Shopify has been one of the easiest platforms to launch and scale a 6-figure e-commerce store since the early days. But if you are just starting out, Shopify’s pricing can be too much to handle.
Many wonder what’s the cheapest Shopify plan and if it’s enough to launch your e-shop. The good news is that Shopify launched what they call Shopify Lite.
With Shopify Lite you can turn your website, blog or Facebook page into an e-commerce store for only $9 a month.
Or as they say –
Start your dream business for less than the price of a movie”
With such pricing – we had to take this plan for a “Spin”.
So, we decided to do a Shopify Lite review and give you the good, the bad and the ugly.
As we have helped multiple Shopify stores to reach 6-figures and have built several Shopify stores on our own – you will learn some tips and tricks only experienced Shopify users might know.
To begin, here’s the breakdown of topics you will find in this article:
- What’s Shopify Lite and is it enough to launch an e-commerce empire?
- Who should and who shouldn’t use Shopify Lite
- What are the other costs you need to be aware when launching an e-shop using Shopify Lite
- Shopify Lite Pricing & Transaction Fees
- Pros and Cons of Shopify Lite
- How it compares with other e-commerce platforms
- Why would I use Shopify Lite when Facebook allows selling products for Free?
- Shopify Lite vs Basic
- Why having your own website is important?
- How to upgrade once you decide to step up your game
- How to get started with Shopify Lite?
- Using Shopify Lite With Your Own Website
- Compatible Blog platforms and using the buy button in your posts.
- How to sell on Social Media – Facebook and Messenger
- How to attract the first paying customers and start selling with Shopify Lite
Basically we’ll cover everything you need to know.
After reading this review, you’ll know if Shopify Lite is what you need to attract your first paying customers.
So, let’s dig in.
- What is Shopify Lite?
- Who Should use Shopify Lite?
- Other costs to be aware of when using Shopify Lite
- Pros and Cons of Shopify Lite
- Shopify Lite vs Shopify Basic – Cheapest plan comparison
- How to get started with Shopify Lite?
- Ready to make your own?
- How to attract your first paying customers
- Wrapping Up
What is Shopify Lite?
Shopify Lite is Shopify’s cheapest plan and it’s pricing is designed to be affordable to anyone who wishes to launch an e-commerce store.
Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake. It started as a snowboard online shop before it became en e-commerce platform.
Lütke realized that other people could use their platform and create their own online shops, and that is how Shopify was born. The e-commerce platform that we know today was launched in June 2006.
Please note that Shopify Lite is NOT a website builder. At $9/month, it’s an inexpensive option that gives you basic e-commerce functionalities which are:
- Selling Products on your existing website or blog through a buy button
- Selling products on Facebook and Messenger
- Selling in-person with the Point-of-Sale app
Additionally, it provides a comprehensive platform to manage your business and inventory. You can create discount coupons and consult sales analytics through your dashboard in a couple of clicks. Track customers and set up automatic invoices.
For 9 bucks, it sound’s like a great deal right?
Well, maybe, but not for everyone. You might find these functionalities limited once you start growing your business.
But there’s a solution to that too! If your goal is to make 6-figure sales regularly you can upgrade your plan any time. Shopify Lite was built with scaling in mind, so you can add more features as your business grows.
Who Should use Shopify Lite?
So, now that we know what the cheapest Shopify plan features are, let’s see who should be using it.
The Shopify Lite plan is for anyone who wants to sell products without managing a full e-commerce store.
It’s an ideal option for new businesses that want to start selling products on Facebook. If you have an existing website or blog, it can be a great way to convert sales just by adding a simple shopping cart.
You can also sell your products while chatting on Messenger with your customers, instead of redirecting them to your website. Awesome for quick sales and conversions!
What you will not get here is access to the Shopify website creator. If you need to set up an online shop from scratch, you will need to upgrade to the more expensive $29/month Basic Plan.
So, those that don’t have a website or blog, will have to settle with selling products through Facebook only.
That’s the big caveat, although, it depends on your needs. If you have only a small number of products or sell a single service, the Lite plan might just do the trick.
After all, when starting out you are trying to cut costs at all fronts. The cheapest Shopify plan might be the sweet spot for you to launch your shop.
But before you take out the credit card, you should be aware that every e-commerce charges more than just the fixed subscription. So, let’s check out these extra costs next.
Other costs to be aware of when using Shopify Lite
Like other e-commerce platforms, Shopify is notorious for adding extra costs to your monthly bill. These come mostly through transaction fees on purchases.
Here are the fees you should expect on the cheapest Shopify plan:
- 2.9% + $0.30 for online sales
- 2.7% +$0.00 for in-person sales
- An additional 2% fee if you are using other providers than those from Shopify Payments.
Shopify Payments are considered first-party payment methods supported by Shopify. You can check this list to see if your country is covered by the service.
