Our rating(3.5/5)
Shopify Lite gives you select online selling tools to supplement face-to-face sales.
The cheapest of Shopify’s subscriptions, Lite, allows you to sell on Facebook and websites through “buy” links. The integration with Shopify POS enables face-to-face merchants to sell online without a full ecommerce website.
  • Highs: Flexibility to sell across platforms. Free card reader. 24/7 customer support. Sales synced across channels.
  • Lows: Can’t sell on other social media than Facebook. Customer service so-so. POS features limited.
  • Best for: Merchants with some online presence, perhaps already trading face-to-face, who want to start selling online.

How does it work?

Shopify Lite is a low-cost ecommerce alternative, but let us be clear: it is not for building a full online store. Instead, you get a good combination of basic tools to enable selling online and in-person via:

Buy Buttons embedded on any website

Shop tab on your Facebook Business Page

Facebook Messenger directly in the chat

Invoices through email link or keyed-in from your end

In-person via Shopify card reader and POS app

Instead of creating an online store in the Shopify account (only possible on Shopify’s pricier plans), you create a product library complete with images, product descriptions, variants, stock levels etc. You can then add these products on any of the above channels, and the backend keeps stock and order information synced across channels.

To sell in person, you need to purchase one of Shopify’s card readers which is used in conjunction with a mobile point of sale (POS) app on a compatible mobile device.

Shopify Lite pricing

Shopify Lite is the cheapest of all Shopify plans. It has four billing options: a monthly subscription for $9 a month, yearly costing $96 upfront (works out as $8 per month), every other year for $174 upfront (works out as $7.25 a month) and every three years for $243 upfront ($6.75 per month). If you just want to try out features, you can opt for a 14-day free trial.

Although plans can be cancelled any time, you don’t get a refund for subscription costs paid already.

Shopify Lite costs
Pay-monthly subscription$9
Pay-yearly subscription$96 upfront (~$8/mo)
Pay-every-2-years subscription$174 upfront (~$7.25/mo)
Pay-every-3-years subscription$243 upfront (~$6.75/mo)
CommitmentCancel any time, but subscription fees non-refundable
Chip & Swipe Reader$29 Free for new customers
Tap & Chip Card Reader$49 $24 on offer
Online transaction fee2.9% + 30¢
Card reader transaction fee2.7% + 0¢
Shopify Lite
pricing
Pay-monthly subscription$9
Pay-yearly subscription$96 upfront (~$8/mo)
Pay-every-2-years subscription$174 upfront (~$7.25/mo)
Pay-every-3-years subscription$243 upfront (~$6.75/mo)
CommitmentCancel any time, but subscription fees non-refundable
Chip & Swipe Reader$29 Free for new customers
Tap & Chip Card Reader$49 $24 on offer
Online transaction fee2.9% + 30¢
Card reader transaction fee2.7% + 0¢

In addition to the subscription cost, transaction fees incur per card payment received online and in person. The fee is 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction for any online payment through buy buttons, social media and invoicing, while in-person payments through a card reader and POS app cost 2.7% (no fixed fee added) regardless of which credit card is used.

You can choose between two card terminals: a chip and swipe reader that’s free for new Shopify users and costs $29 from the second one ordered. The contactless and chip reader costs $49 (currently priced at $24 on Shopify’s website).

Online selling features

Rather than accessing a complete ecommerce platform for building a website, Shopify Lite gives you select tools for implementing buy buttons on other websites, Facebook and Messenger. But there’s more to it than links – let’s go through the online features:

Buy Buttons: Buy Buttons are basically a piece of code embedded on websites. Most website builders (WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace) allow you to add a piece of custom code to some pages, and that’s where you paste the Shopify Lite code which links to the Shopify Payments (that takes care of payment processing) and inventory system in your admin account.

Your website visitors can then view product collections or just individual products and purchase through the button, and Shopify takes care of card processing while updating the order information accessed in your Shopify dashboard. It’s also possible to create a custom shopping cart on your website with the Shopify code.

Image: Shopify

Example of a Buy Button embedded on a website.

Facebook selling: Add a Shop page on your Facebook Business Page, through which you can add products to sell on Facebook. Products and associated images, stock levels, SKU numbers etc. are fully integrated with the Shopify account so you don’t need to edit the Facebook Shop tab directly once it’s set up.

Image: Shopify

Shopify Lite Messenger chat

Messenger chat with order tracking.

Messenger selling: When a customer has purchased through your Facebook page, they can track the order through Messenger where you can message them manually or let the automatic shipping and order tracking messages do the work. Customers can also purchase products directly through the Messenger chat by responding to series of questions until the right product is shown for the customer to buy.

Invoicing: Through the Shopify admin account, you can send email invoices to clients, which is especially handy for wholesalers and custom orders. Either add existing products from the inventory library or create custom items, then select an existing customer or create a new customer to bill. If you send the invoice via email, the customer clicks to pay through a link that goes to a Shopify checkout page. You can also enter card details yourself through the ‘Pay with credit card’ button on the invoice page, which is handy for over-the-phone payments.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Shopify Lite invoicing page

Shopify Lite allows you to send email invoices through the admin account.

