Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Which Version is Right for You?

Ryan Baum
Ryan Baum
Last updated on 
May 30, 2022
April 2, 2020
Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Which Version is Right for You?

Choosing the right ecommerce platform to host your online store is no small decision, but sometimes it's hard to know which option is right for your business. Shopfiy and Shopify Plus are two platforms that get a lot of buzz within the ecommerce community, and many store owners give them rave reviews. 

What’s the difference between the two, and which plan is best for your ecommerce store? The main difference is that Shopify is for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), while Shopify Plus is for larger, or even enterprise-level businesses.

Below, we’ll discuss what each plan offers before diving into pricing structures and key differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus.

Table of contents

What is Shopify?

Shopify logo

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that offers businesses a way to promote, sell, and ship their products. It’s widely recognized as being great for beginners, meaning that the learning curve for new ecommerce store owners is minimal, and provides a level of customization that most small businesses find attractive.

Key features of Shopify

  • Shopify point of sale
  • Online sales channels
  • Better security
  • Mobile capability

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus logo

As you might expect from its name, Shopify Plus is a Shopify upgrade designed for large enterprises making high-volume sales and shipments. With its higher price tag, Shopify Plus comes with more storefront functionality, support, and integrations than the basic Shopify plan.

Key features of Shopify Plus

  • Manage all stores from a single location with the Admin feature
  • A larger selection of integrations
  • Participation and feedback into new product development
  • Additional permission settings

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: Pricing options

The main difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus is the size of the businesses using each one — Shopify is for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), while Shopify Plus is for larger, even midsize businesses.

Pricing is another big difference that reflects the businesses using each service. While Shopify costs a few hundred dollars a month at most, Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 per month and goes up from there depending on several factors and customization decisions. You need to talk to the Shopify sales team to get a quote that’s relevant to your business.

Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown for each plan.

Shopify pricing

  • Shopify Lite: $9 per month
  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month
  • Shopify: $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month

It’s important to note that all standard Shopify plans are subject to online and in-store transaction fees, as well as non-Shopify payment fees.

Shopify pricing plans

Related: Our comparison of Magento and Shopify for ecommerce merchants.

Shopify Plus pricing

Shopify Plus pricing plans are an enterprise-level commitment and starts at $2,000 per month, plus a percentage of your store’s monthly sales volume. While the exact pricing can only be determined via quote, the $2,000 monthly fee is in addition to any other costs such as transaction fees, online store development, site launch, third-party services, and add-ons. 

8 key differences between Shopify & Shopify Plus 

Understanding the main differences in the two options is essential to make the best choice for your ecommerce store. Below, we’ve identified eight ways Shopify and Shopify Plus differ from each other, and what these differences mean for your business.

1) Shopify Plus partners you with a merchant success manager 

Shopify is known for its outstanding support, but businesses using the standard version of the platform don't have access to dedicated account managers. One of the benefits of Shopify Plus is that users have access to the merchant success program, which provides a dedicated manager to each account. These merchant success managers are integral in creating a stellar experience for Shopify Plus customers, from launch to solution engineering to ensure your store runs smoothly.

2) Shopify Plus gives you access to more customization with Liquid

A critical aspect of your online store design is the customer checkout experience. You get paid only after you collect credit card information, so you need to make sure that customers get that far. When a customer navigates away from the checkout screen, most of these prospective sales are gone for good — customers rarely return to abandoned carts.

With both Shopify and Shopify Plus, there is one major difference concerning checkout: The checkout page is customizable with Shopify Plus while it’s not with a standard Shopify plan. Standard Shopify plans allow you to create a checkout experience integrated with your online store’s theme, but there are no additional customization features.

Customize checkout with Liquid

Checkout.liquid is an asset offered only to Shopify Plus merchants. When using checkout.liquid, you aren’t confined by the design parameters set in your theme file (theme.liquid). This means that your checkout page is completely self-contained and does not display any code from your site’s theme file during the checkout process.

