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How to Sell Recurring Products with 2Checkout

What Is A Recurring Product?

A recurring product is a product that will create a sale that will automatically bill your customer at a specified interval. These types of products are typically used for such items as web hosting, membership services or “Item of the Month” type products. Recurring products can either be created in your 2Checkout account and passed in using the Plug-n-Play parameter set or they can be passed in dynamically using our Hosted Checkout parameter set.
 

What Types Of Options Can My Recurring Products Have?

2Checkout currently supports recurrence intervals that will allow the sale to bill your customer every week, month or year. You also have the freedom to set how many of the intervals must pass for the sale to bill. This means you can set a sale to bill every 1 week, 2 weeks, 8 weeks, 7 months or even every 2 years.

Recurring products must also be given a duration, or the total amount of time the sale will bill before it stops billing. You can currently set a recurring product to bill for any specified number of weeks, months, years, or this can be set so the sale bills until it is canceled.

By combining your interval and duration you can set a sale to bill for exactly how long you need it to. If you wish to sell a 6 week e-book subscription where you will deliver a new e-book to your customer and bill them every week for 6 weeks we would create a product that bills every 1 week for 6 weeks. If you wish to create a web hosting subscription that bills the buyer monthly until canceled you would create a product that bills every 1 month for 'Forever'.

Recurring products can be both intangible products that require no shipping or tangible products which do require shipping. A tangible recurring product will be charged shipping on each installment that is billed. Shipping charges cannot be applied to intangible products.

If you need to add a one time charge for a recurring product you can set a start-up fee, which will be added to your products price on the first billing only. This start up fee will only be charged at the initial purchase. Setting a $10 start up fee would allow you to bill your customer, for example, monthly for $20, but charge the customer $30 the first billing.

You may also use a negative start up fee to lower, but not eliminate, the initial charge. Setting a -$10 start up fee would allow you to bill your customer, for example, monthly for $20, but charge the customer $10 the first billing.


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In the example above, recurring billing is set to bill Once a month until Cancelled.  The -4.00 for the start up fee indicates a discount of 4.00 off the first installment of the product (First Month in this example).  If the value is set to a positive amount, it will add an actual "start up fee" to the order.  The start up fee only applies to the very first installment and the buyer will be billed at the normal rate each consecutive billing cycle.
 

Recurring products may be edited, but this will NOT affect current recurring orders for those products. Editing a recurring product will only affect orders placed for that product after the changes to the product have been saved.


Recurring Billing using the Hosted Checkout Parameter Set:

The hosted checkout parameter set will allow you to pass in the recurring billing information dynamically and will allow you to use 2Checkout's Inline Checkout feature (note that the Plug and Play example described above will automatically default to the Standard Checkout purchase page).

 

Definitions:
recurrence: This is how often you would like to set your service to bill.  Example:  once a week = 1 Week, once every 3 months = 3 Month, twice a year = 2 Year etc.
duration:  This is the length of time you would like to bill the buyer.  Can be set to Week, Month, Year or Forever; if Forever is set, it will continue to bill until cancelled. 

Example 1: The following example using PTP will allow the product to bill every 2 weeks and will stop after 3 years.
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_recurrence" value="2 Week">
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_duration" value="3 Year">

Example 2: The following example using PTP will allow the product to bill once a month until cancelled:
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_recurrence" value="1 Month">
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_duration" value="Forever">

 
Example 3: The following example using PTP will allow the product to bill once a week and will stop after 3 weeks:
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_recurrence" value="1 Week">
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_duration" value="3 Week">

Additional Note: The value of the parameter MUST be formatted with a space after the number and a capital letter for Month, Week, Year and Forever

Adding a Start Up Fee using PTP:
You may also include a start up fee for each line item.  The start up fee will be either added or deducted (requires a negative value ex: -1.00) to the first recurring billing installment only. 

Example 1: The following example using PTP will allow the recurring billing plan to include a one time start up fee of 20.00 that will be added to the first installment only.
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_startup_fee" value="20.00">

Example 2: The Following example using PTP will allow the recurring billing plan to include a 5.00 discount on the first installment only.
<input type="hidden" name="li_#_startup_fee" value="-5.00">


In this form example the product is set to bill every 2 Weeks at the rate of 10.00 for the duration of 1 Year. The buyer will receive a discount of 2.00 on the first installment only.

