How-to create a Paid Membership Program using Recharge with Shopify Flow

Learn how to leverage Recharge with Shopify Flow to build a membership tagging program.

The term membership is used in varying contexts with subscriptions. For this guide, membership refers to a paid membership program.

For example, in exchange for a monthly fee, you may want to offer your customers exclusive discounts, exclusive access, early access to products and specific content for a period of time. Typically, this type of access is managed in Shopify through customer tags. You could also consider using Rewards if you want to offer these benefits to all your subscribers as a retention tactic.

This guide walks you through leveraging Recharge and Shopify to automatically add/remove customers’ membership-related tags with a no-code/low-code solution.

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Platform

  • Shopify Checkout Integration

Before you start

  • You must use Shopify Flow to configure parts of the paid membership program outlined in this guide. This guide uses Recharge for recurring billing of the paid membership program and Shopify Flow for customer tagging and management.
  • This article only explains how to automatically manage customer tags for your paid members for their access/entitlement period. It does not include details on implementing specific membership benefits (ie. discounted shipping, product discounts, or exclusive access to content) that leverage customer tags. It is your responsibility to implement additional solutions beyond the guide’s instructions.

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Important

This guide discusses custom code and is not supported by Recharge as per the design and integration policy.


Overview

Create a paid membership program for your customers using Recharge for recurring billing and Shopify Flow for managing customer tags and expiration dates.

To create a paid membership program, you must:

  1. Create a product in Shopify that represents the paid membership. Typically, this is a digital product since paid memberships do not require fulfillment.
  2. Configure your product’s plans in Recharge to set up recurring billing.
  3. Build workflows in Shopify Flow to automatically tag customers and manage entitlement periods.
  4. Leverage the customer tags in your storefront to offer member benefits. You can access these tags in Shopify Liquid to conditionally display pages. You can also access these tags in Shopify Functions and Checkout Extensions to conditionally offer discounted prices on your products for your members. This guide does not include setup instructions for using these options. It is your responsibility to implement additional solutions beyond the guide’s instructions.

With Recharge as the recurring billing solution and Shopify Flow as the tagging system, you can offer customers a membership program when they purchase a paid membership.

How Shopify Flow works with Recharge

Create multiple workflows within Shopify Flow to manage customer tags and membership expiration dates, allowing customers to receive active membership status until their memberships expire. Customer tags are added when a customer checks out with the subscription product configured in Recharge, and are updated when the subscription renews or the customer’s payment fails.

Create the following workflows to offer a membership program using Recharge and Shopify successfully:

  1. Subscription Contract created workflow: Tags customers when they first purchase the membership product.
  2. Successful billing attempt workflow: Confirms successful billing and updates customer tags.
  3. Failed billing attempt workflow: Sets membership as inactive upon billing failure.
  4. Daily cancelled subscriptions workflow: Identifies and marks inactive customers whose membership periods have expired without renewal.

Step 1 - Create the membership product in Shopify

  1. Create a product in Shopify that customers purchase to become paid members. Typically, you create this as a digital product since paid memberships do not require fulfillment.
  2. Recharge recommends leaving the product in draft status or not assigning it to any sales channel until you have completed the rest of the steps in this guide and tested the flow.

Step 2 - Create plans for the membership product in Recharge

  1. Add plans for the membership product you created in Step 1.
  2. Configure the frequency options for your membership product.
  3. Note the Product ID and Shopify Selling Plan ID for your membership products. You can access the Plan ID through the Plans page for your paid membership product.
    1. Select Products in the Recharge merchant portal, and click on the paid membership product.
    2. Click the three dots under subscription plans and copy the External Plan ID to retrieve the Shopify Selling Plan ID.


Step 3 - Build the Subscription Contract created workflow

Create the first workflow that executes when customers purchase the subscription membership product. Shopify creates a subscription contract when a customer purchases a subscription. This flow triggers when a customer purchases a membership through your storefront, creating a subscription contract.

