Ecommerce Growth

Shopify or Shopify Plus? Making the Right Choice for Your Business

Ecommerce Growth

Shopify or Shopify Plus? Making the Right Choice for Your Business

Understanding the benefits of Shopify Plus vs Shopify is crucial as you explore how to scale your online store effectively. While both platforms cater to eCommerce businesses, Shopify Plus offers enhanced capabilities designed for high-volume or rapidly growing enterprises. Here, we list the key benefits:

  • Scalability: Handles more traffic and transactions seamlessly.
  • Advanced Features: Access to more sophisticated management and marketing tools.
  • Exclusive Support: Dedicated support and services tailored for large operations.
  • Customization: Deeper customization options of customer experience and backend processes.

These points provide a quick snapshot of how Shopify Plus stands out from the basic Shopify offering, aligning with the needs of larger businesses or those with specific requirements.

Detailed infographic comparing Shopify and Shopify Plus, summarizing scalability, advanced features, exclusive support, and customization options available in Shopify Plus. Demonstrates how these benefits cater to different business sizes and needs. - benefits of shopify plus vs shopify infographic step-infographic-4-steps

As the eCommerce industry continues to mature, staying ahead means leveraging platforms that not only match your current business size but can also scale with your growth. Shopify, a leader in this space, has been significantly evolving. The expanded capabilities offered by Shopify Plus can be a game changer for larger businesses or those on the fast track of growth, thrusting them into new markets and customer bases efficiently.

Understanding Shopify and Shopify Plus

As we delve into the core offerings of Shopify and Shopify Plus, it's crucial to understand their features, who uses them, and how they are priced. This knowledge will help you decide which platform suits your business needs.

Core Features

Both Shopify and Shopify Plus offer a suite of features designed to support online stores. These include website and blog platforms, secure payment gateways, inventory management, and customer engagement tools. However, Shopify Plus offers enhanced capabilities like advanced report builders and greater API limits, which are essential for larger operations.

User Base

Shopify serves a wide range of businesses from small startups to medium-sized enterprises looking to expand their online presence. Shopify Plus, however, is tailored for high-volume merchants and large enterprises that need a more robust solution. Brands like Nestle and Kylie Jenner use Shopify Plus to manage their massive transaction volumes and complex sales processes.

Pricing Models

Shopify provides several pricing tiers starting from a basic plan suitable for new entrants to more advanced plans for growing businesses. The basic plan begins at $29 per month, offering all the essential features an eCommerce store needs.

On the other hand, Shopify Plus pricing starts at around $2,000 per month, but this can increase based on various factors such as transaction volumes and additional services used. This model is designed to support the vast needs of larger businesses that require more customization and dedicated support.

Understanding these key aspects of Shopify and Shopify Plus will guide you in making an informed decision that aligns with your business size, needs, and growth ambitions. As you consider your options, think about not only where your business stands today but also your plans for scaling in the future.

Benefits of Shopify Plus vs Shopify

When choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus, consider how each platform can benefit your business now and as it grows. Below, we dive into the specific advantages of Shopify Plus over Shopify, focusing on scalability, support, advanced features, customization, and cost efficiency.

Scalability and High-Volume Sales

Shopify Plus is built to handle the high-traffic events and sales volumes that large businesses often experience. For instance, Shopify Plus can manage around 11,000 checkouts per minute and maintains a 99.99% uptime during peak periods. This robust performance ensures that your online store can handle sudden spikes in traffic without crashing, which is crucial during major sales events or product launches.

Additionally, Shopify Plus allows for unlimited staff accounts, making it easier for larger teams to manage the store without restrictions. This feature is particularly beneficial for businesses with extensive customer service teams or multiple departments handling various aspects of the eCommerce process.

Dedicated Support and Shopify Plus Partners Program

One of the standout benefits of Shopify Plus is the 24/7 priority support. Users have access to a dedicated account manager and the Shopify Plus Partners program, which connects them with expert agencies capable of providing advanced support and services tailored to complex needs.

Moreover, Shopify Plus users can benefit from Shopify Academy, a resource hub offering exclusive courses and webinars that help businesses optimize their online stores and stay ahead of eCommerce trends.

Advanced Features for Enterprise-Level Needs

Shopify Plus offers several advanced features designed for enterprise-level businesses. These include Headless eCommerce capabilities, which allow greater flexibility and control over the frontend and backend of the store. The Launchpad app is another powerful tool, enabling businesses to automate and schedule various sales activities.

