The Complete Guide to Creating a Subscription Service

July 27, 2022

Subscription services offer an easy way for creators to monetize their work and earn passive, recurring revenue. This offering is ideal for software services, membership services, online course collections, coaching services, consulting businesses, and more. SamCart’s e-commerce platform makes it easy to build and customize a subscription service in 4 simple steps.

How Does Subscription-Based Pricing Work?

So how does a subscription service work? Rather than making a single payment in exchange for a product or service, customers will make recurring payments—often to access a higher volume of content at a lower rate than the upfront purchase price. There are a few different types of subscription models available:

  • Unlimited Subscription: Perhaps the most common subscription form, unlimited subscriptions let customers sign up for a recurring service that continues to renew until the customer cancels.
  • Limited Subscriptions: Often used to create payment plans, limited subscriptions charge recurring payments for a limited amount of time.
  • Free Trials: You can offer a free trial to boost buying confidence by letting interested customers try your subscription for free. Why offer a free trial? Researchers at the University of Washington tested the effectiveness of these promotions. Their study found that 7-day free trials boost customer retention by 6.4% and increase a subscription’s revenue return by 7.91%.
  • Paid Trials: Perhaps you want to give your customers a way to try your services and a discounted rate? A paid trial is the solution you are looking for! The paid trial feature can also work in reverse—letting you set a higher upfront cost before unlocking a lower subscription price. Higher upfront trial fees are often used by businesses to offset set-up costs and onboarding labor.

SamCart supports all of these subscription models to help online sellers create their ideal subscription service. Read on for our 4-step guide to creating a recurring subscription service—with or without a trial. Or, watch below as SamCart Co-Founder, Scott Moran, builds a mock membership subscription for an online course business in the guitar training industry.

Subscription Step 1: Add a New Product

Under the Products tab in your SamCart Account, click the + New Product button. You can follow the on-screen guidance to fill out the form with your product name and description.

Subscription Step 2: Recurring Pricing

In the Pricing Type drop-down menu, click “Recurring.” Then, set the parameters of your subscription:

  • Subscription Price: Enter the default price of your subscription or membership service.
  • Recurring Period: You can set the subscription to renew weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. This period reflects how frequently customers are charged.

Subscription Step 3: Optional Trial Period

If you decide not to offer a subscription trial, simply leave the Trial Period toggle off. However, if you choose to include a trial, you will have two options:

  • Free Trial: Switch the Trial Period toggle on and select Free Trial to give your customers free access to your subscription. You can then select how long customers can access this trial membership before their first payment is processed.
  • Paid Trial: Switch the Trial Period toggle on and select Paid Trial to include an upfront trial subscription charge. Then, enter your initial price and how long you would like this trial period to last.

Subscription Step 4: Create Product

Once you finalize your subscription details, click Create Product. This button will bring you to the SamCart product dashboard, where you can build your sales page, refine your product details, select your preferred payment methods, and start selling your subscription.

How Do I Manage My Customer Subscriptions?

SamCart automatically generates a portal where customers can easily manage their membership. However, SamCart still puts you in the driver’s seat of your business by allowing you to customize which subscription features you extend to the customer.

  • Self-Cancellation Feature: You can enable the self-cancellation feature if you want to allow customers to end their subscriptions at any time. This feature will save you from doing the groundwork when a customer wants to cancel or edit their subscriptions.
  • Subscription Saver: What happens when customers fail to update their payment information? SamCart’s Subscription Saver can help! Included in Scale and Enterprise Samcart memberships, this feature will automatically get to work in notifying and recovering customers whose subscription charges are declined by their payment source. The Subscription Saver can help you avoid losing subscribers (and revenue) while sparing you the hassle of sending frantic emails to customers.
  • Subscription Charge Reminder: You can choose whether or not to remind subscribers of upcoming membership renewals with SamCart’s Subscription Charge Reminder.

Create Your Own Subscription Service with SamCart

SamCart’s e-commerce platform helps online sellers create and manage subscription services. You can use SamCart to sell digital products, physical products, subscriptions, memberships, services, online courses, and more. We invite you to get started with a free trial today!

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