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Picking the Perfect Subscription E-Commerce Platform

Finding the best subscription e-commerce platform for your business isn’t easy. Each subscription has a unique set of needs, priorities and objectives. Therefore, you may need a completely different platform than your biggest competitor in the subscription space. 

We gathered seven of the best subscription platforms in the industry; ones that help startups launch their businesses and monitor their progress; ones that are focused on the growth or scalability of a subscription business; even ones that are solely focused on enterprise-level companies.

For more details on these companies and to see which one would work best for you, download our Picking the Perfect Subscription E-Commerce Platform E-Book! You will find a comprehensive checklist and more insights on each of the platforms to help you make the best decision for your subscription business. 

Whether you’ve already started your subscription business or are looking to take it to the next level, you need to be equipped with the right subscription platform, and our SUBTA team is here to help. 

The platforms featured in this miniseries are among the top platforms of choice in direct-to-consumer subscriptions. Before we introduce them to you, let’s make sure our bases are covered.

Note: The information presented throughout this miniseries has been gathered objectively through independent research and interviews with each platform. Some of this content contains affiliate links and may generate a commission for SUBTA.

Subscription Platforms: What you Need to Know

A subscription platform’s purpose is to connect the consumer with the business and the product they are trying to purchase in the most organic way possible. Think of your subscription e-commerce platform as a vessel that is there to take the consumer from Point A: Landing on your website, to Point B: Making a transaction. Picking a platform should be based on your company’s interests, needs and objectives, not based on your competition’s choices.

Seven of the Industry’s Top Subscription E-Commerce Platforms


 

 “We give you the power to make your e-commerce platform not only perform exactly the way you want it to, but also to do things you didn’t think were possible.” 

Bold Commerce – Est. 2012

Helps close to 20,000 subscription brands within the six segments innovate and grow via technology. 

Biggest Strength – Easy to use “out-of-the-box” subscriptions for everyone, but with powerful APIs that allow the subscription experience uniquely customized and extended anywhere for large/enterprise brands. 

 

What Customers Think About Bold Commerce

From Sarah Stenzhorn (via Google Review in 2020) “Without a doubt, one of the BEST apps I’m using for my shop. The ability to not only add options, but also add conditional options, has been a game changer for my business. I ran into a couple of issues and they resolved them in record time. Wholeheartedly recommend the app and the service they provide.”

From Hannah Jonasse (Via Google Review in 2020) “Being able to set specific prices at different tiers for each individual product was a must for us and this app has allowed us to do just that! It is simple to use but provides a high quality result. Also the support is great, when we ran into a small problem they were quick to get back to me and get the issue resolved. Very happy we found this app.”


 

“Everything we do, we do to make founders more money. From our customer acquisition focused features to our ‘we succeed if you succeed’ pricing model. We’ve put our money where our mouth is.”

CrateJoy – Est. 2014

Marketplace for subscription-box businesses both as a platform and a retail place. 

Biggest Strength: Helps start and scale your subscription-box business.

What Customers Think about Cratejoy

From Felicity G. (Via G2 reviews in 2019) “If you’re wanting to start a subscription service, Cratejoy is truly the best option in my opinion. It’s literally made for subscription commerce and they’re always working on something new and improving on existing features.”

From Andy H. (Via G2 reviews in 2021) “I would strongly suggest setting up your own website first, as the fees and the review scams on Cratejoy make it unfriendly for small businesses.”


 

“We are marketers, engineers and innovators creating the future of Relationship Commerce.”

OrderGrooveEst. 2010

Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that works with subscription companies involved in SaaS, Subscribe & Save and Memberships. 

Biggest Strength – Ordergroove is the only A.I. based subscription platform (as of today).

What Customers Think about Ordergroove

Julia Mavrodin, e-commerce and Digital Marketing, Kiehl’s – “Kiehl’s is committed to building strong relationships with consumers by creating a frictionless experience both in stores and across all digital channels. With consumer expectations rapidly evolving and a retail environment that’s in a continuous state of disruption, having a comprehensive Relationship Commerce platform and partner like Ordergroove is essential for achieving our vision.”

