Bold vs Recharge: Which Offers Better Subscriptions?

bold vs recharge logos

Subscriptions are a valuable component of many ecommerce businesses. Having a steady, reliable source of income from your customers adds a great deal of security and consistency to your company.

There are many applications out there, like Bold and Recharge, that can help merchants set up subscription plans with their customers on platforms like Shopify. Choosing the right solution for your business is important. That's why knowing the difference between Bold vs Recharge is so essential.

Subscriptions are only going to become more profitable. In fact, the subscription e-commerce market is predicted to grow to $478 billion by 2025. To help tap into this potential, Bold is a powerful subscription manager that connects merchants with customers. However, it's not the only option. Recharge is a worthy alternative depending on your needs.

Here. at WebLime, we'll talk about the differences between Bold and Recharge. We'll also discuss the pros and cons of each.

Bold vs Recharge: Key Differences

Bold and Recharge both fulfill the same goal, but they do so in different ways.

Speaking broadly, Recharge is a more customizable platform. Thanks to its APIs and broader integrations, Recharge is better suited for businesses who need more flexible solutions and aren't afraid to tinker.

Meanwhile, Bold is an easier platform to work with that's feature rich right out of the box. This makes it a better choice for businesses that value ease of use.

Another thing to consider is the customer-facing experience. Recharge offers a powerful theme engine. Merchants can customize the portal beyond simple CSS changes to tailor the experience for their clients.

What is Bold?

To better understand the differences in the Bold vs Recharge debate, let's investigate one of them in detail. Founded in 2012, they have built a large portfolio of applications for merchants on Shopify and a few apps on BigCommerce.

For example, some of the apps they've made on Shopify include basic subscriptions, bundling, loyalty, upsell, and various others. On BigCommerce they only have two applications, Subscriptions and Checkout.

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An example of a subscription page powered by Bold.

Bold says that they believe "brands should have the ability to create and customize powerful commerce experiences, across all channels." As a result, Bold has made an effort to create solutions for various aspects of supporting ecommerce businesses beyond subscriptions like Product Options, Upsell, Bundles, and more. This makes it an attractive ecosystem for businesses looking for consistency with the features they plan to use on platforms like Shopify.

Bold's Key Features

Bold has a number of key features that make it shine. To explain, its main focus areas are analytics, marketing, and integrations.

Analytics

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From: https://support.boldcommerce.com/hc/en-us/articles/360051297671-Dashboard-Analytics-Reports-Activity-Logs-in-Bold-Subscriptions-V2

Bold has an analytics dashboard to help merchants keep track of their progress. This dashboard gives merchants access to valuable data about their active subscribers, average subscriber value, and their churn rate. As a result, merchants can take action to improve their subscription models to trend back up again.

Marketing

Just like Recharge does (more on that later), Bold provides a number of automated messages to customers based on events. For example, automated messages can be sent after subscriptions are created, when transactions fail, for upcoming orders, and for expiring payment methods.

A unique marketing feature that Bold offers is the ability to help merchants understand and take action on retention metrics. Customers who choose to cancel their subscription are given the option to select reasons why. This information can help merchants take informed action to improve their retention.

Additionally, Bold has 24/7 support in the app. The app will create email threads for each issue. This allows customer service representatives to help clients directly via email.

Integrations

Bold is the largest Shopify app developer on the market currently. As mentioned earlier, they offer a number of different applications that can help merchants. Using their subscriptions manager can help with consistency if you use their other apps.

Bold also offers a number of integrations. For example, they have integrative partnerships with Quadpay, SMS Bump, RiseAI, NoFraud, Littledata, Lead Dyno, and Stitchlabs. They also offer API access.

Bold's Pricing

A pricing chart for Bold, which is helpful when debating Bold vs Recharge.

Bold's Shopify subscription app costs $49.99 per month with a 1% transaction fee. They offer an Enterprise plan with custom pricing as well with additional features like dedicated account management. However, this plan has custom pricing so it will entirely depend on your business and use-case. Based on the Core plan's monthly price, it will cost just about $600 a year, not including transaction fees.

Additionally, Bold offers a 60-day free trial for their product. This is great if you're not sure if you're ready to commit to the price of the product. Subscription services like this can take time to realize their potential, so it's great that Bold provides their trial for two months.

Pros and Cons

Bold has a great array of features that are helpful for every ecommerce business. However, there are a few pros and cons to note about Bold's subscription application.

What's Great About Bold

Bold has great ready to use features right out of the box. Businesses can get started easily without too much customization. Additionally, Bold has many other products available for Shopify that deal with other aspects of ecommerce. Instead of mixing and matching plugins and apps, it can be simpler to stay consistent with their platform.

For medium to large businesses, Bold is a great, simple option that gives businesses what they need without hassle.

The Not So Great

Since it has a more rigid out of box experience, Bold isn't quite as customizable without paying extra. There are less integration options than Recharge has. It also doesn't have a free version, only a temporary trial.

Meanwhile, Recharge has a permanent free version with limited features. This means Bold may not be the best choice for smaller businesses who are looking for a smaller set of features.

