How to sell subscriptions on Shopify Stores and have consistent revenue

If you run a service or retail business, it is important to understand how the Shopify subscription model works. Let us show you!

October 08, 2020
9 min read

Shopify is a Canadian proprietary e-commerce platform that millions of people all over the world use to sell and market their businesses. If you are looking to start your own retail or service business and want to get your foot into the online world, Shopify might be the perfect solution for you.

With that being said, if you run a service or retail business, it is important that you understand how the Shopify subscription model works in order to receive consistent revenue.

How Does A Subscription Model Work?

A subscription model involves a consumer paying a fixed fee at consistent intervals throughout the year in order to use a service or receive a product. Many websites and companies, including Shopify, use this business model in order to earn a profit.

Imagine owning an online store and being able to earn a consistent income every month, even if your sales numbers waver. This could be your reality because of the Shopify subscription service.

Subscription models are based on the idea of selling a service or product to a customer in order to receive a recurring monthly or annual payment. In other words, a single customer will make multiple payments to a business in order to gain prolonged access to that service or product.

Benefits Of A Subscription Service

We have already discussed how many businesses are turning to subscription-based business models instead of the traditional one-off payment models. This is because there are plenty of benefits when it comes to using a subscription business model. See below all of them:

More Reliable And Consistent Income

One of the biggest advantages of implementing a subscription service is the reliability and consistency in income that it brings.

Owning a retail or service business can be very stressful, especially if payments are only made once you make a sale or complete a task. What if you have a bad month and only make a few sales?

This is where a subscription service will come in handy. As we have already discussed, this business model involves a consumer paying a fixed fee at consistent intervals in order to receive a service or product. The regular payments will ensure that you earn a fixed amount of money each month or year, eliminating the problem of having an inconsistent salary. By doing so, life  becomes much less stressful for you and your business employees.

You Can Offer Customers A Free Trial

It is very difficult to offer a trial period when your business runs on one-time payments. Subscription-based businesses make this much easier, meaning that you could attract more customers because of a free trial.

Even though a good handful of customers will end up not paying for your service, you will still have access to their contact details through the free trial. This means that you will be able to send them newsletters and information about promotions, enticing them into signing up through a subscription at a later stage.

Subscription Models Are The Future Of The Business World

As we have already mentioned, plenty of websites and companies all over the world use a subscription service as their method of payment. In fact, more and more businesses are beginning to shift from one-time payments to this recurring income model.

Why You Should Set Up Subscriptions For Your Shopify Store

As we have seen above, there are plenty of benefits when it comes to using a subscription-based payment model. The main advantage is the fact that you will receive consistent and fixed payments every month or year, depending on when you charge your customers.

Also, using a subscription-based model can make life much easier for your customers. Instead of having to remember to pay every time they want to use your service, they can simply pay once and use your service until the end of the month or year. The convenience that comes with a subscription-based business model will attract many more consumers than a one-time payment model.

With that being said, it is also extremely easy to set up subscriptions for your Shopify store, meaning that you have nothing to lose. In the sections below, we will be discussing how you can set up recurring payments on Shopify.

Extra content: How to Start Your Own Subscription Business in E-commerce

How To Build A Subscription Product Into Your Shopify Store

As we have already mentioned, it is very easy and simple to build a subscription product into your Shopify store. In fact, you will be able to do this in 4 steps:

Determine The Basics Of Your Subscription Product

Before you can build your subscription product, you will need to determine a few details about what you will offer.


You should offer various options for your customers to select. For example, one package could allow consumers to use one particular service or product as many times as they like. An additional package could allow customers to select a mix of services or products.


Will you be charging your customers on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis? Also, you will need to decide whether or not payments are going to be automatic or whether the consumers will have to manually pay you at the start of the week, month, or year.

Download A Shopify Subscription App

Shopify does not store payment information, meaning that you will need to download and use an additional app in order to build a subscription product. There are many different Shopify subscriptions apps that you could turn to. We will be mentioning a few of these later on.

Set Up A Subscription Fulfillment

Even though the Shopify app will re-generate orders for you, you will need to ship these orders out manually. However, if you set up a subscription fulfillment, this job will be taken care of.

Promote Your Subscription Product

Since your customers will have to commit to a long-term contract when using your service, you need to work extra hard when convincing them. Many subscription-based businesses use marketing tactics to gain the trust of their consumers. For example, some companies offer their customers free shipping, free trials, and multiple promotions and discounts.

Shopify Apps You Can Use To Streamline Your Subscription Service

We have mentioned that there are multiple Shopify apps that you can use to streamline your Shopify subscription service. A few of the most popular apps include the following:

ReCharge Recurring Billing And Subscription

ReCharge Recurring Billing And Subscription is the most popular and most used Shopify subscription app. This platform will enable you to create multiple subscription plans for your customers. Unlike all other apps, ReCharge integrates into Shopify and allows your customers to manage their subscriptions from your website.

Recurring Orders

Some of the largest Shopify stores use Recurring Orders for their subscription needs. This is the only app that allows subscriptions on individual and mixed products.

Recurring Memberships

Recurring Memberships supports online and offline membership plans. One of the best features of this platform is its ability to alter content available to consumers based on their subscription package.

How To Set Up Recurring Payments On Shopify

We now know that a subscription app, such as Charge Rabbit or Recurring Orders, needs to be downloaded in order to set up Shopify recurring billing.

Once you have downloaded one of these apps, you will be able to set up recurring payments on Shopify. Recurring payments can be used to ensure that your customers never forget about your business, reminding them to pay for their subscriptions once their previous one has run out.

Each app has its own process to follow when setting up recurring payments for Shopify. When you have decided which app you will be using, you should use the help bar on the app or visit their website in order to find out how you can organize these recurring payments.

Retention Strategies For Subscription Businesses

There are various retention strategies that you can implement if you own a subscription business. These policies are put in place in order to increase the number of repeat customers and the profitability of existing customers.

Use The Right Platforms

Customers will have their preferred methods when it comes to contacting you, making it easy to decide which platforms to use. For example, if most of your consumers find out about your Shopify subscription service through social media sites, such as Instagram or Facebook, you should make it your goal to boost the company’s advertisement on those platforms.

With that being said, you should ensure that someone is always available to take the calls or deal with potential customers when they contact you.

Talk About Tomorrow

As a subscription-based business, it is important that you let your customers know about your goals and visions for the future of your company. This will make your consumers feel much more comfortable when paying for year-long (or even month-long) subscriptions.

Thank Your Customers

If you want your customers to keep coming back for more, you should try to create employee-consumer bonds. There are various ways in which you could do this. Try to stay away from simple ‘thank you for your purchase’ messages, as these can come across as insincere.

Instead, celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special personal occasions. You could also offer them specials, promotions, or discounts if they stay loyal to your business after a certain amount of time.


Shopify is an e-commerce platform that business owners all over the world use to sell and market their services and products. If you own a Shopify online store and wish to get the most out of your customers, you should consider incorporating a subscription-based business model.

A subscription model involves a consumer paying a fixed fee at the start of every week, month, or year in order to gain access to a service or product. There are plenty of benefits when it comes to this payment method as it was shown in this article.

You need to bear in mind that it is important that business owners use the right platforms when trying to advertise their company. So, finally, in order to make consumers feel more comfortable when paying for a yearly or monthly subscription, they should be made aware of any changes and improvements that the company will undergo in the future.


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