Shopify is one of the most prominently used eCommerce platforms worldwide. It holds a market share of over 23% in the United States alone. By introducing Shopify Plus, this eCommerce platform generated tremendous profits and got ahead of the competition. However, the question remains: which version of Shopify is the right choice for your business?
Choosing a suitable eCommerce platform is vital for your business. This article will walk you through an outline of features and differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus. It will help you understand the two versions better and select a suitable Shopify store development plan for your business.
Table of Contents
Shopify Vs. Shopify Plus: Fundamentals
Shopify is a beginner-friendly eCommerce platform for merchants to build their online stores and sell products. It also comes with Shopify POS (Point of Sale), allowing merchants to sell products in person. Shopify is a subscription-based service accessed by store owners through regular payments like any other eCommerce platform. Online retailers use many tools, and features to build an engaging web store and utilize the shopping cart solution to sell, ship, and manage their products.
Business owners employ various tools to customize their online store and create a tailormade, hassle-free shopping experience for their customers. Shopify also aids in increasing business profits by optimizing the return of investment (ROI). This plan is highly suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.
Released in 2014, Shopify Plus is the latest version of this cloud-based SaaS eCommerce platform. It was launched to compete with other widely employed platforms like Magento and Volusion. Shopify Plus is a fully hosted eCommerce platform targeted to promote and manage large-scale businesses or enterprises. The eCommerce platform has integrated several advanced features into this plan to make it more pertinent for rapidly growing brands.
Brands such as Fashion Nova, Nestle, Unilever, Pepsi, and other 5,700 plus websites use Shopify Plus. Its objective is to aid businesses in managing increased traffic, orders, inventory, and shipment. Furthermore, it offers remarkable features and tools to handle high-volume eCommerce businesses at affordable prices.
How Does Shopify Work?
Whether you are using Shopify or Shopify Plus, it works in similar ways. The difference doesn't lie in how they work but instead in what they can do. Shopify Plus is much more advanced than Shopify as it allows more customization and offers a broad range of abilities.
The first step is to design your Shopify store. You can use the available themes or customize a new one, plan the website layout, and include your products on it. With a stable internet connection, you can build and design the appearance of your store in about an hour. Shopify allows you to sell your products in multiple places, for example, online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar places, pop-ups, etc. Users can efficiently manage their everyday store operations like inventory, shipping, and payments by utilizing Shopify tools.
This eCommerce platform has a robust security system as Shopify payments are PCI compliant. It protects sensitive customer information and provides safe payment options. Moreover, there is no need for a third-party app service as Shopify automatically accepts all primary payment methods.
Looking for support to set up an eCommerce store on Shopify?
What Can You Sell on Shopify?
You can sell an unlimited number of products or services on Shopify. You can sell absolutely anything on this enormous eCommerce platform, from physical products and services to memberships, lectures, or classes. What's more?
Let's look at the type of products you can sell on Shopify in depth.
1. Physical Products
This category is self-explanatory. It refers to any tangible object manufactured by you or a third-party manufacturer. Examples include clothes, jewelry, candy, junk food, toiletries, personal care, and home needs.
2. Services or Consultations
This segment refers to an action or a helpful activity offered to you. There is no exchange of physical goods. For instance, you are booking an online or in-person appointment with your hairdresser or buying a spa treatment.
3. Digital Products
This classification refers to the intangible products you can offer your customers. It includes audio, videos, e-books, and so on.
4. Event Tickets
You can use this eCommerce platform to sell tickets for various purposes, from traveling to workshops. Many artists have benefited tremendously by selling their event tickets on Shopify.
You can buy annual, monthly, or weekly subscriptions to render specific services or products. E.g., A gym owner can use Shopify to sell different types of gym memberships (Basic and Premium.) Moreover, they can also restrict members-only access to specific parts of the gym's official website.
6. Product Rentals
It is a combination of physical products and services. You can rent out tangible objects like costumes, props, or cars as a service to other people.
7. Lectures and Classes
Professionals in the teaching or education industry use the Shopify platform to sell their lectures and classes. It can either be live sessions or pre-recorded lecture videos.
Apart from selling, Shopify also renders dropshipping services. For those unfamiliar with the term, dropshipping is a solution that permits merchants to sell a product without having inventory or shipping services. The solution can play out in two scenarios as shown below.
