Manually Add or Edit a Subscription

 

This guide explains how you, as a store manager, can manually add or change a subscription in your WooCommerce store.

We recommend starting with the Subscriptions overview and Store Manager Guide if you have not yet read this important information.

Note: For WooCommerce Subscriptions version 2.0 and higher. If you are running an older version of Subscriptions, please update to version 2.0.

Manually add a subscription ↑ Back to top

You may want to sell subscriptions over the phone but still manage them in your WooCommerce store. Or as friends and family hear about the super cool products available in your store, you may want to provide them with a free subscription.

WooCommerce Subscriptions makes it possible.

To manually add a subscription:

  1. Go toWooCommerce > Subscriptions.
  2. Click the Add Subscription button.
  3. Add a customer to the subscription. More info below in Add a Customer section.
  4. Add a billing schedule. More info below in Add a Billing Schedule section.
  5. Add products, shipping costs and fees to the subscription, following the process described in the Add Line Items section below
  6. Add taxes, following the process described in the Add Taxes section below.
  7. Calculate totals for the line items and taxes, following the process described in the Calculate Taxes and Totals section below.
  8. Set the subscription status, following the process described in the Set Subscription Status section below.
  9. Save Subscription.

This creates a subscription that requires a manual renewal payment for each billing cycle.

Depending on whether the payment gateway extension supports it or not, you can also link a subscription to a payment gateway for automatic recurring payments. To do that, follow the instructions in Charging Renewal Payments.

Manually Add a Subscription
Manually Add a Subscription
Manually adding a subscription does not send out order emails; those need to be sent manually also.

Add a subscriber ↑ Back to top

Each subscription in your store needs to be associated with a WordPress user account for a customer. Therefore, a good first step when creating a subscription is to link the customer account to the subscription.

If the subscriber does not already have a user account with your WordPress site, you should add the user via the Users → Add New administration screen before proceeding.

To add the customer to a subscription:

  1. Click the Customer select box under the subscription details meta box.
  2. Type the first few letters of the name or email for the customer.
  3. Wait for WooCommerce to find a set of matching accounts.
  4. Once a set of accounts is loaded, click the customer.
  5. Save the customer on the subscription immediately by clicking the Save Subscription button (optional).
Add a Customer to the Subscription
Add a Customer to the Subscription

Once you have added a customer to the subscription, enter the billing and shipping addresses to be used to manage recurring payments and shipments for the subscription. Existing addresses on the customer’s account can automatically be loaded into Billing Details or Shipping Details of the Subscription details meta box.

To add these details:

  1. Click the pencil icon next to Billing Details.
  2. Click Load Billing Details.
  3. Click the pencil icon next to Shipping Details to Load Shipping Details or Copy Billing Details.

You can also add or edit these addresses, if necessary.

Set a billing schedule ↑ Back to top

The essence of a subscription is its billing schedule. This schedule includes dates for important events, such as:

  • Date that the subscription’s trial will end (if any)
  • End date of subscription itself (if it expires automatically)
  • Recurring interval and period on which renewal orders are generated to capture recurring payments and manage shipping of items.

When manually adding or editing a subscription, the billing schedule set on any subscription products added as line items to the subscription will not automatically be used as the billing schedule for that subscription. Instead, you have complete freedom to set the upcoming dates and recurrence for the line items of that subscription.

To set a billing schedule on a subscription:

  1. Click the first select box in the Recurring section of the Billing Schedule meta box and set the billing interval for the subscription. By default, this is set to every, which means once per day, week, month or year, a renewal order is generated.
  2. Click the second select box in the Recurring section of the Billing Schedule meta box and set the billing period for the subscription.
  3. Click the Start Date text box and enter a date or use the calendar to choose a date. The start date must be in the past.
  4. Click the Trial End Date text box, and enter a date or use the calendar to choose a date (optional).
  5. Click the Next Payment Date text box, and enter a date or use the calendar to choose a date.
  6. Click the End Date text box, and enter a date or use the calendar to choose a date (optional).
Set Subscription Billing Schedule
Set Subscription Billing Schedule
Note: The timezone used for these dates is the timezone of the web browser used while editing dates (as displayed at the bottom of the meta box). It is not the timezone of your site or web server. The browser timezone is used to avoid the need to calculate the timezone offset for your WordPress site/WooCommerce store when editing a date from a different timezone to the store. Set the date and time to the time you want it to process in your current local time, Subscriptions then convert this to GMT/UTC timezone to make sure it is processed at that time.

Add line items: Products, fees and shipping ↑ Back to top

Normally, a subscription provides the customer with access to a certain product or products on a recurring basis. That subscription may also have a shipping cost and/or a fee associated with it. These are all called line items on the subscription.

