Shopify has taken the e-commerce world by storm, with over 10% of the e-commerce market using its platform to sell and trade goods and services. Its exponential rise in recent years has seen a wealth of new products added to the Shopify range, including Shopify Plus.
So, if you're thinking of making the switch or upgrading your existing Shopify account, why should you pay extra for Shopify Plus? Well, this guide gives you everything you need to know about Shopify Plus so you can decide whether it's the right move to take your business to the next level.
Shopify Plus is an e-commerce platform built for all sizes. However, it's targeted at high-volume, larger businesses. It's the same Shopify that thousands of merchants use to grow their businesses every day.
But think of it as Shopify Enterprise. It gives you all the features that standard Shopify offers. Not only that, but it also allows you a more customized, tailor-made experience. This experience works in tandem with the nuances of more complex, larger business structures that need extra support and tools to put in a successful online store.
Shopify Plus comes with more features, tools, and resources designed to increase efficiency, cut down on costs, and make business life easier for users from day one. Here are some of the features that come as standard with Shopify Plus:
You can register a custom domain name for your online store. A good domain name boosts its credibility and makes it easier to recall.
Rather than using the myshopify.com domain name, you can instead use something like www.yourdomainname.com as your main website URL.
Installing custom SSL certificates helps protect against potential man-in-the-middle attacks and other attacks that seek to strip your site of its authenticity and trustworthiness.
Shopify Plus provides the option to buy a custom SSL certificate with end-to-end encryption from a trusted third-party provider such as Comodo Secure Site Server Certificate Authority (SGC).
Shopify Plus comes with advanced fraud protection features designed to keep your profits high by minimizing lost revenue from fraudulent orders.
One such feature is the ability to set up IP address restrictions, which allows you to restrict access to your store based on a specified IP address. It prevents scammers from ordering using a list of dummy or stolen credit cards from a single computer or an Internet cafe.
Shopify Plus provides you with the ability to recover revenue lost to abandoned carts. If a customer places an item back in their cart and then removes it, your store can capture this as an order.
Cart recovery is a big benefit for merchants that rely a lot on e-commerce shipping. It wouldn't be possible to send out all your orders all the time without this feature.
Adding gift cards is a simple process that's achievable in less than five minutes. It's an easy way to add extra gift card support to your store.
Gift cards are brilliant for encouraging your customers to return to your store. Removable gift cards are also a lot better than re-adding them to the cart after each buying.
You can now adjust your shipping rate based on the country to where your products are getting shipped. The rate goes by the weight of your products, the speed of your delivery, and the shipping destination.
It allows merchants who use their site multi-national to get more accurate rates for their customers and see right down to how much they're spending in taxes and duties on each country. In Shopify Plus, you can also use third-party calculations for more accurate estimates.
Shopify Plus comes with VAT support from day one. It means you don't have to do any complex calculations or backtrack to update your site with correct tax information because Shopify Plus generates it independently from the start.
When you get Shopify Plus, you immediately gain access to a host of professional sales reports designed to help you make informed and effective business decisions. Some examples of the information in the reports are below:
Revenue by product, location, and source; note you can filter this based on date ranges, customer types, and other criteria.
Revenue by sales channel allows you to see the breakdown of your revenue from each sales channel.
This information is further improved with sales reports that illustrate your top products by category, product performance across various time ranges, location-specific groupings, and even grouped by the size of the order.
Shopify Plus comes with Google Analytics support. The analytics give you a detailed insight into how your customers are using your store and what they like most. Think of it as a multi-layered report that goes far beyond the standard pages viewed in the report.
If you have a multi-store setup, then these analytics will separate. The reporting is completely customizable, and as the reports update every 24 hours, you'll never be out of touch.
Shopify Plus comes with a dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance view of the key metrics from your business. The dashboard provides a quick snapshot of sales, customers, orders, and more—the information updates in real-time.
You can create custom content on your store using a ready-made editor. The content editor allows you to write up descriptions and other relevant information about each product. Adding images and videos is also easy.
