ou built your business with a vision all your own, pouring your time, energy, and heart into creating a novel product. You want your online store to be just as unique as your items, customers, and you.
With over 1.7 million websites using it (Builtwith.com), Shopify has established itself as the ecommerce site of choice for store owners of every size. Its scalability makes it an ideal option for those selling a few items to those selling at enterprise levels with multiple stores.
Shopify offers an increasing gradient of key features, culminating with Shopify Plus. Choosing which Shopify plan is the right fit for your ecommerce business will depend on your needs.
In addition to their built-in features, Shopify and Shopify Plus both interact with apps built specifically to support Shopify. This is where we at BeamCommerce work our magic with apps like AfterSell which allows users to customize their Shopify checkout page, increasing revenue with one-click upsell and downsell options.
Before we dive into the app experience, let's explore Shopify vs Shopify Plus and the highlights of the core Shopify platform.
Shopify vs Shopify Plus
The Shopify platform offers Shopify users a sales-only option in addition to three levels of ecommerce features increasing in cost and options, culminating in a final fourth level that is Shopify Plus. Each level builds on the one preceding it and all of them can be customized with Shopify themes and enhanced with apps from the Shopify app store.
If you already have a storefront (your own website)-you've painted the walls, built the shelves, displayed your products, and your customers are lined up- maybe all you need is the checkout system. Shopify Lite ($9/month) might be the option for you.
Shopify Lite does not let you build an online store, but it enables you to sell products through your blog or website by adding Buy buttons that allow you to process credit card payments. It's the digital cash register your virtual (and physical) store needs, allowing you to sell online, process payments in person, and create invoices.
The Basic Shopify plan($29/month) is good for single person teams / entrepreneurs too as well as teams with 1-2 employees. This plan allows you to build your online store, including a website and blog, sell unlimited products, and offers up to a 77% shipping discount.
Basic Shopify is ideal for newer or smaller businesses that anticipate handling most sales through an ecommerce platform. It allows only 2 staff accounts and up to 4 inventory locations. Basic Shopify does not include reports or international domains or pricing and has slightly higher credit card fees.
The mid-level and title track, Shopify ($79/month) is built for growing businesses with both ecommerce platforms and in-store sales. It offers everything Basic Shopify does with the addition of standard reports and international domains and pricing.
Shopify supports up to 5 inventory locations and 5 staff accounts. The credit card fees fall into the middle range for the three Shopify options and the shipping discount increases to 88%.
The second-highest tier of Shopify, Advanced Shopify ($299/month) offers all the features of Shopify with up to 8 inventory locations, 15 staff accounts, and an advanced report builder. It also allows you to customize international pricing item by item.
Shopify highlights this option for actively growing businesses and those looking for advanced reporting.
Shopify advertises Shopify Plus as "Enterprise-grade solutions for high volume merchants, and large businesses." Think giant warehouse of products but also high-end boutique. It is ideal for large enterprises, but also might be a good fit for growing businesses seeking additional support or automation tools. Currently, almost 10 thousand websites use Shopify plus(Builtwith.com.)
Shopify Plus starts at $2000/month and increases in cost based on your sales.
Some key differences include unlimited staff accounts and up to 20 inventory locations with the ability to expand up to 9 expansion stores in different languages or multiple currencies.
Additional features of Shopify Plus include in-store ecommerce automation with Shopify Flow and Shopify Scripts.
In addition to automation, Plus accounts get access to advanced customization for your checkout experience which gets up to 18% higher conversion and is completed up to 60% faster according to Shopify. You’ll also get access to wholesale channels not available on standard plans.
One of the key differences between Shopify vs Shopify Plus is the support, including direct access to a Merchant Success Manager. They can answer specific questions related to your ecommerce store and help guide your implementation of Shopify Plus.
The Merchant Success Program also includes Shopify Plus Partners, and Shopify Plus Academy which provide education, access, and resources to scale your business.
Shopify Plus might be the right fit for your ecommerce store if you are seeking enterprise resource planning or additional customization options, business support, and automation.
Themes, Tools, and Apps
Shopify offers 13 free themes and 71 additional themes available for one-time purchase, allowing you to paint the walls of your ecommerce store to reflect your own personal brand(Source: Shopify.)
Shopify offers marketing resources, a marketplace targeting wholesale customers, and a variety of free ecommerce tools for tasks ranging from QR code generation to profit margin calculators.
When there are features Shopify doesn't offer, there's an App that does!
Shopify boasts its own app store where store owners can find custom apps to enhance their user experience.
The Beam Commerce app, AfterSell is one of the beautifully designed apps available to both Shopify and Shopify Plus users. This app enhances the checkout page of your store by increasing revenue with personalized post-purchase offers, allowing customers to purchase with one click.
The best part about the AfterSell app? Users can try it for free.
So, Shopify vs Shopify Plus?
It really depends on what your overall business needs are and your trajectory of growth.
Although Plus might seem more expensive, depending on the size and scale of your ecommerce business it may actually be less expensive to switch. Other Shopify tiers charge a percentage of each transaction plus $.30. Shopify plus starts at $2,000/month with 2.15% transaction fees, plus $.30 per transaction.
Both Shopify and Shopify Plus allow you to build a website and manage ecommerce and in-person sales. If you aren't selling at enterprise scales, the $1700 price tag difference will likely be a key factor in choosing between Shopify vs Shopify Plus. If you’re already doing over $1M annually in sales, then it might be time to consider a switch.
And when your monthly sales skyrocket and your business outgrows the Shopify store you chose, you always have the option to upgrade.