With Shopify’s standard packages going for $25.00 to $2,000+ a month, you might be curious why the same platform offers its Starter Plan for only $5. We’ll look at what makes this new plan so affordable in this Shopify Starter Plan review, plus consider the differences between the Shopify Starter Plan and the Shopify Lite Plan. 🤓
Despite claims that the former is replacing the latter, it turns out that the two are still running concurrently on the ecommerce platform. Shopify Lite supports continuing users, whereas the Shopify Starter plan is what you’ll be met with upon signing up. And if you assumed the packages were similar, a quick comparison of their features and pricing will reveal otherwise.
We understand that this raises more questions than answers. And so, we’ve compiled an in-depth Shopify Starter Plan review 🔍 that sets the record straight on the cheapest Shopify package. This is your chance to get an in-depth comparison of Shopify Starter vs Shopify Lite and learn the truth about Shopify Starter Plan’s pricing, functionalities, and ecommerce capabilities.
What is the Starter Plan on Shopify?
The Shopify Starter Plan, also known as “Selling for Starters,” is a beginner-friendly ecommerce solution from Shopify. It provides a straightforward and cost-effective avenue for users to sell products online without using complex tools or a dedicated website.
As the successor to Shopify Lite, the Starter Plan is now the most basic offering from Shopify. All you need is $5 per month to use it. And once you join the party, you can integrate Shopify ecommerce functionalities into any existing website. Plus you can sell directly on social media platforms.
So, while the Shopify Starter Plan might not be the best fit for traditional ecommerce businesses, it’s perfect for bloggers, YouTubers, and content creators. It’s also a good solution for anyone who wants to curate products on their personal website.
👉 Some of the core features that we’ll be highlighting in this Shopify Starter Plan review include:
- Data analytics: It helps users to track sales and customer data.
- Order management: It grants you access to the Shopify admin panel for streamlined order management.
- Linkpop: It even provides a tool for curating various product links under one common access point.
- Shopify inbox: You get a chat function, through which you could engage customers.
- Contact page: You can also create a dedicated page with contact information for customer queries.
- Shopping cart: Customers can checkout and make purchases through a standard online store shopping cart.
- Unlimited product pages: You have the freedom to set up an unlimited number of product pages by simply adding product photos and descriptions.
Shopify Lite vs Shopify Starter Plan: What are the differences?
With the introduction of the new Starter Plan, Shopify has begun to gradually phase out the Shopify Lite plan. It’s no longer accessible to new merchants. Moreover, existing users who make the transition from Shopify Lite to the Starter Plan cannot return to the Lite plan.
If you’re considering a downgrade from Shopify Lite to the Shopify Starter Plan, the transition will save you $4 a month. But, keep in mind that it also means forfeiting some of the features that were previously available in the Shopify Lite Plan. They include:
- The ability to send invoices to customers
- The option to sell anywhere by swiping cards
It looks like Shopify rolled out the Starter to better serve web creators. Whereas Shopify Lite focuses on micro-entrepreneurs and pop-up shop owners, the Shopify Starter Plan is more of a revamp that’s well-aligned with the needs of social media sellers, bloggers, and influencers.
One notable modification is the replacement of Point of Sale (POS) support with the Linkpop tool, which is meant to centralize multiplatform selling.
Shopify Starter Plan review: Main features ⚙️
Getting started 🏁
The Shopify Starter Plan is designed with simplicity and user-friendliness in mind. You only get a storefront loaded with bare essentials: a shopping cart, a payment gateway, plus a customer inbox.
The only prerequisites with this plan are a smartphone, product descriptions, and a handful of product images. From there, you can readily share your product listings on social media or any web platform that facilitates link sharing.
Whatever distribution channel you choose, the Shopify Starter Plan saves you the trouble of managing all the intricacies that come with traditional ecommerce businesses.
Backend operations are conveniently managed directly from your Shopify dashboard, and while at it, you won’t require any technical assistance. Everything is pretty straightforward, even for beginners.
To add products, for instance, you just need to go to the Products section of the Shopify admin panel. There, you’ll be prompted to enter the product title, product description, product media (such as images, videos, or 3D previews), pricing, SKU (stock-keeping unit), and product options/variants. That’s all it takes and your newly added product will be all set for selling.
To preserve its simplicity, the Starter Plan isn’t very heavy on web design tools and customization options. It only comes in Shopify’s default theme, Spotlight, which can be lightly personalized on the platform’s theme editor.
In its raw form, the Spotlight theme is a simplified version of an online storefront, complete with basic product pages. You even get a fast and secure checkout module that’s reinforced with a built-in SSL certificate. However, this whole setup operates entirely on a Shopify subdomain. That means you won’t be getting a custom domain like in other Shopify plans.
The only customization you can apply to such a storefront is incorporating your logo, colors, fonts, and other basic design elements.
These are more or less the same design privileges you’ll find on the plan’s buy buttons. Shopify allows you to tweak their style, layout, colors, and fonts based on your brand’s outlook. As for the shopping cart itself, your editing options will be limited to the text, subtotals, notes, and buttons.
