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Subscriptions with coupon

EricEric Member
in Bugs & Feature Requests edited January 2009
Subscriptions are recurring transactions. We need monthly recurring transactions that represent a membership fee. When a customer signs up for the first time, a coupon is applied to get a free month as a bonus. After that, the regular monthly fee is applied for each subsequent transactions. The problem is that the coupon will still be applied each month. That's the default behavior, however it not what we were expected. I'd like the coupon to be applied only once at sign up time. Would it be possible to achieve that?
Thank you in advance for your help
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    edited January 2009
    Two ideas:
    1. I'm actually not sure if this would work, but it _should_. (I don't know that we've tested so I can't say for sure.) If you set the "number of uses allowed per customer" to 1, that might get you exactly the behavior you want. (Or if not exact, perhaps close enough.) See Luke's response below.

    2. Perhaps not _exactly_ what you're looking for, but you could tweak things slightly so that the initial checkout is not a single product (a subscription) but two (a single payment for the first month, and a second product for the subscription).

    #1 should work but if you find an issue with it please let us know.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    I was originally thinking that would work as well... (if the subscription item was in a different category from the single item and that category didn't support the coupon) but the way the subscriptions work right now, they try to reproduce the same transaction (including discounts) exactly. That way your subscription keeps going as you've configured it, regardless of any new coupon promotions you start or modifications you make to the coupon. They become "discounts" once the original transaction goes through. Originally, this seemed like a good idea so the subscription payment would be consistent each time, regardless of any other changes.

    Are there any other opinions about this? Should it be configurable whether or not the coupons are re-evalutated each time a subscription runs?
  • rthrashrthrash Member
    edited January 2009
    I tend to think re-evaluating coupons on each subscription is a good idea. It would be particularly cool if you were able to give a customer the ability to modify an existing subscription easily too, and to be able to add new coupons when upgrading, etc. Think how 37Signals does periodic promotions when you upgrade from one account to another, even if behind the scenes it's canceling one subscription and starting another one.

    It'd be a great way to say thanks to long-standing customers by emailing them a coupon to say, "thanks for being a loyal customer ... here's 20% off your next month", or to be able to run a new subscriber promotion that allows a company to offer "maintain your subscription for X months and your next one is totally free" that could repeat at a store-owner's election indefinitely or for Y cycles.
  • I concur with rthrash, it would be great to have way of re-evaluating coupons on each transactions.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    I agree with Ryan, but I could also see the following:
    - Store owner wants to do a promotion to drum up business, so creates a 10% off coupon.
    - User signs up with coupon code to get 10% off subscription (recurring)
    - All is well until store owner wants to discontinue the promotion (but _does_ want existing customers to keep the discount).

    If you disabled the coupon, then it'd stop getting applied to the subscriptions, so the challenge would be to disallow new transactions with the coupon, but allow subscription transactions to reuse it... That would add overhead and complexity to things all around, which we'd obviously like to avoid.

    Anybody out there prefer to have coupons affect subscriptions indefinitely, regardless of the actual coupon setting? We'd love to hear from you.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Thanks for the discussions, guys. Really appreciate the input. It sounds like the subscriptions should be dynamic in that they evaluate discounts (not just coupons) dynamically based on current store settings. I figured it would be important to make them consistent each pay period, but it sounds like people would prefer for them to be more dynamic.

    As for being able to easily modify the contents of the cart, we have it setup so that you can load up the "template" transaction into your cart as you get redirected back to the store home page. At that point, any other subscription items added or removed will default to the next payment date (unless a specific date is included). We're still working through the details of whether or not we'll cancel the old sub and create a new one or if we'll just modify the template that the given subscription uses. We're getting there, but it has proven to be way more complex than we were hoping. Dealing with future tax and future shipping calculations has been really frustrating. Ideally, the customer should be able to modify a future subscription in all it's glory, checkout and pay nothing that day but only be charged on the date of the next transaction.

    Sorry... I'm starting to ramble. When we get it most of the way there, we'll probably release it and see what feedback we get for future improvements. We want to quickly follow that with a user api, subscriptions error datafeed and eventually a subscriptions api as well.
  • pixelchutespixelchutes Member
    edited January 2009
    I definitely like the idea of re-evaluating coupons, although you provide an interesting dilemma, Brett.

    Given your scenario, perhaps upon deleting a Coupon you could determine any subscriptions currently associated with it, and give the OPTION to adjust the actual subscription value (i.e. apply the coupon). This way the store owner could end the promo, but the customer would still lock-in their current subscription rate. By making this optional, the store owner could end the promo for all customers, or simply for future subscribers. Thoughts?
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Another idea I had was to just have an option on the coupons regarding how they should be applied to subscriptions... as ongoing discounts or reapplied each time? Same thing goes for line item product discounts and category discounts... should they all be reapplied as well? I'm kind of thinking they shouldn't be...

    If a store does a recurring promotion, say, buy 2 get one 1 free. They do it for a couple months and they have subscription customers getting three for the cost of two. Maybe down the road they figure it's too expensive to keep growing that way, so they shut it off for new customers... but they'd want to keep it going for old customers. The way it is currently designed, all they have to do is change the category discount string and/or the line item discount string and new orders will be adjusted accordingly while old orders will still have the discounts they expect.

    It makes a lot of sense to me from a discount perspective... but maybe coupons by their very nature are different.

    You, as a FoxyCart customer, have the final say so duke it out. We'll do our best to build what works and serves the most people.
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