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Key Differences Between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

Shopify and Shopify Plus are both similar tools for ecommerce, designed for different sizes and types of businesses. Shopify is geared toward small to medium-sized businesses, while Shopify Plus was created with large businesses, corporations, and B2B operations in mind. There is some overlap between the two, but typically one will serve your needs much better than the other.

Shopify is often talked about as an easy, effective way to build an eCommerce business. The ability to offer online and offline sales with the Shopify POS system is just one way that Shopify revolutionized the way small and medium-sized companies did business online. Shopify also has an intuitive backend, and a large array of free tools, features, and even ecommerce classes. 

Shopify Plus, on the other hand, was created for the companies that were too large for Shopify’s platform to work as intended.  The introduction of Shopify Plus into the Shopify family has made it possible for big players spanning virtually every industry to use Shopify’s robust platform.

Let’s take a look at the most significant differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus Comes with Your Own Personal Support Team 

One of the most notable differences between the two products is that Shopify Plus has a dedicated, personalized support team while Shopify does not. Shopify Plus assigns your company your own solutions engineer, who is available to answer any question you may have and to troubleshoot technical issues. Your Shopify Plus solutions engineer can also help you to integrate components that you may be having trouble with. 

Shopify assigns each Shopify Plus account a launch engineer, who is responsible for helping you to migrate to Shopify Plus, as well as educating you about the new tools you now have at your disposal. If you can’t tell from these services, Shopify Plus comes at a high premium compared to Shopify, but for large companies, the increased sales numbers are worth it. 

Overview Dashboard is Only Available on Shopify Plus 

The Overview Dashboard is a premium feature available to companies only on Spotify Plus. This special analytics tool shows you important information at a glance, and allows you to incorporate multiple Shopify stores. 

Information included on your Overview Dashboard includes sales data, orders, online visitor data, and sales channel comparisons. In addition, you can compare datasets from any date range, which helps you quickly evaluate what is working well, and what needs improvement. For many businesses, this feature in itself makes the price tag on Shopify Plus worth the investment.  

While understanding your metrics and analytics more intuitive, the Overview Dashboard is also a way to make your overall workflow more efficient, by saving you time and allowing you to pivot on marketing and sales strategies

Shopify Plus Allows You More Customization Options 

The more unique and professional a company’s website looks, the more consumers will trust the brand intuitively. 

A Shopify Plus storefront has more customization options than Shopify, and allows you to create unique UX strategies. In addition, the UX strategies can be changed at the coding level with Liquid, a templating language created by Shopify itself and written in Ruby. Liquid is intuitive and easier to learn than other programming languages and is favored among new and seasoned web developers.

From your front page to your customer’s checkout experience, the ability to create a unique, branded ecommerce page is invaluable when it comes to building trust with your customer base. Shopify Plus was designed with creative control in mind. 

Brand aesthetics can’t reach their full potential when limited to a small number of templates and color schemes. Customers are less likely to trust a brand that appears to be a cookie-cutter version of several other similar competitors. The ability to completely customize your customer experience will increase your overall sales and improve your brand’s reputation. 

Shopify Plus Gives You Unlimited Staff Accounts

Another major advantage to Shopify Plus is giving every member of your company a staff account for your business. Shopify limits staff accounts to a certain number, based on the plan tier you chose for your business. 

This is especially important if you expect or have experienced large growth in your company, so you don’t get stuck in an inefficient system. Shopify Plus was created with growth and fluidity in mind, so if you have five staff members today and 50 tomorrow, their system can handle it gracefully. 

Not only is the option for individual accounts with specific access efficient, but it also allows an extra layer of protection. Permissions can be set for different levels of access, preventing employees from making any drastic changes that could affect the functionality of your site — whether unintentionally or not.

Exclusive API Integrations and Access to Special Apps

Shopify Plus has a huge amount of unique applications and API integrations that aren’t available to regular Shopify users. These are typically designed to focus on improving conversions and efficiency on both the front and back ends. 

A couple of common examples of third-party app integrations include GiftCard and Multipass. These types of integrations address specific needs that help your business run more smoothly. For example, GiftCard allows your business to create and manage gift cards, which can be incredibly lucrative. Likewise, Multipass creates an effortless login experience by allowing consumers to sign in with the same email address they use on your website. 

Shopify Plus allows you to access groups and resources that are not available with a typical Shopify option. In addition, Shopify Plus has an exclusive directory of partners who share their knowledge on ecommerce so that you are always ahead of the curve.  

While Shopify Plus has a diverse range of third-party apps, you can also create your own private applications either alone or with partners on Spotify Plus. Your apps can be used to build custom features you want for your website, or they can be marketed toward a wider audience. 

Wholesale Channels are Only Available on Shopify Plus

If you are a business-to-business wholesaler, Spotify Plus is probably the best direction to go in. A huge milestone in ecommerce, wholesale channels allow you to focus solely or partly on B2B marketing and sales strategies

Shopify Plus is designed with business-to-business wholesalers in mind, but can also be used to create elegant solutions for business-to-consumer models as well. In fact, you are able to structure multiple businesses in Shopify Plus any way you would like; Shopify Plus creates a system that can organize and separate the analytics and plans for each storefront you own, and you can even create a set of passwords for each of your endeavors. 

What Does Shopify Plus Usually Cost? 

Since Shopify Plus has premium features, it comes as no surprise that it also comes at a premium price tag. Shopify Plus has a pricing structure designed for large businesses and corporations, so if you are working a small operation, it may seem like a huge number. However, if you can save a lot of money by not hiring a huge number of staff members, and you can benefit from your conversions increasing on a large scale, Shopify Plus is just another drop in the bucket. 

Shopify Plus offers plans that start at $2,000 a month, or 0.25% of your overall sales, capped at $40,000 (whichever is greater). If you are a small business, the benefits of Shopify Plus probably don’t outweigh the cost. However, if you are running a large business or corporation, the money Shopify Plus saves, along with the boost in sales, typically makes the integration worth it. 

How to Use Shopify Plus to Take Your eCommerce Website to the Next Level 

If you are a small business owner, you probably aren’t going to benefit from everything Shopify Plus has to offer, and the cost is typically much too high. In that case, the normal Shopify platform has plenty of features that are better geared toward your business model. 

However, for large companies, Shopify Plus can help you advance your business with its unique customization features, specialized support staff members, and exclusive API integrations and apps that help you improve your bottom line. If you have a business-to-business company, or if you are the owner of a large company or organization, Shopify Plus has features that are hard to beat for the price point.

When migrating to Shopify Plus, make sure you are taking full advantage of their support team, including their solutions engineer and launch engineer assigned to your company. You should feel comfortable asking them any questions you may have, and requesting help when integrating new apps or design features. 

If you have multiple Shopify stores, Shopify Plus is able to create a much more efficient workflow, keeping everything in one place and allowing you to monitor all of your analytics and sales data on a single dashboard. 

Finally, utilize the unlimited staff accounts by giving all of your relevant employees access to the information and tools they need to be able to excel at their jobs and make everything run more smoothly. 

Image Credit: photomix company; pexels; thank you!

Sean Richards

Sean Richards

VP of Strategy & Partnerships for Vincit

Sean Richards is the VP of Strategy & Partnerships for Vincit. Prior to Vincit, Richards provided business development, digital marketing strategy and partnership development at several reputable companies and marketing agencies in both California and Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Design Management from Arizona State University.

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