Which should you choose?

Shopify vs Shopify Plus

Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Which one should you choose?

Seb Harris

8 minute read11 Apr 2022

Whether you’re using Shopify already or you’re thinking of building a website on the platform, it can be difficult to decipher which plan is best for you. What’s the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus? What are the Shopify Plus advantages? How do you know when’s the right moment to make the move?

If you’re asking yourself these or similar questions read on. Here we’ll compare all of Shopify’s different plans to distinguish the pros and cons of each and explain when to consider Shopify Plus over Shopify, and vice versa.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is the best e-commerce platform in the business. Period. 

No other platform is as forward-thinking, scalable, safe, reliable, user friendly and accessible to both absolute beginners and seasoned e-commerce veterans alike. Shopify is the all-round package for e-commerce businesses of all shapes and sizes, whether selling one product a month or 1000 products a day.

Building an e-commerce website on Shopify can be as simple as drop and drag, or as complex as a headless Shopify Plus solution. Hosting your e-commerce website is no issue, Shopify takes care of all that for you, and scaling up and down the ladder requires no rebuilding or added maintenance.

But we won’t go on. If you’re here we’re assuming you already know all this, so we’re not going to delve any deeper into explaining what Shopify is. If you do want more information, read up here:

Shopify overview

Shopify itself comes in 3 brackets: Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify.

Each level gives users progressively more features but simultaneously costs increasingly higher amounts. Below we have a summary of the prices and features included on Basic, Shopify and Advanced:

There are a host of other features to compare between the three plans, for a full explanation head over to the Shopify site here.

The key points we’ll point out here are the monthly fee, the changing credit card rates and the transaction fees. The monthly fee is the obvious one. We see a lot of brands take a look at $299/month for Shopify Advanced and ask why it’s such a jump up from the Shopify package below. At comfortably over a 100% increase the rise is sharp but there are 2 very clear reasons why it shouldn’t be intimidating: the credit card rate and the transaction fee.

A Shopify store’s costs don’t simply amount to the monthly fee and nothing else. Alongside paying for whichever apps and integrations you may have, Shopify merchants also pay small amounts for every sale. And while individually these amounts are miniscule, they quickly add up. 

At the threshold of each payment plan is a point at which a business pays more in transaction fees than they would on the monthly price of the next step up the ladder. The trick is to work out where this threshold is and scale your business accordingly. Do not get too fixated on Shopify Advanced’s $299/month but instead work out how much your transactions are costing you each month. Here will lie the answer to which plan makes most financial sense for your business.

Beyond the pricing, however, Shopify’s 3 main plans are very similar in features and store output. All allow unlimited product uploads, all have omnichannel capabilities, discount codes and abandoned cart recovery.

The reporting is an important feature that changes as you scale, however. Basic Shopify users have no access to performance reports from their store. When data-driven e-commerce is more important than ever before, this is a substantial loss.

Shopify users are the first to gain access to any performance reports but they’re limited in scope and it’s only until the Advanced level that detailed store reports are accessible. We cannot stress the importance of data in e-commerce in 2022 enough and so this feature should be taken very seriously.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is the enterprise level package of Shopify. It runs exactly the same as the other levels but costs quite a lot more. In return, Plus merchants receive lucrative fee benefits and a few new features that remain unavailable to Shopify users.

Shopify Plus’ monthly fee begins at $2000/month and scales upwards depending on the size of the business. Again this looks daunting but as we’ve indicated above, there comes a point for businesses on Shopify Advanced that they’re paying more than this in transaction fees and it’s therefore cheaper to scale up to Shopify Plus.

We’ve made the calculations here, but in summary we estimate the threshold to be around €165k/month or €2million/year. If you’re comfortably and consistently taking these figures then it’s likely to be more advantageous to scale up to Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus advantages

The advantages for scaling up to Shopify Plus are numerous. The first thing to note is that scaling up (and down) the Shopify ladder is painless. Other e-commerce platforms aren’t so flexible and scaling in any direction causes severe headaches. Hosting needs (re)arranging, rebuilds are often required and the store may not run in the same manner afterwards.

Not on Shopify. Scaling is straightforward because Shopify takes care of the details. Your store runs in exactly the same way from front to back no matter how large or small, and technicalities like hosting and maintenance are included in Shopify’s SaaS package.

It’s probably our favourite benefit of working on the Shopify platform in general. You never need worry about your business outgrowing your e-commerce website because you can effortlessly scale as you grow. Business growth should never cause worry, only celebrations, and with Shopify you live stress-free.

Here’s a rundown of some important Shopify plus advantages.

High traffic optimisation

Shopify Plus merchants have access to Launchpad: an additional app for scheduling and managing sales events that trigger sharp rises in traffic. Launchpad helps to protect against site crashes and downtime at the most critical moments. 

Personalised support

Shopify offers personalised support to Plus merchants. Every Shopify Plus store is assigned a manager from Shopify that acts as a point of contact to the platform. They know everything about Shopify and will learn everything they can about your brand to effectively answer any questions and give useful advice where necessary.

The merchant success programme offers round the clock support from a team that assists in finding approved Shopify Plus partners that are suitable for your projects. It also helps with third-party integrations, products, platforms and training to get the most value out of your site.

If you’d like to find a Shopify Plus partner to fit your business and your e-commerce project, first read our guide here.

Advanced API resources

Shopify Plus merchants are given access to more advanced API resources than Shopify users, meaning they can integrate a list of custom apps. Things like giftcards, multipasses and wholesale options are available through apps only available to Shopify Plus users. 

The advanced APIs also allow Shopify Plus merchants to build their own apps and integrate into their store. The Shopify app store is extensive but sometimes there’s nothing available to achieve the task you may be looking for. Plus users can overcome this challenge.

Further knowledge resources

Shopify Plus merchants have also granted access to a host of further resources that nurture a community of Plus users all over the world. Facebook communities, Beta programmes and the Shopify Plus academy are all made available and each contain pages of information about how to make the best of your Shopify store and your business.

Shopify stores effortlessly scale with your business.

Our analysis

Whilst it’s obvious that Shopify Plus is only financially feasible for e-commerce businesses of a certain size, Shopify do everything they can to make it as easy as possible to scale up the ladder. We believe every e-commerce business should dream of one day using Shopify Plus. 

Even if reaching the required monthly turnover is incomprehensible, Shopify lay out the path to follow and this is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of using the platform. It’s good to have goals, even unattainable ones, because they drive a business forward. Scaling with Shopify is so simple that whichever plan they’re currently using, every Shopify merchant can realistically envisage progressing to the next step.

Which Shopify plan you should use now really comes down to the finances. Take most note of the credit card and transaction fee costs to estimate how much you’d likely be spending at each plan. We’d bet that one level would be more cost effective than all the others. Begin here and then use Shopify’s structure as a way to forward-plan. As Oscar Wilde said: Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land among the stars.

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