Shopify is an e-commerce giant we all know and like. How would we not, when it opens up so many possibilities for every one of us? On Shopify, there’s something for everyone: small companies and large companies, branded product businesses and dropshipping businesses, experienced and inexperienced e-commerce users, experts and novices.
However, now and then, there comes a situation when you need to take a break from your Shopify store or, like LeBron, take your talents to another place and do something else. Shopify has got you covered in those situations as well.
This short guide will help you learn the procedure of how to close a Shopify store. Since this e-commerce platform provides multiple related yet different options when it comes to store deactivation, we’ll look into the variants that don’t include permanent store closure as well. So, without further ado, let’s explore the options that Shopify offers when you decide to close your store.
You might have decided to close your Shopify store and you firmly stand behind this decision. However, depending on the reasons for your decision, there may be a better way to deactivate your store than just closing it for good. To make sure that you get all the necessary information before you go ahead and close your store, we’ll take a look at all the other options, including those that mean temporary closure.
Currently, Shopify offers three deactivation options:
- Pause and build
- Cancel subscription and close store
Pausing Your Store
Two of these options, Pause and Build as well as Pause, are even referred to as “plans,” and you’ll see why very soon. Both of them allow you to pause your store for a certain period without closing it completely.
The Pause and Build and Pause options are available only to Shopify customers who’ve been subscribed to a paid plan for at least 60 days after their free trial ended. Those who haven’t are free to close their stores, but cannot pause them.
The Pause and Build Plan
With the Pause and Build plan, you’ll be able to pause your store for a lowered monthly fee of $9/month. Frankly, this is not a typical pause that means a temporary deactivation to take a break or just figuring out what to do next. Rather, as its name suggests, the whole point of this option is to allow you to cut costs while doing some “construction work” on your e-commerce site. When you’re making major changes – optimization, editing, customization, or anything along those lines – you’re not able to work at full capacity, hence the lowered fee and the whole idea of this plan.
An additional scenario where you could use this option is if you sell, for instance, seasonal products, so you don’t need your store fully active during the entire year. A third use case would be if you’re going through a period when you can’t fully focus and dedicate yourself to your e-commerce business, you’re not sure how long this will last, and you don’t want to permanently close your Shopify store. Since it’s for an indefinite period, the Pause plan is not the ideal solution, which leaves the Pause and Build plan as the only viable option.
Anyway, throughout this under-construction period, users will be able to visit your store, explore your products, and familiarize themselves with your offerings, but they won’t be able to buy anything. This is because when you switch to the Pause and Build plan, Shopify disables your checkout.
The procedure to activate the Pause and Build plan is the following:
- Log into your admin dashboard.
- Click Settings.
- Select Plan.
- Select Pause or cancel subscription.
- Choose the Pause and Build plan.
- Select Switch to Pause and Build.
The Pause Plan
The Pause plan is free of charge. It allows you to pause your store for a full 90 days. Over this period, you won’t be able to access your admin dashboard or work on any types of modifications to your store, let alone sell. In short, your store will be inaccessible to you as well as your customers.
During these three months, the store itself stays intact, meaning that all the apps you have installed will be there when you decide to reactivate it. For instance, if you added any of the tons of integrations available on the Shopify App Store, such as DropInBlog (blogging and content marketing), Oberlo (dropshipping), ActiveCampaign (marketing automation), and HubSpot (CRM), they’ll be still there after you reactivate your store.
When reactivating, no reconfiguration, reinstallation, or other additional work will be necessary. Also, very important to note, Shopify says that during this period “apps billings will be frozen.” This rule does not apply to any outstanding bills you have, so keep that in mind.
Shopify suggests building a password page that informs your customers that your store will be temporarily unavailable. In addition to this, you can ask your visitors to leave their email, so you can notify them when you’re open for business again.
Shopify allows you to reactivate your store whenever you want during those 90 days. The way to do it is by signing in to your account and selecting a new plan. In case you neither do this nor completely close your store within this time frame, the platform will automatically put you on the Pause and Build plan. This means that you’ll be paying $9/month every following month until you either close or reopen your store.
