Can you Sell Subscriptions on Shopify?

In terms of online business, the subscription-based E-Commerce model is turning out to be a great success because of the ease of setting up product subscriptions on several E-Commerce platforms.

Shopify is such a platform that allows the construction of an easy subscription box and subscription-based model as part of your online store. On this platform, you will be able to set up your store including the recurring payment options which are mostly fulfilled by payment apps.

Several physical products can also be attributed to the subscription-based business model as the products being replenishable,  can be sent to the customers on a regular basis.  The same applies to digital products like software products and licenses, where the subscription-based model works fine as well.

Recently, you may have got to see packages of beauty products that are being sold on social media platforms and online stores that offer subscription-based delivery to the customers.  This product ranges from as simple as a package of hair care products to skincare products and so on.  Since these products are regularly used by the customers,  the customers can opt for a subscription-based model where these products are regularly sent to the customer’s address and automated invoices are generated against each delivery.

Subscription boxes for recurring delivery of products

Whatever the contents, the subscription boxes have four major benefits-

  • Customer lifetime value-  this ensures that the customers are retained for a prolonged duration which increases the profit margin per customer while significantly reducing churn.
  • Predictive revenue-  subscription models are recurring,  hence it is very easy to calculate the revenue per customer for a certain duration.  This helps with the fulfillment process thus keeping the costs simple and consistent.
  • Streamlined shipping-  here, since the products are mostly shipped to the regular customers at the same delivery address,  it requires less effort on the part of the store owner as this process can be automated.
  • Customer feedbacks-  subscription-based business pattern ensures that the products get delivered regularly to the customer within a stipulated duration. Here again,  the customer’s effort is reduced as they do not have to follow up on buying the product each time and go through the entire checkout process.  Timely delivery of products and automated payment cycles,  delight the customers as this process is completely hassle-free.

 How to set up subscriptions on Shopify

Shopify allows automation of the subscription-based model on its various platforms.  This is how you can set up the recurring purchase model on Shopify-

Contents

You might be thinking of replenishing the same product for a recurring business model depending upon how well a certain product sells.  Also time and again you can incorporate new products and services that can be part of the recurring model.

Frequency

While setting up a subscription-based model you have to keep in mind the duration of product delivery on a weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or half-yearly basis.  This duration can be automated on Shopify,  and products and services reach the customers as per the frequency that is set up for that product for the customer.

Payment

There are several ways that you can decide how to make the payment against your recurring products.  You might take upfront payment as well as offer a recurring billing option.  Store owners sometimes come out with simple subscription gifts for two new customers as part of the customer retention plan. 

The best way of selecting a payment option is to provide different choices to the customer at the time they purchase the product.  This way the customers can make informed decisions on how they would like to be charged for the product.

Subscription Apps on Shopify

An aspect of using a Shopify platform for setting up an online store is that Shopify and Shopify plus does not store any payment information of the customers.  Therefore, it is difficult for recurring or subscription-based payment for products, that you set up on this platform.

However, there are Shopify subscription apps that can help you add the subscription functionality to your Shopify store.  These apps update the product pages with the subscription options and customize the purchase of subscription-based products while generating recurring orders and payments.

There are several Shopify subscription apps but the two most popular apps are Bold and Subscriptions by ReCharge. Both these Apps have the following essential features-

  • These apps allow subscription type models like mystery and build your own boxes.
  • These apps allow the feature of one time as well as subscription-based products to be purchased together and be included in a single cart.
  • You can manage subscriptions edit frequencies and swap products with the help of these apps
  • Different models can be designed for customers to stay by providing them with suitable incentives and discounts.

Bold

There are around 18 board Shopify apps that can be customized across several themes. This is one of the most widely used apps on the Shopify platform for a subscription box and recurring orders.  The four key areas that make this app so popular are-

  • Customers can create their own recurring orders.
  • The recurring orders of the subscription-based model can be set up for gift purchases.
  • As a store owner, you will be able to get comprehensive analytics on all the recurring orders.
  • Multiple payment gateways can be incorporated with this app.

