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How Shopify Calculates Subscription Shipping for 1st order & all recurring orders
How Shopify Calculates Subscription Shipping for 1st order & all recurring orders
Adriana Pope avatar
Written by Adriana Pope
Updated over a week ago

Subscription Shipping charges on all recurring orders after the 1st order depends entirely on how your Shopify Shipping rates setup.

One thing to keep in mind is that Shopify will calculate the shipping costs for a subscription order on the checkout page for the 1st order & all recurring orders afterwards.

Shopify Shipping rates for all recurring orders become "fixed" and is a part of the subscription contract.

The customer is essentially agreeing to a subscription contract with you the merchant that this is how much they are going to pay for subscription shipping forever.

How Shopify Calculates Shipping Rates on Shopify checkout

1) Mixed cart - One time purchases + Subscription items

One-time Purchases shipping costs are calculated separately and there might be multiple options to choose from.

2) Only subscription product(s) in the cart

Shipping costs are automatically used from your Shopify > Settings > Shipping & Delivery

Only one option is displayed! Shopify uses the cheapest option.

Quick Overview of Scenarios for Shopify Subscription Shipping

Remember every merchant has a unique setup with Shipping costs so yours might be different from another store.

Free shipping only for subscription products

How it works: First subscription order is free shipping & all recurring orders after this will be free too, so second subscription order has free shipping of course.

Flat rate shipping only for subscription products

Special Flat Rates just for subscriptions means subscription products will have a special fixed price that you assign it based on conditions.

Example: Let's say subscription products get a flat rate of $5, then the first order will be $5 and the second order will be $5.

Free Shipping if Customer Spends X Amount of $

Let's say you offer free shipping over $50.

We do not recommend creating an Ongoing delivery profile. Actually the good news is you don't have to do anything, Shopify will automatically apply this logic to your subscription products.

This is great especially for a "mixed cart" situation where a customer might be purchasing both subscription products and one time purchases.

Shopify will use the combined total of one-time purchase products and subscription products to see if meets the minimum dollar amount to get free shipping. If it does, it will apply free shipping at checkout for the first order.

Since it's free shipping on the first order only with this type of set up, Shopify will auto-recalculate the shipping price for the subscription product on the next recurring shipments to make sure the customer is charged for future shipments.

So for the subscription product, you might see shipping is $0 on the first shipment and then for future recurring orders $5 shipping (just an example. )

This is ideal for merchants who want to offer free shipping only on the first shipment, but on future recurring shipments, they want to charge for shipping.

Are you using a Shipping app or automatic carrier rates?

If you are having your rates automatically calculated by a carrier, then this can dramatically change the way your shipping rates will appear for subscription items

Best way to Test my Subscription Shipping Rates?

I recommend pretending your a customer on your store and adding items to the cart, to see how things look on the checkout.

Try out different scenarios like a one time purchase + subscription product or just a subscription product.

This will give you a better idea of what your shoppers are seeing.

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