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Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Key Differences You Should Know

03.09.2021

With over 1 million entrepreneurs who sell using Shopify and almost a 20% market share, it makes you wonder – is Shopify really that good? This e-commerce platform offers virtually every feature you need to create your online shop and run it. Plus, it has fantastic pricing plans and even an enterprise solution called Shopify Plus. 

If you’re new to Shopify or want to know if you should switch to Shopify Plus, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s talk all about Shopify vs Shopify Plus, including pricing, themes, analytics, taxes, and more.

 

What is Shopify?

Before we get to comparing Shopify vs Shopify Plus, you should first ask, “what is Shopify?” As a matter of fact, it is one of the fastest-growing commerce platforms in the world. All Shopify features are there to give you the easiest experience of creating your dream business. 

From showcasing your products to handling shipping, payments, and SEO, Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce platform offering you almost any tool you may need. Plus, it gives you easy API integration options so that you can use your favorite business tools right on their platform.

To understand what does Shopify do, here’s a straightforward list of essentially all Shopify features:

– Online storefront, including design themes, your domain name, a blogging platform, etc.

– A fully ready shopping cart, including a free SSL certificate, 100 payment gateways like PayPal, multiple languages, and so much more.

– Complete store management features and tools like customer profiles, refunds, dropshipping, email templates, etc.

Marketing & SEO services, including a generated sitemap, product reviews, gift cards, social media integration, and so on.

– Everything connected to your products from inventory management and product organization to SEO product tags and subscriptions.

– Access to web hosting with features like unlimited bandwidth and email forwarding.

– Complete access to analytics about your business, including Google Analytics data, a powerful dashboard, and much more.

– A mobile app that lets you seamlessly fulfill orders, email or call your customers, etc.

– And last but not least, 24/7 customer support for any help you may need navigating through your experience.

 

Shopify Lite

One of the best Shopify benefits for small businesses is their Lite microservice. Ultimately, Shopify gives an affordable solution to those who already own a website but are missing that “Buy” button. It can give you a shopping cart page, payment processing options, and much more. You can learn more about Shopify Lite here.

 

What is Shopify Plus?

Whether you’re already a Shopify merchant or you’re looking to start your brand new online shop, you should know the answer to “what is Shopify Plus?” So, Shopify Plus is Shopify’s enterprise-grade platform. This upgrade is perfect for businesses generating over half a million dollars in annual revenue or businesses looking to scale and take over their markets.

Shopify Plus benefits attract global brands like Heinz, Gymshark, Kotn, and many more. Shopify Plus allows its users to get priority customer support, more integration, bigger capacity for orders, better analytics, and much more. In just under 90 days, you can have your massive online shop set up with Shopify Plus. 

To put it short, Shopify Plus is the beefier version of Shopify primarily meant for wholesale or global sellers. But to understand these distinctions better, let’s talk about the main differences between Shopify vs Shopify Plus.

Main differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus

If you’re struggling to choose between Shopify and Shopify Plus, this breakdown will definitely help you decide. We’ve looked at it from all possible angles to give you an objective comparison. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting with Shopify or want to know if the hefty price bump is worth it.

Here are 9 Shopify features rated for each plan, starting from Shopify pricing, all the way to Shopify wholesale channels, and more.

 

Pricing

First things first, let’s talk about Shopify vs Shopify Plus pricing. The cheapest version of Shopify is Shopify Lite which comes at $9. Regardless of pricing, if you want to set yourself up for success, you should opt for bigger but much better packages. 

For those who want to get their online shop started from scratch, Shopify offers 3 main packages. The bigger the package, the lower the rates for payments. But that’s not all. Here’s a breakdown of how the 3 packages compare.

Basic Shopify – $29/month

This is the simplest package you can get. It includes a smaller amount of staff accounts, fewer inventory locations, and fewer opportunities in global sales. The biggest shortcomings of this package are high payment fees and lack of reports on sales and performance.

According to Shopify, this package is perfect for new e-commerce businesses.

Shopify – $79/month

This is the standard Shopify package. Ultimately, this is the golden middle and could be considered the holy grail for SMEs. It includes almost all available features. The payment rates are still high but lower than Basic Shopify. You will get standard reports but won’t be able to put different prices for different regions.

