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Create a seamless subscription service

Offering a subscription service is a clever way for businesses to gain more repeat customers and boost revenue.However, if yours takes off, managing it can get complicated without the right tools.

Luckily, if you build your online store using Shopify, they have plenty of apps that make running a seamless customer subscription service simple and hassle-free. 

Shopify subscription apps help to improve the customer experience, save time thanks to automation, and boost business revenue.

There are plenty of Shopify subscription apps to choose from, so identifying the right one for your business isn’t always straightforward. That’s why we’re going to offer you a bit of help! 

At Create8, we have successfully helped countless customers to design and build eCommerce websites that offer subscription services. Feel free to check out our work online and contact us for help or advice.

This article will explain what subscription apps are used for and identify the top 5 apps for boosting reliable subscription revenue and ensuring your business’s subscription service runs smoothly.

What are the benefits of offering a subscription service?

Subscription services are convenient for both businesses and customers.

The business receives reliable recurring revenue, and the customer gains continued, hassle-free access to their favourite products or services; win-win!

Common subscription types include software subscriptions, television streaming subscriptions, and subscriptions for digital content or newspapers and magazines.

Subscription boxes are also a trend that has swept across many industries in recent years, with food and drink subscription boxes like Degusta Box and Graze Box and beauty subscription boxes like Glossy Box and LookFantastic becoming particularly popular.

Women holding a beauty subscription box and some yellow and white tulipsIt sounds like a lot of work to set up and manage, though, right? So why have so many businesses jumped on the subscription bandwagon? 

Let’s look at some benefits of offering customers a subscription service.

Reliable, recurring transactions 

Providing customers with a subscription-based product or service helps businesses to generate a steady stream of reliable revenue. This can lead to increased customer lifetime value and improved cash flow.

Improve customer retention and loyalty 

By offering customers subscription plans, businesses encourage repeat purchases, which can help to build brand loyalty and reduce the customer churn rate.

Convenient service for customers 

Subscriptions make it easy for customers to receive their favourite products or services regularly without needing to place a new order each time.

Cross-selling and upselling 

Subscription services provide businesses with an excellent opportunity for cross-selling and upselling to their customers. Companies can increase customer lifetime value by offering loyal subscribers free samples or trials of additional products or services.

Improved forecasting 

Subscription-based revenue makes it easier for businesses to predict future income, allowing for better financial planning, product management, and budgeting.

What are Shopify subscription apps?

When customers subscribe to your business, they agree to pay a regular fee to continue gaining access to your products or services.

Customer subscriptions come in various plans, pricing tiers, and billing cycles, which can be challenging to manage without the right software.

A Shopify subscription app is a third-party software designed to integrate with the Shopify platform to make it simple and hassle-free for businesses to offer subscription-based products or services to their customers.

These apps are used by businesses to create and manage subscription plans, manage recurring payments, automate product delivery, and provide customers with a seamless experience.

Many different Shopify subscription apps are available in the Shopify App Store, each with unique features and capabilities, catering to different business needs and preferences.

Why use a Shopify subscription app?

Is it possible to run a subscription service without a subscription app? Probably. Do we recommend it? That’s a hard no. 

To run a successful subscription service, it’s a good idea to give your customers plenty of choice and flexibility. When do they want their payments to come out? How do they want to pay? What billing cycle do they prefer? When do they want their subscriptions sent? That’s a lot to manage, especially as the service grows.

Using a dedicated subscription management app helps make running your subscription service professional, organised, efficient, and straightforward.

Here are some things you can easily achieve with your subscription service using a Shopify subscription app.

  • Offer discounts and incentives to subscribers – To increase customer loyalty and retention rates.
  • Customise your subscription service – Customise details like delivery date, subscription fees, frequency, billing date, and pre-paid options.
  • Gain in-depth analytics and insights – Discover subscriber behaviour and preferences to help you to optimise your marketing and sales strategies.
  • Integrate with other Shopify features – e.g. Checkout and fulfilment, to create a seamless customer shopping experience.
  • Simple to manage – Manage all subscriptions from one central dashboard.