The Content Editor allows you to add custom text for each product that Google and other search engines can index. It can then help to increase the level of relevant content on your site, which increases the chances that someone will find it on Google.
On top of that, you can also use short descriptions, product videos, and more to help visitors understand what you are offering and encourage a sale.
Shopify Plus has exclusive features that make it viable for larger businesses and enterprises. These include:
Shopify Plus allows you to increase the speed of your store, which can prevent a lot of problems that other Shopify merchants have experienced.
The extra storage and bandwidth mean that users will find products faster and download more products much quicker. It's important to note that Shopify Plus is still subject to the same limits as standard Shopify.
The extra traffic and bandwidth allow you to sell more products, as more people will be able to navigate your online store. You'll be able to sell a whole lot more items for each dollar you spend on marketing campaigns.
On-hand support is one of the biggest perks of using Shopify Plus; you get access to an on-demand team of experts who are available 24/7 to give you all the advice and help you need with your online store.
The Shopify Plus team is independent of the regular Shopify team and instead is personal to you. You'll be able to call on them 24/7 with any questions you may have about your store or any concerns or needs that arise. They can assist with the following:
You can build fully customized apps and programs for your e-commerce business.
You'll be able to access more premium themes and apps with Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus allows you to use Shopify's Theme Studio to make your site how you want it. And, from that, you can access unlimited premium themes with no limitations.
But it's not only the themes. You can also integrate APIs for better communication with other platforms. Integrating APIs is essential for opening up your store to third-party services, such as marketplaces, inventory management systems, and more. And Shopify Plus gives you access to these APIs with a greater range of options.
You can even create your storefront using headless architecture. With this option, you don't need to have a storefront with all the design elements. Nor do you need the basic elements that go into a front-facing website. This option allows you to create an online store without a homepage!
Not only that, but you can offer enhanced automation and integration such as chat services within your store. These are great for more complex products and services that need a more customized experience.
There's a key difference to note here. If you're an established business, chances are you're aware of the difference.
But where multichannel focus on purchasing products from many places (think eBay and Amazon) and the need to link the inventory, omnichannel relates to an "all-in-one" solution integrated throughout various media (e.g., a universal login for mobile app, website, and social media)
Shopify Plus offers excellent features that allow greater integration of these tools into your sales funnel. It means you sell from many channels and leverage many platforms to reach your target market. That's where things get very interesting.
Many e-commerce customers don't realize that the lack of options they have is holding them back. There's plenty of room at the top, but not as many as there should be, thanks to products that haven't seen an update in years, poor customer support, and very limited resource access.
As a Shopify Plus user, you'll gain access to educational video content that you can either watch in your own time or get immediate help with via our live-chat software. If you're ever stuck with a question, you can open up a chat box and get your help in 5 minutes.
The Shopify Plus newsletter is another great perk. Shopify sends you tips, tricks, and resources to help you grow your business. You'll be able to access new tools and add-ons to help with technical challenges that emerge and available new products.
You can learn how to do everything from changing the way your website looks to adding new payment gateways, creating new products, and forming complex relationships with other platforms and teams.
Shopify Plus provides an invaluable resource during this journey for shop owners who need a little extra help getting started or want to improve their e-commerce business.
A Shopify Plus Partner is any approved business that specializes in offering Shopify Plus services to its clients.
There are some important differences here when compared to the standard Shopify Partner.
The key difference is that you'll get one-on-one support with a Shopify Plus Partner. That's a huge advantage for any e-commerce business because it provides a direct line to Shopify that your business can use to its advantage.
Furthermore, Shopify Plus Partners have training and certifications to provide these services. That means you can trust the expertise of any partner with whom you collaborate. They tend to be website design and development agencies and digital marketing agencies.
Shopify Plus Partners must meet the following criteria:
For app developers, there is a separate program called the Shopify Plus Certified App Program, which follows a similar principle and ethics but focuses on the nuances of mobile apps instead.
