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Best ecommerce platform for subscriptions for 2023 (Top 7)

The best ecommerce platform for subscriptions will have all the tools your ecommerce subscription business model needs to succeed.


Whether you sell physical or digital products, you need secure payment gateways, subscription management tools, customer support, advanced analytics, and online resources that help you get the most out of the platform.


The best subscription ecommerce platforms covered in this post:


1- Shopify


2 - Sellfy


3 - SendOwl


4 - Podia


5 - Payhip


6 - Squarespace


7 - Lemon Squeezy


What is a Subscription Platform in eCommerce?


eCommerce Subscription Services are online businesses that allow customers to subscribe to a recurring delivery of services and or products they want to consume regularly.


The subscriptions recurring payments come out of an account the customer chooses and are good until canceled. The subscription business can be a very lucrative business model since payments happen automatically. Many people don't actively manage their subscriptions recurring payments every month.


You sell subscriptions. Then, regardless of whether the person uses it, you keep getting paid.


Of course, you want them to get what they pay for! But the set-it-and-forget-it nature of recurring payments is one reason the subscription business model is taking over the tech industry.


A robust subscription ecommerce platform offers business ecommerce opportunities that allow companies to increase revenue versus simply selling something in a one-off manner—creating more consistent income and predictable inventory management.


Key features of a subscription eCommerce platform


To keep people subscribed and increase subscription sales, you must deliver a seamless subscription management experience. You'll need certain features to do this.


Every subscription ecommerce platform should have certain basic tools. But they may also have some exclusive features that make the ecommerce platform a perfect fit for your particular ecommerce business.


These must be considered when selecting a subscription platform that's right for you.

As for basic features, you're looking for:

  • Support for multiple payment types, including digital wallets, credit cards, debit cards, and global online payments

  • Advanced analytics to improve customer experience, optimize performance and maximize subscription revenue

  • User-friendly experience to make signing up and keeping their subscription a no-brainer

  • Integrations for different payment processors, Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, website builders (like Wix), billing, and inventory management

  • 24/7 customer support to help your team support customers when websites go down, payments don't work, subscriptions stop renewing, etc.

Shopify



If we had to guess, you've heard of Shopify before. They've done significant advertising to generate brand awareness. They have been developed specifically for e-commerce and are a very popular subscription e-commerce platform, in particular.


Who knew?


Shopify has had to work through some technical and user-interface issues since its launch in 2006. So, if you tried it back then, you may be hesitant. Just know that's not the same tool it is today.


Shopify listened to its customers and made improvements. And you know, technology has come a long way too! It provides integration with several apps for subscriptions you need to run a successful business.


Pros & Cons


Pros:

  • Easy to use

  • 24/7 Customer support is very reachable

  • Multiple third-party payment options. This was once a problem with Shopify.

  • Categories to help larger stores stay organized and navigable

  • Beautiful and functional store themes

  • SEO capabilities

Cons

  • High price if you need more than the basics

  • Blogging integration needs work

  • No email hosting

Notable Features


Once maligned for its limited payment options, it is now one of the best, including international 3rd party payors.


Pricing Structure


After a free trial, you'll pay $29/mo. for very basic features. This plan doesn't even come with analytics, which no subscription ecommerce business should be without. Honestly, you'd be better off with some of the other tools for this price if you don't plan to grow into the $79 or $299/mo plans.


Shopify doesn't actually manage subscriptions itself. You'll need to install the Recharge API to gain this feature. However, there is no monthly fee to do this, and they charge a very low per transaction rate of $0.10 + 1%



Why We Love It


Today, most of the companies on this list probably consider them their top competitor. When combined with Recharge, they're a very popular online subscription ecommerce platform. And name recognition matters. Your customers and subscribers know Shopify and some of that brand awareness can rub off on you.


Sellfy



Sellfy offers a comprehensive e-commerce service for business owners and entrepreneurs. It has a number of outstanding functionalities that make it an excellent subscription-focused ecommerce site.


Subscription management can be a challenging task for most small companies. Sellfy gets this and has really thought out what small businesses need to run a successful subscription business.


