Which one should I use? Subbly or Bold

Welcome to the battle of the two eCommerce solutions made specifically for businesses selling physical products on a subscription. Subbly and Bold are perhaps the best at putting control in the hands of merchants and their end customers.

Both Subbly and Bold offer a variety of different features making it possible for you to create the business that you imagined in the first place. Both platforms make it dead simple to set up upsells and cross-sell funnels so you can maximize your average order value. Both platforms allow merchants to customize their checkout flow, set up trial periods that convert into subscriptions (Bold calls this convertible subscriptions), and prevent cancellations using advanced reports.

But... they are still different, especially when it comes to price and complexity.

Perhaps the biggest difference is that Subbly is a full-featured, standalone eCommerce platform, whereas Bold is a subscription plugin that can be integrated with other platforms.

Let’s break it down further. 

Bold (+Shopify or BigCommerce)

Pros

Bold Commerce is known as one of the most frequently used solutions for anyone already running a Shopify eCommerce store, with Bold Subscriptions a natural option (with 5-star reviews) for customers wanting to sell subscription products. Integrating Bold Subscriptions with your Shopify store enables you to offer all of your products on a recurring basis - with no coding skills required. 

Bold doesn’t just integrate with Shopify - they also integrate with BigCommerce and offer a public API for tech savvy entrepreneurs to build their own solutions. Speaking of integrations, Bold works with 20+ payment processors giving merchants and customers plenty of options. 

The list of in-house developed apps and integrations Bold has to offer is quite extensive. Outside of the rather simple Bold Subscriptions app, you can also install additional apps to obtain the functionalities necessary for growing and managing your business. The most notable include the aptly-named Bold Upsell and Bold Loyalty Points, plus Bold Product Options for building customized checkout flows. Bold has also built a Memberships app, broadening the use case for non-physical products or services. 

Last but not least, the Bold team takes great pride in their exceptional customer service which is available 24/7.

Cons

The primary drawback of using Bold is that they do not offer a complete solution for someone starting from scratch. If you’re still in the idea stage or you’re an existing business without a website and online subscription store, you may not want to choose Bold. If you do decide to use Bold, you will have to first build your website using another platform, then install Bold Subscription as well as other apps, complicating your set up. Bold, being only a plugin itself, can lead to ‘’plugin soup’’ which can ultimately increase the cost and lead to many different failure points due to the amount of separate services involved. 

Because using Bold requires you also use other platforms, it’s more complicated and more expensive. At the moment of writing, you'll spend over $60/month for the most basic Bold Subscriptions plan and Basic Shopify - and that’s only for a handful of features in each platform. A growing (or large) business will likely require more paid apps and integrations, and thus more expensive plans. While $60/mo doesn’t sound like much, it can run up quickly over time as your business grows and gets more complex. This also doesn’t include the Bold's flat 1% transaction fees, as well as the varying processor transaction fees. 

Speaking of price and features - do you want to run referral campaigns through your store? Bold offers a great integration with ReferralCandy that has a basic plan for $49/mo. If you want to set up upsells and cross-sells, that will add at least $9.99 to your monthly price tag. If you want to allow customers to select a variety of individual items per delivery (often called Build-A-Box, popular for recurring orders that may change month to month, like coffee or wine), you will need to pay an additional $60/mo on top of everything else. Starting to sound expensive? Your monthly price using Bold can easily skyrocket while Subbly includes all these features and more all in one fee.

Subbly

Pros

Best-in-Class Support

Get the help you need from our excellent support staff

Automate Your Business

Automate marketing, management and operations with no code using complex business models

Customizable Checkouts & Subs

Collect information from your customers, and even allow them to pick their products and configure their subscription.

Since the beginning in 2014, Subbly has had only one goal: to become the #1 solution for building a subscription business. While other platforms have tried to solve this problem through integrating with larger, more established eCommerce players, anyone can bring their idea to life with Subbly alone - without the help (or cost) of any other platform, and without writing a single line of code (although Subbly has integrations too - click here for more info)

Subbly’s drag-and-drop website builder makes it possible for anyone to build a beautiful storefront by simply moving design elements around until you’re satisfied. With Subbly, you don’t need to be a designer or a coder, or hire freelancers to help you get set up - a simple and complete solution is only a few clicks away for a fraction of the price. 

Bold’s Product Builder app has received some much deserved attention as it allows merchants to customize their checkout flows. Although wecan admit that it’s good, we believe our version, which we call Survey Builder, is not only better but also cheaper, as it comes included with our cheapest monthly plan. 

Last but not least, Subbly’s customer support is second to none. We take great pride in our hands-on approach to store set up and provide ongoing education around Subbly’s features that help you build a better subscription business. Don’t just take our word for it, read HERE what our customers have to say!

The main Pro
Subbly – is a team of real passionate people who have been with us from the very beginning
Cons

Being a standalone eCommerce solution, Subbly doesn’t integrate seamlessly into other eCommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. This means that if you’re already using either of these and simply want to add subscription as a feature, Subbly may not be a perfect fit, although integrating Subbly with Shopify is still possible.

The all-in-one solution also means Subbly is only integrated with a handful of payment processors. Although this isn’t a problem for many merchants who use (or are willing to use) Stripe, some merchants may want to use specific gateways, oroffer their customers different payment options such as ACH. In this case, Subbly may not be the best fit, although our payment integrations are indeed expanding.

Lastly, Subbly’s features were not originally developed for membership-based businesses, so businesses such as gyms or premium content providers, although it is entirely possible (and there are many examples). The good news is that Subbly will be expanding to include digital membership features in 2021.

TL;DR

Subbly and Bold offer merchants the most amount of flexibility and customization when starting, running, and managing a subscription business.

The main difference is that Bold is a tool that integrates with established eCommerce partners like Shopify and BigCommerce, forcing you to buy and use multiple platforms. In contrast, Subbly is an all-in-one solution which offers a more complete set of features for much less, while still allowing integrations if desired. 

The final choice really depends on a couple of factors: price point, ease of use and setup, depth of available integrations, and your use case. For more reference on whether you should go with one platform or the other, please refer to the table below. 

Don’t take our word for it. Check other users' experiences with Bold HERE, and with Subbly HERE.

When to use?

Bold

  • If you’re already running a successful Shopify or BigCommerce store and want to add a subscription option to it.
  • If you don’t mind paying extra for a versatile platform that will put full control in your hands.
  • If you require a specific payment gateway/payment option (i.e., ACH) currently unsupported by Subbly.
  • If you value standard customer support available anytime.

Subbly

  • If you believe subscription is the core of your business but also want to offer one-time purchases.
  • If you want to customize your business while having some out-of-the-box subscription features for one, affordable price.
  • If you’re willing to use industry leading gateway, Stripe and the most common card payment options.
  • If you prefer to get real, hands-on support from real people at any point during the setup.

Have more questions?

Live chat us 24/7

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.

Charmaine Merriweather
Founder & Owner of HUES Book Box

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!

NATALIE SEATON
Founder and CEO @ BathBox

Everything was so straightforward, the support team are AMAZING, I would not have been able to launch without Subbly.

ALEXANDRA HARVELL
Founder and CEO @ Little Bakers Club

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!

LIAM BRENNAN
Co-founder @ Buster Box

Subbly is straightforward and easy to use. Designing your site is simple and allows you to control your entire business from one place.

GEORGE KLEANTHOUSE
Founder and CEO @ Model Box