If it isn’t, you will have to add alternative payment methods in your Settings->Payment Providers and pay the extra 2% fee on every transaction.
Additionally, when accepting payments in a different currency from your payout currency, a currency conversion occurs. After the currency conversion fee has been calculated, it is included in your customer’s price as a premium.
Your selling platform can be upgraded with a large number of apps that are at your disposal. But, if you are looking into using the cheapest Shopify plan, chance is, you are using it to save a few bucks.
Most apps aren’t free, and while they can give you a better experience, you should keep them at a minimum to avoid extra costs. Forget about adding that newsletter subscription form, and focus on what’s important instead: selling your products.
There will be plenty of time to add plugins and apps that improve your customers’ experience once you start growing your business.
Now that you know what to expect on your bill, let’s continue our Shopify Lite review with the main pros and cons of the platform.
Pros and Cons of Shopify Lite
1. Shopify Lite Pros:
- Easy setup – get your shop running in 10 minutes!
- Dirty Cheap
- Illimited sales
- Predictable pricing
- Easy to scale
- Supports PayPal payments
- Direct sales in messenger
- Requires the least clicks to pay and checkout
2. Shopify Lite Cons:
- No website or store creator
- Limited features for bigger stores
- Needs an existing website or Blog
- Fees can build up if you aren’t covered by Shopify Payments
While there are other e-commerce platforms out there, none of them comes close to the pricing of the cheapest Shopify plan.
Your main reason for using Shopify Lite is to sell products, and quickly. It’s a stepping stone toward starting your online store and making a name for yourself.
Competitors like WooCommerce, Wix and many others focus on building beautiful websites and stores and their plans are much more expensive.
Shopify Lite doesn’t. Instead, it focuses in converting as many people into paying customers by requiring the least clicks to pay and checkout.
Finally, there’s the big question:
3. Facebook allows selling products for Free – Why use Shopify Lite?
The answer is simple. Facebook doesn’t really allow you to sell products. Even though the Facebook Marketplace sounds like something where you would make sales, it’s not.
In truth, it’s far from being a true e-commerce platform.
You can’t buy or sell products on Facebook. You can list them and customers can get in touch with you to arrange payment or negotiate the price. Payment processors aren’t supported. No shopping cart, no tax calculation, nothing that you expect to see as a seller.
So if you are serious about beginning your online shop, just skip the Facebook Marketplace option and get the cheapest Shopify plan instead.
Shopify Lite vs Shopify Basic – Cheapest plan comparison
Shopify Lite is similar to the Basic plan in quite a lot of ways. For example, transaction fees are the same. But, it’s important to understand that it lacks a couple of important features.
The first missing feature is Instagram integration. Selling directly on Instagram is quite in demand given the popularity of this social network. It helps you showcase your products to your followers and keeps them updated with promos through posts and stories.
Unfortunately, one of the requirements is being subscribed to the Basic plan first and foremost.
The second and major difference between the cheapest Shopify plan ($9) and Shopify Basic ($29) is the access to the website creator.
This is a powerful tool and has a huge hidden advantage: fully controlling your e-commerce.
1. Why is it so important to own your website?
Facebook is a great way to get in touch with your customers. But the caveat is that it has total control over what they allow you to post or sell on your page. Imagine getting blocked by their ever-changing terms of services and losing access to your main source of income.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a great place to start. Your customers can easily find you and check out your products. But the limitations will quickly become visible as your store and inventory starts growing.
The same goes when selling on other websites or blogs. You don’t control how your brand is presented on other people’s websites.
However, once you have gotten over the first hurdle of starting to make regular sales, you might want to upgrade.
Luckily, switching to the Basic plan from the cheapest Shopify plan is almost seamless. Also, you can put your store on hold while building your website and pay only half of the subscription fee during that time.
2. How to upgrade from Lite to Basic
Here’s how to upgrade from Lite to Basic once you’ve decided you need more from your Shopify platform:
Step 1 – Go to your settings Pannel and choose plans and Permissions
Step 2 – In the plan details tab select “Compare Plans”
Step 3 – Add a credit card in your payment options
Step 4 – Choose the Basic plan
Step 5 – Select the length of your Subscription Click on “Start Plan”
Step 6 – Confirm your payment
Your account will be automatically upgraded and you will gain access to the website creation wizard instantly.
Keep in mind that you can upgrade to even more expensive plans in the future as your business grows. Their most important perk being reduced transaction fees. This is important as once you start making a lot of sales, your main expenses will be coming from these fees. It goes without saying that reducing them will be your priority.
Let’s get back to our Shopify Lite review. Here’s how it works in practice and what exactly you can do with it.
How to get started with Shopify Lite?
There are two main ways you can use the Shopify Lite platform online. Let’s go into more detail for each one of them.
