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Shopify Subscription App Guide: Which One Is The Best? [+Examples]

Shopify subscription app: Shopify has recently begun an exciting expansion beyond the simple one-time purchase platform that many merchants are currently limited to. New APIs and tools are now available that will allow for the development of subscription experiences that integrate directly with the Shopify Checkout. As subscription programs are incredibly common among merchants (for good reason), demand for Shopify subscription app options has increased significantly.

Let’s dive into what a Shopify subscription app is, how it can help your store, and which are the top Shopify subscription apps currently available.

What is a Shopify subscription app?

Subscriptions allow you to sell products to your customers on a recurring basis. Within the Shopify app store, you can find many apps that will help you to manage your subscriptions through your Shopify admin account. For example, you can use a Shopify monthly subscription app to set up a customer with a repeat order that’s fulfilled every month. Using a Shopify membership app, the frequency of the subscription and product information is stored and managed by the app.

Who should use a Shopify subscription app?

If you’re planning to sell your products via subscriptions on Shopify and want the ability to see information about your subscriptions, you will need to install one of the many subscription apps for Shopify. Once you set up subscriptions in your store, use a Shopify subscription app to manage subscriptions, view order details, and more.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a subscription model?

It may take some time and research to decide whether a subscription model is the right path forward for your e-commerce business. Assessing the pros and cons of such a model can help you to determine whether a Shopify membership app could work for you. Let’s start with the advantages:

#1 Improved customer retention

 It almost goes without saying that one of the major benefits of a subscription-based model is better retention of your customers. Given that it’s substantially easier to sell to existing customers than find new ones, a subscription model is the perfect way to keep your customers coming back for more.

#2 Business consistency

Another major benefit of subscriptions is that they help you predict what your monthly orders are going to look like. By anticipating demand, you can ensure that your inventory is adequately equipped, you can set up shipping ahead of time, and save yourself many order fulfillment-related headaches.

#3 Simple and user-friendly

Not only does a subscription model make things easier for you as a merchant, it does the same for your customers. Customers don’t have to remember to visit your store and place an order, and they can budget in advance given that they know their monthly subscription cost. Happy customers are the best customers.

That said, there are also some disadvantages to subscription models, or settings where a Shopify recurring payments app might not benefit you as a merchant:

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What are the disadvantages of a subscription model?

#1 Sign-up hesitancy

New customers visiting your store might not hesitate to make a one-time purchase, but encouraging customers to sign up for the commitment that comes with a subscription can be somewhat more difficult. You may need to start with an incentive such as a half-price first order, or something similarly attractive.

#2 High cancelation rates

Although one of the benefits of a subscription model is more stable and predictable revenue, one of the elements you can’t predict is your cancelation rates. Customer turnover is part of any business, and those running a subscription model are equally subjected to it.

#3 The need to keep it fresh

With increased competition in the subscription market, it can be difficult to keep your customers engaged and stop them looking elsewhere for something fresh. It takes a lot of time and effort to think of ways to keep your subscription model relevant, new, and engaging for your customers.

Types of Shopify subscription app

There are several different types of Shopify subscription app and business model. Let’s take a look at the three main varieties:

#1 Replenishment

This type of subscription model focuses on saving customers time, by replenishing supplies such as groceries. Most of these subscription models allow customers to customize the items they receive, or have default items selected for customers who forget or choose not to customize their subscription.

#2 Curation of products

With this subscription model, customers are provided with a selection of products that they did not choose, and are becoming particularly popular with fashion merchants like StitchFix. These “surprise” subscriptions are an effective way of keeping things fresh for your customers; the element of not knowing what they are receiving adds intrigue.

#3 Membership

A membership-style subscription gives your customers access to something once they subscribe. These have become incredibly important for media providers such as Netflix and Hulu. Rather than charging an annual fee (which may seem expensive to new customers), they charge a much lower monthly rate, encouraging customers to stay signed up.

What to look for in a Shopify subscription app?

Due to the rapid increase in the popularity of Shopify subscriptions, there are now numerous Shopify recurring payments app options that can help you manage your subscriptions. So, what should you be looking for in the best subscription app for Shopify? While some of it comes down to personal preference and choosing an app that meets your specific use case, there are also some features that you may want to make sure are included with your Shopify membership app of choice.

It’s worth noting that some subscription apps charge a transaction fee; make sure you do your research and find a Shopify membership app with a plan that suits your budget. You also need to think about whether you are planning to offer discounts with your subscriptions. If so, make sure you find a Shopify recurring payments app with this feature.

Shopify subscription app: Top 5

To help you find the best subscription app for Shopify, we’ve put together a list of five great options that you may want to check out.

#1 Appstle Subscriptions – Best Shopify subscription app

Appstle Subscriptions boasts no transaction fees (for any plan), is GDPR compliant, and makes it easy to manage and customize your subscription services. This app is one of the most sophisticated subscription apps currently available, with inventory forecasting features as well as the ability to offer multiple and tiered discounts for your customers.

shopify subscription app

Rating: 5.0 stars (359 reviews)

Price: Starter plan beginning at $10/month

2. Native Subscriptions

Native Subscriptions (by Thimatic) gives merchants the ability to set up recurring orders, manage subscription payments, and create a seamless checkout experience for customers. This Shopify subscription app integrates seamlessly into the Shopify checkout, and also offers merchants the ability to send purchase email notifications to customers based on their subscription preferences.

shopify subscription app

Rating: 4.9 stars (37 reviews)

Price: Starter plan from $9/month

#3 Recharge Subscriptions - Shopify subscription app

Recharge Subscriptions is a user-friendly app that makes it easy to set up your subscription management services. Your customers will be able to view and manage their subscription preferences directly from your store via the customer portal and RechargeSMS. It also features integrated upselling techniques including the ability to add one-off products to each subscription.

shopify subscription app

Rating: 4.7 stars (557 reviews)

Price: Standard plan has no monthly fees, but does come with a 1% + 10c per transaction fee

#4 Seal Subscriptions

If you’re looking for a Shopify subscription app with advanced discount configurations, Seal Subscriptions is a great option. This app boasts some very helpful features, like inventory forecasting, automatic product swaps, and the ability to reschedule or skip subscriptions. It’s also compatible with Shopify Payments, Authorize.net, and PayPal Express gateways.

Rating: 4.8 stars (265 reviews)

Price: “Rising Star” plan starts at $7.50/month

#5 Repeat Kit Subscriptions

Repeat Kit Subscriptions by Adolab is free in the Shopify app store, making it a great option for merchants just getting started. This easy-to-use app offers tools for tracking and managing subscriptions and allows you to integrate frequency discounts. Repeat Kit Subscriptions allows you to turn any product in your store into a subscription, by displaying a “subscribe and save” option on your product pages.

shopify app subscription

Rating: 5.0 (9 reviews)

Price: Free

Use a Shopify subscription app to boost long-term sales and revenue

With so many apps to choose from, it can be difficult to find a Shopify monthly subscription app to meet your business’s subscription needs. Hopefully, the list we’ve put together can help you find the Shopify recurring app that suits your e-commerce needs.

If you’re looking for more recommendations from the Shopify app store, check out the PickyStory blog.

Good Luck!

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