Shopify Plus Certified Apps get tested to meet the technical requirements and provide the best user experience while adhering to the Shopify Partner Code of Conduct.
To earn Shopify Plus Certified App status, a developer must complete an application. When an app gets approved for certification, it's added to the Shopify Plus Certified Apps directory.
Note that, like the Partner Program, this isn't a perk nor a critical element of Shopify Plus. Yet, it may be worthwhile researching for large enterprises.
In particular, if you have your own IT team or dedicated mobile app developer and web design team. They can look into these programs to enhance their professional knowledge and experience of working with Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus prices up depending on the size of your business.
It starts at $2000 per month with a 2.15% transaction fee. So for many small businesses, the benefits don't justify the extra cost.
And remember, that's a starting cost. If you're a multi-million dollar turnover business, expect that $2000 to become a 0.25% fee based on your monthly revenue. That equates to $2,500 per month in fees for $1m turnover in a month.
That said, any company taking in 5-figure monthly revenues should take a serious look at Shopify Plus to see if it's going to generate extra turnover for them and allow the business to grow. The short-term investment may not seem worth it, but long-term, it could reap dividends.
If your business isn't ready for Shopify Plus, but it's already integrated into the ecosystem, take a look at Advanced Shopify, which starts at $344 per month with a 2.4% transaction fee. It's still very powerful with features like full-color design, unlimited products, and custom shipping rates.
It also allows for in-app payment gateways like PayPal Express Checkout, which can take up much of the work for you. It doesn't give you as much control over your product pages, though, and Shopify Plus does give you a lot more.
That said, you're limited to 15 staff accounts and up to a 74% shopping discount, but you get all the other perks that come with Shopify Plus.
Even for a small business turning over 4-figure monthly revenues, Advanced is a very reasonable proposition if you plan on maintaining a professional storefront but don't need all the bells and whistles of the Plus plan.
While Shopify Plus aims itself at large-scale enterprises, the functionality and benefits do not have to be out of reach for small to medium-sized businesses. Yet, in weighing up whether it's right for you or not, there are a few key questions you need to ask yourself:
If your business model's focused on your brand or a particular skill or expertise, then the main benefits of Shopify Plus may be less relevant. As you don't rely on the platform for operational functions, then the need to overwork your technical team doesn't exist.
You can still enjoy some of the Shopify Plus features listed above, such as the ability to increase your conversions and better control your brand. These are all valuable benefits, whichever pricing model you choose.
As we've stressed several times already, Shopify Plus is not suitable for businesses with small inventory sizes. At $2000 per month before transaction fees, plus a 2.15% transaction fee, it's an expensive purchase for anyone who isn't taking more five-figure revenues each month.
That said, there are alternative ways of justifying the pricing structure. For example, you might not see value in return on investment in terms of sales. But it might save you money on extra running costs, as explained below.
The average build time of a large-scale website on Shopify is 90 days. Compare this to 12 months for a traditional enterprise website, and the $2000 per month investment becomes invaluable.
Coupled with 6-figure turnovers where you see a 0.25% reduction in transaction fees, and you're saving even more money than you first imagined.
And, don't forget the cost savings of having a dedicated team on hand to support your development. You might find you'd be spending more than $2000 a month hiring an extra member of the team. In itself, this proposition makes it very tempting for those wishing to spread their wings and expand their business.
You should consider Shopify Plus if you're looking to take your online store to the next level and want to learn everything you need to know about customizing your online store.
Given that you're using a Shopify Plus storefront, you can access a wider range of expert services, such as mobile app support, backend design, and development work and hosting. All these ensure your business runs without issues while delivering major value for your customers.
Shopify Plus is an excellent option for growing businesses that want to build their online sales and support team. It provides a framework for growing their business without having to go through the custom development process.
Or, if you're still unsure whether it's right for you, talk to our team today. We can discuss your needs and what kind of features would be best for your store!