Shopify Starter Plan Review: Is This New $5/mo Plan Right For You? (2024)

Are you ready to bring your business idea to life and start selling like a pro? Look no further than Shopify's Starter Plan – the perfect choice for eCommerce beginners! 

With its affordable pricing and user-friendly platform, Shopify has everything you need to launch your online store in no time. 

In this article, we'll dive deep into Shopify's Starter Plan and explore its amazing features, pricing, and benefits, so you can make an informed decision for your business. 

Whether you're a social media influencer launching a new business or just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, Shopify's Starter Plan is an excellent choice to help get your business off the ground.

What is the Shopify Starter Plan?

The Shopify Starter plan is an ecommerce plan from Shopify that is specifically designed for beginners. 

Dubbed as "Selling for starters," it offers an easy and affordable way for users to sell products online without the need for complex tools, exorbitant pricing, or even their own website.

Taking over from Shopify Lite as the most basic version of the platform, Shopify’s Starter Plan is an affordable option at just $5 per month, providing online merchants with a simple and hassle-free way to add eCommerce functionality to their website or start selling via social media.

It's an excellent choice for those who wish to sell their products on various social media platforms, via email, SMS, or WhatsApp, or any other platform that allows sharing product links. 

One of the most significant advantages of the Starter Plan is its user-friendly checkout process, which is of high quality and efficient. 

Another major benefit is that it requires minimal setup time and effort. Additionally, the Starter Plan is optimized for mobile devices, ensuring that your customers can purchase your products on the go, at any time and from any location.

📝Editors Note: Upgrade your Shopify Starter plan with ReConvert

One of the drawbacks of the Shopify Starter plan is it's limited selection of apps and plugins. ReConvert seamlessly integrates with Shopify Starter so you can add powerful upsells & cross-sells to your store. This means you'll maximize the value of every sale and take home more profits! Try ReConvert completely free for 30-days on your Shopify starter plan today & see how much money you can make!

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How Much Does the Shopify Starter Cost?

Shopify's Starter Plan comes at an incredibly affordable price of just $5 per month.

Unlike other plans, there are no hidden charges or upgrade options to worry about. It's a simple and affordable way to add ecommerce functionality to your website or to sell on social media. 

That said, pricing can vary based on your location, so check out the Starter Plan homepage if you're living outside of the US to get the most up to date rates.

The Starter Plan used to be known as Shopify Lite, which was priced at $9 per month. However, over the years, Shopify has made the plan even cheaper and added more features to help merchants sell online. 

Although it's not a complete online store, the Starter Plan is a straightforward way to add products to your existing website or blog without using a full website builder.

At the time of writing, you can try out Shopify Starter for 14 days to see if it's right for you. During the trial, you have access to all the Starter Plan features without any limitations (except for payment processing with a payment gateway). 

This allows you to upload products and test out how the product pages and Buy buttons work on your social media channels or current website. After the free trial lapses, you'll need to pay for the $5 per month plan to continue customizing and processing payments.

One thing to keep in mind is that payment processing through Shopify Starter requires a percentage fee for every transaction, and it's a flat 5% per transaction processed through Shopify Payments. 

So for example, if you sell $1000 in a given month, Shopify will take $50 in processing fees, on top of your $5/mo subscription fee, leaving you with $945 in revenue after fees.

While this is a standard rate that beats much of the competition, it's still higher than the rates for the Basic, Shopify, or Advanced plans. The Basic plan, for example, starts with a credit card rate of 2.9%+$0.30. But the upside is that you don't have to pay the 5% fee until you make a sale.

In short, if you’re looking to build a store without breaking the bank, the Shopify Starter Plan is one of the best options to do so. You’ll be hard pressed to find an eCommerce solution that delivers as much for the price.

Who is the Shopify Starter Plan For?

Due to its lightweight nature, Shopify’s starter plan isn’t the best choice for all merchants.

If you’re a fast growing store, it’s definitely worth upgrading to Shopify’s basic plan where you can take advantage of features like abandoned cart recovery and custom domain support.

However there are instances where Shopify Starter is the best choice. For example if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have an existing website on a platform like Wix or Squarespace and want to add eCommerce functionality to it
  • You’re only planning on selling a small inventory of products - for example, you might want to release one eBook or coaching package to your Instagram audience
  • You only want to sell via social media - Shopify Starter lets you monetize your social following without the need to build or manage a full online store via channels like Facebook & WhatsApp

Ultimately, the Shopify Starter Plan provides a simple way to add ecommerce functionality to your online presence without the need for a full website builder. You can get started in just a few clicks as long as you have product images.

If you're looking to quickly grow your online store or need more advanced features, then the Basic plan may be a better fit. But if you're exploring your merchandising options, Shopify Starter is definitely worth considering.

What Features Does the Shopify Starter Plan Have?

