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Subscriptions with Free Trials

Overview

This article explains how to set up a subscription with a free trial period and provides details about the customer experience.

This article explains how to set up a subscription with a free trial period and provides details about the customer experience.

You can configure subscription products to begin with an initial free trial period during which FastSpring does not charge the customer. The subscription's first billing will take place the day after the end of the free trial period. Offering a free trial period can be useful in case you want to let customers try your product or service before they pay for it. 

 

Setting Up a Subscription with a Free Trial

  1. From the FastSpring App, select the Products menu and the Subscriptions tab.


     
  2. Click the existing subscription product to which you want to add free trial days. The subscription's details page opens.


     
  3. Click the Edit button in the Pricing section to edit the subscription product's pricing. The Edit Subscription Pricing dialog opens.


     
  4. In the Subscription Type section of the Pricing dialog, enter the desired number of trial days in the Free Trial Days field.

     Tip

    For example, if you want the free trial to last one week, enter 7. If you want the free trial to last a month, enter 30.
     

     
  5. Configure the remainder of the Pricing dialog as usual (for guidance, see Subscription Pricing), and then click Save at the bottom of the dialog.

 

Customer Experience

On a Web Storefront

When a customer visits your Web Storefront, subscription products with a free trial appear with a price of 0/free.

Clicking the Subscription terms link provides expanded details about the billing schedule.

Although there is a free trial, customers are still to select a payment method and enter their payment account details. (However, if you allow the customer to create a manual renewal subscription, no payment details are required.) FastSpring does not charge the customer immediately (provided there are no other items selected in the order). Therefore, when the customer selects a payment method, the action button in the payment information dialog is labeled Save Payment Details rather than Pay $X.

 Manual Renewal Subscriptions Note

If you allow customers the option to opt out of saving their payment details, they can create manual renewal subscriptions. Customers who do this for a subscription with free trial days are not prompted to enter any payment details at all on your Storefront. In that case, customers must log on to the account management page before the end of the free trial period and provide payment account details so that FastSpring can charge the payment account.

The order completion page also displays a summary of the free transaction and the future charges, with a Subscription terms link the customer can click to see more details.

 

On a Popup Storefront

When a customer places an order containing only a subscription with a free trial period, the Popup Storefront makes it clear that FastSpring will not charge the customer immediately. Also, the action button is labeled Save Payment Details instead of Pay $X.

 Manual Renewal Subscriptions Note

If you allow customers the option to opt out of saving their payment details, they can create manual renewal subscriptions. Customers who do this for a subscription with free trial days are not prompted to enter any payment details at all on your Storefront. In that case, customers must log on to the account management page before the end of the free trial period and provide payment account details so that FastSpring can charge the payment account.

The order completion page also makes it clear that the customer has not yet been charged.

 

Trial Reminders

If the free trial period is at least three days, FastSpring automatically emails a trial reminder to the customer three days before the first charge. You cannot control the timing of the trial reminder message. However, if you have a particular reason to change it, FastSpring Support might be able to assist you. To see an example of the fully customizable Trial Reminder email message, please see Examples of Customer-Facing Email Messages.

 

Subscriptions with Free Trials and Product Discounts or Coupons

If you configure a product discount on a subscription that has free trial days, the discount does not apply until the first billing. With regard to the discount or coupon's Duration field, the first billing (not the initial, free transaction) is billing number 1.

To illustrate this, here is an example of what customers might see on a Web Storefront when ordering an annual subscription with 15 free trial days and a 25% discount with a Duration of 1.

 

Subscriptions with Free Trial Days and a Fixed Number of Billings

If you configure a subscription with free trial days to have a fixed number of rebills, the initial transaction does not count as one of those rebills. However, the initial charge, following the trial period,will be the first "rebill."

 

Using a Limited Product Discount Rather than Free Trial Days

If you want to create a free trial period without using the Free Trial Days field, there is another approach you can take. If you click Edit in the subscription product's Discount section and specify a 100% discount with a Discount Duration of 1 (as shown in the illustration below), the entire first billing period will be free.

 For example, if the subscription has a Charge Interval of Monthly, then the first month would be free. If the subscription's Charge Interval is Yearly, then the first year would be free.

If you take this approach, the subscription's first billing date will be the date of the order. This means that if you configure your subscription to rebill for a fixed number of periods, the number of actual payments will be reduced by one (the very first transaction).

 Tip

For example, if your subscription has a Charge Interval of Monthly and is configured to Rebill for 12 periods (including the initial transaction), then the first transaction will be free, followed by 11 monthly billings.

When you use a product discount to make the initial subscription billing period free, you can optionally enter an explanation for the discount in the discount's Reason field, as pictured above. If a visitor to your Web Storefront clicks the Subscription terms link, this text appears as in the example below.

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