shopify subscription app

The boom in popularity of the subscription model over the last decade is proof that the global entrepreneurial community recognizes the benefits of building a business with a focus on recurring revenue and maximizing customer lifetime value.

Yet, when you start a subscription business, you need to take into account that they have different needs than their traditional, transactional counterparts, whether it’s a subscription box or a digital service. These needs include:

  • Automatic recurring payments and recurring billing functionality
  • Subscription management features
  • The ability to offer different subscription plans and tiered discounts
  • Mobile optimized subscription widgets
  • Automatic notifications for customers
  • Inventory forecasting

An efficient subscription management system will include all of these features and more. It doesn’t stop there though – from prepaid subscriptions and custom subscription rules to a multilingual customer portal or the ability to offer one time purchases, entrepreneurs need to make sure they’ve got as many advanced subscription features as possible. The bigger their arsenals, the easier it is in the long run to maximize recurring revenue.

Shopify subscription apps, sometimes known as Shopify subscription plugins, are third party developed that integrate with your existing Shopify setup to add some degree of subscription features. The main thing to note here is that these apps exist mostly because Shopify’s base platform is not built for subscription business models, and is missing a lot of the core features that allow for a subscription business to sell their own subscriptions effectively.

Subscription apps and subscription plugins come in all shapes and sizes. Subscription apps for Shopify in particular are interesting because while they do in fact extend the default functionality, there’s definitely a few points to note before you start relying on plugins over choosing an all-in-one solution, especially as your monthly subscription sales begin to rise.

  1. Subscription apps for Shopify are not developed by Shopify themselves. This means that the app and Shopify will evolve at different paces, and may not always be 100% stable all the time. The alternative is to use an all-in-one subscription ecommerce platform, which ensures that bugs, errors and downtime are kept at a minimum.
  2. Subscription management is a highly nuanced topic. Each of the subscription apps out there approaches it differently, and using more than one at a time might complicate things rather than make them easier if their use cases aren’t in sync. Often, a single-platform solution with wide-ranging features that can adapt to any subscription business use case can deliver a much more focused experience.
  3. Plugins can get expensive. We’ve found the average cost of running a subscription business with plugins is over 6 times higher than with an all-in-one subscription program.
🤫 Secret approach: save money and headaches
Getting the same level of functionality through Shopify plugins can run you as much as $469/month on average, versus $74/month on average for Subbly's all-in-one solution.

There’s dozens of subscription apps on the Shopify app store, but which ones are contenders for the best Shopify subscription app? There are many other subscription apps out there, but here’s our list of 5 of the most popular. Let’s dive in:


While Subbly isn’t strictly on the Shopify app store, it’s checkout functionality can be easily integrated into any Shopify store. It’s a straightforward solution that allows you to ensure that your subscription products are being sold through an interface that has all the bells and whistles, from upsells to coupon codes. For more details, check out our full guide to integrating Subbly into Shopify.

Key features

  • Embeddable checkout available on all plan tiers
  • 14 day free trial
  • API and developer tool access
  • Multiple payment gateways supported
  • Customizable branding and visuals

Pricing details

  • Starting at $14/month

Bold Subscriptions for Shopify is a subscription plugin that allows users to sell subscription products or any kind of subscription service. Users can add as many subscription plans as they want to single products, product collections, or their entire stores, setting pricing options and tracking and fulfilling orders for maximum efficiency, while on the subscriber side, the customer portal allows for subscribers to view and modify their subscription status with ease.

Key features

  • All basic features included on their Core plan
  • 60 day free trial
  • API and developer tool access
  • Cancellation flows and dunning tools
  • Multiple payment gateways supported

Pricing details

  • Monthly fees are set at $49.99/month, plus transaction fees of 1% on all subscription orders

PayWhirl Subscription Payments is another Shopify subscription app that allows users to integrate the subscription model into their business. The subscription plugin integrates with users’ Shopify themes, and allows for unlimited subscriptions on all plans.

