cheat sheet



Ultimate Guide

In this guide for beginners, we’ll talk about some of the best ways you can hit the ground running when it comes to selling subscriptions on Shopify. We’ll provide an overview of all the key elements of starting a successful subscription business, including tips, best practices and resources.

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Community Building

Building a community around your subscription product can be a powerful way to engage with your subscribers, foster loyalty and increase brand advocacy. Encourage subscribers to connect with each other and offer exclusive perks or bonuses to members of the community. Offer a private Facebook group, exclusive Discord chat group, & ask subscribers to share their experience on social media & tag you.

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Market Your Subscription Product

Get the word out about your new subscription offering by using social media, email marketing, and paid advertising. Make sure to highlight the benefits of subscribing and create a sense of urgency for people to sign up. You can create helpful tutorials on your blog, create unboxing videos on YouTube, run a subscription giveaway or contest, create a custom subscription quiz, give away a free e-book to capture email leads, show a sneak peak of what’s inside, & up-sell to existing customers to let them know you now offer subscriptions.

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Offer personalized products or services to your subscribers. This could be as simple as customizing the contents of a subscription product by offering options or offering a tailored digital service based on the subscriber’s preferences. Our favorite go-to subscription tool for personalization is the Ongoing™️ Build a Box which allows shoppers to choose their own products they’d like to subcribe to instead of having it curated for them. Build a Box has a high retention rate and low cancellation rate, making it incredibly lucrative.

affiliate program collaborations shopify subscriptions cheat sheet

Collaboration & Affiliate Program

Partner with other businesses or influencers in your industry to offer subscriptions. This could be a great way to tap into a new audience and offer unique and exclusive products or services. You can use an affiliate marketing software to track the influencer’s progress & make recurring payouts to them on a comission basis. Having a strategic partnership with influencers who can promote your brand to their community of followers will give you the exposure needed to drive subscription sales & create brand awareness about your subscriptions.

sustainability reusable subscription products refills


Get ahead of the game and boost your sales by making sustainability a key part of your subscription business. Offer eco-friendly products or donate to environmental causes to appeal to conscious consumers and stand out from the competition. Non-toxic, natural, plastic-free, refillable products is now a lucrative niche. Make sustainability a part of your brand’s mission and culture, and inspire subscribers to join your cause and support your brand’s efforts to make a positive impact on the world.

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Offer Incentives for Signing-up

Offer special discounts, bonuses or free trials to encourage people to sign up for your subscription product. This could be a great way to get your first subscribers and generate buzz about your product. You can offer Subcribe & Save 10% on your subscription products, and then create a Shopify discount code for an additional 5% off for the first order. You can also offer Free Shipping on just subscription products which helps encourage shoppers to subscribe. You can create an exclusive community that only subscribers get access to on either Discord, Slack Instagram or Facebook. 

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Kick @ss Product Photogrpahy

Professional product photography can make all the difference for your subscription business, especially when you’re just starting out. High-quality images showcase your products in the best light and give potential subscribers a clear idea of what they can expect. Having professional-looking photos can make you seem like an established brand, even if you’re just starting out, which can increase consumer confidence in your business and drive more sales. By investing in great product photography, you can set yourself apart from your competitors and give subscribers a reason to choose your brand.


Upsell & Cross-sell

Implementing up-selling and cross-selling strategies can help you maximize your subscription sales and drive more revenue for your business. Upselling involves offering customers a higher-priced product or upgrade, while cross-selling involves offering related or complementary products. For example, if a customer has subscribed to your monthly delivery of gourmet coffee, you can upsell by offering a premium coffee with rare  exclusive blends. Or, you can cross-sell by offering complementary products such as coffee filters or chocolates & snacks that pair well with coffee.


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Subscription Upcycling

Develop a program to reuse or recycle the products you send to subscribers. Plastic-free is a movement gaining traction. This could help reduce waste and be a great selling point for your business. Offer incentives for subscribers who return used products, partner with local recycling facilities, and appeal to conscious consumers. This not only helps reduce waste, but also sets your business apart and makes a positive impact on the environment.
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Unlock Exclusive Perks

Offering exclusive perks and bonuses to members of your subscription community can help increase customer loyalty and engagement. Offer a free gift, exclusive discounts or free shipping to members of your subscription community. This could be on all orders or just on select products, which will incentivize customers to purchase more frequently from your store. You could include a free trial size of a random product to encourage discoverability. You can also provide exclusive content and access, or offer special promotions and contests such as free product giveaways. This will not only help increase sales but will also help establish your brand as a trusted and valued player in your industry.


