Getting Started With Shopify
Whether you’re starting a new ecommerce business or have an established business that needs a new platform, Shopify provides easy-to-use website building and online store management services at a variety of price points. Sign up for a Shopify account here, and then start your free trial to begin building your new website.
If you haven’t used Shopify before, check out our How To Make a Shopify Website and How To Use Shopify articles for a complete guide to building your site and tips for making the most of your new online store.
Overview of Available Plans
Shopify offers five plans with different price points and included features. To give you a general sense of the various options, here’s a quick peek at Shopify’s plan tiers:
Once you choose a plan, you can always change it later. Keep in mind that it’s better to start small and upgrade rather than downgrade after paying for a pricier plan. You also can start with monthly billing and then move to annual billing once you feel confident you have the right plan for your business.
Shopify offers discounts when you pay for one, two, or three years of service in advance. All Shopify plans include cloud storage to upload and maintain unlimited product listings as well as access to a dashboard to track your website’s performance metrics. In addition, each plan enables your business to sell in up to five different languages and in more than 130 currencies.
If you plan to migrate an existing ecommerce website to Shopify, you’ll need to visit the Shopify App Store to find a migration app that fits your needs. Only the Shopify Plus plan offers an integrated migration solution.
The Shopify Lite Plan
If you already sell products or services on other online platforms — or if you conduct sales in person but need a better way to process credit card payments — then the Shopify Lite plan may provide a great option.
With this plan, you get the following core offerings:
- Online Sales Support: This feature enables you to embed your products and a shopping cart in your existing web pages with a customizable “buy” button.
- Shopify’s Point-of-Sale (POS) Lite App: With access to this proprietary app, you can securely process payments through a trusted party for transaction fees that start at just 2.4 percent for in-person card transactions.
- Unlimited Storage: By storing all your ecommerce information in one place, this plan makes it easy for you to track your overall sales and income.
- Custom Order Creation: This enables you to keep customers happy while automatically updating your inventory.
- 24/7 Customer Support: You can reach the Shopify customer service team with questions or issues around the clock, ensuring you always have access to expert advice.
- Website Analytics: Track your website’s traffic, sales, and product inventory — all from your personal, intuitive Shopify dashboard.
- Customer Profiles: This feature makes it easy to track customer purchasing trends, fill recurring orders, and keep your customer information organized and at your fingertips.
Shopify’s entry-level plan costs just $9 per month for an annual total of $108. It’s a genuinely budget-friendly option, but it does not include a Shopify storefront. To use Shopify as your primary web store, you must purchase a higher-tier Shopify plan. You can also use an alternative website in conjunction with Shopify Lite by embedding your Buy Button anywhere you’d like to sell your products.
Ideal Users of This Plan
The Shopify Lite plan is affordable and includes lots of features for the money. It ideally suits businesses that already have a website they love, but want to integrate ecommerce tools to grow their retail sales and improve inventory management.
This plan also can work well for retailers that conduct frequent sales at pop-up markets, fairs, and festivals — places where the ability to process lots of payments without having to manually update inventory would represent a real convenience.
In addition, the Shopify Lite plan can make a great choice for business owners who create and sell handmade goods, those who sell many similar items in large quantities, and small businesses that want to ease into the ecommerce market.
The Basic Shopify Plan
The Basic Shopify plan is the least expensive option that also includes hosting space for an online store. It’s a natural upgrade from the Shopify Lite plan when you’re ready to build a new ecommerce site or migrate an existing website.
In addition to all the features included in the Shopify Lite plan, the Basic Shopify plan also comes with:
- A Custom Domain: This will give your website a strong identity and personality.
- Up To Two Users: This means you can work in tandem with a partner or employee to manage your website.
- An Expanded Dashboard: With this plan, you can easily manage the creation and oversight of your online store as well as track key business metrics.
- Customizable Themes and Intuitive Menus: These features can help you personalize your website and online store to fit your business’s specific style and needs.
- Blog Management Tools: You can create and manage a blog on your Shopify website from both your site’s customization menus and your main Shopify dashboard.
- Product Collections and Catalogs: These features enable you to showcase similar items together, making it easier for customers to find them.
- Contact Pages and Opt-In Mailing Lists: Use these tools to maintain a close connection with your client base.
- A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate: This provides added protection for your site, enhancing the security of your customers’ transactions.
- Integrated Delivery and Shipping Options: With this plan, you can directly access discounted rates from all the major carriers as well as create custom mailing labels.
- Inventory Tracking From Four Locations: This will ensure you always know what you have in stock and the location of those items across up to four facilities.
The Basic Shopify plan costs $29 per month, and you can earn deeper discounts if you choose to prepay for one, two, or three years. If you like the Shopify platform and have a slightly larger budget, this plan makes an excellent and affordable option for maintaining an ecommerce website.
Ideal Users of This Plan
This economical plan makes a great choice for anyone starting a small business who also needs a digital storefront for ecommerce.
The Basic Shopify plan also can prove tremendously useful for business owners who source items from more than one producer, store products in several locations, or simply want to build their online stores as an extension of a brick-and-mortar shop. Moreover, having an additional user profile can benefit businesses with more than one partner or those with one or two employees who handle in-person sales.
