Last editedApr 20223 min read
If your business follows a subscription-based ecommerce business model, using the right tools will help you flourish. There are numerous ecommerce platforms out there to better serve your customers while making it easy to manage payments and inventory. Here’s a closer look at how to choose the best ecommerce platform for subscription businesses.
What is an ecommerce platform?
The term ‘ecommerce platform’ simply describes any website that allows you to sell products online. This includes well-known online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay as well as software that allows you to create your own online store. For subscription businesses, a self-hosted service can be the better option if you’re tech-proficient because it lets you create your own brand and personality. Hosted platforms can be a good option as well if you’re just getting started, charging a fee to use a fully managed system with templates and customer support.
The five best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions
Here are a few of the top options out there for subscription businesses, blending attractive features and user-friendly functionality.
Squarespace makes it easy to sell subscriptions with its order automation feature. The customer purchases their initial subscription, and then the ecommerce platform takes care of all subsequent orders automatically. This saves significant time for small businesses. There’s also a scheduling tool on hand if your business sells non-physical membership subscriptions, like gym or wellness classes. It integrates easily with social media channels and works with Stripe or PayPal for payment processing.
If you’re thinking of launching an ecommerce subscription box, Shopify might be a good platform to display your wares in an aesthetically pleasing layout. It also lets you sell digital products as well as physical boxes and bundles. Shopify integrates with other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to extend your sales reach and offers full inventory management as well as easy set-up.
For the very smallest of businesses, Square offers a great starter kit that can scale up as your company grows. The most basic plans start with a per-transaction rate and no monthly fee, making it affordable as well. Sell your ecommerce subscription box via Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram and take advantage of email marketing features to spread the word about new options. A central dashboard lets you keep track of subscription sales, but unlike some others on this list there’s no dedicated section for subscriptions – they’re simply treated like any other product.
While many of the options on this list are better suited to small businesses and start-ups, what happens when your business grows? BigCommerce is best for large subscription businesses with a full selection of built-in features including complex data reports and multi-channel integration. You’ll need to install a separate app to sell subscriptions, but this is available through the BigCommerce App Store. Rather than charging per-transaction fees, BigCommerce offers flat monthly rates with a selection of different plans to choose from.
We’ll finish the list off with Wix, which is highly regarded as one of the best options for small ecommerce businesses. Based in London, it focuses on making it as easy as possible to build your own online store from scratch. You’ll be able to showcase your subscription products and services in clean layouts, accept multiple payment methods, and add product videos. Wix also supports drop shipping if you don’t want to take on logistics of deliveries.
What is the best method for ecommerce subscription billing?
While the best payment method will depend on your business needs and customer preferences, Direct Debit is often an ideal way to manage ecommerce subscription billing. GoCardless makes it easy to set up both one-off and recurring payments using Direct Debit. You can start taking payments in less than a day, all with a user-friendly central dashboard to manage your subscriptions. It also integrates with over 300 partners, including accounting and membership management systems, to cut down on manual processing time.
One issue that can plague the subscription-based ecommerce business model is late payments, but with intelligent features like Success+ you can optimise the process. In fact, Success+ automatically recovers 70% of failed payments without human intervention, cutting down on the need for awkward conversations with your subscription customers.
When used together with the best ecommerce platforms above, this makes your subscription business much easier to manage.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.