<form action="https://www.2checkout.com/2co/buyer/purchase" method="POST">
<input type="hidden" name="sid" value="XXXXXXX">
<input type="hidden" name="mode" value="2CO">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_price" value="10.00">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_name" value="This is my Product">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_tangible" value="N">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_quanity" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_startup_fee" value="-2.00">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_type" value="product">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_recurrence" value="2 Week">
<input type="hidden" name="li_1_duration" value="1 Year">
<input type="submit" class="submit" name="purchase" value="Buy from 2CO" />
</form>

Note: To test the above example, you will need to change the value used for the "sid" parameter to your account number.


What Options Do I Have For Tracking My Sales?

Once a recurring sale has been placed, it can be viewed inside your 2Checkout account on its Sale Details page. This will show you each installment that has taken place, when each installment was billed, the billing amount for each installment that has billed and a running total that has billed on the sale to date. It will also contain all of the customer information and sale information just like non-recurring sales.

The Declined Recurrings and the Recurrings to Bill reports will help you track your recurring sales. The Declined Recurrings report will show you each sale that is currently in a declined state, the customers name and the USD total for the re-billing attempt . When a recurring sale declines your customer is sent an email notifying them of this and they are provided a link to update the billing information they have on file. Suppliers will also receive a copy of this email so they are aware that a billing was not successful. When a customers updates the billing information on a recurring order that declined on the most recent re-billing attempt, the sale will attempt to bill again within 24 hours of the update. If the customer does not manually update the billing information the system will automatically attempt to bill the sale every seven days. The Recurrings to Bill report will show you the recurring sales on your account that are set to bill again and when they will bill.

To run a Declined Recurrings report please follow the steps below after you have logged into your account. Please note: This report can take a few minutes to complete based on the date range for the report and the number of sales in your account.
 

  1. Click the Sales tab.

  2. In the Sales Search Sidebar  fields enter a Begin Date for the search in the Begin Date field.*

  3. Enter an End Date for the search.*

  4. Place a check in Declined Recurrings

  5. Click the orange Find Sales button.


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Be sure to have both the Begin Date and End Date entered and remember to check off the Declined Recurrings box.


The report results will be delivered on screen, but you are able to copy and paste the results to a program for tracking or to build spreadsheets.

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* Important: When entering a Begin Date and End Date for the search the results that are returned will be for any orders that were placed during the date search range and not orders that attempted to re-bill during that range. In other words, if you entered 2011-01-01 as the begin date and 2013-01-01 in the search fields you will only get a list of orders that have declined that had been placed between 2011-01-01 and 2013-01-01. Orders that were placed prior to 2011-01-01 and had declined would not be returned in those search results.

To run a Recurrings to Bill report please follow the steps below after you have logged in to your account.

  1. Click the Reports tab.

  2. Click the blue Recurrings to Bill link listed under Available reports

  3. Select the format you wish the report to be delivered in, PDF, XLS, CSV, XML or RTF.

  4. Click the orange Request Report button.



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The report results can be accessed by clicking the Completed Reports sub tab and then clicking the name of the report that was requested listed in Blue under Report Name.

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Please note: This report can take a few minutes to complete based on the number of recurring sales in your account.

Can I Automate Sales Tracking?

Using the Instant Notification Service (INS), you have the ability to receive information directly from 2Checkout to your website and any system you have in place when certain events occur.

To enable INS, you first need to build a script (or multiple scripts) that will be accessed by and will receive data from our server. The INS Documentation will assist you in developing this script.

Once you have your script(s) constructed, you will want to add them to the Notifications section, which can be found under the Account tab.

Below are instructions for setting the INS URL(s) for your account.

If you will be using a single URL to receive all available notifications:

  1. Enter your INS URL in the Global URL field.*

  2. Click the blue Apply button to the right of the Global URL field.

  3. To receive all notification types to that URL click the blue Enable All Notifications button located under the Global URL field.

  4. Click the blue Save Settings Button located under the Global URL field or at the bottom of the page. Please note: After clicking Save Changes the URL will no longer be visible in the Global URL field, but will be listed in the URL field for each notification type.


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* Click Enable All Notifications if you would like the INS script to apply to all notifications or manually check off each box for Order Created, Fraud Status Changed, Shipping Status Changed etc.
Make sure you scroll all the down to SECOND Save Settings button to actually save the notifications.



