Cratejoy vs Subbly for Subscription-First Businesses - Which is the better option?Apr 14, 2023
SUBBLY vs. CRATEJOY FOR SUBSCRIPTION BUSINESSES
It could be said that there are too many options in 2023, for your subscription-first e-commerce business. Almost all platforms offer many pros and perhaps a few cons.
As an entrepreneur in the subscription e-commerce industry, choosing the right platform to host your business is crucial. While Cratejoy may have been a popular choice in the past, its outdated infrastructure and lack of future-proofed features can limit your ability to scale and adapt to changing market trends. In contrast, Subbly's subscription-first approach provides numerous benefits that can help you achieve long-term success.
One of the most significant advantages of Subbly is its focus on subscription-first e-commerce. Unlike Cratejoy, which prioritizes a marketplace model, Subbly is specifically designed to help subscription business owners create, manage, and grow their businesses. This means that Subbly offers features that are tailored to your specific needs, such as customizable subscription plans, automated billing and shipping, and integrations with popular payment gateways.
In addition to its subscription-first approach, Subbly also boasts a modern and future-proofed infrastructure. With its intuitive user interface and robust API, Subbly is easy to use and customize, allowing you to create a unique brand experience that sets you apart from the competition. Furthermore, Subbly is constantly updating its features and functionality to keep up with changing market trends and customer demands.
Another advantage of Subbly is its focus on marketing and entrepreneurial success. Subbly offers a suite of powerful marketing tools that can help you reach new customers and grow your business. These tools include email marketing campaigns, social media integrations, and SEO optimization, all of which are designed to help you increase your visibility and drive sales.
Finally, Subbly offers excellent customer support and resources for entrepreneurs. This includes a dedicated support team, an extensive knowledge base, and regular updates to the platform based on customer feedback. In contrast, Cratejoy's support system is lacking, with many users reporting poor customer service and slow response times.
In conclusion, for subscription box owners and entrepreneurs, the Subbly "Subscription-first" e-commerce platform is the clear choice over Cratejoy's "Marketplace-first" platform. Subbly's advanced e-commerce features, user-friendly interface, and excellent customer support make it the ideal platform for entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses and succeed in the subscription-based e-commerce industry.
Read on for a detailed analysis of individual components of the two systems…
If you’ve watched some of my other content you’ll know that I am a fan of Kajabi (service/e-learning) and Subbly (product businesses) for subscription-first businesses and have used all sorts of solutions for my own businesses and those of hundreds of clients across two decades, serving the entrepreneur community via my digital marketing agency. The other solutions I’ve used to build subscription-model businesses include Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, Drupal, Magento, Clickfunnels, to name a few.
One platform I had not used to date however, was Cratejoy, and it occurred to me recently that I really should change that. Coincidentally, the factor spurring me on to do this is that I’ve had a number of clients recently mention that they use/used Cratejoy and had a variety of experiences related to the platform, support, their data and other important components of running a business.
Thus I thought… time for another comparison and mental lab time!
In this comparison I’m going to focus in on 6 key areas and discuss some other, complementary areas around them and finish up with some ideas for you depending on your current position; both new business owner, as well as an established Cratejoy vendor - I’ve got your back with these conclusions, so read on!
THE KEY COMPONENTS I’LL COVER IN THE COMPARISON:
> PRICING & PROFITABILITY
> FUNCTIONALITY (e.g. APP STORES)
> TRAFFIC OPPORTUNITIES
> PLATFORM FEATURES & THE WEBSITE BUILDER
> MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES
WHAT ARE WE REALLY COMPARING HERE, WITH CRATEJOY AND SUBBLY?
For those of you who are unfamiliar, both of these businesses offer e-Commerce solutions with some cross-over and some differences, but both focused predominantly within the “subscription” industry. Both were founded in 2014 and are “software as service” platforms, so to the outside eye, in terms of length of systematic gestation, development and refinement, each have had a similar timeline to make things happen and put their stamp on their market.
