5 mins

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: which is better for your business?

What is the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus and which one works best for your business? Find out everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide.

An e-commerce merchant uses Shopify for their brand
September 1, 2022

Looking to scale your Shopify business but not sure if Shopify Plus is the way to go? We have put together this Shopify vs. Shopify Plus comparison guide, to help you choose the best Shopify setup for your online store.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is an enterprise level e-commerce platform designed for brands with high order volumes. Launched in 2014, Shopify Plus gives fast growing e-commerce businesses capacity to scale in a way that saves money, resources and time spent on development.

Packed with a range of great tools and features, Shopify Plus enables you to keep up with ever-changing e-commerce trends and customer buying habits.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: how to choose

Each version of Shopify serves e-commerce businesses at different stages of growth. The two are not in competition with each other. Shopify Plus is simply an evolution of Shopify, and if your business is in a place where the Plus edition is the best fit, it is a sign that your online store is growing.

When to choose Shopify

The regular Shopify platform is ideal for smaller e-commerce businesses still in early stages of growth and brand building. If you are an e-commerce brand that is currently focused on building an online store and brand recognition, managing your inventory, and competitive payment processing fees, then choosing the standard Shopify setup is perfect for where your business is at right now.

The standard Shopify package enables you to fine tune everything from the look and feel of your online store, to reporting and payment processing and organizing your inventory management.

When to choose Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is the next evolution of the standard Shopify solution. It is ideal for medium-sized e-commerce companies experiencing a high growth trajectory. 

If you need extra flexibility and a greater level of support to manage your e-commerce online store then choosing Shopify Plus provides the perfect platform to sustain and scale-up your company even further. You will have access to a greater range of tools and features, plus more control over key aspects of your online store, such as the checkout process.

What are the main differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

The differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus are quite significant. This is reflected in the pricing of Shopify Plus, but the level of support and access to next generation tools and features really demonstrate the platform's evolution. To help you visualize the key differences, take a look at this comparison table:

What features make Shopify Plus unique?

Shopify Plus is different compared to standard Shopify packages in a number of ways:

#1 - More dedicated support

In addition to 24/7 live support by phone, email and chat, Shopify Plus provides you with a dedicated account manager to assist with store setup and migrations. They can help with any third-party integration and will even source partners to work on projects specific to your business.

#2 - Increased customization options

While standard Shopify plans allow you to customize your website store theme, Shopify Plus enables greater customization by giving you access to Shopify's theme coding language, Liquid. 

Having access to Liquid means you can make changes in the front and backend of your online store, giving you greater control over your store's appearance.

#3 - Unlimited accounts

Standard Shopify plans only allow for a few accounts and they are largely limited in terms of available features.

Shopify Plus enables you to set up an unlimited number of staff accounts and grant advanced permissions. This enables any number of your team to work on your online store, while giving you greater control over their actions and store admin.

#4 - Enhanced checkout control

Shopify Plus increases your capacity to customize your checkout experience based on your shopping cart values or other criteria. Plus, you can use Shopify Scripts, an intuitive Script Editor that enhances your control over customer communications, enables you to customize shipping methods, customer fields and payment options. 

#5 - Abundance of API integrations

Shopify Plus is packed with enhanced API resources, including GiftCard, Mulitpass and User. GiftCard provides your customers with an alternative payment method, while MultiPass redirects your website visitors to your Shopify store, seamlessly - without the need to enter separate login credentials or synchronize with any customer database.

Meanwhile, User enables you to easily add, remove, edit and retrieve information about staff accounts. As an added bonus, Shopify Plus can even integrate with custom apps and enables you to create your own private apps.

#6 - A range of exclusive apps

As a Shopify Plus user, you can access a range of exclusive Shopify apps that aren't available to regular users, for example:

  • Bluecore for marketing automation and personalization.

  • Carthook for upselling and checkout conversion.

#7 - Easy integration with existing platforms

The Shopify Plus API enables you to easily integrate with existing platforms, whether it is:

#8 - Merchant Success Program

The Shopify Plus Merchant Success Program helps you to unlock the most value out of the platform. Benefit from third-party integration support, product uploading, training and help finding approved Shopify Plus partners. 

Shopify app on a mobile screen

What can you do with a regular Shopify account?

Shopify, without the plus, has its own set of unique features. It allows for unlimited products, bandwidth and online storage. Other features include:

#1 - Storefront themes and customization

With a huge collection of themes and customization options, you can create a stunning online store that is mobile friendly, easily customizable and suited to the aesthetics of your brand identity. You can also customize your domain name.

#2 - Manageable shipping

Shopify enables you to access automatic shipping rates from major shipping carriers and handles major country and state tax rates automatically based on location.

#3 - Abandoned cart recovery

Tackle abandoned cart recovery thanks to Shopify's ability to track abandoned carts and automatically send emails to customers, reminding them to complete their purchase.

#4 - Store management

Get to know your customers better and track their shopping habits by categorizing customers based on their purchase history, location and other key criteria.

#5 - Enhanced marketing and SEO

Shopify offers some of the best SEO services to help your customers find your online store via search engines. The platform also includes social media integration to boost your brand profile.

#6 - Effective product and inventory management

With no limit on the number of products you can list on Shopify you can sell as much as you like. The platform also offers variations such as SKU, weight, price and other categories. 

You can track and manage inventory for stock count requirements, plus you can import and export products using CSV files.

#7 - In-depth analytics

The Shopify dashboard displays key analytics on the performance of your online store, including:

  • Order volumes
  • Sales reports
  • Visitor data

Financial information for your e-commerce business is also available, such as an overview of sales, pending sales and payment details. All this data enables you to analyze which of your products are in demand. 

#8 - 24/7 support

Shopify provides 24/7 support for store owners via phone, email and live chat, often with instant responses. You can also access a number of user discussion forums and resources such as guides and tutorials in the Shopify Help Center, while Shopify Compass is packed with useful ebooks and webinars.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: pricing

Shopify Plus is considerably more expensive starting at $2,000 per month or 0.25% of your sales volume per month - capped at $40,000 - whichever is greater. 

This means that if your store has a high monthly sales volume, you will pay more to use Shopify Plus. For example, say your store generates $2 million a month in sales, you would pay $5,000.

Equally, if you only generate $100,000 per month, you'd pay the $2,000 minimum instead of 0.25% of your sales.

In contrast, the core Shopify service has flat monthly fees irrespective of your monthly sales figures. You will pay:

  • $9 per month Shopify Lite
  • $29 per month for Shopify Basic 
  • $79 per month for Shopify Standard
  • $299 per month for Advanced Shopify

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: e-commerce features

As a standalone, Shopify is a complete e-commerce platform equipped with features and tools that enable you to launch, grow and manage your business. It's fully hosted, requires no coding experience and is supremely user-friendly. Plus, with three pricing plans to choose from, it represents great value for money for e-commerce entrepreneurs with all types of budgets. 

Some of the key e-commerce features of Shopify include:

  • Shopify POS - A unique Point of Sale (POS) feature that enables you to sell your products in the real world as well as online.

  • App store - The Shopify App store enables you to choose from thousands of applications to easily add new features to your e-commerce store. Access everything from website customization tools to analytics capabilities.

  • Mobile commerce capabilities - Most shoppers search and buy using mobile, and Shopify enables you to develop a mobile app to further expand your business.

Some of the key e-commerce features of Shopify Plus include:

  • Built for big traffic volumes - If you are a high volume e-commerce merchant, the last thing you want is an online store that can't handle the visitor numbers. Shopify Plus is capable of handling high traffic numbers, which is especially useful for shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or seasonal holidays.

  • Designed for global expansion - Shopify Plus allows you to create 9 additional storefronts, which means you can operate 10 online stores from just one account, enabling you to expand into different countries with fully translated sites, correct currencies and multiple payment options.

  • Automated workflows - Shopify Plus helps to ease the day-to-day stresses by enabling you to automate workflows and campaigns to cut down the hours spent on repetitive tasks.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: store options

Shopify store options

All Shopify plans include an online store (e-commerce website and blog), unlimited product uploading, 24/7 support and different sales channels. However, the number of staff accounts you can have and the number of store locations depends on the plan you choose. 

Meanwhile, Shopify has hundreds, if not thousands, of online store themes - free and paid - each offering different styles, layouts and customization options for a range of industry sectors. Access to these themes and their features depends on the Shopify pricing plan you choose. Paid themes range from $150 - $350.

Basically, the more you pay, the greater the number of Shopify features you can access and the greater the control you have over the look and appearance of your site. 

There is also a great selection of features you can add to your store from countdown timers to stock counters and more. 

Shopify Plus store options 

Shopify Plus gives you even greater variety when it comes to store themes, and you have even greater control over your store’s appearance with access to your website's code. 

You will also benefit from a unified dashboard to run your wholesale and DTC business from one store and manage multiple stores and locations by cloning your e-commerce website. Plus, there's an option to set up your store to sell products to wholesalers.

One of the key features of Shopify Plus is that you can migrate your existing e-commerce store from your current provider at no cost. As an enterprise e-commerce platform, the store options available are geared towards businesses turning over millions each year.

Shopify account on laptop screen

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: the bottom line

The difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus mainly comes down to functionality, flexibility, support options and price.

If your e-commerce business is not already achieving millions in sales, you are best sticking with the core Shopify services, unless you think that you would absolutely benefit from the functionality, flexibility and additional support options that Shopify Plus provides. 

While Shopify gives you everything you need to launch and establish your e-commerce business, when it comes to large-scale growth, Shopify Plus must be given serious consideration. In the long-run, Shopify Plus minimizes the cost, time, labor force requirements and workload of scaling up your business and helps you to sustain growth long-term.

Shopify fulfillment with Hive

Join 160+ brands currently growing with Hive right now. You can easily integrate your Shopify or Shopify Plus store with the Hive App without having to write a single line of code. Whether you're a homegrown small brand, a scaling D2C or an established enterprise or global brand, the Hive App is designed to take your e-commerce company to the next level.

Request a quote, today.