Shopify vs Shopify Plus

Deciding between Shopify and Shopify Plus can feel like navigating a maze, especially when the differences between these platforms aren’t immediately clear. 🤔 I wonder why Shopify doesn’t want to make this easier to grasp at first sight, but hey, that’s what we’re here for!

If you’re wrestling with which option would suit your business best, you’ve come to the right place for clarity. In this post, I dissect the nuances between Shopify and Shopify Plus, shedding light on how each can cater to varying business sizes, budgets, and aspirations.

Shopify vs Shopify Plus at a glance

  • Shopify‘s core services are designed for small-to-medium-sized businesses looking to sell products online. The plans include everything you need to start an ecommerce business 🐣 or to add an ecommerce branch to an existing retail business with brick-and-mortar stores. 🛒
  • Shopify Plus, on the other hand, is designed for enterprise businesses – companies like Converse and Sony. Both the tools and the pricing model are designed with these larger businesses in mind. 🏢

Here’s a quick comparison of Shopify vs Shopify Plus to help you make a decision quickly if you don’t have time to read the full article:

Plan typeShopifyShopify Plus
Shop customizationVisual editor + access to Liquid programming toolsEverything from core Shopify + headless ecommerce and checkout extensibility
Additional staff accountsUp to 15 accountsUnlimited
POSPOS LitePOS Pro (20 locations)
AppsAccess to a variety of apps through the Shopify app marketplaceAccess to Shopify Plus exclusive apps + API tools for integrating custom apps
SupportRegular Shopify customer service + limited number of courses in Shopify AcademyShopify Partners Program, dedicated customer support + more Shopify Academy courses
Pricing$24.00 – $299/month + transaction feesStarts at $2,300/month, no transaction fees – contact for custom pricing

As you can see, you’ll get a lot more from Shopify Plus – but you’ll pay a lot more, too. So, for most small-to-medium-sized businesses, regular Shopify plans are the best choice, giving you access to top-tier ecommerce features without breaking the bank.

If you have a larger business, or if you’re confident in your ability to grow fast and have a significant startup budget, Shopify Plus might be worth your while.

What are the benefits of Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus homepage

The standard Shopify plans offer great tools for building an ecommerce website, selling on social media and online marketplaces, marketing your products, managing inventory, and processing payments from around the world. Shopify Plus is all that and more. Below, you’ll find a summary of the main perks that come with Shopify Plus and info on who is likely to benefit from them the most:

1. Dedicated support + Shopify Plus Partners Program

Shopify Plus Partners Program

Shopify’s core plans require you to set everything up yourself, with some help from the Shopify customer service team. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, gives you access to both dedicated support and the Shopify Plus Partners Program, which gives you access to professional services for every aspect of running your ecommerce business. You can work with Shopify experts to build a high-quality site and prepare an epic launch or you can find ecommerce experts to assist you with things like inventory management and marketing.

The Shopify Plus Partners Program also gives you access to experts in key industries like beauty, consumer electronics, and more. These experts can offer specialized assistance in building a store that works for your industry and consultation services to help you build long-term success.

Last but certainly not least, you’ll get access to certified apps through the Shopify Plus Partners Program. Some notable examples include Shogun Page Builder for multivariate testing and ReferralCandy for setting up affiliate marketing programs.

2. Headless ecommerce

Shopify Plus offers a headless ecommerce API. This decouples the ecommerce functionality of your site from the content, giving you greater flexibility to personalize your shoppers’ experience. You can even use an entirely custom front-end solution while using Shopify’s unique ecommerce tools for back-end management.

Headless ecommerce typically requires more technical know-how than regular ecommerce setup, but Shopify Plus offers a React-based headless stack to make it easier.

3. Storage of up to 100 themes

With regular Shopify, you can only have 20 themes stored in your account. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, lets you store up to 100 themes.

