Shopify Recurring Billing – Why You Need This

shopify recurring billing

Written by Adriana Pope

August 6, 2021

Shopify recurring billing has been gaining some traction lately since Subscriptions have become so popular.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Shopify recurring billing.

We’ll explain how Shopify recurring billing works, and the best app to use for getting started.

Topics to be covered:

  • Does Shopify have Recurring Billing?
  • What is Shopify Recurring Billing?
  • How does Shopify Recurring Billing Work?
  • Benefits of Shopify Recurring Billing
  • Can Shopify Recurring Billing handle subscription boxes?
  • Can Shopify Recurring Billing support memberships?
  • Is Shopify Payments Secure?
  • Best Shopify Recurring Billing App
  • What payment providers does Shopify subscriptions work with?
  • Examples of Shopify Recurring Billing

Does Shopify have Recurring Billing?


Shopify recurring billing is available but you’ll need to install an app to activate it.

You’ll need to install a Shopify subscription app which will handle the recurring billing.

We recommend trying out Ongoing subscriptions.

You can think of the subscription app as the trigger.

The subscription app tells Shopify how much the payment is and how often to process it.

Shopify then processes the payment and stores the customer credit card for the next recurring charge.

Without a Shopify subscription app, you can’t have recurring billing on your store.

With a Shopify subscription app, you can offer customers the option to subscribe to recurring orders. You can also offer and accept recurring payments.

What is Shopify Recurring Billing?

Shopify recurring billing charges a customer periodically for a subscription.

For example, if I had a Shopify store selling coffee, I could install a subscription app like Ongoing and start selling the coffee as a subscription.

This would let my customers subscribe to coffee, receive ongoing deliveries, and get automatically charged on a repeat basis.

How does Shopify Recurring Billing Work?

When a customer subscribes to a product, they choose a subscription plan.

Every subscription plan has a billing cycle such as every month or every quarter.

The customer will charged according to the billing cycle they select.

A subscription app like Ongoing keeps track of the customer’s subscription and automatically creates automatic new orders.

These new orders are created based on the billing cycles.

The software creates orders automatically for you based on billing cycles, so all you have to do is mail out the product.

Shopify then processes the payment with the card on file, and if the payment is successful then Shopify will schedule the order.

Benefits of Shopify Recurring Billing

1.) Increases Revenue

Having a recurring billing on your store can help you greatly increase your revenue.

Why? When customers opt into recurring orders with subscriptions, this creates more sales.

The best part about it is the “set and forget it” nature of recurring billing which keeps customers on an AutoPay system where they are charged on a repeat basis automatically.

Ongoing helps you earn more on your store by offering customers to opt into subscriptions.

2.) Automatic Repeat Charges

Your customers will be charged on a repeat basis so you can get paid on time, every time.

Automatic repeat charges are ideal for subscriptions because they are ongoing, and never end.

Of course, customers can cancel their subscription at any time but most won’t.

This idea of no commitment is great for attracting new customers and getting them to subscribe.

3.) Reduce missed or late payments

Recurring Billing automatically handles all subscription order charges.

No need to worry about figuring out when a customer needs to make a payment, because it’s taken care of for you.

You don’t have to chase down customers or keep track of when they signed up and when their next bill is.

If a customers credit card fails on a payment, Ongoing’s retry logic will attempt to bill them again until the payment goes through successfully.

This clever billing system helps you recover late or missed payments, earning you more recurring revenue.

4.) Increase Customer Retention

Shopify Recurring Billing is a great way to keep your customers sticking around!

With subscriptions, you can essentially automate recurring payments and repeat orders.

So customers get the convenience of ongoing orders without having to go back to your website, re-enter their credit card information, and checkout.

Paying customers are more likely to stay on because the whole recurring billing process is non-intrusive and seamless.

They only have to sign up once and then reap the benefits of recurring deliveries of their favorite products.

5.) Offer More Purchase Options

Having recurring billing means you are selling subscriptions.

This gives you the flexibility of creating more types of purchase options besides the one time purchase.

With Ongoing, for example you can create multiple subscription plans to choose from such as weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly.

Your customers will be able to pick a plan that fits their needs!

6.) Up-sell Opportunities are Limitless

Subscriptions help keeping your customers coming back for more!

The best place to promote and advertise is in your own backyard.

This means you already have a loyal customer base, so why not start there?

These are people who are committed to your products that they’ve got them on AutoShip.

