Membership Or Subscription?
There are two kinds of Gumroad products that allow you to charge customers in recurring billing cycles: Subscriptions and Memberships. Both of these require your customers to create Gumroad accounts, allowing them to access your files and manage their payment information, and both of them can be used for products that require regular installments (i.e. a magazine, newsletter, or short film series).
The difference between these products is how customers receive updates.
When you create a Subscription product on Gumroad, as long as a customer is subscribed to your product, they will receive all of your updates. At the moment, Subscription products do not work in our mobile app for Gumroad buyers. For more information on Subscriptions, see here.
With a Membership, your customer will buy the product and have immediate access to every file you've added to it through your Product's Edit page. They will have access to this, essentially a library or archive of files, as long as they are subscribed.
Create A Membership
On the Gumroad homepage, click Add a Product, then Subscription.
Click Membership, and simply name and price your project, add a file, then click Add.
Be sure that your currency and billing rate are correct, as you cannot change these once you have clicked Add.
Typo? Decimal in the wrong place? Don't worry, my fast-and-loose-fingered friend, you can change the price and name of your product at any time.
The screen that appears after Add is virtually identical to any other product's edit mode. You can upload a cover image, enter a title, enter a dazzling description, and the best part of all - upload all of your files (and edit them if necessary). All of the files added here will be accessible to current members.
Like any other product, you will have the ability to PDF Stamp any PDF files you upload, add subtitles to a video file, or disallow the download of video files. This is a good option if your project is a monthly film series. Keep 'em streaming, and keep 'em checking back.
Go to your product's Options tab, to set up alternative, possibly incentivized payment plans for your customers (hint hint). Type over the grey font in a box to set a price for that payment option. Once you've set a price, the green checkmark will appear, signalling that this payment option is now "live." Simply click the green checkmark to cancel that payment option.
Fixed-Length or Forever?
On the Options tab of your product, you can establish whether or not your subscription is fixed-term, or continues until the subscription is either manually cancelled by you or your customer.
After a customer's subscription has automatically ended, they will still be able to view all of their updates in their library. This is a terrific feature to take advantage of if you are selling e-courses or annual magazine subscriptions through Gumroad. Learn more about fixed-length subscriptions here.
Please note that the number you enter must be a multiple of the payment options you are offering on the product. So, if you are offering a yearly payment option, you can't set the subscription to end after 13 months. Make sense? Let us know if you have questions.
After a customer's subscription to this product has automatically ended, they will still be able to view all of their updates in their library. This is a terrific feature to take advantage of if you are selling e-courses on Gumroad, or annual magazine subscriptions, podcast memberships, or using a workflow to drip content to customers over the course of a few months.
Your product has been published and purchased, and you're ready to add a new file to it. Hurray! New stuff!
Every time you add a file to your archive at this point, you will see a pop-up window that lets you send a quick, basic message to your customers, letting them know that the product has been updated.
You can also send out automated, scheduled updates to your customers through the Workflows feature. These updates will also show up in your customers' libraries and be saved there. These updates are sent out based on the time of purchase, so you can time them out for each customer.
How it Works for Customers
Like a normal subscription file, your customers will create a Gumroad account when they buy from you, and access all your updates from their Gumroad Library. They will be able to use our mobile apps (for iPhone or Android) to view these files, and can cancel their subscription through their Library.
You can also cancel your customers' subscriptions, refund them for specific payment installments, or resend their receipts through the Customers tab.
If you send out updates to the customers of your membership product through the updates tab, they will only see the updates sent out after they have purchased the product. They will have access to all files you have uploaded to the product itself, but not any files you have sent out through the Updates tab. Read more about updates here.
For example, if you have 6 customers on January 1 and you send them an update saying "Happy New Year," any new customers in February will not see that update. They will never know that you wished them a happy new year. It's unfortunate, but by February it's a little late to be told that anyway.
Restrictions of Memberships
We are always working to improve the Gumroad subscription payments feature, but there are a few things we have not built yet. Once we add these cool functions, we will strike them from this list, shout our joy to the world, and return to work in the same clothes as yesterday, drained and smelly, but content and eager to start chipping away at the next feature.
To review (and to put these all in an easy-to-read place), these are:
- You can neither change your billing rate nor currency after you have created your membership.
- You can not change the price of your membership to affect existing subscribers. Price changes only affect future subscribers.
- You can not delay payments on subscriptions - i.e. where customers buy the membership on a launch date in March but do not pay until May. The date of purchase is the date of purchase.
- You can not create temporary discounts on memberships. If you create an offer code, it applies to all payments on your membership, it will not only apply to the first payment.