Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: which is best for your ecommerce needs?

Photo of author

By Ben Timlons


In the realm of ecommerce, the quest for the perfect platform to power an online business is one that any ambitious entrepreneur must undertake. Among the plethora of options in the market, the names Shopify and Shopify Plus often surface as leading contenders. Both offer robust tools to help businesses sell online, yet they cater to distinct needs based on the scale and sophistication of operations. This article aims to dissect both these options, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, to help you make an informed decision.

Get even more valuable Shopify tips, news, and updates from the Shopify Guide here.

Brief Overview of Shopify and Shopify Plus

Shopify, a widely recognized ecommerce platform, has served as a solid foundation for many small to medium businesses, helping them set up stunning online stores with relative ease. It offers a comprehensive suite of features including customizable templates, inventory management, payment gateways, and customer support.

In contrast, Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level solution designed for high-volume merchants and large businesses. It inherits all the features of Shopify, but also offers advanced options such as higher customization, automation tools, dedicated support, and more.

Choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus can be as challenging as comparing Shopify vs Magento or Shopify vs Squarespace. However, understanding your business needs, budget, and growth plans can guide you towards the right choice.

As we delve deeper into the world of Shopify and Shopify Plus, we’ll shed light on their key features, pricing, suitable target audience, and more. Let this exploration be your compass as we navigate the high seas of ecommerce solutions.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a comprehensive ecommerce platform that provides businesses with the tools they need to create and manage a successful online store. It is renowned for its user-friendly interface, robust functionality, and vast array of customizable themes.

Key Features of Shopify

Shopify boasts a plethora of features designed to streamline your ecommerce operations. Easily manageable product listings enable you to add, update, and categorize products with ease. The platform also offers seamless payment gateway integration, with support for a wide range of payment methods.

Shopify’s built-in SEO tools help optimize your store’s visibility, while analytics and reporting functionalities offer crucial insights into your store’s performance. Additionally, with Shopify’s mobile optimization, your store will look and function flawlessly on all devices.

The platform also offers a comprehensive app marketplace, with thousands of apps to extend your store’s functionality. From shipping and logistics to marketing and sales, there’s an app for virtually every aspect of ecommerce.

Pricing of Shopify

Shopify offers three pricing tiers to cater to businesses of different sizes and needs. The Basic Shopify plan is priced at $29 per month, offering all the essential features needed to start a new business. The Shopify plan, at $79 per month, comes with additional features such as professional reports and lower credit card rates. The Advanced Shopify plan is priced at $299 per month, offering advanced features like third-party calculated shipping rates.

| Plan | Price (per month) | Notable Features |
| Basic Shopify | $29 | Essential features for starting a business |
| Shopify | $79 | Professional reports, lower credit card rates |
| Advanced Shopify | $299 | Advanced features like third-party calculated shipping rates |

Suitable Audience for Shopify

Shopify is designed to cater to a wide audience, from entrepreneurs launching their first online store to established businesses looking to expand their online presence. Its simplicity and scalability make it an excellent choice for small to medium-sized businesses.

However, large businesses with complex needs may find the standard Shopify platform lacking in some areas. For these businesses, Shopify Plus offers advanced features and scalability, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

If you’re considering other platforms, check out our comparisons between shopify vs woocommerce and shopify vs squarespace to see how Shopify stacks up against the competition.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is an advanced, high-performance eCommerce solution designed to meet the intricate needs of large enterprises and high-volume online retailers. As the premium tier of Shopify, it offers a more robust set of features and capabilities that are tailored to handle high traffic volumes, complex product catalogs, and global operations.

Key Features of Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus hosts a myriad of features that set it apart from the standard Shopify version. It offers unlimited bandwidth and high-level security to ensure your online store can handle high traffic and transactions without compromising on safety.

A unique feature of Shopify Plus is the automation of tasks. The platform offers Shopify Scripts and Shopify Flow, advanced tools that automate various processes like applying discounts, tagging orders, and managing inventory, thereby saving time for businesses.

Shopify Plus also supports multi-channel selling, allowing businesses to sell on numerous platforms like Amazon, eBay, and social media channels while managing everything from a single dashboard. It also provides customizable checkout experiences, dedicated support, and international eCommerce capabilities, helping businesses to scale globally.

