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Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: What Is REALLY the Difference? - Updated 2023

April 26, 2023 | Author:  Andrew Maff


Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: it's a debate many e-commerce sellers have. As one of the leading e-commerce platforms, both services have excellent reputations but offer different feature sets and capabilities.

Each option comes in with its price point and fee structure, which is an integral part of the equation for many.

If you are looking for a new e-commerce platform, this article will help you decide which is the best option for your business. We'll explore Shopify and discuss costs, features, and more to help you make an informed decision.

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Shopify as Your Ecommerce Website


Global retail e-commerce sales came in at $4.921 trillion in 2021 and are projected to grow dramatically. By the end of 2022, e-commerce sales are expected to reach a stunning $6.54 trillion. Additionally, the number of online shoppers is also expanding and will only continue to rise. 

If you sell online and want to reach those buyers, having the right e-commerce solutions is necessary. Without an entire site and must-have features, you won't be able to entice shoppers and build your company brand.

Many people struggle with selecting the right platform for their e-commerce business. Let's dive into some key features of Shopify.

Key Differences: Shopify vs. Shopify Plus



With both Shopify and Shopify Plus, you get a user-friendly platform for building a site. You don't need any coding experience to create a professional-quality shopping portal, ensuring you can quickly set up a functional and attractive online store.

Both platforms offer hosted checkout and shopping carts, which make it easier to process transactions. There's no need to use a third-party payment service or risk credit card data security for online sales.

However, even though the platforms are through the same company, quite a bit sets them apart. If you aren't sure which service is best for you, here's a look at how the two are alike and how they are not.

Shopify Themes and Customization


With a Shopify plan, you do have the ability to customize your theme using the provided editor. This allows you to create an experience that aligns with your brand and offerings, ensuring it all feels like a logical fit.

However, if you want to change to a new theme or do some advanced customizations, you'll run into some trouble. You can't access Liquid, the Shopify theme language, so you can't make certain kinds of changes since you can't reach the code.

Custom Theme Shopify


With Shopify Plus, access to Liquid is part of the package. As a result, advanced customizations and significant changes are potentially achievable. If you have the coding know-how, the possibilities are nearly unlimited.

You also get access to more templates, which are available in three different pricing tiers: standard, professional, and premium. You can go with bare-bones or add a number of features and other elements.

Checkout Page and Payment Processor


When it comes to setting up your checkout page, Shopify offers a product called Checkout. This provides you with an incredibly basic way of adding the essential features to the user experience.

However, you are limited when it comes to what kinds of payment services you can integrate. With Shopify Plus, if certain options are available in your country, you also get access to Authorize.net and Stripe integrations for processing payments.

With Shopify, you don't have access to a script editor or the ability to customize the messaging based on specific triggers, like the value of a customer's cart.

Customer Segmentation


In some cases, you may want to offer your customers different plans or product selections. This is a process that's very difficult if you only use Shopify as the platform.

With Shopify Plus, you have access to an additional feature called Advanced Segments. These let you create customizable groups of shoppers based on any number of triggers, such as purchases and cart contents. You can also apply rules to a segment so they receive a specific message or with each engagement in order to create personalized experiences, discount codes, and sales campaigns.

Staff Accounts and Shopify Admin


With a basic Shopify plan, you can have multiple staff accounts. However, the total you can have is limited.

Usually, the number available is sufficient for a small team, between two and 15, depending on the service level. But, if you maintain a large staff, you may run out of spots.

With Shopify Lite, you can have unlimited staff accounts as you'd like. That's right; it's endless, so you don't have to worry about picking and choosing who can have credentials.

Additionally, Shopify Plus gives you more control over account permissions. You can segment your staff based on job function, ensuring they only have access to the areas they genuinely need and nothing they don't.

Shopify API Integration and Custom Apps




Shopify app store does support a lot of integrations, but you get access to more as a Shopify Plus user. For example, all users may connect to leading CRM and logistics platforms. However, Multipass isn't an option for a standard Shopify account, but it is for Shopify Plus.  

With Shopify Plus, you can also integrate with custom or private apps. While this may not be a must-have for a small business, it might be a necessity for an enterprise-level company.  

Similarly, Shopify Plus accounts get access to exclusive apps. You also get access to accessibility apps, like accessiBe. For example, Shopify Flow provides e-commerce automation tools, allowing you to identify triggers and conditions to couple with specific actions.

Launchpad lets you plan and automatically launch a sale for a particular period and have it all automatically revert once the sale is over. 

