Over the years, subscription-based models have garnered a lot of potential against revenue-based models for any business. Ecommerce subscription platforms are pretty extensive and you would find absolutely anything you wish from razors to food packets to medicines to entertainment, etc.
According to statistics, the subscription eCommerce market took an exponential growth of 100% year-over-year for the last 5 years. To put things into perspective, a subscription retailer saw a revenue of $2.6 billion online when compared to $57 million in 2011 which means it is paying it off.
OTT platforms are one of the biggest examples of subscription-based models as they have pushed monthly subscriptions as their pre-requisite to access the content throughout the year and it is very likely to grow exponentially in coming years.
If you run a business offering services or products that would use a subscription-based payment model, here are 5 best eCommerce platforms to sell subscriptions in 2021 that would land you on a profitable forefront.
Best Ecommerce platforms to sell subscriptions in 2021
Before you can dive into the best subscription eCommerce platforms, here are some of the features you should look for when choosing the right one.
- Transaction Fees
- Recurring subscription
- Subscription management and customer self-service
- Multiple subscription plans
- Multiple payment gateways
- Integrate with existing eCommerce portal or website
- Customer support
- Extend of customization
- Re-billing after failed payments
WooCommerce + WooCommerce Subscriptions
WooCommerce doesn’t need any introduction. It is one of the best eCommerce plugins for WordPress that powers over 30% of the online stores in the world. It isn’t a standalone platform but rather a plugin that you need to install on your new or existing WordPress website at no cost.
As we are talking about the best eCommerce subscription platform, WooCommerce comes with a feature called WooCommerce Subscription which is available at a one-off fee of $199.
Once installed, you get a plethora of features including a high degree of customizations, easy upgrade, and downgrade for customers/visitors if you have multi-tier subscriptions. The add-on supports 100+ payment gateways that give users his/her choice a priority when checking out subscribing to any service or product.
There are also multiple billing cycles as well as auto-rebilling if the payment fails for the first time. WooCommerce offers the website owners and administrators access to add reviews for SEO and there’s no monthly or transaction fee on the subscriptions so it is short.
The WooCommerce Subscription integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce on WordPress and takes just a little bit of help to set it up and get it going. The add-on allows users to switch between subscription plans without any hassle.
Users can purchase multiple subscriptions with multiple billing cycles and more. It can be integrated with Amazon, Magento, Shopify as well.
Just like any other subscription-based eCommerce platform, you would find in this list or otherwise, WooCommerce + WooCommerce Subscription combo does have some disadvantages.
Its user interface isn’t that friendly and one would say it is outdated by design although powerful when it is working.
The Subscription add-on is available at a one-off payment and it is expensive especially if you are running a new business. It lacks a few features here and there that you would find on another subscription platform (s) that you would find here.
Shopify + ReCharge
Shopify has over 1 million business on-board that gives a hint that it is bang-on and a must considered when choosing the right eCommerce platform. Just like the WooCommerce Subscription plugin is available for WooCommerce, there’s a ReCharge plugin that Shopify recommends to tap on the unlimited potential of subscription-based business no matter where you are selling the products or services.
Adding to the humongous list of features that Shopify already offers, ReCharge gives webmasters and owners a free trial of 60-days before they can subscribe to its premium plan. Moreover, it is free to use until the transactions don’t exceed USD 100,000.
ReCharge integrates seamlessly with your Shopify website or store. It is simply like installing an app and offers access to check out windows, customer accounts, a string of third-party apps, order flow, and more. There’s plenty of other enterprise-level features on-board such as integrations, webhooks, APIs, etc.
ReCharge along with Shopify offers an unmatched 24/7 customer service which is a must-have in case you end up in errors later. It supports everything from recurring billing to adjusting the frequency of subscribing, mixed cart subscriptions, and allowing users to tweak their subscriptions just to name a few.
ReCharge lets you tweak every aspect and it is also one of the highly-rated subscription platforms for Shopify to sell subscriptions.
It lets you choose and custom themes, integrate more than 20 apps and features, and so on. It is also responsive so no matter what your screen size is, it won’t fail to process it without any hassle.
ReCharge with Shopify is available at a monthly recurring payment which becomes a bit of burden sometimes. Moreover, you’ll have to subscribe to ReCharge additionally since it doesn’t come preloaded with Shopify.
Unlike Shopify, ReCharge is limited in terms of several support payment gateways and does put transaction charges on each transaction as well. Overall, we don’t recommend it for beginners but since it has enterprise-grade features as well, it is a much better option for large-sized platforms.
With 50+ features, Subbly is a premium eCommerce subscription platform that can be easily integrated with an existing or a new website. Subbly is an easy to use all-powerful subscription eCommerce platform that gives access to webmasters either to put up one-time purchases or a monthly subscription plan and so on.
Subbly also has one of the best customer support for those who might end up in some issues setting or integrating or whilst it is working in the background. The webmasters can tweak shipping and billing cycles as well.
