Ecommerce Growth

How to Set Up Recurring Payments in Shopify in 5 Easy Steps

Ecommerce Growth

How to Set Up Recurring Payments in Shopify in 5 Easy Steps


Are you struggling to manage a stable, predictable revenue stream for your Shopify store? Having customers making one-time purchases isn't enough. Recurring payments in Shopify have emerged as a game-changer for many e-commerce businesses, paving the way for a steady and reliable income. Let's delve into why implementing recurring payments is crucial for the success of your online store, and how Shopify makes it a breeze.

Brief Overview of Recurring Payments

Recurring payments, sometimes referred to as subscription payments, are transactions that automatically happen on a predefined schedule. This could be as simple as a monthly gym membership fee, or as complex as variable cost utilities. Units consumed vary each month, yet the billing happens in a predictable manner.

Importance of Recurring Payments for E-commerce Businesses

For e-commerce businesses, ringing the virtual cash register more often with recurring payments translates to cash flow predictability, enhanced customer retention, and increased customer lifetime value. As that relationship with the customer is also ongoing, every positive interaction continually builds further trust.

Role of Shopify in Facilitating Recurring Payments

Shopify's robust infrastructure provides business owners with an efficient way to manage these recurring payments. The platform boasts strong subscription management features, allowing merchants to offer customers a seamless and convenient checkout experience. Whether you're offering subscription boxes or digital services, Shopify makes recurring billing easy and efficient.

Quick Facts About Recurring Payments in Shopify:

Key aspects of Shopify recurring payments - recurring payments in shopify infographic pyramid-hierarchy-5-steps

Understanding Shopify Subscriptions and Recurring Payments

Before delving into the steps of setting up recurring payments in Shopify, it's important to have a firm understanding of what Shopify Subscriptions are and how recurring payments function within this system.

What are Shopify Subscriptions?

Essentially, Shopify Subscriptions is a feature that allows the customers of an online store to purchase products or services on a recurring basis. This could be on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly schedule, depending on the options you, as a business, choose to offer.

This subscription model not only provides a convenient shopping experience for the customer but also creates a steady revenue stream for businesses. Customers can manage their subscription purchases by logging into their account, updating their shipping address or contact information, and even managing their payment methods. This level of control enhances customer trust and promotes transparency.

How Recurring Payments Work in Shopify

The recurring payment process in Shopify is made possible through the use of Shopify Subscriptions. When a customer chooses to subscribe to a product or service, they agree to pay an agreed price for your product at a scheduled frequency. The payment is then automatically deducted from their chosen payment method at the specified intervals.

Setting up recurring payments involves creating a subscription plan through the Shopify Subscriptions app or directly from the product page in the Shopify admin. These plans define the delivery frequency, subscription duration, and payment details for your products or services.

Benefits of Using Shopify for Recurring Payments

There are several benefits to using Shopify Subscriptions for your recurring payments:

Steady Revenue Stream: Predictable and consistent revenue can enhance your financial stability and help you plan for the future with more certainty.

Customer Retention: Subscriptions encourage customers to make repeat purchases, leading to increased customer retention. Retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

Automated Process: Shopify automates the process of recurring payments, saving you time and effort. This also ensures a seamless shopping experience for your customers, boosting their satisfaction.

Flexible Shopping Experience: Subscription plans offer customers the flexibility to choose how often they want to receive their favorite products or services. This can be a significant factor in driving sales and customer loyalty.

Understanding Shopify Subscriptions and how recurring payments work in Shopify is a crucial first step. As Steve from First Pier emphasizes, leveraging this feature can significantly benefit your e-commerce strategy.

Step 1: Setting Up Your Shopify Subscription Plan

To set up recurring payments in Shopify, you first need to create a subscription plan. This plan defines the terms of the recurring payments, such as the frequency of the payments and the products included.

Choosing the Right Subscription App for Your Store

Before setting up your subscription plan, ensure that your store meets the eligibility requirements for Shopify Subscriptions. Your store should not have a third-party subscription app active, and the subscription products should be supported on the Online Store and Custom Storefront sales channels. You must also use an eligible theme and payment gateway.

