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Subscription-based E-commerce - Regular Purchases

In this article, we explore the subscription-based purchasing services we provide for specific product categories, such as beauty, health supplements, magazines, and pet supplies.


In This Article



App Settings and Usage Steps

Let’s consider a scenario where a florist, merchant A, wishes to create a periodic subscription activity for flowers, with a frequency of once a week. Here’s how to use SHOPLINE to set up their customized flower subscription plan:


Creating Subscription Plan Groups and Adding Products

Search for the Subscription app in the SHOPLINE App Store, install it, and grant authorization.


First, go to Subscription > Subscription plan group to create this group. Rename the plan on the page header.


Next is adding products. A subscription plan can include single or multiple items. The Subscription product list displays all the items included in this subscription plan, letting you make adjustments by adding or removing items according to your sales situation.



Setting Subscription Rules

Set the frequency of deliveries in Subscription period, i.e., the number of deliveries in one subscription cycle. Then, enable Add discount in Discount settings to offer discounts for one-time purchases, attracting customers to subscribe. In Subscription plan options, you can define different subscription frequencies for products to meet different customer consumption cycles.



Choosing Component Styles

There are three subscription component styles to choose from in Settings



Setting up Email Automation

Then, proceed to automated email settings. You can opt to send automated emails to customers to make sure they are informed about order details, hence enhancing their loyalty.

You can also configure automated emails to facilitate real-time customer follow-up.


With this, the setup is complete. Let’s see how the Subscription button functions on the customer side:

Customer B wants to purchase a bunch of flowers in an independent store. After browsing, he sees the subscription payment option on the product detail page. As a result, Customer B decides to have a bunch of flowers delivered every month. They select a subscription cycle of six months and a subscription frequency of once per month. Upon successful ordering, Customer B receives the subscription contract email. Subsequently, each month, they will receive emails for order creation and order shipment, similar to regular order emails.



Management of Subscription Order Data

Upon completion of a customer’s order, let’s see how to view and manage the subsequent order data:

  • First is the overall data module on the Home page:

    Here, you can view the Number of orders, Subscription sales, Number of subscription contracts, and Subscription customers. These data are all generated based on the subscription model, providing a clear overview of the overall business performance.


  • How to view detailed order data?

    If you want to check a specific contract, go to Subscription contract, where sellers can directly view product details, customer information, subscription plans, and order history. If there are adjustments to a customer’s next order, the creation date can be changed directly in the next order, allowing for immediate order creation or skipping the current order.

    For other orders related to this subscription contract, the contract details page will display the associated order list. By clicking on the order number, merchants can go to the admin panel to view order details.


  • How to view and manage specific customer information?

    By entering the customer’s profile page, you can view the customer’s name, recipient’s address, and payment method. Also, all of the customer’s subscription contracts are displayed, including contract status and next order times.


  • You can conduct merchant order tests before using the application.

After setting up the subscription products, you can proceed to conduct real order tests on the store. Upon actual payment, subscription contracts and orders will be generated.

Within Subscription, you can view and manage subscription contracts and orders (refer to the aforementioned management).

Within Subscription contract, you can conduct a test and click Create an order now. Once created successfully, you will notice that orders are automatically generated without the need for customer payment confirmation.


After completing the test, subscription orders can be refunded just like regular orders. You can also cancel subscription contracts to avoid the automatic creation of future orders and deductions.




  1. Can subscription orders be combined with other store discounts and promotions?

  • Yes. During the initial subscription order, it can be used in conjunction with store discount codes. However, it isn’t compatible with automatic discounts, flash sales, VIP prices, pre-order prices, or affiliate prices on the shopping cart page. Orders generated automatically by the subscription contract fulfillment won’t undergo discount calculations.


  1. Is it compatible with other apps?

  • Currently, it is compatible with Print on Demand & Dropshipping, Contact Lens Bundle Purchase, and B2B & Wholesale Solution. For compatibility with other apps, please contact customer support or sales to address the corresponding requirements.


  1. How are subscription contracts handled in the event of store freezes or closures?

  • During store freezes or closures, subscription contracts will be canceled and won’t fulfill orders. Additionally, if the store status returns to normal after the freeze or closure, the contract status won’t be restored. Merchants should take note of any unfulfilled subscription contracts.