Alternative to Bold: Recharge

Bold isn't the only option out there for merchants looking to set up subscription packages for their customers online. Oisin O'Connor and Mike Flynn founded Recharge in 2014. They provide one subscriptions app for cross platform consistency on Shopify and BigCommerce. They are also a BigCommerce preferred partner.

Recharge says that they "believe subscriptions are a powerful way for consumers to engage with their favorite brands. They lower the friction around purchasing and build ongoing relationships between our customers and their subscribers. This helps our merchants grow their business and increase customer loyalty."

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Indeed, Recharge is dedicated specifically to recurring payments. On the other side of the room, Bold Commerce ventures out into a wider array of applications beyond subscriptions. Recharge's specialization in subscriptions makes it a better option for those looking to dig deep and take advantage of subscriptions from their customers.

Recharge: Key Features

Similar to Bold, Recharge has a number of features that benefit merchants through analytics, marketing, and integrations. These features more or less match the ones provided by Bold, but there are a few areas where vs Bold, Recharge provides unique value.

Rich Analytics

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An example from Recharge's analytics dashboard.

Recharge offers a rich set of analytics for each of its plans. This data is important for tracking the success of your subscriptions so you can make necessary tweaks. Across Recharge's plans, the following data are available:

Standard

Pro

Total processed value

Customer cohorts

Average order value

Cohort retention

Total orders

Product variants

New subscribers

KPIs

Cancellations

Industry benchmarking

Churn rate

Customer action analysis



Media attribution

Having access to data like this can be a major boon to your business. This is especially the case if you need to fine tune your subscriptions to meet the needs of your customers. Since Recharge focuses on its deep integrations, it's possible that data can be combined with API to further automate aspects of your business.

Marketing

Just like Bold, Recharge has access to automated messages for customers. These messages greatly improve the efficiency of your customer service. With more efficient customer service, you can focus more on other aspects of your business with greater detail. Recharge offers the following automated messages:

  • Subscription creation
  • Transaction failure
  • Upcoming orders
  • Expiring payment methods
  • Subscription cancellation
  • Upcoming charges
  • Out of stock
  • Declined payments
  • Refunds

Recharge also offers a valuable feature called transactional SMS. This allows customers to engage with your business via SMS text messaging. Customers can add products to their order, skip, and swap items easily through text.

Integrations

Compared to Bold, Recharge offers a wider number of opportunities for integrations. For example, some partners are Shogun, Gorgias, Churn Buster, Avalara, LoyaltyLion, Stripe, Klaviyo, Nacelle, Attentive, and Rebuy. Recharge has a full list of all of their partners on their website.

One of the most interesting features that sets Recharge apart from Bold is its API. With no monthly fees, merchants that have the Recharge standard plan can take advantage of Recharge's rich API for more advanced integrations. This is great for businesses with custom solutions that want to get creative.

Theme Engine

Recharge offers a powerful theme engine that allows businesses to customize the customer portal for their subscriptions. This is available only for users on the pro plan. The company recommends that users have experience with languages like JavaScript, AJAX, and HTML.

They also require that your store have at least one customer and one subscription. Businesses eligible to use the theme engine get exclusive access to developer documentation to help them build their customer portal.

With the theme engine, users can edit existing themes or create new ones. Being able to customize the theme of your storefront and website more deeply is a powerful tool that can affect your impact on subscribers.

Bold vs Recharge: Feature Comparison

These two services are worthy competitors against each other, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. You can compare them more closely using the table below:

Feature

Bold

Recharge

API access

With paid version

With free plan

Churn rate

Yes

Yes

Active subscribers

Yes

No

Customer cohorts

No

Yes

Total processed value

No

Yes

Automatic messages

Yes

Yes

Integrations

7

65

Price

$49.99 / month Core

Custom pricing for Enterprise

Standard: Free with sales fees (1% + 10 cents per transaction)

Pro ($300 per month) and 1% + 19 cents per transaction.

One area that Recharge definitely beats Bold in is price for its standard plan. Recharge doesn't cost anything for its standard plan aside from transaction fees. Meanwhile, Bold requires $49.99 a month just to use any of its features. This makes Recharge very competitive with its base features like API access and rich analytics.

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On top of the already competitive free plan, Recharge also offers a pro plan with more features for $300 per month. This shows that Recharge isn't just catered to smaller businesses but also to larger ones. This is further cemented by its Enterprise plan with personalized pricing.

The Verdict of Bold vs Recharge

So, now that we've taken a deep dive into comparing the features of these two subscription managers, which one is better?

The answer is ultimately up to you and the needs of your business.

If you're looking for an affordable, highly integrative system with powerful automation and communication features, go for Recharge. Their service has a free plan with a number of useful features. As a result, this is a win for smaller businesses who aren't ready to commit to the high prices of higher-end plans. In contrast, Bold only has a free trial.

However, if your business has money to spend and is looking for a better solution out of the box with lots of features, Bold may be a better option. It's easy to use and fits well with Bold's other applications they offer for Shopify and BigCommerce. However, Recharge wins out in the integrations arena. Their service offers far more integrations than Bold and API access is part of the free plan.

That being said, API access isn't for everyone. A lot of people are comfortable with the solution that comes out of the box. In that case, Bold may be just fine. Recharge may be a great solution for people looking for a more personalized solution that works best for their business.

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