This allows you to store seasonal themes, keep old themes you might want to use again, and explore new themes you’re interested in trying. You can also create copies of your existing theme to test changes you want to make.

4. Checkout extensibility

Shopify Plus offers far more advanced checkout customization than regular Shopify plans. This used to be done through the checkout.liquid file and require you to be comfortable working with code or hire a developer.

At the time that I’m writing this article, Shopify Plus is rolling out a checkout editor that makes it easier for anyone, coding pro or not, to build a customized checkout experience for their customers. This tool will let you add your logo, use your brand colors, add a background image, and change the fonts and colors used throughout the purchase process.

Checkout extensibility via the checkout editor will be the only option for checkout customization as of August 2024 – and support for existing users working with the checkout.liquid file will end in August 2025. This is also phrased as an “upgrade” in the Shopify Plus documentation, so be sure to ask about it during the onboarding process if you choose Shopify Plus.

5. Launchpad app

The Launchpad app offers advanced tools for creating and running events such as product releases and seasonal sales. You can schedule your event, automate discounts and temporary theme changes, customize what products/quantities of products are available, and add line item scripts (such as “Buy One/Get One”) to appear on relevant product pages during the event.

Launchpad also gives you access to a real-time analytics dashboard that only displays data relevant to the event in question, allowing you to separate the event’s success from the overall analytics of your store.

6. App for combined listings

Shopify recently launched an app to help Shopify Plus users create combined listings. A combined listing ensures that multiple variants of a product your customers are searching for will appear in their search results. For example, if a customer searches for “bike shorts,” you can set up a combined listing that displays black, blue, and green bike shorts on the same page.

This app allows you to create unique URLs, descriptions, and galleries for your combined listings.

7. More apps, including custom apps

Shopify Plus users get access to numerous apps that aren’t available to regular Shopify users. These include the apps we’ve discussed so far, plus those that provide advanced tools for things like gift card creation and user management. You’ll also have the ability to integrate your Shopify store with custom apps through advanced API resources.

Shopify Plus apps

By default, API tools are rate limited, but you can contact Shopify support to remove this limit if you want to integrate a large number of custom apps.

8. Freedom from transaction fees

Users on all three of Shopify’s core plans have to pay transaction fees of more than 2% on all credit card purchases (we’ll talk about the details in the pricing section of this article).

Most Shopify Plus users, on the other hand, don’t have to pay any transaction fees for payments made through Shopify Payments in most countries. The only exceptions are merchants in Austria, Belgium, and Sweden.

Note that some transaction fees may apply to payments made with a third-party payment processor.

9. Advanced analytics

The regular Shopify analytics are great, but Shopify Plus goes even further by giving you access to ShopifyQL Notebooks. This app gives you more detailed analytics and allows you to create customized reports so you can get a better understanding of specific aspects of your business’s performance.

Note that these tools aren’t automatically incorporated into your store. You’ll need to install the ShopifyQL Notebooks app to access them.

10. Unlimited staff + advanced permissions

Regular Shopify plans limit the number of staff you can have, with the maximum being 15 staff accounts (not including your own account) on the Advanced plan. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, allows you to create as many staff accounts as you want.

You also get more ability to control what aspects of your ecommerce platforms can be managed by specific staff members. For example, you might want to give your marketing team complete access to your Launchpad and ShopifyQL Notebooks, but restrict their access to things like inventory management.

11. Omnichannel selling

Shopify Plus expands on the off-site selling options provided by regular Shopify, allowing you to sell on 100+ social media channels and 80+ online marketplaces. You can manage all of your sales campaigns on these marketplaces directly from your Shopify dashboard. This allows you to meet your customers where they are and connect with them in multiple places.

The Shopify Plus omnichannel selling tools also offer customer journey mapping, allowing you to provide a personalized experience for every part of the shopping process.

12. Expansion stores

Shopify Plus allows you to create up to nine expansion stores, for a total of ten stores on one account. This allows you to create online stores connected to specific physical locations or product lines.