- Scenario One: As soon as you get the order from a customer, you purchase the product directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler and ship it to the customer.
- Scenario Two: You forward the customer order to the supplier. It becomes their responsibility to ship the product safely to the customer and process the payment. After completing the order, you receive the difference between the price you charged for the product and the supplier's product cost.
Know in detail about the type of products you can sell on Shopify
Comparison Between Shopify and Shopify Plus
Online retailers are always in a dilemma choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus. We present a comparative analysis between the two plans below to clarify any confusion you might have.
Costs about $29 to $299 per month
Price isn't publicized, and sellers have to request a quote. They charge based on a percentage of your store's monthly revenue. The minimum monthly fee is $2000, while the maximum is $40,000.
Offers support via
Offers all channels of support as Shopify.
Includes a skilled Launch Manager and a Merchant Success Manager
Still confused about choosing Shopify or ShopifyPlus?
Why Use Shopify or Shopify Plus?
Shopify lets merchants sell their services or products with minimal configurations compared to other platforms. It is one of the most beginner-friendly and user-friendly eCommerce platforms in the marketplace. The platform comes integrated with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, which allows store owners to edit the look of their site without any prior knowledge in coding. It makes Shopify a suitable alternative for beginners who want the complete package without any tech responsibilities related to development and hosting. If you want more control over customizations, you can change the site by coding.
Online stores or websites operate 24/7, and customers desire unlimited access anytime, anywhere. More consumers are migrating from traditional stores to online stores because it offers them a convenient shopping experience. Shopify ensures that your eCommerce business has a responsive mobile design. It attracts more customers, which ultimately increases your revenue. Business owners can also run their store by installing the Shopify app and logging in with their credentials. Furthermore, Shopify is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices.
3. Domain Name
You can personalize your store by using your domain name. Just connect it to Shopify through your store's Admin Panel and start running your store. You can also buy a domain name from Shopify or a third-party provider.
4. Variety of Themes
Themes play an integral role in attracting customers and enhancing your marketing strategies. Change the theme of your Shopify store according to the needs of your brand. Shopify offers 70 distinctive premium and free themes for your eCommerce business. All of them are compatible with products such as electronics, clothing, art, services, etc. Users can tweak these themes even without knowing HTML and CSS.
5. Payment Tools
Shopify comes with a built-in payment tool called Shopify Payments, eliminating the need for a third-party payment integration app. It accepts all predominant payment methods and cards. Some examples include PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo, and Amazon Pay. It also accepts alternative payment options like cryptocurrency.
You can integrate your store with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to implement marketing campaigns to boost your sales. Social media has a broader reach than other platforms and will help you connect with a more comprehensive set of target audiences. Shopify allows you to sell through other channels like online marketplaces, pop-up shops, offline stores, etc.
7. SEO Tools
SEO is the number one strategy to get more traffic to your website. Shopify has in-built SEO tools that automatically optimize your store's content by adding auto-generated canonical tags on your site's pages, preventing duplicate content from appearing in search engine results. Along with the tags, your store's themes, robots.txt, and site map.xml files are also automatically generated. For further optimization, users are free to edit title tags, URLs for blog posts, product descriptions, meta descriptions, etc.
8. Superior Plugins
Since Shopify is an extensively used platform, many third-party organizations or apps offer several plugins to cater to business needs. The eCommerce platform itself has a variety of indigenous plugins created to boost the functionality of your store. These plugins are either free or premium.
9. Customer Support
Shopify offers customer support via emails, one-on-one chats, and phone calls to resolve any issues you might face. Additionally, Shopify Plus will provide a Launch Manager and Merchant Success Manager to aid your store operations. Apart from the 24/7 customer support, users can also access free tutorials, webinars, and online courses through Shopify Learn. It equips them with the necessary knowledge and skill to promote online sales.
Dropshipping is a profitable business model that requires minimum efforts and maximum profits. Shopify dropshipping enables you to sell products through a seller or manufacturer that manages the inventory and shipping process. You can start dropping in three simple steps: Building your eCommerce store, uploading your products, and launching your website. Finally, start advertising your dropshipping stores. Remember to connect with suppliers, wholesale retailers, and other manufacturers before launching your store.
