Making AccessAlly Work With Woocommerce and Drip

I write this so that it can help another person save hours of time, money and sleep before considering AccessAlly with WooCommerce and Drip combo for their membership site. I do this as a last resort after spending months of development time plus precious money buying all the plugins needed for this project and getting no support from these platforms.

[Update 1: AccessAlly’s founder Nathalie Lussier replied positively to my share of this article on Membership Mastermind facebook group. I am thankful to TheMembershipGuys for helping me use their group to voice my concerns. I have included further updates below.]


For a membership site development project recently, my team was moving a “custom-made non WordPress membership site” to “WordPress membership site using AccessAlly”

The client was already using WorldPay for their existing membership site subscriptions – one of the worst outdated payment processors in the world in my opinion.

We had built a lead-generation site for the same client that integrated with Drip and were very happy with the Drip platform. So we wanted a membership platform that would work with Drip as well.

So finally we wanted a membership software platform that can work with Drip and work with WorldPay’s FuturePay platform. There is literally no membership plugin software that supports WorldPay’s FuturePay out of the box.

[Update 2: Apparently aMember supports WorldPay out of the box according to a comment I received from the facebook group post. I verified on their website that they do. But we would have not chosen aMember because we really needed a tag based system like AccessAlly or Memberium as we wanted some custom features designed using tag automations]

And we found that WooCommerce had a plugin to accept payments from WorldPay’s FuturePay subscription system.

While we were considering various options for the membership website, the marketing head of the client’s company had heard of AccessAlly and was impressed. She wanted us to consider using it, as it seemed like the best option out there for their needs.

I digged around their documentation and they had various articles on how it works with WooCommerce. They also assured that we can get AccessAlly to work with WooCommerce and Drip combo using another extension from WooCommerce.

Now we had the following plugins

  1. AccessAlly (984$ a year)
  2. WooCommerce (Free)
  3. Extension – WooCommerce Subscriptions (199$ a year)
  4. WooCommerce For Drip Extension (79$ a year)
  5. WorldPay/FuturePay payment gateway for WooCommerce extension (79$ a year)

Smooth Start In the Beginning

At first things were reasonably smooth. AccessAlly’s setup was straight forward, and everything in AccessAlly was controlled through tags on Drip.

In the beginning of the purchase of their plugin, we had direct content with Robin, AccessAlly’s lead developer. She would answer our questions diligently and we felt great receiving support and strategic advice.

(You can click on images below to see full screenshots)

First reply from Robin, lead developer of AccessAlly

We start building the new membership site. Our plan was to finish the content, membership levels, individual products and then finally work on payment systems. The last step was to import their subscribers from their existing custom made membership site built on Django.

When we started to work on payments things started going bad.

How AccessAlly’s Support Didn’t Care After Onboarding Us

Now apparently “WooCommerce For Drip” plugin does not create a user in the Drip backend, unless they exclusively check a box on the final payment page which adds them to a drip campaign as well.

So if a user makes a WooCommerce Subscription purchase for a membership and accidentally forgets to check a box (which cannot be made mandatory), then even after purchase they simply cannot login to AccessAlly. Simply because everything in AccessAlly is controlled through Drip and its tags. There was no record of the purchase on Drip, not even their email was added.

Disappointed after spending more than a month to build everything, we reached out to AccessAlly’s support. Only now, someone else answered when we reached out to Robin. To us it seemed it AccessAlly’s onboarding was great, and then they simply automated our support requests to some other developer (Erika) who said I needed to contact WooCommerce and they would help us out.

1st Email reply from Erika – AccessAlly Support Developer

WooCommerce Let Down and AccessAlly’s Unprofessional Support

I had to reach out to WooCommerce again, and the reply was a simple one line – “Users will not be added to Drip unless they check the box”. I explained them how we don’t need them added to any campaign, but they simply repeated the same answer.

Disappointed I went back to AccessAlly’s support. And this is what I received.

Erika’s second reply

Needless to say I felt abandoned. I persistently followed up. Simply because now they were simply playing blame games now.

Erika’s 3rd reply

 

My final email to Erika

What really bothered me is this – Erika’s reply says, “we can only make promises on what AccessAlly can do”. How is an article on their own website which clearly says it works with WooCommerce and Drip “not a promise”?

This was simply, for a lack of better word – STUPID and seems like their AVOIDANCE FROM TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.

Gets Even Worse

After all the let down, we had to hire a WordPress plugin developer to create a custom plugin patch to fill the gap of adding users to Drip after a purchase. This was never part of the budget and we had to take hit on the expenses after all the headache.