Step 1 - Create the workflow

  1. Log in to your Shopify admin.
  2. Select Flow from your list of apps.
  3. Click Create new workflow.

Step 2 - Create the trigger

Define the event that starts the workflow:

  1. Click Select a trigger.
  2. Click Shopify as the trigger.
  3. Search for and select Subscription Contract Created.

Step 3 - Add conditions for a monthly membership

Use the product ID and selling plan ID to determine which products customers must purchase to join your membership program:

  1. Click Then on the Subscription Contract Created trigger and select Condition.
  2. Click on Select condition to add your conditions.
  3. Set the conditions to only trigger the workflow if all conditions are met.
  4. Click Add criteria to configure the product condition.
  5. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to select the productId condition. Click on productID. Set the condition to equal to and enter the product ID in the ProductId field.
  6. Click Add criteria to add the selling plan condition.
  7. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to select the sellingPlanId condition. Click on sellingPlanId. Set the condition to includes and enter the selling plan ID in the SellingPlanId field.
  8. Click X to add the conditions to the workflow.

Optional - Add the product and selling plan conditions for an annual membership

Create multiple membership programs (ie. one for a monthly membership product and one for an annual membership product) in the same workflow:

  1. Click Otherwise on the Condition and select Condition.
  2. Click on Select condition to add your conditions.
  3. Set the conditions to only trigger the workflow if all conditions are met.
  4. Click Add criteria to configure the product condition.
  5. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the productId condition. Click on productID. Set the condition to equal to and enter the product ID for your annual membership product in the ProductId field.
  6. Click Add criteria to add the selling plan condition.
  7. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the sellingPlanId condition. Click on sellingPlanId. Set the condition to includes and enter the selling plan ID in the ProductId field.
  8. Click X to add the conditions to the workflow.

Step 4 - Create the customer tags action

Configure your workflow to perform an action and automatically add customer tags to customers who check out with the monthly membership product:

  1. Click Then on the conditions and select Actions.
  2. Search for tag in the search bar and select Add customer tags.
  3. Add the following tags:
    1. active-monthly-sub
    2. subscription-expiration: {{ subscriptionContract.nextBillingDate | date: "%Y-%m-%d" }}
  4. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.

The subscription-expiration tag sets the expiry to the next billing date which is leveraged in the Daily cancelled subscriptions workflow step. Use the subscription-expiration tag to manage entitlement periods for your members.

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Note

You can use any naming convention you prefer when adding customer tags. If you decide to use different customer tags in this step, ensure that you reference the correct tags throughout the rest of the flow setup steps, as this guide uses the tags listed above when outlining setup instructions.

Optional - Create the customer tags action for the second condition

Add different customer tags to customers who check out with the annual membership product:

  1. Click Then on the second conditions box created for your annual product and select Actions.
  2. Search for tag in the search bar and select Add customer tags.
  3. Add the following tags:
    1. active-annual-sub
    2. subscription-expiration: {{ subscriptionContract.nextBillingDate | date: "%Y-%m-%d" }}
  4. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.

Step 4 - Build the Successful billing attempt workflow

Create a workflow that executes when Recharge successfully charges customers for their recurring membership fees:

Step 1 - Create the workflow

  1. Select Flow from your list of apps in your Shopify admin.
  2. Click on create workflow.

Step 2 - Create the trigger

  1. Define the event that starts the workflow:
  2. Click Select a trigger.
  3. Click Shopify as the trigger.
  4. Search for and select Subscription Billing Attempt Success.

Step 3 - Add the product and selling plan conditions

Use the product ID and selling plan ID to determine which products Recharge must charge customers for so that they can continue being a part of your monthly membership program:

  1. Click Then on the Subscription Billing Attempt Success trigger and select Condition.
  2. Click on Select condition to add your conditions.
  3. Set the conditions to only trigger the workflow if all conditions are met.
  4. Click Add criteria to configure the product condition.
  5. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the productId condition. Click on ProductId. Set the condition to equal toand enter the product ID in the ProductId field.
  6. Click Add criteria to add the selling plan condition.
  7. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the sellingPlanId condition. Click on sellingPlanId. Set the condition to includes and enter the selling plan ID in the sellingPlanId field.
  8. Click X to add the conditions to the workflow.

