Shopify vs. Shopify Lite: Tips from a Shopify Web Designer

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I’m a teacher-turned-designer with a penchant for pour-over coffee and a moderate obsession with fonts. I live to bring beautiful, strategic brands and websites to life for female business owners doing big things.

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Shopify’s such a great platform for online retailers. It makes selling, shipping, and processing payments simple and has endless layout options for every unique brand. Once you’ve chosen Shopify to create the virtual storefront for your online business, the challenge is picking a plan. As a Shopify web designer, I’ve seen the perks and challenges with Shopify’s Basic plan and Shopify Lite. I can tell you what’s what!

Let’s take a look at choosing Shopify Basic vs. Shopify Lite.

Shopify Lite is Great if You’re Just Getting Started

Shopify knows that e-commerce entrepreneurs invest a lot of resources into launching their websites. So, they rolled out Shopify Lite as a wallet-friendly, more affordable option. It gives you the basics you need to get going, including selling products on your existing site/blog with a “Buy” button, selling products on Facebook (and Messenger), and selling in person with a handy Point-of-Sale app.

It’s Designed for Quick Sales

Shopify Lite was built to help growing e-commerce businesses get sales in the door. Instead of requiring shoppers to go through link after link, it was designed to require the least possible number of clicks to take customers from shopping to paying and checking out. With Shopify Lite, it’s all about selling products fast.

You Can Add Shopify Lite to Your Current Site

You might not be ready to hire a Shopify web designer and launch a new website. In that case, Shopify Lite is a nice plan if you don’t need an entire website and store, but want to add products to the site you’ve got. This is great if you want to keep web traffic flowing to your current site and introduce your shop to your audience. 

Shopify Lite is for Small Shops vs. Full Stores

Not everyone who wants to sell products online is looking to build out a whole e-commerce store. If you’re a blogger or influencer who is starting with just one or a few products, or if you’d just like to add a couple of items for sale through your Facebook page, Shopify Lite might be just what you need. Adding a simple shopping cart to your site makes it easy to start selling products without going all-in with a new online store.

Learn how to choose between Shopify Basic and Shopify Lite from Shopify Web Designer, Taylor Anne Creative

Shopify Lite is Perfect for Lower Sales Volumes

Shopify Lite is probably perfect for you if your online store is in its early stages. While there’s a low monthly payment of $9, there are other costs associated with your online sales. As in, 2.9%+$.30 for online sales; 2.7% for in-person sales; and a 2% fee if you use anyone but Shopify Payments (like PayPal). If your sales volume is on the smaller side, those fees shouldn’t hurt too badly. 

Also included in the Shopify Lite plan are tools like discount coupons, sales analytics, and customer tracking and invoicing. Pretty sweet, right?

Why You Might Not Want to Go With Shopify Lite

Shopify Lite is great for new businesses or those launching a small product inventory. But, there are a few reasons it might not be the best Shopify plan for your business. 

You Want to Create a Full Site with a Shopify Web Designer

Shopify Lite does not give you access to Shopify’s website builder. You’re only able to add your shop to an existing website or blog (Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace). This is great if you already have a site, especially one you’re happy with. And if embedding a “Buy” button is all you really are looking to do, Shopify Lite is your solution.

But if you’re looking to make a splash with a new site and store, and to create a beautiful e-commerce experience for your customers, you won’t get that with Shopify Lite. 

You Miss Out on Instagram Sales

Instagram has become a hotspot for bloggers, influencers, and service providers over the past several years. And if you fall into one of those professions, you’re probably going to want to sell your product to your Instagram followers… Right? 

A mobile Shopify shop is displayed on a cell phone

The challenge with Shopify Lite for Instagram-focused businesses is that you can’t sell products directly on the social media platform. While Shopify Lite lets you sell on Facebook and in Messenger, it doesn’t have that functionality with Instagram. You can tell your followers all about what you’re selling, but without an Instagram integration, you’ve gotta direct them out of the platform if they want to make a purchase. 

Not the end of the world, but the fewer clicks the better when it comes to online sales.

Shopify Lite Doesn’t Offer Customer Support

If you’re not ready to launch a full store, you might also be doing a lot of this website business on your own. Without a Shopify web designer building everything out for you, I’m betting you’re going to rely heavily on online tutorials and the occasional “Mayday!” call to Customer Service.

With Shopify Lite, you don’t have the ability to call Shopify support. You can email their team and use their chat support feature when problems arise. But, if you’re someone who needs to talk through a question or issue with a real person on the other end of the line, just know you won’t get that opportunity with Shopify Lite.

What Does Shopify’s Basic Plan Have That Shopify Lite Doesn’t?

Does my mention of needing a new site and store have you saying, “That’s me?” Then Shopify’s Basic plan is going to be a better choice for your new e-commerce store.

Shopify’s Basic plan has all of Shopify Lite’s features and so much more. The Basic Plan gives you the ability to design a brand new custom website, utilize a beneficial Instagram integration, and ask for help with customer support calls. Yup, all the things Shop[ify Lite is missing.

Shopify’s Basic plan also lets you sell unlimited products, access free hosting and SSL certificates (normally $$$), the ability to coordinate your inventory with retail locations, use 3rd party shipping rate integrations, and access lots of other helpful apps and features.

As a Shopify web designer, I’m also very familiar with a lot of themes for your Shopify Basic site: the paid ones and the free ones. The nice thing is, there are so many themes out there to choose from that you can customize. So, you have lots of options at your fingertips. 

A desktop computer displaying a Shopify store designed by Shopify Web Designer Taylor Anne Creative.

Like Shopify LIte, your online sale fees can rack up depending on your sales volume. But, if you use Shopify Payments, they’re pretty reasonable.

The Shopify Basic plan is also only  $29/month, a hike up from Shopify Lite’s $9/month rate. But if you have a bigger store and your business is getting to be well-established and successful, that pricing is very manageable. And, definitely worth its features.

Ready to Work With a Shopify Web Designer?

If you want to launch a beautiful new site for your business and a professionally-designed store for it, I’m your girl. My Brand & Website Design services will give you a website you can proudly share, and that will have customers ready to shop!

The pros and cons of using Shopify Basic or Shopify Lite, from Shopify Web Designer, Taylor Anne Creative

Looking for more Shopify resources? You can find all of our Shopify blog posts here.

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