How to use WooCommerce for digital subscriptions

Clearing the last rail

If building your subscriptions is an obstacle course, your e-commerce tool is the final hurdle. You want to choose an option that every reader can clear with ease. 

You’ve already set up your digital publication for a great reader experience and developed a ton of amazing content for your readers. You’re protecting that content with a paywall that teases your casual readers with more. You’ve gathered email addresses and sent out newsletters that draw them back to your site. 

When those casual readers are finally ready to subscribe, you want a seamless experience so that no one stumbles and falls away at the last minute. 

That’s where the Leaky Paywall integration with WooCommerce shines. See for yourself.

WooCommerce in action

Stone Soup Magazine uses WooCommerce highly effectively. The children’s magazine sells individual subscriptions – both print and digital – but their biggest market is schools and libraries. 

All of these products – including both annual and monthly versions of each subscription type – are handled elegantly through WooCommerce. 

But beyond their subscriptions, Stone Soup also has an entire shop full of other products – individual issues, printed collections, notebooks and sketchbooks, and more. All of it has handled through the same WooCommerce shop. 

Go explore

How it works

WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin designed for WordPress. Working together with your paywall, it bridges the gap between your publication and your payment gateway. 

WooCommerce is a fantastic tool because, when integrated with Leaky Paywall, it becomes almost endlessly versatile. 

The integration works like this: Leaky Paywall manages your content access. It allows your readers to sample your content and tease them back for more and more until they’re ready to sign-up. 

When they reach that point, WooCommerce takes over the process, managing the new sign-ups and processing the payment through your chosen payment gateway. 

If the purchase is connected to a Leaky Paywall level, it sends that info back to Leaky Paywall. Leaky Paywall adds the subscriber to its lists and manages the expiration date, based on the subscription level purchased. 

WooCommerce monitors that expiration date and, if payment is not processed for a renewal, the Leaky Paywall subscriber info is automatically updated as either “deactivated” or “canceled”. 

The same seamless hand-off happens for every upgraded or related product purchase. The two products integrate so cleanly that the transaction is smooth and undisrupted for the reader. 

Why WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is open-source, which means that it can be customized and integrated with ease. Often, when developers build customizations, they become available to others, meaning that a lot of features exist without having to be built from scratch. If they do have to be built, the integrations can be coded cleanly without a lot of clunky work-arounds to gum up the works. 

A galaxy of payment gateways

You aren’t using one of the most common payment gateways, like Stripe or PayPal? No problem. 

WooCommerce has extensions for nearly 100 different payment tools, for services from all around the world. (From the global giants to the local particularities and even including Bitcoin, if that’s your choice.)

Easily create new products

The first step to setting up your new WooCommerce plugin with Leaky Paywall is to create the product in WordPress. Write your description, set your price. For example: “Monthly Subscription, $5.99/month”. 

Create a corresponding subscription level — “Monthly Subscription” — in the Leaky Paywall section of WordPress. The settings include the option to add WooCommerce products. Select your new WooCommerce “Monthly Subscription” product and you’re good to go. 

(There are a few other steps – turning off guest checkout in WooCommerce so that Leaky Paywall can gather email addresses at registration, ensuring that your WooCommerce Ship page is the home of your subscription cards, and disabling Leaky Paywall’s welcome emails so that they don’t get doubled up with the WooCommerce emails — but that’s all switch flipping. Easy peasy.)

Add related products to your checkout

Want to offer extra incentives to your subscriptions? It’s simple. All you have to do is create another WooCommerce product — “Coffee table book of cover illustrations, free” — and add it as a second product to your “Annual Subscription” Leaky Paywall level. 

Numerous email integrations

WooCommerce works with your chosen email service to send out welcome and renewal reminders. It has more than 20 different email integrations, including MailChimp and Hubspot. 

Works with gift subscriptions

WooCommerce Gift Subscriptions also allows you to easily sell gift subscriptions that add the recipient to your Leaky Paywall list, rather than than the purchaser. It’s an elegant solution to a potentially clumsy interaction. 

Integrations with a plethora of tools

WooCommerce also integrates seamlessly with your UniPress apps and all of our IssueM add-ons. Plus it works with any number of our Leaky Paywall add-ons to promote your subscriptions, diversify your products, protect your content, and monitor your growth.

Want to learn more about the WooCommerce-Leaky Paywall integration. Check that out here

Curious to see what Leaky Paywall and WooCommerce can do for you? Let’s chat

Learn how Leaky Paywall can help grow your subscription revenue