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Subscription Products Advice


JamesLD

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Site URL: https://www.lakelandlights.co.uk/

Hi everyone,

We have a commerce website and so far the commerce functionality has been fine for our needs. 

We are looking to expand our product ranges soon and as part of that one product range will be offered as a monthly subscription service to customers. We have spent some time looking into this and know that the functionality within SquareSpace is pretty limited i.e. you can  offer monthly subscriptions but there's no way to edit billing cycles or similar. 

We would like to be able to set up subscriptions as follows for example:

  1. New subscriber signs up before a monthly cut off date (e.g. 24th) and is billed immediately and receives that month's subscription in the post straight away.
  2. Thereafter they go onto a monthly billing cycle billed on the 1st of every month and receive their monthly box 2-3 days after.
  3. Those joining after the cut off date will be billed immediately but receive next month's subscription box and go onto the monthly billing cycle in the following month.

This is ideal for us as it would allow us to manage stock and inventory on a monthly basis with subscription packages being posted out on one set monthly date for the most part (2-3rd of a month).

Am I definitely right in saying that SquareSpace does not offer any of this functionality right now? I assume our only option with the current functionality is to receive monthly subscribers ad hoc and post out on different dates each month depending on when they subscribed? As an extreme example, say we had 1,000 subscribers all spread equally in when they signed up over a month meaning we'd be shipping out 33 subscription products each day. This has the potential to be extremely labour intensive if subscriber numbers do grow. Especially if subscription reporting within SquareSpace is relatively limited (which we understand it is).

Has anyone had any experience with this situation? We have had a look at external services such as Subbly but they are not very clear in how they'd work if we're honest. We have also looked into potentially having the entire commerce side of our website set up through Shopify, to access the functionality available through apps there, but we'd lose our SquareSpace customer accounts (of which we have many). Do you think we could offer something along the lines of:

  1. Subscriber joins between 1-14th of each month - their subscription product will be sent on the 15th
  2. Subscriber joins between 15th - end of each month - their subscription product will be sent out on last day of the month

This would put things into two monthly shipments BUT our monthly box ends up going out late in a month to subscribers - e.g. our July box goes out end July and ends up being received early August.

We'd appreciate any advice we can receive on this as we obviously need to choose an option and stick with as swapping over to something else later in the day won't work for existing subscribers.

Many thanks

James

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a similar need for this design function. I sell pre-recorded jazz piano lesson videos/resources for which I'd like  for each customer to view their specifically-purchased video/resources for a set amount of time.  I look forward to replies to this request.

Cheers,

Bradley

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On 7/30/2020 at 5:16 PM, bradleysowash said:

I have a similar need for this design function. I sell pre-recorded jazz piano lesson videos/resources for which I'd like  for each customer to view their specifically-purchased video/resources for a set amount of time.  I look forward to replies to this request.

Cheers,

Bradley

Unfortunately Bradley the silence speaks volumes - it's simply not possible to achieve any level of depth with the subscriptions offered by SquareSpace. It's bare bones functionality and from what I can gather through extensive reading and research, it has been like this from the start. Despite numerous requests from customers either here in the forums or directly via support requests, and promises of requests being passed to the new features development team, it seems that commerce is not going to be SquareSpace's focus. 

We've had a look at a number of possible workarounds using SquareSpace and outside code or payment providers but they're all a fudge and would not scale well with our business. I think we have to face facts and recognise that whilst SquareSpace has a lot to offer when starting out (ease of use, nice design), if you want to scale commercially you are at some point going to need to look at the alternatives who have built platforms from the ground up with ecommerce in mind. On that basis we are now actively looking at migrating over to Shopify which has a massive range of ecommerce apps to meet our subscription needs as well as many other features which should really be part of a SquareSpace's basic commerce offering.

I should add that I have had a support reply about this and in essence they've given up on me as a customer (it feels like) by saying we don't support what you need and understand if you want to leave - there's literally not attempt at retention or solutions being offered which suggests to me that they are not planning to add the features I need which is most disappointing. I am yet to see any feature request put through on this forum or directly via support over the years come through as an addition to the platform.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

We are actively researching a move from Squarespace to another provider, for three reasons.

1. The commerce functionality doesn't meet our growing needs. The architecture and interrelation of how the subscriptions work with the digital products etc is not sophisticate enough.

