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Build a Box Subscription Feature in Recurring Orders

Recurring Orders offers a Build a Box subscription feature that allows customers to pick and choose what they want to receive on every order. It gives merchants the flexibility to offer a selection of items at a set price.

Visit Introducing "Build-a-Box" for Recurring Orders to learn more about it.

This feature allows you to set how many products make up the subscription box, and what the set price for the box is. With this feature, you can offer custom meal plans, a dynamic subscription box, or a unique bundle of items. You can even offer multiple subscription box sizes.

Visit Build a Box Subscription Feature Setup for detailed setup instructions or continue reading to learn all there is to know about this feature.

This feature is only available for stores operating in Single Product or Multiple Products style. It is not compatible with Recurring Cart style. To find out what style you're currently operating in, select Settings -> Recurring Style in the app admin. This feature is designed for new subscriptions only and is not compatible with existing, prepaid subscriptions.

Recurring Cart Style

The feature also requires the use of a Shopify product page; this is where the initial step in the purchase process begins.

This feature requires the use of two sets of products:

  1. A Shopify product (or variant) that is the box itself, this is where the purchase process is initiated. (the listed price of the box is the recurring fee the customer will pay).
  2. A selection of Shopify products that make up the contents of the box (the price of these products doesn’t matter, the product title, description, and imagery is what will be used).

When the customer visits the product page for the box, they will see a button that says "Select Choices", which replaces the default "Add to Cart" button.

Product Page Plain

When they select this option, they will be taken, through a proxy page, to a new page consistent with your existing Shopify theme.

Meal Selection

The customer will be able to build their box from the available product options, selecting any quantity of the available products until they have 0 selections remaining. 

Tips

  • This area will show one image per product.
  • Select Details to view a text-based product description.
  • Use the same image dimensions for this page, so every image is the same size. It will make the page look aligned, with the - and + buttons all in a line.
  • This area uses the default product image in Shopify.

On this page, your customers will view the selection of products available to them, and can choose any of them. The quantity required will be in the top right-hand corner of the page, so they know when they have filled their box.

When they proceed with their chosen selection of products they will be brought to the Recurring Orders checkout to process their recurring order. The only product that will be in their order is the box itself. Shipping and taxes are only charged for the box product.

An order will automatically generate in Shopify showing the box as the product, but also listing all the items they selected. All of their selected products will be listed at $0 as they are only charged for the cost of the box product itself.

Order Summary

Now that the customer is a subscriber, they can log in and access the "Manage Subscription" page to adjust their product selection for upcoming orders. Any time they want to make a new selection for an upcoming order, they will be brought to the proxy page to update their selection.

Manage Subscriptions Page Final

Using our "Product Label Assignments" feature, you can offer a new selection of products for upcoming orders, and even swap in a new product if you no longer offer a product that's in their box. It is great for rotating meal plans, and stores that want to offer a different array of products week by week, or month by month.

Build a Box Settings

Lock Time 

  • Lock Time: Enable a lock time if you'd like to stop customers from changing their selections too close to the order date. You can do this for days, hours, or both.

    Note: at this time, recurring orders generate on a daily batch system between 4:00 - 6:00 AM Central Standard Time. We do not currently offer support for other time zones, so you will need to adjust your day and hour values accordingly.

  • Lock after making new choices: Enable this if you'd like customers to make changes only once per recurring order. This setting may not apply to certain styles.
  • Lock edits to orders: This setting restricts subscribers from making order selections too far in advance. It is great if your selection of products is only prepared for a few upcoming orders.

    Example: You only prepare your meal plan menu three weeks in advance. To prevent customers from creating their meal plans too far ahead of time, it would be best in this situation to put in a day value of 14 - 21 days.

Creating Product Labels

Product labels are key to organizing and managing your product selections. Product Labels allow you to rotate in a new selection of products, or simply swap in a new product to replace a previous option.

Product Labels

Things to Remember

  • You need a Product Label for every individual product you want to offer in your selection.
  • Each Product Label you create will only apply to a single product.
  • The number of labels you create should match the number of products available for a customer to select.
  • You can always edit the name of a Product Label.
  • You can always add more Product Labels later to expand your selection.

Creating Product Labels will be different for each merchant depending on the product you're selling and the style you have in mind.

Product Label Naming Examples

Example 1: If you're offering a wine "Build a Box" plan, with seven wines to choose from each month:

wine plan

Example 2: If you're offering a meal "Build a Box" plan, with seven choices to choose from each week:

Meal plan

Configuring Your Box Sizes

Configuring your box sizes is a two-step process. Create the placeholder product for your box sizes in Shopify before configuring them in the application.

If you have not created your Shopify products yet, make sure to select the link that says "Add product in your Shopify admin (opens in a new tab)". It will bring you to the products section in your Shopify admin.