After a week or two passes by, we are almost near the completion of all contents and payments. We finally test the cancellation flow of WooCommerce Subscriptions.

Then we realized, there is no mention of this anywhere. If a customer cancels their subscription, while they stop paying, they will still be able to access everything on AccessAlly.

This is because none of the plugins AccessAlly’s article recommended even deal with cancellation flow. So no tags on Drip are removed, and hence AccessAlly lets users access membership content even after they stop paying.

THEN IT HIT ME, none of their knowledge base recommendations were tested by AccessAlly’s team, EVER or considered for real world usage. Because how can something as trivial as cancellation be not even thought of?

It was simply a way to sell. Because that seems like the only focus at least from where I stand.

How Do We Move Forward?

At the time of writing this, the only way to move forward seems to be hiring another developer again for the cancellation flow. Its going to cost a lot for custom development and we had never quoted this to the client because all these companies promise us out of the box behaviour.

It sucks that no one wants to take responsibility for the functionality and are simply keen to sell.

For instance, even after all of this, AccessAlly has not changed a word on their KB Article. This means more customers will be affected by their false article. Also I left an objective review on the specified WooCommerce Extension about its shortcomings and it was never approved by WooCommerce as they control the reviews on site.

[Update 3: Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly’s founder promised to update their KB article about the reality of using it with WooCommerce and Drip, it was comforting to feel heard and getting assurance from their founder that they care]

Reply on Facebook group by Nathalie Lussier

Concluding thoughts: While I am a user/developer of WordPress and its ecosystem, I am kinda starting to see why there are platforms like Shopify, Kajabi, Teachable, Squarespace etc which some people prefer to avoid a lot of headache with “plugins hell”. At least with these platform, while they do make you dependent on them, they take responsibility.

  • Adam says:

    Hi,

    Hope all is now going well with the website and thanks for the article. This is very concerning as we are currently setting up a membership website with AccessAlly, WooCommerce and Ontraport. I have not read anywhere yet until now that users needed to check a box to gain access to AccessAlly. Even more concerning is what you have said about the cancellation process.

    Like you, we are too far down the line to make changes… any advice you have from your experience would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers
    Adam

    • Rajavanya Subramaniyan says:

      Hey Adam,

      1) The checkbox problem was with WooCommerce-Drip plugin and not related to AccessAlly. We ended up buying another similar plugin from CodeCanyon to solve the problem. Risk is that its by a single developer, but he offered us good support for a bug fix. I wish we all can support guys like him, than WooCommerce which wouldn’t even care to give non-robotic support.

      2) Cancellation process. YES. It was a nightmare when I found out. Again, the plugin from codecanyon solved this, as that developer had already thought about this. I could easily tag a person when they cancel, and trigger an automation in Drip to do the rest. You could do the same in Ontraport for sure.

      I am not familiar with Ontraport, but I have heard you can have products and accept payments using that directly. Perhaps find a way to skip WooCommerce, and directly use AccessAlly with Ontraport which in my opinion will solve a lot of headache.

      • Adam says:

        Hi Rajavanya,

        Thanks so much for responding so quickly!

        Our website takes payments by credit card and also cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, Ontraport does not provide a crypto payment solution which is why we are needing to use Woocommerce and the Coingate extension.

        The crypto payment element adds a whole other level of complications to whatever potential solution I look at :/

        Who was the developer you found on codecanyon?

        Adam

  • This article should be taken down. I am in no way affiliated with AccessAlly, however, I have used every membership plugin out there, and AccessAlly BY FAR offers the most useful functionality and BY FAR the best customer support. I have just emailed my user base of 750,000 a copy of this article and what NOT to do when blogging about a product. (Note: I did not send them to your website, I simply credited your genius with having written the article. I informed them never to visit.) This problem was never related to AccessAlly, and any REAL developer would have known that a direct integration between AccessAlly, woocommerce and drip would have required some type of connector between woo and drip. AccessAlly NEVER claimed to be this connector, they only state that they are compatible and that this integration can work. In fact, they encourage you to utililze their own order forms. Kudos for Natalie for not ripping you here… she actually showed poise and grace rather than take the low road. (For someone who claims to be a “Developer”, why did you need to “hire a developer” as you mentioned earlier in your article?

    • Rajavanya Subramaniyan says:

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry you feel that way.
      Such strong words from a person who doesn’t leave their real name or url.

  • >