Shopify is a great platform for starting and running an online boutique. They have different plans with features necessary for your online business.
If you are serious about your store and did your research, you would know that Shopify is one of the best eCommerce platforms. However, Shopify plans comes with different functionality and pricing, i.e. Shopify basic, Shopify Plus and more.
This post will help you find the difference between the two packages and help you choose the right plan for quickly scaling your online boutique.
Shopify standard offers varying features, support and analytics, report creation tools. On the contrary, Shopify Plus is an enterprise level pack for merchants competing with bigger brands, or startup looking to scale their business quickly using aggressive marketing strategies.
Shopify Plus vs Shopify: Comparision table
Shopify offer different plans from basic to advanced for starting an online boutique
Shopify Plus is a more sophisticated plan for competition with bigger brands.
Shopify is best for small business, startups and freelancers.
Shopify Plus is designed for small/medium sized businesses and large enterprises.
You will get professional analytics reports and SEO/marketing ease.
You will get excessive marketing tools, thousands of useful built-in apps and exclusive API’s
Shopify is a blogging platform and makes it easier for you to publish content rich pages
Shopify Plus is not specifically designed for content rich pages.
You can setup 15 staff accounts and get free SSL certification.
Plus plan gives unlimited staff accounts and custom chekout SSL certificates
Shopify help you setup a store with multiple currency
Shopify plus offers 10 clone stores for multi-currency audience
Shopify has all the advanced features.
Shopify plus has faster servers and smoother checkouts
Shopify has 24/7 support system, but no store growth managers
Shopify Plus gives you dedicated launch manager and merchant success manager, in addition to 24/7 technical support.
It is used by new brands.
It is used by Tesla, Nestle and other big brands
What if you choose Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is going to cost you much more than a basic plan, so the first thing to know is that if it’s worth the investment. Here are some of the most important benefits you would get with Shopify Plus plan.
Exposure to International e-commerce market
Unlike Shopify’s other plans, Shopify Plus helps the user target a much larger audience by creating multiple versions of the same store. You can perform store cloning and re-create 8+ web stores for targeting international audience from UK, AU and many other countries. Every version will have a different language and currency.
This multilingual option in a single store saves you from the real pain of translating the front end or displaying different local currency stores. You can also save the web developer’s cost and additional theme charges by simply using a Plus merchant plan.
Easy to handle online store with wholesale channel and PCI DSSS compliancy
Shopify Plus is easier to handle as compared to standard shopify plans. Plus merchant plan is used by some of the most popular brands like Tesla, Nestle, etc, and thus the Shopify team makes sure that the usability experience is swift and smooth. Additionally, you can easily handle peak orders on your online boutique (Shopify Plus can efficiently manage over 10,000 orders a minute).
To make the checkout process simpler, Shopify Plus has a Wholesale channel. When companies start to grow they acquire different buyers, i.e. wholesale and customer base. This might sometime creates complexities during store management. To save you from this, plus merchant plan offers a separate channel for B2B (business to business) wholesale chain and B2C (business to consumer) customer chain. This means you can offer a password-protected or separate store to your wholesale customers, with unique pricing, bulk discount offers and a differently structured invoice.
Wholesale chain flexibility is further accompanied by PCI DSSS compliancy and sale tax management integration- Avalara. Payment card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSSS) is a security-standard for organizations handling card details. Shopify Plus is highly compliant to these information security standards, this helps in setting up a more trustworthy brand in front of the audience.
Powerful APIs for faster scalability
Shopify enterprise level plan offers standardized APIs for improving the integration and reporting process. You can easily integrate third party appls like Netsuite, Micrsoft Navision and many more. Shopify Plus offers a boosted performance via unlimited API calls (note that this feature is limited in a standard Shopify plan). Additionally, you can also create custom analytics report and share it with your staff. Shopify Plus can be easily integrated with a social media platform or even the Amazon store.
Lower transaction fees and faster checkout
Shopify Plus is really a plus when it comes to transaction fees. While the fee varies based on the volume of your sales and your business needs; it will always be lower than 0.2%. In some cases it can be as low as 0% depending upon your store revenue. However, you also need to consider the store needs, i.e. designing work, growth and more. You can budget for a fixed cost for such charges.
On the contrary, Other Shopify plans will charge from 0.5 to 2 percent transaction fee. This means you can have a great deal with the Plus merchant plan, especially if you have a huge transaction volume.
Excessive customization options
I have already mentioned the ease of usage provided by Shopify Plus, but customization and simplicity is the feature Plus Shopify is really known for. Subscribers can easily manage their products without any coding knowledge. Shopify team takes care of all the backend coding. Shopify Plus offers SDK’s (software development kits) for building custom solutions for your plus store like customized reports and mobile apps.
What if you choose Shopify Standard?
Above were the perks you will get for choosing a Shopify Plus plan. However, the enterprise level plan won’t be the best choice if you are just starting an online store. Here are some of the things that might make Shopify a better choice than Shopify Plus.
Standard Shopify store could be launched in a lesser budget
Shopify basic will cost you around $30 to get started, of course, if you don’t know coding , get ready to spend thousands of dollars every month. That said, for beginners who just want to setup a store with a few products; Shopify basic is the best plan.
Good customization and checkout options.
You might not get excessive design and customization options as provided by Shopify Plus, but you can definitely buy a premium theme for your store. A basic Shopify plan also do have most of the payment gateways and checkout options (though, not as many as Shopify plus). Most common gateways like PayPal, Skrill and more, are available in standard plans.
