Selling Subscriptions and One-Time Purchases

Give your customers the convenience and flexibility they crave by selling subscriptions and one-time purchases in a mixed-cart checkout — here’s how.


July 20, 2023

Selling subscriptions and one-time purchases.

It’s no secret that consumers have high expectations. They want flexibility and autonomy over their buying journey — and the merchants who fail to fulfill these needs will be left in the dust. That’s why giving consumers the flexibility to make one-time purchases and buy subscriptions is the key to maintaining customer relationships while growing revenue.

A mixed-cart checkout allows consumers to make their subscription purchases and one-time purchases in one transaction, delivering convenience for both merchants and customers. Read on to discover why a mixed-cart checkout is the best option for your ecommerce business.

Benefits of Selling Subscriptions and One-Time Purchases

Benefits of selling subscriptions and one-time purchases

Steady Revenue Through Market Changes

Both subscriptions and straight sales have their own benefits that work together to help your business flourish. While upselling with a one-time purchase can provide higher average order values, subscriptions are a stable way to keep revenue coming in throughout the year despite slow seasons or market fluctuations.

Multiple Income Streams

The most apparent benefit of selling both subscriptions and one-time purchases is the added revenue. With multiple income streams, you’ll be able to take risks, try new ideas and innovate without putting all your eggs in one revenue basket. This way, you’ll have two sources of revenue flowing into your pocket — one that’s stable and consistent, and another that has uncapped potential.

Provides Flexibility for Customers

According to our June 2023 Subscription Commerce Readiness Report, most top subscription merchants offer features that make shopping more convenient, including free shipping, discounts and a seamless checkout experience. Since consumers value convenience, they prefer to have more flexible options when it comes to buying products. Giving subscribers the option to pause, skip or cancel a subscription easily is essential to running a successful program — adding one-time purchase options is another way to give customers the flexibility to choose when and if they’d like to buy a product.

Convenient Mixed-Cart Checkout

In 2021, 18% of consumers reported abandoning the checkout process because it was too time-consuming. A mixed-cart checkout cuts buying time in half by putting subscriptions and regular purchases in one cart. Meanwhile, a mixed cart also simplifies the process for merchants by condensing purchases into one charge instead of two separate transactions — creating a win-win scenario for consumers and merchants.

Getting Started Selling Subscriptions and One-Time Purchases

Before you decide to make the jump to offer the best of both worlds with subscriptions and one-time purchases, you’ll need to consider a few things, including:

How to start selling subscriptions and one-time purchases

What You’re Selling — First off, you’ll need to decide which subscriptions and one-time purchases pair well together. For example, our client Fish Fixe offers various seafood subscription boxes delivered fresh to their customers’ doors. They additionally encourage customers to buy small seasoning rubs as a one-time purchase to pair with the subscription boxes. Think about your products — do you have an item that would be the perfect add-on to your subscriptions? Start with this item to gauge consumer interest and go from there.

The Best Platform for a Mixed-Cart Checkout — You’ll also need an ecommerce platform that supports mixed-cart checkout. If you’re already selling one-time products on an ecommerce platform such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud or BigCommerce, you can seamlessly integrate a subscription application that supports mixed-cart checkout. It’s important to choose a platform that tracks buyer habits and other data to help you make informed decisions on which products you’d like to offer in bundles, subscriptions or a la carte.

Marketing Tactics to Increase Revenue — Subscriptions may be useful for bringing in predictable revenue, but one-time sales should also be on your radar because they can significantly increase average order value. Consider offering add-ons at checkout to pair with subscriptions or even added freebies when the consumer spends a certain amount of money. Many merchants even give customers exclusive discounts or free items alongside subscriptions to build brand loyalty.

Whether you want to sell subscriptions, one-time purchases or both, we can help you get started on the right foot. Read the "Ultimate Guide for Starting and Scaling Your Subscription Business."

The Ultimate Guide for Starting and Scaling Your Subscription Business