Shopify Plus Prices & Features
A Complete Review for 2018
Updated: December 17, 2017
Who Should Read This?
If you’re thinking of upgrading your regular Shopify account to Shopify Plus, or migrating to Shopify Plus from another platform, you’ve come to the right place.
Read this entire guide to come to the right decision for your online business.
What is Shopify Plus?
As of the end of 2017, Shopify Plus is the highest plan tier on the Shopify platform. It’s a program that’s aimed at merchants who are growing to the point where their business is generating $1 million dollars or more in revenue per year.
Traditionally when online businesses get larger, they start looking toward building a more customizable ecommerce solution using platforms like Magento.
If you’re not familiar with ecommerce software, Magento is another ecommerce platform. However, it’s different than the SAAS (software as a service) platform that you’re used to if all you’ve been exposed to is Shopify.
Billing itself as “the world’s #1 ecommerce platform”, Magento is an open source ecommerce software. In other words, you can download it and set it up yourself.
One of the biggest selling points to it is that it’s customizable. This is a big reason why extremely large companies use them: they can create an ecommerce website to what they need it to be.
Think of all the ways that you might want to customize your online store:
- Adding upsells during the checkout
- Product bundling
- Offering subscriptions and recurring billing options
Unfortunately, Magento practically requires an entire in-house development team to make things work the way you want it. Forget about the “set it and forget it” approach. If you’re a business that doesn’t have a dedicated IT (information technology) team, you’re stuck.
When Shopify first got started, its goal was to target small and medium sized businesses and helping these customers get online. In an effort to get merchants to stay on the Shopify platform and to entice larger customers, Shopify added a super high-end tier, Shopify Plus, in 2014.
Why do larger companies choose Shopify Plus over Magento?
One of the biggest reasons is that outsourcing your ecommerce software is, over the long run, cheaper.
As we alluded to earlier, when you’re running a customized web application as complicated as Magento, it’s like you’re driving a custom-made car. If you needed something fixed, you would need a mechanic that knows how to fix that one specific car.
In certain use cases, Magento does make sense. Say you’re Walmart or McDonald’s and your business requires a lot of customized functionality and having your own development team (a 3 person team would cost $300,000 USD per year to start) isn’t an issue.
For most businesses, however, it’s an overkill and simply adds unnecessary overhead.
Shopify Plus vs (Regular) Shopify
If you’re a “regular” Shopify merchant, one of the things you’ll naturally ask is “What’s the difference between a regular Shopify plan and the Plus one?”
Customizable backend & checkout
In your regular Shopify account, you’ll notice that you can’t modify anything in your checkout pages. Yes, you can edit the CSS slightly or add a Google Analytics code, but if you want to edit it the same way you edit your Shopify theme, you’re out of luck.
For Shopify Plus customers, however, the checkout pages are somewhat customizable. (I’d say “somewhat” because there are limitations on what you can customize.)
The entire layout can be edited in a file called checkout.liquid. This file isn’t available in regular Shopify accounts.
What you cannot do is add or remove steps in the Shopify checkout flow. Say, for example, you want to add an upsell page after the customer has entered the credit card — you can’t do that. You can, however, using Shopify Scripts (see below) achieve something like it.
Shopify Payment Transaction Fees
Shopify will charge 0.25% of your gross revenue per month if you’re using Shopify Plus. Note, however, that Shopify will charge you a minimum of $2000 USD (as of the end of 2017) regardless if you’re on the Plus plan.
According to an existing customer, this means that unless you’re grossing $800,000 per month, the minimum cost will be $2000 per month.
Non-Shopify Payment Transaction Fees
If you’re using Shopify but you’re not using Shopify Plus, then you need to pay a transaction fee on top of your payment gateway fee.
So say your payment gateway fees are 2%, Shopify will charge you an extra 0.5% to 2% (depending on your plan) additional transaction fee. For Shopify Plus customers, this is lowered to 0.15%.
Shopify Script is a programming language to create custom behaviour in your store. Say a customer adds or removes an item from the shopping cart, you can then instruct your store to adjust promotions.
The most common use case would be for buy one get one free, and to adjust the pricing accordingly.
You’ll need to learn a bit of Ruby in order to take advantage of this as Shopify Scripts is based on the Ruby language.
Do I Need Shopify Plus?
You might be asking yourself if you need Shopify Plus.
Beginning in 2017, you might have noticed a lot of Shopify Partners (read: affiliates) as well as outreach by the Shopify sales team bombarding you with emails and phone calls to upgrade to Shopify Plus.
There has been a big push to get accounts to upgrade. Without trying much, you’ll easily see that practically every one is trying to get you to sign up due to the commissions that come with getting you to upgrade.
The real question is whether your business gets enough value.
