For many business that sell online, there are two main types of revenue streams:
- Recurring revenue - this is revenue generated through offerings such as paid subscriptions for products and/or services, and memberships. One benefit of this method is you can shift your focus for this segment of your customers to providing great service and product rather than advertising and closing that sale because they are already interested - and they are already paying you. This type of revenue will be the focus of today’s blog.
- Transaction based – this is the revenue generated from sales of goods and is usually a one-time customer payment that may or may not happen again. Examples of this would be things like ticket sellers, AirBNBs, and grocery stores or other “regular” type online stores.
Please note that for the purposes of this blog, we will assume that we are working with an existing website that has been built in WordPress.
The first thing you will need to start your recurring revenue journey when working with a WordPress site is the WooCommerce plug-in. This plug-in adds the e-commerce functionality to have an online store on your website. This will give you access to additional plug-ins and extensions (some paid, some free). The nice part about this structure is you are able to add the functions and features you want to your store without having to purchase a package with functions you will never use..
The second thing you need is an extension developed for use what you will be offering. Here are three examples:
- WooSubscription allows you to set up a recurring charge for a subscription service. Examples of such might be a regularly scheduled (monthly, quarterly, etc.) shipment of a product, mailing of a newsletter, or appointment for a service.
- WooMemberships provides you with a way to manage memberships for things like a special interest, meet-up, or activity group. It can also allow you to set up a “Members Only” section of your website to feature content exclusively for your paid membership.
- WooBookings is an extension that will enable you to schedule paid appointments. This can be put to good use for both recurring and non-recurring revenue. For instance, as an incentive to book and pre-pay for services or service combos/packages, both paid members and the “general public” can be rewarded with member exclusive discounts and extras or a free gift for non-members.
As you can see, there are ways you can combine the extensions to create a variety of programs for generating recurring revenue.
So, now that you have the creative juices flowing with inspiration for ideas, how are you going to get paid? That brings us to the third thing you need: a payment gateway. There are two extensions in WooCommerce that I feel are the most useful.
- Square is a free extension that is not difficult to add/install, and will allow you to process credit card payments.
- Converge, by Elavon. While this extension is not free, it will allow you to process not only credit cards, but ACH (an electronic bank-to-bank type of payment) and e-checks as well, giving you a little bit of an edge over your competitors who don’t accept those additional types of payment.
In the interest of transparency, I would like to disclose that Alexis Information Systems is an Elavon partner.