How to Generate Passive Recurring Income with Shopify Membership Site: Quick Guide for Beginners

The ideal online business involves both passive and recurring (continues regularly) income, and one of the best ways to have that is through a membership site. This is a great business model if you’re wanting to make money from home... 1 min

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How to Generate Passive Recurring Income with Shopify Membership Site: Quick Guide for Beginners 2020

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the different ways you can earn money from your site using Shopify. You’ll do this not just by creating a membership site, but also by selling subscriptions to other things – things like ecourses, lessons and tutorials; discount memberships and more! And all these methods are going to allow you to set up what’s known as ‘passive recurring income’. 

There are tons of ways you can utilize these elements to create business models and any of these methods will lead to a reliable and stable monthly income. Bookmark this page as you execute your plan and it will walk you through the process of getting set up with your store from start to finish.


  1. Create a website or blog. The best way to do this is by creating a WordPress site which is very simple and easy. 
  2. Set up your Shopify account – just register by entering your details. 
  3. Create your store – this involves choosing a theme and customizing a few elements to suit your niche.
    a. Adding a logo can be a useful way to increase brand awareness
  4. Add Basic Products. If you want to add any basic products then just click to add your product
    a. Choose some images
    b. Set a price
    c. Write a short description
  5. Products to Sell. Many marketers reading this will be selling predominantly digital products such as ebooks and apps. To sell these you’ll want to add a ‘digital delivery’ app such as ‘Sky Pilot’.
    a. This will require a Stripe account
    b. If you’d rather accept payments by PayPal, then consider using a different plugin 
  6. Accepting Payments. In order to accept monthly or otherwise recurring payments, you’ll also want to install another app. One of the best options is Charge Rabbit – because it’s free and it integrates seamlessly with Sky Pilot. 
  7. Subscription Product Creation. Create your subscription product
    a. If you want to make your website a membership site, then you’ll need to create a ‘members’ area’ for your site and/or the store itself 
  8. Promote your store!


Once you have your Shopify Store and you know how to add apps to charge recurring payments, the next step is to start actually adding those products so that you have something to sell.

This is going to work just the same as adding any kind of product to an ecommerce store. The only difference is that the product is going to need to be the kind of thing that people are willing to pay a recurring fee for.

This is where things get a little tricky. If you’re selling an ebook from your site currently for instance, then that’s just not going to work – people only want to pay for ebooks once and from there they expect to get as much access as they could possibly want!

The point is that different types of product work different for different types of business model. For subscription sites, you need a very specific type of product that people will be happy to pay for regularly and that they will be happy to make such a commitment to.There are many types of subscription product that you can sell from your website, with some working better than others.

In order to charge a recurring fee, it is generally necessary for your product to offer recurring value. This needs to be something that people look at/use regularly. Options include the following:

A Newsletter or Ezine 

Make sure this has high production values and that you are offering some kind of measurable value. A good way to do the latter is to write an industry newsletter for instance and to update visitors with the very latest news and tips – this way they can see your product as helping them to increase their ROI. High quality video and images will add further value. 

Forum Membership

 If you can create a community that discusses information that can’t be found anywhere else, then you can again charge a lot for membership. Communities are great at promoting themselves too and this can create some very loyal customers/fans. Especially if they make friends through your site! 

 Physical Products

 Numerous physical products can work well for subscription sales techniques. Some examples of how to use this kind of business model for a physical product include:
    > Selling Disposables – Things like face creams or protein shakes run out and so may require regular restocking.
   >  Bundles and Packages – Selling ingredients to cook diet friendly meals, or clothes to create new outfits are both tried and tested means of selling products on a subscription basis. You can even sell a mystery packs.
   >  Gifts – Gifts work well as a recurring purchase too. For instance a customer might want to send flowers every year on a friends’ birthday! 


 Lessons and courses lend themselves very well to being delivered in instalments. 


You can sell a subscription to web episodes or comic strips if you are creatively minded!

Useful Tools & Resources 

Some of the best apps and tools for Shopify include:

  • Chimpified – For integrating your mailing list with your Shopify store. You should be able to find similar tools for Aweber and the like. 
  • Plugin SEO – This will automatically handle SEO for your store. 
  • Shopify Widgets – Add widgets with your products to any website. 
  • LeadDyno – Offer affiliate programs to get more people selling your products on your behalf! 
  • Mobile App for Your Shop – Turn your Shopify store into an app 
  • Facebook Store – Add your Shopify store to your Facebook page and let visitors buy through it directly.

There More Ways to Charge Subscription Fees. 

Remember there are also a number of other ecommerce stores, most of which provide similar options and plugins. Some of the most popular alternatives are Magento, WooCommerce and Volusion. Research the differences and decide which one is best for you.

And there you have it: all the tools, tips and steps you need to create your subscription business model and to start profiting. There are tons of options here and the huge range of apps available for Shopify mean you’ll never run out of ideas or options.

As long as you keep providing value, you’ll keep growing your list of subscribers

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