Tip #5 : Setup Approval Workflow for your Subscription Business

Tip #5 : Setup Approval Workflow for your Subscription Business

Hello everyone,

We have been sharing a tip every week to address specific business scenarios which can be implemented for your subscription business. Last week, we shared a tip about implementing the Refer and Earn Workflow system. This week, we will be looking at how you can set up an Approval Workflow for Subscription Business.

Business Scenario:

One of our customers had a special requirement for his Subscription Box Business. He runs a Pet Food subscription box business where the food items are shipped to customers periodically.

Customers subscribe to a box of their choice online. Once they subscribe, he has a set of prerequisites that his customers must meet. For example, he cross-checks with customers for their preferred food ingredients, validates their delivery address, checks his inventory to see if the stock is available, etc. This usually takes a day or two. After he completes the cross-checking, he approves that subscription. Next, he bills his customer periodically from the approved date instead of the date on which his customer subscribed.

To understand this scenario better, let's consider that a customer subscribed to a box on January 1. After the merchant cross-checks, the subscription is approved on January 4. Rather than billing the customer on the 1st of every month, the customer will be billed on the 4th, say February 4, March 4 and so on.

Although the subscription will be in live status in Zoho Subscriptions (with the payment collected upfront from the customers), he needs an Approval Workflow to address the mentioned business scenario. Now, let's look into how we can implement in Zoho Subscriptions.

Addressing His Scenario

We have summarized the customer's requirements and the solutions we suggested to address them below.
  1. Requirement:
    Introduce a new approval status for each subscription.

    Solution:
    We created a custom field with its type as Dropdown and name as  Approval Status. We added two values: Awaiting Approval and Approved. By default, when a subscription is created, the custom field will hold the value as Awaiting Approval and it will change once the subscription is approved.
  2. Requirement:
    Differentiate and view the subscriptions based on their approval status.

    Solution:
    We created two custom views for the Subscriptions module and configured them to display the subscriptions based on the Approval Status custom field. Learn more about configuring custom views.
  3. Requirement:
    Approve the subscription and change the subscription renewal date automatically.

    Solution:
    We created a custom button to address this requirement. Custom Buttons can be configured to run a piece of code when you click them and you can configure them for any module. In this case, the custom button has two actions:
     
    I.    First, it needs to change the value of the Approval Status custom field to Approved.

    II.   Second, it needs to change the subscription renewal date to be after a month from present date, so that the customer gets billed periodically from the approved date rather than the date on which he subscribed.
We addressed these requirements by writing a code for the custom button. You can view the code in GitHub. By configuring this, he was able to change the Approval Status and also the renewal date in a single click.

To configure the custom field:

      1.  Go to Settings > Preferences > Invoices.
      2. Create a custom field with the name as Approval Status and type as Dropdown.
      3. Type the options as Awaiting Approval and Approved and select the Default Value as Awaiting Approval.
      4. Click Save.

To setup the custom button:

      1. Go to Settings > Preferences > Subscriptions.
      2. Create a new custom button.
      3. Enter a suitable name.
      4. Copy and paste the code from GitHub. Modify it as per your requirements.
      5. Click Save and you are good to go.

Now, you'll find the custom button in the subscriptions details page.

Found this useful? Try it out for your subscription business and let us know how it works. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below! We are here to answer them.


Cheers,
Sasidaran K,
Zoho Subscriptions.
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