When you’re thinking of getting into eCommerce, or if it’s time to expand your online sales presence, you probably have realized that you have many choices of shopping cart platforms. Each of them has something to offer your eCommerce business, but at the same time, each seems a little … small. If that sounds like you, it may be time to take a long look at a different eCommerce solution: Shopify Plus.
In this article, we’ll help you dig into Shopify Plus, giving you the key information you need, including:
- How much does it cost?
- Is it right for your business?
- How does it work?
- How can you make the right decision on Shopify Plus?
If you’re part of a large and growing online business, looking for an eCommerce solution that can support your company’s robust growth and ever-increasing sales, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Shopify Plus.
What Is Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is a fully hosted, cloud-based eCommerce platform aimed at high-volume merchants who anticipate large amounts of both traffic and sales. It’s fast — delivering unlimited bandwidth that can handle up to 3 million visitors per second and 10,978 orders per minute, with 99.99% uptime. And it’s appropriate for merchants selling direct to consumers, with products shipped or picked up in-store, as well as for those selling to wholesale customers.
With Shopify Plus, you can sell in 175 countries using 20 languages. And it promises multichannel selling that brings your products to wherever your customers want to shop — including Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, GooglePlus, Instagram, and more. You can set up your site to accept payment from 100 different providers, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and Shopify Payments.
- Flow lets you automate tasks, by building a library of templates and workflows to manage customers’ experiences, inventory, merchandising, and more.
- Launchpad lets you pre-plan, schedule, coordinate, and execute eCommerce events.
Don’t worry that all those customization choices will slow you down, though. Shopify Plus prides itself on ease of use and fast development. Recently, new customer Lindt, the chocolate purveyor, decided to open its first-ever eCommerce store, due to customers’ changing habits in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lindt’s Shopify Plus store opened in just five days.
Shopify VS Shopify Plus
Shopify is known as an easy-to-use, relatively agile platform. So is Shopify Plus. So when it comes down to Shopify VS Shopify Plus, how do you know which is the right choice for you? The two services work in essentially the same way, using the same dashboard. But there are some big differences between them. Let’s take a look:
From startups to established sellers, Shopify provides solutions for all sizes of eCommerce businesses. Shopify Plus takes aim at the very highest level. It’s an enterprise-level platform that features scalability as a primary advantage. Shopify Plus promise unlimited extensibility, integrations, and customization through Shopify’s own apps as well as partner apps.
Shopify Plus also appeals to companies doing global business with the ability to create a total of 10 stores, allowing for true global reach. And where the range of Shopify plans allows anywhere from two staff members to 15, Shopify Plus allows unlimited staff permissions.
With Shopify, you can choose from a range of popular plans priced from $29 to $299 per month. There’s also a Lite plan, priced at $9 per month which doesn’t include a web store but gives you basic options for online sales. Those plans all include transaction fees on top of the subscription price, ranging from 2% of each sale, on the Basic plan, to 0.5% of each sale on the Advanced plan. That’s in addition to fees charged by your Gateway processor. You can avoid the transaction fees by using Shopify Payments. Some users have reported difficulty in being approved for Shopify Payments participation. When you use Shopify Payments, you won’t be charged a straight transaction fee, though you’ll still be charged credit card processing fees ranging from 2.9% plus $0.30 to 2.4% plus $0.30 per transaction, depending on your plan level.
When you upgrade to Shopify Plus, it’s no surprise that your monthly fees rise accordingly. The Shopify Plus plan starts at $2,000 per month for standard setups and integrations. For those with complex needs and a high volume of business, the monthly fee will vary depending on your requirements and what level of support you need to get up and running. Your plan comes with a “launch engineer” who can connect you with developers and designers to customize your site if you are not interested in doing that on your own.
As far as transaction fees, you’ll pay none on the Shopify Plus plan, if you use Shopify Payments. If you use a third-party payment processor, you’ll pay $0.15 per transaction, which Shopify says goes to pay for the costs of additional security requirements, maintaining PCI compliance, and protecting data integrity for users on both ends of the transaction.
Any Shopify plan offers an impressive amount of features, including unlimited bandwidth and storage, staff accounts, POS, analytics, financial reports, analytics, customer support, and many more. As the top-tier plan, Shopify Plus includes all of those and then goes beyond.
For example, when you set up a Shopify store, you can choose from more than 100 themes, including 11 that are free. You can purchase one of the others for up $180. Every Shopify plan allows you to add up to 20 themes per account. When you upgrade to Shopify Plus, you are allowed up to 100 themes.
In addition, Shopify Plus offers its merchants exclusive access to these tools:
- Wholesale Channel: Sell direct to businesses
- Shopify Flow: Create automations
- Launchpad: Schedule, coordinate and execute events such as sales, product drops, and restocks
- Script Editor: Coding that lets you personalize transactions for customers
- Transporter App: Import customers, products, and order records into your store
- Bulk Account Inviter: Invite customers to activate their accounts after you import customer accounts from another platform or store
- GiftCard: Alternate payment method
- Multipass: Direct customers from your website to your Shopify Plus store with a seamless login
- User: Manage staff accounts
All levels of Shopify service offer support for customers, including by phone, email, live chat, written help library, video tutorials, webinars, and a community forum. That means that when something goes wrong, or you have questions, usually you can find an answer without shelling out a lot of money for it.
