On this page, we’re pitting Subbly against one of the grandfathers of the ecommerce world, the Goliath to Subbly’s David — Shopify. As one of the earliest entrants to the ecommerce game, Shopify has definitely had a head start, at least in terms of time, but there’s one thing that it does fundamentally differently from Subbly, which is what we’re about to explore.
Both platforms, of course, enable you to create a fully-functioning subscription business, whether you want to create a digital membership or a subscription box, but their approaches to this are the polar opposites of each other.
That one fundamental difference is their approach to plugins: while Subbly is an all-in-one subscription-first commerce platform that can do everything from website design, marketing, shipping, and customer engagement without the need for plugins, Shopify’s plugin-heavy ecosystem means you may be in for a more complex, more expensive ride.
Look at the diagram above again. For Shopify to improve its performance in any of the areas where it scores weakly, a third-party plugin is almost always required
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From day one, Subbly’s main goal has been to become the world’s leading platform for entrepreneurs looking to enter the subscription game.
While people have been doing this for decades before, hacking together other platforms, plugins, and third-party systems, Subbly was the only one to enable entrepreneurs to do everything all in one place.
Not only does Subbly not require the use of third-party platforms, it also doesn’t require any coding to use. This means that you can get your subscription business up and running in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost without a hint of technical knowledge. That being said, if you do want to integrate third-party apps, it’s certainly possible.
Finally, Subbly’s customer’s world-class support team sets them apart from lots of the other major players in the space, offering 24/7 advice and guidance to help you in the rare event that things get a bit complex.
We make it super easy to migrate your subscription business to Subbly.
Although its all-in-one nature has lots of benefits, it is worth noting that Subbly can’t integrate with every single other platform out there — although it does integrate with Shopify, should you desire to do so. On the whole though, this means that anyone wanting to use Subbly to simply add subscription features to their existing tech stack should make sure to ensure compatibility first.
This holds true for Subbly’s compatibility with payment gateways, too, which aren’t as numerous as those supported by Shopify. However, this number is set to increase over the years to come, in line with requests from the thousands of users who rely on Subbly to run their subscription businesses.
Finally, as Subbly’s core purpose is to run subscription businesses (not that it’s impossible to sell one-time products or integrate other kinds of business models), it is a more focused product than Shopify, which can be adapted to a wide variety of use cases going beyond subscription and transactional business models.
Integrating with other popular platforms and plugin ecosystems like Bold and BigCommerce — on top of a point-of-sale (POS) system for retail establishments — Shopify’s users aren’t spoiled for choice when it comes to options, even if subscriptions aren’t a standard feature.
Its age also lends itself well to another advantage — a huge amount of educational content that’s been created over the years, that enables new owners to get started quickly, or at least be sure they’re headed in the right direction. YouTube tutorials and online guides aren’t as personal as Subbly’s 24/7 human support team, but they’re definitely a useful way to get started with ecommerce.
Indeed, there is definitely something to be said about too much choice, when you know what you want from the beginning and don’t need to explore so many options at the initial stage. It’s not just about this complexity either, it’s also about Plugin Soup.
While Shopify has some nifty features out-of-the-box, expanding its capabilities is largely based on the time, effort, and patience you have for Shopify subscription apps and other third-party plugins, which can easily become problematic when haphazardly thrown together over time. While an all-in-one platform evolves all its features concurrently, a plugin ecosystem-based system with a core platform (like Shopify) opens up the door to creating an unstable foundation for the long term.
As we said: the core difference is that Subbly is an all-in-one platform that doesn’t need any plugins or third-party integrations to ensure functionality for subscription business users, while Shopify offers a smaller set of core features, but a huge library of plugins which can be an advantage for the most hardcore of power users.
However, the choice is up to you! Check other users’ experiences with Subbly
, and with Shopify