Subscriptions Beta Now Includes Fulfillment Tools

When we announced our Subscriptions Beta earlier this year, the Big Cartel team eagerly watched and waited to see how shops would use this new tool. Would they switch the feature on? Could it change the way they interacted with their regulars? Had this work-in-progress Beta feature given folks enough to work with?

We weren’t sure quite what to expect, but after seeing how a few early adopters promoted Subscriptions to their audiences, we set to work to make their ideas a little easier.

Rewards and Recurring Shipments

One trend we saw crop up quickly was the offer of physical goods, either as a thank you to backers, or as a repeat shipment each month after someone’s subscription payment of a specific amount was processed. This was so cool to see! But we had a feeling we could make this process easier for shop owners. They faced a few challenges:

  • gathering shipping info so that products could be sent out efficiently
  • knowing when a subscriber’s monthly payment was complete and they were ready for their next shipment
  • covering the sales tax so that Uncle Sam stayed happy

We took this list and set out to solve it.

Subscriptions with Benefits

Phase one of the Subscriptions Beta was intended as a way for you to receive income for your shop, without it being tied to the product-focused portion of your business. Phase two addresses shops that use Subscriptions as separate from traditional shopping, but still product oriented. We call this mode “Subscriptions with shippable benefits.” There are still all sorts of scenarios that you might dream up, but if someone in the US is giving you money with the expectation of receiving a physical item, the IRS is gonna want to know about it, and you’re gonna need a way to get that item to its new owner.

Select that “shippable benefits” option when you switch on Subscriptions in the Get Paid section of your shop’s Account page.

Each time your subscriber’s payment is processed, their info will show up like an unshipped order in your shop admin. You’ll see their shipping details and the amount they spend on their subscription (good for shops that have set up a few different options or tiers for their subscribers).

As for the sales tax, that’ll be collected and submitted just like on regular sales, without any extra work on your part.

Just A Show of Support

If you’re offering Subscriptions as a way for your most devoted supporters to help sustain you, this is still an option! Just select the “donation mode” option and you’ll be able to receive tax-free donations from your fans, without any subscriptions clogging up your Unshipped Orders section.

Keep in mind, though, that subscribers will not be prompted to give shipping details when they sign up for a donation mode subscription.

Thank you to early adopters, beta testers, and survey-responders who helped shape this second phase of Subscriptions. We’re still building this beta to the best it can be, and you’re an integral part of getting there. If you have questions or feedback about this feature, we’re all ears.

Sarah Anderson

Marketing at Big Cartel. Loud talker, maker at City of Industry. Semi-professional aunt. Pretty psyched about all of it.

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