How to Take Advantage of Subscriptions in the Payment API

Written by: Scott Ring

At BlueSnap, we understand the value that subscriptions add to your businesses.  If we take a look at current trends in consumer purchase habits, it’s easy to see an uptake in the demand for simple. Simplified shopping options with a simple checkout experience combined with a desire for a “set it and forget it” setting for future transactions.

Our Payment API allows merchants to offer these simple subscription experiences.  First, our Payment API is designed to only require the fields needed to successfully process a transaction giving the flexibility to the merchants to define their own frictionless checkout experience.  Second, by using our vaulted shopper functionality combined with our award winning subscription engine, merchants are set up to provide years of benefits for themselves and their shoppers.

Taking a closer look at subscriptions, the simplicity of subscriptions means that once your shoppers are set up they never have to remember to reorder every month, which gives them the reassurance that they will have the product or service they want without any additional effort on their part.   A subscription model has benefits for merchants as well.  Once your shopper is setup on our subscription engine, there is no additional effort for you either.  Plus, when it comes time to sales forecasting you will have the ability to predict revenue through recurring sales.  Now that you understand the benefits, let’s take a look at how to make this all happen.

Create your plan

To get started with subscriptions, the first step is to set up your subscription billing plan using our “Create Plan” request within our Payment API. A billing plan defines the terms of the subscription such as the billing frequency, amount, currency, and so on.

In our example, we will set up a single billing plan for a gym membership. We will call our plan the “Gold Plan” and it will have a monthly billing frequency, charging $100 with a trial period of one week.

CreatePlan

The response will provide the ID for each plan. In this example, the Gold Plan’s ID will be 111

Adding your subscription

Now that we have our “Gold Plan” created, let’s add a shopper to the plan. Once the shopper is added to a plan, our Subscription Engine will take over and manage the recurring billing. To add a shopper to a plan, you will create a subscription for your shopper.

Use the Create Subscription request, and include the “Gold Plan” ID returned in the response (111) and add your shopper details.

CreateSubscriptionRequest

The response will provide the vaulted shopper ID for your shopper. In this example, Allen’s ID will be 121212

What’s next

Now that you have created your billing plan and created your subscription for Allen there is nothing more for you to do as our subscription engine manages the rest.  However, there are some additional features you may want to use, such as “update subscription”.  Perhaps you have a shopper on an old plan and you want to move them to this new “Gold Plan”.  To accomplish this, you will send an Update Subscription request, and change the plan ID for the subscription to the Gold Plan (ID 111). Since this is the only attribute that we want to change for this subscription, that is the only field we need to send in the request, as shown in this example:

UpgradeSubscription

Perhaps you’ve been using the subscription engine for a while and you want to see a list of all your plans:

To retrieve a list of all plans, we send a GET request to:
/services/2/recurring/plans?getTotal=true

Since we include the getTotal parameter, the response shows all plan details, as shown in this example:

RetrievePlans

Perhaps you want to know which shoppers are on your “Gold Plan”.  To retrieve a list of all subscriptions for a specific plan, for example the Gold Plan, we send a GET request to the subscriptions URL, with the Plan ID as a query parameter. For example:
/services/2/recurring/subscriptions/?getTotal=true&planid=111

Since we include the getTotal parameter, the response shows all subscription details, including the relevant vaulted shopper ID for each subscription, as shown in this example:

RetrieveSubscriptions

Our Payment API, combined with our award winning subscription engine is a powerful combination to offer your shoppers a frictionless checkout experience along with years of recurring transactions allowing you to sit back and watch the revenue roll in.

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