Shopify is the top eCommerce platform for online sellers expanding to multiple sales channels; and with good reason. The Canadian platform offers businesses a suite of tools, a marketplace of apps, and a website full of resources for growing a profitable eCommerce website.
The first step in getting started? Deciding between Shopify Plus vs. Shopify.
Shopify Plus vs. Shopify: the definitions
Shopify offers online sellers two similar but slightly different products: Shopify and Shopify Plus.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that enables you to create and manage your own website to list and sell products from. Think of it as your Amazon Storefront or eBay Shop, only with your own URL, products, and creative freedom.
Shopify Plus is Shopify but with some added functionality. You use the same dashboard, editor, and help center as standard Shopify users, but Shopify Plus can do more (which we’ll get to later).
Both Platforms are hugely popular in the eCommerce industry, with 800,000 and 5,300 users, respectively. They are also both hugely successful, generating $100 billion in sales together. Which is right for your business? Let’s take a look.
Shopify Plus vs. Shopify: the similarities
When considering Shopify Plus vs. Shopify, it’s necessary to understand the similarities and differences between the two. At their basics, both are eCommerce platforms that allow you to:
1) Create your eCommerce website
You can choose from over 60 Shopify and Shopify Plus themes to build your website and product pages, with no design or coding skills required.
2) Run your eCommerce business
You can market your Shopify store, process payments, manage orders, and run reports all from one easy-to-use dashboard.
3) Grow your eCommerce brand
You can access more than 2,500 different apps and integrations on the Shopify marketplace – all specifically designed to get more out of your store and grow your business.
Shopify Plus vs. Shopify: the differences
As we mentioned, Shopify Plus can do more than Shopify. And it’s these differences that will help you to decide which platform is more suitable for you and your business. The key differences between the two are:
Shopify is aimed at the everyday eCommerce store owner – from hobby and lifestyle sellers to full-time businesses and multi-personnel brands. Shopify Plus is geared more towards enterprise sellers – those who are processing a high volume of orders, or who have serious plans for large-scale growth.
To give you an idea, current Shopify Plus customers include Gymshark, Leesa, Beard and Blade, and Emma Bridgewater.
While Shopify can certainly handle a lot of web traffic, it’s not guaranteed. Shopify Plus’ servers are described as “blazing fast”, guaranteed 99.98% uptime and handling more than 10,000 transactions per minute. This is especially important for brands expecting a high volume of traffic on days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Customizing your eCommerce website enables you to tailor the customer experience, strengthen your branding, and implement some eCommerce psychology tactics. Both platforms allow you to edit your website’s layout, content, and colors using the Shopify editor or Liquid code.
Shopify Plus users can also customize:
- The checkout – creating a more intuitive and seamless experience that can pre-populate customer information, update product quantities when inventory is low, and process payments on-site.
- Shipping options – running a shipping script to calculate precise shipping rates and removing the shipping options when not applicable.
Opening up your own eCommerce webstore is a great way to expand your business from online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Shopify Plus, empowers you to grow your business even further with:
- Clone store – up to nine additional stores for localized content specific to different regions, markets, and languages;
- Social media – built-in integrations to sell directly on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Multi-channel listing apps – apps that enable you to push listings to other online marketplaces.
Although time-consuming, stealing customers away from Amazon and onto your Shopify website is definitely worth the effort. Direct sales, tailored experiences, and loyalty programs can all be implemented to help retain customers and increase CLV – making Shopify ideal for B2C eCommerce businesses.
With Shopify Plus, you can extend these benefits by expanding to wholesale or B2B commerce. Shopify Plus users can create a password-protected store to offer bulk discounts, custom pricing, shipping rules, and wholesale-only products.
The Shopify support team is available 24/7 via email, live chat, and phone. While they do their best to resolve problems quickly and efficiently, their response times may vary. Shopify Plus customers get access to expedited technical support – ensuring that any issues get resolved quickly. In addition, you are also assigned a personal launch engineer and merchant success manager to get your store running and profitable as soon as possible.
7) User experience
We’ve already mentioned the countless Shopify apps that can transform your store, improve your conversions, and delight your customers. Shopify Plus users also gain exclusive access to:
Shopify Flow for automating customer loyalty, merchandising, and fraud prevention processes.
Shopify Launchpad for scheduling store changes such as product visibility, sale themes, and discounts.
Shopify Plus partners for award-winning digital designs and custom technology solutions.
8) Shopify 2-day shipping
Shopify Fulfillment Network is now open for early access. While it has not yet been announced whether Shopify Plus customers will gain access to preferential fulfillment pricing, both Shopify and Shopify Plus customers can nonetheless achieve fast and affordable shipping with a fast fulfillment provider.
We couldn’t write a Shopify Plus vs. Shopify blog without mentioning the costs. Standard Shopify costs $29 per month (Basic), $79 per month (Shopify) or $299 per month (Advanced Shopify).
Shopify Plus costs from $2,000 per month up to $40,000, depending on your business’ needs. This larger price tag does come with the added benefit of reduced Shopify transaction fees of 0.15%.
Shopify Plus vs. Shopify: Your choice
How do you decide between the two? Shopify and Shopify Plus both help you to create an online presence and sales funnel for your brand, outside of Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.
Budget will largely dictate your choice – with smaller businesses being best suited to Shopify and enterprise businesses benefiting greatly from Shopify Plus.
But, just because Shopify Plus isn’t right for you now, doesn’t mean that it won’t be in the future: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”