If you’re researching subscription platforms and tools, you’re probably aware of ReCharge. The reason is simple: ReCharge was built specifically for merchants who use 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 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 its core. In contrast, ReCharge is an app that enables existing Shopify stores to sell subscriptions. This means that opting for ReCharge means you’ll be tied into Shopify and everything that comes with it, driving the spotlight away from subscriptions and opening you up to some realities that could come back to haunt you in the future.
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Subbly is an all-in-one solution, meaning 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 both 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? The way we see it, any business today can be a subscription business!
We tend to believe that Subbly’s pricing is more affordable than ReCharge and that it’s made to scale easily with your business. Often, Subbly merchants pay around half of what they'd pay for ReCharge and Shopify with way more features available out-the-box.
You don’t need any technical skills to get started with Subbly. However, while your own setup time may vary from minutes to hours, our industry leading support team is always available to help, providing real-time, helpful, human 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 no third-party apps required. For example, setting completely customizable checkout flows or seasonal quarterly subscriptions with set cut off dates are standard Subbly features, unmatched even on Shopify.
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As it was built as an all-in-one solution, Subbly builds more proprietary features instead of relying on integrations — although Subbly is developing an app store and wants to offer more integrations in the future. 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, although some functionality can already be mimicked through its Zapier integration. We suggest checking out our changelog to keep up with the new features we've added.
In addition, while Subbly was originally designed for physical products and is currently not a natural solution for digital subscriptions or service models, that’s also going to change in the near future. However, 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 currently have an app for the likes of Shopify or BigCommerce. 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 to keep things simple. A lack of any direct integration can be seen as a con, (especially in comparison with ReCharge, which is a plugin and not an eCommerce platform itself) but there still is a way of integrating Subbly with the likes of Shopify, BigCommerce or any other bespoke solution. See here for more info.
With ReCharge, it’s going to be really easy for you to add a subscription option to your existing Shopify eCommerce store, as you have the benefit of Shopify’s 3000+ strong library of integrations and apps, of which many 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 looking for a seamless subscription plugin because you can sell subscriptions for your existing products quickly, without any coding. It has all the basic features you need to get started, and works perfectly well for physical products or digital/membership/service-based products.
Through the seamless ReCharge-Shopify integration, merchants can easily add a subscription option to any existing SKU in Shopify. ReCharge’s database also syncs with Shopify to automatically update product availability based on inventory levels.
Although the integration between supported eCommerce platforms and Recharge may look seamless, it may be more challenging for new or non-technical merchants. The complexity may not be obvious in the short term, but can become apparent as your business starts scaling. Any merchant seriously considering ReCharge (+ Shopify) should note 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 would get out--the-box on Subbly will often require a full stack of third-party plugins and add-ons, which will not be as reliable as one single platform.
Last but not least, the most frequent reason merchants choose Subbly over ReCharge is price. On ReCharge, basic features like one-time purchases are only available on their pro plan, which costs hundreds per month. If you want to add additional apps, it can make your costs skyrocket.
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 just take our word for it.
Discover real users' experiences with ReCharge HERE, and with Subbly HERE.