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About Subscriptions

Overview

This article provides an overview of how subscription products and customers' subscription instances work.

A subscription is a type of product that features regular ongoing or recurring charges instead of a one-time purchase fee.

Each subscription product contains a subscription definition. A subscription definition includes: how often payments are due, the payment amount, and how long the payments last. Subscription pricing schemes can also include free trial periods and discounted pricing for a specified period. When defining the subscription, you can configure how often future billings for the subscription will occur. The subscription can rebill automatically at a specific interval by setting a recurring period.

Alternatively, you can create a subscription with a managed rebilling period, allowing you to trigger additional billings manually. The subscription definition is configured via the Pricing field when editing a subscription.

Notes About Subscriptions

  • You can manage existing customer subscription instances by accessing the Activity menu in the Dashboard and then drilling into an order record associated with the subscription. The Items section of the order details contains a View Subscription link that you can use to access the subscription details.
  • You can create subscription products, including the subscription definitions, by posting to the FastSpring API
  • For subscriptions that renew automatically, your customers must provide payment information when making their initial subscription payment. FastSpring will use the same payment method details for the customers' future subscription rebills and renewals. Delayed payment methods, such as wire transfers and purchase orders, are not available for subscriptions with automatic rebills.
  • If you have customers that want to order subscriptions using wire transfers or purchase orders, consider configuring your Storefront to allow manual renewal subscriptions.
  • You can offer optional, non-subscription products that will be billed in conjunction with a regular subscription product (e.g., as a bundle) via the subscription addons feature.
  • For on-demand billing (e.g., with usage-based scenarios), you can create managed subscriptions. By definition, managed subscriptions cannot be manual renewal subscriptions.
  • Customers can manage their subscriptions (including canceling, un-canceling, manual renewals, and payment method management) via FastSpring's customer-facing account management site.
  • If you need to collect an additional initial fee at the start of a subscription that will not be part of the regularly scheduled billings, use a one-time setup fee. More information is available in our Subscription Pricing article.

You can create, edit, and delete subscription-based products by selecting the Products menu and then selecting the Subscriptions tab.

 The Search field just below the Subscriptions tab lets you search the list of products, and you can sort the list using the Sort By field.

The Search field lets you search for product IDs and the products' Display names (in English), as well as the product IDs and Display names of any product variations. The search is case-insensitive and does not support wildcards.

By clicking the Sort By drop-down selector, you can sort the list by the product IDDisplay name, or creation date with the Newest (most recently added) products first. By default, the list is sorted by product ID.

 

Detailed Instructions

Please click a link to jump to the corresponding section of the document.

 

To Create a Subscription

If you need to create a subscription-based product from scratch, use the following procedure. However, if you want to use an existing subscription product as a starting point, you can make a copy of an existing subscription product and modify the copy.

To Copy an Existing Subscription

  1. From the Products > Subscriptions menu, select the subscription product that you want to copy. The subscription's detail page appears.
  2. On the subscription's detail page, click the COPY command near the bottom of the page.


     
  3. In the New Product ID field, enter a product path/product ID for the new product. Do not include spaces or punctuation.


     
  4. In the Display field, enter a product title/display name for the new product. You can optionally click the language drop-down and enter the product title in each desired language.
  5. If the original subscription you are copying has fulfillment actions, each of those appears in the Fulfillment Actions section of the window. You can click the drop-down selector next to each item and choose whether or not to apply those same fulfillment actions to the new subscription you are creating.
  6. Click .

 Tutorial Video

Check out our tutorial video on creating a subscription.

 Check out our guided walk-through

Would you like the system to walk you through creating your first subscription? Click here.

To Create a Brand New Subscription

  1. From the Products > Subscriptions menu, click . The Create Subscription popup window appears.


     
  2. In the field labeled Subscription Name, enter a product title to appear in product pages or wherever the subscription is mentioned in your Storefront. This field is also sometimes called the display name. You can change the title later if need be. You can optionally click the drop-down for the language selector and enter the subscription title in each desired language.
  3. In the Product Path field, a default value is automatically created based on the product title. The product path is also sometimes called the product ID. You can override the product ID at this time if desired. However, you will not be able to change the product ID once the subscription has been saved (except copying the existing product to a new product ID). The product ID cannot contain spaces, punctuation, or certain special characters. The product ID is used to reference the product internally, and it is also visible in the URL for the Product Page.
  4. In the Summary field, enter descriptive text about the subscription product. This text appears on your Web Storefront, and you can also access it via the Store Builder Library. You can optionally click the drop-down for the language selector and enter the subscription title in each desired language.
  5. In the Billing Cycle field, click the drop-down and select the frequency at which FastSpring will charge customers for this subscription.
  6. In the Price field, enter the amount to be charged for each billing of the subscription. Your Store's default currency appears by default, but you can optionally click ALL CURRENCIES to enter specific pricing in other currencies. For more information, see Subscription Pricing and Currencies, Conversions and Taxes.
  7. Click CREATE. You are returned to the Subscriptions tab of the Products menu, with a confirmation message indicating that the subscription has been created.


     

 

To Configure Product Fulfillment for a Subscription

In this context, the term fulfillment refers to the method or process by which customers receive the product or service. This may mean providing customers with a license key, a product download, or some other means of accessing a licensed product. It is crucial to configure a fulfillment action for each product. Customers must receive what they have paid for immediately upon completion of the purchase, or as soon as possible after that.

The Fulfillment section of the subscription detail page lets you create or edit fulfillment actions. Unlike other products, subscriptions must be digital products or software as a service - they cannot be physical goods.