Wholesale Storefront and Wholesale Sales


With the Shopify platform, you essentially have a single storefront. Usually, this is enough for smaller companies, as it serves as a streamlined portal for all customer purchases.

But enterprise-level companies may need something different. Having an independent wholesale storefront may be ideal if they begin getting bulk order requests. It gives you the ability to adjust pricing for large orders for wholesale buyers and separate B2B from B2C activity. 

Shopify Plus users have the sales tools and can create a wholesale channel, giving them the ability to separate bulk purchase B2B activities from the rest of their sales.

Customer Support




A Shopify store has access to robust support options. With an online help center and community forums, you can reach out for direct assistance 24/7. You can connect by phone, email, or live chat for essential support.

If you want to handle something particularly challenging, you can even hire a Shopify Expert to give you one-on-one guidance along with personalized and dedicated support.

You'll have access to a launch engineer who assists with your entire online store setup or migration, ensuring the smooth running of the whole process.

They can also help with integrations and can even guide you by finding partners for different projects. Additionally, the Merchant Success Program, offered to Shopify Plus accounts, provides even more support options, including training that can help you get the most out of the platform.


Pricing and Fees 





One of the most significant differences to consider during the Shopify vs. Shopify Plus debate is the cost for each service. Shopify payments are available at three price points, depending on the features you need. Shopify Basic makes it easy to get started if you're creating.

Your online store can have unlimited products, and you can tap flash sales channels. There's inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, discount code creation, fraud analysis, and more, all for $29 a month.

If you want to add professional reporting, increase the number of staff accounts from 2 with basic to 5, access discounted shipping rates, and reduce credit card rates, the Shopify account level could be ideal. It runs $79 a month, which is still very reasonable.

New call-to-actionShopify Pricing

With Advanced Shopify, which comes in at $299 per month, you can have up to 15 staff accounts. Plus, you get access to advanced reporting options, third-party calculated shipping rates, and even lower credit card rates.

The fee depends on your business volume to get all of the features that come with Shopify Plus. It starts at $2,000 a month but could be more depending on your total sales.

While that may seem high to some businesses, you get a lot for the money. It's an enterprise-level solution, offering advanced features like AR, video, and 3D media product page options, automated workflows, and data migration capabilities. If you want to find out the details about Shopify Plus pricing, you'll have to reach out to get a quote.


Reporting Tools


Shopify reports can be supplemented with a few third-party options. But if you want to get a more in-depth analysis, Shopify Plus has a variety of data analytics to assist.

Using the native data warehouse, you can get a real-time look at your business. You don't have to wait for reports or sift through mounds of information. Instead, Shopify Plus gives you instant access from any device with an internet connection.

And since it's cloud-based, all features are available on the go, while there are many Shopify users that have no interest in the additional features provided by Shopify Plus, without question, there are some who will find it hard to resist the services offered.

Merchant Success Manager


The Merchant Success Manager program works with your own team of experts who can provide training on new features or integrations. They can even help find partners for different projects.

With access to your dedicated account manager, unlimited user accounts and apps, and more helpful resources than ever before, there's no question that some businesses will see more value in Shopify Plus than in the standard version of their e-commerce platform.

Which One Offers More Features?




There are many different areas that these two platforms differ in when it comes to features.

The main difference between the two platforms is that Shopify plus is a more advanced version of Shopify's basic e-commerce platform. There are many areas where this becomes clear such as:

  • Additional features, such as subscriptions and abandoned cart recovery
  • Larger product selection with no product limit
  • Advanced shipping options with built-in UPS and USPS integrations
  • Multiple domain support


The biggest difference between the two platforms is going to be the price. Shopify is a lot more affordable than Shopify Plus, which makes a big difference, especially if you are on a limited budget for your business.

Which Platform Has More Flexibility?



Both platforms are more flexible than most online e-commerce business solutions on the market today. However, when it comes down to comparing both of these platforms, they each have their cons. For example, Shopify plus is better if you quickly add more products.

However, if you need a unique web address for your online store, you will have to resort to the basic version of Shopify, which offers this kind of flexibility.

Which is Better for Small Businesses?



Shopify plus has proven itself as the better option for small businesses by giving their Plus customers the ability to create more products without increasing the cost of their monthly subscription.

This means that if you are operating on a tight budget, Shopify plus can provide this additional feature without charging you an additional fee for it.

Generally, both platforms are applicable to all types of businesses, but Shopify plus provides more flexibility than their basic version. There is no doubt that the benefits of Shopify plus definitely make up for its added price tag.