If I had to describe the Cratejoy platform in a nutshell I would say it is like an Etsy for the subscription box community. You can setup a subscription box business and sell boxes to their community (and your own) in a Cratejoy-built marketplace with around 2000 subscription boxes and many more thousands of customers.
One of the key differences between most e-Comm platforms like Shopify or Wordpress and, indeed, Subbly when compared to Cratejoy is that the latter provides both the system AND the marketplace (as well as advertising opportunities, just like Etsy does, hence the comparison). It’s a little bit of a hybrid system in that regard which is an exciting prospect from the outside due to the opportunities it poses for solopreneurs and entrepreneurs looking to crack the subscription economy.
Out of the box, unlike Wordpress or Shopify which require extensive customizations in this industry, there is substantial and notable crossover between Cratejoy and Subbly, as both the platforms are software as service and both offer subscription-focused e-Commerce solutions that have often been used by the subscription box community. That crossover, as I discovered, is mostly where it ends.
Cratejoy has experienced quite a lot of shift in operation recently too, which is important to note. I have heard from clients firsthand that fees have continued to creep upward, and they have become frustrated that email lists get “held hostage” by Cratejoy. This has led a few to wonder the true benefits of the potential marketplace visibility and whether that outshines the confines of the “rules” they have to play within. So, I thought it high time to investigate the platforms side by side and do a comparison check with my current go-to platform for subscription-first e-Comm, Subbly.
Let’s start by re-stating, as above, no platform is perfect. That is the nature of software, and specifically software as a service (SaaS) platforms, because we as developers often have no high-scale control over anything functional in the system (outside of a few minor lines of code or injectable headers. Interestingly however, Subbly has recently rolled out new major features like a Cart API, Checkout API and complementary SDKs (Software Development Kits) which poses some fantastic opportunities for brand-specific customizations.
This poses an important point that I have experienced over the last 17-18 years in testing all these platforms...
…The true test of a truly robust system is that it is always evolving in positive ways, with new technologies and changing with the times (e.g. best practice for modern marketing).
What this all means is that what you see is often what you get with these platforms, so you have to approach them all with this knowledge and understand there may be some compromises for you, regardless of the platform you opt for.
1 - PRICING
Let’s start with price, because this is where a lot of the platforms offer a similar investment with some hidden fee structures we should be aware of.
Subbly has 4 x plans, the first of which (“Lite” at $19 per month or $14 with annual plan) is a good entry point to just play around with the system - I like that they have this option for newbies to tinker and see if they like the interface and basic functions - this can help the user flow up the feature sets as they learn the basics in a nice graduation.
Once you’re serious about growing a subscription-first brand however, you’ll want to opt for one of the more premium plans which offer better automations, lower fee structures (e.g. lower transaction fees and lower refer-a-friend fees) and more bandwidth on the things that matter like products, funnels and surveys.
"Subscription first ecommerce" refers to a business model in which an ecommerce company prioritizes generating revenue through subscription-based services or products. In this model, customers agree to pay a recurring fee, usually on a monthly or annual basis, in exchange for access to a product, service, or content.
This approach often emphasizes customer retention, personalized experiences, and long-term relationships, as it relies on recurring revenue streams from subscribers. Subscription first ecommerce businesses can span a variety of industries, including digital content platforms, software as a service (SaaS), subscription boxes, and even grocery delivery services. By focusing on subscription-based offerings, these companies can better predict their revenue, lower customer acquisition costs, and foster loyal customer bases.
I tend to opt for the top plan here (“Advanced” at $159 per month or $119 per month if paid annually) because of the lower fees, more funnels, automations and branded checkout.
On any plan however, the functionality you gain is huge out of the box and most of what you need is included in all of the plans (e.g. no external plugins, or extra service agreements or payments). I’d recommend checking the fee structures and seeing what features you may need, but my initial instinct tells me that most users will do well by starting with the Basic Plan and upgrading as you grow/scale and need added expansion (e.g. more than 1 funnel, volume automation actions and start to use a refer-a-friend loyalty program), among other features.