 Note

You can find detailed information about fulfillment options in our Fulfillments article.
  1. Click ADD FULFILLMENT. The Add Fulfillment Action page opens.


     
  2. Select the radio button next to the fulfillment action you want to add, and then click NEXT.
    • Generate a License - Selecting this option allows you to have a license generated for the customer. Click Choose a generator... to see a list of the available generation methods and select a method.
      • Pre-defined List - Selecting this option allows you to paste in a list of pre-defined license keys for distribution to customers who purchase this product.
      • Script (PHP or JavaScript) - Selecting this option allows you to specify a custom license generation script (PHP or JavaScript) for use by FastSpring in generating license keys.
      • Remote Server Request - Selecting this option tells FastSpring to contact a specified external server in real-time, during order processing, to request and receive a license key for this product.
      • CocoaFob - Selecting this lets you specify a DSA Private Key for use by FastSpring in the generation of CocoaFob license keys for this product.
      • AquaticPrime - Selecting this option lets you configure license file generation for use with your AquaticPrime project.
      • Software Passport - Selecting this option lets you configure license key generation compatible with your Software Passport project.
    • Provide a File Download - Selecting this option will let you upload a product file that will be served to customers as a download upon completion of a purchase for this product.
    • Create a Signed PDF - Selecting this option allows you to upload a PDF file that will be stamped by FastSpring with each customer's name and order information. The stamped PDF file will then be served to customers as a download upon completion of a purchase for this product.
  3. Follow the prompts to complete the configuration of the selected fulfillment action.

 

To Edit a Subscription

When you have completed the initial setup of a subscription product, or upon clicking the tile for any product in the list of products, the subscription detail page opens.

  • Product path/product ID - This appears at the top left-hand corner of the section. This ID identifies the subscription record internally as well as in a Storefront URL for the Product Page. You cannot modify the ID following subscription creation.
  • Icon - Click the field label to upload a product image, such as a box shot or screenshot. Click Choose File and browse to and select an image file on your network or your local computer, and then click SAVE.

     Notes about product icons

    The supported image file formats are .png, .jpg and .gif. Web Storefronts can display an image file with a size of up to 256 x 256 pixels. The optional cart in Popup Storefronts can display an image as large as 46 x 46 pixels. If the image you upload is too large or too small, the Storefront page automatically resizes it to fit within this space.

     
  • Display - Edit the subscription title or display text shown for this product. If your Store supports multiple languages, you can optionally click the language drop-down and enter the subscription title in each desired language.
  • Summary - Enter a brief description of the subscription in each language supported by your Store. This text appears on the Homepage and the Product Page in a Web Storefront. This field can accept a fairly long summary, but consider using the Long Description field if you want to provide a large amount of text about the subscription. Note: This field accepts markdown.
  • Long Description - This field lets you provide additional text about the subscription-based product in each supported language. This text can be displayed when a purchaser clicks on the product title or Display name in a Web Storefront. The contents of this field appear in a Lightbox that overlays the Product Page. Note: This field accepts markdown.
  • SKU - Optionally enter an internal SKU ID or part number. The only purpose of this field is for identifying the subscription product using your own system (e.g., using your own part number).
  • EDS - The optional Extended Download Service (EDS) is enabled at the Store level. If it is enabled for your Store, then it is enabled by default for all products and subscriptions that have at least one file download fulfillment action. If the subscription does not have a download, this field does not appear. Similarly, if EDS is not enabled for your account, this field does not appear. If you want to disable EDS for this subscription only, click the EDS field label. A popup window appears, where you can clear the checkbox labeled Enable for this product, and save your changes. For more information about EDS, please see our Knowledge Base article Extended Download Service (EDS).
  • Call to Action - By default, the subscription's action button, which selects the subscription and adds it to the cart, is labeled Add. The Call to Action field lets you provide an alternative button label in each supported language. This label also appears next to the option to select this subscription if you specify a product alternative.
  • Post Order Instructions - This field lets you provide text that will appear next to this subscription on the Completion Page, following a successful order. It is essential to enter instructions or information here so that customers know what to do next, following a completed purchase. For example, this text may include a description of how to download the software or register using the license key. You can optionally click the language drop-down and enter the information or instructions in each desired language. Note: This field accepts markdown.
  • Pricing - Click here to specify the product price in each supported currency. This field is also where you control the subscription definition, including the frequency and number of rebills. In addition, you can set options to control the quantity that customers can purchase as well as volume discounts or other types of discounts (e.g., for a temporary promotion). For more information about defining the subscription terms, see Subscription Pricing. For more information about currencies, conversions and taxes, see Currencies, Conversions and Taxes
  • Public/Private - This drop-down selector (at the upper right-hand corner of the section) lets you control whether or not the subscription is available to external customers. The selector is set to Public by default. If you click the drop-down and select Switch to Private, the subscription can only be purchased when offered as a product option of another product. Attempting to view the Product Page for a private subscription results in an "inaccessible" message. Also, the Checkout Links popup window for the subscription or Storefront does not show Live links for private subscriptions.

To test the Product Page for a subscription or test how it looks and behaves in a Popup Storefront, click CHECKOUT LINKS near the bottom of the section. Then, select whether you want to test using a Web Storefront or a Popup Storefront, and click the desired link to view the Storefront.

 

To Delete a Subscription

  1. From the Products > Subscriptions menu, click the tile of the subscription product you want to delete.
  2. On the subscription detail page, click the MORE drop-down menu and select Delete.
  3. Click OK when prompted to confirm that you want to delete the subscription.

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