Implementing a Membership or Subscription Service using Sitefinity Ecommerce

Implementing a Membership or Subscription Service using Sitefinity Ecommerce

July 09, 2012 0 Comments

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Out of the box, Sitefinity empowers you to easily manage permissions for CMS users and roles.  Many customers have used Sitefinity to create content pages that are assigned to certain roles; like platinum, gold or silver.   You can use these permission roles along with Sitefinity Ecommerce to create a membership or subscription service.   These features, along with the Sitefinity Email Campaign Manager and Sitefinity Social Widgets, gives you a great tool for creating a membership or subscription based web site.  When ecommerce was first introduced into Sitefinity in July of 2011, the first feature created was the ability to allow visitors to purchase a membership or subscription service. This allowed existing users of Sitefinity the ability to use an integrated system, allowing for easier administration and operations.  By using this feature, Sitefinity customers were able to reduce overhead costs from using a 3rd party services or software applications to handle membership and subscription requests.

How it works

Create a user role in Sitefinity, then create a product in Sitefinity and assign a role to the product.  It is that easy!    Upon successful checkout, the user is assigned to this role. 

Getting Started

First, watch this video on users roles and permissions.   The video explains how to create user roles with specific permissions.   Once you have created a role, click on the navigation tab for Ecommerce and select “Types of products”.  Create a new product type that contains “Services or other non-shippable products (e.g. subscriptions”).  This options does many things, but most importantly upon checkout, the visitor is not presented with an option to enter their shipping address.    If your membership or subscription service is for downloadable products or a possibly a “wine of the month club” whereby you need to ship products, then select the corresponding option for your membership or subscription type.  (Note:  Shippable products is the only option which will ask for shipping information upon checkout).

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Once you have created the product type, create a new product using this product type and enter all of the relative information for this membership.  At the bottom of the “add product page” there is a button for “More options”, click on this option and select the role to be associated with this product.   Each role requires a separate product, however you can create a product with options, and each option can represent a month, quarter or yearly payment.  To show all of your membership options on a page, add a new department called Membership, or create a tag called ‘membership’ and add this tag to each membership product.    Save the product and proceed to next step.
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The next step involves creating a content page and dragging and dropping the ecommerce widget “product list” on to the page.  Edit the properties of the product list and select how you want your product membership page displayed.

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Here is what a front end product membership page can look like.   Because each widget uses a template, you can create your own style or format to show the different membership levels.

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Benefits for using Sitefinity

There are many benefits for using Sitefinity as a membership or subscription service.  Beside having the ability easily create products and assign them to roles, the biggest reason is the extensibility of the Sitefinity API.  Here, you can create a custom membership or subscription service adding custom fields in the “product types”.  You can also use the Sitefinity Email Campaign manager to send out specific email newsletters to specific members levels.  (Ex:  Tell Silver Membership level users why they should upgrade to Gold Membership).  However, there are also a few areas that Sitefinity will expand on in the future such as recurring charges, subscription expiration and reporting.   These features can be custom built using the Sitefinity API or using a Payment Gateway that supports recurring billing.    Authorize.net and PayPal PayFlow Pro offer recurring billing with expiration notices.   Sitefinity is very extensible and usually there is not a system or application that can handle every requirement.  Regardless, look for more features to be added to Sitefinity in the coming releases and please take a look at some of the modules and controls which have already been built for Sitefinity on the Sitefinity Market Place.  A good example is the  Sitefinity Events Registration Widget.

Types of web sites common for membership or subscription services

A good example would be a financial web site allowing visitors to pay a monthly subscription price.   Below is a list of the types of organizations which would benefit in using Sitefinity as a membership and subscription service application.

  • Financial Web Sites
  • Special Interest Groups
  • Steaming of music or videos
  • Internet Games
  • Kids clubs
  • Non-profits
  • Events
  • Social Web Sites
  • Religious Organizations

There are many other types of organizations which could benefit in using Sitefinity;  too many to list in this blog.   Again, Sitefinity is very extensible and the ability to create a custom membership or subscription service is not very difficult. 

Please contact a sales agent or ask to speak with a sales engineer for more information about Sitefinity as a membership and subscription service.

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The Progress Team

View all posts from The Progress Team on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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