Shopify claims this package is perfect for growing online or in-store businesses.

Advanced Shopify – $299/month

Last but not least, this is the biggest main package Shopify offers. It comes with a hefty price bump, but is it worth it? Ultimately, you’ll pay for lower transaction rates, a significantly higher number of accounts with access, advanced reporting tools, and superior global sales features. If you’re growing fast, you will probably hit the point where little percentages and staff accounts start to matter soon.

This package is made for businesses that are rapidly scaling and need advanced reporting.

Shopify Plus – starts at $2000/month

Finally, let’s talk about the Shopify wholesale giant – Shopify Plus. It starts at a whopping $2000/month if you’re generating less than $800,000 in sales. After that, your subscription fee may increase, but Shopify pricing is not over the top, so the fee will never surpass $40,000/month. Granted, if you’re making $1 million in annual revenue, this number shouldn’t scare you. 

Another Shopify Plus pricing option is based on a variable fee depending on your sales volumes. You will have to figure out if it works for you and your business. Don’t forget that this investment is going to be one of the main drivers of your business.

With over 10,000 global brands using Shopify Plus and achieving unbelievable success, it seems that Shopify Plus is truly worth it. You get super advanced features like AR, 3D, and video views for products, custom checkout pages, an admin platform for managing workflows, campaigns, discounts, and so much more. 

Shopify Plus is a worthy investment if you’re selling thousands of products daily and need an enterprise-grade solution. But if you’re new in establishing your brand, standard Shopify plans will affordably do the job.

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Support (Launch Engineer)

Shopify offers amazing customer support for their merchants. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, takes it a lot more seriously than that. They understand that dealing with advanced merchant issues requires their utmost attention, so losing time is not an option. 

With Shopify, you get access to a huge library of courses and business tools to guide you through your selling journey, as well as options to contact a support specialist. As for Shopify Plus merchants, they get priority support from Plus-trained experts on a 24/7 basis. One of the best parts is that you will be assigned a dedicated Launch Engineer who will be your guide from the start of your setup process until your final launch on Shopify Plus.

Ultimately, you get special treatment and advanced support as a Shopify Plus merchant without losing any time. Standard Shopify users still receive 24/7 customer support and can join discussion forums with other Shopify merchants.

 

Checkout control

As a standard Shopify merchant, you can have access to a pre-built checkout process. Since Shopify is a hosted platform, you cannot access or modify the code. In other words, you won’t be able to make any custom changes to your checkout page. The checkout process is complex to develop, so this might not be a big loss for a new business.

As a Shopify Plus client, you have access to all the checkout customization you may need. When you are dealing with big buyers, you have to give them the best experience. So, with this amazing Shopify Plus feature, making your customers feel special at the checkout won’t be hard. Giving different payment options, shipping methods, along with other tweaks, will optimize your customer experience and maybe even increase your conversion rates.

Considering that the average checkout abandonment rate across all industries is extremely high (about 70%), the checkout page is not something to underrate. This simple Shopify Plus feature of customizing checkouts can boost your sales through the roof.

 

Theme customization

Theme customization is a key player in your decision between Shopify vs Shopify Plus. All Shopify clients can choose and implement one of their 10 free and 72 paid themes. Plus, some of them even come in different languages.

Shopify’s paid templates range from $100-$350, so you might be better off choosing a free one (those are amazing too). Choose carefully because switching afterward will be very complicated. Also, remember that you can later make minor code-level edits, but that’ll stop you from getting automatic updates.

As for Shopify Plus clients, they get massive upgrades. First, they can add over 100 themes to their store account. Second, they receive control of their theme’s code written in Shopify’s theme language called Liquid, so they can make changes directly via the source code. If they don’t have a developer on their team, their dedicated Launch Engineer will come in to save the day and write the code for them.

All Shopify themes are beautiful and functional, but if you’re searching for a more custom, branded look, Shopify Plus is definitely a better choice.

 

Availability to Shopify apps

Just like other e-commerce platforms, Shopify has its own app store to give you more tools for managing your business. Shopify features over 6000 free and paid apps which you can access. Although integrating some apps will increase your spending, the ROI can still change your decision. Still, you won’t get the most out of it if you don’t have Shopify Plus.

