How Do I Sell a Subscription on Shopify? A Simple Guide

Shopify is a very diverse platform, and you can adopt just about any business model to it. Through apps, you can use Shopify for dropshipping, print-on-demand, digital products, and more. 

An increasingly popular e-commerce model is to sell subscriptions. 

With one, you can sell products or services to your customers at a recurring fee. An example would be $20 a month for a crate of your craft beer. Subscriptions are a fantastic way to secure consistent revenue. 

You may be wondering, “How do I sell a subscription on Shopify?”

To sell a subscription first, you’ll need an app to enable subscription purchases in your store. From there, you’ll need to devise what your subscription service will entail. Finally, it would help if you marketed your subscriptions to start growing your membership base. 

Stick around to learn how you can use Shopify to sell subscriptions online. 

Why Use the Subscription Model?

In today’s age, subscription boxes are all the rage. There are subscription services for razors, alcohol, coffee, video game merch, and more. It’s a $10 billion industry that’s growing every single day. 

So if you aren’t sure what approach to take for selling products, the subscription model is a great choice. 

With this model, you charge your customers a recurring fee. In return, they receive a regular supply of products, samples, or services. You can replenish similar items or provide curated collections of new items. 

‘Loot box’ services have popularized the idea of getting something new every time. Common loot box themes include merchandise for TV and video games. Every month, subscribers receive a loot box filled with surprise goodies. 

Customers love the model due to its convenience, excitement, and reliability. Merchants love it because it secures consistent revenue and customer loyalty. Starting a subscription service is one of the best ways to build your brand. Here’s a list of some of the benefits you’ll enjoy from adopting the model:

  • Consistent and predictive revenue. One of the best perks of a subscription service is its consistency in revenue. Your members will pay the same amount each month, guaranteeing you some business. Not only that, but since you charge a flat monthly fee, you can easily predict your income. That comes into play when planning future business expenses. You’ll have an easier time envisioning how much money you’ll have with subscriptions.
  • Lifetime value for customers. For new businesses, one of the biggest challenges is building customer loyalty. A subscription model makes this more accessible than ever. A subscription is a guarantee for automated repeat purchases. Your customers will instantly become loyal supporters of your brand. 
  • Straightforward shipping. Another perk is that your shipping will go off like clockwork. You’ll have regular shipments each month, keeping your costs low and predictable. 
  • Customer satisfaction. Customers adore subscription boxes, and for lots of good reasons. Boxes containing surprises are exciting and something fun to look forward to each month. Replenishing items with a subscription is very convenient and fun. No matter what type of products you offer, your customers will love your boxes. 

Setting Up Subscriptions on Shopify 

Now that you know why subscription models are worth it, it’s time to learn how to set one up. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to get started selling subscriptions on Shopify. The first and most crucial step is to decide what you’re going to sell. 

Deciding on Your Content 

You’ll have to decide not only what products you’ll sell, but also how you’ll present them. There are lots of different ways to go about putting together a subscription box. First, you need to determine a profitable niche to focus on the most. That way, you can decide what to include in your package based on the needs of your target audience. 

If you don’t have a niche for your store yet, then it’s time to pick one before you go any further. If you weren’t aware, a niche is a specialized market segment, such as health and wellness. Here are some tips for picking a niche:

  • Follow your passion. Do you have a hobby that you’re very serious about at home? Then that’s a great way to select your niche. If you’re an avid reader, then you can start a subscription for a book of the month club. Or, if you love coffee, you can start a subscription box filled with coffee samples. 
  • Do market research. If you don’t have many hobbies or aren’t large enough, you can rely on research. Some profitable niches include health and wellness, pets, self-improvement, and wealth building. You can research social media and user forums to find which topics are buzzing the most. 
  • Solve customer problems. This step takes quite a bit of research, but it can pay off in the long run. Once you have a niche in mind, try to solve a problem for that audience. If you’re focusing on fitness, then you can start a subscription service for water and vitamins. That way, joggers and athletes don’t have to lug heavy cases of water from the store. They can also rely on you to deliver their essential vitamins. 

Select a Subscription Style 

Are you going to replenish products, provide surprises, or leave it up to your customer? It’s essential to decide on a style for your subscription box. Of course, there are pros and cons for each. It will also come down to your selected niche and the products that you’re going to sell. 

For the example above of water/vitamin delivery, that’s replenishment. In other words, you’re maintaining a steady supply of water and vitamins for your customers. 

You can also go with a random style. If you’re giving out entertainment merch each month, random is best. That way, your customers will get excited about what might be in their loot box this month. 

The final option is to put the power in the hands of your customers. You can let them choose the products that they receive each month. All you have to do is provide a mix of products, and they will do the rest. That is a successful model because it empowers your customers.

Frequency of Delivery 

Your content is only one piece of the puzzle. Next, you’ll need to decide on a frequency for delivery. Are you going to set a weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly delivery schedule? Would you instead let your customers decide on the delivery date? Or do you want to implement an automated system that detects when a customer needs a new delivery?