2. Subscriptions can't be edited/managed from the backend with any reliability

3. No response from the product team on critical issues around subscription orders and approaches. 

 

Aside: From a tech-business perspective, I don't understand why squarespace doesn't look to address these issues. A commerce subscriber at $40 per month is worth 4 microsite subscribers at $10 per month.

As a technologist, I find it absurd as well...because they're about 90% feature complete on the offering. It would simply take a last push on the topic to make it actually work well.

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Hi Everyone,

This is a bit let down. I had high expectations for SquareSpace, already switching from Wix, only to discover I had more options for the subscription service’s on Wix platform. 
Now, like yourselves, will probably make the switch to Shopify (cause Wix is horrific) allowing for more options / profit.

Squarespace, you’re amazing but this is one major element letting you down. You’d have me as a life time customer if you updated this service. 

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  • 1 year later...

A simple solution for needing customized shipping dates after a subscription product, all you need to do is add those details into the product description, and then again in the purchase email notificaion. Let customer know when you will be starting their subscription at the later date. Once that dat comes around, then you would manually fufill that order start their subscription at that date. I would definately test out your subscription with an actual purchase (set the product price to $1 and the the renewal dates to weeks instead of months). A dry run of your subscription process, what you the merchant sees and your customer sees, is recommended).

THe biggest let down is Squarespace support wont help you if you have added custom code to the page you are have issues on.

This is why I will be recommending all of my squaresapce ecommerce clients to move to Shopify to prevent any future let downs that Squarespace cannot support on including:

- No tax exemption on specific products (you must apply tax to all products in your store)
- Only showing up to 100 products on a page for websites built with 7.0 (even though they advertise 10,000+ product display availability, a feature only available with a 7.1 website).
- Not possible to add free shiping to specific product (the only workaround for this is to offer free shiping based on weight total, and then adding tht weight total to the products you want to have frees shipping).

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/15/2020 at 12:56 PM, JamesLD said:

We have a commerce website and so far the commerce functionality has been fine for our needs. 

We are looking to expand our product ranges soon and as part of that one product range will be offered as a monthly subscription service to customers. We have spent some time looking into this and know that the functionality within SquareSpace is pretty limited

This is an old thread, but the situation hasn't changed. I find that Squarespace is great place to start building a brand and transacting with customers, but if your business takes off, you'll easily outgrow the platform within a year. If you have subscription products, moving active subscribers to another platform will be painful for you and your customers, many of whom may be irritated or confused, and may choose not to create a subscription on the new platform.

Squarespace is still the best website design solution available for small businesses, but if you need an advanced commerce platform, or think you'll need one within a year, I strongly recommend Shopify instead. 

There are a number of long-standing limitations with Squarespace Commerce where no visible progress is being. I shared the list with Squarespace shortly after the launch of Subscriptions in 2018 - and I have discussed them a number of times since - but very little has changed (my post includes updates). 

sf-digital-signature-logo-email145.png.46606a2288a2847f44d81b9b7b58f3a5.png
Hi! I'm Paul, an independent Squarespace Consultant since 2007 and founder of SF Digital, building the features that Squarespace didn't include. Our mini-extensions allow you to pick dates in any format, show prices in other currencies, take orders without payment or improve your cartI value honesty, integrity, transparency and respect . Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if this helps, but I've been running a subscription business on a squarespace for 4 years. The solution we came up with was an external app to manage the subscription side of things. It's slightly annoying in that I now have transactions happening on two platforms (squarespace and paywhirl), but it works fine, and every time I look at moving to Shopify I end up staying with my current solution because it's a lot cheaper for what I need. OP - I reckon paywhirl can do everything you're after. It's pretty customisable.

I keep looking at squarespace's subscription offering, but it really does seem pretty limited - has anyone actually seen any success stories?

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14 minutes ago, AngieNovelTea said:

The solution we came up with was an external app to manage the subscription side of things.

Using a third party solution for subscriptions does remove the risk of moving between hosting platforms. Moonclerk is another very popular solution that can be embedded.

sf-digital-signature-logo-email145.png.46606a2288a2847f44d81b9b7b58f3a5.png
Hi! I'm Paul, an independent Squarespace Consultant since 2007 and founder of SF Digital, building the features that Squarespace didn't include. Our mini-extensions allow you to pick dates in any format, show prices in other currencies, take orders without payment or improve your cartI value honesty, integrity, transparency and respect . Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

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