Shopify vs Shopify Plus: The Benefits of Upgrading For Scaling Stores

October 13, 2022

Rachel Go

Shopify vs Shopify Plus v1 shopify vs shopify plus

Shopify has established itself as one of the go-to ecommerce platforms for small businesses and massive enterprises alike.

Its user-friendliness, dedicated support, and design flexibility have earned the trust of brands around the globe.

However, as your business thrives on Shopify, you may wonder whether or not upgrading to Shopify Plus is worth it.

We’re here today to address that dilemma.

In this article, we’ll cover:

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Delight your customers on any Shopify plan<cta-title>Build out the perfect buyer experience in Shopify or Shopify Plus.Start building for free

 

Critical differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus

Three major factors differentiating Shopify from Shopify Plus are pricing, features, and design.

Shopify Plus is tailored to larger enterprise sellers, and you’ll see this reflected in the service’s overall cost and functionality.

1. Shopify vs. Shopify Plus pricing

“Switching from Shopify to Shopify Plus allows you to save on transaction fees…. Once you have Shopify Plus, you no longer need to spend extra for … fees, which can be huge if you expect a large volume of orders daily.”

– Sam Tabak, board member, RMBH Charities

Since price is an influential deciding factor in this comparison, let’s dive into the available Shopify pricing plans.

Shopify pricing

Shopify’s standard plans follow simple, flat pricing tiers, making it easy to select the right one for your business.

There are four regular Shopify plans available, namely:

  • Shopify Starter: Shopify’s starter plan is a mere $5 per month and is designed to make it easy for merchants to sell online through their social channels, such as Instagram or WhatsApp, without an ecommerce storefront.
  • Basic Shopify: This plan provides all the basics for starting a new ecommerce business. At $29 a month, it’s the ideal starter plan for those launching an online store for the first time on a small scale.
  • Shopify: Most small to mid-sized retailers starting their first online store (or moving to Shopify) use this plan. It costs $79 per month and includes all the basics plus features that a growing business needs to continue to scale.
  • Advanced Shopify: It’s a bit of a jump to the $299 monthly price for Advanced Shopify, but this is an ideal choice for merchants interested in cutting-edge ecommerce features.

You can opt for annual billing, which takes 50% off the regular monthly cost.

Shopify also offers a three-day free trial, so you can experience firsthand whether or not a specific plan meets your business’s needs.

But take note, Shopify also charges additional fees, including:

  • Transaction fees: Depending on your plan, using a third-party payment provider subjects you to additional fees—2% (Basic), 1% (Shopify), 0.5% (Advanced).
  • Credit card fees: If you want to be able to accept major credit cards, you’ll also have to pay a small payment processing fee. It also varies based on your chosen plan.

Shopify Plus pricing

Meanwhile, pricing for the Shopify Plus plan starts at $2,000 per month.

The Shopify Plus plan is an enterprise-level solution built for high-volume merchants who need more features, better performance, and more control over their online stores.

The higher price point takes into account the necessary setups and integrations essential for your store.

However, for higher-volume businesses, fees vary based on your requirements.

For exact pricing, you’ll need to speak with Shopify’s experts. You’ll also incur other fees with Shopify Plus:

  • Transaction fees: For additional security when using a third-party external payment processor, you’ll be charged a 0.15% fee per transaction. It is, however, waived when using Shopify Payments.
  • Additional store fees: Your monthly Shopify Plus fee includes your primary store and nine expansion stores. Each extra store, meanwhile, costs an additional $250 per month.
  • Optional costs: These can include custom development costs from Shopify Plus Partners, one-time theme purchases, third-party apps, and tax automations from Avalara Avatax ($250 per month).

Your final total is primarily based on sales volumes.

Shopify Plus switches to a revenue-based model once you reach $800,000 in monthly sales, and the maximum fee can reach up to $40,000.

2. Additional features

Besides pricing differences, Shopify Plus also offers more features and functionalities than Shopify’s standard plans.