Let’s dive into the features of the Shopify Starter Plan and learn what you can use it for. As a general overview, here’s what you can expect for your $5/mo subscription:

  • Shopify’s Linkpop tool, which allows for monetization of all bio links on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter
  • A customizable checkout page linked directly to social for maximum conversions. Customers can see your product and buy it in seconds with one-click.
  • A digital shopping cart that allows customers to add multiple items to their cart and complete their purchases in one transaction
  • A secure and speedy checkout system, complete with a built-in SSL certificate. 
  • A customizable contact page to facilitate communication with customers
  • A Shopify Inbox that streamlines customer communications and order management
  • Order management tools to help you stay organized and on top of your business
  • Access to Shopify's fulfillment network for warehousing, packing, and shipping to customers, as well as enjoy improved shipping rates.

One thing to note is that unlike a regular Shopify plan, the checkout process occurs on a Shopify subdomain, rather than a custom domain with a branded shopping cart. It’s not a huge detail, but just something to be aware of if you’d like to manage everything on your own domain.

With that in mind, let’s go more in-depth into the most powerful Shopify Starter Plan features, so you can decide if it’s the right choice for your business.

1. Sell Directly on Social

One of the biggest benefits of the Shopify starter plan is that it allows you to sell directly on social media, without the need to build out a full website.

With Shopify starter, you can upload product images, add slick descriptions, set pricing in the backend and then sell those products anywhere online. All while managing your inventory and order processing.

You can use the Shopify Starter Plan to sell merchandise to your audience like Colin & Samir

For this reason it’s likely to appeal to influencers, bloggers and other small businesses with a social audience who want to sell on their Instagram page, or personal website, without the need for building and managing a fully fledged eCommerce store.

2. Leverage Multiple Monetized Links in Your Social Bios

The problem with Instagram (and other social media platforms) is that they only allow users to place one link in their bio.

This makes it difficult to achieve different conversion goals. For example, maybe you wrote a blog post that you want to promote to your audience. At the same time, you might be running a sale on your digital product.

One link makes it difficult for different segments (blog readers vs shoppers) to achieve their goals - and creates an unsatisfactory experience for half of your audience.

However one of the best features of the Shopify Starter Plan is that the plan gives you access to ‘Linkpop’ - Shopify’s new tool for adding multiple links to your bio.

With Linkpop, your ‘link in bio’ redirects users to a customizable landing page where they can click on multiple links based on their goal. Here you can add links to your website, an affiliate link to a product or promote your own products for visitors to buy in a few taps on their phone.

The page is fully optimized for an amazing mobile experience and supports multiple types of media so you can promote all of your products, offers and content - from podcasts to bundle deals and everything in between.

3. Communicate with Customers on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp

Carrying on the theme of social selling - another amazing feature of the Shopify Starter Plan is that it integrates with popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger so you can manage customer service from your phone.

This is an awesome feature - as more and more people turn to social media and instant messaging for customer support - it’s amazing to see Shopify include this. Many chat apps like this are themselves priced above $5/mo - which makes it impressive that users get flawless functionality out of the box.

4. Super Simple Order Management & Sales Data

For first time merchants - order and inventory management can be very intimidating. With Shopify Starter, you get a stripped back dashboard that looks like and feels like Shopify’s typical experience.

However, dig down a bit and you realize that most of the more advanced inventory and order management features are removed. You process orders in much the same way as on the standard plan, but you can't, for instance, automate repetitive tasks across your workflow like you can on higher plans.

On the sales analytics font, we were pleasantly surprised to see several useful features. Shopify makes it easy to understand how your store is performing and gives a solid overview of your key performance indicators.

One feature we really loved is the data Shopify Starter gives on you on individual products. You can quickly understand which products your customers are loving, and which products aren’t selling. You can also see your busiest times, how products perform against each other, as well as the growth/decline in your sales over time.

Overall, the Shopify Starter plan makes it easy to process customer orders while giving you basic, but useful, information that will help you refine your marketing strategy and drive more sales. It’s a nice introduction to the backend of an eCommerce store, that’ll let you get your hands dirty, but won’t overwhelm you.

5. Access to Shopify Fulfillment Network

The last feature we loved was that the Shopify Starter Plan gives you access to Shopify’s fulfillment network. Shopify fulfillment network is similar to Amazon FBA - in that you send your products to a Shopify warehouse. From there, they’ll manage your fulfillment, shipping and returns. Shopify Starter Plan Vs Shopify Basic

This is an especially useful feature for the likes of content creators who want to launch a merchandise line. Because as any eCommerce entrepreneur will tell you - managing order fulfillment in the beginning yourself can be a very painful process. While there’s only one fulfillment option available to Starter Plan users, it’s nice to see it included in the mix.

6. Upsells & Cross-sells with ReConvert

Upselling and cross-selling are about offering shoppers additional products that complement their initial order.

So for example, let’s say you’re selling running shoes. You can offer your customer a pair of running socks. 

This generates more revenue for your store and also creates a better experience for your customers.