So, if you want to give your customers a fully customized checkout experience, a Shopify Plus plan provides more opportunity to do so. Alternatively, you can use Shopify apps to add more customization to the checkout page of a standard Shopify store.

3) Shopify Plus offers unlimited staff accounts

Depending on which pricing option you choose, you can add between one and 15 users to your standard Shopify dashboard (in addition to your owner profile). Lite accounts are allowed one user account. 

Number of seats for each Shopify pricing tier

On the other hand, Shopify Plus offers unlimited staff accounts. So, larger companies will have no problems allowing the entire team access to their online store dashboard.

4) Shopify Plus allows more API integrations

The App Store is one of Shopify’s most enticing features. There are well over 7,000 paid and free Shopify apps in the new app store. Shopify themselves are responsible for creating only 28 of them to date, but there are hundreds of other third-party apps from independent developers and Shopify partners. 

While both standard Shopify plans and Shopify Plus plans give users access to the app store, Shopify Plus merchants have much more flexibility when it comes to API integrations. These users can integrate their ecommerce store with their existing ERP or CRM systems, which standard Shopify stores cannot.

5) Shopify and Shopify Plus have different transaction fees

Shopify payments are straightforward. Transaction fees are laid out as percentages of the total order volume. Shopify’s free POS credit card reader allows you to conveniently integrate your online and offline sales, no matter which plan you are on. But, what are the differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus’ payment processing and transaction fees?

Standard Shopify Transaction Fees

For businesses using Shopify’s integrated payment system, Shopify Payments, there is no transaction fee as of May 2022. If your business uses an external payment gateway, transaction fees are as follows:

  • Shopify Lite & Basic Shopify: 2% for all transactions
  • Shopify: 1% for all transactions
  • Advanced Shopify: 0.5% for all transactions

Shopify Plus Transaction Fees

Like standard Shopify plans, transaction fees are waived if your business uses Shopify Payments. However, for external payment gateways, transaction fees are as follows:

  • Domestic: 2.15% + 30 cents
  • International/Amex: 3.15% + 30 cents

6) Shopify and Shopify Plus have different promotional discounts

Shopify is designed to set ecommerce merchants up for success. During the checkout process, your page needs to be optimized for high conversion rates. Luckily, promotional discounts can help you achieve just that. Want to run flash sales and seasonal price reductions? Here’s how your ecommerce business can make it happen with Shopify and Shopify Plus.

Standard Shopify Plans’ Promotional Discount Options

There are probably hundreds of apps in Shopify’s add-on marketplace that can help you create discounts to entice your shoppers. Standard plans include the ability to easily create discounts from inside your dashboard. In addition, you can enable shoppers to redeem in-store discounts if you use Shopify’s integrated POS system.

What type of discounts can you create with a standard Shopify plan?

  • Fixed-Value: Enable customers to redeem coupons with purchases, such as $5 off an order of $25 or more.
  • Percentage: Provide shoppers with discount codes that give them a percentage off of their purchase.
  • Shipping: Offer free or reduced shipping on certain orders.
  • Buy X Get Y: Give a bonus or gift with specific purchases (available for online sales only).

After you run a promotional discount campaign, you can track its progress using the “Sales by Discount” report. Regular reports provide you with insights about which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. Use real data to power your marketing campaigns.

Negative takes advantage of the discount options available with Shopify by doubling-down. First, they offer free shipping on orders over $100. Then, they host a monthly giveaway worth a $100 gift card. Both promotion types are executable via the discount portal.

Negative doubles down on discounts

Shopify Plus’ Advanced Promotional Discount Options

Take your promotions a step further with Shopify Plus. You can increase your cart value with Launchpad, exclusive to the Plus platform. The system automates most aspects of promotional campaigns, discounts, flash sales, and product releases.

Planning and executing an online sale usually involves tedious manual processes. When running a campaign this way, it’s difficult to make real-time optimizations to your campaigns. The add-on makes it much easier, reducing the amount of time spent launching a campaign and the risk for human error.

