Shopify is one of the largest hosted platforms in the ecommerce space. If you are interested in starting a new online store, you will probably want to try Shopify before you buy. Since this is a hosted ecommerce platform, the company will handle everything related to payments and hosting.
Needless to say, it’s a pretty big commitment, so most people would generally want some sort of a trial period before they fully decide to jump ship and migrate their entire store to Shopify. It doesn’t matter whether you are launching a new dropshipping store or planning to move an existing store on Shopify, you will want to give it a try first to determine whether it’s feasible for you or not.
However, the problem is that Shopify’s trial period has always varied. Currently, the company offers a 14-day trial to new customers who want to set up a Shopify store.
However, in the past, they have even offered a 90-day trial period to new users.
It’s important to understand that your free trial begins as soon as you sign up on the platform – not when you start operating your store. As an ecommerce store owner, two weeks might not be enough to determine whether Shopify is good enough or not.
In a mere 14 days, the company expects you to run through its list of features, install one of several Shopify themes, optimize your store for SEO, and then decide whether it’s good for you or not. There have been rumors every now and then that the company will change its trial policy sometime in the future, though that remains to be seen.
The Current Situation With The Shopify Free Trial
The current 14-day free trial period gives you access to basic Shopify features, allowing you to set up a store on the platform and test it out before you decide to commit for a longer period. You also get access to the Shopify App Store, allowing you to install other apps like Oberlo.
As soon as you sign up, your trial period begins. In our Shopify review, we gave it a near-perfect rating, praising it for its functionality and versatility.
However, there’s a big, but understandable, catch: Shopify prevents you from selling anything until you decide to purchase a paid plan. The good thing is that signing up for the 14 day Shopify free trial doesn’t even require you to input your credit card details.
Just enter your email address, and then check your email for a link, decide on a store name, and you can start a free trial right away.
If you do not select a paid plan at the end of the two-week period, the company will put a hold on your store. You won’t be able to tweak it or make any changes.
If you decide not to take any step, your account will be automatically cancelled by Shopify. During the free trial, you can test any Shopify plan, including:
- Shopify Starter (read our Shopify Starter review)
- Basic Shopify – costs $29 per month + 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction
- Shopify – costs $79 per month + 2.6% and 30¢ per transaction
- Advanced Shopify – costs $299 per month + 2.4% and 30¢ per transaction
The Starter Plan starts at $5 per month and lets you sell on your existing website or social media pages.
There's also an enterprise plan, Shopify Plus, that starts at around $2000 per month + 2.15% per transaction.
What Does the Shopify Trial Offer Include?
The Shopify free trial offers a variety of different features that you can try out before you decide to compare pricing and select one of their several paid plans. Here’s what you can do during the trial:
- Add products to your online store with accompanying descriptions to see how they appear.
- Go through the numerous options on the Shopify Settings page to see how to set up taxes, shipping, and optimize several sales funnels.
- Use Shopify Payments and integrate a third-payment provider.
- Access to both the Shopify Theme Store and App Store is available.
You can’t join the Shopify Partners program or access the Experts Marketplace. Access to Shopify affiliate programs is also not available during the free trial.
But What About the 30 Day Shopify Free Trial?
There was a time when Shopify used to offer a 30 day trial to users who made a new Shopify account directly from its website. This was great for small business owners as it offered them ample time to test all of the platform’s features.
However, this offer was removed back in 2019, to be replaced with the current one.
Depending on the nature of your ecommerce website, you might be able to get an extended 30 day trial. However, this extended trial is not available directly through Shopify.
There are certain third-party providers and Shopify partners that do offer an extended trial. For instance, here’s a screenshot from a third-party page builder that recently offered a 30 day trial:
All you had to do was browse to their landing page and press the “start free trial” button via their affiliate link. For each conversion, PageFly earned a commission. Such offers are regularly launched by third parties on social media, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, so it’s always good to keep your eyes peeled.
What About the 44 Day Shopify Trial?
Many marketers promoted Shopify’s 44-day trial at one point, which was supposed to be a clever way to extend the 14 day trial. Simply put, there was a time when Shopify used to offer a 30 day refund policy.
You could pay via your credit card for a month after your 14 day trial ended, and then claim a refund later on if you weren’t satisfied with the platform’s backend or performance.
