This article applies to Classic Commerce. (Looking for Contextual Commerce documentation?)
A free trial is a great marketing tool and a solid way to establish good will with new customers. Some potential customers may not be willing to pay for a new product, but will definitely try it for free. If the customers enjoy the product, they will keep it and spread the word. A customer tells an average of 16.5 other potential customers about a product they like (source). Sometimes a short trial period for free prepares customers for the decision of paying for a product or service in the future. One way to lessen the financial impact is by offering a discounted rate for a trial period. You could also provide trial users with a discount code that they can pass on to their friends. In addition to seeing free trials as an opportunity to gain new customers, they can also be used as a way to improve you product because they can provide valuable feedback about your product.
Depending on whether or not you have already created the subscription product for which you want to offer a free trial, the setup process varies.
Creating a New Subscription Product with a Free Trial
Go to SpringBoard's Store Home » Products and Pages. Click Create Subscription Product from the right side of the page.
You will want to set up your subscription products in SpringBoard with a descriptive name. These detailed names should include your company's branding or website name and the name of the product. For example, a product could be called "Test Company Font Maker 4.0" or "Font Maker 4.0 Corporate License." A poor product name would be "Corporate License." Detailed product names reduce the number of chargebacks your store will receive if customers order your product but later do not recognize the product name. Next, select the Regular Period Length you want, which is the length of time between subsequent subscription billing periods for your product. Then enter in the Regular Period Recurring Price, which is the price charged to customers each regular billing period.
Select the First Period Length, which will be the length of time you wish to offer your subscription product for free. Select Free for the First Period Price. Click Create. When customers visit your FastSpring Store, they will see the recurring price they will be charges as well as the length of their free trial. They must still enter payment information, and, for credit cards, we do a $0 authorization to the credit card which validates that the card (which will be automatically charged at the end of the free trial) is valid and in good standing.
Adding a Free Trial to an Existing Subscription Product
If you want to add a free trial to an existing subscription product, go to SpringBoard's Store Home » Products and Pages. Select the subscription product to which you want to add a free trial. Click Edit Price. Click Create Price.
Click Create. Click to Edit Conditions.
Select Order Environment Condition, and click Next. Under Applies When, select First Period, and click Create. Click the toggle to move to Active Status.
Changing the Length of the Free Trial Period
If, at any time after originally creating the subscription product, you wish to change the length of the free trial period, go to SpringBoard's Store Home » Products and Pages. Select the subscription product on which you want to change the length of the free trial. Click Edit. Select a new First Period Length, and click Save.
Common Questions and Concerns Regarding Free Trials
Does adding a free trial to a subscription product or making changes to the free trial period affect existing customers.
Instead of offering a free trial, can I offer a trial period for an amount lower than the Regular Period Recurring Price?
Yes, if you have already created your subscription product, go to SpringBoard's Store Home » Products and Pages. Select the subscription product. Click Prices. Click on Fixed Price $0.00 USD. Enter in the amount you want to charge for the trial period and click Save.
I'm concerned that a customer could sign up for a free trial, cancel before it ends, and then sign up again. How can I prevent this from occurring?
While FastSpring has no special measures in place to prevent someone from signing up repeatedly for a free trial, it is rarely a problem. If you do end up having these issues, you should open a support ticket and let us know. There are some potential steps we can assist you in implementing to proactively reduce such issues. As an example, we could block certain email addresses or help you to use their email address as their account ID on your end.
We're Here to Help
If you need assistance with adding a free trial to your subscription product, please open a support ticket.