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How do I set up upgrades and downgrades for subscriptions and installments at Digistore24?

What are upgrades and downgrades for?

Upgrades and downgrades are settings used to adjust a running subscription or installment in that way that the customer gets his/her wanted service without cancelling the payment plan.

Note: With upgrades to a “superior” product, the subscription of the “lower” product is replaced by the superior one. I.e. that the payment of the lower product will not continue but the payment of the better product.

Generally, there are 3 options to change an existing subscription: Via an upgrade, a downgrade or a special offer for members.

1. Upgrades

An Upgrade is the shifting from an existing subscription / installment to a more expensive product. The upgrade is operative immediately. I.e. the customer directly pays the extra charge but the sum which has been paid before will be considered and charged for the remaining account period. With the purchase of an upgrade, a “new subscription” comes into effect.

General example of use for an upgrade:

You have 3 upgrade products: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Bronze costs €/$ 30 per month, Silver €/$ 60 and Gold €/$ 90.

Assuming that you customer bought the Bronze subscription for €/$ 30 on September 1 and you convinced him/her on September 20 to upgrade on the Gold product.

This is what happens:

  • The “old” subscription for €/$ 30 is replaced by the new one for €/$ 90, the monthly debit date is now the 20th of a month and not the 1st.
  • The remaining 10 days for September will be charged: In this case, €/$ 10 have to be charged. So the customer needs €/$ 80 (€/$ 90 – €/$ 10 = €/$ 80) to upgrade to the Gold product.

Note: The customer can upgrade only if s/he has already bought one of your products.

What should you use upgrades for and for what not?

Upgrades are used for the customer to be able to change an existing subscription (or installment) into a more expensive, more extensive subscription. The subscription of the cheaper variant shall be cancelled at the point of the new purchase. You ideally use this method if you want to offer your customers an additional benefit regarding an existing product.

Example of use for software vendors: You sell version 4 of your software for €/$ 99 per month. You want to offer this version for €/$ 49 to users of version 3. Your customers can replace an existing subscription by a new one.

Example of use for vendors of online memberships: Your customer inherits the standard membership. Via an upgrade, s/he can switch transition-free to the premium membership.

So upgrades are a tool to “upvalue” an existing product to a more expansive variant.

Important note: You should not use upgrades if your customer only wants to buy some additional options to his/her existing product and the “old” subscription shall continue. In this case, you should use the special offer for members: With this option, the old subscription will not be cancelled but another one will be booked additionally.

 2. Downgrades

A downgrade is the shifting of an existing subscription / installment to a cheaper product. The downgrade is not immediately operative. I.e. the customer is “downgraded” software-based for the next debit date and also pays the lower price.

Example of use for a downgrade:

You have 3 subscription products: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Bronze costs €/$ 30 per month, Silver €/$ 60 and Gold €/$ 90 per month. Assuming that your customer bought the Silver subscription on September 1 for €/$ 60 per month and has told on September 15 that s/he wants to switch to Bronze.

This is what happens:

  • On the day of the downgrading, the customer has to pay €/$ 1 for the shifting
  • The “old” subscription for €/$ 60 is replaced by the new subscription for €/$ 30 on the next debit date
  • The monthly debit date remains the 1st of a month; on October 1, the customer has to pay €/$ 30 instead of €/$ 60

What should you use downgrades for and for what not?

Downgrades are used if you want to “keep” a customer by offering him/her a cheaper product if s/he does not need the more expensive service or does not want to pay it any longer. Downgrades should not be used if the old subscription shall continue running and another option shall be booked in addition to the subscription. You should use the special offer for members here.

3. Special offer for members

Special offers for members are special offers for customers who have already bought a product, e.g. a seminar. Therefore, a special link is needed which is shown in the upgrade editor.

Special offers for members do not change the existing orders. They are similar to an upgrade because the original order continues.

Example of use for a special offer for members:

You sell software with user accesses. Your software costs €/$ 100 per month, includes a user and every further user access costs €/$ 20 per month. When buying another user access, the existing €/$ 100 software subscription shall not be cancelled. This is a classical case for a special offer for members: You sell any further accesses to an existing client without interrupting the original subscription.

When should you not use special offers for members?

Everytime the existing subscription shall be changed, as it is the case with upgrades and downgrades.

What happens technically with upgrades and downgrades regarding the IPN/API level?

  • For the old purchase, the payment stops. There will not be any further IPN call for the old sale then
  • For the new purchase, there will be an IPN call. It contains the information that an existing purchase has been upgraded (or downgraded) – together with the old order ID
  • At DigiMember, this is managed automatically. DigiMember closes the access to the old product and opens it for the new one

How do you set up upgrades, downgrades and special offers for members in your DigiStore24 account?

Make sure you already have set up the products the customer can up- or downgrade to (or for special offers for members: add the product). This is a requirement for the next steps.

1. Log into your DigiStore24 account

2. Make sure to be in vendor mode

3. You set up upgrades, downgrades and special offers for members via Account > Upgrades

4. For every upgrade/downgrade/special offer for members, you give:

  • A name that helps you to tell the different entries apart (your customers do not see this name)
  • The target product the upgrade/downgrade/special offer for members shall be conducted to
  • The products from which an upgrade can be made to the target product
  • The products from which a downgrade can be made to the target product
  • The products for which the product that is to be sold is a special offer for members
  • An replacement product the customer can buy if s/he is not authorized for the upgrade/downgrade

5. Save your newly set up upgrade

6. Copy the order URL for the respective upgrade. Now the customer can buy the upgrade/downgrade/special offer for members

How does the purchase of an upgrade, downgrade or special offer for members run technically?

Your customers buy upgrades, downgrades and special offers for members via a specific upgrade URL. This URL is shown in the upgrade details (via Account > Upgrades), e.g.:


Here the ORDERID has to be replaced by the order ID of the existing order of the customer. Every customer has an individual upgrade URL. This is necessary for the upgrade to only be buyable by authorized customers.
Upgrades, downgrades and special offers for members are usually offered in a member section. If you have a member section and use DigiMember or DigiBizz, you can use the upgrade shortcode. The upgrade shortcode is also shown in the upgrade editor, e.g.: https://www.digistore24.com/upgrade/123-abcdabcdabcd//. DigiMember/DigiBizz replace this shortcode by the upgrade URL of the customer. The appropriate order ID is inserted automatically.

Special case: A yearly subscription is upgraded to a more expensive monthly subscription:

Peter has booked the yearly basis membership for €/$ 77 per year. After 6 months, he wants to change to the Premium membership for €/$ 17 per month. He has a credit of €/$ 38,50 for the remaining duration of the old subscription. Furthermore, the payment of the installment is reduced by €/$ 16 to €/$ 1. The first payment must not fall below €/$ 1.

The remaining €/$ 22,50 are converted into days. The new subscription costs €/$ 17 per month. With 30 days per month, €/$ 22,50 correspond to 39 days (rounded down). I.e. the first payment of €/$ 1 is charged immediately and the second payment of €/$ 17 will be charged after 39 days. Afterwards the payment will be charged monthly.

Use in combination with DigiMember:

Which parameter has to be used instead of ORDERID, so that the current order ID of the signed in user is verified?

Look at this screenshot:


This shortcode will be replaced by the URL.

Updated on 16. January 2018

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