Some more examples of upsells & cross-sells are:

  • Classic upsell: Suggest a premium laptop with better features and performance for laptop shoppers
  • Recommended products cross-sell: Suggest camera accessories like lenses, tripods, or camera bags to camera shoppers
  • Service upsell: Offering shipping insurance at checkout for expensive goods
  • Subscription upsell: Upselling make-up shoppers to a monthly refill subscription

On the Shopify Starter Plan, ReConvert is the only app available to help you upsell and cross-sell effectively.

Upselling and cross-selling help you maximize revenue. And in a world where the cost of getting customers is rising, it’s an essential strategy to leverage in your Shopify starter store.

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Shopify Starter Plan Vs Shopify Basic

One question you might be asking yourself is “Should I choose Shopify’s starter plan or Shopify’s Basic Plan?” The Basic plan offers a plethora of features that you don’t get on the Starter plan. So, let’s try and help you decide which is best for you and your goals by looking at both from a cost and features perspective.

Cost

The Starter plan is Shopify’s cheapest plan at just $5/mo, while the Basic Plan will set you back $29/mo. While the Basic Plan probably won’t break the bank, it is significantly more expensive when considered over time ($348/year vs $60/year). 

On top of that, you’ll probably add a few Shopify apps to your Basic Plan store - which will likely bring your yearly outlay closer to $400/year.

That said, the transaction fees on Shopify Starter are significantly higher than on the Basic Plan. All transactions on the Starter Plan carry a 5% flat rate fee. On the Basic Plan, the transaction fee drops to 2.9% + 30c/transaction.

So for example, let’s say you make 5,000 sales in a year to the value of $50,000. On the Starter Plan, you’d pay the flat rate of $2,500 in processing fees. Compare this to the Basic Plan, where you’d pay $1,450 in fees, plus $0.30 per order, coming to a total of $1,600.

In this instance, even when we add in our estimated Shopify Basic subscription fee of $400 per year, we’re still saving over $500 on fees compared to Shopify Starter over the course of the year.

So, in summary, if you’re planning on selling at scale, the Basic plan is a far better choice from a financial perspective (and a features perspective too). 

However, if you’re just getting started, or only plan to sell a modest amount of products (say, below $10,000/ year) then the Starter Plan is a solid, low-cost, low-risk choice to consider. Plus, you can always upgrade from it later, should it make sense.

Features

The Shopify Starter plan is limited in terms of features. To start selling, all you need to do is activate your checkout in a couple of clicks, add product images and descriptions and you’re good to go.

However, unlike Shopify Basic, the Shopify Starter plan doesn't offer a full-fledged ecommerce website. Instead, it provides core sales functionality such as payment processing and inventory management. This makes it a great option for anyone who doesn't need a full website but still wants to start selling their products online.

For instance, with Shopify Starter, you can easily create a simple online store and start selling through social media platforms and messaging apps like Facebook Shop or Messenger. Plus, the plan allows you to share your products through SMS, email, and any other platform you can think of, giving you maximum flexibility to reach your customers wherever they may be.

On the other hand, If you're looking for an ecommerce website, you should opt for the Shopify Basic plan, or upgrade to Shopify Regular or Shopify Advanced.

If you need features like staff accounts, advanced reporting, and selling in multiple markets then Shopify Basic is the right choice for you - as long as your store doesn't make more than $16,333 in sales. 

Because, as discussed above,  if your sales exceed this amount, the 0.3% transaction fee difference between Shopify Basic and Shopify Regular means that upgrading to Regular would save you money!

So, Which Plan is Right For You?

Although more expensive up front, we think the Basic Plan offers better value for your money. With Basic, you’re getting a boatload of features at a relatively low price. The plan comes with enough advanced features that you could theoretically build a multi million dollar business on the basic plan alone without ever upgrading to a higher plan. (not that we’d recommend that!)

On the other hand, if $29/mo seems a little too steep for you at the moment, or you don’t need more advanced features, then Starter is a great choice for you. You can build a functional storefront in a couple of clicks and It’s a good way to familiarize yourself with eCommerce and make your first few sales. Starter is especially worth considering if you’re a creator who wants to start selling some of your work to your followers on social or via your own existing website.

Shopify Starter Plan Review: The Wrap Up

In conclusion, Shopify Starter is an excellent choice for merchants who want to start selling online without the need for a full-fledged ecommerce website. The plan offers core sales functionalities, such as the ability to take payments and manage inventory, and allows merchants to sell through social media platforms and messaging apps.

When choosing the right Shopify plan for your business, it's essential to evaluate your needs and take into account the available features. If you require a simple online store to sell products via social media and messaging apps, then Shopify Starter may be the right option for you.

It's also worth noting that you can always upgrade to a higher Shopify pricing plan in the future as their business grows.

Overall, Shopify Starter is a great way for merchants to start selling online quickly and easily. By providing essential sales functionalities and an intuitive interface, the plan offers an ideal starting point for new businesses and entrepreneurs looking to enter the ecommerce space.

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