Selling on social media 📱
If there’s one stand-out feature that you should pick from this Shopify Starter Plan review, it’s the platform’s seamless omnichannel social media selling.
Whether you prefer paid ads, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Tweets, or TikTok videos, you can use the Starter Plan to sell goods, services, or affiliate products. You just need to drop a link to your product page, and your social media followers will be able to make purchases via a single-page order form.
This comes after you’ve uploaded images, added product descriptions, and set prices through Shopify’s admin panel. It’s from this backend that you can embed products directly into social media storefronts.
Consider, for example, the Facebook Shop integration that’s included in the Starter package. Its job is to provide a link for establishing a “Shop” right on your Facebook page. This is where your Shopify products are displayed, with the two connected platforms syncing in real time. That means any changes made to your Shopify products will immediately reflect on your Facebook Shop.
Another useful social selling feature in the Shopify Starter Plan is the Linkpop app. It curates a list of products under a single shareable link. Whenever customers click on the link, they’re redirected to a central page that showcases your products from different sources. This does not link to the storefront but creates a separate landing page for your products.
Store management 🛒
The Shopify Starter Plan offers a versatile platform for selling a diverse array of items. You can use it to sell physical and digital products, drop-shipped items, print-on-demand products, and more. All this revolves around a neat, centralized storefront, which supports an unlimited number of products while facilitating a fast and secure checkout process.
If you ever want to expand your market base, one feature that could help you out is the Shopify Buy Button. This tool distributes your products to other websites by embedding a buy button. The process is as simple as copying pre-generated product codes from your Shopify backend and then pasting them onto external blogs and stores.
It’s closely related to the aforementioned Linkpop, which is also a part of the Starter Plan. The tool basically consolidates all of your online content into a single customizable landing page. You can then post a single link on your social media profiles and third-party platforms. This offers your customers a convenient way to access all of your information and products in one place.
Now, if you hope to accelerate your conversions, we’d recommend that you complement your Buy Buttons with Linkpop and vice versa.
You could, for instance, use Linkpop to create a landing page that features links to your social media profiles, online store, and other web-based content. Then, within this landing page, you could strategically place a Buy Button. This type of integration allows customers to make purchases directly from the landing page, without having to navigate away from it.
Order management 🛍️
When it comes to post-sale service, the Starter Plan has the tools for order processing and shipping management. You can dispatch your customer orders through a warehouse, a dropshipping service, or a print-on-demand location.
What you won’t get, however, is some of the more advanced inventory and order management features. While the Shopify Starter Plan may appear to process orders similarly as its Standard Plan counterpart, it actually misses out on the automation privileges offered in the higher-tier plans.
But, at least you get to leverage the Shopify Fulfillment Program. You just need to pay a monthly fee and Shopify will handle the storage, picking, packing, and shipping of all your orders. Note that the fee varies based on your needs and volume. This is one way that the platform continues to support creators who would otherwise get overwhelmed by the many orders flowing from their large social following.
In the meantime, you can always turn to the platform’s analytics tools when you need to track your sales and order fulfillment processes. The metrics may not be as comprehensive as those offered in a regular Shopify plan, but they should be sufficient for most creators. You’ll get insights about your top-selling products, total sales for specific periods, and your sales growth over time.
Shopify Starter Plan review of pricing 💳
Priced at a flat rate of $5 per month, the Shopify Starter Plan is an affordable ecommerce package for those who are just starting out.
Keep in mind, though, that payment processing fees are charged separately. But, not under the same rates as other Shopify plans.
With the Starter Plan, you’ll be paying 5% on each transaction processed by Shopify Payments. That’s almost double the 2.9% plus $0.30 rate that Shopify Basic (and Shopify Lite) plan users are charged on the same payment processing service. As your business grows, this can eventually make the Starter plan less cost effective than Shopify Lite or even Shopify Basic.
Who should consider using Shopify Starter Plan? 💡
To sum up our Shopify Starter Plan review, we could say that it suits those who are just dipping their toes into the world of online selling.
The package provides them with the bare minimum they need to sell online without relying on a comprehensive ecommerce website.
We would especially recommend the Shopify Starter Plan to solo entrepreneurs or businesses generating less than $1,000 in monthly sales. It can comfortably serve up to two locations, along with multiple sales channels.
And as for the pricing, $5 per month is a pretty fair rate for the Shopify Starter Plan. Probably even a better bargain than Shopify Lite, although the increased payment processing fees can make the Starter Plan more expensive in the long run.
You also need to keep in mind that Shopify Lite is no longer accessible to new merchants. It’s only open to existing users who’ve been using the plan. So, if you choose to migrate from Shopify Lite to the Starter Plan, you cannot revert back to the Lite plan.
👉 If you’re completely new to Shopify, check out our more detailed Shopify tutorial.
Shopify Starter Plan Review
The Shopify Starter Plan, also known as “Selling for Starters,” is a beginner-oriented ecommerce solution that offers an affordable and easy way to sell products online. At $5 per month, the package integrates ecommerce capabilities into your websites or social media page.
Costs only $5 a month
Easy to use
Supports selling through multiple channels
Managed directly from the Shopify dashboard
Charges 5% as payment processing fees
Doesn't support ecommerce sites