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Turn your Magento Store into a Subscription Service with Aheadworks SARP 2

Turn your Magento Store into a Subscription Service with Aheadworks SARP 2

Online subscriptions are a very broad part of the eCommerce landscape. These types of businesses are often used for virtual media (like movies, news, music albums, etc), but they are more and more commonly also being deployed for non-virtual products. Subscription service sites (like Dollar Shave Club, Harrys.com, etc) are extremely popular online services, sending thousands of products directly to customer doorsteps.

If you are a Magento merchant with product catalogs common for this type of subscription service (beauty products, household goods, perishables) then it would be a no-brainer that a subscription service could bring added value to your site. If you are in a position where your catalog would benefit from becoming subscriptions, then you will need something more than native Magento features. Fortunately Aheadworks has an excellent addon that can help you implement this functionality.

Overview

Aheadworks Advanced Subscription Products (SARP2) is a full featured integration to enable subscription-based services on your subscription store. Subscription services by nature will help generate more sales as you lock in your customers to subscription periods. However, your customers get flexibility in front-end subscription management, like changing subscripting plans, enable/disable subscriptions, and extend current subscriptions.

This extension will:

  • Allow any product to become a subscription, with multiple subscription period choices (any number of days, weeks, months)
  • Provides a customer account area to manage their subscription status
  • Support these product types: Simple, Downloadable, Virtual and Configurable
  • Support a number of Payment Gateways
  • Enable Email alerts for when subscription statuses change.

Features

  • SARP2 can turn any product into a recurring subscription. Further, each product can have any number of subscription types added to it. This way you can add 1 week, 1 month, 3 month, etc subscriptions. You can also create custom subscription periods, like 9 days, 3 months, 2 years and so on.
  • Customers can change their subscription periods directly from their account view.
  • If your customers have multiple subscriptions scheduled for the same day, the system will automatically group them into one order to save them on delivery fees.
  • Subscription plans can modify the price of a product, for example, you could reduce the product price by a flat fee or percentage if someone opted to purchase a subscription of the product.
  • ‘Membership’ style subscriptions are supported.
  • A customer can checkout with both subscription and non subscription products in the same order.
  • Fee based subscriptions, installments, and subscription extensions are all supported.

How It Works

Aheadworks SARP2 will generate a subscription automatically on successful order of a subscription product. This will automatically generate a scheduled subscription payment in the database. Once the date of the scheduled payment arrives, a payment will be initiated using a secure token. Then, a new order will be generated in Magento, to signal to you that the customer’s payment succeeded, and their order should be processed. In this manner, SARP2 is basically a “dropin” extension that gives you all the subscription features, but integrates with your sales and fulfillment workflows using native Magento features.

Magento processes will automatically generate emails to your customers at the proper time periods, to keep them alerted to subscription actions or status changes, and will increase the likelyhood that they will visit your store again if they are satisfied with their current subscription selections. Return visits give you the opportunitiy to interact with a more engaged customer base.

Limitations

During our review of this extension, we found that customer group pricing was not an option. We followed up with Aheadworks and they told us that was on the feature road map. Aheadworks support in general was quite good and helped us with a number of quirks that we needed assistance with to integrate fully into our custom theme, and even helped bug check compatibility with other vendor extensions.

Final Thoughts

We have used a number of 3rd party vendor extensions in Magento installations, and Aheadworks SARP2 is an excellent one. Perfect for drop in Magento sites, and the code quality was such that extending the features of SARP2 ourselves was painless. If any of the above features are of interest to you, drop us a line and we can assist you with installation and configuration.

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