2020 has been a remarkable year for eCommerce, as online shopping turned into a necessity from a luxury.
eCommerce has undergone unprecedented growth after the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2020. And the steep rise in the traffic on the retail websites as well as sales during the period is the clear evidence of it.
The eCommerce websites produced nearly 22 billion global visits in June 2020, up from 16.07 billion visits in January 2020. Not only this, the overall eCommerce sales revenue generated during the year 2020 amounted to 4.28 trillion USD globally, which is projected to grow up to 5.4 trillion USD by 2022.
eCommerce is booming and showing no signs of slowing down.
By 2040, 95% of purchases will be made online. So, if you want your business to stay that long, you need to focus on long-term relationships with the customers. And a subscription website is the only way you can do that.
Subscription has been around since 2010, used by some of the popular brands like BirchBox, Trunk Club, and Amazon. Because of the shift in the customer buying preferences, from ownership to usership, the demand for subscription services is surging at a huge pace. In fact, according to the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA), by 2023, 75% of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands will include subscription services in their business. Subscription websites liberate the customers from the hassle of punching their credit card details now and then, improving their shopping experience, hence the sales revenue.
In 2016, subscription brands generated a whopping $2.6 billion in sales revenue up from a mere $57,000,000 in 2011– a 4,461% increase.- McKinsey
You might have skipped the zeroes in the stat, but if you are looking to include the subscription facility in your eCommerce website, do not skip the list of top most performing Subscription eCommerce Platforms which we have compiled just for you.
Top 10 Subscription eCommerce Platforms Comparison
A subscription website is a type of website that employs a recurring payment method in its sales cycle. The customer makes recurring payments in exchange for recurring product/service replenishment. There are a couple of unavoidable factors that should be considered before commencing the subscription business such as pricing, performance, user experience, and marketing features.
The market is flooded with tens of thousands of eCommerce platforms. Some of them are extremely famous and are on the top of the list of merchants. However, a handful of them, despite having some of the most impressive features you need for your subscription business, are still lost in the crowd.
Hence, finding the right one for the business can be overwhelming. Keeping all this into account, we have put together a comprehensive list of the top 10 highly efficient subscription eCommerce platforms( covering both popular and less popular ones) that you can bank upon.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in-
6 Popular Subscription eCommerce Platforms for Subscription Businesses
The popular platforms do not need an introduction, so let’s directly check out what they hold for you in 2021-
Shopify- Fit for all businesses(micro to large)
Shopify is an eCommerce platform with all the necessary features to establish your business both online and offline. Being a hosted solution, Shopify liberates you from worrying about the related hassles like purchasing a web hosting or installing software.
Shopify offers a subscription facility for the websites. All you need to do is sign up for Shopify, create your online store, and add the subscription app such as ReCharge and Bold Subscriptions. With this, your website is ready to offer subscriptions and accept recurring payments.
Why should you choose Shopify for your subscription website?
- Offer speedy checkouts, conversion as well as customer experience.
- Offers drag and drop eStore builder and 70+ customizable themes to make your journey easier.
- Offers around 100 payment gateways
- Ensures secure and faster payment, both one time and recurring
- Allows you to track subscription revenue through advanced analytics features
- Offers unified inventory at all your sales points and scalable shipping tools
- Allows you to add Unlimited products
- Real-time shipping rates
Setbacks of Shopify Subscription
- Limited customization.
- Extra charge for external gateway.
- Customer support is not up to the mark.
- You need to pay additional charges for the subscription app.
Shopify plan starts from 29 USD per month. Whatever plan you choose, to enable the subscription feature, you need to purchase a subscription app.
Squarespace- Fit for rapid scaling businesses
In 2021, Squarespace was one of the biggest names in the U.S. e-commerce software market. Squarespace is a website builder and hosting platform that helps you stand out online with a professional website, online store, or portfolio. Squarespace offers an unrivaled set of best-in-class website templates to choose from, making your website development effortless and efficient.
Why should you choose Squarespace for your subscription website?
- Offers free custom domains.
- It is extremely secure.
- It is PCI compliant.
- Offers unlimited bandwidth and storage.
- Offer advanced marketing tools.
- Is a fully integrated eCommerce platform.
- Allows you to sell unlimited products.
- Offers automatic subscription renewal facility.
- Offers advanced shipping facility.
Setbacks of Squarespace Subscription
- A bit pricey
- No phone support for the customers
- Complex UI
Squarespace offers 4 pricing plans- Personal, Business, Basic Commerce, and Advanced Commerce. To sell subscriptions your need to opt for the Advanced Commerce plan, which will cost you 40 USD/month.
