Shopify vs. Shopify Plus – When should you move into the fast lane?

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus – When should you move into the fast lane?

Our current and future clients often think about the differences between the Shopify and Shopify Plus solutions. Which should you choose? This article offers a number of tips to help you create the right solution for you. 

Administration, number and costs of stores

One of the most substantial differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus is their cost. The Shopify Advanced version costs US $ 299 a month plus a flat 0.5 % commission on sales. Shopify Plus costs US $ 2,000 a month, and the commission is just 0.15 %. If you need more information about pricing, contact us.

There are many reasons for the difference in price. The most important one is that when you pay for Shopify Plus, you can open up to ten stores under the same brand. 

The way Shopify develops its service means the most recommended solution for a multilingual offering is to have one language per store. You can also make an online store multilingual through an add-on app, but the one store, one language principle gets the best result. In each local store, you can offer your customers, in addition to their language, appropriate payment and delivery methods, their own language-specific social media channels and marketing campaigns.

Administering several shops is developing towards the merchant being able to administer several stores in one place without having to sign in to each of them separately. The merchant can already go directly from one store to another via the Shopify Plus admin panel. Centralized product administration is also in the works for Shopify Plus. The feature was presented in 2018 at the Shopify Unite event. It allows for products to be administered in different languages from one and the same admin panel.

Below is a sample calculation of the costs of a bilingual store in the Shopify Advanced and Shopify Plus versions. For our purposes, annual sales of €2 million are assumed:

Shopify Advanced

  • 2 x monthly fees = 2 x $ 299 x 12 months = $ 7,176 (ca. € 6,458)
  • Sales commission 0.5 % on € 2 m = € 10,000
  • Costs in total: € 16,458

Shopify Plus 

  • Monthly fees $ 2,000 x 12 months = $ 24,000 (€ 21,600)
  • Sales commission 0.15 % on € 2 m = € 3,000
  • Costs in total: € 24,600

The cost difference is quite small when you consider everything else that Shopify Plus brings with it. Shopify Plus becomes the cheaper option after sales hit about five million euros, depending a little on the number of stores.

The stores that are part of Shopify Plus should be part of the same brand. It’s not possible to combine pool supplies and horse feed brands in the same contract, not even when some of the products are the same. For several stores selling partly the same range, a solution worth considering is ordinary Shopify stores in which products are linked to each other using an appropriate add-on app.

Shopify Plus features

The biggest benefits of Shopify Plus are two tools, Launchpad and Flow. Launchpad is, as the name implies, a tool with which you can time campaigns, discounts and product launches. You can also time an update of the store’s look by building a theme and deciding in advance when it will go online. You can do the work in advance for your online store’s busiest sales seasons. For example, you can build Black Friday offers and set changes to the store’s look weeks in advance, allowing the merchant to concentrate on marketing and leave last-minute fussing to a minimum.

Shopify Flow is another excellent tool for automating a store. Flow is very easy to use. Choose the “trigger” you want and the “actions” you want to be automatically built in. In a few clicks you can build an automatic process which classifies customers who spend more than a certain euro amount as VIP customers, and thus sends them automated marketing. Or, a B2B customer’s order can be reported to the company’s internal Slack channel to allow staff to start assembling the order immediately. Flow and Launchpad really make your time management more efficient and save resources.

Plus also includes Shopify Scripts. With the help of Scripts you can tailor your checkout path and generate extra sales, offer customers free delivery or gifts. You can also use them to create rules for three things: product prices, delivery methods and payment methods.

All of these are great tools for raising your conversion rates and achieving fewer abandoned shopping baskets. 

What else does Shopify Plus include?

  • Your own, faster support channel and store-specific contact person (Merchant Success Manager).
  • The Wholesale channel is dedicated to Shopify Plus clients. This enables a fast order channel for wholesale retail at customer-specific prices.
  • Shopify Transporter eases migration to the Shopify platform and makes adding large product quantities faster. Shopify can be scaled up to 1,000,000 products.
  • Faster APIs. They enable faster integration of larger data masses with your own or third-party apps. 
  • Shopify Plus enables the use of Shopify POS in several (up to 100) brick-and-mortar stores. 

What have we learnt?

There is the same engine behind Shopify and Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus only offers more performance in extreme situations where the store might experience thousands of orders per minute. The basic features in both are the same, but Plus has the additional features of Launchpad, Flow and Scripts.

Online store sales are not the only criterion you should use when deciding between the basic and Plus Shopify versions. Rather, it’s all about your goals and the opportunities for automating your online store functions.

The examples worked out above show that with €1–2 million of sales, Shopify Plus is slightly more expensive per year. However, the difference is small, not enough to hire capable staff for a few months. You cannot replace all jobs with automation, but good automation saves time and resources, boosts customer satisfaction and increases sales.

All Shopify clients can access their own Shopify 24/7 support service, the Shopify Help Center. Plus clients also get a dedicated Merchant Success Manager who ensures they get all the benefits they can out of their Plus service. 

Do you still have some questions about the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus? Contact us and we’ll talk more.

Teemu Tolonen, new business development, Woolman


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