Shopify vs Shopify Plus: 2023 comparison
September 26, 2023
Shopify is one of the biggest ecommerce platforms on the market today, helping over two million daily users to not only build their own online stores but build their brand and cultivate an online community, too.
But with various packages and pricing options available, Shopify newbies are often left questioning which is right for them. In this blog, we’ll explain the differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus, so you can make an informed decision when setting up your ecommerce store.
Shopify summed up
A widely-used platform, Shopify changed the ecommerce scene by allowing anyone with the platform and an idea to start their online venture. Unlike some of its competitors, a team of website developers is not required to get started, thanks to the simple interface and the genius integration of Shopify apps. As a result, billions of customers around the world benefit just as much as Shopify merchants do, as creating sleek and user-friendly websites that cater to specific customer needs has never been easier.
Shopify processed $79.5 billion in order value in 2021, and is notoriously used by small to medium sized businesses. Shopify Plus was developed and designed to suit the needs of larger enterprise businesses, and was an exciting development for Shopify back in 2014.
Technically, Shopify Plus works in a very similar way to the more basic version, but is built to handle far more products and transactions than a regular Shopify store is capable of.
As a platform, in 2019 it has generated its online stores a combined total of $55 billion in sales and is notoriously used by small to medium sized businesses. However, the newer Shopify Plus platform has been developed and designed to suit the needs of larger enterprise businesses.
So, how do you know if Shopify Plus is right for you? Let’s start by looking at some simple pros and cons of each platform.
Shopify pros & cons
Shopify has some great ecommerce features such as abandonment cart recovery, discount codes and auto calculate shipping prices, to name a few, which are much better than the majority of other online store platforms out there.
The platform also allows you to sell across multiple channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Amazon which are vital channels to utilise. However, there are some cons to Shopify, one of which being the lack of ability to custom-make integrations and the fact that transaction fees are enforced if you don’t use a separate payment system to Shopify payments. Plus, it’s not easy to change your theme, as every time you do so, you need to reformat your content, which can be somewhat time consuming.
Naturally, the more basic versions of Shopify come with limitations. For example, you can only add up to two staff accounts, and lack any checkout customisation abilities. This can hinder growth, meaning you’ll eventually have to advance to the next pricing plan in order to hit bigger targets.
Shopify Plus pros & cons
Shopify Plus can handle over 10,000 transactions per minute, can operate with unlimited staff accounts and includes personalised, dedicated help and support which makes it the perfect platform for a large business.
However, there are some cons with the Shopify Plus platform to consider, such as it is only sustainable if you’re an enterprise-level business. There are currently no set price packages and instead monthly costs are created by quote on an individual basis. But, ultimately to be able to run your business on Shopify Plus you must have the time and resource to invest into your website; whether this be by hiring an external agency or training yourself.
So, how does each platform perform? Below, we analyse some of the key areas to consider.
Design flexibility is an important aspect to consider when choosing what platform will be best suited for your business, as how your online store looks can play a big part in the initial attraction for customers to shop and invest in your brand. Currently Shopify offers over 100 themes to work from, but only 12 of these are included free with the standard package – the remaining themes cost between $140 – $180. The themes are available in a variety of languages and for deeper control, Shopify offers a coding theme called Liquid, which enables you to write lines of code to change your theme’s appearance.
Shopify Plus offers you a lot more when it comes to design flexibility. You get your own dedicated launch manager to assist you during the build phase, and make sure that your website can be fully integrated. They’re even able to write lines of code for you to create your perfect design. You can also edit your checkout page, which is something you’re not able to do with the original Shopify, meaning every aspect of your website matches your unique brand aesthetic.
Analytics & Reporting
Analysing and reporting on your site’s performance is essential for an online business and luckily Shopify makes this as easy as it can be with its own dedicated analytics dashboard. On this dashboard, it allows you to see an overview of your sales and custom reports such as demographics, user behaviour, etc. The dashboard, which is somewhat similar to Google Analytics, also allows you to see your site performance live in real-time, giving you minute-by-minute data so you can see exactly how many users are on your website at any given moment.
Shopify Plus has partnered with industry-leading analytics companies such as Glew and Looker, and brings you up-to-date data and insights, making sure big ecommerce giants are armed with detailed, accurate information to help them make wider business decisions.