In effect, this means if you go with Basic and gather 100 customers, you’ll pay $39 per month flat rate. If your box is $40 x 100 you’ll generate $4,000 in revenue gross (less any applicable fees from merchant costs or referral fees).
Subbly offers a free trial for 14-30 days also, which is helpful because, as with all software as service platforms, it’s nice to be able to play in the sandbox a little bit before fully committing.
Cratejoy has similarly pitched/priced plans and does include a free plan. The free plan however, doesn’t include access to a website for your business; you effectively get your store on the marketplace. That irked me a little but what irked me more on setup was that they also don’t offer a free trial so if you think you may want your own website you have to pay on day one and then try and set everything up. This is somewhat unusual for a software as service setup, and I have to think it’s a mistake in their model.
PRICING VS. PROFITABILITY - While upfront pricing for the main plans are fairly consistent with one another, for subscription box owners, whose margins are often fairly tight already, the Subbly model is going to be more profitable in % terms, overall so yay, you get to make more money on every sale!
This does exclude “marketing” or visibility as a factor because, as above, the onus is on you as a business owner to promote your products to your own audience.
In contrast the CrateJoy model offers help with this through advertising and marketplace placements… however, this comes at a hefty pricetag - it is in exchange for a 15% cut for “referral fees”.
Whether that is worth it is down to you as an entrepreneur to analyze. You will know your margins, your market, price point and costs (e.g. import, shipping, packaging) and whether it all comes together and works in a package while chunking out 15% of the total value with each sale.
I don’t think there’s a perfect answer here, as a result, but see my conclusion at the base of this for my ultimate recommendation on which platform to use, because it’s probably not what you think.
WHICH IS MORE PROFITABLE? LET’S TALK FEE STRUCTURE
You won’t ever be able to get away from payment processing fees (e.g. Stripe, Paypal), and they are fairly standardized around 3% of transactions, whatever way the individual platforms work it.
However, the fundamental nature of the two platforms we’re discussing today, being different, also creates the biggest swing in fee structure.
By listing your boxes on the Cratejoy marketplace, every sale *(and renewal) processed via a marketplace “referral”, as mentioned above, elicits a 15% fee. That, is significant. Not only that, but they also seemingly charge $99 per month for access to the referral program. So, while the exposure you may be able to get is going to certainly have a real benefit that should not be overlooked, you’ll need to sharpen your pencil and see how profitable you can make your boxes so that not all of the margins are sheered away through fees.
I know a number of my clients who offer a ton of value in their boxes and run very successful subscription businesses - but they wouldn’t make more than a few cents per box if they used Cratejoy. Others will fare much better. That is why it’s essential you analyze the figures before making a decision. Ultimately, you can of course build your own lists and drive traffic into Cratejoy, as you would with any other business. However, in that instance, the question needs posed… what is the utility of the platform, if you take away the “marketplace” - does it stack up to more modern platforms like Subbly or Shopify? More on that later.
Subbly simply works off a different model, because they simply don’t have a marketplace with which to promote you. As a result, their fees are lower for “referrals”. Referrals in Subbly terms, are not therefore marketplace referrals, but referrals from loyalty program members that you will have to curate and build through an effective affiliate or loyalty program. These actions bring about between 3-5% in fees for this facility, on an ongoing basis (e.g. every charge and renewal). This is of course easier to stomach from a profit-margin standpoint but of course, the exposure for your product is really on your shoulders in this scenario, which perhaps isn’t quite so attractive.
2 - FUNCTIONALITY + APP STORES
Unlike Shopify with it’s almost endless App Store of functionality add-ons (many of which, I have to say, should be included out of the gate such as subscription billing), Subbly and Cratejoy have a similar approach to one another, which I am a fan of, with a few notable exceptions.
