Subbly - 4 Alternatives to Cratejoy

The subscription commerce space is booming, and with the recent success of companies such as BirchBox, BarkBox and the hundreds of other subscription box based businesses, more and more retailers and one man bands are quickly realising the value of setting up a subscription box business.

The problem has traditionally been “where do I start?”, and thats what companies like Subbly set out to answer by offering a helping hand to those looking to start a subscription eCommerce box. Currently, there are many solutions out there such as Cratejoy, but which solution is the best choice for your subscription box business? No one wants to deal with complicated store migration, so it’s important you choose a solution that suits your needs right now and for the future. We want to let you know about all your options, so you can make a well informed decision. So what alternatives are there?

1. 3rd Party Payment Gateway & Services On Your Existing Website


For the tech savvy and for those wanting complete control of their website and store, integrating with a 3rd-party payment service is currently one of the most common (and most expensive) ways of managing payments for subscription businesses. Companies like Sage-pay and Worldpay have been around for years and are well known as major payment gateways. In recent years, companies such as Stripe and PayPal have emerged and helped facilitate integration of a payment gateway, making it that little bit more easier by offering better features and simpler integration than what was previously possible. These major payment gateways allow for secure transactions between customers and merchants, and are the equivalent of a traditional brick and mortar point of sale system. Very time consuming, technical and complex, but if your business is processing millions of transactions a month then you can potentially save costs by building your own dedicated payment solution and website to fit your business needs. Be sure to choose the right developer as well to do the job right.


  • Full customization of payment options
  • Integrate with current/existing website
  • Secure


  • Complicated integration with current/existing site
  • Requires extensive technical expertise and knowledge
  • Time-consuming
  • Very expensive to integrate, maintain and update


  • Stripe: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge.
  • Paypal: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge with discounts on volume increase. Additional monthly service fees, transaction fees, chargebacks etc.

2. Shopify & Chargify/Recurhub

Chargify Chargify and Recurhub are subscription payment management providers that can work with existing Shopify stores seeking a recurring billing solution for their membership/subscription box business. They offer billing solutions with additional features managing everything from email receipts, discount coupons and recurring billing as well as one-time purchases. Integrate Chargify or Recurhub with your current Shopify store and you can bill your customers by credit card – or invoicing should you have a larger client. They have a useful analytics dashboard to monitor transactions and measure key metrics for your subscription based business too. However with these types of setups it means there can be duplicate accounts with both the Shopify AND the payment service, which can become tedious.


  • Solution for existing Shopify stores
  • Analytics dashboards
  • Full control over payment options for customers
  • Free trial


  • No automation of customer communication management
  • Complicated integration with Shopify
  • Requires extensive technical expertise and knowledge
  • Expensive volume based variable pricing structures & additional transaction fees etc.
  • Duplicates accounts for customer (1x Shopify & 1x payment management platform plugin)


  • Chargify: Starting at $65 a month for just 20 customers, rising to $1300 per month for 10,000 customers. Plus an additional $1.99 for each extra customer above your plan. Plus the cost of Shopify istelf.
  • Recurhub: Starting from $19 per month for 25 customer,s rising to $79 for 1000 customers. Plus 2.9% Transaction fee + $0.30. Plus the cost of Shopify itself.

3. WordPress & WooCommerce Subscriptions

Wordpress & WooCommerce Logo

Another handy way for current and existing WordPress websites to add a subscription payment solution to their subscription business is WooCommerce Subscriptions. WooCommerce Subscriptions integrates with WordPress in much the same way as Chargify and Recurhub do with Shopify. It facilitates the payment gateway integration and is a real quick win should you have the technical expertise to successfully install the plugin, setup your WordPress site and configure your hosting.


  • No transaction fees
  • Full customization options
  • 1 year support


  • Time-intensive setup
  • No analytics
  • Complicated integration
  • Requires extensive technical expertise and knowledge
  • Duplicates accounts for customer (1x website & 1x payment gateway provider)


  • $79 for the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress and an additional $199 for WooCommerce subscription extension for recurring billing feature.
  • Yearly costs of around $150 after first year.

4. Subbly – That’s Us!

Subbly Logo Subbly is a direct alternative to Cratejoy, an ‘All-In-One Subscription-First eCommerce platform’ that provides you with everything you need to set up your subscription box business. It’s easy to use, no technical knowledge is required, and you can setup your shop in under 10 minutes! Everything is handled on our platform. Manage your payments, notifications, emails, shop and more on the Subbly Dashboard. No complicated work arounds and hacks, no technical knowledge required, and no hidden transactional fees and high costs. Simple pricing. Simple setup. Manage your entire subscription service with ease, with lots of exciting new features in the pipeline due to be released over the next few months.


  • Quick Setup
  • Online in just minutes
  • Cost-effective – free to setup
  • Simple & easy to use, with no technical knowledge required
  • No hidden fees
  • Fully automated payment & billing
  • Automatic email notifications & order confirmation


  • Starting at $29/month + 2% transaction fee (lower transaction fees also available)
  • Learn more here

Sound good? Give it a go.

Sign up today and setup your shop for free with a 14-day free trial!

By Stefan
Founder & CEO of Subbly