Shopify's enterprise solution, Shopify Plus, was created in 2014 with the aim of competing with enterprise ecommerce platforms like Magento and Volusion. It's a fully hosted enterprise platform and is specifically designed for established high-turnover ecommerce websites or those experiencing high growth and needing to scale quickly.
If you're a merchant considering using Shopify Plus for your business then you will no doubt have a lot of questions that you are searching for the answer for before making that commitment.
Some of the most common questions that potential users of Shopify Plus have are:
- How much does Shopify Plus cost?
- What additional costs might a business have to pay? (e.g. theme design, app development)
- What are the charges for using Shopify Payments?
- Will you have to pay a transaction fee for other gateways (e.g. PayPal or Stripe)?
- How easily can data be migrated?
- What companies can assist with a Shopify Plus migration?
- What are the benefits of using Shopify Plus?
Let's take a deep dive into these questions, and other topics, to help you make the right decision for your business.
How much does Shopify Plus cost?
Shopify Plus monthly costs
Shopify Plus pricing has a base of $2,000 per month. This will grant you a Shopify Plus license, with which you can then create up to 9 "expansion stores" (as Shopify terms them). Expansion stores are commonly used to create websites in other languages or to target specific countries - so if you're a UK merchant but keen to expand into Europe you might use your expansion stores to create websites in France, Germany, Spain etc.
9 expansion stores are included within the base Shopify Plus price.
If all the stores covered under your license turnover less than around $10 million per year your fee will be $2,000 per month.
If the stores turnover more than $10 million per year, Shopify will charge an additional 0.25% of store sales per month. For stores with a particularly high turnover, using Shopify Plus can be expensive. Fees are capped at $40,000 per month (only really applicable for stores with a turnover greater than $15 million per month).
Shopify Plus is expensive, but certainly you get what you pay for.
You can read more about Shopify Plus pricing here.
What are the costs for using Shopify Payments?
Shopify Payments, Shopify's payment gateway, is available for Shopify Plus merchants at reduced rates from the standard 2.2% +20p per transaction model that Shopify offers to its smaller sized merchants.
Rates are negotiated directly with Shopify and will depend on the average transaction size, type of business that you have (e.g. B2B, B2C) and your order volume. You can expect to pay perhaps between 1%-1.5% plus a fee of around 15p-20p for each transaction. Shopify Payments is therefore a substantially more expensive payment solution than payment gateways like Stripe (which offers large discounts for high volumes) and gateways like Opayo or WorldPay.
What are app costs when using Shopify Plus?
Shopify's app store hosts thousands of apps designed to increase the functionality available on both your website's storefront and your administration system.
Most of the apps available have a monthly fee, dependent on the amount of data that you're processing with the app. For example, an app that adds some kind of functionality to orders and order processing will likely have a few different packages to choose from - the more orders you process through the app the highly the monthly fee you will pay.
App charges range from a few dollars a month to up to $500 a month. Most apps however do come with a free trial so that you can try the app first and make sure its worthwhile for you to install, setup and use.
To migrate your store from your existing platform to Shopify Plus you are inevitably going to incur a migration cost - unless you plan on doing all of the work yourself.
The full cost for a migration to Shopify Plus is hard to quantify as it will be heavily dependent on your business's circumstances, the "state" of the data that you want to migrate and how much data there is to move.
Migration of data usually costs somewhere between $5,000 - $15,000.
Migration is not just about data, your new online store on Shopify will need a design and its likely that one of Shopify's standard themes is not going to be sufficient for your needs. You'll therefore need to budget for a custom theme design and implementation. Pricing for a bespoke Shopify Plus theme is expensive and you should budget between $10,000 - $30,000.
Existing business processes that you have internally will also need to be migrated to Shopify Plus. This is an in-house/training cost but it should be factored in.
Finally, you may also find you need one or more bespoke apps created for your business so that you can better manage your store to your own bespoke requirements. As with a custom design, pricing for bespoke app development can be expensive but more difficulty to quantity without knowing your exact requirements - budgets of up to $100,000 for bespoke app development are not uncommon.
Shopify Plus - scaling your business
Shopify Flow is an automation tool to help merchants with inventory and order processes that previously had to be completed manually. With Shopify Flow, merchants get access to functionality that:
Launchpad is another great tool for Shopify Plus and many of Shopify's larger merchants create weekly or monthly product launches, promotions or flash sales. Preparing for such events can be a time intensive process - the goal of Launchpad is to help to automate these processes as a kind of automated command centre for major sales events.
Launchpad allows merchants to:
- Schedule product launches
- Schedule price changes
- Adjust inventory levels automatically
- Create automatically deployed theme customisations
You can read more about Launchpad here.
