Written by Dan Barraclough Reviewed by Natasha Willett Updated on 14 December 2021 On this page The 5 best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions 1. Squarespace 2. Wix 3. Shopify 4. BigCommerce 5. Square How We Test Ecommerce Website Builders Expert verdict Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. We tested ecommerce platforms to see which deliver the best features for businesses selling subscriptions online.We’ll also advise on the different price plans you should choose, and the apps or features you should use.Squarespace retains top spot, boasting an improved ‘Ease of Use' score thanks to its Fluid Engine editor update.Check out our comparison table below for a quick overview, then scroll down for individual reviews. The 5 best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Squarespace Wix Shopify BigCommerce Square Online Score 4.6 Score 4.7 Score 4.1 Score 4.0 Score 4.5 Best For Image-heavy websites Best For SEO support Best For Advanced sales features Best For Multichannel selling Best For Payment integrations Price Range Paying for one year upfront £12-£35/month£10.80-£31.50/month with code: EM10 Price Range Paying for one year upfront £14-£119/month£12.60-£107.10 with code “GET10!”(Enterprise pricing available) Price Range Paying for one year upfront £5-£344/monthDeal: First three months for £1 each(Enterprise pricing available) Price Range Paying for one year upfront £23-£240/month(Converted from USD; Enterprise pricing available) Price Range Paying for one year upfront £0-64/month(Enterprise pricing available) Transaction fees 3%-0% Transaction fees 0% Transaction fees 0.5%-2% Transaction fees 0% Transaction fees 1.4% + 25p (UK cards)2.5% + 25p (non-UK cards)(Rates are lower for Premium plan) Key Features World class templatesUnlimited storageFree domain (one year) on annual plansMembers areaSubscriptionsVisitor analytics Key Features Around 900 design templatesLoads of website functionsSell on Facebook, eBay, Amazon, and moreTools to boost search engine visibility Key Features Website design toolsSell products or servicesOrder trackingInventory managementSelf-hosts its sitesShipping discounts Key Features Focused at larger businessesIntegrates with marketplaces like Amazon and eBayProvides SEO guidancesMore in-built tools than most competitors Key Features Create a simple online sales siteIntegrate with POS hardwareNo web design templates Try Squarespace Try Wix Try Shopify Try BigCommerce Try Square 1. Squarespace – Commerce Advanced plan (£35 per month) Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions because it offers the great value for money combined with beautiful design tools. New users can benefit from a smoother, faster editing process of block sections on any page. That's all thanks to the “Fluid Engine”, which is an overhaul of the website builder's editing workspace.In terms of selling subscriptions, we like the order automation feature. Once a customer purchases their first subscription, Squarespace then handles all the subsequent orders, meaning you don’t need to worry about follow up emails or rebilling issues.Squarespace has also recently introduced an in-house scheduling tool, allowing visitors to book non-physical products like appointments and subscriptions. It's handy features like this which make it one of our top ecommerce platforms for small businesses.However, while your customers can now book digital subscriptions quickly and easily, Squarespace doesn't support the sale of digital variants. Read Full Squarespace Review Fancy saving on Squarespace? You can get 10% off your Squarespace subscription by entering code EM10 at the checkout. Pros Excellent multi-channel integration – sell your subscriptions via Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and more No extra app costs to worry about, unlike with Shopify or BigCommerce Order automation feature means you don’t need to worry about rebilling or sending follow up emails Cons You cannot create free subscription products Wix has more affordable price plans Cannot sell digital product variants How to offer subscriptions on Squarespace:Sign up to the Commerce Advanced plan.Enable the customer accounts feature, so visitors can save their details on your website.Sell only physical or service-based products (you can’t sell digital subscriptions).Use Stripe as your payment processor (it’s not possible through, PayPal, Squarespace’s only other supported payment processor). Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions that we tested Start Selling on Squarespace 2. Wix – Business (£20 per month) or Business Elite plan (£119 per month) The (close) second-best ecommerce platform for subscriptions is Wix, the creative-focussed and user-friendly option with two suitable price plans.When we first tested Wix, you could only integrate your store with Instagram. Now, you can sell via Facebook, eBay, Amazon, and Google Shopping. Wix now supports drop-shipping, too, which might suit your subscription-based business if you don't want to handle much of the delivery logistics.As always, you can add product videos to help visitors better understand your subscription products – a customer experience that most other platforms can't offer.Overall, Wix is an affordable and easy-to-use option for you to start selling physical and service-based subscriptions.Read Full Wix Review Pros Add product videos to improve the buyer’s experience Excellent SEO tools from Semrush to help search engine users find your business more easily More affordable price plans than Squarespace, Shopify, and BigCommerce Cons Knowledge Centre could be more helpful Cannot switch templates after you go live unlike on Squarespace, Shopify or BigCommerce The editor page can sometimes feel clustered How to offer subscriptions on Wix:Sign up to the Business or Business Elite plan.Connect to a payment processor that supports recurring payments (Wix Payments, IsraCard, Stripe, or PayPal).In the dashboard, visit Products > Create a Subscription.Sell physical or service-based products (you can’t sell digital subscriptions). Wix is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world Sell subscriptions on Wix 3. Shopify – £25, £65 or £344 per month plus PayWhirl subscription In our latest research, Shopify's overall score increased from 4.2/5 to 4.7/5. But why isn’t it the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions?This is primarily because you need to install a third-party app to start selling subscriptions on Shopify. Installing an app is an extra cost to consider on top of Shopify’s price plans, and it’s another set of your own subscriptions to juggle.However, you can sell your subscriptions via social media platforms and online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Plus, you’ll get an online invoice generator to help you take payments more easily.Read Full Shopify Review PayWhirl costs between $49-$249 monthly. *Payment processing fees apply Pros Superb multi-channel integration with all the main social media platforms including Facebook Messenger, plus Amazon and eBay Best inventory management features of any platform we tested, helping you upload products and ship orders with ease Access to app market makes it more customisable than Squarespace or BigCommerce Cons Relies on apps for subscription capabilities, which can get expensive on top of its price plans Transaction fees imposed unless you use Shopify Payments Design is less intuitive than most other platforms How to offer subscriptions on Shopify:Visit the Shopify app store.Search for ‘subscriptions’ in the search bar.Select an app (we recommend PayWhirl, rated 4.8/5 in the Shopify app store and available with a 14-day free trial).Click Add app. Shopify is now offering the first 3 months for £3 Sell on Shopify ▶ Read more: What are the best Shopify alternatives? 