These features include:

  • Dedicated merchant success teams supporting you from launch to growth
  • Customization tools for your store, checkout experience, and marketing
  • Supports more international currencies, payment methods, and languages
  • Omnichannel and wholesale features
  • Exclusive Shopify Plus apps
  • More comprehensive reporting and analytics
  • Shopify organization admin to create new stores and manage existing stores in a single dashboard

We’ll go into greater detail about these additional features below.

3. Merchant profile

The most significant difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus is who they’re intended for.

Shopify is geared towards small to medium businesses seeking an efficient, affordable online store.

On the other hand, Shopify Plus is for large to enterprise-level merchants in need of a powerful, fully hosted ecommerce platform.

As these top Shopify brands grow, they move up the ladder and end up with Shopify Plus.

Brands that find success with Shopify Plus

Below are some noteworthy players from various industries that employ Shopify Plus.

Gymshark
gymshark online store shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Gymshark

The fitness apparel and accessories brand Gymshark operated on a platform that could not handle considerable spikes in traffic or scale with their business.

After their website crashed during Black Friday—a nightmare scenario for retailers—the company decided to re-platform.

Shopify Plus was their re-platforming solution, keeping pace with Gymshark’s growth and allowing the brand to realize international expansion.

Through it, Gymshark was able to:

  • Offer more immersive online and offline customer experiences
  • Avoid issues and save resources
  • Focus on creating products and enhancing the brand
Huel
huel homepage shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Huel

Huel, a sustainable nutrition brand, was understaffed during their rapid growth.

Backend work was piling up, while onboarding talent for their ecommerce operations was a long and draining process.

However, their upgrade to Shopify Plus helped the company streamline this process.

With the new Shopify Plus Admin, Huel could effortlessly add or remove staff accounts and assign people to various roles as needed.

Shopify Plus also equipped the company to onboard staff within minutes, saving them time and resources and allowing them to focus on their vision.

Heinz
heinz homepage shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Heinz to Home

Heinz is a long-established global brand of food and condiments.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, their UK business realized certain customers (namely, essential workers and vulnerable populations) couldn’t access their products due to isolation and health protocols.

Thanks to Shopify Plus and the help of ecommerce consultants, Heinz UK was able to put their plan for Heinz to Home in motion by:

  • Launching a DTC site within a week
  • Starting a new business model
  • Expanding access to their products
LeSportsac
lesportsac homepage shopify vs shopify plus
Image: LeSportsac

LeSportsac, a lifestyle brand known for their bags and accessories, noticed the shopping experience their former ecommerce platform provided couldn’t match the real-life feel of shopping with the brand.

Placing a strong focus on customer segmentation and personalization, the brand proceeded to overhaul and strengthen their online presence.

Thanks to Shopify Plus, LeSportsac provides tailored shopping experiences across their digital channels, perfectly emulating the brand’s in-store feel.

Polaroid
polaroid homepage shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Polaroid

The camera brand Polaroid reemerged during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With everyone turning to online shopping, they needed to revamp their site to keep up with surging online traffic and demand.

Through Shopify Plus and the assistance of their partner agency, Ask Phill, Polaroid was able to achieve explosive online growth, improve their ecommerce experiences, and launch two new products—all of which effectively revitalized the brand.

The benefits of upgrading to Shopify Plus

As mentioned above, there’s a big price jump from the first two Shopify plans to Advanced Shopify, and the gap between Advanced Shopify and Shopify Plus is even greater.

But when you look at what Shopify Plus has to offer, the solution is well worth the cost for large online stores.

Upgrading to Shopify Plus provides access to exclusive features designed for enterprise brands.

Furthermore, it gives you much more control over your store’s general appearance and functionality.

We’ve broken down some of the most important features included with Shopify Plus below.

Ability to sell everywhere

A massive advantage to Shopify Plus is it can help you establish a presence in many channels and territories.

Omnichannel selling

An omnichannel approach lets you meet customer needs wherever, whenever and Shopify Plus enables that option.

