If you’re researching for subscription platforms and tools, you’re probably aware of ReCharge. The reason is simple: ReCharge was built specifically for merchants who use e-commerce giant, Shopify. If your store is already built on Shopify, it’s highly likely you’ll choose ReCharge simply because it’s quick and easy to install from the app store. But what exactly should you know before deciding between adding ReCharge to a Shopify store and Subbly’s all-in-one solution?
First of all, let’s state the obvious: Subbly is built as an all-in-one platform with subscription at the heart of every design and development decision. In contrast, ReCharge is an app that enables existing Shopify stores to sell subscriptions. This means that opting for ReCharge means you’ll be also using Shopify and everything that comes with it, which ultimately drives a spotlight away from subscriptions a bit. Although there are many benefits to Shopify, there’s also some realities that could come back to haunt you in the future. This article explores the pros and cons of both Subbly and ReCharge. Instead of recommending either solution, this article explains what type of business is best suited for each platform and how to get the most out of each one. Every business has different needs and you should select the platform that is right for you.
With Recharge, it’s going to be really easy for you to add a subscription portion to your existing eCommerce store if you’re already running on Shopify, merchants who use this setup have the benefit of Shopify’s vast integrations and apps. With more than 3000 available apps and integrations, Shopify merchants can find an app for almost anything. Plus many apps are free to use or have a “freemium” model (except ReCharge which has a monthly fee, similar to Subbly). ReCharge is a good option for merchants who are already looking for a seamless subscription plugin because you can sell subscriptions for your existing products quickly and without any coding. ReCharge has all the basic subscription features you need to get started and works perfectly well for physical products or digital/membership/service-based products.
The ReCharge-Shopify integration is seamless which helps provide a positive user experience as the checkout maintains the same look and feel as your website. While this is not unique to ReCharge (also possible via Subbly), it does deserve to be called out. Additionally, as a result of the Shopify integration, merchants can easily add a subscription option to any existing SKU in Shopify. ReCharge’s database also communicates with Shopify’s admin to automatically update product availability based on inventory levels.
Although the integration between supported eCommerce platforms and Recharge may look seamless to end users, it may be more challenging for merchants (especially those who are just starting or non-technical). The complexity may not be obvious in the short term, but can cause some issues later on as your business starts to scale. Any merchant seriously considering ReCharge (plus Shopify) should be aware of the following:
1. When checking out, your customers will be diverted away from your Shopify site to the ReCharge processing page if they choose to subscribe to a product. This may hinder the user experience.
2. Each customer’s account will create two records: one in ReCharge and one in Shopify. Some customers may find this confusing. Which company did they subscribe to? Which platform should they login to to manage their subscription?
Needless to say, the combination of features which you get ready-made on Subbly will oftentimes require a full stack of plugins and add-ons. Apart from playing an important role in setting up the final price, it actually depends on the uptime of plenty of different services involved.
Last but not least, the most frequent reason merchants choose Subbly over ReCharge is price. Not only does ReCharge start at $60 per month (vs. Subbly’s $19.99 option), basic features like one-time purchases are only available on their pro plan which costs $300 per month. If you want to add additional apps, it may cost you even more and your monthly costs can quickly skyrocket. You can double check Recharge pricing here.
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Subbly is an all-in-one solution. This means that a merchant can build a website, manage and grow their subscription business (PLUS one-time purchases) using only Subbly for a single price. This is in contrast to ReCharge which requires merchants to also pay for and use Shopify. Subbly believes that subscription is not just a feature; it’s a business model. Why should your business sell one-time purchases primarily, and subscription as an “option”, when subscription revenue is more predictable, easier to forecast, and makes your business more valuable? Basically, any business today can be a subscription business. That’s why we built an all-in-one solution that puts your subscription revenue and management features above all else, while still allowing one-time purchases.
We tend to believe that Subbly’s pricing is more affordable than ReCharge and that it’s made to scale easily with your business. In the most common scenario, Subbly merchants pay nearly half of what you’ll pay for ReCharge and Shopify and they get more features (and that’s before you start shopping in the app store).
You don’t need any technical skills to get started with Subbly. Of course, the setup time may vary from minutes to hours depending on your technological know-how and attention to detail, our industry leading support team is always available to help! You can easily get in touch with real people who can provide real-time, helpful advice.
Although app stores of the platforms that you can use Recharge with enable businesses to do just about anything, Subbly’s features are specifically built for subscription. With ReCharge (and Shopify, for example) you may have to find apps and string together multiple platforms to create some functionality that already exists using Subbly and is possible out of the box. For example, setting completely customizable checkout flows or seasonal quarterly subscriptions with set cut off dates are standard Subbly features and unmatched even on Shopify.
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Because it was built as an all-in-one solution, Subbly builds more proprietary features instead of relying on integrations. Although Subbly is focused on developing an app store and offering more integrations in the future, it will take time to match the likes of Shopify’s app store. This may be problematic for some merchants who have come to rely upon third party apps to manage their business. Subbly completes integrations by request and some functionality can be mimicked through its Zapier integration, but Subbly is always adding more integrations and features. We suggest checking out our changelog for the frequency of the new features being added.
One immediately perceived drawback of Subbly is that it was originally designed for physical products and is not a natural solution for digital subscriptions or service models. But that’s also going to change in the near future. Even today, Subbly does support a number of digital subscription or service based businesses and is working hard to build features for these models.
Lastly, it’s true that Subbly does not have a featured app for the likes of Shopify or BigCommerce as we speak. This is due to the fact that we’ve been passionate about building an all-in-one solution that wouldn’t rely on third party integrations and we do believe that keeping it all under one roof is much easier and streamlined both in the terms of management and pricing. Lack of any direct integration can be perceived as a con of our platform (especially when we’re comparing Recharge which is a plugin, and not an eCommerce platform itself) there still is a way of cross-integration Subbly with the likes of Shopify or BigCommerce or any bespoke solution which you have built. You can see here for more info. However, Subbly retains the subscription first trajectory and was always aiming at being the platform itself, and not a plugin for existing eCommerce solutions.
Subbly and ReCharge are very different platforms. Subbly is an all-in-one solution that puts subscription first, while still enabling one-time purchases. ReCharge is an app that requires merchants to also pay for Shopify and treats subscription as only a feature of your business. You can think of Subbly as, for example, both Shopify and ReCharge combined (for a smaller price tag). ReCharge offers a tight integration with Shopify, but is much more expensive than Subbly which has many more relevant out-of-the box features in lower pricing plans. Check out the comparison table below so you can make the right decision for your business.
Don’t take our word for it.
Check other user’s experiences with Recharge HERE, and with Subbly HERE.
Subbly really is built subscription-first. While you'd need a lot of plugins and connectors to start off on other platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, here, it's all built right in.
Before I found Subbly I never had the ability or finances to have a subscription business platform which could meet my needs and expectations. Subbly has been there for me every step of the way!
Everything was so straightforward, the support team are AMAZING, I would not have been able to launch without Subbly.
We’ve used the software for over 3 years and it keeps getting better. It has everything you need to easily run a successful subscription box business!
Subbly is straightforward and easy to use. Designing your site is simple and allows you to control your entire business from one place.