WIX- Fit for flexibility, customizability, and affordability
Unlike Magento and Shopify, Wix comes with an inbuilt feature to add a subscription facility to a website. Wix allows you to choose from 500 stellar templates for your website, making the website development a breeze. You can simply drag and drop the elements you want to add to your website. Wix offers responsive website design, making your website fit every screen.
Coming back to the selling subscription. With Wix, if you want to include a subscription facility, you need to upgrade your plan to either Business Basic, Business Unlimited, or Business VIP Plan. Also, you need to connect a reliable payment method that supports recurring payments. You can go for one of the payment providers from WIX Payments, Isracard, Stripe, or PayPal.
Why should you choose Wix for your subscription website?
- Allows you to allot different subscription duration to different products based on your needs, such as weekly, monthly, weekly, or yearly.
- You need not pay for subscription extensions separately.
- Wix is PCI compliant.
- Easy to use hence allows you to take the orders easily.
- Wix is extremely budget-friendly.
- It can be used by all sizes of businesses- small-scale, medium, and large businesses.
Setbacks of Wix Subscription
- Product subscriptions are allowed for digital products.
- If you opt for the free Wix plan, you need to do Wix branding.
- The free plan does come with a tracking and analytics facility.
- You can operate a single website with the premium plan.
Here are the 3 Wix plans offering recurring payment/subscription facilities-
- Business Basic- 23 USD per month
- Business Unlimited- 27 USD per month
- Business VIP- 49 USD per month
BigCommerce- Fit for large businesses
BigCommerce is a flexible, open SaaS platform for eCommerce. Being easy to operate, BigCommerce makes eCommerce website development simpler and faster. It allows you to deliver a content-rich experience to your customers wherever they are. Offering the omnichannel experience to the user, BigCommerce multiplies the business profit extremely fast.
Along with this, BigCommerce allows you to weave your recurring billing solutions into your business seamlessly, hence offering subscription services to the user. There are several Recurring Billing & Subscriptions extensions available on the BigCommerce marketplace which you can install to enable subscription facility on your eCommerce website.
Why should you choose BigCommerce for your subscription website?
- Allows you to choose the payment provider of your choice, without any penalties.
- Allows you to include customized payment options like storing the credit card, subscription, and product preordering.
- No technical skills are required to integrate the extension.
- Fully PCI compliant hence saves you time, money, and hassle.
- Offers professional reporting tools to track your business performance.
- Offers 24/7 tech support through phone, chat, & ticket.
Setbacks of BigCommerce Subscription
- Comes with a yearly sales threshold, after which it automatically upgrades your plan to the higher one, eventually becoming costly.
- Is not multilingual
BigCommerce pricing starts at 29.95 USD/ month. The price of the extension depends upon the extension you choose for your website.
WooCommerce- Fit for WordPress websites
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress plugin for eCommerce, that comes with all the necessary features that you require in order to set up an eCommerce website including the stunning subscription facility as well. No wonder why it is the choice of nearly 4,414,537 live websites.
Woocommerce is an awesome plugin that helps eCommerce vendors to create and manage their services and products with recurring payments and achieve their subscription goals with utter ease.
Why should you choose WooCommerce for your subscription website?
- Multiple billing schedules offer your customers more options to choose from in terms of plans.
- Allows you to offer trial facilities to your customers before making a purchase.
- Integrates with over 25 payment gateways which makes recurring payments more flexible.
- Enables the subscribers to upgrade or downgrading whenever they want, without needing to wait on you for help
- Built-in renewal notifications and automatic emails keep you and your subscribers informed and updated.
- Provides detailed reports that help you to keep track of the subscription status through the factors like recurring revenue, number of active subscribers, etc.
Setbacks of WooCommerce Subscription
- Lacks some basic features like product customization and exporting active subscribers.
- No automatic renewal subscription option.
Magento- Fit for all types of businesses with technical backing
Magento, just like Shopify, does not have an inbuilt subscription feature. However, by installing an extension from the Magento marketplace, you can add the subscription facility to your eCommerce website. Several subscription extensions are available on the Magento marketplace offered by vendors like Aheadworks, Amasty, Cruozonic, and many more.
Why should you choose Magento for your subscription website?
- Offers drag and drop facility that makes website development easier.
- Allows you to create as many subscription plans as required.
- Allows the users to manage their subscriptions.
- Track subscription income with a separate transaction log.
- Send automatic email notifications.
- Integrates with a reliable payment gateway.
Setbacks of Magento Subscription
- You need to depend on the other vendor for the subscription extension.
- Magento requires coding knowledge.
Magento Open source is free, however, you need to pay for the hosting. Overall pricing depends upon the extension you choose, starting with 99 USD plus installation charges.
