Subscription retail is having its moment. Learn about the best BigCommerce subscription apps to discover which one best suits your business goals and strategies.
October 13, 2023
Subscription retail is having its moment.
In fact, the industry is forecasted to make over $38 billion by the end of this year, more than doubling revenue from 2019. But in a world where subscription business models are thriving, competition is fierce. Choosing the right solutions to optimize your online store can mean the difference between success and stagnancy.
That’s where BigCommerce can help. For subscription businesses, it features a library of apps to automate customer billing and offer repeat purchasing services to their customers. With so many different subscription apps to choose from, however, how do you know which one best suits your business needs?
We know your time is valuable, so we did the research for you. Read on as we look at four of the best BigCommerce subscription apps, including the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Recharge is a popular subscription management platform that lets businesses set up and oversee recurring billing, subscription orders and customer accounts. It offers advanced features like customizable subscription options, upsells and analytics.
Benefits of Recharge
Customization: Recharge includes unique subscription features like recurring payments, pre-paid and self-terminating subscriptions and set billing intervals.
Customer portal: The app features a self-service portal where subscribers can manage, skip or cancel subscriptions, update payment information and view order history.
Analytics: Recharge tracks and reports on key metrics like subscription growth, revenue, churn rate and customer lifetime value, with options to export the data.
Drawbacks of Recharge
Merchant and customer experience: Recharge was originally built for Shopify and, as such, is a non-native BigCommerce app. Many of its primary functions happen outside of BigCommerce, which can make for a frustrating merchant experience. For customers, checkout is bifurcated, which leads to a clunky user experience.
Price: Recharge has a monthly subscription cost of $99 that climbs to a steep $500 for a pro account, plus a 1.25% + $0.19 per transaction fee.
Limited flexibility features: While Recharge offers certain customizations, it does not include schedule-based or billing flexibility or dynamic discounting for different subscription frequencies.
Recharge is one of the best-known BigCommerce subscription apps, and customers generally seem to like its user experience. But several reviews mention that many apps aren’t compatible with the platform, and if you need help, customer support is lacking. If you’re going to go with Recharge, we recommend you’re tech-savvy enough to troubleshoot most issues on your own and you do your homework to make sure your integrations are supported.
Rebillia helps businesses automate and manage recurring billing, subscription management and payment processing. The app offers flexible billing cycles, automated invoicing and dunning management.
Benefits of Rebillia
Supports unique subscription use cases: Self-developed subscription engines can be modified for other use cases, like layaway programs or creating property or car rental applications.
Multi-storefront compatibility: Rebillia supports BigCommerce’s MSF functionality, so all subscriptions from multiple storefronts can be organized in one central back office.
Plug & play vs. API options: Rebillia offers a simple app that’s pre-configured right out of the box to cut down on setup time, or users can apply RESTful APIs for more customization.
Drawbacks of Rebillia
Missing features: Rebillia doesn’t offer support for pre-paid subscriptions or dynamic discounting options. There’s also no built-in protection for out-of-stock scenarios.
Non-native app: Rebillia vaults payment information outside of the native BigCommerce wallet, leading to a divided checkout experience for customers.
Lack of personalization in subscription notifications: Subscription notifications are generic and can be confusing for customers unfamiliar with its interface.
Price: Rebillia starts at $450+ to set up and requires a $100-200 monthly fee to maintain. It also charges a percentage and a $0.30 fee per transaction and a $950 annual fee. If you need customer support, you’ll have to pay an additional hourly fee.
Rebillia is a popular BigCommerce subscription app with a loyal customer base, but it comes at a steep cost, with no tech support included in your fees. And even if you’re willing to pay the additional fees for support, numerous reviews say customer service is difficult to reach. Before choosing Rebillia, make sure your budget can support the investment.
MiniBC has a BigCommerce billing application called Recurring Billing and Vaulting. The app offers recurring billing setup for subscriptions, membership purchases, card vaulting and gift registries.
Benefits of MiniBC
Native-feeling checkout: While MiniBC isn’t a native app, it does use native BigCommerce checkout, discount rules, coupons and product features. This offers customers a near-native checkout experience.
Unique plan options: Merchants can create membership plans and member’s club subscriptions, quarterly subscriptions and box-of-the-month subscriptions.
Drawbacks of MiniBC
Lack of subscription flexibility: Products can only be configured with one subscription model at a time, limiting subscribers’ ability to customize their subscriptions to their needs.
Limited payment platform support: MiniBC only supports a handful of payment platforms, though more are being added every month.
No analytics capabilities: MiniBC has no way to track or analyze customer or purchasing data to help you improve your offerings over time.
Price: MiniBC requires a $500 upfront cost plus $99/month. Should you need support, expect to pay $100/hour.
Because of how MiniBC’s app is designed and how much of its functionality is offsite, reviewers report that it’s difficult to troubleshoot issues without the help of support — but getting support to respond to your tickets can be equally challenging. Before choosing this app, make sure you’re willing to foot the bill and don’t need any of its missing features.
sticky.io is a comprehensive subscription management app that integrates natively within BigCommerce. It offers options for managing recurring billing and subscription-based products with a user experience that improves customer lifetime value and business performance over time.
Benefits of sticky.io
BigCommerce-native: sticky.io is a fully native BigCommerce app, so merchant and storefront data stays unified and streamlined while providing a seamless customer experience.
Multi-Storefront compatibility: This app supports BigCommerce MSF and multi-currency compatibility, all managed through one unified dashboard for easy merchant visibility.
Subscription features that improve customer retention: sticky.io comes with a comprehensive set of features for subscription management, including custom promotions, membership programs and 30-, 60- and 90-day billing schedules. Advanced retention tools, upselling capabilities, segmentation, personalized offers and dynamic discounting help you keep customers engaged.
Analytics and reporting: Powerful analytics and reporting features enable you to gauge your business performance, like retention rates, growth rates, product forecasts, churn rates and churn reasons.
Easy set-up and ongoing support: A dedicated onboarding team will help you with initial installation and offer your team free, personalized training. Once you’re up and running, sticky.io provides responsive, well-staffed customer support — with no hourly issue resolution charges.
Scalability and price: sticky.io is designed to serve businesses of various sizes, including enterprise-level companies. The app offers customization options and support for high transaction volumes, making it a suitable choice for organizations with complex subscription management needs and low fees (starting at $99.99/month + 1.25% per transaction).
Drawbacks of sticky.io
Advanced features: sticky.io is a powerful subscription app with a lot of advanced customization features. Prepare for a learning curve associated with understanding and configuring the app to meet your specific business requirements but know our free support will guide you every step of the way.
Usage or seat-based billing not supported: sticky.io does not support this popular billing model among SaaS or digital service providers, but does offer robust support for other digital and physical subscription use-cases.
You’ll have to decide for yourself which BigCommerce subscription app best fits your business needs. Personally, we’re partial to sticky.io’s native BigCommerce interface, wide variety of features and analytics, user-friendly experience and exceptional product support.