Black and red subscription gift bags against a black backgroundThe top 5 Shopify subscription apps compared

We’ve gathered essential information about our top five Shopify subscription apps to inspire and inform you as you search for the right app for your business.

ReCharge Subscriptions

“Maximise the value of your shoppers.”

Powering over 15,000 subscription brands, ReCharge is the leading subscription management platform.

Top 5 key features of ReCharge Subscriptions

  • Customer portal – Allows customers to manage their subscriptions online, including adding one-time purchases, skipping or pausing orders, and updating their address or payment information.
  • ReChargeSMS – Allows customers to manage their subscriptions via text messages.
  • Robust and flexible API – Businesses can fully customise their subscription service using ReCharge’s API to create custom checkout flows, integrate with third-party apps, or build their own features.
  • Bundles – Increase average order value by offering subscribers curated boxes, build-a-box options, or one-time products.
  • Multi-currency support – Accept payments in different currencies and display prices in local currencies for customers.


30-day free trial but no free plan.

  • Standard plan ($99/month 1.35% + 19c per transaction).
  • Pro ($499/month 1% + 19c per transaction).
  • Custom pricing is also available.

Businesses with more complex needs requiring a high level of customisation may find ReCharge subscriptions the best fit. ReCharge is highly customisable and flexible and features a theme engine for extensive customer portal customisation.

PayWhirl Subscriptions

“The most flexible subscription payment software on earth.”

Top 5 key features of PayWhirl Subscriptions

  • Seamless payment integration with Shopify checkout – Works with all subscription-capable gateways supported by Shopify, such as Shopify Payments, PayPal Express, and Stripe.
  • Flexible subscription options – Create custom billing schedules, offer discounts for subscribing or future orders, and more.
  • Customer portal – Allows customers to manage their subscriptions online when they log in, including updating payment methods, changing their subscription frequency, and cancelling their subscriptions.
  • Drag-and-drop app blocks – Easily integrate PayWhirl with your product pages, cart, and customer accounts using app blocks that you can drag and drop into your store’s theme.
  • Excellent customer support – PayWhirl has a 4.8 rating on the Shopify app store and many positive reviews from customers who praise their customer service and responsiveness.


  • Free to install (0% fees on your first $5,000 processed, 3% after that).
  • Pro $9/month (2% transaction fee).
  • Traction ($29/month 1.5% transaction fee).
  • Scale ($149/month 0.75% transaction fee).

Bold subscriptions

“Make subscriptions your superpower!”

Top 5 key features of Bold Subscriptions

  • Easy to set up and customise – The bold platform is feature-rich, out-of-the-box and does not require much customisation, making it easy to get set up quickly. 
  • Flexible subscription options – Allows businesses to offer different subscription plans, billing frequencies, discounts, trials, and more.
  • Customer portal – Customers can log in and manage their subscriptions online.
  • Cancellation management – Allows businesses to collect data from customers who cancel subscriptions about why they’re cancelling so that they can optimise their services.
  • Robust APIs and webhooks – Extend the app’s functionalities by integrating it with other apps and services.


  • No free version. 
  • Core ($49.99/month 1% transaction fee).
  • Custom pricing is also available.

If you’re looking for a top-rated subscription app, Bold and PayWhirl also offer a wide range of features and functionality but are more rigid than ReCharge and better suited to businesses that don’t require too much customisation. Bold and PayWhirl both have user-friendly interfaces and provide all the must-have features, making them a good choice for companies that want to get set up quickly without too much input from a developer.

Appstle Subscriptions

‘A subscription app built to grow your business.’

