How to use the Recharge API

For a long time, the complexities of recurring billing for Shopify sellers have left merchants feeling limited in what they can and can’t do.
But that’s no longer a problem, thanks to Recharge’s Application Programming Interface (API).
In this post, we’ll take a high-level look at the Recharge API as well as some of the ways subscription merchants are putting it to good use.
Note: This post is somewhat technical because the API must be used by a developer. However, customizing the user experience of your website opens lots of doors for a unique purchasing experience.

Getting to know the Recharge API

First things first: Let’s establish a foundation of understanding around Recharge’s API.
Rather than using a closed-off system that doesn’t allow merchants to built out custom integrations and use cases for their Shopify stores, Recharge uses a RESTful API and event-driven webhooks.
What is a RESTful API?
A RESTful API uses HTTPS requests to manipulate data. It’s based on REpresentational State Transfer (REST) technology, an approach to communications commonly used in web services development.
What are webhooks?
Webhooks are a mechanism for reacting to specific events that are triggered in the system (like a checkout completion or subscription cancellation).
Essentially, this means that developers can build out their own integrations with our API to solve problems and to create highly customized processes.
Currently, Recharge API endpoints include:

  • Subscriptions
  • Addresses
  • Orders
  • Customers
  • Charges
  • Discounts (in alpha testing)

So, for example, you could use the Subscriptions endpoint to change a subscription product’s price, delivery frequency and/or charge frequency. You could also use a webhook to trigger a SMS receipt for your customers after they complete a transaction. Currently, these can be developed and written using PHP, Python, and Ruby (more language support coming soon.)

Recharge API in action: Use cases

Next, let’s see how different subscription merchants are leveraging the Recharge API to solve complex problems and create custom solutions for their unique businesses.
1. Digital product: Siren Marine
Using an innovative membership model that leverages digital subscriptions for boat hardware, Siren Marine used the Recharge API to bundle physical products and the subscription fee. For customers with boats that are out of service during winter months, they can select the “Seasonal Service Plan” to get a subscription only during April-October (when they’re using their boats).

siren marine

2. Quarterly subscriptions: Foodstirs
This kitchen product subscription brand used the Recharge API to modify their subscription rules so that customers can get quarterly delivery and billing (rather than monthly or weekly). This not only enables them to ship products on the same day for all customers, but it also helped them better cater to customers who didn’t need a high-frequency refill.


3. Free trial: Hubble
Many customers want to test a product like contact lenses before hopping on board with a long-term subscription — and Hubble helped their customers do just that, thanks in part to the Recharge API. By creating a free trial that only charges shipping and handling and that auto-converts into a regular, full-priced monthly box after two weeks, they make it much easier for customers to feel comfortable with their recurring purchase.

hubble flow

4. Subscription management: BattlBox
Working to improve UI/UX on their site, this subscription retailer used the Recharge API to modify the look of the customer portal so that the top three most-used activities were spotlighted. This is a major improvement for usability of the site and accommodates customer behaviors in subtle, visual way.

5. Advanced reporting: Power BI
Some merchants need more advanced analytics to take a deep dive into metrics like sales by location, sale tracking, etc. Using the Recharge API with custom-made reporting tools or by integrating existing resources like Microsoft Power BI, you can easily see and export important business data on a minute-to-minute basis.


6. Product bundle: TOM Organic
When you have a lot of different product offerings that can be combined in infinitely different ways, you need a build-your-own-bundle option for customers. And that’s what The TOM Co did using the Recharge API. Now, customers can put together their own selections of products and build their own subscription product bundles that meet their individual needs.

tom organic

Start Using the Recharge API Today
If these examples have you inspired to start building out your own custom solutions alongside the Recharge API, be sure to reach out to us and request access to the API (and access to the API Slack channel). Once we’ve given you access, you can get your API tokens and start building.
Questions? Learn more about the Recharge API here.