Most of each platforms’ features are available out of the box, with limited plugins/bolt-ons offered in each app store. You’ll get back-end add-ons like shipping, support and email plugins. Outside of that, what each provider offers out of the box, is what you get. This streamlined approach is nice in theory and, mainly in practice. The one caveat here is that you will of course be limited to the platforms they choose to work seamlessly with. One example of this is that both platforms offer a limited number of email platform integrations, Mailchimp being a focus.
Having used Mailchimp for years I have come to loathe the platform somewhat and it wouldn’t be even close to my top 5 of potential email management tools to integrate with my lists. I think it’s falling behind the times as many of these “new” technology platforms that emerged in the 2000’s do.
3 - TRAFFIC, MARKETPLACE & “REFERRALS”
This is where the platforms do differ and diverge significantly, as outlined earlier. By its’ nature, the ecosystem of Cratejoy offers the potential for future automatic traffic generation because they curate the entire marketplace that their platform resides on - it is effectively an Etsy for the subscription-box industry, in that respect. They claim over 4 million monthly visitors and over 2100 sellers and that’s an awful lot of both.
What isn’t immediately clear however, is just how visible new subscription boxes are within the marketplace and whether there is an algorithm used to present some offers over others (e.g. higher selling vendors get more exposure - this is very likely to be the case) and what the avg price tolerance is depending on the niche and box type. The potential for visibility however, is understandably, incredibly attractive to a business owner from the outside peering in.
By contrast, Subbly doesn’t offer any such marketplace. They simply offer the system to sell/automate/convert/communicate with your prospects and customers. And so there is no tangible benefit from the traffic perspective, in using Subbly out of the gate, over Cratejoy.
By the same token, I’m not convinced that there is a traffic benefit from Cratejoy, out of the gate either. I imagine, like any community platform, exposure requires work/authority building and/or money (e.g. marketplace advertising) to gain traction and visibility and therefore large amounts to a lot of work in the early days of your business (work which is likely essential, but given the fee structure, it is work you may be better placed putting into your own business marketing in the first place, and thus reaping the full reward for it).
4- PLATFORM FEATURES (E-COMMERCE FLEXIBILITY) + WEBSITE BUILDER
What do I mean by this term, “E-Commerce flexibility”? Well, in my view, our businesses are only as good as our platforms and any business should be incorporating both one-time (transactional) products and subscription (recurring revenue) products to generate multiple methods of revenue generation - otherwise, you’re simply leaving money on the table, and none of us want to do that.
By utilizing both models, alongside intelligent funnel systems, automations and strategic marketing, we will ultimately have the opportunity to maximize the scalability and success of our businesses from day one.
Both platforms in this comparison offer the nice ability to sell both one-time (what we call “transactional”), as well as subscription products within their platform, right out of the box. As such, both offer an easier launch passage than, for example Shopify (where we have to add a plugin just to add the functionality to offer subscription products). Kudos to both platforms here for including this as a staple of their offering.
Where there seems to be a more divergent approach as we move into the middle of 2023, is that Subbly has honed their subscription offering to the point it is a very refined system and now has its’ sights set firmly on a more seamless transactional (one-time) e-Commerce setup so that store owners can maximize the benefit of both subscription and transactional opportunities.
This is a big leap from Cratejoy’s approach which really only has one-time products as add-ons or choices instead of subscription (e.g. no real “Store” with multiple one-time products). This feature seems to separate the platforms in so much as it’s clear which company is investing heavily in infrastructure and thus looking to the future for its’ own success and that of its’ vendors.
Coupled with this, is that we should really have good control over the upsell/cross-sell opportunities and important email automations like cart abandonment, dunning and involuntary churn.
