Can I offer public or custom apps for Subscription models and payment methods not on the roadmap?

Hi Shopify,

Many thanks for opening up this forum! Hopefully this provides a more direct line to the Subscription and Checkout team members.

I'm super excited for Shopify introducing Subscription support bit-by-bit. We as a recurring commerce software platform would love to build on top of these APIs for our merchants that are on Shopify.

Looking at the roadmap, there's currently no (planned) indication for European payment methods.

Maybe once you have launched Stripe payment provider support, it will get easier to also support other payment methods apart from Credit Cards by using merchant's own Stripe accounts. Is this correct? Does that mean you won't be supporting additional payment providers?

In addition, the current Subscription functionality is super focused on "paying for a recurring delivery of products". For example: I tried to set up a Selling Plan with a one-time delivery and a monthly payment. But that is not allowed. I don't see any plans on your roadmap for widening this scope. Could you elaborate on if or when you would like to support more flexible subscription models?

In the case that your functionality will not have the above yet: will it still be allowed to offer functionality outside of the Subscription APIs to the Shopify (Plus) merchants?

Many thanks!

schaeken
Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
155 0 14

Hi Michiels,

Thanks for the questions.

Correct, we don't yet have plans for european payment methods, though we will be exploring support for additional payment methods in the future. Our current plans for Stripe will only be credit cards and we are adding support for additional payment providers later this year like PayPal. Stay tuned for more payment methods and gateways. 

Could you elaborate on "a Selling Plan consisting of a one-time delivery and a monthly payment"? On face value, it appears to be installments, not subscriptions. Shopify already launched Shop Pay Installments which might work for the use case you outlined unless the monthly payment is for an undefined period of time for a digital service being offered on top of the physical product. Let me know as I'm curious what you are thinking.

As per the updated API license and terms Partner Program Agreement, any functionality offered by partners to merchants that require a payment to be accepted must go through the Shopify checkout.

Hi @schaeken ! 

Thanks for your reply and clarification on your efforts to add more payment gateways. I must say that not supporting European methods is quite the bummer for quite a lot of European merchants. In a large portion of Europe, subscriptions are typically sold via iDeal/Sofort/Bancontact which then enables SEPA direct debit mandate for recurring charges. So hopefully these methods could get your interest in the future.

With regards to your response about other subscription models and if they are instalments or not:

I can understand that "ship once, bill monthly" seems like an instalment. In some cases is might be. That's however not how our platform supports merchants. There are also more innovative recurring models being used and are growing in popularity. And we are helping the merchants operate those "new economy" business models, next to their more traditional e-commerce products that they also offer.

These business models are more focused towards "rental" and "product as a service" models. A couple of samples on how we are helping merchants with our platform with recurring models that are not instalment payments, but do have a strong "e-commerce" focus and experience:

  • Get an "as a service" subscription on a coffee machine with additional replenishments. Eg: you pay a fixed monthly fee to get: a coffee machine (once), cleaning and decalcing accessories on a 6-monthly delivery schedule. Adding a service moment (by a mechanic) once per year. In addition, also get coffee beans or cups on a recurring basis or een "on demand".
  • Renting an e-bike or cargo bike for 6 months. So truly rental: product ownership stays at the merchant. Customer pays in monthly payments, returns the cargo bike after 6 months. Or even keeps renting indefinitely until they cancel. Can be paired with pre-scheduled service moments for an optimal customer experience.
  • Re-ordering products when stock "runs out" or when you need it. In stead of a fixed monthly delivery schedule where's the chance that you receive too much or too few. So also the option for "one off" purchases on a stored payment method.

What these models have in common is that they are not so much about "selling as much transactions/products" as you can. But truly delivering a consistent and sustainable relationship with the end-customer. Both from a commercial relationship perspective, but also powering a move of the economy towards more sustainable product usage where there's less "waste" and product usage is tailored towards the customer experience.

This tweet on your Shopify Plus Twitter account quite nicely sums it up: https://twitter.com/ShopifyPlus/status/1354140087672582144?s=20

I can imagine that these models seem "outside" of the typical e-commerce models that Shopify might be used to sell. However, do not underestimate the move of the market/economy towards these newer innovative models. And that merchants would like to offer an experience that's very close to common e-commerce patterns. That's what we're here for for our merchants.

Our merchants would ideally receive a "best of both worlds" experience: an awesome (headless) storefront and e-commerce experience powered by Shopify and its ecosystem. But being able to offer flexible and interesting new customer relationship models through a platform like ours.

Hope the above makes sense and shows the difference between traditional instalment models and these more "as a service" subscription models. Curious to learn Shopify's vision on the above or to add onto it as a softwareplatform in the Shopify ecosystem.

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