If you meet these requirements, you can proceed with setting up your subscription plan. However, if you don't meet the requirements or want to use a different subscription app, there are many third-party options available in the Shopify App Store. Choose one that suits your business needs, taking into consideration their features, pricing, and customer reviews.

Configuring Your Subscription Plan in Shopify Admin

Setting up a subscription plan in your Shopify admin is a straightforward process. You can either do this from the Shopify Subscriptions app or directly from the product page.

To create a subscription plan in the Shopify Subscriptions app, navigate to Subscriptions > Plans in your Shopify admin. Click on "Create new plan", provide a title for the plan, and select the products you want to include. Set the delivery frequency and, if desired, offer a discount. Once all details are filled in, click "Save".

Alternatively, you can create a plan from the product page. Under "Purchase options", click "Add purchase option", then "Create new option". The procedure is the same as creating a plan from the app.

Adding Subscription Policy to Your Store

During the setup process, the Shopify Subscriptions app will add a new subscription policy and subscription email notifications to your store. This ensures that your customers are kept informed about their subscriptions and understand the terms and conditions of their recurrent payments.

In summary, setting up a subscription plan and enabling recurring payments in Shopify involves choosing the right subscription app, configuring your subscription plan, and ensuring your customers understand the subscription policy. This is the first step to providing your customers the convenience of scheduled purchases, fostering loyalty, and driving recurring revenue for your business.

Step 2: Customizing Your Subscription Products

After setting up your subscription plan, the next step is to customize your subscription products. Shopify provides a simple interface for managing your products and their subscription details.

Viewing and Editing Subscription Details for Products

When you use a subscription app to offer subscription products, the details of the subscription are displayed on the product page in your Shopify admin. If a product or any of its variants have a subscription applied to it, its subscription details are shown in the Subscriptions section of the product page.

To view and edit these details, go to your Shopify admin and click Products. Then click the product that you want to manage the subscription of. Here, you can view the subscription details and make the necessary changes.

Enabling Subscription and One-Time Purchases

You also have the flexibility to choose how you want to sell your products. You can limit your subscription products to being sold only as a subscription, or you can enable both subscription and one-time purchases.

To make this change, navigate to the product page in your Shopify admin, and select whether to sell the product as a subscription only. To sell the product as a subscription only, check Sell product as a subscription only. If you want to offer both one-time purchases and subscriptions, uncheck Sell product as a subscription only.

Applying Discounts to Subscription Purchases

Offering discounts can be a great incentive to encourage customers to subscribe to your products. If you want to offer subscription products, there are more options when creating fixed-amount, percentage, or free shipping discounts.

To apply discounts to subscription purchases, navigate to the Create discount code page in your Shopify admin. Here you will find the Purchase type section. You can choose if a discount applies to subscription purchases, one-time purchases, or both. Remember to review your discount settings to ensure they are suitable for your business model and strategy.

In conclusion, customizing your subscription products is a crucial step in setting up recurring payments in Shopify. It allows you to tailor your offerings to the preferences of your customers and the needs of your business. As we at First Pier specialize in Shopify development and optimization, we can assist you in configuring your products and subscriptions for optimal performance and customer satisfaction.

Step 3: Configuring Your Payment Settings

One of the most crucial aspects of setting up recurring payments in Shopify is the configuration of your payment settings. This is where you decide on how you will receive payments from your customers, automate your payment capture process, and secure your customers' payment information.

Selecting the Right Payment Gateway for Recurring Payments

The first step in configuring your payment settings is choosing the right payment gateway. A payment gateway acts as a bridge between your Shopify store and your bank, authorizing the transfer of funds from your customer's bank to yours.

To select a payment gateway, go to the "Settings" section of your Shopify dashboard and select "Payments". From there, click on the "Choose third-party provider" button and select your preferred payment gateway from the list. Enter the necessary details as provided by your payment gateway and click on the "Activate" button. Ensure you follow the instructions carefully and double-check your entries to avoid any integration errors.