Optional - Add the product and selling plan conditions for the annual membership

Use the product ID and selling plan ID to determine which products Recharge must charge customers for so that they can continue being a part of your annual membership program:

  1. Click Otherwise on the Condition and select Condition.
  2. Click on Select condition to add your conditions.
  3. Set the conditions to only trigger the workflow if all conditions are met.
  4. Click Add criteria to configure the product condition.
  5. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the productId condition. Click on ProductId. Set the condition to equal to and enter the product ID for your annual membership product in the ProductId field.
  6. Click Add criteria to add the selling plan condition.
  7. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the sellingPlanId condition. Click on sellingPlanId. Set the condition to includes and enter the selling plan ID in the sellingPlanId field.
  8. Click X to add the conditions to the workflow.

Step 4 - Create the customer tags action

Automatically add customer tags to customers who are successfully charged the monthly membership fee:

  1. Click Then on the conditions and select Actions.
  2. Search for tag in the search bar and select Add customer tags.
  3. Add the following tags:
    1. active-monthly-sub
    2. subscription-expiration: {{ subscriptionContract.nextBillingDate | date: "%Y-%m-%d" }}
  4. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.

Notice that you must set the subscription-expiration tags again. The subscription-expiration tags are leveraged in the Daily cancelled subscriptions workflow steps so that you can manage entitlement periods for your members.

Optional - Create the customer tags action for the second condition

Add different customer tags to customers who are charged the annual membership fee:

  1. Click Then on the second conditions box created for your annual product and select Actions.
  2. Search for tag in the search bar and select Add customer tags.
  3. Add the following tags:
    1. active-annual-sub
    2. subscription-expiration: {{ subscriptionContract.nextBillingDate | date: "%Y-%m-%d" }}
  4. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.

Step 5 - Add the Run code action

Access to membership content relies on the successful billing date. Remove previous customer tags from the last billing period, and any additional tags automatically with the Run code action:

  1. Select Then on the actions node and choose Action.

  2. Search for Run code and click on that action.

  3. Add the following code in the Write code textbox:

    1. export default function main(input) {  
         const customerTags = input.subscriptionContract.customer.tags;
    
      let oldDateTag = '';
    
      for(var tag of customerTags){  
        if (tag.includes('subscription-expiration:')) {  
          oldDateTag = tag;  
        }  
      }
    
      return {  
        oldDateTag: oldDateTag,  
      }  
    }  
    Add the following inputs in the Define inputs box:  
    query{  
      subscriptionContract{  
        nextBillingDate  
        customer{  
          tags  
        }  
      }  
      subscriptionBillingAttempt{  
        completedAt  
      }  
    }  
    Add the following outputs in the Define outputs box:  
    "The output of Run Code"  
    type Output {  
      oldDateTag: String!  
    }
    
  4. Add the following inputs in the Define inputs box:

    query{
      subscriptionContract{
        nextBillingDate
        customer{
          tags
        }
      }
      subscriptionBillingAttempt{
        completedAt
      }
    }
    
    
  5. Add the following outputs in the Define outputs box:

    "The output of Run Code"
    type Output {
      oldDateTag: String!
    }
    
  6. Click X.

  7. Select Then on your Run code action node and select Action.

  8. Search for remove tag in the search bar and select Remove customer tags.

  9. Remove the following tags:

    1. {{runCode.oldDateTag}}
    2. inactive-monthly-sub
    3. active-annual-sub
    4. inactive-annual-sub

Optional - Add the Run Code action for annual subscriptions

  1. Select Then on the actions node for your annual membership option and choose Action.

  2. Search for Run code and click on that action.

  3. Add the following code in the Write code textbox:

    export default function main(input) {
      const customerTags = input.subscriptionContract.customer.tags;
      
      let oldDateTag = '';
      
      for(var tag of customerTags){
        if (tag.includes('subscription-expiration:')) {
          oldDateTag = tag;
        }
      }
      
      return {
        oldDateTag: oldDateTag,
      }
    
  4. Add the following inputs in the Define inputs box:

    query{
      subscriptionContract{
        nextBillingDate
        customer{
          tags
        }
      }
      subscriptionBillingAttempt{
        completedAt
      }
    }
    
  5. Add the following outputs in the Define outputs box:

    "The output of Run Code"
    type Output {
      oldDateTag: String!
    
  6. Click X.

  7. Select Then on your Run code action node and select Action.

  8. Search for remove tag in the search bar and select Remove customer tags.

  9. Remove the following tags:

    1. {{runCode.oldDateTag}}
    2. inactive-annual-sub
    3. active-monthly-sub
    4. inactive-monthly-sub


Step 5 - Build the Failed billing attempt workflow

Create a workflow that executes when Recharge’s attempt to charge a customer their membership fees fails. Billing attempts can fail for various reasons.