1. How to use Shopify Lite Buy Button With Your Own Website or Blog
If you already have a website or blog, you can use the Buy Button option in your Shopify platform to monetize them instantly. Creating a button is easy and intuitive and you can even add an embedded shopping cart for multiple product purchases.
In a couple of clicks, your customers will be able to choose their product, and checkout without ever leaving your page. Shopify Lite provides a fluid shopping experience, seamlessly increasing conversions and increasing sales.
Compatible Blog platforms
Other than plain HTML for your existing website, the Buy Button is fully supported by three different blogging platforms:
Creating a buy button for your website or blog
Making a button and embedding it into your blog is a piece of cake. No need to be a coding wizard to understand how it works. Let’s go through the basic steps on how you can do this:
Step 1 – Make sure you have at least 1 product in your product list. If you don’t create one and complete all the necessary info for that product.
Step 2 – Click on the “Buy Button” tab on your dashboard and proceed to click on “Create a Buy Button”.
Step 3 – Select “Product Buy Button” and the product that you want to create the button for.
Step 4 – Customize the appearance and action of the button to match your blog template the best you can. You can also customize your shopping cart in this step.
Step 5 – Click Next and you will be presented with the code. Copy it, embed it on your website or blog and start selling!
For optimal compatibility, check out this detailed guide on how to embed your button on the different supported blog platforms.
2. How to sell on Social Media with Shopify Lite – Facebook and Messenger
The other big advantage of Shopify Lite is the ability to create your own Facebook store. You can list all your products and your followers can directly buy them there, without ever leaving your page.
Check these great examples of Facebook Store pages made with Shopify:
Ready to make your own?
To get started, make sure that your store meets the requirements for selling on Facebook, that you have a Facebook Page for your business, and you understand Facebook’s policies.
Here’s how to quickly set up your Facebook Shop with Shopify Lite:
Step 1 – Click on the Facebook Shop tab
Step 2 – Make sure your page is published beforehand
Step 3 – Connect the Facebook account you want associated with your products:
Step 4 – Go to Facebook Shop > Account then Click Connect account. Follow the instructions to complete connecting your page to your shop.
Step 5 – Wait for Facebook to review your store, which can take up to 48 hours. You will be notified by email and in Shopify when Facebook finishes the review process.
Check out this video that shows how to manage your Facebook Shop in Shopify:
Connecting your Facebook Messenger to Shopify Lite
To utilize your Facebook integration to it’s fullest, the last step is to connect your Messenger app.
Just click on the Messenger tab in your dashboard, and connect the page you wish to use it with.
This will allow to send shopping links instantly while chatting with your customers, considerably increasing your chances of making a sale.
Last but not least, Facebook Messenger will also ensure your customers are in the know after purchase. You can send them automated messages with shipping information, tracking codes and “View Order” buttons.
Here’s a short video showcasing how the messenger feature works:
So now that you have your Shopify Lite account set up and your Facebook Shop up and running, the next step is to start getting your first paying customers.
How to attract your first paying customers
So you have chosen the cheapest Shopify plan and you want to save money on marketing. Check out some of these expert tips on how to start advertising your e-commerce for free.
1. Use Forums
Try to find your niche clientele and their social media hangouts. Advertise your page and talk about your products and services to get more visits. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
2. Use Reddit
Reddit is one of the most popular communities in the world. There are tons of subreddits where you can reach people looking to buy something. We recommend you check out Shut Up And Take My Money or INEEDIT subs, each one with over 500k members.
3. Join Relevant Facebook Groups
Depending on your products and services, search for Buy and Sell groups on Facebook. Groups like Online Selling are a great place to start. Here are some guidelines on how to share your products in these groups that will help you get some sales:
- Post strong photos – a picture tells a thousand words. Showcase your products with awesome snapshots.
- Write good descriptions – honest and concise descriptions will attract more buyers.
- Follow the group’s rules – read up the guidelines and don’t get banned from the group.
4. Offer great content
If you are selling services or products through your website or blog, make sure that you are providing value to your readers. Interesting and SEO-oriented posts will attract more organic traffic and help you get your brand started.
That concludes our Shopify Lite review. We went through all the pros and cons of the cheapest Shopify plan to help you make a decision if it’s the right thing for your e-commerce.
So, can you run a successful e-commerce business by simply selling on social media or your blog? Absolutely!
This platform is ideal for a small business or bloggers that want to monetize their products and services. While it lacks a website building module, Shopify Light requires minimal investment for starting out.
Furthermore, the one-click checkouts and embedded shopping carts make it appealing to customers and assuring conversions.
Finally, as the Lite plan is thought out with scaling in mind, you can upgrade anytime you need it.
Frankly, you can’t go wrong with Shopify Lite. If you are looking for a powerful, yet simple-to-use e-commerce platform, it will cover most of your needs.
For more in-depth reviews about tools that can help you create killer e-shops feel free to check out the list of these posts.