10 Steps to Choosing the Best Shopify Subscription App for your eCommerce Business (2024)

In the dynamic and often unpredictable world of DTC eCommerce, selling subscriptions has emerged as a reliable way to drive recurring revenue for consumer brands, particularly in niches such as beauty, pets, health, and supplements.

Subscriptions have become a cornerstone for DTC businesses looking to optimize positive cash flows and customer retention on Shopify. Some DTC founders and operators have taken it a step further by leveraging subscriptions to maximize customer engagement, streamline operations, and elevate the overall customer journey.

However, the success of a subscription business goes beyond the basics and depends on the subscription management software powering it. Choosing the right Shopify subscription app is crucial to fully harnessing the potential of this business model.

To help you make an informed decision, we present a comprehensive guide to choosing the best Shopify subscription app for your eCommerce business.

1. Endless Customization Options for a Branded User Experience

The customer portal is the primary tool for DTC Shopify brands to communicate value and establish credibility. A tailored customer portal elevates the user experience, aligning every touchpoint with your brand identity, thus fostering a strong connection to your subscribers. The stronger the connection, the higher LTV.

That’s why all user touchpoints from product visuals to the buy button to the checkout window are essentially levers to take your brand to the next level. With added customization options, you can tailor your customer portal with custom JavaScript and CSS. This means going beyond basic themes to create a customer portal that feels inherently like your brand. 

Depending on the scale of your business operations, you can find a subscriptions app with the right balance of code and no-code features. Speaking of no-code, we at Loop have a gallery of winning design widgets.  

2. Personalized Subscriber Journeys for Higher LTV

In the DTC space, customer retention is the name of the game. Personalizing the subscriber journey is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. It is a necessity, and has massively helped brands retain subscribers and reduce churn. Thus, through personalized rewards and tailored communication, brands can significantly enhance customer retention. 

The path to improved customer lifetime value (LTV) is paved with personalization.

No two subscribers are the same. Subscriber journeys will look different for each of them. Still, we have found tailored communications, personalized product recommendations, and rewards that resonate with the customer work the best in ensuring customer retention.

Any Shopify subscription app on your radar should ideally allow for these personalized touches—acknowledging birthdays, rewarding loyalty, and suggesting products based on past purchases - maximizing the average lifetime value (LTV) for  your customers.

3. Offers Bundle Builder for Better AOV

Increasing the average order value (AOV) is a goal for any eCommerce business. That’s why the best shopify subscription apps have a bundle and box-subscriptions feature. This feature is designed to incentivize customers to add more to their cart, encouraging higher spend.

The bundle builder not only enhances the value offered to your customers but also strategically increases your AOV. With a bundle builder in your subscription management portal, each transaction contributes more significantly to your bottom line.

When assessing a Shopify subscription app for its box-subscriptions capabilities, consider asking these questions: 

  • How customizable is the bundle builder feature in the subscription software?
  • Can they offer both pre-defined and customer-curated bundles through your platform?
  • How does the bundle builder handle variations in product availability or stock levels?
  • Can the bundle builder integrate with your existing product catalog and inventory system?

Pro tip: A robust inventory management system helps you quickly identify and manage out of stock situations. Check out Prediko - one of the top rated out of all inventory management apps for Shopify

4. Fully White-glove & Hassle-free Migration Service

Transitioning to a new subscription platform is a daunting process. We recommend you look for a service that offers a white-glove migration experience, ensuring that the switch is seamless, with minimal disruption to your operations. 

The team handling the migration must ensure that your data is transferred securely and efficiently, minimizing downtime and ensuring that your business continues to operate smoothly. More importantly, the team must understand the challenges faced by retention specialists during what can be a complex process.

Keep these pointers in mind before migrating to another subscriptions app. 

  • How do you ensure a seamless migration process with minimal downtime?
  • What security measures are in place to protect data during transfer?
  • Can you provide a detailed plan for the migration process?
  • How do you handle potential data loss during migration?
  • What training resources are available for our team to adapt to the new platform?

As far as migrations are concerned, Loop Subscriptions stands out for its exemplary track record within the DTC community. For an in-depth look, explore the success stories shared by consumer brands who've made the switch to Loop.

5. Smart Dunning Management System

A smart dunning management system allows you to recover lost revenue due to failed card payments and declined cards. In doing so, it helps you reduce passive churn - a form of churn that is often ignored but eats away at your subscription revenues.