These are all viable options, but it’s essential to pick one. The most common choice is to enact a monthly subscription service. That’s reliable for customers and easy to maintain on your part. Weekly is a little bit harder to maintain. You should only go with a weekly schedule if you’re replacing something that runs out quickly. 

Leaving it up to your customers is a great option but can lead to some shipping nightmares. One of the benefits of a subscription service is consistency in shipping. Letting your customers decide when to ship effectively gets rid of that perk. Yet, it can be worth it due to the freedom your customers will have. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before choosing this method, but it can work very well if done right. 

Payment Options 

The final component is to decide how you will process payment. There are numerous ways to do this, such as charging customers upfront. You can also use recurring billing to take out customer payments automatically. 

Another factor to consider is whether you’ll include a free trial or not. Free trials can do a lot to incentivize users to try out your service. 

If you’re starting with your subscription service, we recommend keeping it simple. Monthly recurring payments are the easiest to process for your business. 

Other options to consider related to payment include:

  • Being able to gift a subscription
  • A minimum commitment period
  • The price of the subscription
  • The types of payment that you will accept 

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to payment. Of course, selecting the price of your subscription is one of the most crucial elements. Make sure that you factor in how much it costs to supply your customers with your products. Otherwise, you could wind up not charging enough and going broke. 

It would be best if you found a balance between affordability and covering your operational costs. 

Also, it would help if you steadily improved your subscription price over time. Why? Because your service is bound to improve over time. Every six months or so, you should revisit your pricing and update it. That way, you’ll maintain a healthy bottom line. 

Install a Subscription App on Shopify 

To start selling subscriptions on your Shopify store, you’ll need an app. Much like dropshipping or print-on-demand, Shopify isn’t set up for subscriptions by default. Luckily, there are various apps on the Shopify App Store built for subscriptions. They will enable you to sell a subscription service through your e-commerce store. While there are many options out there, we feel that the Bold app rises above the rest. 

Using the Bold Subscription App 

Bold Subscription is an app that lets you launch a world-class subscription service. There’s an impressive 60-day free trial that you can use to get a feel for how it works. Bold allows you to set up a subscription program in just a few minutes. Its out-of-the-box features are intuitive and easy to use. 

Bold makes managing your subscription service a total breeze. The subscription portal is flawless and effortless for customers to use. There are self-manageable delivery intervals, payments, orders, and more. 

Now you can control every aspect of your subscriptions in one convenient location. You can also decrease churn and boost LTV through its automatic dunning management.

Its core features include:

  • Seamlessly integrates with Shopify Checkout
  • Easily add subscribe options and save options with a few clicks
  • 100% customizable 
  • Works flawlessly with Shopify discount codes
  • User-friendly dashboard 
  • Powerful APIs, developer tools, and webhooks
  • Automated email updates to improve customer relations
  • The ability to offer one-time purchases and subscriptions in the same transaction
  • Much more

As you can see, the Bold Subscription app has a ton of valuable features. If you plan on starting a subscription service, then this app is a must-download for you. To get started with the Bold subscriptions app visit this link.

Market Your Subscription Service

If you’re still wondering, “How do I sell a subscription on Shopify?” Then this section is for you. By now, you should know how to set up a subscription service through Shopify. Now the hard work begins. It’s time to get the word out about your new subscription service so that you can gain your first members. Here are some effective marketing tactics that we recommend you employ:

  • Social media. The best way to advertise through social media is not to spam promotional posts. Instead, you’ll find a lot more success with ads that encourage interaction. Come up with questions, quizzes, polls, and games for your new subscription service. 
  • SEO. A majority of your customers are going to search for products online. That’s why you need to optimize your content for search engines. That way, you can rise in the rankings and attract new customers. Try to target common keywords related to your business. 
  • Social proof. Testimonials are enormous for subscription services. If you don’t have any yet, then you need to acquire some. Have a friend of yours try out your product and leave you a testimonial: the more glowing reviews you can provide, the better. 
  • Risk reversal. Signing up for a subscription can be risky, so it’s your job to reverse that. How? Through referrals, discount codes, and special offers, of course!

How Do I Sell a Subscription on Shopify? ( quick video )

Closing Thoughts

There’s our answer to, “How do I sell a subscription on Shopify?” You’ll need a solid plan for a subscription service, including a niche and products to sell. You’ll also need robust marketing efforts, an affordable rate, and lots of social proof. Finally, downloading the Bold Subscription app is the best way to add subscription capabilities to your Shopify store. As long as you follow this simple guide, you shouldn’t have any trouble selling subscriptions through the platform.

For more great content to help you develop your Shopify strategies, check out the rest of the merchant posts on the site. If you want to see a list of our top recommended Shopify apps visit this link here.

Davon Wilson

I'm a certified Shopify expert, you can usually find me on my computer coding, or thinking about business ideas. I'm an avid Ravens fan and an overall nice guy.

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