Keep in mind that the right payment gateway for your business depends on various factors such as transaction fees, supported countries, and customer preference. Shopify supports a range of payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, and Square, allowing you to cater to a wide customer base.

Automating Payment Capture in Shopify

Once you have chosen your payment gateway, the next step is to automate your payment capture. Automating payments not only saves time, but also reduces the risk of missed payments. In the Store settings section, tap Payments. In the Payment capture section, click Manage. Select Automatically when the order is fulfilled. Click Save. By doing so, you ensure that payments for your subscriptions are processed automatically, providing you with a steady stream of revenue.

Storing Customer Payment Information Securely

Security is of paramount importance when dealing with customer payment information. Shopify has robust security measures in place to ensure the safety of your customers' data. When customers subscribe to your products, their payment information is securely stored and used for future payments.

Using Shopify's built-in fraud prevention tools and complying with industry standards will keep your transactions secure, thereby protecting your business and customers from fraudulent activities.

In conclusion, configuring your payment settings is a vital step in setting up recurring payments on Shopify. By choosing the right payment gateway, automating your payment capture, and securely storing customer payment information, you can create a seamless and secure subscription experience for your customers, thereby boosting your sales and growing your business.

The objective is to provide a seamless experience for your customers, and the right payment settings play a big role in achieving that. At First Pier, we can help you choose the right payment gateway and configure your payment settings for optimal performance.

Step 4: Managing Your Subscriptions

After setting up your subscription plan, customizing your subscription products, and configuring your payment settings, the next crucial step is effective management of your subscriptions. This involves keeping track of subscription data, handling cancellations and refunds, and managing the uninstallation of subscription apps.

Tracking Subscription Data in Reports

Knowing how your subscription plans are performing is essential for your business growth. Fortunately, Shopify provides you with the ability to track subscription data in select reports. For this, you need to add the Purchase option filter or column. You can view this data in all sales reports, providing valuable insights into your customers' behavior, the performance of your subscription plans, and helping you make data-driven decisions.

Handling Subscription Cancellations and Refunds

No matter how exceptional your services are, there will be times when customers may want to cancel their subscriptions or request refunds. A smooth and transparent process for cancellations and refunds can significantly enhance your customer service and build trust. Shopify makes it easy to manage these aspects. However, have clear and fair policies in place and communicate them adequately to your customers to prevent any misunderstandings.

Dealing with Uninstalling Subscription Apps and Data Backup

There may come a time when you need to uninstall a third-party subscription app. It's vital to understand the potential risks associated with this. As mentioned on Shopify Help Center, any subscription data (excluding subscription contracts and customer payment information) you've created in the app is deleted after 48 hours of uninstalling the app. If the app doesn't have a backup mechanism, this data loss can be permanent.

Therefore, always ensure to backup your data or check with the app provider about their data retention policies before uninstalling any app. Having a plan B before removing any app is a wise move, as it ensures you don't lose valuable customer data or disrupt your subscription services.

Managing your subscriptions effectively is key to customer satisfaction and smooth business operation. The success of your subscription business isn't just about ticking the boxes of technical requirements. It's about creating a smooth and efficient shopping experience that encourages loyalty and repeat business. At First Pier, we're here to guide you every step of the way in unlocking the full potential of your e-commerce business.

Step 5: Enhancing Customer Experience with Subscriptions

As a Shopify merchant, it's crucial to provide a seamless and intuitive shopping experience for your customers. This is particularly true when it comes to subscription products, where clear communication and ease of use can significantly increase customer satisfaction and retention. Here, we'll guide you through the key areas to focus on when enhancing the customer experience with subscriptions.

Displaying Subscription Information During Checkout

When your customers are checking out, they should have complete transparency about what they are signing up for. This means clearly displaying the frequency of the order, shipping costs per delivery, and the frequency of their subscription in their order summary. This not only provides clarity but also helps build trust between you and your customers.