To add a product line item to a subscription:

  1. Click the Add line item(s) button in the Subscription Items meta box.
  2. Click the Add product(s) button.
  3. Click in the text box displaying the placeholder: Search for a product…
  4. Type the first few letters of the product’s name.
  5. Wait for WooCommerce to find a set of matching products.
  6. Click the name of the product you wish to add when it loads.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 if you wish to add more products (optional).
  8. Click Add. The chosen product(s) is/are displayed as line items in the Subscription Items meta box.
  9. Save.
Add Product Line Item to a Subscription
Add Product Line Item to a Subscription

Add a shipping line item

To add a shipping line item to a subscription:

  1. Click the Add line item(s) button in the Subscription Items meta box.
  2. Click the Add shipping cost button. A generic Shipping line item is displayed as a line item in the Subscription Items meta box.
  3. Click the pencil icon next to the shipping line item.
  4. Click in the text box displaying the placeholder: Shipping Name.
  5. Enter a label for the shipping line item to display to customers viewing the subscription and associated orders.
  6. Click the select box next to the Shipping Name text box.
  7. Select a Shipping Method you want to use to determine the cost and taxes of this shipping line item, if any (learn more about shipping methods in the shipping methods guide).
  8. Click in the text box under the Total column with the placeholder: 0
  9. Enter the amount you want to charge customers for shipping on each renewal.
  10. Save.
Step 1: Add a Shipping Line Item
Step 1: Add a Shipping Line Item
Step 2: Choose Shipping Line Item Type
Step 2: Choose Shipping Line Item Type
Step 3: Set Shipping Line Item Price
Step 3: Set Shipping Line Item Price

Add a fee line item

To add a fee line item to a subscription:

  1. Click the Add line item(s) button in the Subscription Items meta box.
  2. Click the Add fee button. A generic Fee line item is displayed as a line item in the Subscription Items meta box.
  3. Click the pencil icon next to the fee line item.
  4. Click in the text box displaying the placeholder: Fee Name.
  5. Enter a label for the fee line item to display to customers viewing the subscription and associated orders.
  6. Click in the text box under the Total column with the placeholder: 0
  7. Enter amount you want to charge customers for this fee on each renewal.
  8. Save.
Add a Fee Line Item to a Subscription
Add a Fee Line Item to a Subscription

Add recurring taxes ↑ Back to top

If you want each renewal payment to include taxes, you must add a tax rate or rates to the subscription. Before adding a tax rate to the subscription, you need to set up tax rates in WooCommerce.

After you have set up tax rates and a product has been added and saved, to add a tax rate to a subscription:

  1. Click the Add Tax button in the Subscription Items meta box.
  2. Click the radio button next to the tax rate you wish to add.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Click Recalculate.
  5. Repeat for each tax rate you want applied to the subscription.

A new tax column is displayed next to the Total column for each line item. Tax values for each line item are initially displayed as a dash ().

Note: They can also be set manually by editing each line item and clicking the pencil icon on that row.

Add Recurring Taxes Screenshot
Add Recurring Taxes Screenshot

Calculate recurring totals ↑ Back to top

After adding line items and/or taxes you want to include on the subscription, WooCommerce can then calculate taxes for each line item and the total amount to be charged for each renewal.

To calculate taxes and totals, click the Recalculate button on the items meta box.

Calculate Recurring Totals for Subscription
Calculate Recurring Totals for Subscription

Set subscription status ↑ Back to top

By default, new subscriptions have the Pending status. This means no future renewals are processed, and the customer will not receive special access to any products.

However, once the subscription has a customer, billing schedule and line items, and recurring totals have been calculated, you can change the subscription’s status to Active.

To change a subscription’s status:

  1. Click the Subscription Status select box in the Subscription details meta box.
  2. Click the status you want to give the subscription.
  3. Save Subscription.

Once a subscription is active, the customer added to the subscription is given the default subscriber role and any access that other extensions, such as WooCommerce Memberships, provide them with. The next payment date is also scheduled in Subscriptions.

Select Subscription Status
Select Subscription Status

Set up automatic payments ↑ Back to top

By default, manually added subscriptions use the Manual Renewal payment method.

However, if a payment gateway extension active on the store supports administrator payment method changes, store managers can choose to change the payment method on subscriptions without customer involvement.

To change a subscription’s payment method:

  1. Go to the WooCommerce > Subscriptions administration screen.
  2. Click the ID of the subscription you want to change to open the Edit Subscriptions screen.
  3. Click the pencil icon next to the Billing Details section.
  4. Go to the dropdown menu under Billing Details that allows you to change Payment Method.

Set Recurring Payment Method on Subscription

This feature can also be used to migrate a customer from one payment method to another, for example from PayPal to Stripe.

However, to change the subscription to a new payment method, you need the ability to get meta data required for that payment method. The meta data required varies by gateway and is usually a type of customer or credit card token with the payment gateway.

