How To Choose An Ecommerce Subscription Platform

They say there’s nothing new under the sun…

And that’s certainly true of subscriptions.

Everyone loves convenience, and there’s nothing handier than having your milk, newspaper, and shaving razors delivered right to your doorstep. Consumers have been outsourcing their daily shopping needs for decades, and ecommerce just keeps making it easier.

Ecommerce platforms are driving the current explosion in subscription services, and customers are more willing than ever to sign up for regular deliveries of socks, coffee, beauty products, and craft beers, not to mention all of the content based subscriptions like Spotify and Netflix.

Ecommerce shops also enable companies to create unique experiences that didn’t exist before, because people now subscribe based on want as well as need.

Are Subscription Services a Good Idea?

The greatest ecommerce opportunity (right now) lies in recurring subscriptions. If 4,100 customers will commit to a $20 monthly subscription, you’ve got a million dollar business. This model allows you to spread your revenue across a wide user base, which creates sustainability.

Having 3,000 clients who pay $50 a month is also theoretically less risky than having 50 clients who pay $3,000 dollars a month. But whatever the size of your user base, you need a viable product and a solid platform that can handle recurring subscriptions.

Which Platforms Support Subscription Plans?

Surprisingly, major ecommerce players like Shopify and Bigcommerce don’t offer recurring payment options. But there are several widgets and services you can use to set it up.

If you already have a website or a Shopify account, programs like Recurly and Chargify will help you design Buy Now buttons and plug them into your current store to take subscriptions.

If you have a developer on staff or can afford to hire one, you can have them integrate recurring payment solutions from PayPal, Stripe, or FoxyCart. These require a certain amount of coding, but they offer flexibility in how you set up your payment system.

How To Choose Your Ecommerce Subscription Platform

Keep the following considerations in mind when choosing which platform best suits your store.

Security: Protecting customer data should be your top priority. Most services maintain secure databases to store customer credit card information, so be sure to inquire about their processes before signing on with them. Unless you’re using a self-hosted solution, you need to find a service you and your customers can trust.

Costs: Recurring payment systems can be quite expensive, especially if you need to implement one in addition to your standard ecommerce store. Evaluate the different service options to find one that really aligns with your shop to avoid paying for services you don’t need.

Capabilities: Different customers require different payment arrangements. Some will prefer to pay on a yearly basis while others opt for a monthly plan. Make sure whichever service you choose can handle different payment rates and frequencies so you can accommodate your customers.

Recurring payment options offer sustainability and savings for you and your customers. You can entice them with a discounted rate on subscriptions, such as a percentage off if they pay for several months or a year in advance. This provides you with revenue you can count on, as long as you make your service essential to your subscribers.

Keep tabs on when people’s subscriptions are about to expire, and incentivize them to renew through payment plans or special offers if they’re on the fence about subscribing again.

Once they’ve become dependent on your products, and they know they can trust you with their data, they’re more likely to factor the subscription into their budgets as a must-have.


Can’t decide if a subscription service is right for you?

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