While many businesses often see a bit of a lull at the end of summer, it’s been buzzing here at LemonStand. We’ve seen new customer growth explode higher and our product team has been hard at work all summer squeezing out some juicy new LemonStand features that we think you’ll love. Read on to learn more about the fruits of our labor (pun intended).
New In Depth Setup Tutorial Video and Demo
To make it even easier to get started with LemonStand or to see if LemonStand might be for you, we published a fresh new in-depth setup tutorial/demo video that walks through most of the key steps to setting up your LemonStand store for the first time.
New Subscription Features
With subscription based retail growing like gangbusters and disrupting many traditional retailers, we’ve seen a big uptick in new customers launching or scaling some very cool subscription businesses on LemonStand. As well, we’ve seen some more established businesses diversifying from a traditional one-time retail purchase model to a mix of subscriptions and one-time purchases.
The feedback we’ve gotten is that LemonStand already has some features that really stand out and allow for more advanced subscription models where subscribers can easily change their billing plans, product selections and more themselves. Merchants can also design unique signup and purchase flows that most competing eCommerce platforms can’t handle, even with third party plugins – which we also hear are often more trouble than they’re worth 🙂
We’ve been working with many of these customers on building out more subscription features that give retailers even more flexibility and help them grow even faster. Check out the details below…
One of the weaknesses that we knew about was that setting up the association between a subscription billing plan and the subscription products being sold was more difficult than it needed to be. To make this easier, we had a couple of themes in our theme library that were specifically designed for subscriptions. Stores using these themes would need to be set up a certain way, and usually any subscription plan could be selected for any subscription products.
We heard loud and clear that it needed to be much easier to associate specific products or groups of products with specific billing plans, so we’ve added the ability to associate any product with one or more billing plans right from the product catalog management interface. For maximum flexibility, we also made it possible to set a product that could only be sold on subscription, only as a one-time purchase, or a mix of both.
Broader Theme Support for Subscriptions – Coming Soon
Now that we’ve added the ability to configure the rules around when a product can be sold on subscription and which subscription billing plans it can be ordered on, we’re working on enabling all of our available free, open source, mobile responsive themes with some subscription functionality. While there are some themes like our Coffree theme that are mostly designed for subscriptions and may have some more advanced features that are specific to this type of business, all of our other themes will soon include at least some basic “Subscribe and Save” type subscription features too. We’re hard at work on these updates now and will be rolling them out in the fall.
Trial Period and Incentives
As word has gotten out about the flexibility available in LemonStand, we’ve attracted innovative businesses who are applying similar models to the Harry’s razor subscription model, where they give away a free trial pack and then sign their customers up to a recurring subscription of blades. We’ve built that functionality in so that for any subscription billing plan you can set up a trial period, assign a free trial product and even offer a one time discount on their first order if desired.
In the early days after first launching our subscription features, we found that most customers were either focused on a subscription only business, or a more traditional retail model where they sold products as one-time purchases. As a result, we didn’t allow for what we call a mixed cart checkout, where customers can purchase items on a recurring subscription alongside one-time purchases.
Over time, we’ve seen a shift, where traditional retailers are diversifying their businesses and introducing subscription and recurring orders to create a more predictable stream of ongoing revenue, maximize the lifetime value of customers and ultimately grow even faster. To accommodate these needs, we’ve enhanced our checkout engine so that it’s possible to purchase a mix of one-time purchase products and recurring subscription products at the same time, even though fulfillment (and sometimes payment) may happen at different times.
Here’s a simple example of what that looks like from flavored water innovator and LemonStand customer Cirkul, who offers a Harry’s type trial set with a free water bottle and sample flavor pack that ships one time alongside a recurring subscription of flavor packs.
More scheduling Flexibility
We’ve added the ability to set up subscription billing plans with an “Every x months” schedule in addition to weekly, monthly and “Every x days”. This allows for quarterly, annual, bimonthly and other schedules that were previously a bit less accurate to set up.
We also added the ability to manually override an upcoming renewal date for a specific subscriber and also to manually retry a failed subscription renewal or manually generate a new order for fulfillment outside of the normal schedule, which some of our customers are using to manage replacement orders for lost or damaged shipments or just to send an extra shipment to customers who ran out earlier than expected.
More Email Notifications for Subscription Events
As we’ve added more flexibility to our subscriptions engine, our customers identified some new events where they wanted to send email notifications to their customers. We added several new customizable email notification templates that are triggered for these events. After adding them, we realized that the number of email templates that can be set up for subscription and other events in LemonStand was becoming unwieldy, so we made some UI improvements to make this easier to manage.
We added a tabbed interface for different types of email templates and we added the ability to toggle whether any email template is active. You can also add a bcc email address to any email template configuration to send a blind copy of the email if needed.
We also built quick links to all subscription email templates right into the subscription billing plan configuration.
New and Improved Themes and Theme Management
New Theme Management Interface
We’ve made it even easier to find, select and install the theme that best fits your business from our theme library with a new search and filtering interface.
We’ve made it even simpler for you to make and test theme changes without impacting your customers. You can install more than one copy of your theme (or even other themes) and set one to Live – which your customers will see, and the one you want to edit and test to Editing. The Editing theme can be edited from our admin panel or locally in your own desktop editor using our developer tool LemonSync. You can learn more about how this works from our documentation.
Major updates to all themes
As LemonStand’s features have continued to expand, some of the themes in our theme library haven’t always kept up. We decided it was high time we updated all of our themes to expose many of these new features. We also added some nice configuration and content enhancements to make it even easier to update your store’s content, navigation and design without needing to edit theme code. A summary of improvements is listed below.
- We added theme templates that use our new and improved CMS features for blogs and site pages to all of our themes to make it easy for business users to publish new blog posts and pages using our WYSIWYG publishing tools
- We built in support for our advanced related products features to allow for merchandising of both upsell and cross-sell products
- We updated some of our older themes to include our built-in product reviews feature. Check out this example from our Happy Hour theme.
- We added support for displaying any configured volume pricing tiers to all theme. Volume pricing tiers are often used by our B2B customers.
- We updated some of our older themes to display inventory levels for products if inventory tracking is enabled for a store
- We built support for automatically displaying any custom product attributes that have been defined into all themes. Product attributes are often use for many custom display values, a good example being a list of product specifications.
- We added a contact page using our contact form features to some themes which didn’t already have them built in
- We updated the navigation menus to make them easier to manage and edit using our WYSIWYG editor in widget blocks.
- We added more theme customization options to all of our themes to make it even easier for users to customize the way their store looks
New App Integrations
We’re continuing to grow our ecosystem of integration partners and apps that work well with LemonStand. Below are a few of our most recent additions.
- Orange Marmalade – a shipping automation and order management platform
- Userlike – Live website chat for sales and customer support
- CartStack – an advanced, yet simple cart abandonment recovery marketing solution
- GrooveJar – a conversion rate optimization tool for online stores
As you can see, it wasn’t a slow summer at LemonStand. We hope you see some things you like in the list above and stay tuned, we’re juicing up a lot more improvements for the fall!