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Shopify vs Shopify Plus: What’s the Difference? [2024]

In this comparison, we break down the main differences in features and pricing between Shopify vs. Shopify Plus, two widely used eCommerce platforms.

Which one is right for your online business?

Shopify is a popular online store builder used by millions of businesses globally for their eCommerce needs.

Many of these businesses are small to medium-sized and are content to choose one of Shopify’s standard pricing plans, such as “Basic”, “Shopify”, and “Advanced Shopify”.

this image is a screenshot of the shopify platform

With the standard versions of Shopify, users have access to essential selling features that are usually suitable for solo entrepreneurs or small businesses.

These features include:

  • A dedicated online store
  • Tools for selling in multiple languages
  • Tools for selling in multiple currencies
  • Tools for dropshipping
  • In-store selling capabilities

According to internet statistics company Builtwith.com, more than 49,165 brands use Shopify Plus, the platform’s premium version.

shopify plus statistics

Businesses that utilize Shopify Plus are often big, famous brands, such as Sony, Heinz, Polaroid, Staples, and Gymshark.

These types of companies choose Shopify Plus because it offers significantly more eCommerce features than the standard version of the platform.

But first, an important question…

Shopify vs Shopify Plus — are they actually different platforms?

It’s important to note that Shopify and Shopify Plus aren’t separate platforms.

They are:

  • They both use the same technology
  • Utilize the same Shopify themes
  • Offer the same user interface
  • Have the same core functionality

The main contrast between the two options comes down to the advanced features available with the Shopify Plus plan and its pricing.

Let’s look at both.

Key Features that are Unique to Shopify Plus:

1. Exclusive access to Shopify’s Merchant Success Program:

A fundamental difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus is the amount of “hand-holding” and personal support that you get.

When you take out a Plus plan, a “Launch Team” is on hand to help you get your store online live faster by assisting with migrations and custom integrations, and a “merchant success” program is provided to help you with your ongoing eCommerce strategy.

Shopify claims that its launch team can get enterprise users up and running on Shopify Plus “in less than 90 days”.

2. Shopify Organization Admin:

The Shopify Organization Admin tool, available exclusively on the Plus version of the platform, lets you operate multiple stores using one Shopify account.

With this feature you can access analytics, manage users, edit stores, and build automation (more on these in a moment) for any of your stores, all via the same Shopify admin dashboard.

3. Advanced Shopify Apps Store:

Although the normal version of Shopify gives you access to a considerable number of apps and integrations — around 8,000+ — Shopify Plus gives you a further range of apps to choose from.

shopify app store

These let you gain advanced functionality for your Shopify Plus store for digital marketing campaigns, fulfillment, content management, shipping methods, customer rewards, and task automation.

Examples include:

  • AIOD – All-in-1 Discount — this app helps merchants increase sales and AOV by offering multiple automatic discounts to customers.
  • Launchpad is a tool used for scheduling and automating flash sales, product launches, or sales campaigns.
  • Script Editor lets you create customized experiences during the shopping cart and checkout process.
  • Bulk Account Inviter allows you to invite your customers to activate their accounts for your online store. This is particularly useful if you have migrated your store from another platform.
  • ShopifyQL Notebooks enable you to visualize, analyze, and present various business data directly within the Shopify admin.

4. The Ability to Fully Customize your Checkout Page:

Unlike the standard versions of Shopify, Shopify Plus lets you completely customize your checkout process.

It gives you full access to the checkout editor (see image below).

Before Customization Shopify Checkout Page:

shopify checkout before customization

After Customization Shopify Checkout Page:

shopify checkout after customization

You can change your checkout page colors, images, and fonts, as well as add new features, by installing checkout apps from the Shopify App Store.

Note: Existing Shopify Plus merchants need to upgrade to Shopify’s ‘checkout extensibility’ feature to use the drag-and-drop checkout editor.

You also get access to extra coding features with Shopify Scripts and the Shopify Script Editor, allowing you to add the following features to your Shopify checkout:

  • Automated discounts and promotions
  • Pre-calculated shipping rates
  • Free shipping thresholds

This means that Shopify Plus merchants have much more control over the user experience and branding of their checkout process, as well as a much wider range of shipping options.

5. Additional API Calls:

With the Shopify Plus plan, you can use the Shopify API (Application Programming Interface) in more ways.

An API is software that allows two applications to communicate with each other.

With Shopify Plus plans, you can use the API more frequently, allowing for advanced integrations with other tools or creating custom apps for Shopify.

The table below shows how the standard limits differ from those provided by Shopify Plus.

api call limits in shopify vs shopify plus
Image source: shopify.dev

6. Unlimited Staff Users:

unlimited staff users in shopify plus store

Unlike regular Shopify plans that limit the number of users who can access your store’s backend (with the limit depending on the plan), Shopify Plus offers unlimited staff accounts.

This makes the platform more valuable for larger organizations while also allowing you to scale your business.

Furthermore, Shopify Plus includes permission settings that give you more control over what actions your employees can perform in your store’s backend.

