How do a I create a trial that converts to an active subscription?

ePublishing supports two types of trials. 

  1. Trials that end and are not converted to recurring paid subscriptions. If you are interested in scenario 1, then please see How do I create a standard free trial?

  2. Trials that convert to recurring paid subscriptions. 

This article is about scenario 2, a free trial that converts to a paid recurring subscription.

Business Value
Having a free trial auto convert into a paid subscription increases your marketing tunnel throughput by ensuring prospects convert into customers.

In order to use this feature you need the following:

  1. Authorize.net setup as your payment gateway. 
  2. Authorize.net configured for automatic renewal billing. 
  3. The product setup as a recurring billing subscriptioproduct.  
  4. The unit field for the product must be set to months or days.

Note: your site may need to have /subscriptions/trial/ID and the cancellation button on /user/profile styled. Your Project Manager can help you figure out if this is applicable to your site. 

1. Setup the recurring billing subscription product

Create a product in the Product Manager that you want used for the free trial conversion. See this article for how to create a subscription product.

The product type needs to be subscription.  

Go to Edit > Supplemental and tag the product with the classification Free Trial to Recurring (internal name FREE_TRIAL_TO_RECURRING).

For most sites, the hierarchy for this taxonomy is Classification > Subscriptions > Free Trial to Recurring (internal name FREE_TRIAL_TO_RECURRING). Reach out to your Project Manager if you do not see this classification. 

2. Specify the length of the trial and the recurring cost

In order to make it a recurring billing product, then go to Edit > Custom. Click the box for Recurring Billing and then click Update classifications.

In the recurring cost field, specify the amount for the recurring transactions.

In the recurring.trial.days field, specify the number of days you want the free trial to last.
Note: for some sites, the name of this field can vary. Ask your Project Manager for the name of the field for your site.

3. Direct end users to the front-end form /subscriptions/trial/ID

End users can sign up for the trial conversion using the form /subscriptions/trial/ID. The ID is the product ID. For example, if the product you setup has an ID of 141, then the URL for ends users to get the trial conversion is /subscriptions/trial/141.

End users simply fill out this form including their credit card information. Then the user will get the free trial for the length of time specified in recurring.trial.days and will be automatically converted to a recurring billing subscriber.
 

The cadence for the recurring billing is determined by the duration field in the Product Manager. Authorize.net processes the recurring billing.
 

The duration field unit must be set to days or months. 

How can my customers cancel the automatic payments?


A user is welcome to cancel the renewal billing any time by going to /user/profile, clicking on the subscriptions tab, and then clicking the CANCEL AUTOMATED BILLING button. This cancels the recurring billing in Authorize.net. The user's subscription will be cancelled based on when the user has paid through. For example, if a user has been charged for a subscription through 1/30/20 and the user cancels on 1/19/20, then the subscription in will still be active until 1/30/20.

Editorial content area for customizing messaging

The form /subscriptions/trial/ID has an editorial content area which displays when the product is tagged with Free Trial to Recurring (FREE_TRIAL_TO_RECURRING).

The name of the editorial content area is subscription.form.trial.recurring.bottom. It can be used to tell end users that their trial will convert into a paid subscription. The screenshot below shows where this EC renders.