Shopify Lite Review: How It Works and When You Should Be Using It

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Editor's note (July 2022):

Shopify has transitioned its Shopify Lite plan to something called [Shopify Starter]. Many of the previous features remain, but you can expect some wonderful changes, like a drop in price from $9 per month to $5 per month. In addition, Starter members receive tools to monetize a link in social media bios. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read our Shopify Starter review.

Other features for the Shopify Starter plan include selling on social media sites like WhatsApp and Instagram, along with analytics, customer support, and order management. Itโ€™s not anything like the regular ecommerce platform plans (you donโ€™t get a full website with checkout functionality), but Shopify Starter provides an incredibly inexpensive way for creators, bloggers, and smaller stores to sell products on their already existing sites. Or, you could simply use the Starter plan to sell on social networks, without building your own online store at all. 

We encourage you to check out our Shopify Starter plan review, as that explains the differences between Shopify Starter and the now retired Shopify Lite plan explained in this article. 

Try Shopify with $1 per month for the first 3 months!

Shopify has begun offering a special deal for sellers who sign up for a new Shopify plan. That deal? Pay Shopify $1/month for 3 months of full access to the platform!

This offer is is now available on all standard plans: Starter, Basic, Shopify, and Advanced.

The Shopify Lite plan is not only inexpensive, but it allows you to create a simple ecommerce store within minutes. That sounds like a pretty great deal, right? Well, it depends on the situation. For most online stores I'd recommend some of the regular Shopify pricing plans, considering you receive a full online store and shopping cart, and the features are far more robust for scaling up.

However, at $9 per month, it's tempting to look at Shopify Lite and think about implementing it for your own store. And for some businesses, it may be the perfect solution for selling products online. In this Shopify Lite review, we'll talk about how the cheapest Shopify plan works and when you should be using it.

Not only that, but we'll go deeper into what benefits the Shopify Lite plan can have for your business and maybe if you should consider using Shopify Lite for one side of your business–alongside a regular Shopify pricing plan for another side.

With all ecommerce platforms, you often have to sift through the mess of features being thrown at you. Luckily, Shopify is pretty good at keeping the details straightforward and ensuring you get the most for your money. However, many people get confused by the Shopify Lite plan, so keep reading to learn more about why it might, or might not, be right for you.

Just before you start though, you might want to take a look at our Shopify reviews and Shopify Pricing guide.

Shopify Lite At a Glance

As mentioned before, the Shopify Lite plan sells for $9 per month. It's the cheapest solution you can find at Shopify and also undercuts some of the many other ecommerce platforms on the market. The next step up in the Shopify pricing hierarchy is the Basic Shopify plan, which goes for $29 per month.

The main difference between Shopify Lite and the other plans is that you're not getting a full online store with a shopping cart. Therefore, you can't technically build a home for your brand in Shopify.

Rather, the Shopify Lite plan integrates with an already existent website or social media page. For instance, if you're running a blog on WordPress and decide to start selling some custom-made items, the Shopify Lite plan would allow you to keep that same blog and integrate some products to sell on that site.

Whereas a regular Shopify store (like with the Basic Shopify plan) would force you to create a completely separate website in addition to that blog.

Social Media Selling

One reason you may consider the Shopify Lite plan is if you're only trying to sell on Facebook, and nothing else. The same goes for those who maybe have a pre-existent blog and want to sell on both the blog and Facebook.

With Shopify Lite, a fully integrated Facebook store is provided to you. Therefore, you can advertise on Facebook and lead people to that store. They don't have to leave Facebook to make a purchase, cutting down on the number of steps to make a sale.

The store merges with your current Facebook Business page since it adds a Shop tab on the page and allows for product galleries and your own shopping cart inside Facebook.

What's cool about this feature is that all of the products already in your Shopify Lite plan can be synced to the Facebook store. There's no need to upload products multiple times, so you only have to work from the Shopify dashboard and not worry much about what's going on Facebook.  Each of your products syncs consistently with your Shopify account. So if you make a change to a product image, price, or description, it's reflected in the Facebook store as well.

What's more is that the Shopify Facebook integration includes a beautiful checkout module, right inside of Facebook. The buying is secure, and they won't have to jump to your website–which often causes a bit of a shock and may convince people to not buy from your store. Customers also have the option to save their contact and payment info inside Facebook. This way, they can purchase more items from you in the future without punching in the same info all the time.