For example, the Stripe Card ID shown in the above screenshot is a special card token provided by Stripe, not a credit card number. This number is created when the customer enters credit card information in checkout and is available to you as the store manager via the Stripe dashboard.

Note that adding a manual subscription with automatic renewals is not possible with PayPal Standard unless PayPal Reference Transactions is set up.

Manually importing a subscription ↑ Back to top

To import a subscription created with another subscription management system, add the subscription as outlined above. If you want to charge automatic payments, follow the instructions on charging renewal payments.

There is one gotcha with importing the subscription: if the subscription uses PayPal Standard or another payment gateway which does not support changing recurring amounts or dates, be sure to set the billing schedule and totals before changing the subscription’s status from Pending to Active. Once you activate the subscription, the billing schedule and dates will not be editable and you would need to delete the subscription and start again.

Modifying an existing subscription ↑ Back to top

Some payment gateways make it possible to change the billing schedule and recurring totals charged in future payments, after a subscription is created with your store.

Change billing schedule

To manually change a subscription’s end date, next payment date, trial end date or recurring schedule:

  1. Go to WooCommerce > Subscriptions.
  2. Click the ID of the subscription you want to change to open the Edit Subscriptions screen.
  3. Modify the dates and schedule, as required. If you need instructions for this process, see Set the Billing Schedule.
  4. Save Subscription.
Change Billing Schedule
Change Billing Schedule

Change recurring totals ↑ Back to top

To manually change a subscription’s recurring amount:

  1. Go to WooCommerce > Subscriptions.
  2. Click the ID of the subscription you want to change to open the Edit Subscriptions screen.
  3. If you want to change an existing product, shipping or fee line’s total:
    • Select the pencil icon next to the line item you want to change
    • Change the amount
    • Save
  4. If you want to add a new tax, follow the instructions in guide to add taxes.
  5. Click Calculate taxes.
  6. Click Calculate totals.
  7. Save Subscription.
Change Subscription's Recurring Total
Change Subscription’s Recurring Total

Payment gateway support for modifications ↑ Back to top

For subscriptions using the manual renewal method, you can change line items, totals or billing schedule. For subscriptions using a payment method that supports automatic renewals, some or none of the subscription’s billing schedule and recurring totals may be editable.

Subscription Payment Methods & Gateways provides a table showing features supported by each payment gateway extension.

Create a pending order ↑ Back to top

In Subscriptions versions prior to version 2.0, a store manager needed to create an order to create a subscription. This was necessary as there was no Add Subscription administration interface and because a subscription existed only as part of an order.

As of Subscriptions version 2.0, a subscription can exist independently of an order.

Because of this, the process for manually creating a subscription has been separated completely from the Edit Order screen. This provides maximum flexibility to create a subscription because you can now create an order and include subscription products line items on that order without also creating a subscription, or create a subscription with no initial payment.

However, some stores used the system in version 1.5 to create a pending order that had to be paid by the customer to activate the subscription.

To create an invoice for a customer that they can use to start a subscription with automatic payments in Subscriptions 2.0:

  1. Create a new active subscription following the instructions above.
  2. Click the select box in the Subscriptions Actions meta box.
  3. Select Create Pending Renewal Order.
  4. Save Subscription.
Subscription Actions – Create Pending Renewal Order

This:

  • Creates a new order with pending status
  • Places the subscription on-hold

You can then use this new order to control activation of the subscription. For example, you could email the order to the customer using the Order’s actions and then when the customer pays for the subscription renewal order, the subscription is activated. You can also change status of the order to processing or completed to log a payment in your store’s records that may have been paid by cheque or over the phone.

Tip: Go directly to the renewal order by clicking the new order ID in the Subscription Notes meta box.

Process a renewal for an active subscription ↑ Back to top

If a renewal payment fails and you want to retry the payment, a customer wants an additional shipment immediately, or for some other reason you want to manually trigger a renewal payment, you can use the Process Renewal action on the Edit Subscription to do this.

To process a renewal for a customer:

  1. Go to WooCommerce > Edit Subscription for the subscription.
  2. Click the select box in the Subscriptions Actions meta box.
  3. Click Process Renewal.
  4. Save Subscription.

Process Renewal is only displayed if:

  • Subscription has a status of active
  • Subscription uses a payment method that supports payment date changes
Subscription Actions – Process Renewal

Processing a renewal runs the subscription through the entire renewal process, including charging the customer’s credit card and emailing the customer if the renewal order email is enabled and the subscription is using automatic payments.

Tip: View the renewal order by clicking the new order ID in the Subscription Notes meta box.

FAQ ↑ Back to top

Can I bulk edit recurring totals for subscriptions? ↑ Back to top

There is no feature to bulk edit the recurring totals for your existing subscriptions. If you would like a feature to be able to bulk edit recurring totals for your subscriptions, please open a new feature request. Alternatively, you can work with a WooExpert to have custom code written to bulk edit the recurring totals.

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