If you will be using a single URL to receive notifications, but you only wish to receive specific notifications:

  1. Enter your INS URL in the Global URL field.*

  2. Click the orange Apply button to the right of the Global URL field.

  3. Click the green Enable All Notifications link located above the Global URL field.

  4. Un-check the Enable button to the left of the URL field next to the notification type that you don't wish to receive. 

  5. Click the black Save Settings link located under the Global URL field or at the bottom of the page. Please note: After clicking Save Changes the URL will no longer be visible in the Global URL field, but will be listed in the URL field for each notification type you've elected to receive.

If you will be using different INS URL's based on the notification type:

  1. Enter the INS URL in the URL field for the notification type you wish to receive.*

  2. Place a check in the Enable box located to the left of the URL field for the Notification type you are setting up.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all of the Notification types you wish to receive.

  4. Click the black Save Settings link located at the bottom left of the Settings page. 


*Note: scroll down all the way to the bottom of the screen to find the second Save Settings link

* Important: When entering the INS URL(s) please ensure that you enter the entire domain path. Ex. http://www.yoursite.com/yourscript.php

If you need to be notified when an order is created (recurring or not), you can use the “Order Created” message, which will be called shortly after a new order was placed through your account. This is similar to the Approved URL within your account settings, but it is *NOT* the same. The Approved URL setting can be used to pass the customer (along with data about the sale) back to that URL on your website for post order processing or a Thank You message to the buyer.

The INS “Order Created” URL will be accessed in the background by our system after the customer is finished with their order. If you want your customer to be returned to a URL on your website after they place a sale, you will want to use an Approved URL. Otherwise, if you want to just receive data about the new order created, you can use the INS “Order Created” message. Note: We do suggest all sellers use and Approved URL even when post order processing
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Note: Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to find the second Save Settings button
 

Setting the notification URLs for recurring orders can be done using the last five notification items, and are as follows:

  • Recurring Installment Success — The “Order Created” URL setting is called (if it is set) when a sale is placed, this is true for recurring or non-recurring orders. Then, this “Recurring Installment Successfully Billed” URL gets called every time the order successfully bills after the initial purchase.

  • Recurring Installment Failed — Whenever a recurring order fails to bill, this URL is called. Failures will happen whenever a customer’s billing details can not be billed successfully. This typically happens when a customer’s credit card has expired, or if the customer does not have sufficient funds within their account.

  • Recurring Stopped — This URL will be called when a recurring order has the billing stopped. This URL will be called whether the supplier or a 2Checkout agent ends the recurrence on an order.

  • Recurring Complete — This URL will be called when a recurring order that is set to bill for a set amount of time successfully bills its final recurrence and the billing duration has ended. Keep in mind, you will receive an additional call from the “Recurring Installment Successfully Billed” along with a call to the “Recurring Complete” URL.

  • Recurring Restarted — When the billing on a recurring order has been restarted after having been previously stopped, this URL is called. This URL will be only be called when a 2Checkout agent re-starts billing on a recurring order as only 2Checkout agent are able to restart a canceled recurring order.

Once you have these URL settings enabled, you will start receiving INS calls as soon as they happen. If you have any issues with the INS or you require assistance with the INS parameters, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 

How Can I Stop A Recurring Sale?

Recurring line items can either be stopped so that they no longer attempt to bill in the sellers area or by making a stop_lineitem_recurring call to our Admin API.

To stop a recurring line item in the Sellers Area, you will need to access the Sale Detail page by clicking on the Sales tab, clicking the sale number to open the Sale Detail page and then clicking the Stop this recurring link located at the bottom of the recurring line item. Once this link is clicked, it will read “Recurring Billing Stopped” and the line item will no longer attempt to bill. The buyer will receive email confirmation of the recurring billing being canceled for an individual line item on the sale or if the billing is stopped for all recurring products on a sale. You will also receive an email notification when a line item or sale has had the billing stopped.

To stop a recurring sale through our Admin API a username with API Updating access must make a call using the stop_lineitem_recurring method that specifies the line item id that the seller wishes to stop the recurring billing on.

Once a recurring line item has been stopped, you will not have access to restart the recurring billing but a 2Checkout representative can restart the recurring billing for you with the customers consent. However, it is important to note that if the billing is restarted on a recurring order it will bill the customer for all missed installments at a rate of 1 installment every 24 hours until the recurring billing has been caught up to the current billing cycle.

Customers can also contact 2Checkout to request the billing on a line item or an entire order be stopped. The buyer will receive email confirmation of the recurring billing being canceled for an individual line item on the sale or if the billing is stopped for all recurring products on a sale. You will also receive an email notification when a line item or sale has had the billing stopped.

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