Top 5 key features of Appstle Subscriptions

  • Free plan – Try before you buy with Appstle’s free plan. Pay nothing until your store reaches $500/month in subscription revenue.
  • Out-of-the-box growth tools – Use Appstle’s widgets to easily create upsells, bundles, and build-a-box features.
  • Customisable customer portal – Conveniently allows customers to log in and manage their subscriptions online.
  • Loyalty features – Reward loyal subscribers with tiered discounts, custom shipping plans, gifts, and more.
  • Integrations and APIs – Integrate Appstle with other apps and services to extend its functionality.

Cardboard beauty subscription box with face cream and hair scrunchies on a bed of strawPricing

  • Free to install (free until your store reaches $500/month in subscription revenue, 0% transaction fees).
  • Starter ($10/month, sell up to $5000/month in subscription revenue, 0% transaction fees).
  • Business ($30/month, sell up to $30,000/month in subscription revenue, 0% transaction fees). 
  • Business premium ($100/month, sell up to $10,000/month in subscription revenue, 0% transaction fee).

Seal Subscriptions

‘The ultimate subscription solution for discovering new opportunities.’

Top 5 key features of Seal Subscriptions

  • Free plan – Try before you buy with Seal’s free plan. Use the app for free until you have 150 subscriptions.
  • Mixed subscriptions – Customers can add mixed subscriptions to the same cart.
  • Magic link – Customers can access and manage their subscriptions without registering on your website by using a magic link in their email.
  • Quick checkout process – Boost conversion rates with Seal’s one-click checkout for subscribers.
  • Product bundles – Integrate the app with Bundler, allowing customers to mix and match to create their own unique subscription box.


  • Free to install (up to 150 subscriptions).
  • Supersale ($4.95/month for up to 750 subscriptions).
  • Rising Star ($7.95/month for up to 1500 subscriptions). 
  • Legend ($20/month for up to 15,000 subscriptions).

Seal Subscriptions, PayWhirl, and Appstle all offer free plans, making them excellent options for smaller businesses and those experimenting for the first time with providing a subscription service.

Which Shopify subscription app is right for your business?

From the outset, many Shopify subscription apps appear to provide similar functionalities, making it difficult to identify the ideal option for your business.

Look closer, and you’ll discover each platform has distinctive features, benefits and drawbacks. You’ll need to weigh these all up to find the app that is the right fit for your business.

Factors to consider when choosing a Shopify subscription app for your website include:

  • Compatibility with your Shopify store.
  • Features and functionality.
  • Customer support.
  • Ease of use.
  • Customisation.
  • Budget.
  • Scalability.
  • Integrations supported.

To discover which subscription app is right for your business, begin by identifying your needs and research which apps can help you to meet them, then make a list of your top 5. Next, compare the apps on your list based on features and pricing to help to narrow the list down. 

Many subscription apps offer free trials or demos. Take advantage of these to test the apps’ features, user interface, and performance. This will help you get a feel for the app and whether it’s right for your business. Finally, don’t forget to check out reviews to gain insight into what success other companies have had with the app!

Shopify subscription app FAQs

What is a Shopify subscription app, and why do I need one for my online store?

A Shopify subscription app is a software application that enables merchants to offer recurring subscription products or services to their customers through their Shopify store.

How do Shopify subscription apps help to increase customer retention rates and revenue?

Shopify subscription apps help increase customer retention rates and revenue by allowing merchants to offer customers the convenience of regularly receiving products or services while providing predictable, recurring revenue for the merchant. 

Can I customise the subscription options offered by the Shopify subscription apps?

Yes, subscription apps allow you to customise the subscription options. The level of customisation available depends on which app you choose to use. Most apps allow you to customise the following options: the frequency, pricing, and duration of the subscription, and any perks or discounts offered to subscribers.

Are there any Shopify subscription apps that offer analytics and reporting features?

All the major Shopify subscription apps offer analytics and reporting features to help merchants optimise their subscription services. Some metrics include subscriber activity, churn rate, revenue, and growth.

Create8 Shopify web design

Need help with web design or adding a subscription service to your Shopify store? Contact the team at Create8 to start your project today!

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