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Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: What's the Difference?

Co-founder, CEO
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5 Mins

To someone with no eCommerce background, Shopify and Shopify Plus might mean one and the same thing. And technically speaking, they are not wrong. The differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus are subtle and can be easily missed. In this guide, we will help you decide which side to lean on when it comes to the Shopify vs. Shopify Plus debate. 

For the uninitiated, Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world. According to estimates, over 1.75+ million businesses use Shopify globally. On the other hand, there are over 25,000 domains running Shopify Plus.

Research further indicates that Shopify Plus stores have witnessed a 19% growth year-over-year in 2022. Needless to say, both Shopify and Shopify Plus are experiencing skyrocketing growth and have some of the world's best brands on their roster, such as Kylie Cosmetics, Steve Madden, Sephora, etc.

Consider this to be your go-to guide for Shopify vs. Shopify Plus. We will deep-dive into a comparative study of both, which includes analyzing their features, advantages, price points, and key differences. Let's jump right in.

Starting with the Basics: What is Shopify?

Shopify is an eCommerce platform founded by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake, which empowers people to:

  • Create and set up an online store or a 'buying portal' for customers
  • Sell their products - be it online, on social media, in-store, or through other marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, etc.
  • Leverage unique eCommerce features such as customized themes for the website, great plugins, 24x7 customer support, and more

Shopify's unique features include access to professional themes, domain names, branding, and blogging. You also get access to the shopping cart and store management options (think: refunds, abandoned checkout recovery, automatic carrier shipping rates, customer profiles, marketing, SEO, Google Ads credits, social media integrations, etc.)

Shopify's core functionalities are best suited for smaller and medium-sized businesses as well as individuals who wish to sell online. After all, kickstarting an eCommerce business can be a challenging affair. If you are someone who wants to get your eCommerce business off the ground with the right foundation in place, Shopify is worth trying out.

So Then, What Exactly is Shopify Plus?

As the name suggests, Shopify Plus is an upgrade of Shopify  – it inherits the best features, functionalities, support, and integrations that Shopify has to offer and makes it even better. Shopify Plus is an omnichannel enterprise-level platform. 

Shopify Plus' unique features include access to the Shopify organization admin, which lets you manage all your stores from a centralized location. You can also integrate with custom apps and access innovative programs such as Shopify Plus Partner Program, Shopify POS Pro, and Shopify Plus Community on Facebook.

The takeaway: The primary distinction between Shopify and Shopify Plus is that both target a different customer base and have different pricing plans. The more cost-effective option of the two, Shopify, is aimed at smaller businesses, whereas Shopify Plus strategically targets larger enterprises. According to Shopify, stores typically upgrade to Plus when sales hit the $80,000 USD per month mark.

13 Main Differences Between Shopify & Shopify Plus

As mentioned earlier, Shopify Plus offers the same core functionalities and features as Shopify, in addition to more advanced features, integrations, and additional support. Let’s look at what they are. 

Key Parameters

Shopify Advantages & Shopify Features

Shopify Plus Advantages & Shopify Plus Features

1. Dedicated Account Manager

  • Provides support via platforms such as phone, email, live chat, etc.
  • Users can hire Shopify Experts
  • Offers customized and dedicated support for the store
  • Provides access to a Launch Engineer to handle your website from start to finish, which includes store setup, migration, identifying partners, understanding the right kind of third-party integrations to use, etc.

2. Theme customization

  • Allows users to customize the available Shopify themes; however, they cannot switch to a brand-new theme
  • Offers a higher level of customization,
  • Offers access to Shopify’s theme language, Liquid, so that you can make coding changes at the backend and exercise greater control

3. Staff accounts

  • Permits only limited staff accounts
  • Allows users to add unlimited staff accounts and enable additional permission settings
  • Enables store owners to control the actions of staff 

4. Control over checkout

  • Does not allow users to offer a customized checkout experience without downloading special external apps first
  • Allows store owners to leverage a greater customized checkout experience, depending on shopping cart values or other predefined conditions
  • Enables users to use Shopify Scripts to personalize shipping methods, customer fields, payment options, etc.

5. API integrations

  • API integration for Shopify is limited and not as extensive as Shopify Plus
  • Offers enhanced API resources (think: GiftCard, User, Multipass Login, etc.)
  • Empowers users to integrate with customized apps or create private apps

6. Exclusive apps

  • Shopify users don't get access to exclusive apps as mentioned on the right
  • Allows users to use exclusive apps via the app store such as Wholesale channel, Shopify Flow, Launchpad, Script Editor, Transporter App, and Bulk Account Inviter

7. Integration with existing platforms

  • Shopify users can't integrate with highly complex existing apps
  • Shopify Plus' API allows users to easily integrate with more complex existing apps such as ERP, CRM, WMS, PIM, etc.

