Choosing an eCommerce Platform: Shopify vs. Shopify Plus

If you’re an eCommerce business owner, you know how much hard work and sweat goes into growth. Bringing in new systems and partners is an integral part of scaling up, but it's not a decision to make lightly. An eCommerce platform needs to fit the company budget while providing tools and flexibility to accommodate rapid sales and team growth. 

Shopify is often one of the first names to come up in conversation when discussing eCommerce — and with good reason. Started by a small snowboarding equipment company that developed an online store, Shopify has now grown into a global platform powering more than one million businesses.

Unlike other website builders that offer eCommerce functionality as an add-on, Shopify is focused on commerce first. The service offers multiple tiers to suit all online businesses, from solo entrepreneurs through international enterprises. Standard Shopify plans provide all-in-one solutions that help entrepreneurs and small teams grow website sales. When a business outgrows Shopify's four starter plans, they can turn to Shopify Plus.

What is Shopify Plus?

Large businesses, typically generating one million or more in annual revenue, need more flexibility than offered by standard Shopify plans. Shopify Plus allows enterprises the flexibility to sell high volumes across multiple digital and brick-and-mortar channels. The platform has many big-name enterprise customers, including Heinz, Staples, Unilever, Pepsi, Kylie Jenner and Magnolia.

It is not necessary to be a Shopify basic customer first to use Shopify Plus. New Plus customers will receive dedicated help from the Plus team to ensure a smooth and easy migration.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus Features


Shopify Features

Shopify's small business customers manage their entire site from a linked backend and front end optimized for online sales. Each plan offers a varying level of support for apps that plug into the Shopify API, a point-of-sale system, and multi-channel sales. Shopify merchants manage their backend and front end through a web-based portal. The easy-to-use interface allows for creating eCommerce and blog content. It works with a suite of Shopify apps that meet most small business owners' needs. 

Shopify adapts to any product, physical or digital. While the service is a favorite of D2C brands thanks to its mobile-friendly design and drop-shipping automation, B2B brands can tailor the site to attract corporate customers.

The Shopify service is optimal for small and growing businesses. Large enterprise customers who need expansive point-of-sale system and channel integrations will benefit from Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus Features

Shopify Plus offers great flexibility through its headless design. Unlike smaller plan options that tie the backend to Shopify's front end, the Plus platform enables enterprise customers to sell through over 20 different channels, including:

  • Facebook and Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • eBay
  • Pinterest
  • Groupon

Transactions, inventory management and product information are all managed through a clean and intuitive Shopify backend. This data can then push out to multiple sales channels through Shopify's API. 

Multi-Channel Shopify Plus Checkout

Shopify Plus customers can sell online, in apps, on social media and more. Because every transaction processes through the Shopify backend, it's possible to offer customers a cohesive checkout experience regardless of their entry point.

Businesses can build out their carts with custom fields, gift options, address tools and breadcrumbs that show the checkout journey. 

The Plus checkout platform is capable of handling multiple global currencies in a single shop. Companies may also create up to nine "expansion" stores dedicated to a specific region, physical store location or other differentiating factors. Plus, checkout can be customized to suit B2C/D2C transactions or a B2B model. There's even the option to create a separate wholesale store. 

Shoppers can log in with social or connect to an existing Shop Pay account by entering their phone number on the customer side. This quick and easy checkout process works across social media, web and apps. 

While broad multi-channel integration is limited to enterprise accounts, all Shopify customers — basic and Plus — can benefit from the Shop app. Shop Pay orders immediately integrate into the app for package tracking and retargeting purposes. When a customer opens the Shop app, they can see details of all past and current transactions across Shopify. From here, they can quickly access more products from favorite stores via an in-app shopping tab.

Easy Shopify Flow Automations

Shopify Plus focuses on smooth integration and growth. Their Flow service makes large-scale automation easy with a visual, block-based flow builder and plug-and-play templates. With Flow, businesses can set up complete automation without coding or tinkering in the tech stack. Flow is ideal for eliminating back-and-forth legwork. Shopify suggests flows to address:

  • Starting support tickets for negative reviews
  • Daily data reports to team members
  • Customer segmentation
  • Conversion tracking
  • Inventory notifications
  • Order management
  • Loyalty points
  • Discount offers

Flow can integrate with and send data to many project management tools including Asana, Trello and Google Sheets.

Technical Support for Shopify Plus Customers

Shopify Plus takes technical details off business' hands, freeing sellers up to focus on products and customers. The program supports rapid launching (Shopify claims it is up to 50% faster than other enterprise platforms), and every new Shopify Plus account is paired with a Launch Engineer to assist with migration and setup. Future updates deploy automatically. 

Shopify continues to add new features for its Plus companies, such as augmented reality options that help shoppers visualize a product in their surroundings.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus Pricing

Small to medium-size businesses can choose from four Shopify plans ranging in price from $9 to $299 USD a month. Each plan offers competitive credit card processing rates in line with those assessed through other processors like Square or Stripe. At its highest tier, Shopify accommodates up to 15 staff accounts.

Plus plans begin at $2,000 USD a month. Because Plus is designed specifically for large enterprise customers generating millions in sales, it is necessary to speak directly with a Shopify Plus representative to develop a package. Shopify states that Plus stores will be live and processing transactions in no more than 90 days. Plus also allows for an unlimited number of user accounts, perfect for large multi-department teams.

Sparkfive Support for Shopify Businesses

Shopify accounts accommodate multiple users — from two at the basic level through an unlimited number with Plus. 

As companies grow and add more employees, juggling multiple accounts across every service can become a job in itself. Shopify, Google Drive, Analytics, social media, project management apps, Slack, image libraries and more are part of the eCommerce workflow. 

Rather than maintaining a continual back and forth across multiple channels — and making sure that your coworkers placed shared files in the right cloud — why not move toward a single management hub? 

Sparkfive is a one-stop solution designed by and for eCommerce businesses. Through Sparkfive's web interface you can tag and manage every digital brand asset, and schedule and assign marketing tasks to the whole team. View our pro and premium plan features for growing businesses or get in touch to learn more about our offering for enterprise customers. 

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