What You Need to Know about Shopify Checkout and the Subscription APIs

    As you may know, Shopify is now able to process subscription orders through Shopify Checkout. To help developers and merchants create experiences with Shopify Checkout, they’ve also launched Subscription APIs.

    In this article, we’ll cover how Shopify Checkout will affect stores going forward. Plus, everything merchants need to know about Shopify’s Subscription APIs.

    What is Shopify Checkout?

    Before Shopify Checkout, if a customer bought an item once, they went through a different flow than anyone who subscribed to get products from a Shopify store.

    To date, if you’ve been running subscriptions on Shopify you had to use a third-party checkout from Upscribe, ReCharge, or other subscription solutions. Subscription orders couldn’t be processed by Shopify.

    With Shopify Checkout, Shopify processes subscription orders. Now any store can provide a better customer experience as customers use Shopify Payments to check out a subscription. Then they can use the same account on any other Shopify Store for future purchases — regardless if it’s a subscription or a one-time purchase. This results in a unified checkout.

    Going forward, Shopify prefers subscription solutions use Shopify Checkout for processing subscription orders. With these changes, customer acquisition can happen through Shopify Checkout, but customers are able to continue to log into Upscribe’s, ReCharge’s, or Bold’s customer portal to manage their subscriptions.

    How Shopify Checkout Will Impact a Store With Subscribers

    We will be moving over our existing customers to Shopify Checkout.  When that move happens, current subscribers will stay on their own payment provider.

    Stripe, Braintree, or other payment processors aren’t an option for new customers.

    Shopify Checkout requires any new subscribers to use Shopify Pay. In effect, this will create two sets of customers. At some point, Shopify will find a way to tie them into one.

    Essentially, the only thing that’s changing is the processing of the first subscription order — not the customer portal, admin portal, or any part of the subscription experience post-first purchase.

    Compared to other Shopify subscription solutions, Upscribe is currently the only one that’s been using Shopify settings from day one. This is why products, shipping, taxes, and discounts are never duplicated in Upscribe. Since we’ve always been deeply integrated with Shopify, migrating to Shopify Checkout will be seamless with Upscribe.

    What Are Shopify Subscription APIs?

    Shopify introduced their Subscription APIs in October 2020. With Shopify Subscription APIs, developers and Shopify partners are able to create custom subscription experiences within Shopify Checkout.

    Current Limitations With Shopify’s Subscription APIs

    While Shopify’s Subscription APIs will be able to streamline more behind the scenes for your store as they release more updates, there are a few current restrictions to keep in mind:

    • Scripts discounting subscription price or shipping rates apply to the first payment only.
    • Gift cards used to pay for subscriptions only go towards the first payment.
    • To use subscriptions, merchants must use Shopify Payments as their primary payment gateway.
    • Customers can’t use accelerated checkouts or local payment methods to purchase subscriptions. Shopify plans to add support for Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay in the second half of 2021.
    • Subscriptions don’t support “buy x get y” discounts.
    • Selling plan titles don’t support translations for multi-language storefronts. Shopify said they will add this feature in the future, but don’t have a target launch date.

    Up until the Shopify Checkout release, Upscribe has been a private app for fast-growing Shopify brands to expand their subscriptions. To help get eCommerce brands onto Shopify Checkout, we received early access to the Shopify Subscription APIs.

    In May 2021, we’ll have a public app available on the Shopify App Store that will include everything you need to grow your subscription program including:

    Find out how you can increase your recurring revenue with Upscribe’s new subscription app. If you’re switching to Shopify checkout, you can make the transition even easier by switching to Upscribe.

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    What you should do now

    1. Schedule a Demo and see how Upscribe can provide a superior subscription experience for your customers.
    2. Read more free material about subscription ecommerce topics in our blog.
    3. If you know someone who’d enjoy this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

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