Shopify plus isn’t specifically designed for blog pages
It’s not a big deal, but I want to get you aware of every small thing about plus plan. Shopify-Plus is designed to create a scalable ecommerce store and not for making a content rich website. There are only few blogging tools and the backend isn’t customizable. So, If content is your main concern, Shopify standard would be a better option. Alternatively, you can setup sub-domain pages for blog, instead of sub-folders/pages on your website.
Shopify and Shopify Plus: Dynamic Functionality comparison
Now that you know most of the features you will get with Shopify plus, it’s time to dig a little deeper and know the overall difference between Shopify’s plus and standard plans based on design, support, security and more.
First thing buyer notice after landing on an online store is your product, but the second thing he notices is the design and layout. Standard Shopify has a lot of beautiful, niche-specific themes for your webstore. It is, however, important to know that almost every good theme has hundred of users. This means you won’t be able to create a store that stands out, unless you get your store customized by web developers, but again that would cost you thousand of bucks.
That said, if you are just starting up, a basic theme (or even a free theme) should do. But if you have a good audience base and a lot of conversions, you can definitely go for a Plus plan, as the theme needs to look more unique.
Shopify plus team will provide you with customizable front end. You can also select a separate budget for design changes on monthly basis. You can work on the design and give your ecommerce audience an ultimate buying experience. To know this more clearly take a look at this Plus store-
The store is fast and the checkout process is really simple. The animations and illustrations are there, but the checkout speed isn’t compromised. Proper white space, brand reputation and well-designed layout make this store a trustworthy place for online shopping. This is catered with Shopify plus. On the contrary, a standard shopify plan can only be used with a specific premium theme and there isn’t much customization, until you hire a web development company.
Performance and speed - API AND BANDWIDTH
Shopify plus surely improves the store performance by providing increased API access and unlimited bandwidth for managing traffic influx, i.e. higher volume. These features definitely help the user with smoother checkout but, is it fast?
Speed of a website is decided by many factors, but most important of all the factors is that how fast is a hosting server? Shopify plus is said to have fast hosting servers with 99.97% uptime speed, which is huge. To get more sturdy insight around this, I choose two stores- One with a standard shopify plan and other with a plus merchant plan. Now, of course, the two stores can’t be similar, and would have different speed based on illustrations, design, products layout and backend coding. So, I made sure that Shopify plus store has more products and a lot of CSS scripts (this is to find out how better the prior is from latter). Below is the tool I used for my test-
I cannot disclose the sites because of the signed disclosure the site details. But I found out that the Shopify plus store (even after excessive animations and design lags) was 10-20% faster than a basic shopify store (with lesser CSS scripts).
And I feel it safe to say that Shopify Plus is a more powerful platform than Shopify basic or any other standard plan.
With Shopify Plus being closed source software (unlike WordPress or other platforms) the backend coding won’t be accessible by everyone. There are so many big brands like Tesla and Nestle, using Shopify plus plan which makes it clear that the store is fully-secure.
Shopify Plus is compliant to PCI dsss level 1 standards; this rule makes your store safe for online buyers by ensuring the card details protection. Merchants on Shopify are required to confirm a set of standard for security audits and server vulnerability checks. Shopify Plus is a safe and secure platform that you can go for without being skeptical.
Shopify Plus support system is a real game changer. You can expect the ultimate ecommerce administration experience with plus staff. Plus merchant plan provided dedicated account managers for your web store. This includes launch manager, merchant success managers, and 24/7 priority support providers. Support managers provide the best strategy resources and go out of their way to help you out. Launch manager helps with technical problems, development, migration and related issues. Merchant success manager helps with profit increment, strategy sharing and ensuring that you go in the right direction. Additionally, you can make a phone call, perform live chat or drop an email to the support staff, and expect a fast-track response.
On the other hand, Shopify basic (or other standard plans) offers online support via phone, email or live chat.
Shopify Plus vs Shopify: Pricing
Shopify and Shopify plus have a huge pricing difference, this is mainly because of excessive (and important) scalability features you get with a plus plan.
Shopify has three plans for beginners looking to open a store. Shopify basic, Shopify and Shopify advanced. Shopify basic has a lot of options missing as compared to the other two packages. If you choose basic you have to miss out on Gift cards, professional reports, third party calculated shipment rates and advanced cart recovery. A store can be setup for as low as $30 by using shopify basic. You can also get a free 14 days trial for your shopify store.
With that being said, you need to apply for a quote in case of shopify plus. Shopify enterprise level plan will start from $2000 and will increase based on your design and related store needs. This cost will includes hosting fees, domain charge and web development cost. If you choose a standard shopify plan and hire an external developer, you will spend similar amount anyway (Of course, not if you have a few products or not doing a lot of important design changes).
While transaction fee will change from 2% to 0.2% from basic to plus plan, credit card charges will be same for all the plans. Plus shopify will cover the cost for all the scalability tools, priority support team and unlimited usage options.
Over to you
That was my take on Shopify plus and shopify standard plans. Feel free to drop me an email if you are confused about your options. Here is the bottom line for the two plans.
Choose Shopify if- You are a beginner with no experience, or if you have very few products for your store. You can use marketing strategies and work on building your brand. Shopify basic also gives a free 14 days trial so you can test if your strategies could work, and see how well the audience responds to your products.
Choose Shopify plus plan if- You have a good experience in running an online store, or if your store is already generating good revenue. Jumping from basic to plus plan will definitely boost your sales and brand reputation (which is the ultimate long term goal).
Thanks for reading. Share your thoughts via a comment below.