1M+ e-commerce websites in over 180 countries trust Shopify. And not just smaller brands, Enterprise-level brands such as Gym Shark, Huel & Allbirds are all powered by Shopify. It’s the most scalable, feature-rich and fastest growing e-commerce platform. However, if you are fast-growth, high turn-over brand then you might want to consider Shopify Plus. Join over 5,000 global brands who chose Shopify Plus!
But… is it right for your business? We've weighed up Shopify vs Shopify Plus to help you choose!
SHOPIFY VS SHOPIFY PLUS
Shopify is a complete e-commerce solution, that gives brands the ability to sell online with intuitive order / customer management and features that keep your customers coming back. Shopify brands can access hundreds of thousands of trusted third party apps from the Shopify app store. The power of Shopify is continually developing by a network of expert technology partners and an eco-system of agencies and freelancers too. However if your brand's requirements exceed that of a small to medium sized brand, then standard Shopify functionality may not be enough... Shopify offers an enterprise-level e-commerce solution with access to additional features and customisations, aimed towards fast growing global brands.
Shopify vs Shopify plus can be a challenge to decide which is best for your business, especially when you look at the price before the power of what it can do for your brand! Note: If you are on the top level of the standard plans, Shopify Advanced - it could be worth giving this post a read: Shopify Plus vs Advanced
We’ll give you an extensive overview of the price, Shopify Plus’ features, benefits & when to upgrade to Shopify Plus as the platform to power your brand. It can be a difficult decision knowing when Shopify Plus is right and needed, this post should help!
INTRO TO SHOPIFY PLUS
Shopify was initially built for SME brands, wanting to develop their D2C strategy. What if your turnover exceeds £1M and your business's complexity outgrows the standard Shopify and what it has to offer? Step right up, Shopify Plus.
As brand grows, so does complexity and Shopify Plus is the ultimate flexible solution to allow merchants to build a custom e-commerce site around their brand. Shopify Plus offers the same dashboard and features as Shopify but with access to extra features (both frontend and backend), integrations, automations, dedicated support options and way more. Unlimited access to code combined with fast execution times, access to its restricted checkout.liquid and other advanced features allow your brand to thrive on Plus.
HOW MUCH DOES SHOPIFY PLUS COST?
We strongly advise considering the ongoing costs of the platform when considering Shopify vs Shopify Plus. (It’s worth reading our post on Shopify Plus vs. Magento as this highlights the extreme savings from other enterprise level solutions). Shopify Plus' pricing model is based on usage of their services which is measured in monthly sales volume through the Shopify platform. This is based on the principle that the more sales you make, the more support and server resources your brand will need. The Shopify Plus service starts at $2,000 USD per month until your revenue exceed $800,000 per month and the pricing switches to 0.25% of your monthly revenue. For example, a merchant who makes £1M in sales per month will pay £2,500, whereas you would need £16M in sales per month, to get hit with the maximum price.
In addition to the monthly fee, you do have to pay a transaction fee (which will vary depending on the country the credit card is from) these are usually between 1.6% - 2.3% however we recommend getting in touch with your provider or Shopify to confirm.
If you do not use the Shopify Payments gateway then transactions will attract an additional 0.15% payment too! However it is still worth noting, these rates are incredibly competitive so it's not all doom and gloom! Typically, we would recommend our clients use Shopify Payments as standard.
APPS & THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE
Although Shopify hosts free apps, many of the enterprise feature-rich tech does unfortunately attract a monthly fee. It’s important to remember some apps will pay for themselves through the increase in sales their features bring, like loyalty and rewards, subscriptions and customer retention. It’s hard to place a number on how much these apps will cost you, (they can range from a few pounds to hundreds per month) but likely that you’ll see thousands of pounds back in return for your few hundreds pounds monthly investment.
Due the increased flexibility of Shopify Plus, your development team or agency may be able to build you features from scratch (without relying on third party apps), saving you monthly fees. Equally, certain functionality isn’t worth re-writing when there are out of the box solutions where the wheel doesn’t need re-inventing…
When factoring in your overall monthly costs, consider what you may be spending on your tech + apps.
MAINTENANCE, SECURITY & SERVERS
Shopify host all the e-commerce stores on their own extremely powerful servers (meaning you don't need to worry about server management or your site going down, security, testing or updates), it's all included.
Shopify's servers are incredibly powerful and incorporates a content-delivery-network (CDN). Servers distributed around the world, working at super fast speed. This network allows Shopify to be able to offer unlimited bandwidth and over 10,000 transactions per minute! Competitor platforms such as Magento require merchants to manage their own servers, which can be incredibly expensive and unreliable (See our Cost of Ownership price comparison between Shopify vs Magento, to see Magento could cost you up to £50,000 if not more, per year - just to host it).
WHEN SHOULD YOU UPGRADE TO SHOPIFY PLUS?
When weighing up Shopify vs Shopify Plus, you should consider the specific features you might need, that isn’t achievable with the standard Shopify plans (Basic through to Advanced). However, as you grow you'll require a custom solution that manages your customer's demands efficiently. We find that this is usually at the £750,000 - £1M annual turnover point. Revenue alone is not a reason to choose the Shopify Plus platform (we see brands that are doing £2.5M+ still on Advanced plans). The decision should be made if functionality required to achieve day to day operations efficiently is not possible without upgrading. Shopify and Shopify Plus is an incredibly fast e-commerce solution that does not compromise on quality. A legacy enterprise website would take around 12 - 18 months to build, however with Shopify the average time is usually less than 90 days. Wiro can help your brand decide if you need the Shopify Plus upgrade, or whether we can help you develop a solution that doesn't require the large monthly investment on the standard plans.
Shopify Plus is the solution for brands serving exponentially more customers than originally expected and looking to scale, without compromising on day to day operation efficiency and without the need for large investments of time, money or resource.
SHOPIFY PLUS FEATURES
Shopify Plus provides flexibility, automations, complete feature control and ability to handle 10,000+ sales at once. This post outlines some of Shopify Plus’ additional features from standard plans, but does not highlight all.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORT & SERIOUS POWER
Shopify Plus builds directly on top of the usual Shopify offering, (with the most advanced e-commerce features). Shopify customers have their own named account manger and gain access to priority 24/7 live chat, phone and email support to give you the peace and mind for your business. Shopify Plus can handle giant spikes in site traffic and large transactions too. Kylie Cosmetics (owned by the Kardashian’s sister, Kylie Jenner) handled over 200,000 visitors in 2016, when the site was flooded by customers at once (during one of the biggest product launches in e-commerce history)
With unlimited staff accounts & permissions, Shopify Plus offers an insane dashboard to manage all your stores, analytics, staff accounts, user permissions and automation tools (such as Shopify Flow), in one place. This dashboard allows you and your team to have a complete overview of your business, promote teamwork and improve automation. The dashboard is particularly great when you are managing multiple stores in different locations whilst maintaining one central management system.
LOCALISED STORES & MULTI-CURRENCY
Shopify Plus allows users to create up to 9 additional “expansion” stores alongside their main site. In our experience, this feature alone is worth its weight in gold - allowing our brands to create staging and testing development environments to work, build and test in before deploying to the live site. Expansion and additional stores are often used to create unique store fronts (based on the location the customer is visiting from). Brands can improve trust and improve sales by offering a truly personalised geographic experience to maximise sales with tailored product suggestions, for example changing to multi-lingual terminology and localised currency. The best part is you can manage your product inventory, sales & customers in one place.
Shopify Plus also has a dedicated Wholesale/Trade Channel for brands B2B side of its business. You can offer dedicated customer accounts access to a password protected view of your store (including tiered quantity prices for example 10%, 20% and 30% off RRP), order quantity thresholds, unique product visibility to different customers and unique payment gateways to specific customers too (Allowing you to offer your trade customers payment terms, delayed payments and custom orders and shipping options too. You'll be able to offer your wholesale customers a streamlined, user-friendly and easy way to order your products as well as the D2C customers.
AUTOMATE & SCHEDULE
Shopify Plus apps such as Flow and Launchpad are included on Plus and are limited to the enterprise platform. Shopify Flow is an e-commerce automation tool that allows you to automate day to day operations in the backend of the site. The possibilities are endless! Examples include 'create support ticket when a negative review is sent', ‘SMS Text a Discount for Abandoned Cart orders’ or 'SMS Text a discount code after a customer's second order'.
Other apps include Shopify Launchpad, which allow you to schedule tasks in the future. Tasks include new product releases, campaigns, flash sales and more.
UNLIMITED TECHNOLOGY ACCESS
Shopify Plus allows your development team or agency, to build truly bespoke e-commerce solutions with unlimited access to the code of your site.
Allowing full access to the checkout.liquid (standard Shopify accounts cannot change the checkout page other than its simple styling). This gives enterprise brands the opportunity to create custom flows at the checkout, style it to function and behave differently, and include third party API integrations to tools like Panther Next Day for custom 24/48 hour delivery options.
Shopify Plus also allows full access to running advanced functions through with additional API calls that are not included with standard Shopify accounts. This is major benefit to Shopify when choosing Shopify vs Shopify Plus.