Shopify vs Shopify Plus | 5 Key Differences You Need To Know

Last updated on December 4, 2018

Shopify is the best all-around ecommerce website builder on the market today. It’s helped thousands of merchants build their own online stores and generated them a combined total of $55 billion in sales.

Shopify is built for small to medium sized businesses though, right? It can’t help ecommerce giants sell online…

Wrong! Shopify’s newer platform, Shopify Plus, is designed for enterprise-level businesses. But how can you tell which Shopify platform is right for you? And what does Shopify Plus do differently?

Shopify vs Shopify Plus

That’s where we come in. Here at Website Builder Expert, we’re committed to helping you find the best platform for your needs. We’ve researched hundreds of products and tested them thoroughly. We’re now in a great position to tell you the key differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus, and which one’s right for you.

Read on as we discuss how both platforms work, the pros and cons of each, and the five big areas that’ll help you make your decision.  

Best all-around ecommerce platform
Top Choice

4.7 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

5 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help And Support

4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

1

Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Pros and Cons

Shopify Pros
#1 Sell across multiple channels like Facebook, Instagram and Amazon
#2 Brilliant inventory system
#3 Better ecommerce features than any other website builder  
Shopify Cons
#1 Lack of specialist integrations
#2 Transaction fees enforced if you don’t use Shopify Payments
#3 Can’t switch themes without having to reformat your content
Shopify Plus Pros
#1 Unlimited staff accounts
#2 Can handle over 10,000 transactions per minute
#3 Personalized, dedicated help and support
Shopify Plus Cons
#1 No set price with monthly costs done by quote
#2 Only sustainable if you’re an enterprise-level business
#3 Must have time to invest in your ecommerce website
2

How Do Shopify and Shopify Plus Work?

Let’s start by clearing up any confusion: Shopify and Shopify Plus work in the same way.

You’ll use the same dashboard, same editor, and same help center for information. People fuss over Shopify Plus, but it’s not because of how it works, it’s because of what it can do.

shopify dashboard
Shopify’s dashboard acts as your central hub where you can control your online store.

While Shopify gives you everything you need to create and customize your online store, Shopify Plus goes a step further. Allow us to explain:

When it comes to shipping, for example, with Shopify you can get free shipping, flat rates, or live calculated rates. With Shopify Plus you can access a shipping script to configure more precise rates. This means you can change your shipping options based on customer tags, the contents of a cart, or even minimum order value.    

In short, Shopify Plus gives you greater control, both in setup and customization.

Who Uses Shopify and Shopify Plus?

Shopify is generally used by everyday ecommerce businesses. Its plans – which range from $29/month to $299/month – are accessible to most companies. Shopify Plus is for flagship retailers and is used by the likes of Red Bull, Budweiser and Kylie Jenner.

Further Information:

Main Shopify Review – for a deeper look into Shopify

Ecommerce Comparison Chart – see our detailed comparison of the top five online store builders

3

Design Flexibility

Shopify and Shopify Plus offer over 60 themes to work from when it comes to creating your ecommerce store. There are 10 free themes and 59 paid ones, which cost between $140 and $180.

This may sound like a lot, but it’s a one off investment on your website’s appearance. You wouldn’t think twice about spending that on your brick-and-mortar storefront, right?

shopify themes
Shopify’s theme store lets you browse, preview, and even sort by category.

Basic customization is done through Shopify’s editor. Once you’ve added your products, you can decide where you’d like them to be displayed and divide them into category pages.

For a deeper level of control, you’ll need to know a bit of coding. This is where Shopify’s theme language, Liquid, comes into play. Liquid is where you can write lines of code that alter your theme’s appearance. If you can’t code, don’t panic, there’s plenty of guides around to help you out.

shopify liquid code
Liquid is Shopify’s own theme language that gives you more in-depth customization.

As we’ve discussed, Shopify Plus is for enterprise-level businesses. If you’re at that level, chances are you already have a website.

Shopify Plus provides you with your own dedicated launch manager. It’s their job to make sure your website can be fully integrated into Shopify. They’ll help you write lines of code, and get you up and running on a Shopify custom theme.

Another difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus is your ability to edit the checkout page. Shopify currently doesn’t allow you to customize your checkout whereas Shopify Plus gives you this option. See here for more information on exactly what you can edit.

Further Information:

How To Build An Online Store – looking for a place to start? Check out our guide

7 Best Ecommerce Platforms – find out the top 7 platforms here

4

Ecommerce Features

Ecommerce features are what really separate Shopify and Shopify Plus. Below we’ll discuss two important features available to both platforms and then run through two that are exclusive to Shopify Plus.

Shopify Sales Features (available on Shopify and Shopify Plus)

  1. Multi-Channel Integration

It sounds complicated but all this really means is being able to sell in lots of different places. Shopify lets you sell your products directly on marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, and social media, like Facebook and Instagram.

If a customer doesn’t have to leave the platform they’re on to purchase something, they’re far more likely to buy. Not only is this feature great for diversifying your revenue streams, it also gives you a customer base that may never even visited your website – genius.

Further Information:

How To Sell On Facebook – learn how to setup and start selling through Facebook

How To Make Money On Instagram – become a social commerce king with our guide

    2. Abandoned Cart Recovery

Say a customer visits your online store, adds items to their cart but then leaves without checking out. Shopify will send them an automated email on your behalf as a follow up to see if they’re still interested in buying the products.

Studies show that abandoned cart emails could recover up to 25% of otherwise lost sales. That’s just too good to miss out on. And with Shopify, abandoned cart is available as an in-built feature.

Shopify Plus Sales Features (exclusive to Shopify Plus)

  1. Shopify Flow

First impressions matter. Shopify Flow lets you tailor that first impression individually to your customers. Once they’ve signed up to your site, you can track their purchases and alter your homepage to match the products they may be interested in.

Let’s use the example of a running store. If you have a customer who always purchases insoles, you may want them to see your latest offers on insoles as soon as they land on your site. Tailoring your storefront to individual customers is a sure-fire way to boost sales.    

    2. Script Editor

We mentioned the script editor earlier, but it has loads more uses. Along with giving you greater control over shipping, you can also create scripts for line items and payment methods. Being able to customize every aspect of your online store down to the tiniest detail gives you total control.

Think of it like a paint brushes. You can still paint a lovely portrait with just a few brushes, but having a whole range means you can be as detailed and precise as you like.

5

Analytics

Shopify comes with its own dedicated analytics dashboard. From here you can see an overview of your online store’s sales and custom reports. There’s even a live view, showing you minute-by-minute data.

This will give 99% of ecommerce businesses all the insight they need. However, surprise surprise, Shopify Plus goes one step further.

shopify plus analytics
Shopify’s analytics dashboard is the home of all data insights.

Shopify Plus partners with industry-leading analytics companies, like Glew and Looker, to bring you up-to-date, expert data and insight. This arms ecommerce giants with the detailed information they need to make big business calls in a split second.

6

Help and Support

No one likes getting stuck. If you do though, Shopify has your back with 24/7 support via phone email and live chat. You can also search through guides in its fantastic help center.

As you’ve probably guessed, Shopify Plus gives you access to all the same support… and then some.

shopify help center
Shopify’s help center is your first port of call for any issues you may be having.

What you get with Shopify Plus is dedicated, personal support. This is largely unnecessary for most businesses, but for massive corporations, it can be essential.

First you are assigned a launch manager who will help get you up-and-running. It’s their job to help with things like integrating your existing website into Shopify. From there, you’ll get an MSM (merchant success manager).

The clue’s in the name with this one. Their role is to help you be successful. Everything from guidance on how to use Shopify Plus, keeping you abreast of industry trends, and strategic coaching is provided.   

7

Pricing and Transaction Fees

Shopify comes with three core pricing plans: Basic Shopify ($29/month), Shopify ($79/month) and Advanced Shopify ($299/month).

All three plans give you important features like multi-channel integration and abandoned cart, but there are a few differences. If creating and selling gift cards is important to you, you’ll want to look at either the Shopify or Advanced Shopify plan.

Advanced Shopify also gives you more insight. You can get professional reports and third-party calculated shipping rates. If you’re looking to scale up fast, they’re definitely two key features that will help you.

shopify pricing plans

‘But hang on, is there not a way to try Shopify first? I don’t even know if I’ll like it yet!’

Of course, Shopify’s thought of that too. Shopify provides a 14-day free trial, meaning if you don’t like what you’ve seen over the two weeks, you simply don’t invest in a plan.

Shopify Plus pricing is a little less visible. In order to get a quote, you have to contact Shopify Plus directly. From here you can discuss your business model, monthly turnover and marketing needs to come to an agreement over a suitable price.

As heads up if your monthly sales are between $0 and $800,000, Shopify Plus plans tend to be around $2,000/month. Anything above that will vary, right up to Shopify Plus’ ceiling price of $40,000.   

Shopify and Shopify Plus transaction fees work in much the same way. With Shopify, they’re fixed fees per transaction. With Shopify Plus, they’re negotiable (as an estimate, you’ll be looking at around 1.6% + 30¢ per transaction).

shopify reviews pricing transaction fees
Shopify’s transaction fees change depending on what plan you sign up to.
Further Information:

Shopify Pricing Review – dig deeper into Shopify’s pricing plans

6 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms – See here if you need an ecommerce website on the cheap

8

Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Final Verdict

When it comes to Shopify vs Shopify Plus, you’re looking at two platforms singing off the same hymn sheet. It’s just with Shopify Plus, you’re surrounded by a choir and have your own vocal coach!

Shopify is for small to medium sized ecommerce businesses who need a powerful platform that can grow with them. Shopify Plus is for enterprise-level businesses who already need to sell thousands of products every single day.

To put that into context, Shopify currently powers over half a million ecommerce websites. Shopify Plus powers little over 2,500.

If you’re not part of the ecommerce elite, don’t worry. Shopify comes with all the necessary tools to help grow your business from a mid-level seller, to an online empire. Try Shopify free today who knows, it may just give your business wings.  

9

FAQs

What types of products can you sell on Shopify?

With both Shopify and Shopify Plus you can sell either physical or digital products, like software or music/video downloads. You can also set up dropshipping on either so there’s really no limit to the type of products you can sell.

Who are Shopify’s main competitors?

The likes of Wix and Weebly also let you sell online, but Shopify’s true competitor is BigCommerce. Both Shopify and BigCommerce are ecommerce website builders that are designed purely for selling online. To read out review on BigCommerce, click here.

Can you use external Shopify themes?

There are websites that sell ‘Shopify themes’ that you can’t get on the platform itself but our advice would be to stay away from them. Shopify won’t support you with any functional issues you may have so unless you’re an expert in coding, it’s best to stick with Shopify’s provided themes.

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.
Charlie Carmichael

About Charlie Carmichael

It's my job to research website builders and find out which one's really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I'm in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but have great success once there.

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Charlie Carmichael

About Charlie Carmichael

It's my job to research website builders and find out which one's really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I'm in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but have great success once there.

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