Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: Which Is Best for Your Business?
Nearly 649 million people made a purchase from a Shopify store in 2022.
With the likes of Adele, Drake, and companies like Hyatt and Wholefoods using the platform, Shopify is truly one of the most accessible, leverageable e-Commerce solutions out there. Its standard offerings are so valuable that it makes you wonder:
What more can I get if I upgrade to Shopify Plus? Does the value match the price?
While Shopify is great as is, there are some significant differences in its Plus offering that are very attractive to certain businesses. So let’s put them head-to-head: Shopify vs Shopify Plus.
How do they stack up? And which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-Commerce platform used by businesses around the world to build online stores. It is one of the most popular e-Commerce tools in the world, with over 4 million Shopify stores online and active as of January 2023.
Shopify’s low cost, super simple setup, and professional templates attract businesses of all sizes, particularly new businesses that have yet to establish an online presence. Its interface is purposely designed to make administrative tasks super easy, and allows for true speed to market.
To meet businesses at whatever stage of growth they are in, Shopify offers 4 competitive pricing tiers.
- Starter ($5 per month): A $5/month plan that lets users leverage social media channels, SMS, and messaging apps to sell their own products.
- Basic ($29 per month): An introductory plan that offers basic reporting and up to 2 staff accounts. Includes an online store (a website where users can create product and content pages). $29/month if billed yearly.
- Standard ($79 per month): Everything included in the Basic plan along with professional reporting, 3 additional staff accounts, and lower card transaction fees.
Advanced ($299 per month): Custom reporting, up to 15 staff accounts, and even lower fees on every card transaction.
What is Shopify Plus?
While there are many options within standard Shopify that can scale with a growing business, some companies need a bit more. That’s where Shopify Plus comes in.
Plus is Shopify’s enterprise solution offering users more customisation, multi-store setup, and lower fees on customer transactions. Plus is designed for businesses with very high sales volume, high shipping volume, or in most cases, both.
Pricing for Shopify Plus is a big jump from Advanced, starting at $2000 USD per month, with a competitive variable fee for businesses producing the highest volumes of sales.
On paper, this difference in price from other Shopify tiers may seem surprising to some. Yet there’s a tipping point most scaling businesses reach where Plus will actually save them money. In some cases, Plus ends up being significantly cheaper per month than other ecommerce platforms (e.g. Magento). All while providing significantly better features, site stability, and security.
More on this tipping point later.
With such a difference in price, some might think that Shopify and Shopify Plus are two different platforms. That is not the case.
Both services are built on the same technology and allow users to use the same themes to build their website. On the backend, the interface is essentially the same. Simple to use, with no coding knowledge required for shop owners to manage a basic site.
Both services even offer 24/7 customer support via email, phone, or live chat.
What really separates both offerings is the host of enterprise features users have access to when they join Plus.
Key Differences Between Shopify & Shopify Plus
Merchant Success Program
All Shopify Plus users get exclusive access to the Merchant Success Program. This personal support team (aka Launch Team) is on call to help you implement best practices in your store setup.
Trying to set up a custom site? Or looking to migrate from another ecommerce platform? No problem. Your Launch Team will point you in the right direction to a Shopify Partner, like us. Shopify Partners have specific expertise to help you get the most out of your site, so you can spend less time tinkering and more time selling.
Dedicated Wholesale Channel & B2B Companies
First, there’s the phone call. Then there’s the purchase order. Then an invoice. And finally confirmation. For B2C/B2B combo enterprises, wholesale is rarely optimised in the way it should be. This is largely due to ecommerce platforms not having the capability to handle wholesale sales and their ever-varying client terms.
With Shopify Plus, you can bring wholesale and retail under one roof permanently, with a dedicated wholesale channel. Rather than playing phone tag or waiting for follow-up emails, your clients can simply place a reorder online when their stock gets low.
Within this channel, business owners can create pricelists that allow for discounted pricing across all products or specific discounts for certain products. Stores can also have volume-based pricing (i.e. buy 10 for $100, buy 20 for $175, and so on). Customers can order directly in the channel or draft a quote (to be settled within Shopify or elsewhere).