With it, you can sell across multiple social media channels and online marketplaces—all while managing your products in one place.

One of its key features, Shopify POS, handles online returns and exchanges.

It also allows you to offer purchase options that combine online and offline retail, including:

  • Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS)
  • Browse in-store, buy online
  • Buy in-store, ship to customer

International selling

shopify multiple currencies shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify

Shopify Plus helps you break into international markets as well. You can let customers pay using their local currencies and payment methods.

With translations for your store’s contents in up to 21 different languages, you can also provide more localized experiences.

Tip: Shopify Plus merchants gain the ability to clone their store up to nine times without paying for additional plans. This is a great way to support multiple languages for businesses that operate in other countries.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Learn how to simplify store design across multiple websites by syncing content across stores with Page Builder Advanced.

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Make it easy to sell in every market<cta-title>Use Shogun Page Builder Advanced to clone content across multiple storefronts.Chat with us

 

Wholesale

In 2017, Shopify created a new wholesale platform available through Shopify Plus.

It gives merchants the ability to run a wholesale site separate from their existing Shopify account.

shopify plus wholesale page shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify Plus

On the new platform, you can either have a store for both DTC and wholesale or create one dedicated to B2B.

This password-protected wholesale channel extends your online store and is only available through Shopify Plus.

shopify sales dashboard shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify Plus

This exclusive Shopify Plus feature lets you offer wholesale customers the same products available on your main storefront at different prices.

With it, you can even add products only available wholesale.

In-depth customization

“The better checkout personalization in Shopify Plus … allows us to refine our checkout interface to provide a more attractive, functional, and seamless experience for our purchasing customers, giving us insights into which layout designs are best for our clients. The improved selection of payment options also makes the checkout process highly convenient.”

– Nunzio Ross, founder and CEO of Majesty Coffee

Platforms like Shopify are so popular thanks to their ease of use.

Both the shopping cart and store are already coded and designed—to open a store, the merchant simply needs to customize their settings, apply a theme that fits their brand, and populate the products and content.

Shopify provides many ways to customize your store—with some limits.

While the company allows a range of visual customizations in the checkout, standard Shopify account holders cannot customize the checkout page’s functionality.

But with Shopify Plus, the default two-page checkout is entirely customizable, allowing merchants to change the checkout into a single-page checkout, three-page checkout, or any other variation.

This produces a fully branded checkout experience that allows A/B testing to maximize your online store’s conversion rate.

leesa checkout shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Leesa

Shopify Plus users enjoy more control over how their stores look as well. Its drag-and-drop editor lets you instantly tailor your store and checkout experience.

You can even create more advanced customizations using templating and coding languages such as:

If you’re not well-versed in the required technical know-how, a Shopify launch manager can write code and make custom edits for you, resulting in effortless customization that saves you time and money.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Build, customize, and collaborate on every website page with Shogun Page Builder Advanced. Copy content across multiple stores, optimize each page for conversion, and allow any team member to seamlessly build landing pages.

Script Editor

Shopify Plus also provides access to its Script Editor, a tool for tailoring your checkout experiences and promotions.

It lets you edit Line item, Shipping, and Payment scripts to offer various discounts, tweak prices based on volume, and more.

shopify plus script editor shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Script Editor

While standard customization for Shopify stores typically occurs through third-party apps, the Script Editor allows merchants to develop and write scripts that Shopify hosts and runs.

As a result, you produce your own customized business logic to enhance the checkout and shopping experience.

This is ideal if you need specific functionality but can’t find an appropriate app.

Specifically, you can create functionality for items like:

  • Percentage-based discounts
  • Product bundles and combination offers
  • Tiered pricing applicable to VIP customers or other segments
  • Blocked promotional codes during specific events
  • Dynamic pricing for volume-based price breaks

Higher API call limits

In simple terms, an API call occurs whenever an app performs an action, typically due to an interaction between a visitor and your store.