Shop Pay is an accelerated checkout method that allows customers to checkout quickly.
Customers can skip entering address information and all their data is linked to their phone number. A 6 digit verification code is sent to their phone, they enter the code into the checkout on a Shopify store and all of their details are pre-filled (including credit/debit card information).
Customer details are not linked to a specific device or browser and once registered, a customer can take advantage of using Shop Pay across any Shopify provided store that supports it. Customers can therefore check out in just a few seconds without having to fill out forms.
Shopify Plus performance
Your website will be hosted on Shopify's servers and is a fully hosted solution.
Using Shopify Plus, you won't have to maintain your own set of servers to provide your website. Instead Shopify's infrastructure takes care of all of those needs for you. It also removes the need for a dedicated set of engineers to help support your own infrastructure (which can be costly).
Uptime & CDN
Shopify maintain a large bank of servers at Rackspace which is one of the largest and most reliable hosting companies in the world. Shopify guarantees 99.99% uptime for your website.
Shopify handles scaling automatically by taking advantage of automatic instance deployment at times of peak demand and traffic to your website. Shopify Plus can therefore handle whatever traffic your customers can throw at your website. And you can forget about any worries surrounding large events like Black Friday or flash sales that you want to promote.
Shopify also uses a CDN to deliver static assets (images, CSS, JS files) to user browsers quickly and efficiently. A CDN places copies of this content across servers located around the world so that a user does not have to wait for the asset to download from a server far away from their own location. Instead the CDN serves the asset from the closest location to the customer, reducing load times and ensuring that your website loads fast for a user wherever they are in the world.
Shopify Plus merchants get access to much greater API limits than traditional Shopify stores. They also get access to new API scripts before traditional Shopify merchants.
The flexibility of Shopify's API also assists with creating data "at scale".
- Use the Discount API to create large numbers of discounts codes
- Use the Gift Card API to create large numbers of gift card codes
Shopify Scripts lets you run your own code on Shopify's servers, and the possibilities for the functionality that this enables are endless. Using Shopify Scripts you can create a larger number of features that ordinary Shopify merchants just don't have access to.
There are many creative use cases for Shopify Scripts and they're all built using Shopify's Script Editor where you create your own Ruby scripts that can be stored permanently within an area of your Shopify store. Shopify's merchant success team can help you to build the scripts or you can hire a third party developer to do so. There are many Shopify script examples also available on GitHub.
What are the other benefits of Shopify Plus?
Selling in different countries
You can create stores and sell your products in different currencies to your customers around the world.
Using Shopify Plus, inventory levels (and other aspects of your store) can all be linked together and administered from one central location, so you don't need separate Shopify accounts to handle each storefront or location separately.
Your Shopify Plus license comes with 9 clone stores built in, making selling in different languages and countries a less complicated affair than it is with other more traditional enterprise solutions like Magento.
Unlimited staff accounts
One of the drawbacks of Shopify's standard packages is a limit on the number of staff/user accounts you can create so that your team members each have their own individual logins to your store's admin system.
Shopify Plus comes with unlimited staff accounts.
Sell products to wholesalers
Shopify has for too long lacked the ability to help merchants who's primary business focus is B2B. Part of Shopify Plus's advantages is the additional functionality you get, not available to standard Shopify merchants, to help businesses primarily focused on trade sales.
Such functionality includes tiered pricing, bulk discounts, a different product/category environment for trade customers and other pricing functionality so that each trade customer can have their own set of pricing for the products available on your store.
Integration with Avalara for sales tax calculations (for US merchants)
Avalara is one of the US's most advanced sales tax calculation, reporting and compliance tools available.
With over 14,000 individual sales tax jurisdictions in the US, sales tax compliance is a must for any merchant selling at volume and scale into the US market. Shopify Plus includes real time rooftop accurate sales tax calculations, provided by Avalara's huge database and calculation system.
Checkout customisation and SSL protection
Many standard Shopify merchants complain about the lack of checkout customisation available on a standard Shopify plan. One of the key drivers that forces Shopify merchants to upgrade to a Plus solution is therefore the ability that Plus offers to customise a store's checkout process and pages.
Shopify Plus merchants get access to customise the checkout.scss.liquid file in their theme, a feature not available to standard Shopify merchants. It allows users to create simple messages on checkout like Your order qualifies for a 10% discount, something that's not available to standard merchants.
Another key feature is that when checking out, customers stay on your own domain name (another common gripe amongst standard Shopify merchants). In summary, with Shopify plus you get access to:
- Complete control over the checkout page experience that your customers have
- Include custom error messages and notices on your store's checkout
- A full and complete SSL experience across your entire website
Some Shopify Plus development teams report a 5-10% uplift on conversion rates alone just by having access to a customised checkout experience.