Which Platform Offers More Support For Advanced Features?




One area where Shopify Plus shines in comparison to the standard platform is when it comes to advanced features. Shopify Plus can handle more complex software, marketing automation, and custom coding than its basic version.

Although both platforms support these types of specifications, Plus can handle more which makes it the better option for business owners looking to expand on more advanced functions. For example, you might want to use a marketing automation tool such as Infusionsoft, but this is only compatible with Plus.

Which one has more features?


With the amount of money that can be spent on these types of e-commerce tools, it is critical to know that you can utilize all of them on one platform.

Shopify has also shown they have a strong focus on their Plus customers integrating with their already existing software.

Although both platforms have a strong ability to handle more advanced features, the better option is Shopify plus because it is compatible with more third-party tools and software.

It doesn't matter how big your e-commerce store gets; you will always want to add more functions that will help your business grow.

Which Platform Offers Better Automation And Is More Affordable?





Shopify Vs. Shopify Plus



The benefits of automating your e-commerce platforms and the ability to implement tools to manage inventory better and products can be a true game-changer in an already competitive market.

With so many businesses to choose from, it is important to offer a better shopping experience for your customers and allow them to buy more of your products.

Shopify has the upper hand when it comes to automating its platform, including shipping, tracking orders, and inventory intake.

In comparison, Shopify plus does not offer these types of automated features. However, this is not to say that Shopify cannot automate their platform; they just don't do it for their basic version.

Is Shopify Plus more affordable?


For additional automation, you will have to resort to using a third-party tool which will require an additional monthly fee. If you are operating on a tight budget, this is definitely something that you will want to take into consideration.

One extra feature offered by Shopify Plus that is not found on the basic version of the platform is the ability to purchase additional data storage without increasing your monthly fee.

With their basic version, they only offer a one-time payment of $29 for a year of unlimited data storage.

However, Shopify Plus has the ability to offer an additional four months for free if you decide to choose a yearly plan or six months if you decide on a monthly plan.

Is Shopify Plus Better For E-commerce Than BigCommerce?



When it comes to offering a better platform, you always want to go with the one that is going to be compatible with the latest technology and offers a ton of features.

Long gone are the days when there would only be a few platforms worth mentioning compared to how many options you have today.

If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to get your e-commerce store online, then BigCommerce would be the better option.

With that being said, Shopify plus will be the better option if you want an all-inclusive solution such as their automated features such as shipping and inventory.


Is Shopify Plus better?


Shopify plus will offer a better user experience and unlimited third-party app integrations, which would cost additional money for you to utilize on BigCommerce.

There are tons of tools that can be implemented into your e-commerce platform, but not all of these tools will have the same features that Shopify's marketplace has to offer. 

Shopify's analytics dashboard offers all of these tools under one roof, making it easier for you to save time and money when it comes down to running your online store. Both platforms are extremely easy to use, offering many benefits that other popular platforms do not provide.

The main difference between both platforms is the pricing which is where BigCommerce begins to win.

You can have your web-based store with no upfront fees for a basic plan with Shopify, but there will be additional costs when you choose to upgrade.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: Which One is Right for You?



Generally speaking, both platforms have merit when it comes to the Shopify vs. Shopify Plus debate. However, if you are a small e-commerce business, Shopify is likely the best fit for your needs.

Shopify offers plenty of must-have features at a reasonable price, making it ideal for budget-conscious companies who don't want to sacrifice when it comes to capabilities.

If you're a large enterprise trying to choose a winner in Shopify vs. Shopify Plus battle, Shopify Plus is typically the better bet. It offers additional features and integrations, as well as dedicated support options. 

For any enterprise-level business, the higher cost is likely easy enough to shoulder, particularly with everything you get by choosing it.

Is it Worth Upgrading to Shopify Plus?


In the end, Shopify and Shopify Plus are two different versions of the same software used to build an e-commerce store.

The main difference between the two Shopify themes is that Shopify Plus includes all of the features found in standard Shopify and enterprise-level features such as unlimited bandwidth, priority customer service, and more.

Neither Shopify nor Shopify Plus is perfect, but the two platforms offer different features to help you run your online store. However, it is a robust and powerful platform for your e-commerce store.

When comparing Shopify, for most businesses, Basic Shopify is more than enough to cover all of your e-commerce needs. For larger companies who need to gain access to advanced Shopify enterprise-level features or have multiple stores, then Shopify plus would be right for you.  

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