This flow removes customer tags the moment a customer’s renewal fails. The membership tags are only readded through the Successful Billing flow if payment is successfully captured at a later date (ex. three days later). You must implement additional logic to support customers with failed billing by providing a grace period if their billing attempts fail.

Step 1 - Create the workflow

  1. Log in to your Shopify admin and select Flows from your list of apps.
  2. Click on create workflow.

Step 2 - Create the trigger

Define the event that starts the workflow:

  1. Click Select a trigger.
  2. Click Shopify as the trigger.
  3. Search for and select Subscription Billing Attempt Failure.

Step 3 - Add the product and selling plan conditions

  1. Use the product ID and selling plan ID associated with your monthly membership program:
  2. Click Then on the trigger and select Condition.
  3. Click on Select condition to add your conditions.
  4. Set the conditions to only trigger the workflow if all conditions are met.
  5. Click Add criteria to configure the product condition.
  6. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the productId condition. Click on productId. Set the condition to equal to and enter the product ID in the productId field.
  7. Click Add criteria to add the selling plan condition.
  8. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the sellingPlanId condition. Click on sellingPlanId. Set the condition to includes and enter the selling plan ID in the sellingPlanId field.
  9. Click X to add the conditions to the workflow.

Optional - Add the product and selling plan conditions for the annual membership

Use the product ID and selling plan ID associated with your annual membership program:

  1. Click Otherwise on the Condition and select Condition.
  2. Click on Select condition to add your conditions.
  3. Set the conditions to only trigger the workflow if all conditions are met.
  4. Click Add criteria to configure the product condition.
  5. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the productId condition. Click on productId. Set the condition to equal to and enter the product ID for your annual membership product in the ProductId field.
  6. Click Add criteria to add the selling plan condition.
  7. Select SubscriptionContracts and then lines to locate the sellingPlanId condition. Click on sellingPlanId. Set the condition to includes and enter the selling plan ID in the sellingPlanId field.
  8. Click X to add the conditions to the workflow.

Step 4 - Create the customer tags action

Automatically add customer tags to customers whose billing attempt for the monthly membership fee failed:

  1. Click Then on the conditions and select Actions.
  2. Search for tag in the search bar and select Add customer tags.
  3. Add the following tag:
    1. inactive-monthly-sub
  4. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.
  5. Click Then on the action and add a second action.
  6. Search for tag in the search bar and select Remove customer tags.
  7. Remove the following tag:
    1. active-monthly-sub
  8. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.

Optional - Create the customer tags action for the annual membership condition

Add different customer tags to customers whose billing attempt for the annual membership fee failed:

  1. Click Then on the conditions set for your annual membership product and select Actions.
  2. Search for tag in the search bar and select Add customer tags.
  3. Add the following tag:
    1. Inactive-annual-sub
  4. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.
  5. Click Then on the action and add a second action.
  6. Search for tag in the search bar and select Remove customer tags.
  7. Remove the following tag:
    1. Active-monthly-sub
  8. Click X to add the Actions to the workflow.


Step 6 - Build the daily cancelled subscriptions workflow

Build a workflow to execute a daily cron job and determine which customers have not renewed and are past their membership entitlement period. Use the workflow actions to mark these customers inactive, ensuring they are no longer considered members.

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Warning

Shopify only allows queries of up to 100 records per daily cron job. To increase the number of pre-canceled subscriptions queried, you must schedule multiple run executions per day.

Step 1 - Create the workflow

  1. Select Flows from your list of apps in your Shopify admin.
  2. Click on create workflow.

Step 2 - Create the trigger

Set the workflow to trigger daily:

  1. Click Select a trigger.
  2. Click Shopify as the trigger and search for Scheduled time.
  3. Click Scheduled time to set it as the trigger.
  4. Use today’s date as the Start of the trigger.
  5. Click Add repeat and set the repeat frequency to 1 day.
  6. Click Add schedule.
  7. Set the Schedule to today’s date.

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Note

As Shopify only allows 100 records per daily cron job, you may need to add additional schedules to perform the workflow multiple times per day.

