Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
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Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

How much does Shopify cost?
Shopify pricing explained

Shopify's headline price of $29.95/month is an attractive offering, but factor in the transaction fees, app store fees, extra features and paid for themes and the costs can very soon add up.

14th February 2022

Shopify pricing explained for UK business owners.
How much does it actually cost to sell on Shopify?

Shopify is touted as the crown jewel of e-commerce website builders, with many agreeing the title is well deserved. Shopify is well-known for its extensive range of solutions to help you run an online business from anywhere. But how much does Shopify cost? How does Shopify pricing work? And which Shopify plan is best for you and your business?

Read on to learn more about Shopify fees, the different pricing plans, and what to expect if you choose Shopify to run your business.


Shopify Pricing In the UK - A Quick Breakdown

Shopify has three main pricing plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. You've probably heard of the headline rate of $29 per month. While under $30 sounds reasonable, when you add in other fees, get assistance from a Shopify expert, and Shopify Payments, that $29 price tag can soon rise quite significantly.

Here's a look at the three primary pricing Shopify UK pricing plans.

Shopify Basic

Shopify Subscription Fee: $29 Per Month
Online Credit Card Rate: 2.2% + 20p
In-Person Credit Card Rate: 1.7% + 0p
Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 2.0%

Shopify

Shopify Subscription Fee: $79 Per Month
Online Credit Card Rate: 1.9% + 20p
In-Person Credit Card Rate: 1.6% + 0p
Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 1.0%

Shopify Advanced

Shopify Subscription Fee: $299 Per Month
Online Credit Card Rate: 1.6% + 20p
In-Person Credit Card Rate: 1.5% + 0p
Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 0.5%

There are two other Shopify plans for more niche audiences. The first, Shopify Lite, is $9 per month and can be used to test your online store ideas. Once you gain traction, you'll likely have to upgrade to the Basic Plan. The second is Shopify Plus, which costs $2,000 per month. Shopify Plus is solely targeted at big-name brands with a high sales volume, like Unilever, Sony, and Clarks.


What Does Each Shopify Pricing Plan Include?

Check out some of the main features of each plan below. Unless opting for an annual plan, you are free to change your plan within your account at any time.

Shopify Basic - $29 Per Month

Basic Shopify is the cheapest plan that allows you to create a functional and standalone online store. You can customize your online store, manage your inventory, and handle orders and customer information. This plan gives you the choice of 20 ecommerce themes and provides user-friendly editing tools so you can further customize your online store to resonate with your brand. In addition, the Basic plan gives you access to a Shopify-hosted store and blog functionality.

Shopify Basic also includes the capability to sell an unlimited number of products, allows you to add discount codes, and you'll get a free SSL certificate. Users gain access to Shopify's support team, which is available via phone, chat, email, and community forum.

Shopify - $79 per month

The Shopify plan is described as "everything you need for a growing business." This is the highlighted as their most popular plan, although most users probably opt for Shopify Basic, and it comes with more reporting tools, including details on sales trends, customer behavior, and tax reports.

Business owners can also enjoy 24/7 support, Shopify's fraud risk tool, discount codes, and a free SSL certificate included in the Shopify cost. With the Shopify plan, you'll also be able to create country-specific domains. Location-based domains are especially helpful to optimize international SEO and customize your product prices for various global regions.

Aside from the cost, what's the difference between Shopify and Shopify Basic? The reporting tools are a big difference, but arguably, the most significant difference is abandoned shopping cart recovery. While it may seem like a hefty price jump, many argue that shopping cart recovery is worth the increase.

Advanced Shopify - $299 Per Month

If Advanced Shopify costs roughly 10x more than Shopify Basic, the advanced features for scaling your business might be worth it. The Shopify Advanced plan offers even more sophisticated reporting tools, like the ability to create reports from scratch. These tools make it easier to generate data for specific collections or products.

