14 best subscription-based ecommerce brands on Shopify

Over the two decades or so since global ecommerce became “a thing”, merchants have been continually looking out for new opportunities to tap into customers’ never-ending demand for hassle-free shopping. And in recent years, much of that focus has been on one particular model... Ecommerce subscriptions.

After all, subscriptions are fundamental to how so many of us live today. Far from the term simply referring to print magazine subscriptions as it might have done in the ‘90s, these days, you’re likely to be committed to a subscription – such as a Netflix or Spotify membership – without even consciously thinking of it as a subscription. 

And now, the model has come to be widely embraced in ecommerce. With the global ecommerce subscriptions market tipped to be worth US$478 billion by 2025, the subscription model is already proving a reliable money-spinner for many online stores. That’s not least because of the dependable recurring revenue it generates compared to traditional ad hoc shopping. 

What’s equally evident, however, is that not all ecommerce brands are extracting the potential of subscriptions in quite the same way. So, our Shopify Plus growth experts here at Underwaterpistol decided to pick out just a few of the merchants they consider to be making especially good use of the possibilities ecommerce subscriptions offer. 

 


Who Gives a Crap

 

Originating from a crowdfunding campaign in response to the discovery that about 40% of the global population didn’t even have access to a toilet, Who Gives a Crap certainly can be said to give a... well, you get the idea. It offers both one-off purchase and subscription options for its various toilet papers, with – at the time of typing – £5 discounts on first orders. 

 


Premama Wellness

 

Premama Wellness (an Underwaterpistol client) provides science-backed supplements for every stage of the maternity journey – from pre-pregnancy to post-natal support – with both one-time purchase and ‘subscribe and save’ options available. Those who do sign up for subscriptions are entitled to modify or cancel them in line with their current needs. 

 


Huel

 

The meal replacement brand takes pride in offering its shoppers nutritionally complete “real food”, compared to the unsatisfying protein powders and diet shakes sold by rivals. Its products across a range of categories can be purchased on a one-off basis, but also as a subscription, able to be cancelled at any time with no fees, and with many different delivery frequencies to pick from. 

 

 

Brew Tea Company

 

Discerning tea drinkers really are discerning tea drinkers, and Brew Tea Co. – an Underwaterpistol client – offers various subscription options for those who believe a cup of tea is never ‘just’ a cup of tea.

For example, a bundle-builder allows customers to mix loose leaf tea and tea bags, while available blends include English Breakfast, Lemon & Ginger, Yunnan Green, Decaffeinated Earl Grey, and many more.

A loyalty program rewards members with 'Brew Coins' for subscription sign-ups, and other bespoke features of this Shopify Plus store offers the ability for customers to "gift" a 12-month subscription to someone.

 

 

Oatly

 

Oatly’s dairy-alternative products aren’t exclusively available online. However, for those who are serious about cementing their transition from an animal-based to a plant-based diet, the brand’s subscription options could be just the thing. It’s a simple process for shoppers to build an oatmilk subscription via their website, including specifying how often they would like to receive it. 

 


Bulletproof

 

The Bulletproof brand has long made waves in the world of nutrition. Just one key component of its success has been its ‘subscribe and save’ program, which allows customers to select their favourite Bulletproof products, as well as their desired quantities and how frequently they wish to receive them. Available delivery frequencies are between two weeks and three months, and a subscription plan with Bulletproof can be cancelled at any time. 

 


Black Rifle Coffee

 

Fans of the veteran-owned coffee company have various subscription options to pick from. Those include the likes of a Sticker Club plan that gives subscribers a limited-edition set of four unique stickers with every shipment, and the ability to subscribe for a household of one to five people, or even an office of six people or more. 

 

 

Death Wish Coffee

 

We all know that feeling of needing an especially strong coffee to even get going on a morning, and Death Wish Coffee – which originated from a small coffee shop that opened its doors in Saratoga Springs, New York State – appeals to those who appreciate “the world’s strongest coffee”. Ground, whole bean and ‘Death Cup’ options are all available for subscriptions, with the ‘subscribe and save’ plan providing a 10% discount compared to the price of a one-off purchase.

 

 

Lovevery

 

With its products including the Play Gym and the Block Set, Lovevery is dedicated to providing new parents with the expert-backed solutions that help a child to get the best out of play in their first months of life. The brand offers Play Kits delivered every few months on a subscription basis, tailored to a child’s stage of development. 

 

 

YuMOVE

 

It could scarcely be more important to support our pets’ mobility throughout life, which is where the work of YuMOVE comes into its own. Now a leading brand for veterinary joint supplements, YuMOVE also offers subscription plans that deliver 30% savings for customers, with regular free UK delivery. Would-be new customers are also encouraged to sign up for a two-week trial for £5.

 

 

Swedish Fall

 

The shocking statistic that only 1% of clothing can currently be recycled is something that Swedish Fall is striving to resolve, with its subscription boxes that work on a very simple principle. Customers receive a box of stylish, but affordable outfits that they get to try on, before deciding which ones to keep. They then send the box back, with every item the customer keeps freeing up room in the box for old pieces of clothing that Swedish Fall recycles. 

 


Wild Deodorant

 

Another brand that has caught the eye for combining subscriptions with sustainability is Wild, which enables shoppers to buy deodorant refills – with scents ranging from Coconut Dreams and Orange Zest to Lavender Haze and Jasmine & Mandarin Blossom – while using just one case, again and again. There’s a lot of scope for consumers to switch up the fragrances they receive, and the dates they receive them, when they choose a Wild refills subscription plan. 

 


Pixi Beauty

 

Pixi is a success story of more than 20 years, and testament to customers’ belief in products that support natural beauty. In the words of Pixi’s founder, Petra Strand, the business specialises in “youth-enhancing multipurpose products to make you look like you, only better.” It also offers ‘auto-replenish’ subscriptions for its in-demand toners, oils and other items, to help ensure customers save money and never run out. 

 

 

Pusheen

 

 

Who doesn’t love the cartoon cat, Pusheen, whose image has proliferated across social media platforms since her creation in 2010? Such is her burgeoning ubiquity and popularity, that an officially licensed subscription box is even available, enabling fans to receive cute first-edition and exclusive Pusheen merchandise four times a year.  

 


What now?

Have you got ambitions to join this list of successful subscription brands? Then there are a couple of things you can do. Firstly, download our new subscriptions ebook to glance over everything you need to know about setting up or growing an ecommerce subscription offering on Shopify.

Would you appreciate a more in-depth discussion about how working with our Shopify Plus growth experts at Underwaterpistol could be advantageous for your brand in the ecommerce space?

If so, please don’t hesitate to enquire to our team today