4 Lesser-known, But Powerful, Subscription eCommerce Platforms
All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.- Adlai Stevenson I(Former President of United States)
Popularity does not determine the effectiveness of a platform; it needs to perform better. Here, we have listed some of the subscription eCommerce platforms that are not much popular but offer excellent performance, hence, can be a great choice to kickstart your eCommerce business.
OpenCart Express- Offers creativity that fits in your budget
OpenCart is an open-source as well as a free e-commerce platform that allows you to develop an eCommerce website for your business. The platform appeals to a variety of users; ranging from experienced web developers looking for an easy-to-use and comprehensible user interface, to the business owners just concerned with launching their business online.
OpenCart is packed with some of the extremely alluring features that give you a stronghold over your website. Opencart allows you to include the subscription facility in your website by setting up recurring payments for your customers.
Why should you choose OpenCart Express for your subscription website?
- OpenCart offers 36 payment methods to choose from.
- Features 13K modules and themes to grow your business.
- OpenCart is PCI compliant.
- Allows you to sell in any currency.
- OpenCart is translatable to up to 40 languages.
- Add unlimited products.
Setbacks of OpenCart Subscription
- Dependency on forums for customer support
osCommerce- Fit for creative and technically sound users
osCommerce is an open-source eCommerce solution that allows you to set up online stores quickly and easily. osCommerce takes care of the various aspects of the eCommerce business, including adding products, billing, shipping, and subscription facility. Available under the criteria of GNU (General Public License), osCommerce is free of cost.
Why should you choose osCommerce for your subscription website?
- Offers multilingual support.
- Is compatible with all major web browsers.
- Offers templates to make your website development faster and easier.
- Allows you to add an unlimited number of products and categories to your eCommerce website.
- Offers multi-currency support.
- Facilitates secure transactions with SSL support.
- Lacks customer support
- Requires technical knowledge
Recurly- Fit for large stores
Recurly is a subscription eCommerce platform that helps you make your website subscription-ready. Being easy to use, Recurly allows you to easily design your subscription plans and conduct marketing and promotions to accelerate your business growth.
Recurly also provides you a dashboard that enables you to get analytics & insights about business performance. It gives you more visibility in your subscription business, hence a better scope to optimize your efforts. Recurly does not offer any free plan but it does facilitate a free trial to help you make an informed decision.
Why should you choose Recurly for your subscription website?
- Recurly is PCI-DSS compliant.
- Allows you to manage your Subscription, and make customized subscription plans for your customers.
- Allows you to upsell products and services along with your subscription plans.
- Support 16 payment gateways.
- Offers 5 billing models including fixed recurring, usage-based, one-time charge, quantity-based, and hybrid.
- Automatically creates an invoice of the bills, including taxes, refunds, credits, and shipping fees.
- Provides great customer support
- Recurly charges you per transaction, hence is not fit for small businesses
Recurly offers 3 pricing plans- Core, Professional, and Elite. If you choose the Core plan, you need to pay $149/month plus 0.9% of your revenue. For the rest 2 plans, you have to contact their sales team.
Subbly- Fit for Integrating With Your Existing eCommerce Platform
Subbly is a comprehensive eCommerce platform that helps you start, manage, and grow your subscription business. This platform is basically a subscription eCommerce platform that is solely concerned with the subscription business.
Being a subscription-first platform, with Subbly, you need not depend on any external tool or extension, it takes care of all your business needs. Along with this, it also allows you to integrate to your existing website on platforms like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, or WordPress.
Why should you choose Subbly for your subscription website?
- Offers 50+ features.
- It comes with a drag and drop facility, hence no coding skills are required.
- Offers built-in marketing automation facilities, such as Email marketing, SEO, coupons, and discount management.
- Allows you to manage your payment and shipping processes.
- Allows the customers to customize their subscriptions, and billing cycles, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually
- Along with the subscriptions, Subbly also allows you to sell non-subscription eCommerce products as well.
- Lets to control your checkout & flows.
- Subbly offers you a full CRM, empowering you to manage your customer, order, or subscription information more efficiently.
- Configuring products in Subbly is a little overwhelming.
- Limited themes and plugins.
- Charges a transaction fee of 2%.
Subbly offers 2 pricing plans- Checkout only and Website plus checkout.
Are You Ready to Launch Your Subscription Business?
Picking the right software solution from the pool of options available in the market is not a plum job, you have to take several essential factors into consideration. We did this on your behalf and curated the list of top-performing subscription eCommerce platforms for all types of businesses.
By now you might have settled on the best fit solution based on your business type. However, if still on the fence, reach out to our experts. Whether you want to create a subscription eCommerce website from scratch or want to add the subscription feature to your existing website, our experts will guide you throughout your journey, from picking up the right eCommerce solution to leveraging it in your business.