Overall, this is a solid, customizable Facebook store with syncing tools included. Some companies like to start by selling exclusively on Facebook. So, it makes sense to go with Shopify Lite if you're in that boat. The same can be said for those who have a blog and Facebook page. There's no reason to pay for a full Shopify website unless you plan on selling hundreds of products.

Quick break โ€“ did you read out in-depth Shopify reviews yet? If you want to try Shopify you can sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Better Customer Support Through Facebook Messenger With The Shopify Lite Plan

Since much of the Shopify Lite plan involves selling on Facebook, it makes sense that customer support is completed through Facebook as well. Therefore, you not only receive the integrated Facebook store, but you get a live chat module powered by the Facebook Messenger app.

If you've used the Facebook Messenger app, you know that it's a solid tool for chatting with friends without leaving Facebook. For business, it has excellent functionality for customers to contact you with quick questions and receive relevant responses with the help of automated product information.

As an example, a customer might see that you're selling a bicycle on your Facebook page. She has some questions about how it compares to one of your other bikes.

Facebook Messenger sends you a notification when a message like this comes through. You can take the Facebook Messenger app anywhere, so you can technically run your support side of the business without hiring too many people.

The Messenger app lets you reply with any information you have on hand, then you can also send out product information from your online store. What's great about these little information modules is that they have call-to-action buttons for viewing online, purchasing, reading descriptions, and more.

Once the chat conversation is over, the customer has the opportunity to buy the product right from the Facebook Messenger chat box.

shopify lite plan facebook messenger

And…saving the best for last: Facebook Messenger will send out shipping updates, tracking codes, and a View Order button for your customers to see exactly when they can expect to receive the product. It's all done in the Facebook Messenger app, so your customers can shop from a comfortable place like Facebook.

Shopify Lite Review: It's For Previously Built Websites

Besides Facebook selling, the Shopify Buy button is the main feature from Shopify Lite. This area of the plan provides embeddable modules for products and collections. You can also embed a shopping cart and customize each module for your brand.

Essentially, the Buy button should be used when you already have a successful, branded website. I also like it for companies that want to have the online store as more of a side revenue.

You're basically saying, “I don't want to build a completely new website, yet I'd like to sell some products on the site I currently have.”

And that's awesome! Shopify Lite lets you upload your products and embed the Buy buttons, with product information, into your website. Therefore, a travel blogger can sell hiking boots, custom printed shirts, and canvas art, all from the same blog. A hardware store with a website could test out the ecommerce world by selling a certain number of products from the existing site.

Shopify Lite Review: It's For Accepting Credit Cards On-the-go

Shopify Lite plan - pos card reader

If you'd like to sell your product in-person, Shopify Lite might be a good solution for you. There are many options for selling in the real world–like Stripe, PayPal, and Square. However, Shopify Lite opens up the opportunity to sell offline and online.

In short, you get the functionality needed for an online store, as well as a card swiper (for free!)

This makes sense for companies going to trade or craft shows since you're probably selling online at some point and also trying to make some money on the road.

What's great is that your inventory is tracked across all channels, and you can sync products directly from your Shopify store. It also lets you process any form of payment, apply discounts, customize taxes, and process refunds.

Shopify Lite Review: It's For Sending Invoices

The final reason you would think about Shopify Lite is if your company mainly processes wholesale, phone, or custom orders. This is an affordable plan for sending out invoices and accepting payment from customers without any problems.

The process involves writing up a custom invoice. It then gets sent to the customer, who then makes the payment through the Shopify shopping cart. It's not much different from other invoicing tools, but with Shopify Lite you also get the extra tools for selling online, Facebook, and offline. Therefore, you have more options for bringing in money.

Is The Shopify Lite Plan Right for You?

There are a few reasons you might go with the Shopify Lite plan.

  • The first is if you run a site and want to start selling some products on there–without making a completely new website.
  • The second is for those who want to sell products through Facebook with the help of a live chat module.
  • The third is for those who want to sell offline.
  • The fourth is for sending out invoices.

Overall, the Shopify Lite plan makes sense in certain situations. If you have any questions about this Shopify Lite review, let us know in the comments.

Shopify Lite
Rating: 4.5 - Review by

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a Chicago-based writer who focuses on eCommerce tools, WordPress, and social media. When not fishing or practicing yoga, he's collecting stamps at national parks (even though that's mainly for children). Check out Joe's portfolio to contact him and view past work.

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