Shopify Plus offers an even higher level of support and includes an Academy that features educational content tailored for your needs with online courses. You’ll even get a consultant to help you decide if you’re a good candidate for Shopify Plus, including assessing your needs and identifying opportunities for growth. A “solutions engineer” will continue working with you to ensure your store set-up and integration goes smoothly. And of course, as mentioned above, you’ll work with a “launch engineer” to help you migrate data and set up your store, including international storefronts and custom checkouts.
What Can You Sell on Shopify Plus?
With 5,300 merchants selling online through Shopify Plus, it’s already a vast yet still growing platform that specializes in five broad categories of products:
- Beauty & Cosmetics
- Consumer Electronics
- Fashion & Apparel
- Food & Beverage
- Home Furnishing
Among the biggest names using Shopify Plus, you’ll find a huge variety. From Unilever to Kylie, from Rollie Nation to The Cambridge Satchel Company, from Heinz to Death Wish Coffee, from Magnolia Market to International Military Antiques, there’s no one “mold” that fits all merchants that find a home with Shopify Plus. What many of them share in common is high sales volume, international reach, and a desire for an online sales platform that’s ready to grow with them.
How Does Shopify Plus Work?
Like Shopify, Shopify Plus is an all-inclusive online selling platform that lets you create and develop an online store that you can use to promote, sell, and ship your products. Shopify Plus is designed specifically for high-volume sellers. It’s a cloud-based, fully hosted SaaS (software as a service) shopping cart solution.
Shopify typically offers an impressive array of features and available add-ons. Shopify Plus matches that list and goes further with included offerings like these:
- Shopify Admin: Manage all your organization’s stores from a single location.
- Apps Designed For High-Growth Merchants
- Customizable Checkout: Control your branding.
- Advanced API: Integrate with custom apps using an application programming interface.
- Merchant Success Program: A dedicated liaison will help you get the most value out of Shopify Plus.
- Launch Engineer: You’ll be online faster when you have help with third-party integrations and finding development and design partners.
- Unlimited Staff Accounts: Grow your business without worrying about incurring extra costs as you expand.
- Expansion Stores: Add up to nine stores for international sales, physical locations, or other needs.
- Shopify Plus Academy: Access self-guided training to help you grow your business.
- Additional Themes: Add up to 100 themes, allowing you to test new themes, maintain seasonal variations, and more.
- Wholesale Channel: Create a separate, password-protected store for wholesale customers.
The Benefits Of Shopify Plus
Without a dedicated team of experts, designing and maintaining a website is a challenge â and even with an expensive team on staff or on speed dial, it’s a labor and time-intensive proposition — especially when your business is growing and expanding. Shopify Plus takes over a lot of the burden, managing the mechanics of your eCommerce website and freeing you to market and sell your products. And like all Shopify stores, a Shopify Plus store includes secure, reliable site hosting. You won’t have to worry about your site crashing or hackers hijacking your data: Shopify Plus supports stores that can handle nearly 11,000 orders per minute and boasts 99.99% uptime.
Additionally, Shopify Plus offers a personalized level of support that could help you take your business to the next level. When you’re focused on expansion and growth, you will appreciate all the help you can get. Shopify Plus’s help features a dedicated support staff; that means you’ll have the help you need to put your eCommerce vision into action.
Shopify Plus Pros
- Personalized service and support
- Unlimited scalability
- Speed and reliability
- Exclusive access to management tools
- Multichannel, multi-store, and international sales
- Wholesale eCommerce possibilities
The Drawbacks Of Shopify Plus
The majority of user reviews of Shopify Plus are positive. Some common complaints are the cost. Plans start at $2,000 per month, but you’ll likely receive a custom quote that’s higher, based on your needs. Users who switched from other premium platforms were generally positive about the cost of Shopify Plus.
Other users complained that common add-ons can slow site performance, although no specific apps were mentioned. Not every user expressed satisfaction with their customer service support. It may be that Shopify Plus is experiencing some growing pains of its own as more eCommerce vendors sign up for its services.
Shopify Plus Cons
- High price point
- Customizing is necessary but can be difficult
- Can be difficult to manage in-house
Who Should Use Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus offers a good solution for merchants who are selling â or who hope to be selling â at high volume online and especially for those selling at high volume internationally. Shopify Plus merchants generate between $1 million and $500 million or more in annual sales, and they experience an average of 126% yearly growth.
When Should You Use Shopify Instead?
With monthly fees starting at $2,000, no matter how ambitious your plans for growth, if you’re not already selling at high volume, you should not rush to sign up for Shopify Plus right now. You can opt for a lower-level Shopify plan and upgrade when you’re ready. Even the most expensive plan below plus, the Advance plan at $299 per month, would offer significant savings over the Plus plan. That’s money you can set aside until you can really benefit from the advanced features and capabilities that Shopify Plus will deliver.
How To Get Started With Shopify Plus
If Shopify Plus sounds like the right solution for your eCommerce needs, you can request contact from a member of the Shopify Plus team. You’ll have to enter some basic information, like your name, your business email, your company name, and business URL. You’ll also be asked to select the country where your operations are based as well as your annual revenue range. You can also click a button to chat now with a salesperson.
The Bottom Line
Shopify Plus is fast, it’s flexible, and it comes with a price tag that may put it beyond the reach of many smaller eCommerce merchants. For companies that need what Shopify Plus has to offer, the price may be well worth it. On the other hand, if you’re not quite at that level yet, knowing how Shopify Plus can help you improve your sales and your business practices may just motivate you to reach the next level.
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