In a time of frequent bad news, Shopify has bucked the trend with good news for its merchants: they’re enabling partners and developers to build new Shopify subscription experiences within the Shopify Checkout itself.

With the subscriptions eCommerce model emerging as a big winner in the current Covid-landscape, this announcement is a great step forward for both Shopify merchants and their customers.

So in this post, we’ll cover:

  • what’s changing with Shopify subscriptions,

  • how merchants and their customers will benefit, and

  • when these changes take effect.

What’s Changing With Shopify Subscriptions?

The Existing Set-Up.

Previously, the Shopify platform didn’t have the option to store payment information for recurring orders within the Shopify Checkout. This meant that customers would need to manually go through the checkout process for each recurring payment.

As a result, Shopify merchants often turned to third-party apps, such as ReCharge or Bold Subscriptions, to run a subscription model eCommerce website on Shopify. These apps operate with external checkouts, therefore enabling customer payment data to be vaulted for future recurring charges.

The Future Set-Up.

Now, in recognition of the growing importance of the subscriptions eCommerce model, Shopify has introduced new APIs and tooling to completely change their set-up.

For the first time, Shopify merchants will soon be able to sell and manage subscription products, and vault customer payment data, while using Shopify’s own checkout (no third party app).

Importantly, here are the new subscription APIs and tooling that will enable this:

Easy Peasy: the new Shopify subscriptions

How Do These Changes Benefit Merchants?

The changes to Shopify subscriptions offer fantastic benefits for merchants and their customers alike, including:

  • Seamless checkout. With payment methods being stored within Shopify itself, merchants can deliver a faster, more streamlined checkout process for their customers.

  • Greater in-house control. For example, merchants can tailor how their subscriptions look and work within the Shopify platform itself. This removes worries about compatibility issues with third-party apps.

  • Extension of subscription offering. As their businesses grow and change, merchants can now work with developers to create entirely new subscription models, therefore capitalising on opportunities as they arise.

When Do These Changes Take Effect?

Here are the key dates for your diary:

Now: Early Access Available

Firstly, are you interested in developing Shopify subscription apps? If so, you can request early access to the new Subscription APIs and Product Subscription Extension here.

Now: Demonstration Of Subscription APIs

Meanwhile, Shayne Parmelee, Shopify Developer Advocate, recently hosted a live demonstration of the Subscription APIs and Product Subscription Extension.  Watch the video on the ShopifyDevs Twitch account here.

End of October: Release Of First Subscription Apps

Some of Shopify’s early beta partners will be releasing the very first subscription apps onto the Shopify App Store at the end of October.

1 January 2021: Full Launch

Lastly, all of the above-mentioned APIs will be going into stable. In addition, any apps you build from this point will be eligible for review and release to Shopify merchants.

Shopify Subscriptions: The Way Forward.

With a raft of APIs and tools becoming available, the new Shopify subscription set-up offers merchants and developers a great opportunity to extend the quality and sophistication of their subscription offering. Consequently, they're perfectly positioned to capitalise on this growing eCommerce model!

Have your own Shopify Plus project?

Are you looking to boost your eCommerce subscriptions? If so, you've come to the right place. We're an accredited Shopify Plus Partner agency that designs, builds and optimises bespoke eCommerce solutions to help your brand grow faster. Explore our expert Shopify services and browse our client work for even more Shopify inspiration. Alternatively, get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to help!


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