The leading add-on of the Advanced Shopify plan is that you include 15 staff accounts and third-party calculated shipping rates. Do you want to outsource delivery? Third-party shipping calculation means you can integrate with a third-party shipping service to offer more shipping options at up-to-date rates.

Credit card rates and transaction fees are also lower with the Advanced plan.


BasicShopifyAdvanced
Reports None Standard Advanced
Online card rates 2.2% +20p 1.9% +20p 1.6% +20p
Transaction fees 2.0% 1.0% 0.5%
Taxes calculator None None Yes
Staff accounts 2 5 15
Courier rates None None Yes

Which Shopify Plan is Best for My Business?

How will you justify the Shopify costs? Start by selecting the plan that aligns with your business and growth goals. Here's a look at the three primary Shopify pricing plans available in the UK in more detail to help you determine which package is right for you.

Is the 'Shopify Basic' plan for me?

The Basic Shopify plan is an excellent option for sellers who want a fully functional, high-quality online store but can go without some of the bells and whistles featured in the more costly plans.

The Basic plan is great for merchants who:

● Need a fast, reliable online store with a limited budget
● Are a smaller business with a low monthly sales volume
● Don't require advanced reporting features or selling functionality
● Want to incorporate a blog to help gain traction and attract organic inbound traffic

Is the 'Shopify' plan for me?

The Shopify plan is geared toward online stores that see growth and want to expand. With this plan, you can take your business international, and you'll get lower credit card rates and transaction fees.

The Shopify plan is great for merchants who

● Bring in over $5,000 per month
● See a high volume of online sales
● Can offset the higher monthly cost with more sales
● Require more in-depth professional reporting (order reports, sales reports, retail sales reports, profit reports, customers reports)

Is the 'Advanced Shopify' plan for me?

Advanced Shopify is ideal for established online stores with an international presence and a significant customer base. An Advanced plan is a great option if you're ready to grow further. Real-time-carrier shipping delivered by third parties is a huge perk in this plan.

The Advanced Shopify plan is great for merchants who

● Bring in over $10,000 per month
● Have a lot of items for sale
● Need a third party to take care of product shipping
● Have a very high volume of online sales
● Need advanced reporting features to drill down into their sales data


Other Shopify Costs

Billing Cycles, Recurring Costs & Additional Fees

Billing cycles - The standard billing cycle is monthly; however, you can save money by extending your billing cycle to one, two, or three years. The longer you agree to use the platform, the lower the Shopify fees. Keep in mind that you're required to pay the total billing cycle upfront if you choose an annual subscription.

Credit Card Rates

If you're using Shopify's own payments solution you have to pay a Shopify fee to accept credit card payments, the rates depend on what plan you are on. If you use Shopify Payments, you can accept major credit and debit cards, including VISA, Master Card, American Express, JCB, etc.


The Shopify App Store

shopify's app store

Shopify's App Store allows you to enhance your e-commerce store's functionality and design even further and add functionality to the management side of your Shopify account so that you can more easily manage your orders, products and other aspects of your website.

Some of the ecommerce apps and add-ons are free, but most of them have an additional monthly cost. The costs range anywhere from a couple of dollars to hundreds of dollars a month so just by installing a few essential apps you can find that the monthly cost of your store increases significantly.

Another cost consideration of the app store is the time you'll need to take in case you need support on one of the apps. Shopify does not provide support on third party apps, meaning you'll have to contact each app developer individually.

Example app costs

Customer back in stock alerts Up to $49.99/month
Referral scheme $49/month + commission
Product filters Up to $69/month
Product reviews Up to $15/month
Upselling & cross-selling Up to $29.99/month
Abandoned basket recovery Up to $69.99/month

Shopify Theme Costs

shopify's theme store

Shopify provides 13 free themes available through its theme store. 4 of these 13 are known as Online Store 2.0 themes and come with Shopify's latest features.

In addition to teh 13 free themes, Shopify's theme store contains 73 paid themes (correct as of 1st February 2022). Shopify's range of paid themes can cost anywhere from $150 to $350. Themes usually come with 12 months of free customer support, but after that time you're on your own. Don't splurge on a theme if you're looking to save money and try and find a free theme that can suit your requirements, and will be supported by Shopify support.


