Magento 2 plugins: New subscription model explained

By: Nigel Ewart|LinkedIn Profile

Some of the largest Magento 2 plugin developers have recently changed their pricing model from a one-off payment to a subscription pricing model. The change brings Magento in line with other platforms like Shopify, which already offers 30-day and annual subscriptions for apps in addition to one-time charges.

Learn more about the new pricing changes and what it means for your online store.

Magento Marketplace Subscriptions

The shift to a subscription model for Magento 2 plugins started with the Magento Marketplace. Adobe Commerce Marketplace started giving vendors the ability to sell extensions under a subscription model in December 2021. Many eCommerce platforms already use this type of pricing.

Subscriptions are currently available on an annual basis through the Magento Marketplace and customers can manage active subscriptions in the My Account section of their marketplace dashboard.

Which Magento Developers Are Now Using a Subscription Model?

Most of the top Magento providers have started using a subscription model. The list of companies includes:

Magefan issued a statement saying that they’re keeping the one-time payment model. However, the new terms of access for their products are essentially the same as a subscription.

How Does the Magento 2 PlugIn Subscription Model Work?

The developers switching to the new subscription model are offering similar terms. Most subscriptions run on an annual basis. Some developers are also offering a monthly option.

A subscription includes the product, updates, and support during the given time period.

You’ll need to renew a subscription before it expires for the best pricing. Most developers charge a higher subscription fee if the subscription has lapsed before you pay for a renewal.

You can cancel a subscription at any time.

Terms for New Magento 2 Extension Subscriptions

Most companies implemented the change to a subscription model on February 1, 2022. Plugins purchased after this date will fall under the new terms. Yearly subscriptions include:

  • Lifetime access to the original codebase, even if your subscription expires
  • Access to all updates for a year
  • Support coverage for a year

You can use, customise, and maintain the products you purchased even without an active subscription. However, you won’t have access to updates or support.

Terms for a Magento 2 Plugin Purchased Before Subscription Services Became Active

Developers are handling extensions purchased before subscription services became active in different ways. The most common approaches are to offer a certain period of continued support and upgrades with a discounted price for activating a subscription.

Case Studies: Amasty, Aheadworks, and Meetanshi

Amasty, Aheadworks, and Meetanshi are representative of what many developers are offering.

Amasty gives current customers three options. The first option is to purchase a support subscription. This provides access to updates and support.

The second option is to use a grace period of 6 months until August 1, 2022. During this period, customers can activate a product subscription at a discounted rate.

If customers don’t choose either of these options, they can purchase a subscription when they need new product versions at the regular subscription rate.

Aheadworks is offering current license-holders a subscription for support and upgrades.

Meetanshi is offering free access to product updates for a year for products purchased before February 1, 2022. Current customers who want to continue with a subscription get a discounted rate.

Exceptions: Webiators and Magefan

Webiators and Magefan chose a different route with current customers. All licence-holders who placed orders before February 1, 2022 will continue to get free lifetime updates.

The support period will expire according to the original terms of purchase. Customers can choose to purchase a support plan for extended access.

Subscription Pricing for Magento 2 Plugins

The pricing for a new, first-year subscription from most Magento developers will be basically the same as the previous one-time payment price.

Subscription renewals after the first year will be less expensive. The most common pricing is 50% to 60% of the first-year price for subsequent renewals.

For example, Meetanshi is offering renewals at 50% of the first-year price for customers who bought the product before February 1, 2022. Other customers will pay a 60% renewal fee.

If you cancel a subscription or it expires, you’ll pay a higher renewal fee to reactivate the subscription. For example, Amasty charges an additional 20% fee for lapsed renewals.

Some developers like Aheadworks charge the full first-year price for customers whose subscriptions have expired. Before you change your subscription status for any Magento plugin, be sure to check the pricing terms carefully. This can help you avoid an unpleasant surprise.

Benefits of the Subscription Model

You may wonder if the new subscription model has any benefits for retailers. In most cases, you will benefit in your first year of subscription service from a longer period of product support.

The majority of developers offered 90 days or less of support with the one-time payment model. Now you’ll get support for the first full year even if you choose not to renew the subscription.

Developers say that the new changes will result in higher-quality products. You’ll see better inter-product compatibilities. Continuous investment in development and compatibility is the stated reason.

Another proposed benefit is more regular updates with new features and bug fixes. These updates will be based on continuous market research and the latest development approaches.

Time will tell what the true impact of switching to a subscription model will be for retailers’ online sales. Based on our experience few plugins need to be updated within the first 12 months after being installed, so agencies will need to make merchants aware upfront of the costs of upgrading if the subscription is canceled after the first 12 months.

Navigating Magento 2 Updates

The new subscription model for Magento 2 plugin developers will have an impact on how you design and maintain your online store. You’ll need to adjust your budgeting too.

Digital Outlook can help you navigate these changes. Put our expertise to work for you designing and building your online store. We can optimise your current site.

Our ongoing maintenance and support will help ensure your platform continues to give you the best results. Contact us today to start planning your digital project.

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