The Shopify Plan
As the most popular option, the Shopify plan includes everything in the Shopify Lite and Basic Shopify plans plus some additional features to enhance your sales and web presence.
With the Shopify plan, you get everything in the lower-tier plans plus:
- Up To Five Users: This means you and four of your employees can collaborate on managing your website.
- Inventory Tracking From Five Locations: This enables you to expand where you source and store your products while helping you to boost sales and shorten shipping times.
- Bigger Shipping Discounts: You can access deeper discounts from the major carriers with this plan, leaving more money to reinvest in growing your business.
- International Domains and Pricing: These features make it easier to expand your business worldwide with country-specific domains and local currency pricing.
- Professional-Level Analytics Reports: These enhanced reports provide more detailed ecommerce analytics to help you track your business’s growth, sales, inventory, and marketing campaigns.
The Shopify plan costs $79 per month, but you can get a discount if you purchase an annual or multi-year plan. While this represents a steep increase from the Basic Shopify plan, the money you’ll save on shipping and the enhanced analytics make it worth the expense when you’re ready to expand your business.
Ideal Users of This Plan
With access to the POS Lite app and many shipping, tracking, and inventory features — as well as the ability to closely track every aspect of an online store — the Shopify plan is ideal for business owners who need to manage all facets of a small to medium-sized retail ecommerce enterprise.
It’s also Shopify’s least expensive option that includes international domains and pricing, making it easier than ever to tailor your store to your customers’ needs and demographics.
If you have several employees and maintain both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce stores, this plan likely will make a good fit for your business.
The Advanced Shopify Plan
As with all web hosting plans, you get more when you pay more. The Advanced Shopify plan includes everything in Shopify’s lower-tier plans plus significantly greater flexibility.
The Advanced Shopify plan is almost all-inclusive in its offerings, and it takes a considerable leap forward from the Shopify plan. Here’s what it provides beyond the features included in the lower-tier plans:
- Up To 15 Users: You can give all (or most) of your employees and partners the ability to access your site’s Shopify dashboard and track daily activity.
- Inventory Tracking From Eight Locations: This means you can make your inventory management and shipping processes fast and flexible.
- Custom Analytics Settings: With this plan, you can pinpoint and track the metrics that matter most to your business.
- Google Analytics™ Integration: This’ll give you greater control of precision data, enabling you to gain insights on your website traffic, visitor demographics, and much more.
- Reduced Transaction Fees: This plan features Shopify’s lowest transaction fees, matching the Lite plan at 2.4 percent for card transactions, meaning you’ll get to keep more of your profits.
- Custom Calculated Shipping: Gain access to the most significant discounts from major carriers and third-party shipping partners to save time and money.
The Advanced Shopify plan costs $299 per month. While that may seem expensive, this comprehensive plan provides all the tools you’ll need to track detailed metrics for every aspect of your business.
Ideal Users of This Plan
The Advanced Shopify plan is perfect for small franchises or businesses working across a large geographic area. It’s also great for retail businesses with several employees because the separate user profiles enable you to delegate tasks like inventory management, have sales staff operating at multiple locations, and keep track of everyone’s activities from your dashboard.
Businesses looking to expand should seriously consider the Advanced Shopify plan simply based on its analytics features and extra user profiles.
The Shopify Plus Plan
Shopify also offers a top-tier, professional service for medium-to-large established businesses called the Shopify Plus plan.
The Shopify Plus plan includes all the features in Shopify’s other plans, and then goes well beyond them with these additions:
- Integrated Sales Platforms: Use this feature to track all of your sales activity across every retail location.
- Global Inventory Tracking: With this plan, you’ll always know what products you have in stock, where they’ve been, and where they’re going.
- Macro and Micro Analytics: Tailored to your industry and business, these detailed analytics reports provide insights about your website traffic, sales, inventory, targeted marketing campaigns, and more.
- Very Fast Loading Speeds: This plan delivers Shopify’s fastest page-loading speeds so your website can quickly catch — and hold — each visitor’s attention.
- Competitive Transaction Fees: At just 0.15 percent, this plan’s low transaction fees will ensure you see your profits rise while your overhead costs decrease.
- Heavily Discounted Shipping: You’ll earn the biggest discounts from major carriers with this plan, and third-party integration means you’ll always get the best deal on shipping worldwide.
The Shopify Plus plan starts at $2,000 per month, but you must contact Shopify for exact pricing. Once you discuss your specific needs with Shopify’s customer care team, they can create a plan and price point tailored to your business.
Ideal Users of This Plan
Established business owners who sell large amounts of inventory or offer a wide range of services can benefit from the Shopify Plus plan. It’s specifically designed for medium-to-large enterprises looking to track global sales and inventory on a trusted, reliable platform.
Creating a website for your ecommerce business represents a big step, and Shopify makes it easy to find a plan that’ll fit your specific needs and budget.
You can start your Shopify experience with a free trial as you begin building your online store and exploring the available analytics, payment, and shipping options. Once you learn how the Shopify platform works, you can easily choose the plan that’ll best suit you and your business.
For more information about launching a business or building a Shopify website, check out these related guides and tools: