Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level ecommerce solution. It handles the technical legwork of running a large online store for you.
While Shopify’s plans are for small and medium-sized businesses, Shopify Plus is for high volume stores.
In this article we review Shopify Plus’s offering and whether it’s right for your business.
Whether you own a large ecommerce store, or run the marketing for one, the question is: how do you keep evolving when you hit enterprise-level?
The bigger your store, the more time you spend maintaining tech infrastructure. The more time you spend on tech, the harder it is to focus on the strategies that made your store successful in the first place.
Shopify Plus is a solution – a cloud-based, fully hosted software, served up to you in white gloves.
Household names like Budweiser, The Economist and RedBull use Shopify Plus. You get an idea of how powerful the software is!
This review is for you if:
- You want to upgrade from a simpler ecommerce solution (like a lower Shopify plan).
- You’re looking to move from another enterprise-level ecommerce solution (e.g Magento).
- You want more information on the best enterprise ecommerce platforms.
If you’re interested in Shopify Plus, you can set up a free consultation with a Shopify advisor. The advisor will tell you what Shopify Plus can do for your business and whether it’s right for you.
Click on the following links to read the specific sections:
- Shopify Plus: Pros & Cons
- Examples of Shopify Plus Stores
- How much does Shopify Plus cost?
- Shopify Plus Customer Support
- Shopify Plus or Advanced Shopify?
- Shopify Plus Key Tech Features
- Is Shopify Plus Easy To Use?
- Shopify Plus Customization
- Shopify Plus Apps
- Shopify Plus v Magento
- Conclusion: Is Shopify Plus Right For You?
Shopify Plus: Pros & Cons
To start, here’s a brief run through of the key pros and cons of Shopify Plus. We’ll go into more detail on each throughout the review. These aren’t all the features (there are FAR too many to cover in one review), so for a full list visit the Shopify Plus site.
|Pros About Shopify Plus|
Shopify Plus provides unlimited bandwidth, near 100% uptime and unlimited sales capacity. Your site can scale without you worrying about technical capability.
|#2||Unrivalled Customer Support|
Shopify Plus’s support is the best on the market. Your store will get access to a Launch Manager (to help you sign up with Shopify Plus) and a Merchant Success Manager (to help your store grow). It’s like hiring full-time staff members to help with every corner of your business.
|#3||In-depth Analytics Reporting|
With Shopify Plus, you’ll get access to reports and analytics unavailable on simpler plans. The more you learn about your customers, the better you can make your store. The better your store, the more sales you make. We’ve got more on Shopify’s analytics here.
Shopify Plus comes with Level 1 PCI DSS compliance as standard. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It’s a critical level of security you need if you want to sell to customers using credit or debit cards. Knowing it’s taken care of is a massive weight off your mind. You know your customers’ private data is protected and your store is safe from cybercrime and fraud. You also don’t have to buy an SSL certificate (unlike Volusion merchants), so it saves you money too.
|Cons About Shopify Plus|
|#1||Backend Customization Limitations|
You’re reliant on apps to extend the core functionality of your site. Although this is unlikely to be a limitation for most ecommerce stores. Only those that sell personalized products, or need complex tracking.
|#2||Product Variant Limit|
No Shopify Plan, including Shopify Plus, allows you to have more than 100 product variants. A variant is a different combination of a product. For example, you might sell ties that come in green and blue. This would be one product, but two variants.
Again, this won’t be a problem for most Shopify merchants, who sell a limited number of products. But it can present a challenge if you’re a store owner selling a product that naturally sells in many different versions, such as wallpaper. (BigCommerce do offer a much higher product variant limit of 600).
|#3||Wholesale Limitations |
To sell business-to-business on Shopify Plus, you will need to integrate third party apps. Some stores could see this as a block.
Shopify is making great strides in this area though (more on this later).
Examples Of Stores That Use Shopify Plus
Here’s a question for you: what do the following brands all have in common?
- The Economist
- Penguin Books
- Tesla Motors
- New York Stock Exchange
It’s not that they’re all famous, successful organizations.
They are all examples of stores that use Shopify Plus.
These successful brands show the Shopify Plus plan is tailor-made for big businesses. They may be the banner companies, but over 2,500 high-growth merchants use Shopify Plus. Sales revenue per merchant ranges from $1m to over $500m, with average growth of 126%.
These are impressive numbers from Shopify. They explain why many large ecommerce retailers have chosen Shopify Plus as their enterprise solution. In some cases over more established providers like Magento enterprise solutions.
How Much Does Shopify Plus Cost?
You’re probably thinking, how much does Shopify Plus cost? There is no price plan for Shopify Plus. Well, no publicly available one at least. This is because Shopify Plus prices are tailored specifically to your business and your situation.
However, we asked Shopify Plus and they said prices start from $1,500 to $2,000 a month.
This may sound like a lot, but Shopify Plus is for BIG online businesses with big revenues.
The Plus plan is Shopify’s solution for ecommerce businesses turning over 6 or 7 figures in revenue. It’s targeted at:
- High-growth ecommerce stores (Shopify advises companies generating over $500,000 to sign up).
- Stores generating a high volume of sales – around 1500+ orders a minute.
- Fast-growing businesses – companies who plan to have a high number of customers and orders in the next year. Sales revenue per merchant for Shopify Plus is $1m – $500m+ and includes Fortune 500 brands.
If your store fits any of these descriptions, you will want to consider Shopify Plus.
The thing to remember about Shopify Plus’s pricing is that it scales upwards in line with your revenues.
So the more you make, the more Shopify charges you.
Is Shopify Plus fairly priced?
Shopify Plus’s pricing is fair for several reasons:
- The more money your Shopify store is making, the more able you are to pay.
- Bigger revenues mean Shopify is helping you turn your store into a success story.
- The bigger your store gets, the more work Shopify has to do. This is because the more activity on your site, the more tech resource it takes to maintain.
Judge Shopify Plus’s pricing by asking, can the extra features help me grow my online business?
If you own or help run an online store, the answer is yes. A premium ecommerce platform like Shopify Plus could be the best way to grow your business.
Shopify Plus reviews report different transaction fees. Some say Shopify Plus transaction fees drop to 0.15%. Others claim Shopify Plus doesn’t charge transaction fees at all.
When we asked Shopify, they admitted transaction fees were negotiable. They did say that “for estimation purposes, 0.15% is fairly accurate”.
If you’re an ecommerce store with a high volume of orders, lower transaction fees make a big difference to your profits. Low fees gives you more cash to invest back into your business.
Shopify Plus does charge a high monthly subscription fee, but also lets you negotiate lower transaction fees. This could make commercial sense to upgrade or migrate if you hit a certain sales threshold.
With Shopify Plus, the price you pay is a set monthly amount. This means it’s:
- Transparent – You won’t get stung by bills for technical maintenance.
- Predictable – Budgeting is easier because you know what you’re going to be paying.
Shopify also guarantees no lost sales on a commercial day.
So is Shopify Plus expensive?
Pricing on the Shopify Plus is variable and negotiable. Your specific Shopify Plus rate will depend on factors including:
- Whether you want to sell in several currencies and languages. If you do, you’ll need to open at least two Shopify stores. This can get expensive on lower Shopifthesey plans.
- The number of sales you generate.
- The payment gateway you choose to use. A payment gateway is a tool that lets you accept card payments from customers. A well-known example is PayPal, but Shopify have their own payment gateway powered by Stripe, a multinational payment company.
To get an accurate quote for Shopify Plus, you will need to speak to Shopify. Arrange a call with a Shopify manager to get an accurate price for your business.
Shopify Plus Customer Support
Included in Shopify Plus’s price is premium level support. We think it’s the best support available on the market.
The more support you get, the more chance your business continues to grow. Once you’re subscribed to a Shopify Plus plan, you’ll get one-on-one support from:
- Merchant Success Manager – helps you grow your store by recommending apps and features to integrate.
- Launch Manager – makes sure your launch with Shopify Plus is a success. This is especially useful if you’re moving from another platform, such as Magento.
This is not a conventional level of support: it’s miles away from a typical call centre. In our opinion, it’s better than the support provided by any other ecommerce platform.
What can these support managers do for your business?
These support managers are like employing new business strategists to your company. But strategists who don’t cost a penny (outside your monthly fee). Merchant Success Managers help your Shopify-powered business make more sales by:
- Supplying industry news and trends – helps you capitalize on the latest news to grow your store’s revenues.
- Providing monthly updates on new apps and features – saves you money by advising on what apps to buy (and what apps to avoid).
- Installing custom integrations with new sales channels like Facebook – helps you grow your store by expanding to new channels (and so reaching new customers).
- Helping you set up regional stores – saves you time and effort by helping with your store’s expansion. You can focus on marketing your store.
Providing dedicated launch managers means Shopify has been able to get merchants up and running in 3-6 months. The industry standard is 8-12 months!
You can talk to a Shopify Plus Launch Manager to get more information. Arrange a free consultation by hitting the button below:
You will also have access to Shopify’s 24/7 priority support network and Shopify partners.
