content shouldn't be freely available with other sites and communities.

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Hello, are there any settings in place to stop abuse of the free trial period?

Can I limit a member account to only 1 free trial period in their lifetime? Otherwise they could just cancel each month and be getting an extra week with each trial (or extra 30 days if that is what the trial period is)

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I wish there will be not only credit card. Something like this:

  • Acquire a free trial version
  • Collect the data for future invoice
  • Invoice is automatically generated when free trial is over
  • The customer is free to pay or abandon

Is it possible with the feature?

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