Whether you choose Sellfy or not, we recommend using an online marketplace like Sellfy to start a business online quickly and efficiently. This is where they excel. Sellfy helps your organization promote your online products and manages recurring payments easily on subscription ecommerce platforms.


Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Ease of Use (a lot of people say this)

  • Good analytics for your online store

  • Business growth-minded product

  • Best option for its price point

Cons

  • Unclear how or when the company will update or add features

  • Limited SEO

  • Gets poor Google Speed Scores

Notable Features

  • Store Builder

  • Payment gateways

  • Embeds into existing website builders

  • Built-in marketing

  • Exceptional analytics

Pricing Structure


You can list up to 10 physical products for free to test out the features. After that, if you pay a monthly fee for this subscription platform.

  • Starter $29/mo for up $10,000 in sales per year

  • Business $79/mo for up to $50,000 in sales plus extra features

  • Premium $159/mo

Why We Love It


Sellfy has the subscription model in its DNA. So it's one of the most subscription ecommerce-focused tools you can use for your online store.


SendOwl



SendOwl gets touted as one of the best-known shopping carts in the industry for a reason. Subscription services can often be confusing to the average marketer, so SendOwl tries to be the wise friend guiding you through everything you need to sell subscriptions. People like its integrated subscription features that allow for automatic payments and billing for recurring customers.


What's more, some subscription services can be complicated to sell, and some have clunky interfaces.


But SendOwl isn't one of them. Presumably, it's used by famous brands such as the Universal Music Group and Semplice. Bloggers and other publishers use it to sell subscriptions to their premium content.


Thanks to its fantastic suite of subscription tools, this platform enables customers to easily sell subscribed services to clients, take recurring payments, manage recurring billing, and a whole lot more.


Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Many clever features you didn't know you needed

  • An analytics dashboard that is both useful and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Automatic order fulfillment

  • You get a lot of stuff for free

  • Different payment methods

So, the Cons

  • Doesn't have a community built around it as some tech does

  • Limited design templates for marketing can become repetitive

  • No way to A/B test

  • You'll pay 5% transaction fees if you don't subscribe

Notable Features


Its range of features include:

  • Instant order fulfillments

  • Easy to scale

  • Multi-language and multiple currencies supported

Pricing Structure


Like Payhip, you get most of it for free forever, but you'll pay 5% per transaction. Once you're ready to commit, you can sign up for the 30-day free trial and then $19/mo. This gives you access to more customizations and only 1% per transaction fee.


Why We Love It


So, maybe it's not one of the best subscription ecommerce platforms. By that, we mean it doesn't have all the bells and whistles some subscription ecommerce platforms do.

But it deserves a place on this list because they worked to create a more streamlined tool so they could also make it cheaper than similar subscription management platforms.


Podia



Is your subscription e-commerce booming? Do you need a new subscription ecommerce platform? Podia is the cheapest and easiest way to sell your subscription services online.

Podia has more than 150,000 creators on the platform. It combines ecommerce store tools so you can make easy sales with subscribers.


Building a store in Podia can be done lightning fast. And there is no need for programming or technical experience to build an impressive store immediately.

Many consider it a hassle-free choice for the subscription business model.


Pros & Cons


Here's what people think about Podia.


Pros

  • Exceptional customer support

  • Easy to set up and start selling subscriptions

  • Payment integrations

  • User-friendly and intuitive

  • No coding required

Cons

  • Seems like it's missing basic features because they aren't where you'd expect

  • Can't embed codes if you want to

  • Digital subscriptions and online services only

Notable Features


Podia is built for online courses and other educational digital assets like webinars, quizzes, and online coaching services. The live chat feature allows customers to reach out to you when you're online. And email marketing segmentation tools help you generate more relevant and meaningful customer experiences to upsell and retain subscribers.


Pricing Structure


Podia is also free to try, but you'll pay an industry-high 8% per transaction fee. For $39/mo, you can eliminate the fee and get access to limited features. But most people will not need any more than this.