Box sizes

You must make a product in Shopify that is the box. It is the product your customers will purchase to enroll in your "Build a Box" subscription. The price of this product should be the cost of the box for every recurring order. There is no option to offer a "subscribe and save" discount with this feature, so the Shopify listed price is what the customer will pay (although they can apply discount codes). You can do this both on the Shopify product level or at the variant level. Visit Shopify variants to learn more.

What you choose depends on how you want to present the product to your customer. Do you want each box size to a be a completely different Shopify product? Or do you want one single product that has multiple variants for the size options you offer?

This image is an example of how you might configure multiple box sizes on a product level.  In this example, there are three separate Shopify products for each box size.  Once the products are created you could then create three different box sizes in Recurring Orders:

Product Level Final

This image is an example of how you might configure box sizes on the variant level, using one product. In this example, a subscriber would view the product page to subscribe.  They would then choose a box size by choosing one of the three variants (undersize), within this product:

Variant Level Final

Product Label Assignments

The Product Label Assignments are where your Product Labels come into play:

  • Revisit this section in the setup process any time you need to schedule a new menu, offer a new product selection, schedule your upcoming menus, etc.
  • Set up at least one scheduled assignment to launch this feature.
  • Assign one of your Shopify products (or a single variant) to each of the labels you set up earlier. When a customer selects this product in their subscription box, they're technically also subscribing to the label.

If you want to change the assignments in the future, everyone who is subscribed to the label you make a change for will automatically get the new product.

Example:

You offer a weekly recurring order for your "Build a Box" with the product label of "Chicken", and you offer "Honey Chicken" as a selection this week. Next week when your menu changes to "Spicy Chicken" all customers who picked the "Honey Chicken" in week one will get the "Spicy Chicken" in week two.

Your customers can change their selections on the "Manage Subscription" page. If you know when you'll be offering a new product selection, you can schedule changes to your assignments. Essentially, this tool can be used to pre-schedule your menu/selection changes.

Product Label Assignment

Creating Future Product Label Assignments

This tool is used to offer a new selection of products for your subscribers to choose.

The date you select for a scheduled assignment is the date that the new assignment will replace the previous assignment.

Product Label Assignment

If a customer's recurring order date falls within a scheduled product label assignment, those products will be the only ones they see.

Product labels are important here; they dictate what replacement product a customer will get if they do not log in and make their product selection independently.

A customer can log in and adjust their selections to any combination of items from your offered products, but if they don't make a choice, your product labels dictate what they will receive by default.

It makes it easy to discontinue an item if you no longer offer it, or simply swap your "menu" on a regular basis. You are still giving the ability to opt out of an item and replace it with another option, but it doesn't cause their subscription to be delayed simply because they may have gotten busy or forgotten to log in that week.

Important Tip: It is important to align your scheduled assignments with your "Lock edits to orders" setting. For example: If you only prepare your "menu" three weeks in advance in the app, you should lock your customers out from making product selections more than 21 days ahead. You wouldn't want subscribers to begin making product selections to orders that are four weeks ahead if you haven't released the menu yet. It prevents customers from having to redo their product selections. You can change that setting any time if you happen to prepare your menu/selections further in advance at some point.

Manage Subscription Page

The Build A Box subscription feature will adjust the options the subscriber sees when visiting the "Manage Subscription" page.

If the main focal point of your Shopify store is this feature, we highly recommend adding a link to the Manage Subscription page in your main Shopify navigation. Visit Manage Subscription Page Link Setup for detailed instruction on how to do this.

A customer will be able to pick their product selections on individual orders, edit and view their existing selections. Selecting any of these three options will bring them to your unique proxy page where a customer can view and select their products.

In the "Pick your selections" column you can view which orders have already been selected, which are available to be selected and which cannot be selected yet.  It is controlled by your Lock Settings.

Selections

  • This feature is subscription only.
  • This feature is not compatible with prepaid subscription options.
  • This feature is not compatible with line item properties, like our Bold Product Options app uses.
  • This feature operates best when less than 50 Product Labels are utilized, though more is possible. More than 50 may result in slower loading times. 
  • A customer can only subscribe to one Build a Box per checkout. They will be brought from the product page to the selection page before reaching the Recurring Orders checkout. They can only check out with one Build a Box product.
  • This feature is not compatible with the Product Swap feature.
  • The feature is only compatible with discount codes, not our subscription group discount options.
  • This feature is not compatible with our Add to Existing Subscription feature.
  • The customer is not able to increase their product quantity. They must subscribe to a second Build a Box (requiring a second checkout process).
  • If a customer wants to swap to another Build a Box or another size, they must cancel and resubscribe.
  • There is no way to import existing subscribers into a Build A Box; they will be required to resubscribe.
  • At this time, inventory tracking for is not supported - though we will be adding support for this very shortly.
  • At this time, variant images and variant selectors are not supported. Each variant of a product will result in its Product Label within the Selection Page, counting towards the maximum of 50 Product Labels this feature supports. We will be adding support for variant-specific images very soon.