Cratejoy is frankly very limited with these important components, whereas they pose a fundamental part of the Subbly ecosystem, another example of an inherently different (and better) approach. This makes me feel like Subbly is a more forward-thinking entity, with a more entrepreneurial spirit at its’ core - less corporate and more aspirational. It certainly is a more marketing-ready platform, if that’s what you’re looking for. In Cratejoy you do get the opportunity for “one time” product add ons (see below) but it’s all a little cluttered and lacks ideal user flow - if I had to call it something, I would say it’s just a little antiquated.
Having said that, if you know that you are focused on simply selling subscription boxes of products and upsell potential is perhaps limited, Cratejoy is inarguably a very simple system with which to get to launch and capitalize on the potential for superior visibility with the marketplace and advertising opportunities therein.
Another key launch that Subbly just put out after I started researching this comparison, is their new cart widget, which is a feature Cratejoy does not offer. This popout cart is dynamic and fluid because it shows your latest additions, allows you to adjust quantities, add gifts, coupons and even customize style options right there within the cart itself, without any page reloads (big factor for conversion).
Truthfully, the user flow this cart widget offers is undeniably a large leap from the previous generation (which, was actually not even a thing on Subbly and did cause some confusion among clients of mine using the platform, it must be said). As such, it presents truly an impressive jump over what Cratejoy can offer in this area.
The Cratejoy system offers a functional, reliable but relatively old-fashioned popup cart where you can customize your cart with add-ons. This is a solid system, but it is not nearly as dynamic, fluid or impressive to use from a user or marketer standpoint, especially when it comes to gearing your site for conversion.
I am aware that Subbly is hard at work on an entirely new website builder, which I am both excited and really nervous about. The reason for that nervousness is that I have come to LOVE the existing website builder with its drag and drop functionality. It’s a lovely little tool to customize your websites but I do suppose that with that, comes the potential to break areas of the site, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Again, I must concede this isn’t apples to apples. I have used Subbly to build websites for my own businesses as well as clients, so I am extremely well versed in the system, and have developed systems for working fluidly to create all sorts of sites and streamlining hacks. So much so, I even have a course on it.
Cratejoy, as a newer platform to me for the purposes of this comparison, is a less-known quantity. In my experience with the builder in my test however, I found it expectedly rigid and frustrating to use; something I see much more often than not with software as service platforms (e.g. Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy).
As a marketer and designer focused on conversion, user flow and user engagement, I like to have things “just so”. In that Cratejoy builder I found myself making too many compromises at too many stages for me to warrant using it for the marketing of a business.
Right now, with the existing Subbly builder, I have to say it’s a different level, and that is without reviewing the next gen builder they are developing in the background (which I confess, I have not laid eyes on).
As above, Cratejoy offers what I would tend to more often than not expect from a Software as Service platform (e.g. think Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy sites). It’s pretty rigid and offers a limited amount of features to get you off the ground. The builder is more an afterthought that a focus, in essence. Which is fine, for the lay-person. But not for an experienced designer and entrepreneur.
PLATFORM PROS & CONS.
CRATEJOY (PROS) - Their marketplace-first approach makes for a decent argument to try their platform and aim to capitalize on their own efforts in building a customer list out of the box that you can (potentially) market to. I say potentially because, it all depends on your product, niche and how good it actually is. Cratejoy has a fluid and easy product setup which is great. Simple dashboard. No coding needed. They offer “Subscription School” resources with articles and videos on all sorts of topics related to subscription boxes, which I think is an excellent resource for us entrepreneurs because it helps nurture understanding of the market and strategies to compete.
CRATEJOY (CONS) - Only a single payment portal (Stripe). Archaic website builder. Lack of in-built funnel, cart opportunities for customization and a poor one-time store feature. Expensive (15%) recurring marketplace fees. From clients (not first-hand experience, I must stress) I have heard frustrations bubble up where Cratejoy regularly raise fees, which makes it increasingly unprofitable to operate in their marketplace. Their support is supposedly very slow (days to respond with no real resolution/answers). They will not share your own customers data with you and I’ve heard that they make you wait 3 months to move your non-marketplace customers off and sometimes even refuse outright, and clients have felt this is “holding data hostage” when they have worked hard to build their business.