  1. Why can’t customers place subscription orders in the store after completing subscription settings?

  • If merchants are using a subscription-based e-commerce application, the store needs to enable three payment channels that support subscription payments: PayPal, SHOPLINE Payment, and Stripe. Also, the subscription-based e-commerce application needs to be embedded in the theme editor.


  • For the PayPal payment channel, merchants need to apply for subscription payment authorization through PayPal, as referenced in the subsequent content.



  1. What causes the variation in subscription product prices between the product detail page and the checkout page?

  • The pricing disparity is due to the product detail page factoring in the subscription discount based on the current selling price. Meanwhile, the checkout page conducts cumulative calculations considering all purchased items, inclusive of discounts, shipping fees, taxes, and additional fees.


  1. Why do the actual amounts of subscription orders differ from the displayed subscription amounts in the contract?

  • This disparity arises because the actual order amount is calculated in real-time based on the current address, shipping rules, and tax calculations.


  1. If a product is out of stock or has been taken down, it will result in the automatic failure of creating an order for the subscription contract.

  • After a failed order creation, both the merchant and the customer will receive email notifications. You can adjust the product inventory or status based on the error message, and the system will automatically retry the order (a total of five attempts, with an interval of five hours between each attempt; the subscription contract starts creating orders at midnight).



The Deduction Permission Request Guide of the PayPal Subscription (RT Permission Request)


1. Information Needed (Merchant Information):

  • Business name (name registered with PayPal)
  • Store URL (Front-end website URL of the store)
  • Estimated monthly GMV through PayPal channel
  • Number of customers for the merchant (Number of customers at the store)


2. Integration Issues that PayPal Needs to Understand:

  1. How can merchants use PayPal’s subscription deduction capability?
  • Suggested Response: You can provide details about the products sold in the store and clarify that the sales model facilitates customer subscriptions without recurrent payments. You can also offer further pertinent business information and the advantages of using subscription deduction capability based on the store’s specific circumstances.


  1. Do customers need to confirm payment each time they make a purchase at the store, or is it handled automatically without customer involvement?
  • Suggested Response: It is handled automatically without customer involvement.


  1. Is this service used on the website, integrated into a mobile application (app), or both?
  • Suggested Response: Typically, SHOPLINE merchants solely use it on their websites, and merchants can answer based on their actual situation.


  1. Is integration done through other payment service providers (e.g., Worldpay or Ingenious)?
  • Suggested Response: No, SHOPLINE merchants don’t integrate through other payment service providers.


3. Specific Application Process

  1. Log in to the official PayPal website (https://www.paypal.com/uk/smarthelp/contact-us) using the PayPal account, find the message entry, and leave a message. Merchants can also contact agents who can assist in submitting the request.


  2. After receiving the request, PayPal will respond via email or push messages in the merchant’s PayPal account Message Center. Upon receiving the message, merchants can respond to the message (the above merchant and integration information).

  3. Upon receiving merchant information, PayPal may take 7-10 days for evaluation and review. Specific details can be communicated with PayPal via email.

  4. Refer to the official response from PayPal.

To enable Reference Transactions in Live, Merchants can contact PayPal via their PayPal account and speak to an agent who will submit a request on their behalf.


Instructions for Merchants are mentioned below:

Just log in to your PayPal account on the PayPal app or a web browser, go to your Message Center, and select New Message.


PayPal will ask  for the info below:

  • Business information:
  • Business name
  • Business URL
  • Current/anticipated monthly sales via PayPal only
  • Number of repeat customers
  • Integration information:
  • Describe what you intend to use the product for?
  • Do your buyers need to initiate each subsequent payment themselves or are they processed automatically without any customer involvement?
  • Will this service be enabled within your website, mobile app integration, or both?
  • Are you integrating through another payment service provider, such as Worldpay or Ingenico?


Once PayPal confirms receipt of the above information, your application may take 7 to 10 days to be assessed. Bear in mind that PayPal may require more information once your application is being processed.


Have more questions? Submit a request