8. Access to wholesale channels

  • Shopify users don't have access to wholesale channels and their associated features
  • Allows store owners to sell products in bulk to wholesale sellers via the wholesale channel
  • This channel allows users to:

- Create a separate password-protected storefront to sell the same or wholesale-only products at exclusive prices to wholesale buyers

- Offer customized price lists or discount codes

- Send invoices

- Track orders

- Leverage existing product data and integration

9. Merchant Success Program

  • Shopify users don't qualify for the Merchant Success Program
  • Provides access to a Merchant Success Manager who helps store owners to get the most out of the platform in terms of third-party integrations, products, etc.
  • Offers 24x7 support, allowing users to clearly visualize their business plan as well as vision
  • Helps store owners to find ready access to approved Shopify Plus Partners
  • Provides extensive support by way of webinars, training videos from industry experts, online courses, checklists, and more

10. Access to additional resources

  • Shopify users don't get access to exclusive resources as mentioned on the right
  • Shopify Plus provides users access to additional resources such as a Facebook community, Partners Directory, special beta programs, Shopify Plus Academy, and so on 

11. Unified dashboard with in-depth analytics

  • The analytics feature is not as advanced for basic Shopify users; it does, however, offer a centralized dashboard
  • Users get access to a centralized dashboard  to manage stores, analytics, staff accounts, user permissions, automation tools, and so on
  • An analytics dashboard shows critical stats such as sales, best-selling products, returning customer rates, and more
  • Users also get access to expert data and insights as well as up-to-date reports; this real-time data can be used to improve business performance and accelerate goals

12. Pricing

  • Shopify Lite starts at $5 a month
  • Shopify Basic costs $29 per month
  • Shopify Advanced costs $79 per month and is ideal for expanding businesses
  • Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 USD a month

13. eCommerce automation tools

  • Shopify does not provide access to automation tools mentioned on the right
  • Shopify Plus provides access to two most important automation tools:

1. Launchpad, which allows businesses to :

- Handle event tasks such as scheduling, coordinating, and implementing events 

(think: product drops, restock of inventory, etc.)

- Track the performance of event progress by analyzing the real-time analytics dashboard within the app

2. Shopify Flow enables businesses to automate key eCommerce processes and systems such as customer service, order management, risk management, marketing, inventory tracking, etc.

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: Which One is Right for Your Business?

Now that we've looked at the basic differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus, let's understand which one makes sense for your business. 

Here's a quick comparison of the two platforms, keeping the following 'deciding factors' in mind:

Deciding Factor


Shopify Plus

1. Cost of the software and detailed pricing

  • $79 per month
  • $2,000 per month

2. Length of the contract

  • Available monthly, annually, or biennially
  • Available monthly, annually, or biennially

3. Ease of use

  • It is extremely easy to use, thanks to a user-friendly and intuitive user interface
  • Comes with a learning curve; users may need expert help, particularly at the beginning

4. Live support

  • Offers 24x7 support via phone, email, and chat
  • Offers 24x7 support via phone, email, and chat
  • Allows businesses to leverage the expertise of an Expert Consultant

5. Cost of payment processing 

  • 2.9% + 30 cents for online card sales 
  • In-person transaction fee of 2.5%
  • Online transaction fee of 2.6% plus 30 cents
  • Non-Shopify payments fee of 1%
  • Quote-based payment with variable components; users will need to talk to a Shopify representative to get an accurate quote 
  • In-person transaction fee is based on your credit card sales volume.
  • Online transaction fee is based on your credit card sales volume.
  • Non-Shopify payments fee of 0.15%

6. Number of inventory locations

  • Up to 5
  • It provides the following functionalities:

- The ability to assign your stock to individual stores, pop-up locations, warehouses, etc.

- The ability to use an advanced tool for inventory management called Shopify POS Pro, which offers more staff permissions, enhanced inventory management, and faster workflows for $89 a month per location

  • Up to 20

7. Access to an online store

  • Yes
  • Yes

8. Unlimited products

  • Yes
  • Yes

9. Number of staff accounts

  • 5
  • Unlimited

10. Level of reporting

  • Standard
  • Advanced

11. Sales limit

  • Shopify gently suggests a limit of 100,000 though technically it is unlimited
  • Unrestricted sales limits

Based on these deciding factors, here is what we believe are the top 4 advantages for Shopify and Shopify Plus:

Shopify: Ideal for Smaller Businesses and Individuals

Shopify Plus: Ideal for Mid-Size and Larger Enterprises

Advantage #1: Users pay for what they use. Shopify offers more relevant features at affordable costs. The features are scalable, so businesses can make use of them as they expand

Advantage #1: Shopify Plus offers enhanced omnichannel sales features such as Shopify checkout upgrade, Shopify product recommendations, the ability to map the sales channels with omnichannel analytics, the capability to track orders, customer data, inventory, and analyze how customers are interacting with the business, etc.

Advantage #2: Shopify empowers users to self-customize themes and design with Liquid, an open-source template language to edit HTML or CSS

Advantage #2: Shopify Plus allows users to customize using the Launch Manager or by using the Script Editor on the checkout page.