Andy Molloy, Bare Escentuals  – “After a thorough evaluation, we decided Ordergroove’s proven technology and team was the right fit for us to take our existing subscription programs to the next level. We are excited about the opportunity to leverage Ordergroove’s platform to further improve and expand our subscription offerings, and therefore, deliver an elevated and seamless experience for our customer which has always been our priority.”


 

“We’re an e-commerce solution empowering merchants to grow and scale their subscription businesses”

ReCharge – Est. 2014

Focuses on solving recurring payment issues for subscription businesses. Serves companies from all six segments in the subscription industry.

Biggest Strength – Customize, control and connect your subscription business.

What Customers Think about ReCharge Payments

From Cristal B. (Via G2 reviews in 2020) “Love the ability to swap subscriptions, edit the renewal dates and skip renewals if the customer wants it. It is easy to see the transaction history and what actions were taken by the customer and what actions were taken by the store admin.”

From Daniel P. (Via G2 reviews in 2020) “I like the functionality of ReCharge. We used to have to manually charge cards for customers who had a subscription set up nightmare and impossible to manage. ReCharge automated all of this for us. They’ve done an amazing job improving their customer support and analytics reporting dashboard.”


 

 “Our mission: To be the go-to e-commerce solution for lasting relationships between brands and people.”

sticky.io – Est. 2008

Billing platform that helps subscription businesses launch their products quickly. Serves companies from all six segments in the subscription industry.

Biggest Strength – Robust analytics help provide a unified view of customer data which helps brands understand their performance. 

What Customers Think About sticky.io

From Liam O. (via Capterra review in 2020) “Sticky.io is more expensive but far superior in how robust the system is. If you are building campaigns with multiple product options and upsells, then I believe this is the Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) to best meet your needs.”

From Blake G. (Via Capterra review in 2020) “The reporting, integrations and customer support have been monumental in our success. Sticky.io helped us partner with trusted resources throughout multiple segments of the industry to get the traction and attention needed to scale.”


 

“At Subbly, we know that subscription isn’t a feature – it’s a business model. Subbly builds simple-to-use technology that puts subscription at the core of every decision.”

Subbly – Est. 2014

A subscription-first platform for subscription-first businesses. Serves companies from all six segments in the subscription industry.

Biggest Strength – Customer Support.

What Customers Think About Subbly

From Chelsea I. (Via G2 reviews in 2020)“The feature I like best about Subbly is it’s ease of use firstly. I had never built anything vaguely like a website before starting my first business this year, and from the moment I started building it, it felt do-able and not overwhelming.”

From Megan R. (Via Capterra reviews in 2020) “Price point is affordable for small businesses and farms. Most favorite features are the customer portal so our subscribers can manage their own subscription, preferences, and billing at their convenience. The check out survey allows you to create add-on products and services billed right into the subscription price, or just as a one time add-on. The checkout flow is beautiful and mobile friendly, and the widget functions perfectly.”


 

“Zuora has become the leading Subscription Economy® evangelist, providing the only SaaS platform that automates all subscription order-to-revenue operations in real-time for any business.”

Zuora – Est. 2007

Cloud-based platform that helps businesses launch and manage their subscription-based offerings. Serves subscription companies involved in SaaS, Media and Streaming.

Biggest Strength – Agile platform: enables customers to shift their focus and campaigns on a dime.

What Customers Think About Zuora

From Nevena F. (Via G2 reviews in 2020) – “Zuora enabled us to provide a better subscription system than ever. We can personalize the bills so that they are customer specific and they have the feeling we care about every single one. The customer can always access the subscription management portal, in order to see which are active and for how long. The reporting system is for us really good, since you can personalize each revenue report quite easily.”

From William A.G. (Via G2 reviews in 2019) “I really like this program because through its different editions, it adapts to the needs of my company, it allows me to manage the different changes to be made to the products and their prices, as well as the administration of records and administration of taxes.”


There is so much to know about each subscription e-commerce platform.

Premium SUBTA members can jump into our full miniseries for an in-depth comparison, exclusive interviews and so much more.

Find Your Subscription Platform


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