The use of the bold app makes it really easy to track subscription-based recurring orders as part of business analytics.

Subscriptions by ReCharge

This app is a little more advanced than Bolt that comes with high-functioning integration with your Store existing apps.

The standard features of subscriptions by recharge are-

  • You can offer samples free trials and discounts to customers
  •  you can customize the entire subscription process as per your requirement
  •  you can integrate this app very easily with any of the Shopify themes
  •  You can set up the darling management system to prevent failed payments.

 With the use of this app, you can take the customization of your store to another level.

One of the most important components of subscription fulfilment is the timely delivery of the subscripted products to the proper delivery address.

While the use of these apps will allow Shopify to regenerate orders for you,  you can customize the entire process to involve more manual intervention in terms of shipping and generating invoices.  You have to make sure that you integrate your subscription process with the fulfilment partner of your Shopify store so that orders are processed and delivered on time.

You also need to set up the tracking information process for the customers so that they can track the status of their orders.  Set up the shipping system efficiently so that orders are shipped within 2-3 days and the customers do not have to wait for it for the delivery of their regular orders.  To enable easy fulfilment of recurring orders you have to make sure that you take proper stock of the inventory and replenish the products whenever required.

Recurring orders involve more involvement of the customer,  you have to accordingly strategize your marketing plans so that you win customers’ trust,  reduce risk,  and make more customer conversions.  there are many ways that you can market your subscription-based products,  some of them are-

  • Using a social media platform like Facebook and Instagram.  you can also engage influencers to give positive reviews about your products on social media platforms.
  • Add reference schemes and group discounts which will help in mitigating risk,  as your customers will be more aware of your products and their value.
  •  you can market your products in the form of search engine ads by allowing details about the subscription-based products orison act a short trial period so that customers are satisfied with the quality of the product and decide to use those products for future.
  •  Add value to a product in the form of shopping discounts,  producing in the overall cost if paid upfront.  This way the customer has a choice to make on the payment options as it will be directly driven by the savings per purchase.
  • Provide an easy support system to the customers,  so that all their queries and grievances get addressed on time.

 Here are some key reasons to opt for a subscription-based business model-

  • Helps  in planning your inventory effectively
  • Provides more profit as this brings in a regular flow of cash
  • Helps forecast incomes and earnings
  • Streamline shipping as this can be automated resulting in  timely delivery and customer satisfaction
  • Helps you analyze your product line thereby giving you options to retain the old products or incorporate new products.
  • You can target customers of a specific niche by offering them the products that they like.

 Conclusion

As already mentioned,  Shopify does not provide the option to build your subscription box on this platform.  However, it helps you add this feature to all the Shopify themes with the help of Apps.  Some of these apps attract a one-time cost.  However, there are several apps that you need to pay for, only after achieving a said number of customer accounts.

Incorporating these apps is easy as they are compatible with any theme on the Shopify platform that you have been using. You can customize these apps easily from the Shopify admin area just with a few clicks. 

This model of business is particularly profitable for entrepreneurs who have ventured with startups on online platforms.  The business model is also pretty streamlined as you can forecast your earnings, plan your shipping,  automate order generation, and replenish products in the store.  This reduces risk and uncertainty in business,  thereby letting you plan ahead. 

This business model runs seamlessly on the Shopify platform where you can enjoy the other features and functionalities that come with each Shopify theme.   en-us Thomas can create mixed cards as they can put together once and subscription-based products to be checked out as one order.

You can use several icons and text to appraise the customer of the products which are subscription-based.  This way the customer can decide whether they would like to purchase a product or not. Since there are multiple options available for setting up frequency for the product delivery,  customers receive the orders on time and without any hassle.

With all the available features, tools, and benefits Shopify is the best platform for subscription-based business.

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