However, Shopify’s Terms of Service were updated last year, including their refund policy. As of today, Shopify does not offer any refunds to its customers and all payments are processed in advance.
The Mythical 60 Day Shopify Trial – Exclusive to Partners
Shopify went on an extensive promotional campaign back in 2019, offering trials of varying lengths via exclusive partners. These promotional offers were marketed through custom landing pages created by their partners, which included email marketing providers and third-party payment gateways as well.
This allowed Shopify’s partners to offer trials of up to 60 days to interested customers. These promotional offers weren’t actively marketed to broad audiences; they were primarily shared with localized audiences and high-paying customers.
Shopify Partners get quite a few perks. For instance, they can create a development store to test new features, templates, and options, or they can even create stores for their clients. It’s a nifty way to generate recurring revenues from clients.
Is the Shopify 90-Day Trial Still Valid?
A few months after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Shopify 90-day trial was launched. This extended trial was available to development store owners as well as new merchants who signed up for a Shopify account.
This was actually a pretty good move on the company’s part. Small business owners, especially brick and mortar stores, faced quite a few challenges in moving their businesses online at the height of the pandemic.
An extended trial, especially one that didn’t require them to buy third-party gift cards or even input their credit card information, was very well-received.
The company ended their extended trial on the 1st of June, reverting back to their conventional 14-day trial period.
Why The Need for an Extended Trial Period?
Ecommerce store owners will probably understand that 14 days is hardly enough time to really put a platform through its paces. In fact, many ecommerce store owners who sign up for Shopify will spend a long time just going through the FAQs to understand their payment terms, APIs, and other technical details.
And then, there are the integrations. Shopify is a behemoth in the ecommerce industry, and it’s renowned for its ease of use. For instance, if you are switching to Shopify from a self-hosted platform, you will want an extended trial period to figure out the differences in store performance.
The Shopify marketplace is perhaps one of the best things about the platform. It allows you to install third-party apps on your store’s backend to optimize its performance.
Depending on the nature of your business, these integrations can help you sell digital and physical goods, create engaging upsells and offer recommendations, or get reviews from customers to share online.
There are more than 3,200 apps on the Shopify App store currently. It’s impossible for a person new to the platform to identify appropriate apps and set them up to maximize their store performance.
A 30 or 60 day trial period gives you just enough time to try out a few apps, check Shopify’s basic functionality, and find a pricing plan that best works for your needs. Some might find the 14 day trial period good enough for their needs, but it may cause a problem for established ecommerce stores looking to migrate their stores on Shopify.
How to Cancel Your Shopify Free Trial
If you are not satisfied with Shopify’s features or feel that a self-hosted platform is the best for your business needs, cancelling Shopify’s free trial is incredibly easy.
Just don’t take any action, and Shopify will eventually freeze your store. They won’t charge you for anything as your trial expires. Eventually, your Shopify account will be canceled, along with your store.
What’s the Best Way to Test Shopify’s Features for a Longer Period?
If you want to test out Shopify’s features for the longer term, you need to sign on with a Shopify partner. Merchants usually require help from Shopify Partners in setting up their stores, but what you are looking for is a development store.
Essentially, a Shopify partner can launch a store for you in “development mode,” allowing you to test out as many features, themes, and apps that you want before you launch your store.
Obviously, this isn’t free; you will have to pay the partner for their services. However, you won’t be paying a monthly fee to Shopify for testing out a store on their platform.
Once you have run as many tests as you want and are satisfied with the platform, you can decide on a pricing plan. Then, you can decide whether you want the partner’s services, or if you’d like to work on your store by yourself.
Of course, you can always seek assistance from a partner anytime you want.
Will Things Change in the Future?
Shopify has a habit of changing its promotions based on current events. At the moment, the platform is experiencing a rapid increase in demand. Businesses across the globe are scrambling to set up an online presence, and there’s hardly a better hosted platform than Shopify.
The 14 day trial is the only option available right now – but that can change. The company also launches free trials in specific geographical locations, so keep checking Shopify’s website. Ideally though, if you don’t want to waste any time, sign up with a Shopify partner.
Shopify is one of the best platforms for ecommerce businesses, and you can easily launch a fantastic business on the platform. Of course, launching your store is just the first step. You also need to know how to market your goods and services the right way. It’s best to start learning key marketing tactics from the top online stores so that you can improve your sales!