Selling subscription products on Sellfy

In this article:

What are subscription products?

How does it work on Sellfy?

Billing intervals

Customer experience

Adding new product files

Use the Email Marketing tool to update customers (Optional)

Setting up payment methods for subscriptions

How to create a subscription product

Managing my subscribed customers

What happens if I change subscription details like price or interval?

How can my customer cancel their subscription?

How can I cancel a subscription for my customer?

FAQs


What are subscription products?

Selling a subscription allows you to offer your customers a regularly delivered product file with automatically recurring payments. Ideal subscription products include magazines, exercise plans, software, meal planning, and more! 

When you create a subscription, you pick a time interval for the payment collection and the delivery of the product file. You'll update the file that's being hosted or stored, as needed. Then, the customer's payment is collected automatically for you and we deliver the email with their new downloadable product links. You upload your files and then we do the work to collect the payment and send out the new files!

Selling subscriptions is a great way to boost customer engagement and increase revenue. For helpful ideas, you can read more here.


How does it work on Sellfy?

Note: It's not possible to sell storewide subscription access on Sellfy, yet. Selling subscriptions will mean selling access to a single product, although the product can contain up to 50 product files at a time.

Selling subscriptions has both a manual aspect and an automated aspect. Sellfy will automatically collect your customers' payments and deliver the digital download links to your customers. In the meantime, you'll manually update the files for any subscription products. But, don't worry! It's simple and quick to update your product files.

Billing intervals

You can create a subscription with  weekly, monthly, or annual intervals. These intervals determine when the customers will be billed for and receive their download links. For example, a customer with a monthly subscription will be charged every month and they'll receive their download link every month after their payment has been successfully collected.

Typically, you'll update the hosted or stored files in the same intervals so that customers have access to the new files. Customers will be able to download whichever files are currently added to the subscription product.

The billing cycle for each subscription will be based on your customer's purchase date and time. For example, a customer that purchased a monthly subscription on September 9 will be charged again on October 9 and so on, until they choose to cancel.

Customer experience

Your customer will purchase their subscription and have access to the current digital download links. They'll have 5 download attempts and these download links will be available to use until the next subscription payment is collected. At that time, they'll receive a new email with a new set of download links. The emails containing their new download links are customizable.

Payment collection is done automatically and the subscription will continue until the customer (or seller) cancels the subscription. If your customer cancels their subscription, they will lose access to their download links, immediately.

Adding new product files 

Important! Product files can't be stored ahead of time. When you're ready to add new subscription files, you'll manually update the product file. When you update the hosted or stored product file, it will update all existing download links for your subscribers.

To update the files for your product:

  1. Go to Products > Subscriptions
  2. Select the subscription
  3. Add your new file and (if applicable) remove old ones
  4. Select Save Subscription

Use the Email Marketing tool to update customers (Optional)

Customers will always receive an email from Sellfy with their subscription payment confirmation and their new download links. We'll take care of that for you. But, if you'd like, you can provide your customers with additional information and even add a download button with the Sellfy Email Marketing tool. 

To do so, select the Product Update campaign from the dropdown menu and create your Email Marketing campaign from there.

Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Go to Marketing > Email marketing
  2. Click the Send new email button
  3. In the Campaign type drop-down list, select Product Update
  4. Select the subscription product you've updated
  5. The recipient list is set to automatically include only the buyers of the selected product
  6. Enter email subject and email content
  7. Click on the Add download button checkbox below the email content editor to make sure your buyers receive the updated download link
  8. Finally, click Send emails (you can also send out a test email to yourself first)

Setting up payment methods for subscriptions

Important! To enable recurring payments through PayPal, you need to have a PayPal Business account.

Subscription payments can be collected with both of our integrated payment processors, Stripe and PayPal. But, in order to use PayPal to collect recurring payments, you will need to connect a PayPal Business account. 

To connect your Sellfy account to either payment processor, please go to your Account > Payment Settings.

After you've connected one or more payment methods, you can start selling subscriptions!


How to create a subscription product

To create a subscription product:

  1. Go to Products > Add new product
  2. Select Subscription
  3. Upload your files and add your product details
  4. Save

For later updates, you can edit your new product at any time, you'll go to Products > Subscriptions


Managing my subscribed customers

To view the subscriptions that you've sold, you'll go to the Sellfy account > Subscriptions

By looking at a single subscription, you'll find information about the buyer and all invoices associated with this subscription. 

What happens if I change subscription details like price or interval?

When you change the subscription product name, price, interval, or currency, it will create an additional subscription plan. You'll have the original subscription and the customers that are subscribed to it, and then you'll have the modified new version of your subscription product. The new terms will apply only to new customers while existing buyers will be billed according to the original terms. 
For example, if a customer purchased a subscription for $5 per month, and later on, you change the subscription price to $10 per month, this same customer will be billed $5/mo for as long as their subscription is active. This practice is commonly called "grandfathering".

How can my customer cancel their subscription?

Your customers can cancel their subscription from the product download page. Or if your customer has paid with PayPal, they can also cancel their subscription from within their PayPal account. We also have information here to help them.

On the download page, they'll click Purchase details > Cancel my subscription.

How can I cancel a subscription for my customer?

To cancel a subscription for one of your customers, please follow the instructions below.

  1. Navigate to Products > Subscription
  2. Identify the relevant subscription via the Buyer Email column
  3. Click the subscription
  4. Click Cancel in the top right corner


FAQs

Q: Can I change an existing product into a subscription?
A: No, currently it's not possible to transform existing products into subscriptions. You'll need to create a new subscription product.

Q: Can I set the subscription price to Pay What You Want?
A: The Pay-what-you-want pricing is not available for subscription products.  
Q: Can I sell subscriptions with a personal PayPal account?
A: No, PayPal requires that you have a Business account to sell subscriptions, specifically.
Q: Can I sell subscription access to my whole store?
A: No, you can't sell access to your store full of products. But, you can include up to 50 files for each subscription product that you're offering. So, over time, your customers could download all of your products!

Q: Can I sell products for a set time, like a three-month-long subscription?
A: No, each subscription will continue indefinitely, or until the customer cancels.
Q: Can I send out an email update manually, if I need a different time interval than is offered?
A: Yes, you can send out a manual update and download link to your customers by following the steps here.
Q: Can a customer download if they've canceled their subscription?
A: Only customers with an active subscription can download from their emailed download links.

Q: Can I sell my subscription product at a discount?

A: No. Coupon codes cannot be applied to subscription products.

Q: Can I upload files for my subscription in advance?

A: No, it's not possible to set up scheduled product file releases, yet. Rather, you'll update the file for your chosen time interval. For example, if you're selling a monthly product, you'll update the files once each month.

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