Running a subscription based ecommerce store isn’t an easy task. Getting your business up and running was likely an adventure, but now you’re ready to take the next step. Scaling a business can be as challenging as starting that business, but we’re going to help run through some of the ways you can make the process less painful and facilitate hitting that next milestone in revenue for your subscription store. Let’s do it!

How Do You Know If You Need To Change Store Platforms?

When starting a new store there can be some simple out-the-box solutions that just make it easy to get running fast & simply, that doesn’t necessarily mean these platforms will work at scale though. If you launched in a platform like cratejoy or squarespace, will they be able to handle the next phase of growth? We took a look at many of the popular platforms for running a subscription store and found a few things that will be important to think through.

What Are Your Platform Transaction Fees?

This is a big one – as the number of transactions running through your store increases the dollars outgoing in transaction fees will increase proportionally. If your platform applies transaction fees AND you’re paying fees to a payment processor like Stripe, those are dollars you’ll never see. Woocommerce & Volusion don’t charge their own transaction fees and Subbly charges 1% compared to 1.25% + $.10 through Cratejoy. If you’re using Shopify w/Shopify Payments as your provider the fees can get even lower.

Marketing Opportunities

Does your platform offer you an inherent marketing advantage through traffic solutions, apps/integrations, or something else? If you started with Cratejoy, access to their 150k+ monthly visitors was probably a HUGE need – but do you need the referral capabilities of Subbly more now? Perhaps the discount code, cart recovery & POS features of Shopify make more sense for your store. The platform you use could be having a big impact on your success moving forward. 

There are lots of resources out there, including this YouTube video that breaks down several of the platforms available to you by category. If you’re having a hard time figuring out the unique marketing capabilities of each platform make a list of the features that are going to be important to YOUR individual business. This should include factors in addition to transaction fees that everyone should be concerned about that include integrations/apps, referral & rewards capabilities, and discount/recovery options.

Look At All The Costs

As discussed above, transaction fees can vary significantly depending on the platform that you’re using. However, that’s just one part of the picture. In reviewing platforms you’ll need to take stock of all potential costs including:

  • Integration/app fees for those features you need that don’t come standard
  • Hosting fees (Note if you’re using a platform like WooCommerce the platform is free but you have WordPress costs & hosting)
  • Shipping costs/discounts

Box Flexibility & Customization

As you expand your subscription customer base and receive greater demand for customization/personalization or expanded options to your subscription box offerings you may find that your current store isn’t quite cutting it. Subbly allows for gathering customer survey responses to tailor subscriptions. Cratejoy will allow one-time add-ons to orders and lets you get those occasional upsell dollars. If you’re operating in a platform that has limited flexibility for increasing revenue per order, then your potential to scale is going to be diminished.

You’re best served by continuously putting your ecommerce platform to the test and comparing against what is out there. As your business evolves what you’re using today may not be the best fit anymore, don’t be afraid to take a look ahead and get proactive.