Shopify is probably the best e-commerce platform when it comes to D2C business. Obviously, it’s a paid service that starts at $29 per month. But you can also use it for free as a time-limited trial. In this article, we’ll explain step-by-step how to sign up for a free trial and create your own online store.
As of now, Shopify offers only a single trial length which is set to 14 days. The only period when Shopify offered 90 days was during the COVID-19 pandemic from October to June 2020. The goal was to help people to take their businesses online but the offer is no longer valid.
As Shopify staff member said:
“In March, we introduced 90 day free trials as a temporary relief effort to help businesses get online during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 1, this offer ended and we’ve returned to our standard 14-day free trial.”
Besides the 14 and 90 day trials, there were also some custom length trials including 21-day, 30-day, and 60-day free trials. But as far as we know, these are no longer available either.
How to sign up for a free Shopify trial
Step 1 – To enroll in a free trial plan, simply go to www.shopify.com/free-trial and enter your e-mail. Then confirm by clicking the “Start free trial” button.
Step 2 – In the next step, add your password and store name. Then confirm by clicking the “Create your store” button. The store name will be used to access the store on the Internet. The URL will look like store-name.myshopify.com but you can also change the link later by adding a custom domain.
Step 3 – In the third step you can fill in a short survey about yourself but you can simply skip it by clicking the “Skip” button. There is no penalty for skipping it so feel free to do so.
Step 4 – In the next step, you will be asked to enter your business address. If you are not sure yet, simply add some dummy data as you can always update it later. Once done click the “Enter my store” button.
Step 5 – Now you should be redirected to your own store. Congratulations! You can now start by adding products, choosing the store theme, and installing some of the apps.
By default, you will have 14 days of the free trial. During this period you can run the business without any limitations and generating your first sales.
3-minute video guide from Shopify
How to activate the trial
In order to activate the trial, you need to select one of the paid plans. You have basically three options.
- Basic Shopify for $29 / month – Gives you everything you need to run a successful online store including multi-currency and global payment methods. The only major drawback is a high transaction fee of 2.0%
- (Standard) Shopify for $79 / month – Basically same as Basic Shopify plan with advanced reporting tools, 2 store languages, and a lower transaction fee of 1.0%
- Advanced Shopify for $299 / month – Gives you more of everything (accounts, locations, languages) but more importantly a transaction fee of only 0.5%
If you're not sure, check out our comparison of Shopify plans.
Once you make up your mind, simply click on the “Choose this plan” button and continue with the payment. You can pay either by Credit Card or PayPal. You need to do this within the 14-day trial period otherwise your store will be frozen (on hold).
Besides these three, there is also a Shopify Plus plan which starts at $2.000 per month and is available only per quote. And something called Shopify Lite (or “Buy Button”) which costs only $9 per month. It is basically a headless version that gives you capabilities to make a sale but you can’t build an online store on top of that.
Once you complete the free trial registration process, you have 14 days to launch your store.
Check our guide on setting up a Shopify store if you need assistance. And some other helpful reads for Shopify beginners:
- The guide to checkout optimization
- The ultimate SEO guide for Shopify
- The guide to cross-selling and upselling
Shopify free trial FAQs
How long is the Shopify free trial?
The Shopify free trial is always 14 days. There were special events in the past (i.e., the pandemic of COVID-19) during which Shopify offered extended trials for 90 days, but they are currently unavailable.
When does the Shopify free trial start?
The free trial starts when you finish the registration process (i.e., step 5 in the "How to Signup for a Free Shopify Trial" section above). From that moment, you have precisely 14 days to activate it.
What happens when the Shopify trial ends?
That depends on whether you activated the free trial (chosen a paid plan) or not.
- If you didn't enter your payment information and haven't selected one of the paid plans, your Shopify store will be frozen. That means customers won't be able to access it, and you will no longer be able to log in to the store admin. In case you would like to retrieve some of the data/work done, you can contact Shopify support, and they can assist you with that. According to Ted from the Shopify team, they hold the data for 30 days and close the store for good after a year.
- If you entered your payment information and selected one of the paid plans, your store will automatically upgrade from trial to active once the free trial period expires. That's also the date of your first billing.
How much is Shopify after a free trial?
That depends on the paid plan you will select. There are three you can choose from
- Basic Shopify for $29 per month – Best for new businesses but has the highest CC rates (2.9% + 30¢ USD) or 2.0% transaction fee if you won't use Shopify Payments gateway.
- Shopify for $79 per month – Best for larger stores with customers in multiple countries. Slightly lower CC rates (2.6% + 30¢ USD) or 1.0% transaction fee. Adds additional functionality like reporting and multi-currency.
- Advanced Shopify for $299 per month – For global online businesses. Lowest CC rates (2.4% + 30¢ USD) and only 0.5% transaction fee. All features except checkout customizations (available on Shopify Plus only).
We recommend starting with the Basic Shopify plan and upgrading only when your business grows. Hence, it makes sense financially due to lower fees or needing specific functionality from the higher tiers.
How to get Shopify 90-day free trial?
We are really sorry, but this is currently not possible. The Shopify free trial is always 14 days. There were special events in the past (i.e., the pandemic of COVID-19) during which Shopify offered extended trials for 90 days, but they are currently unavailable.
How to extend the Shopify free trial?
Unfortunately, extending or prolonging the free trial is impossible – it's always 14 days. There were special events in the past (i.e., the pandemic of COVID-19) during which Shopify offered extended trials for 90 days, but they are currently unavailable.
Are there any limitations while on the Shopify free trial?
There are no limitations during your Shopify free trial period. You can customize the store and add as many products as you want. You are also getting access to all the features included in the Advanced Shopify plan. And, of course, you can generate your first sales.
Can you make money (sales) with the Shopify free trial?
For sure! There are no limitations during your Shopify free trial period. You can generate as many sales as possible. However, we are still unclear what is the actual transaction fee used and whether it's also applied retrospectively when you move to the paid plan.
How to close/cancel/delete the Shopify free trial without paying?
If you didn't enter your payment information (i.e., your credit card or PayPal account) and haven't selected the paid plan, you don't need to do anything. The free trial simply expires, and the store will be automatically closed.
However, if you entered the credit card, you need to close the store manually to avoid the billing. You can close the store by going to Settings > Plan > Cancel subscription (or Pause or deactivate store).
If you miss this, Shopify's Terms of Service are pretty strict about refunds – "Shopify does not provide refunds."