How to sell gift subscriptions on your online store

November 29, 2018



With the holidays quickly approaching, shoppers are already thinking about (and purchasing!) unique gifts for their loved ones. But as an eCommerce merchant, you’re probably thinking, too: What unique products can I offer that people will want to buy as gifts?

Well, how about offering…

Gift subscriptions!

Subscription boxes are a recurring package that comes with new, unique items each shipment, and are usually centered around a theme, such as pet products, cosmetics, or anything you can think of!

These make pretty cool gifts, so giving your customers the option to purchase a gift subscription box for somebody on their shopping list will make your store stand out in customers’ minds this holiday season.

Best of all, it’s super easy to set up, and your customers won't have any trouble purchasing them.

You might be wondering how a gift subscription will benefit you.

If somebody gets one of your subscription boxes as a gift and loves it, they’re likely to subscribe themselves. And, if you add extra incentive by including a discount code, you’re basically guaranteed to get a new customer and boost your MRR!

Make it easier by giving them all the details of your website (and the product as well).

How customers can buy gift subscription boxes

When they've found their perfect gift, your customers just need to select the ‘prepay’ option, choose the length of the subscription they’d like to purchase (e.g. one, two, or three months), and check “gift” box.

Once they're ready to buy, they'll simply continue through the checkout as normal, but just need to make sure they enter in the recipient’s shipping address so the gift goes straight to them!

Even though the billing address will have the customer's information on it, entering in another person’s shipping information won’t affect the order in any way, it just means that the the customer is paying for it but sending it somewhere else!

Plus, with a prepaid gift subscription, they won’t have to worry about cancelling -- their loved one will receive the gifts that were purchased for them without any hassle.

It's that easy!

Test it out for yourself on our demo store.

Or, click here to skip to the bottom and find out how to set up gift subscriptions on your store.

prepaid subscription

Want to know more about gift subscriptions?

Here are some reasons why subscriptions are a great gift, for both you and your customers:

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

With subscriptions, you’re guaranteed to be making recurring revenue each month. They’re truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Some statistics:

According to Forbes, subscription boxes have grown in popularity very quickly; over 800% between 2014 and 2017!

CNBC reported that the meal subscription service ‘Blue Apron’ made $196.7 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2018. This shows that subscriptions can be a lucrative revenue stream for any business.

McKinsey did a study in November 2017 that found 30% of a store’s revenue comes from repeat purchasers, and repeat orders increase a customers LTV (lifetime value) threefold. That means brand loyalty and a ton of extra revenue for you!

tob subscription sites

Who wouldn’t want to give a unique gift?

Gift subscription boxes make for awesome and creative gifts, and depending on what your store offers, you could be providing customers with presents for almost everybody on their list! Think about it: toys or books for kids; small-sized perfumes for her; and grooming products for him.

Especially with the holiday season coming up, people are likely going to be looking for gifts to purchase online to avoid the bustle of malls. With that in mind, you might consider targeting shoppers by suggesting gift ideas (and promoting your subscription boxes).

Take a look at our 5-minute guide to holiday marketing for more ideas.

Choose your gift subscription offer type

With Bold Subscriptions, you can offer customers different types of subscriptions, and reward people with a discount when they prepay for a recurring subscription, making it a unique way to send a gift.

Here are some different types of subscriptions you can offer:

Product subscription

With a product subscription, your customer can choose to receive a product over a recurring interval, such as weekly, monthly, etc. This is great for products that a customer might repurchase over and over again, such as personal hygiene products (soaps, razors, and so on).

Cart subscription

There are actually a couple of different ways you can offer this type of recurring subscription. With an entire cart subscription, a customer can create their own unique recurring box with just a few clicks.

Customers also have the option to subscribe to a mixed cart, checking out with both subscription and one-time products in their cart. Think of this coffee example: A recurring subscription of coffee beans, with a one-time purchase of a travel mug.

Randomized product subscription

If you want to give your customers a true subscription box experience, offer a monthly recurring subscription box at a set price, and you can pick what they receive each month. This is a great option for people who want to treat themselves, or surprise somebody.

After all, subscription boxes aren’t just reserved for gifts. When somebody knows they’re getting one, there are layers of excitement and anticipation that build.

Plus, this is the perfect opportunity to send your customers a sample or two of other items in your store that they may not have otherwise tried, or wouldn't garner much attention otherwise.

Pro Tip: Using Bold Subscriptions, you can offer convertible subscriptions: Give out samples in the first subscription box, then switch to the full-sized product. This gives customers a taste of what you’re offering and creates a higher chance of commitment because they know they like the product.

Excitement about getting a package in the mail

Think about the last time you got an unexpected gift from somebody, or even a package you paid for yourself, but that took you off guard by coming in earlier than expected.

How did you feel? Probably surprised, and excited!


When we are surprised, our emotions can be intensified by up to 400%! Meaning that thoughtful gift subscription you’ve sent your friend will leave them feeling elated.

How to set up your gift subscription

If you’re ready to offer gift subscriptions on your store (now’s the perfect time, the holidays are coming up quick!), grab our Subscriptions app.

With a few simple settings, you’ll be giving your customers the option to prepay for a subscription box in any time interval that you choose. It will also expire after the elapsed time period, so they don't have to worry about cancelling it after the gift has arrived!

With the added option to offer a discount to customers who prepay for subscriptions, there’s an additional incentive that will nudge your customers towards purchasing a longer subscription.

For example, if you’re offering a 10% discount with a 2-month prepaid subscription, and a 20% discount on a 4-month one, chances are they’ll go for the 4-month one!

Let's wrap this up

Want to increase your order value even more? Add a gift wrapping option! If a customer is sending their subscription gift right to their loved one's home, they're not going to be able to jazz it up with pretty wrapping paper or a custom note.

Offer gift wrapping as an upsell, motivating people to spend more so they can take advantage of free gift wrapping, or integrate it right onto your product page! Find out exactly how to offer gift wrapping on Shopify just the way you want with Bold apps - it's really easy!

Now that you're equipped with the knowledge of how to offer gift subscription boxes on your store, you can sit back and watch your customers reap the benefits, while you see a flood of new customers and increased revenue this holiday season.

Want to know more about recurring subscription boxes? Find out how to set up a Shopify subscription box and grow your monthly recurring revenue.

Have you offered a subscription on your store before? Let us know in the comments below what products you sold!

Caitlin McVicker

Written by Caitlin McVicker

Caitlin is a passionate writer who fell in love with marketing, and probably plays more video games than humanly healthy.

Search the blog!
  • How to automate your Shopify store
  • Start a drop shipping store on Shopify
  • Choosing
  • How product photos can make you more money
  • How to strategically price your products
Shopify CRO