Subbly offers a 14-days trial before charging a minuscule monthly or yearly fee ranging from $14/mo to $39/mo depending upon which plan you choose. One of the best platforms for selling subscriptions, Subbly supports re-billing for any failed payments that would otherwise discourage users from doing a payment again.
Next up, the platform complies with payment processing standards including PCI and SCA among others for secure payment with Stripe, PayPal, Auth.net, and Braintree and more will be added soon. It is one of the best subscription management platforms with everything you’d need for a secure, efficient, all-encompassing subscription experience.
Subbly is super easy to integrate and takes just a few hours to set it up either on your existing website or you can create a website with Subbly as well. The subscription platform offers a series of features such as recurring payments, auto-debiting after a failed payment among others.
There’s drag-and-drop functionality on-board and it is mobile friendly and responsive which means your website would look funny no matter what the screen size is.
Even after upgrading from just a single ‘Stripe’ accepting payment gateway support, Subbly now offers payments via Auth.net, PayPal, and Braintree and even with that, it is fairly limited.
There’s a transaction fee of 2% while Stripe charges a whopping $2.95 as transaction charges. Another thing that you will notice with Subbly is that it is limited when it comes to themes and designs so good luck with finding the right one for your business.
3DCart has more than 25,000 retailers on-board with its hosted website with recurring and subscription payment technology on-board. Subscription-based eCommerce platforms have gained popularity as it allows for consistent income and with a great platform such as 3DCart, businesses can ensure all the subscriptions are dealt with properly timed debit from their respective accounts and delivery of products and services.
3DCart gives access to an all-in-one easy-to-use eCommerce platform with more than 200 features on-board. The platform is fully hosted so you won’t have to write even a string of code or add plugins as it is all-powerful.
3DCart can be integrated with WordPress using third-party and the same goes for Magento and Shopify and even Amazon. It would take just 5 minutes to set it up and get started with easy to use website builder and all other tools that one would require to get the best out of any platform.
There are 50+ free and mobile-friendly themes available for businesses to choose from and the best thing is, there are no transaction fees on transactions made on the platform just to name a few features. 3DCart offers a 15-days trial without asking for credit card details and starts with unlimited plans at $19/mo and it is easily scalable.
3DCart is super easy to use and offers integration with a plethora of eCommerce platforms using bigwigs like WordPress, Shopify among others.
With more than 200 features on-board, 3DCart isn’t that ordinary subscription-based eCommerce platform and yes, it would require some trial and error to get it working properly.
Even with so many features that technically increases the probability of errors businesses would face, 3DCart has basic customer support.
It isn’t as popular as any other platform listed here but gets your job done. Plus, it is expensive which could be a deal-breaker for the masses.
Magento + Subscription & Recurring Payments
Magento is one of the largest Content Management Systems (CMS) in the world. It is so much in demand that businesses pay somewhat as much as $18,000 or more a year to keep their website on the platform.
It has its arsenal of features but with Subscriptions & Recurring Payments, it becomes a powerhouse of all payment-related tasks. Although not that affordable, Subscription & Recurring Payments for Magento is one of the best eCommerce subscription platforms to check out.
Talking about the long list of features, the extension includes a trial plan. By adding all the prices related to subscription, the users will get the exact amount to pay one-off and recurring product prices for comparison.
It is highly mobile-friendly so the screen won’t go odd when the users are trying to check out. Developers keep a close eye on the platform making it one of the earliest to clear any bugs when discovered. There’s a dedicated subscription cart to add items and check out as it supports a string of payment gateways.
Businesses and webmasters can add products, list their prices, and define subscription plans and the rest will be taken care of. The extension from Ahead Works can process several subscriptions at once.
It has a mobile-friendly design that means users can subscribe to products on their phones and tablets too that arrive with different screen sizes.
There’s an active developer community looking to extend the functionalities that you can refer to. Most importantly, it is a great platform for advanced users.
No matter what recurring payments and subscription plugin you try on Magento, all are pretty expensive at around $249 or more.
This particular extension is available at the one-off payment of $499 which is pretty expensive but ideal for large-sized enterprises. You’ll need some expertise or you’ll need to hire someone to manage the extension, payments, and other aspects.
These were the best eCommerce platforms to sell subscriptions in 2021. Note that choosing the right platform is just the half battle won, listing a product with high potential and devising a proper acquisition plan for subscriptions is the rest and it isn’t that easy as it sounds.
There can be a hundred possible ways to optimize your subscription-based business with the platforms aforementioned such as by recruiting ambassadors to attract new customers and so on. Hope this list does provide some useful insights in choosing the right eCommerce subscription platform.
We would also like to mention that once you have planned to sell subscriptions of any particular product such as an ebook, SaaS product or something that requires a recurring payment, it is important to market it in the right manner as well.
For that, you need to have a good strategy as to how you will manage the same. It is great if you have a community already wanting to subscribe to the product that you are selling.