They would love to hear from you!

Your current subscribers are the best people to tell about your new products and sales.

You can up-sell your current subscribers by offering discount codes on Free Shipping or other perks.

By focusing on up-selling to your current customers, you can spend less on acquisition costs (i.e. Ads).

Can Shopify Recurring Billing handle subscription boxes?


Recurring payments are perfect for subscription box companies who have a Shopify store.

Ongoing lets you set up custom subscription plans for your subscription box in just a couple clicks.

Can Shopify Recurring Billing support memberships?


Recurring Billing is ideal for memberships which need to charge members on a repeat basis.

If you have a non-physical product, you can still offer it as a subscription using an app like Ongoing.

Is Shopify Payments Secure?

Yes, Shopify Payments is safe and secure.

Shopify will be the party that processes the payments.

The subscription app would be handling the recurring billing logic. It keeps track of who subscribes to what, for how much, and how often and then relays this to Shopify.

Your customers credit card data is stored safely with Shopify, not the subscription app.

Shopify offers 3-D checkout, and is PCI compliant (i.e. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

Ongoing is operated and created in California, USA and is also PCI compliant and approved by Shopify as an official subscriptions app.

Best Shopify Recurring Billing App

Shopify recurring billing is available but you’ll need to install an app to activate it.

We recommend trying out Ongoing subscriptions.

Ongoing is a the best Shopify subscription app because it’s easy to use and gets the job done.

If you want to offer recurring payments on your store to your customers, you can get up and running quickly with Ongoing

Ongoing lets you create custom options for shoppers to choose from like billing and delivery frequency.

It also lets you include a discount in your subscription plans to incentivize customers to subscribe.

What payment providers does Shopify subscriptions work with?

There are currently three payment providers approved to work with Shopify subscription apps.

They are as follows:
1.) Shopify Payments
3.) PayPal Express/Checkout

If you are not connected to one of these above payment providers, then you will be ineligible for subscriptions on Shopify.

If you are connected to one of these above payment providers, then you are eligible for subscriptions on Shopify.

Shopify will soon support Stripe as an approved payment provider beginning 2021 Q4 (so keep an eye out for that!)

Examples of Shopify Recurring Billing

Nutrition Subscriptions

Recurring billing is perfect for any nutrition and supplement online store. Most people are going to want to buy protein powder, and supplemental pills on a regular basis. By offering a subscription to your customers, this gives them the convenience of ongoing orders. The idea of having customers receive ongoing orders, like every 4 weeks is perfect. This helps you earn more recurring revenue on a consistent basis with orders automatically regenerating every month.

Coffee Subscriptions

Recurring billing is great for any online store that sells coffee products they want to mail to customers on a repeat basis. Since people drink coffee everyday, they’ll need a refill. This is called a “replenishment” subscription model. Your customers will be delighted to know they can place an automatic reorder on their favorite products. You can also offer them perks like discounts if they subscribe which is what this store did.

Hair & Beauty Subscriptions

Hair and beauty companies will benefit quite a bit from introducing subscription product onto their store. Instead of having customers order a product once and then never coming back, you can win over a customer for life! Beauty products are superb for recurring orders because customers usually use up the product and need a refill. You can make pretty much any beauty product into a subscription from hair extensions, to nail polish and ever face masks. As long as customers want to receive the product frequently, you should be good to go!

Membership Subscriptions

Let’s say you have a non-physical product you want to sell with recurring payments? Recurring billing is the best solution for this. You’ll be able to let people subscribe, and they’ll be charged according to the plan they select. Since there is no delivery to worry about, customers don’t have to enter a shipping address when they checkout. With recurring billing, customers will be able to get charged automatically on a recurring basis.

Subscription Box

You need a recurring billing software to have a subscription box company since the whole idea is to mail out packages to customers on a recurring basis. A recurring billing app like Ongoing lets you create subscription plans for shoppers to choose from and then charged them according to their billing preference. You can do prepaid subscriptions (paid upfront), or you can do pay per delivery.


Thanks so much for reading this tutorial on Shopify recurring billing. I hope we were able to answer some of the questions you had.

Recurring billing is quite powerful because it can take your sales to the next level. Offering subscriptions and recurring payments on your Shopify store is great for gaining more loyal customers and bringing down overall costs.

We hope you’ll give it a try by installing Ongoing today on your Shopify store.

Do you think your online store could benefit from using recurring billing? Leave a comment down below.

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