New Customer Subscription Questions

tjkombotjkombo Member
in General edited June 2009
I have a few questions here. Some of them I THINK I found the answer too on the forum, but since I'm new to foxycart I was confused by some of the lingo.

1. Can I do a 30 day or 60 day trial before a user gets charged their monthly fees?

2. When I upgrade packages (ie 29 to $39) will the people that subscribed at 29 still continue to pay that price as long as their subscription continues?

3. When switching between packages for users, how does that affect billing? If their cycle for this month just started and they upgrade, does it apply their original package amount towards the new package?

4. What happens when a user cancels their subscription? Does it allow them access for the remainder of the period they paid for?

5. When a user signs up, cancels, or changes packages how is this sent to our system so our system knows what level of access or access at all to provide? When a new user signs up is it instant?

I know these may be common questions and I had some other questions I found answers too, but I'm trying to make a quick decision on who to use.

Thanks,

Matt
Comments
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Hi Matt.
    Welcome to FoxyCart! We'll try to help with your questions.

    1. Yes, check out the sub_startdate parameter:
    http://wiki.foxycart.com/getting_started:adding_links_and_forms

    2. Yes. You'd have to modify them manually to update the price for a subscription.

    3. "Packages" is perhaps the thing that needs to be clarified. FoxyCart doesn't have any concept of "products" or "packages" on your end. If you send a transaction through with a $29 monthly subscription, that's what it is. You can change it later, or allow your customers to update it themselves, but FoxyCart doesn't have predefined "packages" or "products" that you configure on the FoxyCart side of things.

    4. That's up to you, actually. FoxyCart doesn't control your users or your user access on your end, so how you choose to provide or restrict access is up to you. You get the transaction details in the XML datafeed, and the subscription cancellation notices in the subscription XML datafeed:
    http://wiki.foxycart.com/docs:datafeed
    http://wiki.foxycart.com/docs:subscription_datafeed

    What you do with those is up to you. Make sense?

    5. Yes, through the datafeeds. With v051 the main datafeed is instant. The subscription datafeed runs once a day, though.

    They're actually not as common as you might think, mostly because FoxyCart is just starting to be adopted more for the recurring billing power. It's very flexible, but that flexibility also makes it so some things are up to you to program.

    Does that all help?
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Hey Matt.

    I'm not sure I can answer all your questions, but I'll give it a shot.

    1) Sure, you'd just have to build the part that creates the "add to cart" links to dynamically set a sub_startdate in the future: http://wiki.foxycart.com/getting_started:adding_links_and_forms#subscription_attributes

    2) You reference "packages" in your post a few times and without really understanding what you mean by this, it's a little difficult to answer. Basically subscriptions are recurring purchases. If you want to change what the user is purchasing, they will either have to cancel their subscription and start a new one, or use the sub_token to modify their subscription. This would generally involve them adding a new product and removing the old one, while still keeping the same subscription information.

    3) That's related to how you develop #2. This may not be clear, but FoxyCart just handles the cart part of the process. You or your development team will build the user interface for interacting with the cart and managing subscriptions. If someone wanted to modify their subscription, you'd have to have a way of knowing who they are on your site (i.e. have them logged in) and have their sub_token stored so they can load up their subscription in their cart. Then they would have to add the new product and remove the old one and checkout with a modified subscription. If the next payment date was in the future, they would not be billed again until that date. If the upgrade process (in your case) gives them a product of more value, you may want to also include a non-subscription product that would be charged right then to cover the difference between the two packages. Hope that makes sense.

    4) They is completely determined by your site. We have a subscription datafeed (http://wiki.foxycart.com/docs:subscription_datafeed) that runs once a day to let you know of cancellations (along with some other useful info like payment cards soon to expire). Given that information, you can then adjust your site access accordingly based on your own business model. One way you could set things up would be to bump a date forward after each payment and if the payment doesn't come through then that date will expire them out of the system.

    5) See #4. And yes, with our latest version (v051) the datafeed is instant. When the transaction takes place, the XML of the order will be encrypted and sent to your server for processing.

    Hope that helps. In the future we plan on developing a subscription API so that some of the concepts mentioned here could be handled directly by you behind the scenes without having to load up a cart and checkout.

    Good luck with your decision. I hope you get served well either way.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Well, Luke and I cross-posted, but now you have double the answers ;)
  • Thanks!

    I think you guys answered it all. I didn't mean to confuse with word packages. That is just an internal term for how our product will be sold. So for instance a subscription that is $9 or $26

    I have two other questions. I notice when I log in there is a way to see subscriptions. Do I have any control over all the people I have subscribing right there on the backend? If something goes wrong am I able to make changes?

    My other question is in regard to the cart itself. I won't necessarily need a cart. I just need when they click for it to take them directly to payment, especially since they can only get one product. Is there a way to leave the cart itself out and just take them through quick payment?

    Thanks,

    Matt
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Changing subscriptions: Yes, using "unified order entry" (aka "super password"), described on the wiki.

    Direct to checkout: Definitely. Check the "cart=checkout" parameter here:
    http://wiki.foxycart.com/getting_started:adding_links_and_forms
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