For example, with Shopify Plus, you can assign particular permissions for exporting reports and accessing apps that aren’t available on regular Shopify plans.

7. Extra Stores:

extra stores in shopify store

While a standard Shopify account allows you to build only 1 store, a Shopify Plus subscription lets you create up to 10 stores with its “expansion stores” feature.

These additional stores can be utilized to generate more sales opportunities, expand internationally, or accommodate stores in different physical locations.

With Shopify Plus, you can add more stores than the default limit of 10.

Note: Keep in mind that this comes at an additional cost of $250 per month per store or revenue split with Shopify across all stores.

8. Sandbox Stores:

Shopify Plus allows Shopify Plus partners to build test sites called “sandbox stores”. These are helpful for learning how to use Shopify Plus or for creating demos for potential clients.

With sandbox stores, you can make unlimited “dummy” purchases using a fake payment gateway and process an unlimited number of test orders.

They also offer a great opportunity to test apps since you can add any Shopify app to a sandbox store for free (you’ll need a credit card for verification, but it won’t be charged).

9. More Point-of-Sale (POS) Features:

more point-of-sale features in shopify plus

Point of sale (POS) features allow you to sell both online and in physical locations using card readers and other selling hardware while keeping track of all your inventory.

While standard Shopify plans include many POS features, accessing the premium ones requires an additional fee of $89 per month, per location.

On a Shopify Plus plan, you don’t have to pay this fee for your first 20 physical locations. This means you get many extra POS features included with your subscription.

These features allow you to:

  • Work with an unlimited number of sales staff.
  • Enable “buy online, pick up in store” functionality.
  • Handle exchanges seamlessly.
  • Customize printed receipts.
  • Define staff roles and permissions.
  • Use an unlimited number of registers.
  • Create purchase orders directly from the POS system.
  • Attribute sales to specific staff members for commission or performance analysis.
  • Scale up to 200 POS locations.

10. Access to Exclusive Resources and Sales Tools:

With a Shopify Plus plan, you get access to exclusive resources and tools that regular Shopify users don’t have.

These include access to:

  • Shopify Audiences — This is a new tool for targeting Facebook and Instagram users who are most likely to buy your products. Note: This feature is currently only available to users in the United States and Canada
  • The Shopify Plus Academy is a library of self-guided training resources on key topics for growing a business
  • The Shopify Plus Community on Facebook is a place for Shopify Plus merchants to network, collaborate, and share online business strategies
  • The Shopify Plus Partner Program allows you to work with technology, agency, and solution partners
  • Shopify Functions, a tool that allows you to create custom discounts, shipping rules, and payment methods without coding, offers more customization options

11. Advanced User Management (SAML and SCIM):

With Shopify Plus, you have greater control over security and user management compared to regular Shopify plans.

Specifically, it allows you to:

  • Use SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), which allows users to access multiple web applications using one set of login credentials.
  • Utilize SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management), which makes it easier for organizations to manage user access rights across multiple applications.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus Pricing:

Now, let’s explore the pricing differences between Shopify vs. Shopify Plus.

Understanding the pricing for standard Shopify plans is straightforward. There are four plans available, ranging from $5 to $399 per month:

  • Shopify Starter: $5 per month
  • Basic Shopify: $39 per month
  • Shopify: $105 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $399 per month

While Shopify Plus offers two pricing options:

  • Standard pricing: Begins at $2,300 per month for a 3-year plan or $2,500 per month for a 1-year plan (for standard setups and integrations).
  • Variable fee: A negotiable percentage of monthly sales (this percentage depends on your needs and the complexity of your eCommerce setup).

To choose either pricing option, you’ll need to reach out to the Shopify Plus team. They’ll discuss your needs and provide a quote for your project.

Note: Additionally, keep in mind that if you do not use Shopify’s built-in payment gateway, Shopify Payments, you will be charged a fee of 0.15%-0.30% per credit card transaction. While this fee is less than the transaction fee on standard Shopify plans (2%), it is still something to be aware of.

As you can see, Shopify Plus isn’t cheap. As a result, before deciding on it as your eCommerce solution, you should carefully consider whether you really need its features.

This brings us to the main question:

Should I use Shopify or Shopify Plus?

Since the standard version of Shopify provides users with a robust set of eCommerce features, many merchants question whether they truly need to upgrade to the “Plus” version of the platform to sell online.

Now, every eCommerce business is unique, so there isn’t a simple answer to this question.

However, I would suggest considering Shopify Plus seriously if you:

  • Manage numerous physical stores requiring POS features (where Shopify Plus could potentially be the most cost-effective option)
  • Require advanced API requirements and custom tool/app development for your Shopify store
  • Have a large customer base across the globe
  • Want full control over the checkout process
  • Need to manage multiple Shopify stores from a single location
  • Have a very huge team requiring access to multiple Shopify stores

Then, Shopify Plus is worth serious consideration. Otherwise, the standard version of Shopify is usually the better choice.

Now it’s your turn!

Have any questions about Shopify vs. Shopify Plus? Just leave them in the comments below. We read every comment and will do our best to assist you.

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