Although we ended the ability to subscribe for auto-ship of popular products over a year ago, we had a few legacy subscriptions that were still active as of this week.
Due to an update to our core eCommerce platform, the version of our subscription extension is no longer supported. Being that we ended internal support for this service, we were operating outside of the license for this extension until we fulfilled all existing product subscriptions.
A fatal error was created by the Subscription extension to our platform, causing our site to be offline while giving those that access the site an error. The only way to return our website to normal function was to immediately remove the old Subscription extension.
Q: How does this affect existing subscriptions?
All existing subscriptions have been terminated. As these were not prepaid, there is no financial risk to you as a customer with a now terminated subscription. Nor is there the ability to interact with those orders and related communications. Your payment method, if you did not have it stored otherwise, will be removed from our systems. With the removal of this extension, we also lose access to the auto-generated emails that customer would receive relating to the service.
You will not be billed for any future subscription installments, nor will any remaining orders be processed. In essence, your subscription order has been cancelled.
We apologize if this creates any disappointments as there was no other means to repair our entire website shopping experience without taking this action or paying to activate a new installation of the Subscription extension that we no longer wish to continue using.
Q: Will product subscriptions ever return?
It is likely they will once we see more demand from our customers through repeated like item purchases, we will do the analysis to see what is the best means to make it easier and of value to our shoppers to automatically get their favorite items replenished in sensible intervals. What items and what those intervals may be is the key to its future success. For the size of operations at this moment it is not a smart step for us to take.
The tech side of it: We use an open source eCommerce system that is designed by and to be used with WordPress websites. Every added feature we offer outside of basic order processing requires an annual subscription to individual “extensions” to be able to offer these features. Many of these features are seemingly core functions that one would expect, but with the ecosystem we are using they are not. For example, the ability to print a packing slip is an added paid feature; along with offering coupons, validating your addresses to ensure your order does not get lost, offering order pick up, even to be able to send you an email with the tracking number. Behind the scenes there are more extensions we use to allow us to be found easily via web searches, and make it easier to update our website.
We love the idea of Open Source and the flexibility it brings. It allows us to offer a wide array of services and functionality in a cost effective manner. While other services like Shopify offer a similar variety of services, they are forced into tiered bundles that would lead us to pay significantly more to have access to the few services that suit our needs. Although Open Source is often free to use, a developer is permitted to charge for customer support. In essence, that is what we are getting for what we pay. The negative with that is, it is exceptionally poor customer service. The ability is there to have someone design all these extensions for us, but that would likely cost even more and would still be affected by updates to our core platform forcing changes to added functions that would need to be addressed. For now, for us, this is a most efficient and cost effective means to be competitive while offering more services.