Shopify limits the number of API calls per second to manage their server load.

The cap on API calls is doubled for Shopify Plus merchants (who are usually scaling up to much higher traffic volumes than standard Shopify users).

Note: This applies to the Storefront API, used by headless stores, which has a time-based limit.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Go headless for even more design control and speed. Shopify and Shogun make it easy to create a blazing-fast website that delights your visitors.

Access to Shopify Flow

It’s challenging to keep up with all the little tasks that accumulate as your store grows dramatically.

Managing individual changes to elements like customer status becomes incredibly time-consuming when dealing with tens of thousands of customers.

Flow is an automation tool for Shopify Plus merchants that allows you to set up and manage automated workflows for these and other similar scenarios.

With Flow, there’s no need to hire a developer.

shopify flow workflows shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify App Store

You can produce a range of workflows, such as:

  • Adjusting product tags based on inventory levels and purchase behaviors
  • Creating a triggered action when a high-risk order is detected
  • Adding customer tags when customer value increases to track loyalty
  • Republishing products when inventory is back in stock
  • Sending personalized notifications to customers based on specific order or account behaviors

Flow provides the agility a growing ecommerce enterprise needs to continue to scale while staying productive and managing overhead.

Shopify Plus has also released pre-built Flow templates that make setting up your automated workflows easier.

Certain templates are explicitly designed to help your store deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support from launch to growth

Migrating, then launching on a new ecommerce site can be daunting, but the Shopify Plus launch team will help you re-platform and set up your store without issue.

They can skillfully walk you or your partner agency through:

  • Strategies
  • Tools and solutions
  • Integrations like ERPs, CRMs, and 3PLs
  • Third-party technology recommendations
  • Best practices covering testing to going live

Meanwhile, the Shopify Plus merchant success program connects you with managers who’ll help you achieve your goals and vision.

They provide support in key areas like acquisition, conversion, retention, and more.

Detailed business insights

shopify plus reporting table shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify

Shopify Plus paints a clear picture of your business, providing more robust reporting and analytics.

It details your performance across your sales channels, the regions you’re present in, and customer segments, which can help you build forecasts, strategies, and goals.

Additionally, Shopify Plus partners with analytics companies and offers many integrations for gathering in-depth insights so you can make data-driven decisions.

Onboard unlimited staff

shopify pricing staff accounts shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify

As previously mentioned in Huel’s case, Shopify Plus helps streamline onboarding.

However, it also accommodates an unlimited number of staff accounts, allowing you to gather and train as much talent as you need to run your business efficiently.

Meanwhile, Shopify’s standard plans only permit up to 15 accounts and restrict control over staff actions.

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Exclusive Shopify Plus apps

launchpad shopify plus app shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Launchpad

Another significant edge you gain from upgrading is access to apps available only to Shopify Plus users.

These exclusive Shopify apps include:

  • Launchpad: This app lets you plan and automate promotional campaigns, product launches, and flash sales. You can also revert any changes made instantly after your event.
  • Transporter: This app is designed for importing product, order, and customer records into your Shopify store. It makes it easy to migrate and send records from other platforms to Shopify Plus.
  • Bulk Account Inviter: With this app, you can invite customers to activate their accounts on your store. Ideally, you should use it after importing customer accounts from another platform or Shopify store.
  • Avalara AvaTax: This app comes in handy when managing your financials. It automatically calculates and files taxes for you, effectively removing legal compliance worries.

The Launchpad tool, one of the most popular, lets you quickly set up and track automated events such as flash sales and product launches.

Through the app, a Shopify Plus merchant can schedule events like a limited-time sale with correlating price changes at the start and end dates.

launchpad dashboard shopify shopify vs shopify plus
Image: Shopify App Store

You can trigger automatic theme changes during events (great for seasonal website design alterations), enable reCaptcha during a sale to limit bot use, push products to desired sales channels, and trigger specific scripts to run.