These stores can all be managed in one place with the Organization Settings dashboard, which allows you to control:

  • Billing
  • Stores
  • Users
  • Analytics

This streamlines the overall business management process for any company with multiple stores.

13. Shopify POS Pro

The Shopify POS Pro app allows you to sell your products in multiple locations, such as retail stores and pop-up shops. This system connects directly to your Shopify account to simplify tracking orders and inventory management across the various locations where you want to sell.

All Shopify Plus plans come with 20 Shopify POS Pro locations. You can talk about increasing the number of locations during the onboarding process.

You also get richer customer profiles with features like lifetime value reporting, faster workflows for exchanges, discounts, local pickup, and stock transfers. Plus, there are better insights about your top products and their detailed performance reports.

14. Up to 50 markets

Shopify Plus allows you to customize your shoppers’ experiences by creating up to 50 “Markets.” These are regions where your shop will appear with different settings. For example, you might create one “UK” market and a separate “EU” market, with the first one set to show prices in pounds and the second one set to show prices in Euros.

Note that regular Shopify plans do include markets, but these plans only come with three markets, with default settings for all three markets. Users on the Advanced Shopify plan can pay extra for up to 47 markets (for a total of 50), but if you’re a regular Shopify users looking at adding extra markets, it might be time to switch to Shopify Plus.

15. Up to 200 locations

Shopify defines a location as any place where you sell products, stock inventory, or ship and fulfill orders. All three of the regular Shopify plans limit your number of locations to ten. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, lets you manage these processes across up to 200 locations.

Note that both physical locations and apps qualify as locations under Shopify’s POS rules.

16. Specialized B2B wholesale tools

Shopify Plus comes with unique tools for directly selling to other businesses. You can create business customer profiles that include multiple decision makers and locations from a specific company and build customer-specific catalogs for the various companies you work with. You can also choose specific currencies and payment terms for individual customers.

These B2B features also work with standard features offered by Shopify, such as discounts and custom themes.

17. Unique courses through Shopify Academy

Shopify Academy courses for Shopify Plus users

Shopify Academy is the educational arm of Shopify. There are certification courses available for anyone interested in working with Shopify and Entrepreneurship courses for those with existing Shopify plans.

Shopify Plus users get access to additional courses about using specific aspects of Shopify Plus and building a successful ecommerce business. These courses can help every member of your team understand essential aspects of running your business on Shopify.

The prices of Shopify and Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus comes with a lot more features than the entry-level Shopify plans, so it’s reasonable to expect that it costs more. But how much more?

Here’s the current lineup of all Shopify plans and their prices:

Shopify pricing

As you can see there on the right, Shopify Plus doesn’t come cheap.

However, even though the price tag says $2,300 per month, you’ll actually need to set up a consultation with Shopify to find out what it will really cost for your business. The final pricing varies based on your business’s unique needs.

This is a lot for a small business, but it’s small beans for an enterprise-level company. You also won’t pay any transaction fees on most payments, so if you’re selling thousands of products a month, you’ll save more than you spend.

The verdict on Shopify vs Shopify Plus

As I mentioned at the beginning, the right Shopify plan for you depends on the size of your business and your goals:

  • If you’re just starting your business or you’re creating an ecommerce branch for a small-to-medium-sized business, you can stick with the regular Shopify plans. We’ve got an extended guide on how to choose a Shopify plan that can help you pick the right one.
  • If you’ve already got a significant ecommerce business and you want to move it to a more flexible ecommerce solution, Shopify Plus is a great option. Shopify Plus can also be great if you’re launching an ecommerce branch for a business with a large existing customer base or you’re confident in your products and have a significant amount of startup money.

In case you want to learn more about Shopify itself and how viable it is as an ecommerce solution overall, we have a detailed Shopify review here on Themeisle. Check it out.

Are you more interested in Shopify or Shopify Plus? Let us know in the comments below!

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