5 Key Differences Between Shopify and Shopify Plus

5 Key Differences Between Shopify and Shopify Plus

Reading Time: 6 minutes

As one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, Shopify offers a range of desirable features that help business owners succeed online. The tiered plans are designed to support business owners at every stage of their growth, from startups to major brands.

With so many to choose from, it can be hard to determine which is the best choice for your needs. The basic Shopify plan is a good choice for any business, whether you’re brand new or you have a good customer base and revenue.

Still, there’s a point when you’ll outgrow what these plans have to offer. Shopify Plus is the top-tier plan and geared toward businesses with millions in sales each year. This plan includes a variety of exclusive features far above that of the previous plans, including full checkout customization, access to new apps and integrations, and dedicated support and training.

Basically, Shopify plans are intended for small and mid-sized businesses. Shopify Plus is for enterprise-level businesses that need more capability than the other plans can offer.

What Is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is the top tier of the Shopify plans and has every feature Shopify has to offer, as well as some desirable features of its own. Some of the biggest brands in the world are on Shopify Plus, including KKW Beauty, Victoria Beckham, Rebecca Minkoff, and Chubbies.

That comes at a price, however. Shopify Plus isn’t cheap, but that’s why it’s intended for businesses at the enterprise level and looking to grow or expand. If you have the sales numbers, its features more than pay for themselves.

Still wondering about the features and functionality of Shopify and Shopify Plus? Here are 5 key differences.

1. Unlimited Staff Accounts

Staff accounts are a big motivator for an upgrade for many businesses. Shopify plans all offer a different number of staff accounts aligned with the size of the business the plan serves. This may be enough at first, but some businesses require more staff accounts to manage operations when they grow.

Shopify Plus offers unlimited staff accounts. Every employee you have can manage the store with a dedicated account, and you’ll also have the option to limit access for some employees.

2. Launch Manager

Shopify offers support to its customers through email, phone, or live chat for all plans. If you’re trying to grow a large business, however, you may need to call on Shopify Experts.

With Shopify Plus, you get access to even more support with personalized and dedicated experts through the Launch Engineer feature. This means you have a specific Launch Engineer for your website to guide you through the setup and migration process and third-party integrations. If you still need more help, you can find Shopify partners through Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus also offers the Merchant Success Program, which makes sure you use all the plan is capable of. You have access to training and development for platforms, products, and third-party integrations for the plan, as well as a Merchant Success Manager to help with any questions or concerns.

If you still need more help, Shopify Plus has 24/7 support and access to Shopify Plus Partners that can help you customize your store and maximize your features.

3. Checkout Customization

The checkout process is a key component of the customer experience. Customizing your checkout to offer VIP customers better service and a seamless checkout experience can translate to more sales and more loyalty.

This isn’t much of an option with regular Shopify, but Shopify Plus adds a feature for fully customizable checkout experiences. You can trigger discounts or promotions based on the cart total or products, customize the payment options, and reward your VIP customers. With another Shopify plan, you would need developer knowledge and experience for this level of customization.

4. Liquid Access

Most Shopify plans include Shopify theme templates to customize to your needs. You can use the editor feature to tailor the themes and make them your own design, but there’s only so much you can do. With millions of stores on Shopify, you could end up with a storefront that looks like your competitor’s.

Shopify Plus offers a higher degree of customization through the plan’s theme language, Liquid. You can make changes to the backend at the code level to fully customize the theme. No matter how you want your store to look, you won’t be stuck with a normal template.

5. Integrations and Apps

APIs allow integrations and third-party apps for Shopify stores. The basic plans give you some APIs, but Shopify Plus gives you access to third-party apps for better user experience. One of these apps is User, a feature that allows you to add, remove, and edit information about staff accounts. You could also build your own apps.

Shopify Plus has plenty to choose from, however. You can access apps that are exclusive to the plan, including Shopify Flow, an ecommerce automation platform that automates processes, and a wholesale channel for exclusive products, logins, and bulk discounts.

