A subscription-based business is a lucrative idea. Especially with the growth in demand, where customers are willing to part with their money in exchange for convenience.
It’s great for sellers too — it’s recurring income that can help them make a profit faster. So what’s the secret to success when you want to sell subscriptions online?
First, it’s your product. And second, it’s your customer service, which includes your website performance, shipping, membership management and so on.
But how do you even create a subscription ecommerce site?
Keeping that in mind, we performed an audit on all the ecommerce platforms out there, and found the top 5 ecommerce platforms that allow to sell subscriptions based on these features:
- Transaction fees
- Recurring subscription
- Customer self-service (subscription management)
- Degree of customization
- Multiple subscription plans
- Customer support
- Integrate with existing website
- Multiple payment gateways
- Re-billing after failed payments
Whether you’re selling luxury wines or online classes – there’s a solution for any situation. So here are our top 5 recommendations.
WooCommerce with Subscription Extension
The chameleon of ecommerce platforms, WordPress and the formidable WooCommerce + WooCommerce Subscriptions combo, makes this an optimal choice to sell subscriptions online.
What we love
Users have full control over the website and a high degree of customization. Sellers can also enjoy features likes multiple billing cycles, 100+ payment gateways, auto rebilling after failed payments, and a wide variety of sales plugins and integrations. There are also no monthly or transaction fees, and merchants can add reviews to their stores to boost SEO.
The extension is not beginner-friendly and can be tricky to set up. Sellers also need to sort out hosting and domains themselves.
WordPress and WooCommerce are free; however, there’s a one-off fee of $199 for WooCommerce Subscription and extra yearly costs for a domain and hosting.
Sell Subscriptions with Shopify + ReCharge
On its own, Shopify lacks the desired features to sell subscriptions. But combined with an app like ReCharge, it offers the complete package sellers are looking for.
What we love
The unbeatable 24/7 customer and m-commerce support across all plans, custom themes, and integrations. The additional ReCharge features will help manage recurring billing, mixed cart subscriptions, and adjust the frequency of subscriptions. With no transaction fees and a wide range of upsell tools, you can upscale your business fast.
Not an ideal option for beginners, as there’s an extra cost for the ReCharge app. There are also limited payment gateways, which unlike Shopify, incur fees.
The app offers a 60-day trial, after which the app will cost an additional $39.99 (on top of your Shopify plan) per month.
Subbly for Subscription Based Ecommerce
Designed specifically with subscription-based stores in mind and easy integration with any existing website, this is the best option for beginners.
What we love
Packing in everything you need, this is also extremely easy to use. Integrate with an already existing website or quickly create one from scratch. Offering features like recurring billing, one-time purchase, custom orders, and great customer support the platform offers one nice subscription management package.
Transaction fees are starting at 2%, in addition to the transaction charges for Stripe ($2.95), the only payment option they offer.
You can try it for free for 14 days. Then, plans start from $19 a month to add the checkout features to an existing website, or $39 a month if you’re looking to build an ecommerce site with Subbly.
Sellfy for Easy Subscription Selling
With their super intuitive interface, Sellfy is one of the easiest platforms to create your store and start selling subscriptions. It’s ideal for selling course subscriptions, font licenses, premium content, and 1000 other products.
What we love
As the perfect alternative to Patreon, Sellfy has the features to make selling subscriptions easy. It focuses on allowing sellers to grow their business fast, without having to compete with 1000s of other shops on a marketplace. Their conversion-optimized checkout enables subscribers to get access to your content without needing to create an account. You can also upload as many products as you like, and sell your subscriptions from anywhere with their “buy now” button. Set up daily, weekly, or monthly payments, and instantly get paid through PayPal or stripe.
There’s no drip content functionality, and there’s a 2% transaction fee per order.
You can try Sellfy for free for 14 days, and the opt for the Starter plan for $29 per month.
Magento with Subscription Extension
Together with the Subscription and Recurring Payment for Magento 2 extension, this platform offers all the necessary features to power large scale subscription businesses.
What we love
The app turns your store into a full subscription service. Quickly scale your business with trial periods, advanced payments and customer segmentation. There are plenty of extensions and advanced integrations for all of your needs, and a handy app builder to increase your reach.
It’s an expensive option and only ideal for large enterprises. The interface is not beginner friendly, and management of the platform requires expertise.
There’s a free open source offering for smaller merchants with many features and tools, but paid plans will depend on the size of your business. Some companies pay as much as $18,000 a year to run their store with Magento.
Subscriptions work nicely when they’re done right. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Finding the right platform is just half the battle, creating a desirable product is the rest.
Before you even think about the right platform, make sure you have your product down. What you sell will greatly affect the kind of features you will need, and so will make it easier to make your decision.