Shopify Experts 

shopify experts directory

Shopify don't provide a service to help you customise your theme, install and configure apps or grow your business so you will need to find a so-called Shopify Expert for assistance with this type of work if you need it.

You can find an expert through the Shopify Experts Directory, create a job and wait for quotes to come in. The support Shopify provide outside basic functionality of their platform is very limited, so you'll find that you need to use a Shopify Expert quite often, particularly for anything more than just rudimentary customisations or changes to your website. Like with the app store, costs for Shopify Experts can soon build up so be careful and plan your budget before commencing on a new project.


What Are Shopify's Transaction Fees?

shopify transaction fees diagram

Shopify is unique amongst the major ecommerce platforms in charging transaction fees to its users - no matter what payment method is used. The concept of an additional transaction fee ontop of the processing fee that a merchant pays to their payment gateway was developed by Shopify to "push" their own payments solution, Shopify Payments.

What is Shopify Payments?

Shopify Payments is Shopify's own payment gateway that allows Shopify users to process credit and debit card payments from their own customers. Instead of Shopify merchants using a payment gateway like PayPal, they can instead open a Shopify Payments account (from within their main Shopify account), meaning they don't have to deal with any third party merchant account or payment gateway provider (like Stripe or Opayo).

Shopify Payments is not actually provided by or built by Shopify, instead they use the Stripe.com payment gateway and rebrand it as Shopify Payments, using a service called Stripe Connect. Users of Shopify Payments never know that they are actually getting or using a Stripe account, they solely deal with Shopify.

One advantage of using Shopify's payments system is that all aspects of your payment gateway account are accessible from within the Shopify account in real time, meaning that you don't have to login to a separate Stripe account.

Shopify Payments benefits

When using Shopify Payments, your entire merchant account (as provided by Shopify) is controlled from within your Shopify account. This means that you don't need to login to an external payment gateway account to see more detailed transaction information, payout schedules or fraud and risk analysis.

Shopify Payments provides a number of different tools that help you to manage your store more easily and that's essentially what the high price is for. As a merchant, you'll need to make up your own mind as to whether the extra cost that you pay is worth it.

Another advantage of Shopify Payments is the ability to issue refunds from within your Shopify accounts, to properly tie payments and orders together. You can also manage any disputes or chargebacks that are initiated by your customers from within the order details in your Shopify account.

Finally, Shopify Payments also comes in with built-in fraud analysis tools to help you more easily identify potentially fraudulent transactions. For transactions that are marked with an elevated amount of risk attached to them, you can then make your own decision about whether or not to ship the item to the customer, perhaps having contacted the customer first to get more details about them and to be sure that you're not shipping an order that has been placed fraudulently.

What are Shopify's transaction fees?

Shopify wants its users to use Shopify Payments. And that's where the bite is, if you don't use Shopify Payments or you opt to give your customers more choice and offer other payment gateways like Amazon Pay or PayPal, Shopify will charge an additional transaction fee ontop of the processing charge that you have to pay to the payment gateway.

How much are Shopify's transaction fees?

Shopify's transaction fees and charges start at an additional 2.0%.

Consider an example customer order of £100 placed through PayPal

PayPal FeeTransaction FeeTotal
Shopify 3.4% +20p 2.0% £5.60
ShopWired 3.4% +20p 0.0% £3.60

As you can see here, on just a single order, Shopify's own transaction fees would cost a merchant an additional £2.00.

Transaction fees breakdown

Shopify's transaction fee charges are different to depending on the package that you are on. The more money you pay monthly, the less transaction fees you have to pay. But even Shopify's top package costing $299/month has a transaction fee of 0.5%.

BasicShopifyAdvanced
Transaction Fees 2.0% 1.0% 0.5%

Why not just use Shopify Payments?

