About Subscription Management

If you are using X-Payments Cloud to process payments in your X-Cart store and have a payment configuration based on a payment gateway integration with support for tokenization, you can sell products and services with recurring payments. This feature is called Subscription Management, and it can be enabled in the "Store Settings" section of your X-Payments Cloud Connector add-on settings.

Enabled Subscription Management adds a new type of products in X-Cart that is called subscription products. A subscription product is a product model that enables a customer to pay to have access to a product or service as a subscription and get billed on a recurring schedule.

For example, if you are selling beauty products, you can provide your customers with an opportunity to purchase a beauty box subscription and have a box of beauty products delivered to their door every month. In this case, you will need to configure a subscription product "Monthly Beauty Box" (or similar) and publish it in your store catalog. The product will have a set of subscription related properties defining how often to bill a customer who purchases the subscription, in what amount and for how long, whether there should be a subscription setup fee, a free trial period, etc. A store visitor will be able to add this product to their shopping cart separately or along with other products. During checkout, a subscription will be set up automatically that will allow X-Payments to bill the customer according to the subscription settings you have specified for the product. For a more detailed explanation, see the section Subscription Example further in this article.

Subscription Management Activation

To enable Subscription Management:

  1. In your X-Cart store Admin area, navigate to the X-Payments Cloud Settings page.

    Use one of the following methods:

    • Method 1. Go to your X-Cart store’s Payment Methods page (Store Setup > Payment Methods), locate the "X-Payments Cloud" payment method and choose to configure it.

    • Method 2. Go to My Apps, find the installed X-Payments Cloud Connector add-on, and choose to view/edit its settings.

  2. If the page opens at the Store Settings tab, great: that is just the section we need. If not, use the Store Settings tab at the top of the page to access the respective section.

  3. Activate the setting Enable Subscription Management.

  4. Click Submit at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

This enables Subscription Management and enables your store to sell subscription products.

General Settings for Subscriptions

Please note that there are some general settings for Subscription Management in X-Payments Cloud General Settings (in the section "Subscriptions"). Be sure to check and adjust them.

Managing Subscription Products

Once you enable Subscription Management, the product details page in your X-Cart store gets an additional tab: Subscription Plan.

By default, the Subscription Plan section that you can access via this tab provides an only setting - "This is subscription product". This setting enables you to specify whether the product is a subscription one or not.

After enabling Subscription Management, you will need to check and adjust this setting for each new product you create. For any product that you are going to sell as a subscription this will need to be set as "This is subscription product = YES".

Please note that simply enabling Subscription Management does not change the product type of any existing products in your store, which means that if you have any regular, non-subscripion products in the store catalog they remain that way. If you want to change the product type of an existing product so it becomes a subscription product, you will need to visit the Subscription Plan section of their product details and reset the product type property "This is subscription product" to YES.

For each subscription product, you will also need to specify the details of its subscription plan (the subscription schedule, duration, etc.). After readjusting the position of the "This is subscription product" switch to YES, you will be provided access to more settings on the same page. Use these settings to configure the product's subscription plan. See the section Configuring a Product's Subscription Plan below for details.

Generally, the management of subscription products is not much different from managing other types of products. They can be edited, deleted, cloned, exported, imported, etc.

For your convenience, in X-Cart stores using the X-Payments Cloud Connector add-on the product filtering facility in the Products section provides a setting that enables you to filter and find products based on whether they are subscription products or not. To access your filter settings in the Products section, click on the down arrow tab of the product search/filter bar at the top of your product list.

The setting for subscription search is named "Display subscription products", and it allows you to select the search option you require:

  • Any products,

  • Only products with a subscription plan,

  • Only products without a subscription plan.

Configuring a Product's Subscription Plan

To configure a subscription plan for a product, you need to adjust the following settings on the Subscription Plan tab of the product details:

  • This is subscription product: Needs to be enabled (set to YES).

  • Has trial period: Enable this setting if you want to add a free trial period at the beginning of the product subscription. If you do, you will be provided with an additional setting right below this one where you will need to specify the trial period duration you require: Trial period (Days, Weeks, Months, Years).

    The trial period specified here is added to any length you set for the subscription. For example, if you create a subscription of $25 per month for one year with a 1-month free trial period, the buyer will not be billed for the first month of the subscription. If the buyer does not cancel the subscription after one month, from the second month onwards they will be billed $25 monthly. The subscription will expire after 13 months (One month trial period + 12 months of paid subscription).

  • Setup fee: (Can be set only for subscriptions without a free trial period) Specify a sign-up fee for the subscription. The fee will be applied only once when a buyer buys the subscription product. The initial fee (the product's selling price) will be calculated as the total of Setup fee + Subscription fee (a "Subscription fee" is price per period; a detailed explanation of the "Subscription fee" setting is available further below).

    Example: Your subscription has no free trial period and has a Setup fee of $10; the Subscription fee is set at $5/month. In this case, the initial payment will be $10 + $5 = $15 for the first month; all the subsequent recurring payments (starting from the second month and for the entire subscription duration) will be $10.

    Billing your customers a setup fee is optional. If you do not intend to use a setup fee for the product subscription, adjust this setting to "0" (zero); in this case, the product's selling price will equal the Subscription fee.

  • Subscription fee: Specify the amount that a buyer of the subscription product will need to pay on a recurring schedule for each subscription period specified by the "Plan" setting below.

    If necessary, the "Subscription fee" setting can be adjusted to "0" (zero); in this case a buyer will not have to make any recurring subscription payments.