There are two things you need to keep in mind about the Pause option:
- The Pause plan is not available to every Shopify client, which means that you might not be able to see this option when trying to (temporarily) close your store.
- Once you replace the Pause plan with another option, that door is closed – you can’t use the Pause plan anymore.
A Note on Eligibility
The first point requires some additional explanation. Which category of customers is entitled to the Pause plan and what criteria they need to meet is not quite clear. We tried to find some more information on this topic, but we weren’t able to dig up anything of importance.
Shopify does mention eligibility criteria, but those are the same as the ones applicable to the Pause and Build plan. Yet, while stating that not all merchants can have access to the Pause plan, the company says that they’ll be able to take advantage of the Pause and Build plan, which implies that there’s an additional set of criteria applicable only to the Pause plan. Unfortunately, again, we’re not sure what they are.
Anyway, if you opt for the Pause plan instead of permanent closure, these are the steps you need to take to complete the process:
- The first four steps are the same as in the Pause and Build option.
- Choose the Pause for 90 days option.
- Select the Pause store option.
Closing Your Store Completely
Finally, if none of the previous two options works for you, you can go straight to the Cancel subscription and close store option. It’s worth noting that Shopify Support does not cancel stores; if you want your store closed, you have to do it yourself.
Luckily, the procedure is very simple and easy to follow:
- The first four steps are the same as in the Pause and Build and Pause plans.
- Select Cancel subscription and close store.
- Select one of the reasons why you’re closing your store.
- Confirm your password.
- Click Close store.
After this, Shopify will let you know via an email confirmation that the process has been completed successfully and your store is closed.
It’s interesting that even if you close your store completely, you’ll still have the chance to reactivate it. Shopify keeps your store info for at least two more years, which means that you’ll have plenty of time to reconsider your decision and let your store rise from the ashes. So, in case you change your mind, you can reopen your store just by adding your credit card information and picking a plan. If you’re past those two years, you may not be able to reactivate it anymore.
Before you close your store, there are some things that you can or need to do:
- Cancel active subscriptions to any third-party apps integrated with your Shopify store to avoid being billed for software that you won’t use anymore.
- Pay all your Shopify-related bills.
- Remove your custom domain bought from a third-party provider (not via Shopify).
- Back up your store before closing it – download your theme file and export other important files (products, customers, pages) in case you need them later.
A few other things you need to keep in mind are the following:
- When you close a store that’s been using a shopify.com domain, you won’t be able to use that same domain when creating another store in the future.
- When you’re just testing the platform during the two-week free trial and decide not to continue with Shopify after it ends, you don’t need to complete any of the steps described above – Shopify will deactivate your store automatically.
- It goes without saying that if you want to continue after the free trial and not lose your store, you’ll need to subscribe to one of the three paid plans: Basic Shopify ($29/month), Shopify ($79/month), or Advanced Shopify ($299/month).
One Extra Possibility
We said that there were three options to close your Shopify store, two temporary and one permanent, so how come we’re introducing another one now? Technically, this is not a deactivation option and since we couldn’t place it anywhere else, we decided to explore it separately.
Say you don’t want to own a Shopify store anymore. Instead of just closing it, you can try to sell it on the Shopify Exchange Marketplace. Shopify defines it as a “convenient and secure way for you to buy or sell a business online.”
There’s a list of requirements you need to fulfill to be able to sell on the Exchange Marketplace and you can find more about them as well as the selling process here. We just wanted to let you know about this possibility, which can come in very handy. On the one hand, it allows you to step away from your Shopify store. On the other hand, it enables you to do this by making additional profit from the sale. We think it’s a great option for anyone out there – we hope that you share our opinion.
Over and Out
In this article, we went over the few options that Shopify users have if they want to pause, completely close, or maybe sell their Shopify store. We hope that you found this to be a helpful read. Thank you for sticking until the end and we wish you all success with your e-commerce business.