Key features

  • Multiple pricing tiers
  • Configurable customer portal
  • Cancellation flows, dunning tools, and other customer retention boosters
  • Customizable customer notifications
  • Subscription analytics with exportable data
  • Multi-language and international currency support

Pricing details

  • Free plan: zero transaction fees on first $5,00 processed, 3% after
  • Pro plan: $9/month, including a flat 2% transaction fee
  • Traction plan: $29/month, including flat 1.5% transaction fee
  • Scale plan: $149/month, including a 0.75% transaction fee

Recharge Subscriptions is a popular Shopify subscription app that helps entrepreneurs sell subscriptions, maximize customer engagement, and increase long term customer loyalty. This subscription app allows for full customization of the merchant’s Shopify store portal interface and comes with a flexible API and set of integrations.

Key features

  • Customizable customer portal
  • Manage subscriptions via SMS
  • API access and integration library
  • Payment processing and multi-currency support
  • Build-a-box capabilities
  • Unified Shopify checkout interface

Pricing details

  • Standard plan: $99/month, plus 1.25% and 19¢ per transaction
  • Pro plan: $499/month, plus 1% and 19¢ per transaction.

Seal Subscriptions is one of the best Shopify subscription apps currently on the market to generate recurring revenue. It provides a wide range of features allowing merchants to enable subscriptions, manage them, and increase customer lifetime value with ease.

Key features

  • Recurring payments management
  • Customer portal accessible via magic link
  • Configurable subscription discounts to retain customers
  • Subscription widget optimized for mobile
  • Zero transaction fee on subscription orders

Pricing details

  • Free plan: 150 subscriptions max
  • Supersale plan: 750 subscriptions max for $4.95/month or $41.58/year (30% saving)
  • Rising Star plan: 1,500 subscriptions max for $7.95/month or $66.78/year (30% saving)
  • Legend plan: 15,000 subscriptions max for $20/month or $168/year (30% saving)

Appstle’s powerful recurring billing and payments features make it one of the main contenders for any subscription business deciding which of the many Shopify subscription apps they’re going to use. Merchants can take care of their subscription management needs with ease, create different kinds of subscription programs, and use their range of loyalty features to boost customer engagement throughout the whole customer journey.

Key features

  • Sell prepaid subscriptions as well as regular, recurring ones
  • Advanced and secure customer portal
  • Tiered discounts and other subscription revenue boosters
  • 0% transaction fee on all plans
  • Customizable subscription widget (available on some plans)
  • Automation tools
  • 24/7 support on all plans

Pricing details

  • Free plan: Free until you reach $500/month subscription revenue
  • Starter plan: $10/month or $96/year (20% savings) up to $5,000/month in revenue
  • Business plan: $30/month or $288/year (20% savings) up to $30,000/month in revenue
  • Business Premium plan: $100/month or $960/year (20% savings) up to $100,000/month in revenue

That’s all for our list of the best Shopify subscription apps on the market.

Whatever your subscription model, you need the right software to run your business and manage customer subscriptions effectively, and while plugins are popular, the risks of relying on one or more platforms to run your business cannot be underestimated.

Browse the Shopify app store yourself and have a look, but to date, there’s no single plugin that can provide as many features as an all-in-one platform like Subbly. The same rings true for BigCommerce subscription apps, WordPress membership plugins, Magento subscription plugins, Webflow subscription ecommerce solutions, and all the others! 

Here’s what our customers have to say!

“It was easy to migrate to Subbly from a WordPress site, powered by Shopify and Bold, and it’s been great so far — our MRR is already up 13%! I’m also grateful to the team for helping me with the process — I had always heard that Subbly has the best help center and they were right. It is hands-down one of the best parts of Subbly.” Jill Lodato, Founder of Kids Baking Club

“Subbly really is built subscription first. Whereas you would need a lot of plugins and third-party apps to get started on other platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, on Subbly, it’s all built right in. It really ends up saving you money because you don’t have to pay for a lot of apps.” – Charmaine Merriweather, Founder of HUES Book Box

“I migrated as I wanted an all-in-one replacement for my Shopify/Bold setup. Subbly’s in-house support answered all my questions in a fraction of the time that it would have taken Bold’s impossible chatbot to connect me with a live agent. – Mike Greco, Founder of Coin & Currency Club

Try it yourself today – the first 14 days are on us!

By Zaki Gulamani
Editor-In-Chief at Subbly