    Note that subscriptions with a zero Subscription fee can still be configured to have a non-zero Setup fee.

  • Plan: Specify the payment schedule / billing frequency you require for the subscription product. To configure this setting, start by selecting either "Each" or "Every".

    With "Each" you will be able to configure values like the following:

    • Each 1st [2nd, 3rd... 7th] day of Week,

    • Each 1st [2nd, 3rd... 31st] day of Month,

    • Each 1st [2nd, 3rd... 366th] day of Year.

    If it is more convenient to you, you may choose to enable the Count days from the end setting. For example, if your Plan is configured as "Each 3rd day of Week" and the setting "Count days from the end" is enabled, your customers will be billed for the subscription every Thursday - provided that your store is operating in a location where Sunday is considered to be the start of the week. The days are counted as follows: Saturday (1st day from the end of the week), Friday (2nd day from the end of the week), Thursday (3rd day from the end of the week).

    With "Every" you will be able to set the frequency in terms of:

    • Every N Days / Weeks / Months / Years.

      For example:

      "Every 1 Days" = Daily,

      "Every 1 Weeks" = Weekly,

      "Every 1 Months" = Monthly,

      "Every 1 Years" = Annually,

      "Every 2 Years" = Once every two years, etc.

    You can adjust the billing frequency using whichever method is more convenient to you. For example, "Every 7 Days" is the same as "Every 1 Weeks" and means Weekly, so these are totally interchangeable.

  • Re-bill periods: The length of subscription (the number of periods for which the customer will be billed). For subscriptions that are supposed to continue infinitely, this needs to be set to "0" (zero). Non-zero values can be used to set a finite subscription length like when you split the product's selling price to allow your customers to pay in installments. For example, you are selling a product priced at $60. You want to allow buyers not to pay you $60 up front, but to pay you $10 six times over a period of 6 months. In this case you can use the following settings:

    • Subscription fee = $10,

    • Plan = "Every 1 Month",

    • Re-bill periods = 6.

  • Calculate shipping for recurring orders: Enable this option if the subscription product is tangible and requires shipping. This will allow shipping fees to be added to subscription orders in each period. For detailed information on how to set up shipping calculation for products in an X-Cart store, see the articles in the section on Shipping.

Managing Subscriptions

All your customers' subscriptions can be found in the X-Payments Subscriptions section of your X-Cart store's Admin area (Orders > Subscriptions List).

In this section you can view all the subscriptions as a list as well as access some tools for subscription management. For example, it is possible to view and adjust the subscription status (Active / Not started / Stopped / Restarted / Failed / Finished), choose a different customer shipping address, or choose a different customer payment card.

Subscription Example

For example, we want to set up a subscription product that will allow buyers to have a box of beauty product samples delivered to their door every month.

In our X-Cart store's admin area, we create a new product - "Monthly Beauty Box".

After specifying and saving the basic product details (such as the product name, SKU, images, etc. - all that goes on the Info tab of a product details page), we switch to the Subscription Plan tab. There we set the product's subscription related properties. For example, we need the price of one box to be set at $24.00, and we want our subscribing customers to be able to get one box every month. We also want to add a setup fee of $5.00 (it will be charged only once per subscription). So we configure the subscription plan settings as follows:

  • This is subscription product = YES;

  • Has trial period = NO;

  • Setup fee = $5;

  • Subscription fee = $24;

  • Plan = "Every" + 1 + "Months" (Monthly);

  • Re-bill periods = 0 (Infinite subscription);

  • Calculate shipping for recurring orders = YES (Yes, shipping cost needs to be calculated for each product delivery).

We do not want to limit the number of customers that can purchase the subscription, so we go back to the Inventory Tracking tab of the product details (or the Info tab - the setting is available in both places) and make sure the inventory tracking feature is disabled for the product.

Since each beauty box is a tangible object of certain physical dimensions and weight, we also revisit the Info tab to configure the Shipping settings for the product.

This will enable the calculation of shipping cost for each beauty box being sent out on this subscription according to our Store Setup > Shipping settings.

The resulting product page on the storefront will be as follows:

When someone chooses to purchase this product, all the relevant information about the subscription order will be provided to them on the shopping cart page and during checkout, including:

  • the setup fee ($5.00, one-time payment);

  • the subscription fee ($24 per monthly beauty box);

  • the information on how often the customer's payment card will be billed (Monthly);

  • the expected start date of the subscription period;

  • the subtotal amount and any discounts applied to the order (on the screenshot below, no discounts have been applied);

  • the expected shipping cost for the order shipment - as calculated based on the shipping method chosen and customer address provided;

  • the order total amount.

Cart page:

Checkout (Payment):

The customer will be able to pay for the order using a new payment card or a payment card stored in their customer profile.

The order invoice will also provide all the relevant details.

At the time of payment for the first subscription order, the process of tokenization will be involved to link the payment card that was used by the customer to the current subscription; this will enable X-Payments Cloud to initiate further billings of the same card on the current subscription - in full compliance with PCI DSS requirements.

After one month, when the time comes for the following subscription payment, the customer's payment card associated with the subscription will be billed again, and another order will be generated automatically (this time without the setup fee, as setup fee is charged only once).

The same will happen for each subsequent payment period throughout the subscription duration.

Every time the customer's card is billed, an order invoice will be created, which the customer will be able to access as usual via the Orders section of their account details.

The customer will be able to view their subscriptions as a list in the My Subscriptions section of their account details.

This section provides the customer with the essential information about their subscriptions and with the tools to manage them. For example, the customer can change the payment card they are using for subscription payments or stop a subscription.

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