Shopify Free Trial Limitations: A Guide to Getting Started

Shopify is an innovative e-commerce software that helps business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs create online stores. It’s a great platform for anyone who wants to start an e-commerce business but needs guidance and infrastructure or for established vendors who are looking for an easy, streamlined software to help run their business more efficiently.

Shopify offers a free trial to anyone interested in trying out the software before committing to a monthly plan.

During this period, users can build a site and import products. However, there are limitations to what can be done during a Shopify free trial. Although shoppers can visit your site, no one will be able to purchase any of the products listed and the store will remain dormant until you commit to a monthly plan.

How long is a Shopify free trial?

Previously the Shopify free trial was only 14 days, but they’ve recently extended it to 90 days. 

The free trial period is meant to give prospective buyers a chance to understand the software capabilities and decide whether they are interested in building an e-commerce store.

90 days gives users ample time to try out the software and begin assembling a store if they have an idea in mind.

Features available during a Shopify free trial

Although some of the features Shopify offers are irrelevant during the trial, many are still usable.

You can set up a Shopify domain and start creating a site. You can browse through themes and import any branding you may have already developed.

You can create pages and menus. You can upload any blog content you’d like, plus graphics or videos that you may have created to advertise your brand.

You are free to import products and create pages, just as you would if the store was live. You can import images and create product descriptions. You can organize your inventory into collections or categories and arrange the products on-site how you see fit.

If you are planning on drop shipping, you can upload apps like Oberlo, and search for products on Alibaba to sell in your store. If you are planning on selling your own products or products from a partnering manufacturer, you can configure the site in whatever way necessary to connect the supply chain.

The free trial lets you access any features available on Shopify that don’t depend on sales being made. It doesn’t make much sense to start selling products if you cannot commit to a subscription. The free trial is intended to give interested parties a taste of the interface and the features Shopify offers, without giving up the function that makes the site innovative and profitable.

Limitations of a Shopify free trial  

Making Sales

During the free trial, vendors can’t make sales on a site. Pricing plans can be adjusted or canceled at any time, so if you’re serious about starting an online store, you’ll have to make a temporary commitment.

Making sales is integral because it fuels many of the other features that make Shopify innovative. Without the ability to sell products, collect data and manage inventory, Shopify is essentially just a webpage builder like WordPress or Square Space (yet these sites have features that are better optimized for building non-e-commerce websites more efficiently).

A Shopify free trial is great for those who are looking to get more familiar with the software and see what it has to offer. But if you are serious about getting started selling online, there isn’t much you can do until you commit to a subscription.

Gathering Data

Another great feature Shopify offers is the ability to gather data and analytics to help make decisions about how to grow your business.

Although you are free to explore the analytics tools and see how they work during the free trial, they won’t be much use to you until you’re getting traffic on your site and making sales.

You’ll be able to see basic information, like how many people (if any) have visited the store, but without sales data, this feature isn’t all that helpful.

A big part of being a digital entrepreneur is experimentation. Shopify is a helpful tool because it gives business owners a lab to work in. It also collects the information necessary to guide testing in a positive direction.

Withholding the ability to sell also limits your ability to collect data. Without data, it won’t be easy to grow your business. So, one of the major limitations of the free trial is the ability to test your products and monitor the response of the market.

Advertising Content and Products 

One of the biggest reasons Shopify is so popular is because it seamlessly integrates with other complementary apps and software.

You can easily embed products on your WordPress site or import a Facebook pixel into your shop to collect data and run retargeted ads.

However, none of these features are useful until your site is live. During the free trial, you are free to play around with some of the associated apps and web products. However, you won’t get the most out of any of these features until you’re able to make sates and collect analytics.

Nothing is stopping you from running a Facebook Ad for a store that is still under a free trial. However, without any data to use for retargeting or products to sell, you’ll only be losing money.

Also, Shopify won’t let you purchase a custom domain until you choose a pricing plan. So instead of 123Products.com, your store will be called 123Products.myshopify.com. Although it’s possible to advertise this domain and get customers, it’s much easier to advertise your business without the Shopify watermark.

Overall, the Shopify free trail is great for getting acquainted with the software and figuring out what is possible. It allows you to get acquainted with the dashboard and learn how to import products and collect data. But if you’re serious about running an online store, you’ll have to commit to a payment plan before you’ll be able to do any serious business.

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