As explained above, Shopify Payments is just Stripe but rebranded. Stripe is a traditional payment gateway so has a processing charge for merchants processing card transactions from their customers.

Stripe's headline charge is 1.4% +20p per transaction for UK & European Cards. The maximum you'll ever pay is 1.4% +20p, and for merchants processing high volumes they will heavily discount that rate.

Shopify Payments headline charge is 2.2% +20p, an additional 0.8% just for the privilege of it being called Shopify instead of Stripe. On an order of £100, a merchant would pay an additional £0.80 to Shopify for really no reason at all.

As with Shopify's transaction charges, the processing fee decreases the more you pay per month.

Online credit card rates

BasicShopifyAdvanced
Processing Charges 2.2% +20p 1.9% +20p 1.6% +20p

As you can see from the table above, even paying Shopify a whopping $299 / month you still pay 1.6% +20p in processing charges compared with Stripe's 1.4% +20p.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for ways to cut down Shopify fees? Can you try Shopify for free? Here are a few of the most common Shopify pricing FAQs.

1. How much does Shopify actually cost?

This is a difficult question to answer and is different for every business. You'll always pay a monthly fee (starting at $29) and you'll always pay card transaction charges. It's then highly likely you'll pay some app monthly fees and some fees to Shopify Experts. It's not uncommon for a typical small business store to be paying $70 or $80 a month.

2. Is Shopify More Expensive Than Other Platforms?

Shopify is on the pricier side compared to other website builders like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace.

Whilst the headline Shopify Basic $29 a month rate seems cheaper than that for other ecommerce platforms like ShopWired, with the additional fees for apps, themes and transactions the total fees you'll pay to Shopify make ShopWired look like a bargain!

Other e-commerce platforms include WooCommerce which is free to use but comes with added costs like hosting, a domain name, and security. Wix prices range from $14 per month to over $500 per month.

3. I Own a Small Business. Can I Afford Shopify?

This depends on the current status of your small business. You will have to spend a good chunk of money every year to run your online with Shopify - but you will have the ability to fully manage your business using Shopify's excellent sales features.

If you're just starting out or can't afford Shopify's fees yet, you can always migrate your online store when you're more financially stable.

4. Does Shopify Take a Cut of Sales?

Shopify charges on your turnover (ranging from 0.5% to 2%) and the payment gateway. For example, Shopify will not charge a transaction fee if you use 'Shopify Payments,' but Shopify charges a 0.5% to 2% transaction fee if you use another gateway.

5. How Can I Save Money on Shopify?

One of the easiest ways to save is to choose a longer billing cycle. Of course, you'll have to pay a more substantial up-front fee, but you can save quite a bit in the long run. For example, you save 10% on your Shopify pricing plan if you pay for a one-year subscription and 20% if you pay for a two-year subscription. Granted, you'll have more flexibility with a month-by-month plan, but when you consider that you can save a good amount of money just by signing up in advance, it's worth considering.

6. Are marketplaces like Etsy cheaper than Shopify?

Etsy is cheaper in terms of upfront costs and setup fees. But in the long run, Etsy's 5% transaction charges can become very expensive for even businesses turning over just 50 or 100 orders a month. Where possible, we'd always advise having your own store and supplementing sales through a marketplace like Etsy.

7. Does Shopify charge VAT or GST on its fees?

Shopify currently does not charge any VAT ontop of the fees you pay, but Shopify Experts located in the UK are likely to. If you buy a Shopify theme from a UK vendor they may also charge VAT. If you're located in North America, Shopify may charge you GST or Sales Tax ontop of any subscription, app and transaction fees that you pay.


Final Thoughts:

Shopify is one of the most used and respected e-commerce platforms and, if you don't keep an eye on mounting costs, also one of the most expensive. The low fee of $29 per month can increase significantly as charges from various different add-ons mount up.

For now, Shopify is still one of the biggest ecommerce platforms, with more than one million users but other platforms are growing in popularity as website owners are increasingly valuing other aspects of an ecommerce provider like the support on offer.