You’ll likely have heard of Shopify already if you’re planning on building an online store. I mean, who hasn’t? Analyzing your competition and doing market research is far from enough. You’ll need to make an informed choice regarding the platform you want to sell on.
Shopify is currently one of the best eCommerce software applications available since it has some quality tools. Its popularity is really no surprise with its wide array of tools and features.
If you’re hesitant to pay for your Shopify services but would like to evaluate its features, you can opt for the free trial. I won’t get too much into that here since I’ll be elaborating on the tools and features on offer in the next sections.
Let’s dive right in.
Free Trial Overview
Unlike many other platforms, Shopify offers quite a short free trial of 14 days. Now, mind you, even this can be sufficient in terms of gauging whether or not it’s a quality product. How, you ask?
By using the tools correctly, I answer. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed by how short the period was – until I tried it out for myself.
Also, what really pleased me about the sign-up process was that they don’t ask you for any credit card details. Their customer service, too, is top-notch, and if you’re facing issues while signing up, you can contact them. Their response time is the best of all online platforms.
We’ll go through some of the main features Shopify has on offer in this section.
Shopify has a whopping 100+ payment gateways. This makes it both easy and convenient for you to accept payments from your customers. The myriad payment options are sure to attract a good number of customers too.
Their integrations with payment providers are sound, which makes their payment portals safe and easy to use. Also, every store on Shopify is provided with an SSL certificate and PCI compliance. What exactly does this mean?
Well, it means you can securely accept credit card payments from anyone on the web.
The payments gateways here include all the prominent ones such as PayPal, Google Checkout, Stripe, and many more. You can go ahead and check if you’re unsure about whether or not Shopify covers certain payment gateways in your country or region.
They have a comprehensive guide covering payment gateways in each country and information on how you can activate them.
Having a good front for your stores and operations is important, but it’s just as important to have smooth backend operations. You can achieve this with the help of Shopify. Shopify focuses on the backend as well, unlike many of its competitors.
In doing so, it allows you to focus on taking full control of your backend operations and running them smoothly. Once you open an account, you can add your products and services on the dashboard and monitor sales from there. However, that’s not all: you can manage your inventory as well.
The dashboard also allows you to access information on your customers, track your orders, and fulfill them. Not only this, but it also allows you to issue refunds quickly. In fact, you can deal with a host of customer-related issues through this platform.
As you can see, Shopify has more than enough tools to ensure you can run your online store smoothly.
Ah, one of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of online marketing – design themes. Shopify has a theme store that allows you to choose from a wide range of themes. I’ve seen it, and I can honestly say there’s a little something to cater to everyone’s tastes in here.
You can easily customize the theme of your website with the help of the many themes on offer here. Doing so will impress potential customers and give you an edge over those that don’t consider this an important detail to work on.
After all, if an entrepreneur isn’t even interested in what their storefront looks like, why would they be considerate of what’s in it?
Now, you could be a highly artistic individual with a unique taste and aren’t satisfied with any of the themes offered here. No problem – Shopify has you covered. They give you the choice of themes from third-party marketplaces, too, in order to give your storefront a uniquely artistic look.
Since most prominent eCommerce websites put in a good amount of effort to make their store look good, you might want to consider doing the same. You could even hire developers to help you with this, but I’d advise you to do this only when you’re raking in enough revenue as it can be quite costly.
Great Mobile Experience
Another great feature of Shopify is that it allows your customers to shop from their mobiles with ease. Many eCommerce portals don’t have mobile versions that work as well as desktops versions, but Shopify isn’t one of them.
The mobile features are top-notch and can be relied on for providing quick and accurate search results to match your customer’s requests and criteria. They can go ahead and browse through your products and services anytime, anywhere, with the help of Shopify.
I’m compelled to mention here, though, that while most of their themes work well on the mobile version, not all do. So, when choosing a theme for your website, make sure you opt for one that works on mobile versions in order to widen your appeal.
However, the perks of using a mobile version aren’t limited to customers alone. You, too, can benefit from Shopify’s mobile services. You can download the Shopify app to check sales, track orders, analyze your inventory, and much more anytime, anywhere.
Free Trial: In Depth
Though I’ve given you a fair idea of how Shopify’s free trial works in the ‘Free Trial Overview’ section, I thought I’d dive a little more into the details here. It can’t hurt to have as much information as possible to help you establish and grow your business, can it?