Assuming that you’re already on Shopify’s Advance Plan and you’re currently paying $299 per month, what do you get back in value that’s worth $1701 (ie. the difference between paying $2000 per month vs $299)?
This is a question many merchants have asked themselves and many have been scratching their head trying to justify paying more for what is essentially the same product.
Yes, there are certain features that are nice to haves, but the actual product itself still can’t do some things out of the box:
- Recurring billing
- Upsells during the checkout pages
- Product bundling
- Fully customizable checkout flow
If you’re starting to wonder whether Shopify Plus is too expensive and isn’t worth the expense, you’re not the only one.
Depending on where you hang out on the internet, it’s hard to get an honest opinion of what the right answer is for your business. The reason for this is that there are a lot of Shopify Partners who are incentivized by the bonus (read: affiliate commissions) they get in moving your store to the Shopify Plus plan.
As well, the revenue provided by Shopify Plus merchants represent one of the biggest sources of income for Shopify as it is described in their annual report.
As a result of all this, it can be hard to separate out what’s simply marketing versus actual benefit.
Shopify Plus is right for some
If you’re an online store that’s growing to the point where you’re doing $1M per month, there are some perks.
The lower rate that you get with Shopify Payments is an obvious one if you’re using them.
Having a direct account manager can come in handy — although Shopify’s own support for their regular merchants seem to be quite capable already, which is why I didn’t bother mentioning them earlier.
If you’re looking to keep everything on one platform and minimize the use of apps, then Shopify Scripts is probably one of the biggest reasons to use Shopify Plus.
When it may not be right to use Shopify Plus
I think revenue plays a huge part here. If you’re “only” pulling in $100000 USD per month, then Shopify Plus can represent a huge cost for your business — about 2% of revenue.
This represents an opportunity cost of what you could be doing with your revenue instead.
Here’s what $2000 USD (the minimum cost of Shopify Plus) could buy you:
- A full time virtual assistant to manage your business
- More inventory
- $24000 USD per year in Facebook ads
Do you see where I’m having the problem justifying the cost when their regular plans seem to work just as well?
Like I said, things don’t really start making sense financially until you’re scaling to $1 M per month in revenue.
Shopify Plus Cost
You won’t find the monthly price of the Plus plan on Shopify’s website. The reason for this is that this is a high priced plan that went through a big price increase in February 2017.
As was alluded to above, the minimum cost per month is $2000 as of December 2017. It’s likely that this price will increase in the future.
The pricing can be as high as $40000 per month depending on your revenue as well as Shopify has switched to a pricing model that’s based on a percentage of your revenue.
There are also other costs that’s hidden from the $2000 per month price tag. As with all customizations, you’ll likely need to hire developers to work on your store.
Larger ecommerce store owners don’t tend to do it all themselves — after all, scaling required building a team. Again, this will cost money if you’re planning on customizing your checkout page, for example.
Cartfunnel: A Shopify Plus Alternative
Believe it or not, your existing Shopify website can already do a lot. For most businesses, the real difference between a regular Shopify plan and a Plus plan comes down to 2 features:
- Checkout page customizability
- Customizability of when customers add or remove items from the cart via Shopify Scripts
What if I told you that you can do the same thing (and more) for much less than $2000 per month — say $84 per month?
Keep Your Shopify Plan. Replace Your Shopify Checkout.
Cartfunnel is a checkout replacement for your Shopify store that allows you the level of customization that most online stores need:
- Customize every single page in your checkout flow with our drag and drop editor as well as with HTML Liquid templates
- One page checkout available (coming soon)
- Sell subscriptions (recurring billing) with customizable billing cycles and product queueing
- One click upsells both before and after customer payment
- Support for Stripe, Braintree, and a number of other niche payment gateway providers
- Product bundling
- Customizable customer portal
- Abandoned cart recovery emails
You can upgrade your entire Shopify workflow without having to upgrade to Shopify Plus. In fact, Cartfunnel may be the only upgrade you’ll need without needing to install a bunch of apps from the Shopify App Store. Take a look at how Cartfunnel integrates with Shopify.
Cartfunnel also works with any website, not just Shopify.
How much does Cartfunnel cost?
Plans start at $84, but the best place to find out more is on the pricing page. If you’re not yet ready for Shopify Plus or it isn’t the right fit for your business, Cartfunnel may be the best solution for your business.
There’s an ecommerce platform for everyone. For the small and medium sized online businesses, Shopify Plus is a bit of a stretch in terms of what you get for pricing.
For larger, enterprise customers, it’s really a question of whether you want to use a full on customizable solution like Magento versus using a specialized provider like Shopify.
Cartfunnel is a true alternative if you’re looking to add more functionality to your ecommerce store — specifically if you want to make changes to your checkout pages with subscriptions and upsells. Its template system (also based on the Liquid template language) makes it easy to modify the checkout pages yourself or by a developer you already work with.
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