Can Selling Subscriptions Help During a Recession?  

selling subscriptions during a recession

Written by Adriana Pope

June 15, 2022

Subscriptions are incredibly valuable for any online ecommerce store needing to build up a war chest of recurring income. Unfortunately, today’s news headlines are undoubtedly scary, with talks about soaring interest rates and sinking stocks. 

So how does the stressed economy affect your ecommerce store?

What can you expect to see in the next 1 to 5 years with online sales?

How do you stay afloat with production and logistic issues and ever-depreciating margins?

How can subscriptions help you earn more income and keep the lights on?

In this article, we will be exploring the option of offering subscriptions on your ecommerce store. If you already sell some subscriptions, we’ll look at how you can provide multiple types of accepting recurring payments on your store.

We’ll also evaluate if your app is the most optimized or if you might do better if you switched subscription apps.

Subscription Economy 

Subscriptions are not a fad that will go away one day. They are the future. 

If you’re not doing subscriptions yet, don’t worry; it’s not too late to start. 

The US economy is showing signs of decline with a housing bubble beginning to pop and layoffs at companies like Facebook, Tesla, and Robinhood. 

If people lose their jobs, spending might decline naturally across the board. That’s why offering subscriptions such as “refills” for products your customers regularly need and want is so necessary. 

By developing a loyal customer base, you can have those customers buy your products automatically through an Ongoing subscription. 

Loyal Customers 

Subscriptions help you create loyal customers that buy from you again and again. 

Subscriptions help your customers subscribe to the products they love so they can opt into having that product delivered to them on an ongoing basis. 

The customer enters their credit card once, and they’ll get billed automatically. But, most importantly, their orders are created automatically based on their frequency. 

Recurring Revenue

Instead of getting a customer to buy a one-off product, subscriptions allow them to opt into a subscription with autopay and auto-deliveries. 

Usually, a store has to find a customer through advertisements, marketing efforts, or SEO. Then that store must convince that customer to buy something from their shop. 

Once that customer has purchased their one-time purchase, it’s the merchant’s job to convince that customer to come back to their shop and rebuy something. 

Unfortunately, each step of this journey is tricky. However, Ongoing can solve that pain point by automating the repurchasing journey at every step! 

Recurring revenue is invaluable because it will be the life-blood of your online store. You need to earn revenue to make a profit, which helps you keep the lights on even during a possible recession.

Ongoing subscriptions help you create a predictable revenue stream through subscription sales. 

Streamlined Inventory 

Most people we’ve talked to have told us that inventory has become a problem. They never know how much to have around, so keeping things stocked with the supply chain issues is challenging. 

 With Ongoing subscriptions, you can know how much of something you’ll need by seeing how many subscription orders you have coming up. 

Since subscriptions are paid for in advance, you never have to ship something out that someone didn’t pay for. 

You can easily manage your inventory much better with subscriptions by having people “subscribed” to a specific product they love. 

Higher Margins 

Amazon is great, but it should only be one of your sales channels. Having a DTC (direct to consumer ) store online is one of the best ways to increase your margins. 

By having an ecommerce store where customers can buy the product straight from the source, you can determine the price point, discounts, and sales and make more profits. 

Best of all, by having an ecommerce store, you can also develop an email list of customers you can reach out to directly to cross-sell, up-sell, and make announcements.

By expanding your sales channels and selling products directly on your online store, you’ll be able to hold onto higher margins.

More Automation 

If you have some spreadsheet, it’s time to switch to subscriptions. The power of automation is your friend. 

Instead of running your business manually, you can let a software system like Ongoing subscriptions handle everything for you.

Ongoing subscriptions handle automatic recurring payments for Shopify stores. It creates orders automatically for customers and also gives customers their very own customer portal so they can manage their subscription orders.

Automation means less time doing the work by hand and more time to work on the things that matter most, like growing your business. 

Developing a Brand

Subscriptions help build up a brand. Developing a consistent, recurring revenue stream will give you the resources you need to grow your business through marketing efforts, money for advertisements, etc.

Subscription boxes are an exciting way to grow your brand by having a package frequently delivered to a customer. 

Refill subscriptions are excellent for customers that love your products and never want to run out.

And membership subscriptions are perfect for companies who have a service or digital product they want to give access to repeatedly. 

Whatever it is that you’re selling, subscriptions help you position yourself as an expert in your field. 

Subscription Optimizations

If you already have subscriptions, you might be wondering if you have the right app. 

Some questions you might want to ask yourself are, how many subscribers do I currently have? How many subscribers do I expect to have in the next year? Will my customers be better served if I switch to a different subscription app?

If you are unhappy with your subscription service, you can always switch to Ongoing. 

We offer free migrations from other Shopify subscription apps and other ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce. 

For example, if you are using Paypal Subscriptions or Stripe to process payments, we can also help you move those active subscribers to Ongoing.

 As a result, we can transition your active subscribers seamlessly without them missing a delivery or payment. 

Best Subscription App for Shopify 

Ongoing is the best subscription app for Shopify stores. It allows you to streamline your entire process to have subscriptions running in the background without worrying about them.

With Ongoing, we take care of your automatic recurring payments. We always collect the money before shipping so you can deliver a product with peace of mind.

Ongoing gives you access and control to your subscribers so you can see all their information at a glance. You can even change any aspect of your customers’ order if they ask directly to do something for them.

Best of all, your customers will be able to manage their subscription orders on their own, cancel when they want, pause their subscriptions, and see their order history and any billings. 


Thanks so much for reading our article about how subscriptions can help you stay afloat during an economic downturn. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our discussion about the power of recurring revenue. I think it’s clear why developing a solid customer base is essential.

Having a reliable source of recurring income is crucial for staying in business. It also helps you create a stronger brand by focusing on the products that are your most popular/ lucrative. 

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