If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last decade, you know that the subscription model has become a consumer (and merchant) favorite. 

In fact, as of late 2019, the revenue generated by subscription businesses was growing 5x faster than that of S&P 500 companies and U.S. retail sales. 

We’ve already talked about why subscriptions are so tantalizing, and how to set up your Shopify store for subscription success. Redundancy is annoying, so to summarize:

    • Customers love subscriptions because they offer convenience, flexibility, and targeted spending

      and
    • There are a handful of subscription platforms that play well with Shopify, but ReCharge’s automated workflows, killer API, dozens of integration options, generous free trial, and options for creating an on-brand customer portal are tough to beat.

It’s that last bit we haven’t covered yet: the fully customizable customer portal. 

What is the ReCharge Customer Portal?

The customer portal is where your subscribers manage their subscriptions and account settings. There are dozens of portal controls, which you can set to be managed by the Storeowner (that’s you!) or Storeowner and Customer. Control options include:

    • Modifying delivery schedule, shipping address, and quantities
    • Adding products to subscriptions (read: increasing average order value)
    • Changing variants
    • Swapping products
    • Skipping shipments*
    • Canceling, pausing, or reactivating a subscription
    • Adding discount codes

*This feature only applies to recurring charges, not prepaid subscriptions.

You can check out more details about the general customer portal controls here.

The ReCharge customer portal will get the job done right out of the box, but it doesn’t get an A+ in intuitive UX, and it will not scream, “This is my brand!” without a little help. 

See? Eesh.

Standard Portal - My Subscriptions-2

Branding might not seem like a big deal, but from your website to your products, digital marketing campaigns to hang tags, you’ve thoughtfully crafted a beautiful, cohesive brand identity. (If you haven’t, you should get someone to help you out.) 

To do all of that, then fail to present the same UX/UI to your customers in the very place they’ll spend the most time, is like renovating your entire house but leaving a gaping hole in the living room floor.

You: “We don’t need a custom portal.” 

Your Customers:

 

Of course, there are a number of other benefits to customizing your ReCharge customer portal beyond the brand experience.

What’s So Great About Custom Portals?

Everything.

We’ve already covered that a custom portal creates a seamless experience for your subscribers, ensuring consistent brand identity (correlating directly to brand trust) and ease of use. 

The other benefits will be completely unique to your business model (curation, replenishment, access) and products (managing a coffee subscription is remarkably different from managing personal care products, for example). 

These variables impact important functional aspects, such as:

    • Buttons. Depending on the product you sell, a “Ship Now” button could be critical: “I’m out of supplements now and don’t want to wait another two weeks for my regular delivery to arrive.”

      A “Swap” button would be super valuable to a coffee company: “Hazelnut is the default this month, but I want to swap it out for vanilla instead.”

      The out-of-the-box ReCharge portal is extremely basic when it comes to buttons. Almost immediately, you’ll run into limitations on the kinds of buttons you can use and where you can put them. With a custom portal, your options are just about limitless.
    • Upsell Opportunities. A custom portal allows you to put cross-selling opportunities front and center with a brand-consistent take on “You Might Also Like.

    • Customer Feedback. If you sell easy subscription products (like consumables) and a customer wants to cancel, it’s maybe not the end of the world. If you sell a luxury item, you have more to lose. It’ll be important to give the customer lots of cancellation reasons to choose from so that you can gather data that informs future offerings.

    • More Opportunities to Increase Spend. Once they’ve subscribed, chances are pretty good that your customer will spend more time in their portal than on your site. Leverage this one-on-one relationship to offer special products and new releases directly to them (“exclusive to subscribers only!”) while they’re in a spending mindset. 

Recharge custom portals customer


How Do I Customize a ReCharge Customer Portal?

Unless you have quite a bit of coding know-how, the process will be frustrating and the results, potentially even more so. We tapped our Development Director, Mallory (former Shopify Guru and Merchant Success Manager, ReCharge expert, and all-around technical goddess), for some insight.

Q: What can merchants customize on their own, and what kind of knowledge is required?

A: So long as you have the technical know-how, you can customize anything in the portal. You’ll need to have a good grasp of HTML, CSS, and templating languages.

Q: What can go wrong if something isn’t coded properly?

A: It’s easy to completely break a custom portal if you make a mistake. Elements that might not seem related at all can affect each other, so if something is amiss, it can be really hard to find the source of the problem if you don’t have a lot of experience with ReCharge development. Also, you’ll need (need) knowledge of Javascript.

Q: Does ReCharge support DIY customizations?

A: They don’t specifically say that they support DIY stuff. I’d imagine support for it is very limited. They have some documentation here, but nothing explicitly labeled a tutorial. 

Thanks, Mal! 

~

While ReCharge definitely encourages merchants to customize the customer portal, they don’t suggest that you do it on your own. We don’t really recommend it either--unless you’re a technical wizard. 

Fortunately, there are kickass agencies who know ReCharge inside and out and will happily build your portal for you.

(Spoiler: Hi. It's Us. We’re one of those agencies--a ReCharge preferred partner, in fact.)

Recharge custom portal design

That Thing We Do

What You Get

A brilliantly designed ReCharge customer portal that is:

    • functionally customized according to your unique products and business model 
    • easy-peasy to manage, both for the customer and for the merchant.
    • consistent with your branding (logo, colors, fonts, and more)

All of that without the headache of trying to DIY, hiring an unknown agency, or wading into an ocean of freelancers and hoping you hook a winner!

OK, but is there really that big of a difference between the out-of-the-box portal and a custom one?”

Umm...yes. Check out the differences in the homepage alone.

Here is an example of a custom portal homepage we built from scratch, right here at Tako. It tells the customer everything they need to know: when the next order is expected to arrive, what subscriptions are active, which are inactive (but can be readily reactivated using the buttons!), and how to get in touch with the merchant. It’s on-brand and intuitive--the way a customer portal should be!

Custom Portal Home Orenda

In case you need a refresher, here's what the standard, out-of-the-box ReCharge customer portal looks like. 

Standard Portal - My Subscriptions-2

Does it have many (although not all) of the same options as the custom portal? Sure.

Are you able to find those options quickly? *sharp inhale through teeth* Don’t think so.

Does it scream brand identity, fostering customer trust? Not a chance.

The same trend runs through each page of the portal--Addresses, Billing, etc. A custom portal gives you greater control of not only the look and feel of your customer’s experience, but also the functionality.

Pricing

ReCharge customer portal customizations are not quick work. Depending on the complexity and number of integrations, they average 50 to 75 hours to build, at a cost of $10K+. What’s worse, most agencies require that you cough up the dough (or at least a significant portion of it) upfront.

We think that’s a bit rubbish.

First of all, that’s a massive whack to your bottom line all at once. Secondly, some merchants just flat out don’t have that kind of free cash upfront. Does that mean they are barred from enjoying the benefits of a custom portal entirely? Not on our watch.

We believe that manageable monthly fees beat wild upfront costs 100% of the time.

Our pricing for ReCharge portal customization is $600 per month for 12 months, and then $350 per month for (optional) ongoing maintenance after that.

Tako Agency

The Other Guys

Month 1: $600

Month 1: $10,000 - $15,000*

Months 2 - 12: $600/mo

 

TOTAL AFTER 12 MONTHS: $7,200

TOTAL AFTER 12 MONTHS: $10,000 - $15,000

*calculated using an average hourly rate of $200, with an estimate of 50 - 75 hours of work

Ka-ching! Hang with us and get the exact same quality of work for a more affordable investment.

Ready to Roll?

 

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