Pricing of Shopify Plus

The pricing for Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 per month, making it a significant investment. However, the cost can scale depending upon the needs and size of your business. It’s important to note that this price encompasses the comprehensive suite of features, dedicated support, and the ability to handle high volume transactions, all of which are essential for large-scale businesses.

Suitable Audience for Shopify Plus

The target audience for Shopify Plus primarily includes large enterprises and high-volume online retailers. If your business processes over $1 million in annual online revenue or experiences high traffic volumes, Shopify Plus could be a suitable choice. Its advanced features and capabilities cater to the complex needs of large-scale businesses, making it a formidable competitor against other eCommerce platforms like shopify vs magento or shopify vs bigcommerce.

However, if you’re a small business owner or just starting in the eCommerce world, the standard Shopify plan or other alternatives like shopify vs squarespace might be more suitable and cost-effective options for you.

Comparison: Shopify vs. Shopify Plus

As we delve into the world of eCommerce, it’s crucial to acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The choice between Shopify and Shopify Plus is no exception. Each platform brings its own unique strengths and weaknesses, catering to different business needs and target audiences.

Major Differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus

The primary distinction between Shopify and Shopify Plus lies in their functionality and pricing.

Shopify is a more standardized eCommerce platform that caters to small to medium-sized businesses. It offers a robust set of features that can easily accommodate the needs of a growing online store. Its pricing is also more suited to a smaller budget, with plans starting at $29 per month.

On the other hand, Shopify Plus is an advanced eCommerce solution designed for larger businesses and enterprises. It provides more scalable and extensive features, including automation tools, dedicated support, and customization options. However, these additional features come at a higher price, starting at approximately $2,000 per month.

Also, while both platforms offer mobile compatibility, Shopify Plus takes it a notch higher by offering a mobile app exclusive for its users.

Similarities between Shopify and Shopify Plus

Despite their differences, Shopify and Shopify Plus share some common ground. Both provide a user-friendly interface, making it easy for businesses to manage their online stores. Each platform offers a range of beautiful, customizable themes, enabling merchants to create aesthetically pleasing online stores that reflect their brands.

Furthermore, both platforms offer excellent marketing and SEO tools, helping businesses to expand their reach and improve their visibility on search engines. They also offer a wide array of integrations, allowing businesses to connect with third-party apps and services to enhance their operations.

Lastly, both platforms offer secure, reliable hosting, ensuring that online stores are always accessible and run smoothly.

In the grand scheme of eCommerce platforms, Shopify and Shopify Plus stand out for their comprehensive features and user-friendly interfaces, making them a popular choice over other platforms like shopify vs magento and shopify vs woocommerce.

However, the decision between Shopify and Shopify Plus ultimately depends on your business’s specific needs, budget, and future plans. So, it’s critical to weigh the pros and cons of each platform before making a decision.

Pros and Cons

Before settling on either Shopify or Shopify Plus for your ecommerce operations, it’s imperative to weigh their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Using Shopify

  1. User-friendly Interface: Shopify offers an intuitive interface that simplifies the process of setting up and managing an online store, even for those without a technical background.
  2. Affordable Pricing: With plans starting as low as $29 per month, Shopify presents a cost-effective option for small to medium-sized businesses.
  3. Wide Variety of Themes and Apps: Shopify boasts an extensive library of professional themes and apps, allowing businesses to customize their online storefront to their liking and extend the functionality of their store.
  4. Robust Customer Support: Shopify offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat, ensuring that help is always within reach in case of any issues.

Disadvantages of Using Shopify

  1. Transaction Fees: Unless you’re using Shopify Payments, transaction fees apply on every sale. This can eat into your profits if your store processes a high volume of transactions.
  2. Limited Customization: While Shopify offers plenty of themes and apps, there might be certain limitations when it comes to deep customization of your store’s look and feel.
  3. Lock-in Effect: Migrating away from Shopify can be a complex and time-consuming process, causing inconvenience if you ever decide to switch to another platform, such as Shopify vs WooCommerce or Shopify vs Magento.

