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How can subscription-based purchases help your business grow?

Alina avatar
Written by Alina
Updated over a week ago

Have you considered jumping on the subscription bandwagon for your Shopify store? Trust us - it's a great time to do it! Subscriptions are the hottest trend in commerce right now, and they offer many exciting opportunities for your brand to connect with like-minded customers who share your values and really engage with what you're all about.

More than half (54.3%) of worldwide subscriptions come from two categories: food and beverage and beauty and personal care.

Instead of just selling a product or service one time, you charge your customers a recurring fee to access it on a monthly or yearly basis. This approach helps you build deeper relationships with your customers and create a loyal community of people who love what you do. It's a great way to add purpose to your brand and keep customers coming back for more!


A subscription-based business model charges customers a regular fee to access a product or service, usually on a monthly or yearly basis. By offering a subscription-based model to your customers, you can build strong relationships with them and create a loyal community of repeat customers who are invested in your brand's mission and values.


  • Improved Customer Lifetime Value: Subscriptions create a recurring revenue stream from consistent orders, which can increase customer lifetime value by encouraging repeat purchases. Repeat customers are 50% more likely to make another purchase than new customers and, on average, spend 33% more.

  • Increased Average Order Value (AOV): Using subscription-based models provides exciting opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. In 2020, Alpine merchants experienced a 6% increase across different industries, indicating that customers are becoming more engaged with subscription-based brands than ever before.

  • Predictable Revenue: Subscriptions offer a steady stream of revenue that can help stabilize your cash flow and give you a better understanding of your financial situation.

  • Increased Customer Loyalty: With a subscription model, you can build a community of loyal customers who are invested in your brand and feel like they are part of a special group.

  • Reduced Marketing Costs: Once you have a solid subscriber base, you may not need to spend as much money on marketing campaigns since your existing customers will continue to make purchases.

It’s 5–25% more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones.

  • Deeper Insights: With a subscription model, you can gather valuable data on your customers' preferences and purchase behaviors, which can help you improve your products and marketing strategies.


There are three different types of subscription models to choose from. They are curation, replenishment, and access. Each model has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to do your research and figure out which one is the best fit for your business.


    The curation subscription model is the most popular, with around 55% of merchants choosing this option. With this model, merchants can create a box of one or more products packaged together and shipped out at regular intervals.


    The second-most popular subscription model is replenishment, chosen by around 32% of merchants. With this model, customers receive the same product consistently, and it's often called "subscribe-and-save." Replenishment works best for consumable products that customers use daily, ensuring they always have what they need.


    Access is the third and fastest-growing subscription model, with approximately 13% of merchants choosing this option. This model gives subscribers access to exclusive memberships or gated availability to certain products or services. The popularity of this model is increasing due to the vast range of benefits that merchants can offer their subscribers.


Before setting up the subscriptions in your Shopify admin, you will need to choose one of the subscription apps in the Shopify App Store.

We at Supliful highly recommend using the Propel Subscriptions app. What's so good about it?:

  • Automatically bills your customers according to the billing interval you choose

  • Reduces support tickets by letting your customers manage their own subscriptions

  • Rewards loyalty by letting you offer deeper discounts for long-term customers

  • Simplifies your operations by letting you bill subscriptions on the same date

  • Improves communications with customers with advanced email notifications.

Once you have a subscription app installed and completed its setup, then subscription information becomes available in the following areas of your Shopify admin:

  • Customers list

  • Customer profiles

  • Product page

  • Discounts

  • Orders list

Subscription products

You can limit your subscription products to being sold only as a subscription, or you can enable both subscription and one-time purchases.

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Products.

  2. Click the product that you want to manage the subscription of.

  3. Select whether to sell the product as a subscription-only:

    • To sell the product as a subscription only, check Sell product as a subscription only.

    • To sell the product as one-time purchases as well as subscriptions, uncheck Sell product as a subscription only.

Subscription discounts

If you offer subscription products, then there are more options when creating fixed-amount, percentage, or free shipping discounts.

The Purchase type section appears on the Create discount code page. You can choose if a discount applies to subscription purchases, one-time purchases, or both.

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Discounts.

  2. Click the discount that you want to edit.

  3. In the Purchase type section, choose the purchase type that you would like to limit your discount code to:

    • If you select Subscription as the purchase type for your discount code, then you can choose which subscription products to apply your discount to. You can limit the use of your discount code to specific subscription products or a specific collection.

    • If you choose to limit your discount to a specific subscription product or collection, then search for your product or collection using the Browse button that appears.

Change usage limits on Free shipping discount

If you offer a free shipping discount that applies to subscription products, then you can specify for how long the discount applies. You can choose to limit your free shipping discount to the first payment, limit your free shipping to a certain number of payments, or enable free shipping on all future subscription payments.

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Discounts.

  2. Click the free shipping discount you want to edit.

  3. Update the purchase type to Subscription in the Purchase type section of the discount editor.

  4. In the Usage limits section, select the limitations that you want to apply to your discount under Recurring payments for subscriptions.

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