Shopify claims their Shopify Plus Partners scheme is ecommerce’s largest network of advisors. It’s a network of agencies that specialize in all aspects of managing an ecommerce store. They can help with anything from design and marketing to tech support.
Shopify Plus or Advanced Shopify?
Signing up to ‘Shopify Plus’ is a commitment. You may think, am I ready? What are the alternatives?
Shopify Plus’s main rivals are actually simpler Shopify plans like ‘Shopify Advanced’.
Your Shopify store may be growing quickly and need a better plan, but as we’ve said, unless you’re generating significant revenues (or expect to soon), you might be better off on ‘Shopify Advanced’.
We recommend signing up to a free trial of Shopify Advanced. You can test the features and functionality to learn whether it’s the right plan for your store.
The Advanced Plan is suitable for medium-sized businesses in the growth stage. You get features not available on the lower plans. For example, Carrier Calculated Shipping. This allows you to add calculated shipping during the shipping process. Your store will display rates suitable for your order’s weight and dimensions.
If you’re on ‘Shopify Advanced’ and your store has outgrown it, or aren’t sure if you’re ready to upgrade to ‘Shopify Plus’, we recommend you speak to a Shopify advisor.
Shopify Plus Key Tech Features
As well as premium support, the core benefit of Shopify Plus is that it provides technical peace of mind.
Shopify Plus powers some of the world’s biggest stores, so you know your site is in safe hands.
As you’ll be aware if you run a successful ecommerce store, the more it grows, the more work it takes to operate.
The more orders and traffic you get, the more pressure it places on your technical resource. The more pressure on your tech, the more time you spend managing servers, worrying about your site crashing and checking security.
If your store outgrows its technical infrastructure, it affects your ability to run your business. It takes up time you could spend on marketing and developing your core business.
Shopify Plus is a premium ecommerce ‘concierge’ service. You can lean on Shopify to help take care of all the technical work. This frees up your time to focus on marketing your business: getting visitors to the store and converting them into customers.
If technical maintenance is taking up too much time and money, it may be time to upgrade or migrate to Shopify Plus.
Here are four key tech features of Shopify Plus and how they benefit your store:
1. Unlimited Bandwidth
Shopify Plus is an ‘all-you-can eat buffet’ when it comes to bandwidth.
Your store can handle unlimited transactions and 6,000 checkouts per minute. This is better than rivals such as BigCommerce Enterprise.
Shopify is capable of handling the online orders for Fortune 500 companies. So you can be confident that customers will enjoy a fast and seamless experience shopping on your store.
Forget sweating over whether your store can handle a surge in traffic. Shopify Plus’s servers are lightning fast and as reliable as they come.
Shopify Plus takes care of tech updates and bug fixes for you. This will save you money and provide financial peace of mind (you know you won’t get a shock bill for site maintenance).
By delegating the technical running of your site to Shopify, you will save on IT support and manpower.
All this means you can scale your store very effectively.
You’re free to focus on expanding your store with marketing and business strategies. Plus, as you grow you can rest easy that Shopify can handle any extra technical strain.
Think of it as planning for the future. You know that as your store grows you won’t have to waste time moving software again.
3. Near 100% Uptime
Shopify Plus guarantees merchants 99.97% uptime.
This means your store will almost always be in action – able to receive traffic and generate sales. You don’t need to worry about your site being down. If your site is experiencing downtime, you may have outgrown your current hosting arrangement.
Think of your store like a family. If you have more children, you need to move to a bigger house. You’ll also need more beds, heaters, plates and glasses – everything! In the same way, if your store grows (more customers, more revenue), you’ll need more features and functionality.
If you’re on a self-hosted platform like Magento or WooCommerce, you do need to worry about tech. Guaranteeing uptime and server maintenance are your responsibility.
The bigger your ecommerce store, the more important this is. Say you’re processing thousands of orders an hour – 10 minutes of downtime will have a HUGE impact on your profit margins.
With Shopify Plus, you can be confident you won’t lose revenue from technical issues. This is especially important when you run paid marketing campaigns because if you plan to spend money driving traffic to your store, you need to be sure it can handle a surge in orders / visitors.
An important bonus is time.
The less time you spend worrying about whether your site can handle a surge in traffic, the more resource you can devote to product development, marketing and strategy. These are the things that will make a real difference to your business. Resource could be more time, money or staff members.
Or you might have more time to spend with friends and family!
4. Fully Hosted
Merchants on Shopify Plus don’t have to worry about hosting their store. Shopify Plus is a hosted ecommerce SAAS solution. SAAS means ‘software as a service’. To store owners like you, this means Shopify provides the software you need to run your online store – and maintains it!
This has important security implications.
Shopify Plus hosts your store on servers that are Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is something you need to store data – your customers’ email addresses, for example – legally. Shopify’s guarantee means your customers’ data has the same protection as a bank.
A major headache of running an ecommerce store is making sure you’re PCI compliant. If you’re not, it’s very difficult to accept credit and debit card payments on your site. Shopify will also take care of all security updates. PCI DSS / SSL certificates protect sensitive customer data.
You don’t want hackers getting your customers credit card numbers! Being secure gives your site credibility. Customers will feel safe using your store and purchase more of your products. A win-win situation!
Shopify manages the servers with their partners Fastly. Fastly provide cloud software and count Ticketmaster as a client. Such high-profile ecommerce clients is a good indicator of their quality.
Is Shopify Plus easy to use?
You might assume all these technical features make Shopify Plus complicated to operate.
In fact, Shopify Plus uses exactly the same admin tool and interface as other Shopify plans. It’s smooth and simple to use, and the dashboard is very easy to understand.
Shopify Plus does come with far more bells and whistles than less advanced plans. So making full use of Shopify Plus will take a little more legwork.
But any extra workload is easy to split. You can add unlimited staff accounts on Shopify Plus, so you can train employees in different aspects of your store.
The Advanced Plan only allows 15 accounts, and the Shopify plan 5. This is where Shopify’s intuitive design comes into its own. The easier it is to on-board and train staff, the less time you waste.
Many hands make light work.
Shopify Plus APIs And Customization
Despite being simple to use, Shopify Plus offers fantastic scope to customize your store with real-time integration.
That’s because Shopify Plus comes with a higher API limit.
API may sound like a fancy type of beer, but it stands for Application Programming Interface. To techies, it’s a set of features and functions. But to you it means you can automate aspects of your website and build in greater functionality (without needing to code yourself).
Think of it like managing your central heating through a timer. You can set it to come on when you want, without having to manually turn it on/off yourself every few hours.
Multiple apps can work side-by-side on your store without you breaking an API limit.
You can connect your business directly with major third-party platforms. This gives you great scope to make the changes you want.
Two important integrations supported by Shopify Plus are:
- Third-party logistics – to help manage the relationship with your distributor.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – to join up all the different threads of your business. This includes your email system, manufacturing plant, distribution and finance. ERP makes sure they’re all working in harmony.
Here are two key customization abilities you get with Shopify Plus APIs:
Customize Your Domain Checkout With Shopify Plus
The most important customization feature available to Shopify Plus merchants concerns the checkout.
Shopify Plus allows you to add coding languages to the checkout page. This is a massive benefit. You can add your branding to the final page in the sales funnel. Customers won’t ever leave your branding. This will build your brand’s credibility and lead to more sales.
With Shopify Plus, the customer doesn’t leave your domain, either. Your customer will remain on your custom URL (for example, fredstrainers.com) when paying, instead of checkout.shopify.com.
This is not the case on simpler Shopify plans, or some other platforms. Checkout pages redirect customers to Shopify’s servers to follow PCI.
Customized Discounts And Sales
With Shopify Plus, you get greater freedom to customize your discounts and sales.
Through Shopify Discount API, you can offer customers who hit a set shopping balance ($100, for example) a special percentage off. You can build in tiered pricing or add buy-one-get free and bundle offers.
Customers can pay using a gift card because of Shopify Gift Card API. These two APIs are exclusive to Shopify Plus merchants.
This is an easy way of making your store’s sales stand out from the crowd.
Shopify Plus Apps
Shopify Plus gives you access to over 1500 professionally built apps. This means you have amazing scope to customize your store.
The apps available to you on Shopify Plus are easy to use, even at such a high level. You don’t need to involve coding or development resource to get started with apps. There are apps for streamlining anything from your company’s accounting to shipping.
If you subscribe to Shopify Plus, you can use Shopify Plus’s partners directory to find an agency that can build you a custom app.
We won’t go into all the apps available to Shopify Plus merchants (that would take pages and pages). Here are two we think are particularly effective:
- Avalara Avatax – this app is actually pre-built into Shopify Plus. All you need to do is turn it on. It automatically sorts out your tax to make sure you’re compliant. It even sorts this out by US state and in over 200 countries, so you don’t need to research your product or service liability across every state. Avalara costs $240 to buy from the Shopify store, so it’s a great perk to have thrown in.
- Amazon integration – rather than take Shopify on, the world’s biggest shopping site decided to integrate with Shopify Plus. If that’s not a sign of Shopify Plus’s calibre, I don’t know what is. You can now use app integration to sell on Amazon with Shopify. Your products will sync to Amazon from Shopify.
Shopify Plus v Magento
Magento is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms for enterprise-level businesses.
They’re Shopify’s nearest competitor. It’s thought 10 brands using Magento generate over $1bn in online revenue.
There aren’t many ecommerce solutions that can cater to large clients. Shopify v Magento is a common question for business owners.
It can be hard to pick a winner. Which one is right for you will depend on your business.
Both, for example, offer shipping integrations with an impressive number of distributors.
Like Shopify, Magento:
- Have some big companies on board. Burger King and Kurt Geiger both use Magento’s services.
- Gives you great flexibility to custom-build your ecommerce store.
In our experience, though, Magento is not as user-friendly as Shopify.
- Unlike Shopify, which includes hosting, Magento is self-hosted. This means you will have to dedicate more of your time managing the technical running of your store. Maintaining servers and ensuring security compliance is your responsibility.
- Shopify provides PCI security compliance through their servers. But a merchant on Magento will have to make sure they are meeting regulations themselves.
- Shopify gears itself for marketers and makes it very easy for you to focus on promoting your store. You can make changes and run campaigns that would require a developer or coder in Magento.
If you’re selling to other businesses, Magento Enterprise is an attractive option. It offers complicated payment arrangements, quick bulk orders and negotiated pricing.
Shopify has stepped up their B2B game, though. Shopify Plus merchants can create a password-protected storefront using Wholesale ecommerce channel functionality. Certain clients will be able to access a different version of your Shopify store than others. To sell to businesses through Shopify Plus, you’ll likely have to use an app in Shopify’s marketplace.
Global B2B ecommerce sales generate $5 trillion more in revenue than B2C. Wholesale functionality is more and more important to store owners.
The key points in the Shopify vs Magento debate are:
- Magento has a more customizable back-end
- Shopify has lower set-up costs and ongoing maintenance costs
- It’s easier to build multi-language / currency stores with Magento
- Shopify takes care of ALL server maintenance and PCI compliance, as it’s a fully hosted service.
Migrating from Magento to Shopify
Shopify has made it very easy to move from Magento to Shopify. They lay on a dedicated launch engineer to walk you through the process.
With Shopify’s Migration App, developed by Cart2Cart, you can import:
- Products – including price, name, weight, image.
- Customers’ details – email, billing and shipping address, newsletter preferences.
- Orders – status, customer details, discounts, price.
- Coupons – gift card, name, coupon code.
- Reviews – date made, user name, rating.
Google Trends shows interest in Shopify is on the rise when compared to rivals like Magento and BigCommerce. We put this down to inactivity from some of the industry’s biggest players. Shopify has taken advantage by improving their product with new apps and functionality.
For example, in April Shopify brought out a new Mobile Store Builder service. This helps enterprise customers create native iOS and Android apps without any technical know-how and at no added cost.
Business Corner: Planning to migrate to Shopify from Magento or a different provider? Use the Traffic Control app to make sure you don’t lose the organic traffic built up on the previous platform. The app will redirect visitors to your old site to your new Shopify store. The migration won’t affect your rankings. Losing organic rankings for key product terms would be throwing money down the drain.
Conclusion: Is Shopify Plus Right For Your Business?
If you’re considering Shopify Plus for your ecommerce store, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you spend valuable time on tech that could be spent marketing your store?
- Are you generating sales of close to or over $500,000 a year?
- Do you want a personalized checkout page for your store?
- Are you planning on expanding your store into different countries, currencies and languages?
- Do you expect your sales volume to increase dramatically in the next year?
- Would you benefit from a dedicated account manager?
- Do you feel limited on your current plan?
- Are you at a size where your traffic and sales volume puts pressure on your tech?
If the answer is yes to one or more of these, then Shopify Plus is worth considering. It’s free to speak to a Shopify advisor and find out.
Shopify Plus handles many of the labour-intensive elements of running a large site.
It’s a great opportunity to reduce (and clarify) technical overheads.
By outsourcing your site’s maintenance to Shopify, you can lock in your technical costs. Security patches, upgrades, bug fixes and hosting fees are all covered in your monthly fee.
This will save you time.
You won’t be managing downtime, traffic peaks or relationships with a hosting company.
Shopify Plus is a good option if you’re looking to scale your ecommerce store. Your subscription fee will only increase as your store grows. Access to one-on-one support from Shopify agents can take your store to the next level.