When comparing Shopify vs Shopify Plus, their access to apps on the Shopify app store is crucial to consider. Shopify Plus features unique apps that other Shopify users cannot access. 

Here are some apps on the Shopify app store that only Shopify Plus users can download and integrate:

  • Script Editor – The app for building custom experiences like branded checkouts.
  • Launchpad – The app for scheduling events, product releases, and monitoring sales.
  • Shopify FlowThe app for automating your workflow, tasks, shipping, and more.
  • Transporter AppThe app for importing CSV files of product, customer, order data into your Shopify store.

 

API integrations

APIs are bridges connecting platforms with third-party apps. In this case, APIs enhance your Shopify store with any additional feature you want. This can be a different payment method like PayPal, log in through Google, or a social media bot. Shopify gives its users the ability to integrate APIs into their stores. 

The main dissimilarity within Shopify vs Shopify Plus API integration abilities is the flexibility and power. If you are a Shopify Plus client, you can integrate custom apps into your store. But the best part is the ability to build your own private apps. Ultimately, Shopify Plus allows you to create a custom online store using their building blocks with other API integrations.

If you’re working on a smaller scale, custom API integrations might not be enticing for you. But for bigger brands who want to give a truly unique experience to their users, this Shopify Plus benefit can change the game.

 

Analytics dashboard

You didn’t think this Shopify vs Shopify Plus review was going to forget about the analytics dashboard, did you? One of the many benefits of Shopify is its reporting system. With a standard Shopify account starting at $79, you can get traffic and sales reports. As a cherry on top, you receive a live reporting window showing stats collected every minute. Nevertheless, Shopify Plus still does it better.

Shopify Plus merchants receive expert insights about top products, referrals, and even trends they can pick up on. Thanks to Shopify Plus partners like Glew and Looker, you can drive your business according to actual numbers.

For a small business, the standard reports can do the trick. But if you’re looking to innovate and stay ahead of the game, you should take the leap into Shopify Plus.

 

Wholesale channels

Here’s another key nuance concerning Shopify vs Shopify Plus – their wholesale channel. Naturally, any enterprise-grade solution for e-commerce should enable wholesale features for businesses with substantial sales. Of course, Shopify Plus doesn’t stay behind. In fact, Shopify Plus streamlines your wholesale processes by giving you a dedicated storefront. 

With a new storefront for bulk sales, you can establish a different pricing strategy, give custom discount codes, etc. Ultimately. Shopify Plus can be your all-in-one tool for B2B and B2C sales management.

 

Transaction Fees and Taxes

Last but not least, let’s compare Shopify vs Shopify Plus transaction fees and taxes. With main Shopify pricing plans, you’re looking at no less than a 2.4% transaction rate on top of another 0.5% if you’re using other payment methods vs Shopify Payments. And that’s with the Advances Shopify package. It’s all downhill from there. As a new business, you may be willing to incur these kinds of fees, but a global brand will need some more incentive.

For every transaction, Shopify Plus charges you a fee of 0.15% if you’re using an alternative payment processor. If you use the native Shopify Payments, you won’t have to pay the fee. The rest of your fees must be negotiated with a Shopify Plus expert.

You can find more information about standard Shopify taxes here. As for Shopify Plus, you can also automate your taxes with Avalara Avatax, but it’ll cost you an additional $250/month.

Final thoughts

To put it short, Shopify is a fantastic platform for new and small businesses, while Shopify Plus is perfect for big brands that need extra reinforcement.

If you’re looking to start your online shop from scratch and need hosting, basic themes, and a little hand-holding along the way, then you definitely should go for the standard Shopify pricing plan that costs $79/month. But if you want priority support, killer analytics reports, exclusive apps, and customization features, Shopify Plus starting at $2000/month, is waiting for you. Plus, the wholesale channel and benefits are absolutely worth it.

Ultimately, choosing between Shopify vs Shopify Plus comes down to your budget, priorities, flexibility, and brand needs. If you’re still deliberating between the two, you can talk to a Shopify Plus expert to figure it out.

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Angel Poghosyan

Angel Poghosyan

6+ years of doing content, marketing, and strategy for startups & businesses. Specializing in social media, entertainment, and tech.

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