Shopify vs. Shopify Plus - when should you make the leap?

By Laura Kluz | Oct 26, 2017

In the past few years, Shopify has made a name for itself as a trusted, secure and reliable ecommerce platform.

One of Shopify’s key benefits is that it’s a hosted platform, so all of the upkeep, troubleshooting and security are managed by Shopify. This allows store owners to focus on their business, rather than fiddling around with tricky technology and risky security concerns.

While Shopify offers reliable security, high-volume merchants might be seeking a platform that offers even more support, functionality and customization opportunities. As they grow, their needs become more complex. They want a platform that supports them on their journey. 

Enter Shopify Plus, Shopify's enterprise ecommerce solution for rapidly growing businesses. It’s got some pretty sweet capabilities that Shopify doesn’t offer on its lower tier plans. Many merchants may question when it’s time to make the jump from regular Shopify plans to Shopify Plus.

When should I make the leap to Plus?

We’ve found that Plus starts to make sense for merchants when they reach around $1-2 million in annual revenue. It's not the revenue that triggers the need, but we've found that it's around this mark when the extra support and unique features of Plus start to make it worth the investment for their business.

So let’s look at a few of the key features of Shopify Plus to see how it compares to regular Shopify and help you determine whether the additional cost is worth it to you.

Superior Support  |  Checkout Customization  |  Functionality for Growth

Superior Support

If there was one aspect of Plus that hooks merchants, this might just be it. Shopify Plus support takes two forms.

First, Shopify is well known for its exceptional customer support. Merchants on any plan can simply call their 24/7 support line to handle issues that pop up in their store.

Plus merchants however, have a special Plus-dedicated team supporting them. This helps you skip past the lower-tier support and get straight to the advanced support team who will quickly help resolve concerns with your site.

When you’re generating more than $1 million in revenue, site issues, important questions and other concerns need to be quickly resolved, or there can be a real impact to your bottom line. Shopify Plus support understands this and provides a quick, knowledgeable team to help sort the issue and get you back in action - fast.

With Shopify Plus support, you’ve essentially got the “red phone” into Shopify for your store. A nice insurance policy in a scenario where time equals money.

Second, with Shopify Plus you also get a dedicated “Merchant Success Manager.” Along with helping you resolve any specific store issues you’ve got (tip: copy them on your correspondence with Plus support and they’ll help you follow-up, tend and push as needed!), a Success Manager can advise and work with you to develop a high-level business strategy - acting as a sort of mini-ecommerce business coach.

If you’ve got a problem or concern that needs some additional expertise to solve, your Success Manager can run a site audit, make projections and suggest ideas, solutions and partners to help you find the success you need. They are your attentive and connected advocates and dedicated problem solvers inside Shopify.

Bonus: If you are migrating from another platform (such as Magento) or if you’ve got a new build, Plus also provides you with a Launch Manager. This manager adds technical expertise to guide you through the process (your Launch Manager works with you between the time you sign up for Plus and the time you launch on Plus).

Checkout Customization

As a hosted platform, developers don’t have full access to Shopify’s underlying code, so there are limitations to what can be done. One of which is customizing the checkout.

With Plus however, stores have access to customize this page, making room for a branded checkout experience, conversion optimization tweaks and solving other unique technical concerns which can add to growth.

Functionality for Growth

As a platform, Shopify is continuously releasing tools to enhance merchant experience. There are a few features within Plus that offer some pretty unique abilities that aren’t available to regular plans.

Flow: This is ecommerce automation at its finest, and in our opinion, one of the best features of Plus. Shopify Flow provides merchants with the ability to automate backend processes with its unique workflows. It’s a pretty cool tool, and has the power to free up a ton of you (and your staff’s!) time. Think of it like a souped-up, friendly Zapier, inside your Shopify admin. 






Scripts: This app has the power to change up your store’s metrics with its custom pricing models. Scripts gives merchants the ability to bundle products, offer promotions such as Buy 1, Get 1 Free offers (BOGOs), give price breaks on multiple purchases or to specific customers or customer groups. Using Scripts, you can also change shipping methods and offer shipping discounts as well.






Launchpad: For merchants who run flash sales or product launch events, this is the app you’ll want. Merchants can schedule a product price change (both at the start and end of an event) and can even enable reCaptcha for the length of the sale to prevent bots. It’s also got an analytics dashboard so you can run reports and track its success.





These three apps are valuable extensions for Plus merchants.

There is also a feature that stands out for businesses who hope to expand across borders.

Cloning stores: With Shopify, implementing robust multi-language or multi-currency shops inside a single store can be a real pain. There are apps out there that translate languages on the front-end, but they aren’t great. Same goes for currencies. You’ll need a competent developer (or a good Shopify theme) to display a local currency on the storefront. But the store’s default language and currency will always be displayed at the checkout.

Shopify merchants deal with this issue by cloning their stores into multiple languages. With Plus, merchants can have up to nine cloned stores without paying for another plan. We see this a lot for languages, but also for wholesale and retail sites as well.

API Access: With Plus, you’ll receive increased API access. This can come in handy for high volume merchants connecting to outside parties like an ERP system. Shopify can also increase your API limit during a migration (if needed), to speed up the process.

Bandwidth: Plus offers unlimited bandwidth, so you can rest assured knowing your store can handle a high influx of traffic. With Plus, you’ve also got 200TB worth of storage, which is quite impressive.

So now that we have explored the main features of Plus, let’s look at the true cost of the platform.

Regular Shopify plans start at $29 and go up to $299 per month. Plus plans start at $2,000 per month. Once a store starts to make $800,000 or more per month, the pricing changes to a revenue-based model - 0.25 percent of their monthly revenue.  

We have found Shopify to be a great platform that offers merchants the ability to concentrate on other aspects of their business. It’s reliability is enticing for all merchants, while the comprehensive features of Plus provide larger-scale merchants with the tools to focus on optimal growth.

Laura Kluz

Laura Kluz

Laura Kluz is a digital marketer at Fuel Made who specializes in the world of ecommerce. She's a Canadian who loves making maple syrup, trail running in the mountains and to bake cookies at least once a week.