4. BigCommerce – $29-$299 per month plus Rebillia subscription BigCommerce is best suited to very large businesses selling subscriptions – it offers the widest range of in-built features of any platform we tested, with unrivalled data reports and zero transaction fees (unlike Shopify, which imposes its own fees unless you use Shopify Payments).Yet, it’s still not the very best ecommerce platform for subscriptions.For all its in-built features, you’ll still need to install an app to start selling subscriptions. Again, this is another cost to consider on top of BigCommerce’s price plans, which are already the most expensive in this article, which is because because it’s the best platform for large companies. Pros Has widest choice of in-built sales features of any platform we tested, helping you scale your subscription business with ease Zero transaction fees on all price plans, unlike with Shopify Multi-channel integration across all the main social media platforms Cons Requires an app to start selling subscriptions, which can add to your monthly costs Got the lowest ease of use score (3.3/5) in our latest testing Restrictive price plans that are based on annual turnover for larger businesses How to offer subscriptions on BigCommerce:Visit the BigCommerce app store.Search for ‘subscriptions’ in the search bar.Select an app (we recommend Rebillia Platform – it was designed specifically for BigCommerce stores, and is the highest-rated ‘recurring payments’ app by users, starting from $20 per month).Click Get This App. BigCommerce can help turn your subscription-based business into an ecommerce empire Start selling on BigCommerce 5. Square – £0 to £54 per month Short on time and watching your budget? Then Square might be for you.It offers a totally free plan that comes lets you sell via Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and you can have your site created within an hour. On this plan, you simply pay 1.4% + 25p per UK card transaction instead of a monthly fee, making Square one of the best free ecommerce platforms we tested.Square is excellent value for money, recently scoring 4.7/5 in that research category. However, it offers very little design flexibility, so you should use Wix or Squarespace if you want to spend time designing a unique storefront. What’s more, Square’s process for setting up subscriptions isn’t as sophisticated as it is on other platforms (we explain how to do it below).Having said that, we found that Square also offers excellent in-built email marketing features, which can really help you promote new subscription services and gain more sales. Pros Generous free plan with multi-channel integration, making it excellent value for money Offers useful in-built dashboard to help you keep track of your subscription sales Quicker and easier to build a site than any other platform on this article Cons Limited design and customisation because there are no templates Not ideal for stores selling product variants Pay transaction fees on every purchase Enabling subscriptions isn’t as seamless as on the other platforms How to offer subscriptions on Square:With Square, there’s no ready-out-the-box ‘subscription’ option, like there is on Wix and Squarespace. Instead, you need to set up a recurring invoice series, which is still simple to do, but it does require some extra steps:Go to Invoices on your dashboard.Click Recurring > Create Recurring Series.Select a customer from your directory, or enter new details (you can only enter up to nine customers at once).Choose the customer’s card you’d like to charge from the Invoice Method drop-down.Toggle Allow Automatic Payments.Select start date, recurrence frequency, and the end date. Watching your budget? You can start selling subscriptions for free on Square Start selling on square How We Test Ecommerce Website Builders for BusinessesWe tested eight market-leading ecommerce website builders to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, accuracy, and aesthetics so we can make the most useful recommendations to UK businesses.Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in seven main categories of investigation and 47 subcategories – in fact, we covered 341 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!Our main testing categories for ecommerce website builders are:Website Features: the capabilities and functionalities offered by an ecommerce website builder, e.g. blog functionality, SEO capability, and marketing capacity.Sales Features: the sales capabilities and sales functionalities offered by an ecommerce website builder, including shipping, inventory capacity, and payment options.Design: the aesthetic appeal and visual layout of a website created using the website builder. It encompasses aspects such as page templates and customisable themes.Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular ecommerce builder – the market position and reputation a builder holds.Ease of Use: how user-friendly and intuitive an ecommerce website builder is for people with varying levels of technical expertise.Value for Money: the balance between the cost of an ecommerce website builder and the benefits it provides. It considers factors such as pricing plans, subscription models, and available features.Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using an ecommerce website builder. This can include tutorials, knowledge bases, and email or chat support. Expert verdictThe best platforms for selling subscriptions are Squarespace and Wix. Since we first tested these platforms, Squarespace has improved its ease of use and now offers a built-in scheduling tool, while Wix now lets you sell subscriptions via Facebook and other marketplaces. However, let's recap what we've discussed…The best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions are:Squarespace (on the Advanced Commerce plan).Wix (on the Business Unlimited or VIP plan).Shopify (by installing an app).BigCommerce (by installing an app).Square (using the Recurring Payments feature).As we said earlier, we recommend Wix or Squarespace. These platforms provide everything you need to start selling subscriptions already in-built, while also offering superb marketing tools to help you start reaching more subscribers more easily. Written by: Dan Barraclough Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics. Reviewed by: Natasha Willett Head of Research For over 9 years Natasha has worked as a mixed method researcher working across a range of sectors from insurance and policy development, to business services and software. As a member of the Market Research Society, Natasha is an advocate for high ethical, commercial and methodological best practices.