Help & support
No one likes getting stuck and Shopify has your back with 24/7 support via phone, email and live chat. You can also search through guides in its fantastic Help Centre so you feel supported at every step of your Shopify journey.
As you can likely guess, Shopify Plus gives you something a bit extra when it comes to support. It provides you with an impressive dedicated launch-manager to help you get set up, plus your own dedicated merchant support manager to help you with any site queries post-launch.
Pricing & transaction fees
Shopify is a very affordable platform and comes with three core pricing plans; Basic Shopify (£25/month), Shopify (£65/month) and Advanced Shopify (£344/month). Each plan offers you crucial features like multi-channel integration and abandoned carts, with extra added-value features incorporated in each tier. With a fixed plan, you know exactly what you’re paying and what you’re getting, and you can also use their free 14-day trial to ‘try before you buy’!
In contrast to Shopify, Shopify Plus pricing is a little less clear-cut. In order to get a bespoke quote, you must contact Shopify Plus directly to discuss your business model, turnover and marketing needs and then a tailored price will be offered.
This price is typically based on your monthly sales, i.e. if your sales are between $0 – $800,000 per month Shopify Plus plans tend to be around $2,000 per month and anything above this margin can vary up to the ceiling price of $40,000 per month.
It is clear to see that Shopify Plus offers a wide range of extra useful features surrounding analysis, design flexibility and support, but choosing this platform should be carefully considered as it is designed for large enterprise businesses who need a platform to manage high volume transactions. Shopify on the other hand is a great platform for everyday ecommerce businesses and offers affordable and flexible plans to suit a range of budgets.
With Shopify Markets, you can sell in 150+ countries around the world from a single store. This means you can focus on expanding your business while Shopify handles localisation, shipping, pricing, duties and compliance for you. While Shopify Markets is available on all pricing plans, the Advanced and Plus tiers offer a wider range of features. Core features include:
- Selling in 136 currencies
- Local payment options with Shopify Payments
- Selling in up to 20 languages
- Custom domains to optimise for different search platforms
- Smart settings that optimise market operations
Shopify Plus was designed with selling internationally in mind, making it the ideal platform for brands looking to expand into international markets and maintain a strong international presence. Plus-only features include:
- Estimated duties and taxes
- Ability to customise catalogs and storefront per market
- Estimate and collect duty and import taxes at checkout
- Manage fulfilment locations per market
Shopify vs Shopify Plus: FAQs
When should I upgrade to Shopify Plus?
According to Shopify, brands typically upgrade to Shopify Plus when their online sales reach about 80,000 per month, but individual needs may vary. If you feel like your current platform is hindering your business growth but aren’t sure what to do next, feel free to contact us to get the ball rolling.
How do I upgrade to Shopify Plus?
Upgrading to Shopify Plus is pretty simple. Once you’ve signed up, Shopify will upgrade your store within business 24 hours. You’ll receive an email notifying you that the upgrade is complete, followed by an introduction email containing all of the links you need to get started.
Is Shopify Plus worth it?
This depends on a number of factors – we answer this question in more detail here.
What is the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus?
Shopify is a complete ecommerce platform that allows pretty much anyone to start and manage an online store, with three different pricing plans to choose from depending on the size of your business and your budget. Shopify Plus differs because it’s built for enterprise-level ecommerce businesses – brands who are already achieving high levels of revenue and rapid growth.
How does Shopify Plus work?
Shopify Plus is an ecommerce software system. It offers unlimited staff accounts, so that you can customise permissions based on role and responsibility level, allowing your team to log into your dashboard and perform actions like uploading products, creating product collections/categories and reporting – basically everything needed to run a successful online store. If additional functionality is required, you can browse thousands of apps in the Shopify App store, meaning you can customise your store to suit your business needs in a quick and simple way, whether it be integrating a subscription service or translating your content for overseas markets.
See for yourself
Browse one of our Shopify Plus client’s websites, Yogamatters, and see first-hand how a website on this platform is able to operate, as well as how it feels and looks. To learn more about the build and design process for this site, read our Shopify Plus case study.
If you’re still unsure on which platform will be the ideal one for your business, or you’re looking to migrate to Shopify Plus, get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have.