Advantages of Using Shopify Plus

  1. Scalability: Shopify Plus is designed to support high-growth, high-volume businesses, offering unlimited bandwidth and a high level of server uptime, ensuring your store can handle peak traffic times.
  2. Advanced Customization: Shopify Plus allows for greater customization of your store’s design and functionality, including custom checkout experiences and automation of various tasks via Shopify Flow.
  3. Dedicated Support: Shopify Plus customers have access to a dedicated Merchant Success Manager and 24/7 priority support, ensuring swift resolution of any issues that may arise.

Disadvantages of Using Shopify Plus

  1. Higher Costs: Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 per month, which may be prohibitive for smaller businesses or startups.
  2. Complexity: With its advanced features and capabilities, Shopify Plus can be somewhat complex to navigate for those who are not tech-savvy.
  3. Limited B2B Features: Although Shopify Plus offers a range of advanced features, it still lacks in some B2B functionalities compared to other platforms, which might be a consideration if your business is heavily focused on B2B.

Remember, choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus largely depends on your business’ specific needs and resources. Both platforms offer a robust ecommerce solution, but the size, scale, and the growth trajectory of your business will dictate which one is the right fit for you.

Conclusion: Which is right for your business?

Decision Factors

Deciding between Shopify and Shopify Plus hinges on several key factors. The most crucial being your business requirements, budget, and growth projection.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur or small business owner with a tight budget, Shopify’s basic plans might be the perfect starting point. Its simplicity, affordability, and a plethora of features make it a worthy choice for businesses at their initial stages.

However, if your business has outgrown the limits of basic Shopify and needs more advanced features or customization options, Shopify Plus comes into the picture. It’s designed for high-volume merchants and large businesses. This robust platform provides the scalability and flexibility you need to grow and manage your online store effectively.

Final Thoughts on Shopify vs. Shopify Plus

In the end, both Shopify and Shopify Plus offer compelling advantages. Shopify strikes a balance between affordability and functionality, making it an excellent choice for small to medium-sized businesses. On the other hand, Shopify Plus offers a high degree of customization, superior customer support, and advanced features, justifying its higher price tag for large enterprises.

While both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, the choice between Shopify and Shopify Plus ultimately comes down to your specific business needs, budget, and growth plans.

Whichever platform you choose, it’s crucial to remember that e-commerce is a dynamic and competitive field. Always stay informed about the latest trends, market demands, and technological advances. For example, you may want to compare Shopify’s offerings with other popular platforms to ensure you’re making the most informed decision. Check out our articles on Shopify vs Magento and Shopify vs Woocommerce for some interesting insights.

Remember, the best e-commerce platform is the one that meets your business needs effectively and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shopify Plus worth it?

Ascertaining the value of Shopify Plus ultimately rests on the unique circumstances and goals of your business. For large-scale enterprises seeking a platform that can handle high-volume sales, and provide an array of advanced features and customization options, Shopify Plus is indeed worth the investment. It offers powerful analytics, enhanced support, and the ability to manage multiple stores from a single dashboard. However, for smaller businesses or those just starting out, the standard Shopify plan might be a more cost-effective choice. As with any business decision, it’s essential to weigh the costs against the potential return on investment.

Can I upgrade from Shopify to Shopify Plus?

Absolutely! Shopify provides a seamless path to upgrade from a standard Shopify plan to Shopify Plus. If your business has outgrown the capabilities of the regular Shopify plan, or if you’re simply seeking more advanced features and flexibility, upgrading is a straightforward process. Shopify support team will guide you through the migration process to ensure a smooth transition. Remember, the decision should be based on your business needs and growth projections.

What is the main difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

The main difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus lies in their target users and the scale of features they offer. Shopify is primarily designed for small to medium businesses, offering them all the necessary tools to start an online store. It is user-friendly, affordable, and caters to businesses that require a straightforward ecommerce platform.

On the other hand, Shopify Plus is tailored for large-scale enterprises, or businesses expecting rapid growth. It offers advanced features like API integrations, enhanced customization, dedicated support, and the ability to handle high-volume transactions.

To understand how Shopify and Shopify Plus stack up against other ecommerce platforms, you might want to explore our comparisons of shopify vs bigcommerce and shopify vs woocommerce. These resources can provide additional context and help frame your decision-making process.