Though many people read reviews of platforms such as Shopify and purchase a subscription right away, I’d advise you to refrain from doing so. Why? Well, if you’re going to invest money – regardless of the amount – it’s always better to evaluate the product/ service first. After all, no matter how much you like a car, you wouldn’t purchase it without having a test drive first, would you?
Also, signing up with a trial will give you enough time to decide whether or not you really want a Shopify subscription. I’ve little doubt that you’ll like the features and decide to purchase a subscription after you try it out since I’ve done so myself. However, it’s your call to make, so make sure you evaluate it carefully.
Furthermore, you can’t really start selling via Shopify unless you choose a subscription plan. No, don’t worry – you won’t be charged for the plan until the end of your 14-day trial period. You can actually try all the plans available during your trial period and can upgrade or downgrade anytime.
The plans that you can try on free trial are:
- Basic Shopify
- Advanced Shopify
- Shopify Lite
One of the very best features of this free trial scheme is that you won’t be charged automatically when it expires. Instead, if you fail to choose a plan, then your store will be paused to avoid charges on expiry.
How To Use The Shopify Trial Effectively
Now that you have an idea of what the free trial is and how it works, we can move on to how you can use it to suit your needs. While every online business has the same basic needs, you may have to tailor your approach to suit your products and services.
Below I’ve mentioned some of the many ways in which you can use the Shopify free trial for best results.
Develop Your Business and Marketing Plans
You’ll need at least a few weeks of constant planning before you can successfully set up an online marketing business. Ideally, your aim should be creating a profitable business overall, not just a great online store. Spend adequate time on creating a sound business model before you jump in.
Shopify has more than enough tools (many of which I’ve mentioned in earlier sections) to help you develop a sound business plan. Not only do these tools help you set up a business, they help you get a clear idea of sales and marketing plans as well.
Research and Learn
Though I haven’t stated this explicitly in previous sections, I’d like to add here that Shopify has a rich collection of learning resources. These resources are perfect for those just venturing into the world of online marketing. The Shopify Academy has courses related to online business and marketing.
A few examples of these courses would be: Dropshipping 101 and Grow Your Business With Instagram. If you don’t want to do a full-fledged course, you can even read articles on Shopify’s blog that that has some really helpful content. They even have a YouTube channel that has informational videos related to starting an eCommerce venture.
If, however, you’re not satisfied with Shopify’s resources, they even have a panel of experts enlisted on their directory to help you out.
Make Budgets and Forecasts
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Making monthly budgets will not only give you reasonable expectations in terms of revenue, but it will also help you bring down costs as well.
There are several costs you’ll need to take into account when running a business, and manufacturing, storage, legal, overheads, etc., are just the tip of the iceberg.
Making budgets can also give an approximate estimate of how many sales you need to make in order to generate a profit. Shopify can help you get a clear figure of the same. You can choose to either have a sales volume target or a profit target, depending on your business model.
Evaluate Competitor Performance
What better way to understand how a business works than to observe the people who are engaged in it? Shopify allows you to view the stores of other sellers and evaluate how they’re doing.
I strongly recommend you make your own notes when you view other stores so you can understand how to make your own better.
You can even reach out and contact sellers and ask for tips and tricks if they’re willing to share these. It’s worth venturing out of your comfort zone here and really talking to those more experienced than you are. Their advice could prove invaluable in the long run.
Shopify Free Trial FAQs
In this brief section, I’ll be tackling a few FAQs related to Shopify’s free trial experience.
Q – Can I Extend My Shopify Trial?
A – Long answer short: no. Shopify doesn’t give you any clear-cut method of extending a free trial once you’ve started using it. They used to have an extended 90-day free trial once, but this stopped in June 2020.
Q – Does Shopify Have Promotional Offers?
A – They do, but these are spread pretty thin throughout the year. They don’t have a lot of discount coupons either. They do offer 10% – 20% off on their plans, but this depends on the length of the subscription you purchase.
Q – What Is the Duration Of Shopify’s Trial Period?
A – A Shopify free trial is valid for a total of 14 days, as I’ve mentioned in previous sections. You’ll need to purchase a proper subscription if you want your account to be active after your trial expires.
Free trials sound tempting but remember: they do cost you – not in terms of money but in terms of time. You’ll have to ensure you use all the tools and features of this platform well if you intend to make the most out of your free trial.
You can even do some of your own research beforehand to help you gain a better understanding of how Shopify works. However, we can safely conclude that their tools offer adequate guidance and support when it comes to setting up an online business.