Advantage #3: Shopify offers the following cost-effective three-tier plans:

  • Basic Shopify ($29/month)
  • Shopify ($79/month)
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/month)

Advantage #3: Shopify Plus provides support for 20 languages as opposed to Shopify's 5-language support

Advantage #4: You don't need any coding knowledge to get started with Shopify. With 24x7 customer support, you can easily set up a business within minutes.

Advantage #4: Shopify Plus offers access to a one-of-a-kind community comprising Shopify Plus Academy, Facebook Community, meetups and invitation-only events, etc.

Key takeaway: To summarize, Shopify is best for growing small to medium sized businesses that need core and robust eCommerce features such as inventory management, shipping, and competitive payment processing. If you have an eCommerce business with multiple locations, Shopify is the way to go.

Shopify Plus, a way more expensive plan, is more suited for larger enterprises that engage in high-volume multichannel selling and want advanced features such as international shipping fulfillment, international payment processing in multiple currencies and languages, the ability to monitor real-time analytics for omnichannel sales, 3D modeling of online store products, automated workflows, and so on.

In Summary: Shopify vs. Shopify Plus - Is There a Better Choice?

To recap, let’s look at how to make the right choice between Shopify vs Shopify Plus.

While both have the same core offering, which includes the basic eCommerce features and a dashboard, Shopify Plus is a more advanced version of Shopify, offering greater customization, flexibility, support options, integrations, and access to the store's underlying code. Users can also benefit from end-to-end automated workflows for key processes (think: scheduling sales, driving marketing campaigns, automating inventory decisions, adding 3D product videos to the website, etc.).Opt for Shopify Plus if you are a large enterprise, dealing with high-volume sales and millions of monthly orders.

In stark contrast, Shopify is ideal for smaller businesses and individuals looking for an eCommerce store with a few basic functionalities. If you have little to no knowledge of how to set up an online store, Shopify can double up as your handy guide.

There you go. We've covered nearly every aspect you need to know about when analyzing Shopify vs. Shopify Plus. Now that you better understand how the two plans work, make an informed decision by factoring in your specific business needs. Select the right platform to boost your eCommerce store to legendary status.


How much is Shopify Plus, and how do I purchase it?

The pricing for Shopify Plus is quote-based, with the starting price at $2000 per month for standard setups and integrations. It has multiple variable components, and the final price depends on credit card sales volume. Say your business reaches $800,000 per month in sales; you'll be charged on a revenue-based model, maxing out at roughly $40,000 a month. To get more details, you'll need to connect with a Shopify representative.

Between Shopify and Shopify Plus, which is a faster option?

While the core features for Shopify and Shopify Plus remain the same, however, when it comes to speed, we suggest going for the Shopify Plus option as it:

  • Enables large-scale businesses to scale their operations at lightning speed
  • Offers user-friendly automated workflows
  • Provides extensive support option
  • Offers greater access to the store's code, allowing you to drive flexible growth 

Is Shopify worth the investment?

Irrespective of your business size and scope, Shopify is worth considering. Its biggest advantage includes providing automated workflows and empowering businesses to scale with rapid speed. Plus, it offers choices thanks to the different plans and pricing models available. The reputed platform helps boost customer loyalty and improve trust as well as confidence in the brand. Its add-on eCommerce functionalities, extensive support, and user-friendly integration features make it a lucrative choice for small and large businesses alike. 

When should I upgrade to the Shopify Plus plan?

When thinking about the 'right time' to upgrade to a Shopify plan, consider the following three important factors:

  • Your business's annual revenue as Shopify Plus is an expensive model; ideally, your business should be earning about 1 million dollars annually at the minimum as the pricing for the plan alone costs about $2000 a month 
  • The number of people working in your organization: If your business is scaling rapidly and you need unlimited user accounts, Shopify Plus is the way to go
  • The frequency and intensity of repetitive tasks: The Shopify Plus plan offers access to eCommerce automation tools. It also provides access to Shopify Plus Partners - a program which supports Shopify merchants by offering end-to-end support for custom website development, migration from other platforms, marketing, branding, and ongoing strategy services, UX and design, and more so that they can run operations seamlessly and handle repetitive tasks at scale

If your business ticks all the checkboxes, it might be a good idea to switch to the Shopify Plus plan. Plus, if your business has leveraged the most that Shopify has to offer, switch to the Shopify Plus plan.

What are the main differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

The regular Shopify plan is ideal for smaller businesses and individuals who want core eCommerce tools. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, offers enterprise-grade features, such as improved access to the Shopify API, the ability for unlimited users to set up an account, enhanced multi-currency selling features, ready access to the entire suite of Shopify POS tools, and a hyper-customized and upgraded checkout process. Needless to say, Shopify Plus is ideal for larger businesses that deal with high-volume transactions and millions in sales.

How can I upgrade to Shopify Plus?

You can upgrade from Shopify to Shopify Plus in two ways:

  • One, by migrating with a third-party automated tool.
  • Two, by contacting the team at Shopify, who will provide you with all the help, guidance, and resources you need to make the shift happen.

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