Here’s what you can expect Launchpad to automate for you:

  • Schedule new products and campaigns to launch across multiple sales channels.
  • Generate predetermined discounts for specific products or entire collections.
  • Create campaign themes.
  • Update campaign themes.
  • Return pricing to normal on campaign end dates.

Simba runs percentage discount campaigns for their online store. From a customer perspective, their campaign execution is comparable to that of Negative above. But, as a Shopify Plus user, you can wager that they use Launchpad to automate the process rather than manually perform the tedious work.

7) Shopify Plus offers more detailed analytics & reporting

Everyone using Shopify (from Lite through Plus members) has access to the overview dashboard and the key financial reports. So, even a Shopify Lite account is enough to get started. But, what are the main analytics capability differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

Standard Shopify Analytics and Reporting

With standard Shopify plans, the analytics and reporting capabilities vary based on the pricing tier you’re on. For example, with a Lite plan, you can only access the Overview Dashboard and key financial reports, which include taxes and payments.

The next tier, Basic Shopify, also comes equipped with live view, acquisition reports, five out of six available behavior reports, and one out of five available marketing reports.

Analytics and reporting for Shopify standard

The “Shopify” plan includes everything above. In addition, owners gain access to all six behavior reports, all five marketing reports, 10 out of 11 available sales reports, retail sales reports, profit reports, and five out of seven customer reports.

Advanced Shopify users can access all of the same reports as their predecessors. But, they gain access to all seven available customer reports and custom reports as well.

Shopify Plus Analytics and Reporting

As you can see from the above analytics and reports availability chart above, Shopify Plus users have access to all 11 available sales reports. So, what makes the 11th report so special?

The 11th report available in the Shopify analytics and reporting dashboard displays the average order value over time. This report shows you how your average order value has changed across the lifetime of your online sales with Shopify.

Shopify Plus average order value over time dashboard

The average order value over time report excludes returns. And, you can group your orders by time. The data is calculated by dividing the total sales by the number of orders received. Gift card purchases are added after the customer makes a purchase.

This report can provide store owners with invaluable insights to help make informed business decisions.

8) Shopify Plus is better equipped for international sellers 

Are you selling in more than one country? If not, do you want to? If you answered yes to either question, you need to understand the differences between what Shopify and Shopify Plus offer international sellers.

As you can probably guess, Shopify Plus provides more global sales tools. To understand the features you can leverage, first take a look at what you get with a standard Shopify plan. Then, determine if you need the additional features available with Shopify Plus.

Standard Shopify Benefits for International Sellers

Shopify’s standard plans are pretty good for international sellers, as long as they are willing to create an online store for each country or region in which they sell. When setting up a new online store, you can choose from several cross-border tools in the add-on marketplace to change your language and currency options. While the possibilities for international sales with Shopify are limited, many sellers make it work.

Shopify Plus Benefits for International Sellers

So, if you’re looking to sell across various global markets, Shopify Plus is going to be the way to go. There is a feature called “Clone Store” or “Multi-Store” that allows you to create up to 10 versions of your online store, customized to specific target audiences.

The Clone Store option is especially helpful for wholesalers, regional, and international stores using Shopify Plus. Furthermore, it efficiently supports multiple languages and currencies, so you can easily translate your pages when launching to a market in a new area of the world.

Provide world-class customer service with Gorgias

Shopify and Shopify Plus are both valuable and helpful solutions. They'll both help you reach a bigger audience, scale your business, automate your processes, and stay competitive. If you're trying to decide which one will work best for you, think about the pricing structure that works best for your business, the customization and customer support you need, and the areas of the world you want to reach.

Did you know Gorgias integrates with Shopify and Shopify Plus (as one of the only customer service platforms to receive the distinction of being a Shopify Plus Partner)? This gives you all the functionality of your Shopify platform combined with world-class customer support and automation. Want to know more about Gorgias? Sign up today.

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