Shopify or Shopify Plus: How to Pick the Best for your eCommerce Business

Shopify VS Shopify Plus: Our Easy Guide

Plans, features, compatibility… picking the right e-Commerce platform is hard!

While Shopify makes it easier for businesses to open online stores with no need of extensive development skills, the reality is a bit more complex. Not only does Shopify offer different types of regular plans but also proposes Shopify Plus, a more advanced edition of their standard version. Since the differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus quickly comes down to technicalities, it can sometimes be somewhat confusing to determine which one would suit your business best.

But fear no more! We have put together this guide specifically to help you decide between Shopify and Shopify Plus, so let’s start by asking the right questions…

How big is your business?

…whether in sales volume, people or traffic!

This is the first and easiest question to ask when determining which of Shopify or Shopify Plus suits best your business.

Long story short, while Shopify offers a range of plans (Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify), that we will jointly refer to as “Shopify standard”, catering to a lot of different stores types and sizes, it is best used for small to mid-size businesses. Its monthly usage fee ranges from $29 to $299, mostly depending on the size of your team.

As a logical extension to these starting plans, Shopify Plus goes beyond Advanced Shopify both in terms of offer and price to cater to enterprise type of businesses.

With a minimum flat rate of $2,000 a month for smaller stores selling less than $800,000 per month, or 0.25% of your monthly sales volume beyond that, Shopify Plus is definitely on the pricier end. Smaller volume selling companies might want to opt for a more accessible Shopify plan before transitioning to Plus, although, as we’ll see, it is not just about cost but also about the many benefits that Plus brings.

With a Shopify standard plans, you can create between 2 to 15 staff accounts for your store. If this is not enough for your business, consider upgrading for Shopify Plus, as it allows unlimited staff account creation.

Shopify Plus comes with the advanced Organization admin panel, allowing you to manage multiple stores in one place. Shopify Organization lets you oversee your stores analytics and live performance, as well as manage users and stores.
Shopify Flow, enabling you to automate repetitive tasks throughout your stores for a more efficient workflow.

Finally, and for the ones looking at scaling, Shopify Plus raises up the limits for simultaneous API calls and requests from Shopify standard, boosting your store performance for high-volume traffic and transactions.

Short answer:

  • as a general guidance, if your sales volume is below $1M monthly, and your business does not generate heavy traffic, then Shopify should be enough.
  • if you sell over USD$1M monthly and/or your business generates heavy traffic and/or your operations team is rather big, then you might be better using Shopify Plus to its whole potential.
Are you selling in multiple countries?

…and if yes, how many markets is your business selling in?

Shopify Payments is available for all Shopify plans, with international payment methods. While this provides the basic features for you to start selling in multiple countries, Shopify Plus takes it up a notch for businesses targeting a wider range of markets and process multi-currency payments.

Along with the advanced Shopify Organization admin panel for store management, Shopify Plus allows you to create up to nine (9) free expansion stores for your site.

Exit the headache behind language switchers for one and only platform: Shopify Plus allows you more flexibility as each one of your markets can have their dedicated store and localized marketing content, design and discounts, and more.

Shopify Plus partners are also available to support you into adapting your expansion stores to a specific market.

Read more about how we supported Kusmi Tea to localize and adapt its store to fit the Japanese market here.

Short answer:

  • if you are selling in a couple of countries only and do not have specific localization needs, you can probably go ahead with Shopify standard and manage two different stores.
  • if your business is available in more than 2 countries, require extensive localization and/or a wholesale channel, and you have regional teams dedicated to each market, then Shopify Plus is for you.

How much do you need to customize your store?

While Shopify is making it possible for businesses and non-tech-oriented individuals to setup their online stores with a dev-free approach, it also comes with some limitations you may want to consider.

If your team has the resources and your business requires a 100% branded experience from discovery to delivery, keep in mind that only Shopify Plus allows you to get out of Shopify standard’s checkout bounds and customize your checkout process.

Shopify Plus lets brands not only personalize the design and visual layout of these crucial pages, but also add useful tools such as the possibility to add progress trackers or extra custom fields. It pairs up with Shopify Scripts to also allow additional shipping methods and automated rules -think easy Buy One Get One Free!- and external API calls for 360 degrees customization.

Shopify Plus also comes with Shopify POS Pro and a bundle of exclusive apps such as Script Editor to make your life easier. Wholesale channels add an extra layer to let wholesale buyers purchase from your online store at different prices. As another example, Launchpad makes it easy for you to automate and handle events, such a sales or product drops, in a few clicks.

As mentioned earlier, Shopify Flow also comes in the mix with Shopify Plus with not only a tool for automating repetitive tasks on your store, but also allows you to seamlessly integrate your operations with existing platforms (PIM, ERP, CRM…).

Short answer:

  • if you do not need any complex customization of your checkout and campaigns, and can function without any automatic connexion to inventory systems or CRM, Shopify is enough.
  • if your business needs a fully branded experience and requires heavy task-handling whether for stock management, marketing campaigns and more, then Shopify Plus is likely to be made for you.

Still not sure which is the safest option?

As Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level platform targeted for large-scale businesses, it seems only fair that such service would also come with some VIP-level support and resources from Shopify Plus.

The Merchant Success Program is a service that aims at ensuring the best support and care for Shopify Plus clients. It offers not only a 24/7 priority support system, but also tailor-made strategic, growth and scalability specialized support, training and consulting, to ensure you get the most out of Shopify Plus.

While Shopify offers support to all its users via a wide range of contact methods, their team of Shopify Experts and their network of Shopify Partners (like CREAM! ;D), Shopify Plus goes the extra mile by assigning a Launch Engineer to your store. Your Launch Engineer will be specifically dedicated to your store, to guide you through the onboarding and store-building until launch, from setup and migration to third-party integrations.

Summary and Pricing Table

All the above questions are relevant and not mutually exclusive when determining which Shopify plan would be the best match for your business. All this information might feel confusing and hard to digest, especially for people who do not come from a development background.

Below is a summary of the major differences between all the Shopify standard and Shopify Plus plans, with pricing included:

Conclusion

Determining which option between Shopify standard and Shopify Plus is not an exact science. It involves a wide range of different factors and you may not check all the boxes for an easy answer. Still, we hope this article will help you have a clearer sense of what would be the best for your business.

Whether you need more guidance or you are ready to make the jump, as a Shopify Plus Partner, CREAM is here to help you pick the right plan and launch a kick-ass Shopify store!

Let’s get started with Shopify now!

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