Step 3 - Configure the Action to retrieve customer data for monthly members

Configure a workflow action to retrieve customer data daily:

  1. Click Then on the trigger node and select Action.
  2. Search for Get customer data and click on the Action.
  3. Select Advanced from the query options and add the following query:
    active-monthly-sub AND 'subscription-expiration:{{scheduledAt | date: "%Y-%m-%d"}}'
    
  4. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Optional - Configure the Action to retrieve customer data for annual members

  1. Click Then on the trigger node and select Action.
  2. Search for Get customer data and click on the Action.
  3. Select Advanced from the query options and add the following query:
    active-annual-sub AND 'subscription-expiration:{{scheduledAt | date: "%Y-%m-%d"}}'
    
  4. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Step 4 - Create the loop Action for monthly members

  1. Click Then on the customer data action node and select Action.
  2. Search for loop and click on the For each loop action.
  3. Click List and search for Get customer data.
  4. Select the Get customer data list.
  5. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Optional - Create the loop Action for annual members

  1. Click Then on the annual customer data action node and select Action.
  2. Search for loop and click on the For each loop action.
  3. Click List and search for Get customer data.
  4. Select the Get customer data list.
  5. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Step 5 - Set the loop action to review the list of monthly members

  1. Click the Do this for each item on the getCustomerData action node previously configured.
  2. Select Action.
  3. Search tag and select Remove customer tag.
  4. Remove the following customer tag:
    1. active-monthly-sub
  5. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Optional - Set the loop action to review the list of annual members

  1. Click the Do this for each item on the getCustomerData action node previously configured.
  2. Select Action.
  3. Search tag and select Remove customer tag.
  4. Remove the following customer tag:
    1. active-annual-sub
  5. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Step 6 - Review the list of monthly members and add the inactive tag

Set the workflow action to iterate through a customer list, retrieve customer data, and add the inactive subscriber customer tags for monthly members:

  1. Click Then on the getCustomerData action node previously configured and select Action.
  2. Search list and select For each loop (iterate) from the available actions.
  3. Click List and search for Get customer data.
  4. Select the Get customer data list.
  5. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.
  6. Click Do this for each item and select Action.
  7. Search tag and select Add customer tag.
  8. Add the following customer tag:
    1. inactive-monthly-sub
  9. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.

Optional - Review the list of annual members and add the inactive tag

Set the workflow action to iterate through a customer list, retrieve customer data, and add the inactive subscriber customer tags for annual members:

  1. Click Then on the getCustomerData action node previously configured and select Action.
  2. Search list and select For each loop (iterate) from the available actions.
  3. Click List and search for Get customer data.
  4. Select the Get customer data list.
  5. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.
  6. Click Do this for each item and select Action.
  7. Search tag and select Add customer tag.
  8. Add the following customer tag:
    1. inactive-annual-sub
  9. Click X to leave the Action setup screen.


Step 7 - Activate and the workflows

When you’re ready, click on each workflow you created in the Flow menu, and select Turn on workflow to activate the workflow.

Test your workflows

Recharge recommends testing the workflows after activation to ensure everything works as expected. Testing steps differ depending on the workflow:

Subscription Created

  1. Place a test checkout order.
  2. Review your customer account in Shopify and confirm that the relevant tags are recorded.

Billing attempt success

  1. Manually delete the active and expiration date tags from your test customer account in Shopify.
  2. Navigate to your test customer in your Recharge merchant portal and process the recurring order immediately.
  3. Review the test customer in Shopify and confirm that the flow added the correct customer tags to the account.

Billing attempt failure

It is difficult to test this flow due to the nature of Shopify’s Subscriptions API. It’s important to keep an eye on any failed payments for members and ensure that the flow works as expected once active.

Daily cancelled subscriptions

The following test instructions assume that the cron is set to run daily:

  1. Manually update a customer’s expiration tag to the next day the cron is set to run (typically tomorrow’s date).
  2. Review the tags for your test customer in your Shopify admin and confirm that theactive tag changed to inactive.

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Note

Recharge recommends monitoring tagging with early cohorts of customers to ensure that the workflow logic applies as intended. Depending on your unique needs, you may need to adjust the flow logic to accommodate different membership setups.


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