SUBBLY (PROS) - Simple setup, great out of the box features (e.g. funnels, add-ons, cart widget, automations), fluid website builder. Subbly support is the best I have ever experienced with a software as service platform, hands down - it’s actually why I stuck with them in my first subscription business. The team often make customized videos to help you through your setup/request and have rapid response times. A great resource library in the “Subbly University” (akin to the “Subscription School” Cratejoy offers) and a list of experts (myself included) to help clients when they don’t wish to do it all themselves. They are always introducing improvements and more importantly, they don’t hold your data hostage if you do decide another solution is better for you.
SUBBLY (CONS) - Only 2 payment portals (Stripe and Paypal via Braintree), limited app store brands (e.g. Mailchimp or Klaviyo only, for seamless email integration).
VERDICT - WHO WINS!?
Let’s take each component of the systems as they come, with a quick analysis.
PRICING - WINNER - SUBBLY
While main transaction fees and software fees are similar and really it’s a tie (you’re going to pay close to the same for each platform based on the monthly subscription to the platform, as well as fees through Stripe/Paypal. The difference maker (which isn’t an apples to apples comparison) is that for referrals you’ll pay fees of between 3-5% with Subbly for recurring revenue and standard transactions (loyalty referrals), but up to 15% extra in fees for the same transactions (albeit generated through their marketplace) with Cratejoy. As mentioned, this is entirely up to you as to what is feasible with your own profit margins, but that’s a HEFTY fee, so we have to give Subbly a slight edge here. Additionally, Cratejoy don’t seem to be investing in making improvements to their infrastructure, despite putting prices up. All of this means that, despite being similar in pricing for access, you do get a whole lot more for your money using Subbly.
TRAFFIC OPPORTUNITIES - WINNER - CRATEJOY
Theoretically, if all were to be easy and go to plan, Cratejoy by its’ nature has the clear advantage here. There is no marketplace to the Subbly experience, so it can’t quite compete on this topic. Either way, marketing will take a lot of work, but if Cratejoy does what it says it will, you’ll get eyeballs on your brand and products without quite the same time-intensive work.
By the same token, you’ll pay for that privilege to the tune of 15% in fees on every transaction through their marketplace. Whether that hit in fees is worth it is entirely business-specific and subjective for the business owner.
E-COMM FLEXIBILITY + WEBSITE BUILDER - WINNER - SUBBLY
As I mentioned, it irked me that you don’t get a free trial to necessarily “play” with the Cratejoy website builder system and the builder isn’t available on the free plan. When this happens with a SaaS platform, it often arouses suspicion in me. Why? Maybe it’s because the actual system won’t impress, but once we’ve paid the money, we’ll just “make do”. That’s the ultra cynical view, but it may be true.
When I did get to use the builder I found it was fairly standard and very rigid. In fact, I might even describe it as archaic, for a modern, marketable platform. The discovery of which has led me to make some recommendations below.
By contrast the Subbly builder I have found to be excellent to create websites like those you see below. Perhaps it’s my role as a consultant in the subscription industry and often using Subbly.
MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES & FUNNELS/AUTOMATIONS - WINNER - SUBBLY
The emergence of their funnels and automations suite, alongside the new launch cart widget, really starts to create a gap between Subbly and Cratejoy in this regard, and frankly, between Subbly and other platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify. While Cratejoy’s system is very nice to use and it is refreshingly simple, the marketing opportunities that you can control within website; popups, cart, funnels and automations is simply night and day, when you look at the two platforms aside one another.
Truth be told, Cratejoy is starting to look somewhat dated technologically and with Subbly’s new and continuous launches due to their differing focuses as companies, built on cutting edge technology, the gap in this area is widening at a surprisingly rapid pace. As a marketer, this is pretty telling as to what my choice would be, if I had to make one, and only one.
