Designing the front page of a subscription website comes with some unique challenges and difficulties. With the steady increase of businesses who are switching to subscription-based models, we have decided to put together the most important points to consider when designing subscription websites, and a handful of premium WordPress subscription themes to help you with that.
Subscription Websites: The Numbers
The e-commerce industry is now reportedly a trillion-dollar industry. People from all walks of life find it more convenient to purchase goods and services (physical or digital) on the internet.
The e-commerce industry has diversified in recent years and has branched out into several sub-markets, one of the most popular being the subscription market. McKinsey reports growth of more than 100% a year from 2011 to 2016.
Nowadays, most of the services we use day to day are subscription-based. Anything from music to movies and even shaving kits are being sold via a subscription as this has become an increasingly convenient way to buy services and products online.
Generally speaking, customers do not have a particular preference for subscription-based products or services; they prioritize flexible experiences and value (think unlimited movies on Netflix or songs on Apple Music). It is also reported that subscription businesses have adapted to mobile users in a better fashion and that has indirectly facilitated the growth of the entire subscription-based services market.
The Role of Design
Of primary importance on a subscription page is that users can easily and quickly view the specifics and features of a product, and obviously its costs.
Although a subscription page can be rather straightforward and might not be the first page a user would see in their journey with the product, it’s a really important junction where a potential customer will decide whether or not they will commit to the purchase.
Important Points to Consider When Designing a Subscription Website
The importance of user experience and user interface when it comes to subscription pages cannot be overstated. Below are the main UX and UI points to be considered when designing the front page of a subscription website.
1. Display Visual Elements That Build Trust
The most important visual elements of any e-commerce page are those that build trust. These visual cues help the potential customer commit to a purchase by reducing their anxiety when they have to buy.
Generally, having a professional but friendly design, displaying social-proof by means of testimonials and past-customer reviews, and displaying seals of secure connections and refund policies greatly help with making the users feel more comfortable.
And it’s important to note that this trust you’re building does have to go beyond the website, into the actual service you’re selling!
“[…] Consumers are quick to cancel services that don’t deliver a superior experience—for example, because of poor product quality, dissatisfaction with the assortment, or a lack of perceived value” - McKinsey 2018 Report
2. Make Subscribing Easy & Attention-Grabbing
Every step in a user’s journey can be ranked by importance and the page where the user subscribes or purchases is definitely the most important one. It’s important to make the process of subscribing as short, seamless, and easy as possible by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled and buttons to be clicked. The easiest way to make that happen is to direct attention to the call-to-action, and that can be accomplished by making the CTA element a different color (generally brighter and more prominent) or at least ensure it contrasts suitably.
3. Provide Options & Compare the Benefits
Providing options on a subscription page is essential when it comes to reducing user anxiety. Most users won’t suffer buyer’s remorse if the purchase that they committed to is not done by impulse and is considered to be well thought out. Displaying a comparison of benefits and by having various subscription plans in the first place is key.
Another aspect to note is that different plans allow for a certain plan to be highlighted which in turn will result in higher returns and profits–and research is plentiful to back this statement up.
4. De-Clutter Your Subscription Page
A subscribe page has to be simple, straightforward, and should facilitate the main goal: making the subscription take place. For this, de-cluttering the page and keeping only the essentials on it would be the way to go. Prioritize readability, ease of use, and one main action or choice.
Top WordPress Subscription Plugins
There are several WordPress plugins that can help you set up subscription plans and accept recurring payments with additional functionality and features. Below is a quick overview of the plugins that are great for setting up subscription pages.
WooCommerce Subscriptions allows you to create and manage products with recurring payments–payments that will give you residual revenue which you can track and count.
With WooCommerce Subscriptions you can introduce a variety of subscriptions for physical or virtual products and services. Create product-of-the-month clubs, weekly service subscriptions, or even annual software billing packages. Adding sign-up fees, offering free trials, or setting expiration periods is also easily done.
aMember for WordPress lets you accept subscription payments, manage customer profiles, deliver digital content, integrate with your blog, forum, or CMS, send opt-in newsletters, run your own affiliate program and more.
aMember gives you quick access to the most useful functions, integration with over 200 payment methods, alongside other possible integrations besides WordPress.
Restrict Content Pro is a full-featured, powerful membership plugin for WordPress that lets you create an unlimited number of discount codes and offer percentage or flat rate based discounts via an elegant and easy-to-use interface.
It creates reports that show you exactly how well your membership site is performing and lets you easily see the current month’s performance (or any other time period‚. There’s contextual help inside the WordPress admin which provides relevant information at your fingertips. The plugin lets you create an unlimited number of subscription packages (including free, trial, and premium subscriptions).
MemberPress is an easy to use WordPress Membership Plugin. With it you can build WordPress membership sites where members can subscribe in order to gain access to your content. Through MemberPress you can accept credit cards securely, control which membership levels see which content, and sell digital downloads, all without any hassles in the setup process.
Top 7 Premium WordPress Subscription Themes
Besides WordPress plugins which can be integrated into your existing sites to sell subscription-based products and services, you can use these premium WordPress subscription themes which come packed with features and let you do a lot more than just create and sell products.
thebox is a premium WordPress subscription theme that gives you a professional look for your company’s subscription website with virtually unlimited design choices. thebox helps you build your subscription-based website in minutes, with a drag and drop builder, an understandable management panel, and all this with no coding is required.
Eduma is an education WordPress theme that is made for educational web platforms, LMS (Learning Management Systems), training centers, courses, and academies. This is a premium subscription theme and one of the best education WordPress themes around, containing all the features of this author’s previous “eLearning WP” theme, but with an improved user-interface and experience.
Skrin is a media streaming theme, comes packed with a multitude of features, and is easy to custiomize. The theme comes with detailed documentation to help you get started alongside additional features like a Membership Platform, Video Player and a Drag & Drop Page Builder.
Wyzi is a versatile premium WordPress business directory theme that has a multitude of features. The theme comes with several layout styles, a front-end user dashboard, and a subscription package creator. The theme leverages the WooCommerce Subscription plugin enabling businesses to choose a subscription package to determine the level of exposure they’re granted on the platform.
CBKit is a multi-purpose, eLearning learning management system (LMS) on WordPress for teachers, instructors, education centers, schools, and universities to create and manage their own online course-oriented website.
This theme’s flexibility can help you easily create beautiful online courses, and create subscription plan pages. The theme also comes with a course builder (which is easy to use and requires no coding knowledge) and a conversion-oriented interface and user-experience.
Online learning is a really popular niche for subscription websites and Edukare is another example.
Edukare is an education WordPress theme suitable for all kinds of institutions or course-based learning. It comes with extensive functionality to add courses and lessons, all the necessary features and pages, including subscription plan setup and a fully responsive layout.
Epsilon is a premium subscription WordPress theme that claims to be an outstandingly powerful, smart learning management system-based theme in which courses, lessons, quizzes and questions are easily made and managed.
The courses and subscriptions can be free, or paid via all popular payment methods. Epsilon comes with 8 demos and with fully responsive layouts and a retina ready design.
Subscription-based services are on the rise like never before, which means that adapting to customer behaviors is crucial, especially when it comes to designing interfaces and experiences for those users.
This article outlined best practices for design, listed some examples of WordPress subscription plugins, and premium WordPress subscription themes to help you create outstanding experiences for your users. Check out the other WordPress subscription themes available on Themeforest for more inspiration.
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