Shopify Vs. Shopify Plus: Key Differences
In a nutshell, Shopify Plus has all features of the Shopify plan coupled with supplementary abilities to handle enterprises. Below are the key differences between the two programs to help users understand the platforms in detail.
1. Staff Accounts
The Basic Shopify plan limits the number of staff accounts you can create for your eCommerce business. However, Shopify Plus permits you to create an unlimited number of staff accounts and enables advanced permission settings.
2. Additional Customer Support
As mentioned in the comparative analysis, Shopify Plus offers you two dedicated store managers. The added customer support significantly helps store owners to manage their business. These Shopify Experts are available 24/7 to resolve any queries, help you set up the store, or simplify the migration process.
3. Shopify Apps
Shopify Plus users get exclusive access to some Shopify applications that are not available to regular Shopify merchants. These apps are listed below.
It is helpful to pre-plan and automate product launches, sale campaigns, and flash sales for a particular event or day. After the completion of the event, you can undo all changes made.
An intuitive eCommerce app that lets you automate many office or administration processes and customer-facing tasks. You can select this app to store data or execute actions like sending reorder requests, tagging loyal consumers, inventory notifications, and much more. You can demand anything on this app without knowing any coding language.
Personalize your checkout process through script editor. Minimal coding is required to implement custom shipping, payment options, and discounts on products for buyers. Script Editor has contributed considerably to decreasing the number of abandoned carts.
Shopify Plus is appropriate for large-scale businesses, and this app supports high volumeB2B sales.
Bulk Account Inviter
This app sends bulk invitations to customers to import them from another store or platform and to activate their customer accounts on your online store.
The app helps users import their products, data, and customer base into their Shopify store. Online eCommerce retailers can access and send customer records across various storefronts.
Enhance your standard Shopify admin by downloading the organization management app. It gives you the flexibility to operate as a central organization by managing tools affecting multiple stores at once.
4. More Control Over Theme Customization
Liquid is Shopify's theme language, and you can access it through the Shopify Plus plan. You are provided more flexibility and control over customizing themes from scratch. You can also tweak the backend at the code level for increased control.
5. API Integrations
APIs are crucial in facilitating integrations with any third-party apps. Shopify Plus equips you with additional API resources exclusively used by Shopify Plus users. These API resources are:
Stores owners with separate websites and stores can use this API resource. Users are redirected from the website to their Shopify store through a seamless login process.
This is a type of alternative payment option. Each gift card comes with a unique code entered during the checkout stage. You can redeem the balance amount over multiple checkouts.
Store owners can retrieve information on any staff account through this API resource.
6. Wholesale Channel
Some consumers may wish to purchase from your rapidly growing store in bulk, and any enterprise-level eCommerce business should have the necessary arrangements to facilitate the wholesale order. Shopify Plan caters to this need by offering you a wholesale channel that lets you create a distinct, password-secured wholesale storefront. It means you can provide the same products at exclusive wholesale prices to buyers. This feature is handy for B2B eCommerce businesses.
Shopify Plus gives you access to premium memberships that a regular Shopify plan can't offer. These memberships give you the exclusive opportunity to be a part of supportive Shopify Communities like:
Shopify Plus Academy
A self-guided training to comprehend fundamental topics to grow your business
Shopify Plus Community
A vast community on Facebook where similar merchants who run high-volume businesses come together to discuss ideas and strategies.
Shopify Plus Partner Program
Get your hands on advanced technology unlimited access to solution partners and agencies. Get a chance to sneak peek into the future beta programs and modify the product roadmap of Shopify Plus.
8. Merchant Success Program
Shopify Plus provides a Merchant Success Program that helps members make the most out of the platform. Whether you need assistance with third-party app integrations or operating this platform, the Merchant Success Manager guides you through this journey and ensures you reach your full potential. The team will also aid you in finding verified Shopify Plus Partners to keep up with events and industry trends.
Shopify Plus as an Enterprise eCommerce Platform
Operating an Enterprise-level eCommerce store can be financially draining. The ultimate advantage of Shopify plus is that it cuts down on opportunity costs. The eCommerce platform handles bugs, web development, order management, feature implantation, servers, file storage, bandwidth, and other maintenance responsibilities. It thereby frees up resources to be efficiently allocated to other processes.