Based on the above case study analyses, it’s clear to me that when you factor in the key pillars for e-Commerce (design, functionality, flexibility, marketing, modern technology for automations), the overall winner, in platform terms alone, has to be Subbly. They’ve really taken leaps in the last year particularly to improve their overall offering, so as an e-Comm platform they are not just a “subscription” option any longer.
Cratejoy don’t seem to have changed their infrastructure in many years and certainly aren’t as forward thinking from the perspective of the consistent improvements of that infrastructure; when I factor in my experiences along with the feedback I have received from clients who use or used Cratejoy, this is eminently clear.
That’s not to say Cratejoy don’t have an excellent platform or great potential. It’s a mature ecosystem and offers a lot of great features for the entrepreneur interested in a subscription-first business/brand - The speed to launch with Cratejoy is great and the system is one where you can’t really go too far wrong in terms of setup.
I liked what I saw from their back-end system related to product management, order management and simplicity, as well. I have however heard negative experiences from my own clients that Cratejoy’s fees have continued to creep up (e.g. 15% on marketplace transactions) which is more and more, inhibiting their business’ profitability. Add to that the fact that they are very protective over email lists for your customers, and it’s not all sweetness and light. That’s right, they won’t just give you all the details of your own customers, and it annoys the hell out of my clients, to the point where many either switch completely to Subbly, or have started the process with a view to, in the near future, by weaning them off the Cratejoy fee structure and practices.
While I understand it from Cratejoy’s perspective (e.g. take away access to the customers and you have a lot more brands with a lot more to lose by leaving your platform), it appears cynical to the average entrepreneur.
WHAT IF I AM ALREADY AN ESTABLISHED CRATEJOY BUSINESS?
I think there is a middle ground here that most people wouldn’t consider, and this is what I would recommend for any of you that are currently existing on Cratejoy but feel you could be thriving and want to test the waters with another platform.
I see no reason why a business couldn’t use BOTH platforms and leverage the benefits of each to the maximum level, and then make other decisions down the road. In various instances I have used, or had clients use, multiple platforms (e.g. Wordpress with Subbly, Cratejoy with Subbly).
For example, Cratejoy clearly has the edge when it comes to theoretical visibility for your brand because they have a marketplace, as well as simplicity in setup (fewer options make for simpler setup). If those features are important to you, why not leverage those or continue to do so. Then, for the other elements (i.e. your own business marketing, the ability for better features like automations, funnels), I still think the “core” of a business will find significantly better success when using the Subbly platform, including the in-built methods to increase profitability, average order value, keep fee structures in check and future-proof the business with a system that seems very much to be a champion for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs among us, particularly. I like that a lot.
Subbly just has that fluid, snappy system, which is more flexible and offers more opportunity to be a more dynamic business through modern technologies and use of important, controllable features like funnels and up-sell/cross-sells. As a marketer, I can’t personally get over that hurdle within the Cratejoy system, because it’s clearly lagging way behind and hasn’t seen major infrastructure improvements in some years.
It’s a potential conundrum from the outside, for sure! However, when you rank up the factors side by side, there is only one winner here (if you have to choose one over the other)
If I had to solely pick one platform, I couldn’t look past Subbly for the reasons above and I like what I have heard in the community about their roadmap plans like the APIs, digital products and more.
Cratejoy proves a reliable mainstay of the subscription industry, with an established marketplace and some cool features you could very well leverage, but that cost of 15% for marketplace exposure (the one clear advantage the system has over a Subbly, Shopify or Wordpress) is a very hard pill to swallow, to my mind.
If you’re a Cratejoy or Subbly user, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below - have I missed some benefits/drawbacks to the platforms or hit the important components’ nail on the head?
I hope this comparison was of help. Please let me know if you enjoyed it too, and share it out with your entrepreneurial communities.
Until next time, Best wishes… now, GO DO.