How to Sell Digital Downloads Using a Subscription App on Shopify

When selling subscriptions, there are a few reasons why you would want to sell digital products alongside the subscription. Maybe your customers need a PDF guide, or maybe you want to deliver a new set of digital products each month.

What do I need?

Note: this method only works with download emails. It does not work with customer account downloads.

How subscription apps work

Most subscription apps on Shopify create a new Shopify order once the recurring subscription renews. This method allows other apps to trigger a delivery, such as digital products.

Confirmed compatible apps that create orders on recurring subscriptions and will work with our tutorial:

  • Seal subscriptions
  • PayWhirl
  • ReCharge
  • Simple Subscriptions
  • Yotpo
  • Subify
  • Recurpay
  • Appstle

How to deliver digital files as a subscription

Using this method does not directly integrate with the subscription apps. It simply works alongside them. As the subscription apps create an order in Shopify for when subscriptions are renewed or created, then the digital downloads app will work along with those orders and fulfil them.

How does it work? Delivering using download emails

This solution works by using the download email method that comes with every plan on Fileflare. Let’s say you are delivering 3 files each month:

  • A January file
  • A February file
  • A March file

When a subscription app renews a subscription, it will create an order. Once that order is created and processed, Fileflare will send the download email to the customer. It will deliver a download email of what files are attached to the product at the time of the order.

So, if you are delivering a file to customers in February, you would have the February file attached to the Shopify subscription product. On the last day of the month, you must detach the February file from the Shopify subscription product and then attach the March file.

This means anyone who subscribes in March will receive the current attached March file and not the previous February file.

All the customers will get download emails that they can keep in their email accounts and access whenever they need. If they get in touch with you for customisations, you can adjust their orders manually and attach additional files for them (follow the next step to learn how).

What you need to do

This is using the same setup example we mentioned above. We are delivering a file for each month in our examples here.

I am assuming that you have already created your subscription product in Shopify. You will need to find a subscription app and have the product ready. The Fileflare app will automatically sync your Shopify products to the app.

1. In January, attach the January file to your subscription product

For January, you need to attach the January file to your subscription product. All customers will receive this file if they purchase the subscription product.

2. On the 1st of February, detach the January file & attach the February file

Now, your subscription customers will begin to receive the February file once the subscriptions are renewed throughout the month. They will receive the newly attached February file via a download email.

When subscriptions are renewed, the subscription app simply just creates a new order in Shopify for the customer. That means our app will see a new order being placed and send a new download email with the current month’s attached files.

Note: Don’t delete the January or previous files. You will need to keep these in your account so previous customers can still download them.

Useful feature – Attaching files to an order

You can attach additional files to any order by following our guide. This allows you to go into a customer’s order and place any extra files they request.

Only the files that you attach to that order will be downloadable by that specific customer.


If you have any questions, please contact us.