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Branded Packaging

Branded packaging is an important aspect of a subscription business that should not be overlooked. It can help make your subscription product more visually appealing and memorable to shoppers. A well-designed, branded packaging can create a strong, professional image for your brand, making it seem more established and trustworthy. This is especially important for online stores as the packaging is often the first physical interaction a customer has with the brand. By creating a strong and consistent visual identity, you can increase brand recognition, customer loyalty, and even word-of-mouth marketing. With an eye-catching and memorable packaging, your brand will stand out and be more likely to make a lasting impression on your customers.


gamification shopify subscriptions cheat sheet


Make the process of subscribing and receiving products fun and engaging for your customers. An online store can incorporate gamification by turning the shopping experience into a fun and interactive game. This could be through a loyalty program, a rewards system, challenges, and other interactive elements that incentivize customers to take specific actions. For example, an online store can offer rewards and points for certain actions such as making a purchase or leaving a review. Customers can then redeem these rewards for discounts or free products. Gamification can increase customer engagement and encourage repeat purchases, leading to increased sales for the online store.


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Track Subscription Metrics

In order to succeed in the world of subscription sales, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of your customer base and what drives their behavior. Ongoing™️ built-in subscription analytics can provide valuable insights into how your subscribers interact with your products and services. With this data, you can make informed decisions about how to improve your subscription offerings and determine the right pricing strategies to maximize your revenue. Whether you are just starting out or looking to scale your business, Ongoing™️ analytics will give you the information you need to succeed in the world of subscription sales.


targeting niche shopify subscriptions cheat sheet

Nailing Your Niche

Niche it to win it! That’s the secret to success for any online subscription business on Shopify. By zeroing in on a specific group of people with specific wants, needs, and interests, you can tailor your products, messaging, and marketing to perfection. This leads to better customer engagement, more conversions, and repeat business like whoa. Want to find your niche? Consider your offerings, target audience, and unique selling points. Spy on the competition and gather customer feedback to discover unmet needs in the market. By focusing on a niche, you’ll establish your subscription business as a leader in the industry, and build a loyal fanbase that’ll drive growth and profitability for years to come.


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Empower Your Fans

Make your community your marketing army! By empowering your subscribers to share their own stories, tips and experiences with your products or services, you tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage them to share their own content and make sure to recognize and reward the most active members. Not only does this create a sense of community and engagement, but it also shows that you value your customers’ opinions and perspectives. For example, a health and wellness subscription box could encourage members to share their own healthy recipes, workout routines, and success stories, and then feature the best ones on their social media pages or in their newsletter. This not only adds value to the customer experience, but it also helps spread the word about your brand to a wider audience.


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The Real-deal, Subscriber Feedback


Don’t be the founder in the dark! Keep your subscription product shining by asking subscribers about their experience. Send out a survey to gather their feedback and get the inside scoop on what they love and what they’d like to see improved. This is the key to making your subscription product even better, leading to happy customers, less cancellations, & long-term success. Listen to their suggestions and make changes accordingly. The goal is to create a subscription product that people love and want to keep coming back to. Just like Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, who faced 1009 rejections before finally hitting the recipe jackpot, keep tweaking and perfecting your subscription offering to soar to new heights! The off-boarding cancellation flow in Ongoing™️ includes a survey to provide insights in analytics to give you the info you need to improve.

get your first subscribers shopify subscriptions cheat sheet

Do Things That Don’t Scale


Paul Graham’s adage “Do things that don’t scale” encourages startups to focus on creating personal and intimate experiences for their early customers, even if it means going above and beyond the norm. This approach can help establish a strong bond with customers and foster word-of-mouth marketing.For an online store just starting out with their subscription products, this means taking the time to understand the needs and wants of their early subscribers, and delivering a personalized experience that exceeds their expectations. This could involve hand-picking products or customizing plans, offering special promotions or incentives, and providing prompt and attentive customer service.

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