POS features included on Shopify Lite

With the online features comes also the POS features for selling face-to-face. To sell in person, you need to download the Shopify POS app on a compatible mobile device, i.e. most modern iPhones (iOS 10 or higher), iPads (iOS 10 or higher) and Android devices (running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher). These are some of the features:

Product library: Add products in your admin dashboard, complete with stock counts (when out of stock, those items stop displaying online), images, variants such as item size and colour, and more. What you sell in the POS app will be updated in the backend system and online.

Order management: View all customer orders in the app, where you also manage shipping and order statuses.

Image: Shopify

Shopify POS app orders

Get an overview of customer orders directly in the Shopify POS app.

Customer library: If you’re selling to the same customers, you can add their details in Shopify so it’s quicker to associate an invoice or other sales to individuals.

Discounts, taxes and tips: Add discounts and taxes to items at checkout, and even add tips at checkout.

Analytics and reports: All your sales are synced, but not only that: you can see which items are bestsellers, and group transactions by customer, time periods and more. Export sales data to Excel, or if you upgrade to a higher Shopify plan, integrate all sales with an external accounting platform.

The Shopify POS app has the most features on iPad, so using an iPhone or Android device could present some limitations.

Furthermore, the higher Shopify plans enable additional features such as analysing staff sales, giving store credit instead of refunds, and monitoring cash register shifts. The Shopify Lite plan gives the option to add one additional staff account for the payment app and admin account – you can add more on higher plans. Suffice to say: Lite is best for individual merchants. With teams of staff – say, on a shop floor – you probably need more features.

The basic features available for Shopify Lite users are usually enough for casual selling, but we recommend a POS upgrade if you sell a lot face to face. The Lite POS features could, for example, be ideal for merchants going on tradeshows, selling on farmers’ markets or occasionally in pop-up stores.

Which has the best POS features? Top 6 apps for accepting cards with iPhone

Card reader and POS hardware

Accepting cards in person requires a card reader, and Shopify sells two:

Chip and Swipe Reader: A white, little card terminal that accepts chip cards and magnetic stripe cards. New Shopify merchants can order this model for free with the Shopify Lite plan; otherwise, you purchase it. It can accept “all major types of credit card, as well as Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit cards”, according to Shopify.

Image: Shopify

The Shopify Chip & Swipe card reader can be ordered for free if you’re a new Shopify customer.

Tap and Chip Reader: This is the pricier model, but arguably the most desirable as it accepts NFC (contactless) payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Swipe cards are less secure than both chip-and-signature and contactless cards, making this the most future-proof terminal. Other than the mobile wallets, it accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards.

Image: Shopify

The Shopify Chip & Tap card reader accepts mobile wallets as well as chip-and-signature and NFC cards.

Both models connect with your smartphone or tablet using the Shopify POS app, communicating with the app to process the card payment over the internet.

If you want a whole POS setup, you can purchase a compatible receipt printer, cash drawer, tablet stand and barcode scanner.

Customer reviews and support

Shopify customers get round-the-clock support every day of the year by live chat or email.

That sounds like good value, but is the support helpful? Not according to many user reviews. Some of the complaints talk about not getting their money back when cancelling a plan (it’s policy not to refund subscription payments, so be sure before opting for yearly or rarer instalments), others have not got their issues resolved.

A peculiarity is the sheer amount of reviews submitted by customers of the businesses selling through Shopify. Many of these appear to be scam businesses, which Shopify is not doing enough to control. Consequently, an average rating from a review website will likely be negatively impacted by these complaints.

On a positive note, Shopify users get access to extensive learning resources including tutorials, video lectures, a big help section and a discussion forum. That’s especially useful for people less experienced in entrepreneurship, marketing and online selling.

Our verdict: is Shopify Lite worth it?

Although limited on where to sell on social media, Shopify Lite can be just what you need if you:

Don’t want to transfer an existing website to an ecommerce platform: If you already have a website for your business, but would rather not change it by transferring it all to an all-inclusive ecommerce platform, the Shopify Lite Buy Button could be a perfect compromise.

Want a low-cost, integrated solution to selling in person and online: Shopify Lite is a lightweight POS-and-online-sales combo that gives you just the essentials for a small, multichannel shop to thrive.

Have some online presence and want to sell face-to-face: If you have a Facebook Business page already, perhaps a blog or WordPress site too, Shopify Lite can be the low-cost way to delve into face-to-face selling.

Shopify Lite is not suitable for people looking for a full POS system or complete online shop – in those cases, you should go for one of the more expensive Shopify plans.

Pros

  • Can use an existing website and still sell via Shopify.
  • In-person and online sales synced in real time.
  • Free card reader.
  • Over-the-phone and invoice payments included.

Cons

  • Not for building a complete online store.
  • Cannot sell on Instagram or other social media other than Facebook.
  • Customer support not highly rated.
  • Not the most extensive POS system.
Name of Reviewed Item: Shopify Lite US Rating Value: 3.5 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/shopify-lite-review-us.jpg Review Author:Review Date: