April 15, 2022

Shopify vs Shopify Plus - What's the Difference?

Shopify vs Shopify Plus - What's the Difference?

It's no secret that Shopify is the best ecommerce platform on the web. With total sales of $200 billion to date, it has become the prime place to set up your own online business. Large brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Sony, and Gymshark use the website to host their stores. 

Getting set up on Shopify can take as little as 30 minutes, but working out the right pricing plan for your business can be challenging. 

Shopify offers several different pricing plans, all of which give access to certain features, but the most expensive of all is Shopify Plus. It can be challenging to work out what Shopify Plus entails based on the website alone, never mind whether it'll suit you.

Comparing Shopify plans can be time-consuming. This article will take you through the features of Shopify vs Shopify Plus and how they differ. It'll explore when the right time to upgrade to Shopify Plus is to ensure you can make the most informed choice about the right plan for you. 

What Is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is the most expensive plan available on the ecommerce platform. It's designed specifically for brands selling large quantities that need a platform to handle enormous web traffic and sales. It starts at around $2000/month, and many big brands use it. 

Shopify Plus has proven it can withstand high amounts of web traffic being flooded to its client's websites - Kylie Cosmetics had 200,000 people flock to the website at once during a pop-up event in New York City, and the website held fast. No glitching, no crashing. 

The hefty price comes with a host of unique and exclusive features aimed at global expansion and automation for your ecommerce platform. There are also high levels of customization to make your store memorable.

What Are the Key Differences Between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

There are several differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus. The most obvious one is the price, but there are exclusive features Shopify Plus customers get that people who use the ordinary Shopify Plans don't have access to. 

Compared to Shopify Plus, the standard Shopify plans can seem limited, but they can be the right fit for your online store if you're only operating a small or medium-sized business. On the other hand, Shopify Plus is aimed at big brands with high sales volumes. 

Shopify Pricing Plans

When weighing up Shopify vs Shopify Plus, one of the most apparent differences is the different pricing. Shopify has three standard subscription plans of varying rates, but they are flat rates that don't change depending on sales and profit. Shopify Plus is more tailored to the results of your business. However, it's a significant increase to move onto Shopify Plus from the most advanced Shopify plan.  

Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial for all the three standard plans, so you can sample the features before committing. 

Basic Shopify

The basic Shopify plan costs $29/month and gives you all the tools to set up your online store and run a blog alongside it. There are unlimited product options (although these could be limited by the themes and sales channels you use), the ability to have two staff accounts, and up to four inventory locations. 

On the cheapest plan, Shopify still gives 24/7 support, access to the different sales channels, discount codes, gift cards, automated marketing capabilities, and shipping discounts of up to 77%. For Point Of Sale (POS), you'll get access to Shopify POS Lite, and POS Pro will set you back $89/monthly for each location. Transaction fees on this plan are 2%. 

Standard Shopify

The standard plan is $79/month and comes with all the same features the basic Shopify plan does. Additional features include standard reporting facilities, higher shipping discounts and priority pricing with USPS. The standard plan also offers smaller transaction fees of only 1% and better online and in-person credit card rates. But this time, you can add up to five staff accounts and up to five inventory locations. 

Advanced Shopify

The advanced Shopify pricing plan jumps up to $299/month and again gives access to all the features of basic and standard Shopify plans. However, with this plan, you'll be able to set up 15 staff accounts and have up to eight inventory locations. There are also advanced and detailed reporting capabilities. 

It comes with transaction fees of 0.5% and the best online and in-person credit/debit card rates, so you're not losing out on money for every payment processed. Additionally, duties and import taxes are calculated automatically at checkout, and you'll have a better international pricing plan with custom pricing by market. 

Shopify Plus Pricing

Shopify Plus starts at $2000/month, but that won't necessarily be the final amount you'll pay. You'll speak to a dedicated account manager and usually get a suitable quote for your business. They consider your sales and base the price on that. So it's essential to consider the price when deciding between Shopify and Shopify Plus. 

While the price might initially put you off, Shopify Plus is used by many big brands for a reason. It markets itself as much more than an ecommerce platform, but a partner for you to engage in business with.

Support Available 

With all of the Shopify plans, there is support available for you to consult if you need advice for setting up or running your store. There will always be a Shopify staff member to assist you with any questions. You can access this on the phone, via email, or by live chat. Shopify experts will always be able to support you with your business. 

However, the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus is that you will get personalized support when you join the latter. 

When you sign up, the platform will assign you to a Launch Manager who will work with you during your store's entire migration and setup onto the Shopify Plus platform. This will give you access to a dedicated account manager working to help support you in ensuring your store is a success. They will aim to get your business up and running in 90 days or less. 

Once you've fully migrated onto Shopify Plus, you'll be passed on to the Merchant Success Manager program and matched with a dedicated Shopify Plus consultant. 

Themes & Design 

Both Shopify plans use the same themes and have the same interface at a core level. Shopify has a theme store with hundreds of themes you can apply to your business, and other websites develop themes for Shopify stores, such as Encanto Elements. 

There are themes built for specific industries that follow minimalist designs for people with small product catalogs and busy Shopify themes that can account for many products. The options are limitless, no matter what Shopify plan you're on. 

But with Shopify Plus, you'll also have access to Liquid, a templating language created by Tobias Lütke, Shopify's co-founder and CEO. 

It's deemed a templating language, built to allow excellent customization options for your Shopify store. It gives business owners the freedom to code the API in the most suitable way for them. This means no matter what theme you choose, you can customize it and have greater control over coding in the backend. 

Multi-Currency Options

The beauty of an ecommerce website over brick-and-mortar stores is the ability to sell your products worldwide. Shopify Payments, the tool Shopify uses that allows your ecommerce store to accept online payments, can manage both international and domestic payments. Customers can also request refunds in their local currencies. 

With the standard plans, customers have to select the currency manually when they enter your store with the standard plans, but the functionality is there. On Shopify Plus, this happens automatically based on the customer's location. The backend code selects their currency. So as they are browsing your product catalog, they see the items priced in their local currency. This can lead to more sales, as customers feel more comfortable buying from stores they think are local and don't have to worry about additional fees from the bank for purchasing goods from overseas. 

Checkout Customization

Shopify checkout is the most critical part of an ecommerce store. It's where the customer purchases the product, and the checkout page needs to be streamlined and simple. There's a delicate balance to getting it right. 

The last thing a business owner wants is customers abandoning shopping carts because the checkout page was too complicated or asked for too much information, so they gave up. You also get the option to add in abandoned cart recovery, giving customers the option to buy old shopping carts, which is critical when trying to sell online.

Using Liquid means you can fully customize the checkout process on your Shopify store when using Shopify Plus. But you'll also get access to Shopify Scripts, which helps increase customer conversions using checkout optimization. 

Using this feature means you can automatically insert code to provide discounts and vouchers to your customers or calculate shipping costs. You can add free gifts with certain purchases and offer first-time deals, tiered pricing, and discounts. The option Shopify Scripts gives you is to add little bits of code into the backend of your online store.

Shipping costs could even be calculated before checkout, meaning your customer is aware of the shipping cost before committing to a purchase, and you can offer click and collect options. The customer can choose what is most suitable for them. 

Using Shopify Payments means you'll pay transaction fees on each purchase depending on card type and if it's a domestic or international payment. Third-party gateways like Paypal can also incur a transaction fee. When using the Shopify Payments system, the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus is that these transaction fees are fixed based on the type of plan you choose with the standard Shopify plans. 

With Shopify Plus, you have your dedicated account manager, and you can discuss a transaction fee related to your sales volume. On Shopify Plus, everything gets tailored to your brand. 

Staff Accounts

Staff accounts are another primary function of your Shopify store; if you run in multiple locations and have employees working for you, you will need separate staff accounts to ensure everything runs smoothly. The three basic Shopify plans only allow for up to 15 staff accounts. If you're a big brand and looking to scale up internationally, that's not high enough. 

With Shopify Plus, you can add unlimited user accounts. There are also greater permission settings to control what staff accounts can do when working within your Shopify store. You can set specific reporting permissions or restrict access to certain store areas. These capabilities aren't available on the standard plans. 

Exclusive Features of Shopify Plus

There are many differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus plans. But Shopify Plus also comes with a range of unique features you cannot access on the standard plans. These features give your business greater scalability options and help support the globalization of your brand. They take a lot of the strain off you as a business owner. 

Shopify's Merchant Success Program

Once you set up with S

hopify Plus, you'll transfer to the Shopify Merchant Success program from your Launch Manager. Here you'll have a Shopify Plus expert consultant working with you to determine the needs of your business and your requirements. They'll work with you to recognize opportunities for the growth and expansion of your business. 

But that's not all. In addition to a Merchant Success Manager, you'll have an expert team of Shopify consultants who will work on different aspects of your online store to help your business grow. 

A Solutions Engineer manages the tools your business relies on to function and will operate the internal and customer-facing parts of the systems. They essentially ensure your business runs smoothly on the Shopify Plus platform. 

The Merchant Success program also gives you access to online courses for specific business areas, like brand strategy, retention, conversion, technical solutions, and business operations and management. 

Multiple Store Management

Shopify Plus also gives access to another feature called the Shopify organization admin. This helpful tool allows you to manage multiple stores from one handy interface. This means you can make changes across numerous stores without having to access each individual store to do so. 

You can also use extensive analytics to analyze total sales and orders for the organization, assess individual stores' performance, and review the overall performance of your business. 

Shopify's organization admin also allows business owners to manage staff accounts. You can remove, suspend, or reactivate staff accounts individually or in bulk. 

You can change staff access to certain aspects of the business or manage tiered level access for staff members. It's an excellent operational tool that puts all the necessities in one place for you to operate efficiently. 

Certified Shopify Plus Apps

Another prominent feature of Shopify Plus is having access to the Certified Shopify Plus App Program, an exclusive range of apps only available to users of Shopify Plus. Apps have to apply to be part of the program. They get formally reviewed by the Shopify App Review and Quality Team. 

The apps cover all aspects of the business. There are accounting apps to help with tax, apps that provide loyalty and rewards schemes, apps aimed at making the checkout process more streamlined and assisting with customer conversion, and apps that provide detailed professional reports. Others help with advertising and marketing, shipping options, and returns. 

What Features Does a Certified Shopify Plus App Need to Have?

There are certain features a Shopify Plus App is required to have to access the program. This is to ensure all apps in the program have consistent levels of high performance and security. 

It means Shopify Plus users can be reassured that when they're using one of these apps, they are reliable, safe, and have been through stringent measures. 

The three primary features an app needs to make it onto the Certified Shopify Plus App Program are: 

  • Accessible support: The app needs to offer support 24/7 to its users. 
  • High Performance: There must be excellent integration and performance standards. 
  • Secure: It must follow all international guidelines regarding security and privacy. 

Automation Tools

Shopify Plus comes with a range of automation options available via the Shopify App Store. These tools are aimed at helping users with different aspects of the business. Some are available on the more advanced plan of the standard Shopify subscription plans too. 


Launchpad is available exclusively to Shopify Plus users. It's an app for coordinating and monitoring events. This could be scheduling a new product drop or setting up flash sales. You can track the event's success via a real-time dashboard that provides analytics. 

The app allows users to alter the pricing of products, choose selected products, set release dates, and manage inventory to ensure enough stock for the event. It also automatically schedules items and shipping and can put up discounts at checkout associated with the event. 

Shopify Flow

This app is available to Shopify Plus customers and those on the advanced Shopify plan. It helps to automate tasks within the business, build workflows and campaigns to streamline processes across all the stores and build solutions suitable for your business. 

Shopify Flow lets you recognize loyal customers, track inventory, provide excellent customer service and manage orders. Shopify Flow aims to make complicated and time-consuming parts of your business much easier and more streamlined. 

Upgrading to Shopify Plus

If you've got a successful ecommerce business, upgrading to Shopify Plus could be the right move. It's the perfect plan if you're generating lots of revenue and are looking to move your brand to the next stage. 

When Should You Upgrade to Shopify Plus

As Shopify Plus is costly, you don't want to upgrade to the $2000/month plan before your business is ready. The program itself will cost a minimum of $24000 per year, so you want to be generating substantial profit before you consider it. 

Deciding the right time to upgrade to Shopify Plus is up to you as a business owner. It's a judgment call that only you can make. You will know the right time for your organization. However, a rough guide is if your business is generating more than $1 million ($85,000 every month) in revenue annually, that's the point to consider upgrading to Shopify Plus. 

The plan may be costly, but it's scalable and would be the perfect opportunity to grow your business to the next level. 

The globalization options will allow you to have a relevant webpage for most countries that automatically updates the prices of your products in their currency. This will build the popularity of your brand and allow you to generate more revenue. 

How to Upgrade to Shopify Plus

Once you've decided that now is the right time for upgrading to a Shopify Plus plan, the next question is how to do it. It can take a while to fully migrate your brand on Shopify 

Plus because it's reserved for the big brands who will have extensive websites with plenty of web pages, thousands of products, and high web traffic. You don't want to take a long period offline and risk not being available for your customers. 

The best way to upgrade is to contact a Shopify Plus expert. You can discuss your brand and requirements with them, and they will help you with the upgrading process and provide advice and support throughout.  

Final Thoughts

When it comes to Shopify vs Shopify Plus, the primary considerations are whether your brand is established enough to afford the price tag that comes with Shopify Plus. 

There are a lot of features that stretch across both Shopify plans, but Shopify Plus comes with unique features. 

Firstly, the support starts from day one - you are assigned a dedicated Launch Manager to support you for the first 90 days of Shopify Plus before being transferred to the Merchant Success Program, where a team of experts will be working to grow your business. 

Second, Shopify Plus provides access to automation tools, integrations and apps that help set up sales, run events, and manage workflows. 

If you're looking to expand internationally and run a business with a high sales volume, then deciding between Shopify and Shopify Plus is a simple choice. 

The original plans can be limiting when having multiple inventory locations and staff accounts - whereas Shopify Plus allows these to be unlimited. The personal support makes the price bracket worth it, but it's only worth it if you have an established brand. The decision to upgrade is one only you can make, the business owner. 

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