Merchants also get access to agile marketing tools curated to boost their sales. Shopify Plus has state-of-the-art plugins, extensions, and APIs that can take your company to the next level. Most of these features are easy to use for people with no coding skills. This plan also supports B2B eCommerce business.
Relatability and Support are two primary factors to consider before setting up shop on any eCommerce platform. Shopify Plus undergoes tests and is then updated according to the feedback and reviews from plenty of merchants. Continuous improvements ensure that the platform's robust framework can handle increased traffic, orders, and shipping processes. Moreover, its popularity ensures that you have an external and internal support system. These are the few significant reasons why Shopify Plus is ideal for enterprise and large-scale firms.
Do you want to migrate your Shopify eCommerce store to Shopify Plus?
Should You Migrate to Shopify or Shopify Plus?
The answer to this question largely depends on the size of the business you want to run. This article explains why Shopify is a competent option for small and medium-scale companies, while Shopify Plus is appropriate for enterprises. The two plans are the same in offering essential eCommerce functions and tools. The difference lies in the additional support, flexibility, and tools that Shopify Plus provides. Small businesses don't require these complex abilities to run their store. Therefore, buying the Shopify Plan will only prove too expensive for them. You should migrate to Shopify Plus only if you own a large-scale firm.
Shopify Vs.Shopify Plus - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Shopify a legitimate and dependable platform for my business?
Shopify is an established and renowned eCommerce platform used by leading companies worldwide. You can build your store and operate it without coding or designing skills. It equips your store with a plethora of powerful tools utilized to increase your profits and widen your reach.
Is Shopify a contemporary mobile-friendly platform?
Shopify has successfully adapted to the functioning of the modern world by making its platform mobile-friendly. From store managers accessing their store through phones to customers using their mobile devices to shop from Shopify stores, with a stable internet connection, Shopify is accessible from anywhere.
Is there a limit to how many stores I can build with Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus offers you great flexibility regarding the number of stores you can build using this plan. It allows merchants to expand into B2B, D2C, and other types of business without spending a fortune. Furthermore, you can create up to ten stores by purchasing a Shopify Plus subscription.
What are the primary differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus?
A regular Shopify plan suits the needs of small or medium-scale businesses, while a Shopify Plus plan is tailored for large-scale or enterprise-level firms. The two programs also significantly differ in pricing, with the regular Shopify plan being cheaper than the Shopify Plus plan.
Can I temporarily pause my subscription?
Yes, you have the option to either temporarily pause your store for two days or shut it down completely. Shopify lets you halt your subscription by following a few simple steps. You can utilize the Shopify Admin dashboard to carry out this task. Please note that you cannot pause your subscription during the free trial period.
What are the key benefits of Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus offers more themes, greater control over customizing the website's look, personalized checkout processes, data-driven analytics reports, the ability to smoothly manage increased traffic, better customer support, and much more. There are many such benefits you can unlock by purchasing Shopify Plus.
How Do I purchase a Shopify Plus plan?
You need to go through your business requirements to choose between Shopify and Shopify Plus. If Shopify Plus is the appropriate choice for your eCommerce objectives, you can directly purchase it from the eCommerce platform. To do this, contact the Shopify Plus professionals, state your requirements and decide on a price for the subscription.
Can Virtina help me migrate from Shopify to Shopify plus?
Virtina has a team of talented, experienced, and skilled experts with years of experience in the industry. We are ready to guide you through the migration process from Shopify to Shopify Plus. You can reach out to our team to know more about the process and resolve any related queries.
What are the other pricing plans offered by Shopify?
Shopify offers four pricing plans to merchants. The first is the Basic Shopify plan which starts from $29 per month; the second is the Shopify plan that starts from $79 per month. The third plan is the Advanced Shopify plan, which starts from $299 per month. Lastly, the Shopify Plus plan has a minimum subscription fee of $2000 per month.
What is Shopify Lite?
You can purchase Shopify lite for $9 per month and create a primary eCommerce store in less than 15 minutes. You can merge your store with social media pages like your Facebook Business page and other websites by adding a Shop tab on the page. Ensure to display your products and shopping cart on Facebook simultaneously.