Another key aspect is the built-in marketing tools to launch digital marketing campaigns, including tools for audience targeting, email marketing, paid social ads, SEO, and more. The plan also includes advanced analytics to improve your marketing efforts with actionable insights. And if you need guidance, the Merchant Success Program offers 24/7 support with access to Shopify Plus Partners.

Other excellent apps include the Launchpad, which lets you plan and automate product launches and promotions, and the Script Editor, which allows you to customize the checkout experience.

As far as integrations, Shopify Plus connects to existing business platforms like:

  • Warehouse management software (WMS)
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Third-party logistics (3PL)
  • Product information management (PIM)
  • Inventory and order management (IMS and OMS)
  • Global fulfillment partners

Other Shopify Plus Benefits

Shopify Plus makes ecommerce easy, even as your business scales. It features a centralized dashboard to manage all aspects of your store, including the storefronts, staff accounts, any automation tools. The dashboard gives you a comprehensive view of your business to manage multiple stores in multiple countries or maintain a wholesale storefront alongside your retail store.

The analytics with Shopify Plus give you a wealth of information as well, including performance for your top products, sales, repeat customers, and more, which can inform your digital marketing efforts. Shopify Plus takes analytics a step further with access to top analytics companies for more in-depth information about your store’s performance.

Some other resources include:

  • A Partners directory for technology, agency, and solution partners
  • An exclusive Facebook community to share stories, advice, and experience with other store owners
  • Access to programs and features in development
  • Tools from Shopify Plus Academy to improve your use of the platform

How Much Does Shopify Plus Cost?

As mentioned, Shopify Plus adds a higher price tag for its extra features and capabilities. The price is significantly higher, and it’s not a flat rate like the other plans.

With the Shopify plans, the rate stays the same for the entire tier. Whether your business grows overnight or stays stagnant for years, you will pay the same rate each month unless you upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your plan.

The plans prices are as follows:

  • Basic Shopify: The lowest tier, Basic Shopify includes the main features of Shopify, such as an online store, unlimited products, support, and two staff accounts. It’s $29 a month.
  • Shopify: The plan most small businesses choose, Shopify is the all-around plan that offers an online store, unlimited products, support, and five staff accounts. It’s $79 a month.
  • Advanced Shopify: Built for business looking to grow, the Advanced Shopify plan has the online store, unlimited products, support, and up to 15 staff accounts.

This is where Shopify Plus diverges from the other plans. The price begins at $2,000 per month or a minimum of 0.25% of sales volume per month (at a maximum of $40,000), whichever is greater.

Basically, you won’t know exactly what you’ll pay until you break it down and ask Shopify for a quote. The benefit of this, however, is that your costs are dependent upon how much you sell, so you can weather changes in your revenue. Also, as you sell more, the amount is capped at $40,000 – the rest is your own revenue.

Is Shopify Plus Right for You?

Shopify Plus has a lot of exciting features, but they could be overkill for small or medium-sized businesses. With a cost of at least $2,000 per month, a small business may not be able to afford or justify the cost until they’re hitting huge sales numbers each month.

If you’re on track for growth, however, Shopify Plus is a worthwhile investment. The plan is intended for growing businesses and features just about every tool you can think of to support that growth. When you’re ready, it’s best to make the switch and start reaping the rewards.

Upgrading to Shopify Plus

The key differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus revolve around its features. The enterprise-level plan brings tons of features and capabilities, including dedicated support and advanced APIs, to help businesses succeed.

At a percentage of your sales, Shopify Plus is a big move and investment. Make sure your business is ready to scale and take advantage of all the features available to you. Otherwise, it’s best to wait until you’re generating sales and committed to scaling your business quickly.

Author Bio: 

Sean Richards is the VP of Strategy & Partnerships for Vincit. Richards provided business development, React-Native Consulting, digital marketing strategy and partnership development at several reputable companies and marketing agencies in both California and Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Design Management from Arizona State University.


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