During the Shipping step of the checkout, your customer is shown the shipping costs per delivery and the frequency of the subscription in the Shipping method section. If your customer is buying more than one subscription product, then the shipping cost, and frequency of their subscription is shown under each line item in the order.

In the Payment step of the checkout, customers should be required to confirm that they understand that they are purchasing a subscription. They can't complete their purchase without agreeing to this. This step is essential to ensure your customers are fully aware of their recurring payment commitment.

Setting Up an Intuitive Customer Portal

A customer portal is a private, secure website that provides customers with self-service access to their account information and subscription management options. By setting up an intuitive customer portal, you can empower your customers to manage their subscriptions independently, improving their user experience and reducing your customer service workload.

The customer portal should allow customers to easily view their subscription details, change their subscription frequency, update payment methods, and cancel their subscriptions if needed. The easier it is for customers to self-manage their subscriptions, the more likely they are to stay subscribed and continue purchasing from your Shopify store.

Managing Free Shipping Discounts for Subscription Products

Offering free shipping discounts for subscription products can be a powerful incentive to drive subscription sign-ups and purchases. However, it's crucial to manage these discounts effectively to balance customer satisfaction with your business's profitability.

If you offer a free shipping discount that applies to subscription products, then you can specify for how long the discount applies. You can choose to limit your free shipping discount to the first payment, to limit your free shipping to a certain number of payments, or to enable free shipping on all future subscription payments. If you have an existing free shipping discount that you want to update, then you can edit your discount code to include subscription-based rules.

By providing a seamless and transparent checkout process, you can increase your conversion rates, reduce cart abandonment, and foster long-term customer loyalty. At First Pier, we're dedicated to helping you create the best possible customer experience for your subscription products. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed with recurring payments in Shopify.


Recap of Steps to Set Up Recurring Payments in Shopify

Setting up recurring payments in Shopify is a strategic process that involves five fundamental steps. Firstly, the creation of your Shopify subscription plan using the right subscription app for your store. Secondly, customizing your subscription products to cater to your customers' needs and preferences. Thirdly, configuring your payment settings to ensure seamless and secure transactions. Fourthly, managing your subscriptions effectively, from tracking subscription data to handling cancellations and refunds. Lastly, enhancing the customer experience with subscriptions, by displaying clear subscription information during checkout, setting up an intuitive customer portal, and managing free shipping discounts for subscription products.

Importance of Recurring Payments for Business Growth

Recurring payments play a pivotal role in business growth. They not only provide a steady stream of predictable revenue, but they also foster customer loyalty and long-term relationships. Businesses that can accurately forecast their revenue are better equipped to make strategic decisions and plan for expansion. Recurring payments through Shopify Subscription Management can significantly boost customer lifetime value (CLTV), a critical metric that measures the total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer. This leads to sustained business growth, as one-time shoppers evolve into repeat customers.

Encouragement for E-commerce Businesses to Leverage Shopify for Recurring Payments

If you're an e-commerce business looking to optimize your revenue streams, we encourage you to leverage the power of Shopify for recurring payments. Shopify's robust functionality makes it easy to create and manage subscriptions, providing a smooth and seamless experience for your customers. Additionally, the platform's secure payment processing and intuitive customer portal ensure that your customers feel safe and valued when making their purchases.

At First Pier, we are committed to helping businesses unlock the full potential of recurring payments on Shopify. We understand the challenges many Shopify store owners face in setting up and managing recurring payments for their subscription services. This is why our team of experts is always ready to assist you in implementing effective strategies that will not only enhance your customers' shopping experience but also boost your business growth.

For more information on how to maximize your Shopify store's performance, check out our comprehensive guides on topics such as setting up PayPal and capturing payments on Shopify.

Shopify Subscriptions - recurring payments in shopify

The journey to successful recurring payments in Shopify is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It's a continual process of refinement and adaptation to meet the unique needs of your business and customers. With First Pier by your side, you can navigate this journey with confidence and ease. Let's grow together!

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