It also features a real-time analytics dashboard for tracking the performance of your events.

Better remote collaboration

Shopify Plus has a robust feature for remote collaboration as well. Now, you can see whenever someone is editing the same product page as you.

Additionally, when someone saves changes to a product page, anyone else who has that page open will be notified.

This will avoid the loss of any work when you update your store.

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Create a seamless website on Shopify Plus<cta-title>Use Shogun Page Builder Advanced to collaborate with your team.Learn more

 

Access to Shopify Plus Academy

Finally, Shopify Plus merchants can access business courses for scaling brands through Shopify Plus Academy.

For an industry that is constantly shifting, with best practices evolving rapidly, having a source of consistent education is a huge competitive advantage for ecommerce teams.

The Shopify Plus Academy courses include everything from getting started to seasonal lessons that help merchants prepare for events such as Black Friday and the holiday season.

Their five main topics include:

  • Getting started
  • Store design
  • Operations
  • Marketing and sales
  • Internationalization

7 Signs it’s time to upgrade to Shopify Plus

Now that we’ve covered most of the basics, here are some key factors that indicate an upgrade to Shopify Plus is in order.

1. You want to sell omnichannel

Selling on multiple online and offline channels improves the customer experience and provides massive benefits like decreasing sales losses by up to 30% and increasing order rates by 494%.

If omnichannel is your aim, Shopify Plus can make it a reality.

2. You require better security and fraud prevention features

Shopify Plus offers built-in security features, such as PCI compliance and data encryption, to keep customer and payment information safe.

Other functionalities also come into play, including:

  • Fraud and risk analysis to identify fraudulent orders
  • Chargeback recovery to protect you from monetary losses
  • Bot protection

If your current platform security is lacking or you face issues with abusive shoppers, Shopify Plus can help you circumvent these problems and strengthen your defenses.

3. You want to take your store global

International expansion is no easy task, but Shopify Plus makes it easy to localize the ecommerce experience for whatever regions you choose to sell in.

It supports many currencies and payment methods and more languages than Shopify’s standard plans.

4. You need more advanced analytics tracking

Keeping track of various sales channels, regions, and product catalogs becomes increasingly challenging as you scale.

Shopify Plus possesses richer analytics capabilities and professional reports, allowing you to stay on top of your business’s performance.

5. You need greater theme flexibility

Maybe your standard Shopify plan lacks design options, or you use a platform that offers less customization.

Upgrading or switching to Shopify Plus expands your options and provides more control to help you achieve your store’s ideal look.

You can then take your theme to the next level with a powerful page building tool that can scale with your brand, even across multiple storefronts (like Shogun Page Builder Advanced!).

6. Your financials are growing and becoming more complicated

Your financials and taxes increase in complexity as you grow.

You’ll need help streamlining these financial complexities, and Avalara AvaTax is a paid service that does precisely that. It’s only available to Shopify Plus users, though.

The app can calculate over 12,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the U.S., ensuring you charge customers accurately while relying on up-to-date rules.

7. You want to break into wholesale

Expansion into wholesale is simpler with Shopify Plus.

You can seamlessly incorporate wholesale into your main storefront or create a secure, dedicated B2B site.

It even offers clear search functionality and catalog browsing, as well as various integrations and optimizations.

Upgrading to Shopify Plus makes scaling effortless

Shopify’s standard packages are superb for kick-starting and growing your business up to a certain point.

However, upgrading to Shopify Plus is the right move to take your business to the next level.

It provides impressive, professional support, extensive customization, and robust functionalities.

Despite being pricier than Shopify’s core plans, it balances this out by saving the time and resources you’d spend on less-capable platforms.

Take the hassle out of scaling by transitioning to Shopify Plus today.

 

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Rachel Go

Rachel is a remote marketing manager with a background in building scalable content engines. She creates content that wins customers for B2B eCommerce companies like MyFBAPrep, Shogun, and more. In the past, she has scaled organic acquisition efforts for companies like Deliverr and Skubana.

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