Running out of your favourite product is never fun, nor is running low on something essential like toilet paper, diapers, or razors.
Consumers everywhere agree, which is why subscriptions have become an essential part of people’s lives. Recurring monthly payments in exchange for regular deliveries of a product or service is one of the fastest-growing areas in eCommerce, and they present the opportunity to foster a community of return customers.
Ongoing engagement with a brand breeds loyalty and subscriptions are the perfect way for shoppers to stay in touch (and enjoy) their favourite brands. For merchants, they reduce friction, increase LTV, and help increase revenue month-on-month. Today, 15% of consumers have subscribed to an eCommerce service, with that percentage set to increase over the coming months.
Subscription apps help you set up and manage subscriptions through your Shopify store, making it a breeze to deliver regularly to new and existing customers. Here are some of the best subscription apps for Shopify.
Best Subscription Apps for Shopify in 2022
Recharge for Shopify Subscriptions
What is Recharge?
Recharge allows merchants to process repeatable transactions that connect to existing tech and the most popular payment processors. Shoppers can manage their subscriptions via SMS or the built-in customer portal, while merchants can serve relevant product upsells to increasingly loyal customers.
While many subscription apps ask customers to place a separate order for recurring purchases, Recharge keeps the checkout experience the same. It prides itself on creating a seamless customer experience that makes it easy for shoppers to cancel their subscriptions, rearrange deliveries, and change the frequency of their orders in just a few clicks.
The Pros of Recharge
- Customers can edit their subscriptions themselves without having to go through support
- The powerful customer portal
- Easy-to-access transaction history from every customer
- Dashboard with key insights and data points
The Cons of Recharge
- Checkout customisation can be limited
- Merchants must use Shopify Payments to process recurring payments
- Brands have to use Shopify Checkout which can have limitations
- Can appear quite complex to begin with
Bold for Shopify Subscriptions
What is Bold?
Bold Subscriptions (a product of Bold) is another Shopify subscription app that lets merchants set up and manage recurring transactions. The interface means you can make subscriptions as simple as complex as you like, creating unique experiences for each individual customer.
The app integrates with Shopify Checkout and its focus is to reduce customer churn and create happy buyers. It does this through automated emails that are customised to match your branding and by giving shoppers the chance to manage their own subscriptions on their own time.
Merchants can increase AOV and LTV through ongoing subscriptions and they can serve one-time upsells and personalised offers in the same transaction.
The Pros of Bold
- Customised automated emails updating customers on their subscriptions
- Customer dashboard where shoppers can manage their own subscriptions
- Set specific prices at different tiers on the same product
- Flexibility in setting the prices of products
The Cons of Bold
- A limited number of cross-sell and upsell options
- It can appear complicated to set up in the first instance
- Merchants are forced to use Shopify Checkout which can be limiting
Recurly for Shopify Subscriptions
What is Recurly?
Recurly is an all-in-one subscription and billing management app that aims to increase customer loyalty and reduce churn. Merchants can create trial conversions and add new plans and services quickly and easily alongside upsells, discounts, and other tempting promotions.
The in-built Revenue Optimization Engine helps merchants identify areas they can boost LTV and profit in and the powerful data dashboard provides key insights to make decisions with. Recurly ultimately creates unique journeys for each subscription customer through automated emails and a handy customer portal, which helps retain existing customers and attract new ones.
The Pros of Recurly
- Easy to set up and create multiple different subscription options
- Capture all interactions and updates to customer accounts
- Easy to manage customer information and updates across team members
- Accommodates customer requirements beyond month-to-month billing
The Cons of Recurly
- Unable to run reports with categorisation
- Regular need to authenticate, which can interrupt workflow
- The portal and admin panel can be confusing at first
Seal Subscriptions for Shopify Subscriptions
What is Seal Subscriptions?
Seal Subscriptions is another subscription app that allows merchants to set up new subscriptions in just a few clicks. When a new rule is set up, the app automatically adds a subscription widget to the “Add to Cart” button on the designated product page, which means it's quick and easy for customers to invest.
Shoppers that sign up get automatic reminders about their subscription and will be directed to a payment page when they need to make their next payment. The app works through Shopify Checkout which provides a number of payment options that shoppers can choose from, and merchants are able to offer discounts and rewards based on their initial order.
The Pros of Seal Subscriptions
- Customers get timely reminders about their subscription renewal
- Easy for shoppers to cancel and manage their subscriptions via email
- Customers don’t have to sign up for an account on your website
- Quick and easy to offer customers a discount or reward when they subscribe
The Cons of Seal Subscriptions
- Merchants have to use Shopify Checkout which can be limiting
- Customers have to manually renew their subscription every month
- No customer portal for customers to manage their subscriptions
Smartrr for Shopify Subscriptions
What is Smartrr?
A relatively new player in the space, Smartrr is a recurring revenue engine that creates premium subscription offerings for eCommerce merchants. Smartrr’s portal gives subscribers control over their regular orders, allowing them to easily skip or edit a delivery at any time.
Subscribers can also access exclusive membership perks, building customer loyalty and retention for brands over time. In addition, Smartrr has a seamless checkout functionality, improving onsite conversion. For the merchant, the platform also offers a detailed analytics dashboard, helping you better understand your business and reduce churn.
The Pros of Smartrr
- Smartrr’s no code subscription billing makes it highly accessible
- Customers can flexibly manage subscriptions, improving the customer experience and reducing churn
- A bespoke onboarding process means it’s easy to get started
The Cons of Smartrr
- As the new kid on the block, Smartrr hasn’t yet developed the feature breadth of some longer standing players.
Choosing the Best Shopify Subscription App for Your Brand
There are so many Shopify subscription solutions out there that it can be tricky to determine which one is the best Shopify subscription integration for your business. The key is to identify what your needs are, as well as consider the type of product or service you’re offering and the customers you’re offering them to.
This Shopify subscription app comparison here doesn’t pit one service against another. Instead, it lays out the pros and cons of each and highlights what each provider does best.
When considering the right option for you, think about what kind of experience you want to provide customers. Do you want them to:
- Manage their own subscriptions?
- Edit or cancel their subscriptions at any time?
- Continue to make other purchases with your brand?
- Have access to rewards and discounts if they are particularly loyal?
The best Shopify subscription apps offer these features and place a heavy emphasis on customer experience. The easier it is for customers to set up and manage their subscriptions, the happier they’re going to be, especially if they can do it all from one central dashboard without having to contact support every time they want to make a change.
Get Started With Shopify Subscriptions
Subscriptions are a great way to retain existing customers and increase loyalty while also increasing visibility on your product lines. Apps that are dedicated to setting up and managing subscriptions make a potentially complicated situation much easier thanks to powerful dashboards and evolving features.
Try one of the apps listed here today to get started and see how you get on.