The ideal subscription app should have sophisticated workflows to handle failed payments effectively, including auto-canceling paused subscriptions or offering a skip payment option. Some smart dunning management systems offer analytics, detailed reports, and visualizations, providing insights needed for decision-making.

This proactive approach ensures that you maximize revenue recovery while maintaining a positive relationship with your customers, addressing payment issues with empathy and flexibility.

For businesses looking for a comprehensive solution, consider partnering with a Premier Shopify Plus Agency to enhance your eCommerce capabilities.

6. Shopify App Reviews

One of Shopify’s best perks is its community of incredible merchants. So, before deciding on a subscription app, make the best of this community and dive into Shopify app reviews. These are goldmines of information, offering insights from merchants who have walked the path before you. Pay attention to how they discuss the app's impact on their business, particularly around customer support, ease of use, and functionality. 

Learning from their experiences can help you make a more informed decision. It is likely that this process of due diligence might significantly affect your final choice. While you are at it, feel free to check out Loop Subscriptions reviews here

7. Reasonable Pricing

When evaluating subscription apps, it's essential to scrutinize their pricing structures and transaction fees. Lower fees can lead to considerable savings, making it important to choose an app that balances affordability with robust functionality. 

For DTC founders, for whom budgeting is key, Loop presents a pricing model that is both economical and transparent, aimed at delivering exceptional value. Remember, it is possible to access powerful subscription management tools without straining your margins. 

Additionally, consider the scope of features you need, as more features don't always equate to better value for smaller businesses.

8. Supports Integrations

In today's digital ecosystem, the ability to integrate with other tools and platforms is non-negotiable. 

You must assess a potential subscription app's capacity to work with both widely used and specialized platforms—like email marketing, CRM systems, and analytics tools. In other words, the new subscription management platform must be compatible with your existing tech stack. 

This compatibility not only streamlines operations, enhancing efficiency behind the scenes, but also elevates the customer experience by offering a cohesive and personalized service. 

9. Supports All Types of Subscription Models

The lack of flexibility in subscription model offerings may be one of the reasons you are looking for a new subscription management app. Whether it's a gift, trial or bundle subscription, having the ability to offer various subscription models allows you to meet customer needs.

This flexibility can also be a significant growth lever for founders and operators, allowing them to experiment and evolve product offerings based on customer feedback and market response. 

Below are the different types of subscription models we offer at Loop Subscriptions: 

  • Standard Subscription: These are the simplest and standard forms of subscriptions available. No frills approach. 
  • Prepaid Subscription: In a Prepaid subscription, the user will have to make the payment upfront before availing the product or the service.
  • Gift Subscription: Gift subscriptions are a type of prepaid subscription where your customer can buy or subscribe to any product or service for someone else.
  • Build a box: Using the Build a Box type of subscription, the user has the ability to pick and choose multiple products you want to subscribe to and add them all to a bundle (or a box!).
  • Subscription Journey: Subscription journeys are personalized subscriptions, where the user has a customized journey, and the products sent vary in each delivery. This can be implemented to improve customer retention by offering free products after X subscription orders.
  • Trial Subscriptions: In a trial subscription, the user is given a product or a service for a trial period. They aren’t charged anything during this interval, only after the predefined interval, the user will be charged.
  • Membership Subscriptions: Allow your customers to subscribe to a membership/loyalty club which can be set up to offer subscribers a different experience in the store.

10. Quality Customer Support

The quality of customer support is, by far, the most decisive factor which will make or break your subscription management experience. The stakes are high for founders and operators who know that every unresolved customer ticket might cost them thousands of dollars.

So, one must expect dedicated account managers and a wealth of training resources from your subscription management platform. This will help ease your team’s transition to the new platform and ensure you make the most out of these features. High-quality documentation is another aspect which allows users to troubleshoot technical issues independently.

Here are some questions you might want to ask as you consider the various subscription management apps. 

  • What is your customer support response time?
  • How is support quality maintained?
  • Are support services available 24/7, and through which channels?
  • What training do support agents undergo?
  • How is customer satisfaction with support measured?
  • Describe the escalation process for complex issues.
  • Can you share examples of successful customer support resolutions?
  • How does your team manage high request volumes?
  • What self-service support resources do you offer?

Ready to take your subscriptions program to the next level? 

As you navigate the complexities of building and growing your subscriptions program, consider how Loop can help you foster lasting relationships with your customers, sell subscriptions at scale, and drive sustainable growth for your business.

We’re committed to ensuring you stay on the curve in leveraging subscription eCommerce to its full potential. Together, let’s create a seamless brand experience that resonates with your customers at every step of their journey.

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