If you want white glove service, Podia can cost as much as $199/mo.


Why We Love It


The transaction fee and subscription fees are high. But Podia has a lot of features other tools don't, like community building, live chat, and email segmentation.


With that said, it has a high price point. So we strongly suggest you use the demo. Take advantage of the free and lower tier before committing to the more costly tiers or switching to annual billing.


Payhip



Payhip resembles Podia but with a more targeted focus and lower overall costs. The company offers a complete solution for selling subscription plans for just about anything:

  • Digital downloads

  • Masterclasses

  • Coaching

  • Physical goods

This subscription ecommerce platform has incredibly useful features to make selling a subscription a real business success for the serious ecommerce entrepreneur.


But is it the best subscription ecommerce platform? That depends on what you need your subscription ecommerce platform to do.


First and foremost, it has complete store-building software for creating your dream site without any code or programming experience. Second, you can enhance your brand through the use of custom domains and subdomains.


Third, you can embed Payhip into your existing website builder.


Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Easy store setup

  • Free (Wait, did we say, "FREE"? There's a catch!)

  • Sales Tax and VAT management

  • Visual Data Analytics

  • Full access to the product for FREE

Cons

  • 5% transaction fees. The standard is 3%, so this isn't outrageous.

  • Paid plans cost a lot

  • You'll occasionally hit glitches in the programming.

Notable Features

  • Easy VAT and sales tax calculation based on location

  • Lots of Marketing tools

  • Social discount program and affiliate program

  • Embeds into your existing website builder

  • Mailing list

  • PDF stamping for copyright protection

Pricing Structure


You get "free" access to the whole product and all its features. But you'll pay 5% per transaction for this, so not really free. Paid $29/mo subscription lowers your fee to 2%.


Why We Love It


It's trusted by 100K + content creators. And the pricing structure reduces barriers entrepreneurs may face when testing a new subscription-based business model or choosing the best subscription ecommerce platform for them.


Squarespace



Squarespace is growing into an impressive website builder as well as a subscription ecommerce platform that deserves a whole article. But we can cover the most important stuff here.


Squarespace is your solution for giving subscription business wings. You can still opt for another subscription ecommerce site. But if you're just testing the waters or only plan to offer a few products ever, Squarespace is a great place to start.


Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Fantastic content marketing platform with video capabilities

  • Mobile subscription apps

  • Seemingly unlimited page limit

Cons

  • Some find parts set up more complicated than it has to be

  • No backup and restore option if you accidentally delete a page

Notable Features


They really know content marketing and make it easy for content creators to monetize their work or use it to promote whatever the store sells.


Pricing Structure


Just $16/mo gives you great features like video. However, it doesn't become a subscription ecommerce platform until the $49/mo tier. It's the top tier but cheaper than some other subscription ecommerce platforms on this list.


Why We Love It


It offers great value for a subscription business and almost unlimited growth potential without a higher price tag.


Lemon Squeezy



As the name suggests, Lemon Squeezy touts itself as the easiest subscription ecommerce platform available. In minutes, your online business could be operational and receive automatic payments from customers waiting to get your digital products.


Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Live chat for your customers

  • Customizable advanced analytics dashboards

  • Branded check-out links

  • Failed payment recovery

Cons

  • Some find it buggy on the business side of things

Pricing Structure


Access all features for free. It's designed to grow with you. Instead of a monthly fee, you pay per transaction and/or per email subscriber.

The first 500 email subscribers are free. Your first $1000 in annual revenue is charged a $0.50+8% transaction fee that goes down as your revenues go up.


Why We Love It


It makes it easy to get started and it grows with you. As you get more email subscribers, the revenue you generate from subscriptions also goes up, which will lower how much you pay them per subscription over time.


Subscription Ecommerce Platforms


Sell subscriptions and get recurring payments while you sleep when you have an online store. These options allow you to either start a store from scratch or integrate with your existing store. With different price points and options, it's easier than ever to start selling subscriptions.


Fractional CMO + YOUR STORE = 🚀

Must be doing at least $50k a month to qualify

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