It’s worth noting that the wholesale channel is a purposely skimmed-back version of your main store, with little to no UI customisation. Shopify assumes that businesses using the channel are your existing customers. Rather than highlighting a brand experience, the channel is optimised for wholesale customers to place repeat bulk orders in the most efficient way possible.
At the basic level, Companies is a branded wholesale channel. So why don’t the two exist as one channel?
Companies serve the market of merchants who have a big wholesale presence but still want to ensure their brand is consistent. One minor functional difference? No volume-based pricing. Additionally, customers can now easily duplicate past orders using the “Buy Again” button on their order history and order details pages.
Learn more about easy reordering and other customer account functions here.
Companies allow for custom payment terms and shipping methods. This could be very useful to merchants who have unique wholesale agreements with different types of customers.
Lastly, Companies can also be used to run promotions. For example, if a customer signs up via a form on your site, that customer can get tagged in a certain category. This tag can be connected to a pricelist. Next time the customer logs into your store, they’ll see discounted pricing. When the promotion is over, simply delete the pricelist.
Using one (or both) of these channels could significantly reduce your wholesale admin; so your sales team can spend more time recruiting new business.
Fully Customisable Checkout
Probably the biggest difference (and biggest game changer) between Shopify and Shopify Plus is the checkout experience. Plus members can fully customise their checkout experience.
Multiple fields can be added to a checkout page (e.g. “You are X away from free shipping”). With app integration and/or coding, users can also add fields to collect more customer information. One prime example is of this a loyalty program, where logged-in customers can track their progress after purchase.
And there's a new checkout feature for Plus members which has significant potential to increase average order value.
Currently in beta, Post-Purchase Checkout will allow store owners to keep selling even after checkout is complete. Should a customer add a post-purchase item, it will be added and charged instantly to their order, with no additional steps required. It’s the virtual equivalent of an impulse buy from the magazine stand at the register.
Shopify Stores & Markets
Looking to expand internationally? Shopify Markets is the way to go. Outside of one main store, Plus members can make their store accessible in up to 50 different international markets. Markets use the same database of products and customers from one store, but change pricing, languages and subdomains for international markets.
In addition, Plus members can have up to 9 additional stores. These stores live under the same brand as the original store. This feature is primarily for businesses that have different teams, warehouses and operations, and wants to treat the overall company as such. Having the ability to operate this many sites at an enterprise level—at only $2000/month—is extremely difficult to achieve on any competitor ecommerce platform.
Lower Card Transaction Fees
To make Plus pricing even more competitive, Shopify offers even lower transaction fees at a flat 1% per transaction.
Additional fees are waived entirely for all purchases made via Shopify Payments (Shop Pay). And 0.15% is charged when a third-party payment processor is used (e.g. Apple Pay, PayPal or similar). This is significantly lower than the 2% charged to Basic members.
For high-volume businesses processing tens of thousands of transactions monthly, jumping from Advanced to Plus is a no-brainer and cost-saving.
Unlimited Staff Accounts
As your business grows so does your team. While accounts are limited on other Shopify tiers, Plus allows you to create an unlimited number of staff accounts. Each account can also have varying levels of site access in the backend.
So What’s The Tipping Point?
From learnings and experience with our current clients, we found that there is a certain monthly revenue figure where the Plus’ $2000 monthly fee is a much better, cost-saving deal than Advanced’s $300 per month.
That annual revenue target is around $1.5 to 2 million.
We found that if you are bringing in this much revenue, switching to Plus will actually save you money down the line.
Shopify vs. Shopify Plus
As we get later into 2023, Shopify will continue to make updates to both of its plans. This list may change slightly as the year goes on, but you can check out all planned updates in the latest Shopify Editions.
Which Version is Right For You?
Now you’ve weighed the options, do you think your business is more suited to standard Shopify or is ready to take the next step to Plus?
Regardless of wherever your business is at in its stage of growth, both services offer an unparalleled ecommerce experience, with Shopify being one of the most popular, accessible, and easy-to-use platforms available.
Want to make the most of your site? As certified Shopify Partners we can bring your project to life. Drop us a line and we’ll be in touch.