Are there online subscription/membership management services, that offer widgets that we can embed directly into a Kirby site - for doing things like selling new subscriptions/memberships, checking membership status, etc.? Something that would help us NOT have to build an entire membership/subscription management system from scratch?
Any suggestions are welcome!
Actual requirements are:
- sell memberships/subscriptions online (pay via PayPal/Stripe)
- members/subscribers can update their contact info, and check their subscription status
- client needs to be able to view/export full list of current subscribers, and edit individual membership/subscription details - e.g., manually extend someone’s subscription
- bonus points if we are able to use discount codes/gift vouchers.
Pretty sure Snipcart can handle all that, and it’s simple to integrate. I do know they are on the verge of releasing version 3 which does away with jQuery as a dependency and they’ve overhauled the actual cart itself.
Thank you for the suggestion, @jimbobrjames! I’ve used SnipCart in the past, and indeed it’s both a great company, and a great product. Unfortunately, a few years ago they introduced a ‘skeleton’ of basic subscription features to the shopping cart, with a plan to add more ‘advanced’ features later. The subscriptions never took off, never gained much traction, so they have never updated.
I contacted them last week, to ask about some of the missing functionality that we needed 2 years ago, and to find out whether they had already implemented it - e.g., the ability to check via API whether a person was a current subscriber. I received a reply from them stating that they have no plans to implement these features in the foreseeable future…
I have had a look at online services like MemberClicks and Wild Apricot, but found a couple of issues with them:
- They are ridiculously expensive - at least for the small clients I have. E.g.: I’m doing a website for a social, NFP organisation that grew out of social media groups. They currently have around 1,500 (non-paying) members, and an extremely limited budget. These services would be perfect for them, but their pricing ranges from $300 to about $1,000/month.
- They are geared towards selling and managing memberships, rather than subscriptions. The differences are subtle, but it means that eventually “subscription” clients will outgrow them. E.g.: not many organisations allow you to GIFT a membership, but sending a subscription to a friend as a GIFT will often be a major part of a publisher’s marketing strategy. Therefore, membership-based software will have no ‘gift-voucher’ or ‘discount code’ features, while subscription-based ones, in theory, should.
Atm I’m still looking, but as implementing subscription/membership-management systems is quite a complex job, I’m dreading that if I can’t find something that I can simply embed into a Kirby site, I might have to end up going with a different CMS - which I really DON’T want to do. However, building something reliable from scratch is not a realistic option. We’ve gone down that road before, and found that there are far too many functions involved - i.e., advanced eCommerce functions, email auto-notifications, semi-automated user-list management, etc. - that need to cover a myriad of use-cases. I really need to find a ready-made, battle-tested solution…
I did some research a while ago and found a few services that provide subscription management via API:
Also, searching for subscription instead of membership may yield better results.
Thank you for the suggestions, @pedroborges! I’m going to have a closer look at Recurly, but I’m a bit hesitant about spending any time on services that hide their prices rather than publicly displaying them clearly.
I had a look at Paddle before, and it is a really cool service, but unfortunately, it is really focused on serving customers in the EU only. For example: you can only have an account with them in USD, GBP or EUR. So, if you charge for your products in any other currency, you have to convert on every transaction. Also, they’re super expensive: 5% + 50c on every transaction, and if you don’t have an EU bank account, you have to pay $15 for every bank transfer to your bank account - not feasible for most small businesses.
Your suggestion of focusing the search on ‘subscriptions’ is really useful - I’ve now seen a few more options, like ChargeBee, that I’ll have to investigate!
Ah, shit. I was just about to suggest Paddle. I wasn’t aware that they are so focused in EU businesses. You should check back with them though. They now have their HQ in the US and are evolving pretty quickly as it seems. It’s definitely not a plug & play system but with all their web hooks, API and JS integrations you can get pretty far.
So far I can really recommend them from a business perspective.
@luxlogica @bastianallgeier Might be worth looking into Transferwise. I use it to accept money in every major currency because it basically gives you a local bank account number for the US, UK etc. This means I don’t pay excessive exchange rates (don’t get me started on Brexit) since they use the mid market exchange rate, not the inflated rate banks use. I think you can also avoid the $15 transfer fee this way.
I tagged Bastian because it might be useful for accepting dollars for Kirby licences and getting a more favourable rate to Euro conversion.
@jimbobrjames Transferwise is great - we actually use it to pay our remote team members overseas. But I’m not sure it would be the most appropriate solution here. The clients are all located in Australia, charging and accepting payments in one currency only: Australian Dollars. The payment gateways - Stripe, PayPal, etc. - already work with local banks, and accept payment in AUD without incurring any extra fees due to currency conversion. So, trying to use something like Paddle, which would force the client to needlessly hold an account in a foreign currency, and then go through a loophole with yet another provider to try and transfer the charges back into the original currency, with minimal costs, may be over-complicating it.
I may have found a reasonable solution: Pabbly Subscriptions. They offer an amazing range of features (even affiliate programs) at extremely low cost. My only concern is that I have no experience with the service, so would love to hear from anyone that has used it before: are they good? Reliable? How is their support? Would love to know more before I recommend them to a client…
Hey @luxlogica, how did you end up going with this?
I’ve got a few similar projects at the moment that need this type of thing (lots of people in Covid-times wanting to create ‘digital’ communities). Would also much prefer something plug-and-play. Not even sure how I’d go managing all the processes otherwise. I’m Australia-based as well .
Keen to hear what you found was best?
I am working on a plugin, which I use internally right now, which is currently using steadyhq for the subscription stuff (but could be extended to use other services when they offer an API). People can login/signup via steady and then get access to special content and features on the site. There is a lot of stuff planned, but I am still at the very beginning, so it’s currently not ready for a public release. But if you would like some tips or hints, send me a message.