For data-driven businesses, ShopifyQL Notebooks provide enhanced analytics capabilities, allowing users to delve deep into their sales data and make informed decisions based on comprehensive insights.

Enhanced Customization and API Access

With Shopify Plus, businesses gain significantly more control over the customization of their online store. Checkout customization is a major feature, offering the ability to tailor the checkout process to reduce cart abandonment and enhance the customer experience.

Custom apps integration and Storefront API access also allow for more personalized and unique shopping experiences. These tools enable businesses to build custom functionalities that can set their store apart from competitors.

Cost Efficiency and Transaction Fees

Shopify Plus may appear more expensive upfront, but it offers a variable fee model that can be more cost-effective for high-volume businesses. Additionally, there are no transaction fees when using Shopify Payments, which can result in significant savings as sales volume increases.

This comprehensive range of benefits makes Shopify Plus a robust platform suited for businesses that anticipate rapid growth and have complex needs that go beyond the basic functionalities provided by standard Shopify plans. As you consider upgrading or choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus, reflect on these advantages in relation to your business's specific requirements and growth trajectory.

When to Upgrade to Shopify Plus

When your business scales up, your needs become more complex, and standard solutions might not suffice. Understanding when to make the leap to Shopify Plus is crucial for maintaining efficiency and supporting further growth. Here are key indicators that it's time to upgrade:

Sales Volume

High sales volume is a clear sign to consider Shopify Plus. As highlighted in our research, businesses typically see the need to upgrade when monthly sales hit around $80,000. At this point, the advanced features of Shopify Plus can help manage the increased operational demands efficiently.

Business Growth

Rapid business growth often requires more robust infrastructure to maintain performance levels. Shopify Plus offers scalability that helps manage large volumes of traffic and transactions smoothly. This is critical during peak sales periods or marketing campaigns where high traffic can slow down or crash a less capable platform.

Operational Needs

As businesses grow, their operational needs become more complex. Shopify Plus supports these needs with advanced features like:

  • Customized checkouts and integrated apps which are essential for providing a seamless customer experience.
  • Enhanced security features, ensuring that your customer's data and business operations are protected against threats.
  • Multi-language and multi-currency support for businesses aiming to expand internationally.

If your business operations involve managing multiple brands or require handling B2B and direct-to-consumer sales simultaneously, Shopify Plus offers the necessary tools to manage these complexities from a single platform.

Case Studies and Real-World Examples

Many successful brands have made the switch to Shopify Plus after reaching certain growth milestones. For instance, BlenderBottle saw a significant improvement in campaign performance with Shopify Audiences, achieving a return on ad spend as high as 6x. Brooklinen streamlined its B2B processes, which were manual and time-consuming, by leveraging the B2B features of Shopify Plus.

These examples demonstrate how Shopify Plus not only supports growth but also introduces efficiencies that can transform business operations.

Considering these factors will help you determine the right time to upgrade to Shopify Plus. It's not just about handling more sales; it's about doing so efficiently and securely while providing a superior experience to your customers. If your business is approaching these thresholds, it might be time to start the conversation with a Shopify Plus representative. This move could be the next step in scaling your business successfully.

Limitations and Considerations

When evaluating Shopify and Shopify Plus, it's crucial to understand not only the benefits but also the limitations and considerations that come with each platform. This section will explore the implications of multi-store architecture, pricing for small businesses, and the learning curve associated with these platforms.

Multi-store Architecture

Shopify Plus allows businesses to manage up to 200 locations and create up to nine expansion stores. This is a significant advantage for large enterprises that operate in multiple regions or have diverse product lines. However, for smaller businesses, this feature might be overkill, leading to unnecessary complexity and management overhead. Regular Shopify plans are limited to ten locations, which is generally sufficient for most small to medium-sized businesses.

Pricing for Small Businesses

One of the key considerations for small businesses is the cost associated with upgrading to Shopify Plus. Starting at $2,000 per month, Shopify Plus is significantly more expensive than the basic Shopify plans, which can start as low as $29 per month. This price point might be prohibitive for startups and smaller enterprises that do not require advanced features or handle high volumes of sales. It's important for small business owners to critically assess whether the additional features of Shopify Plus justify the higher cost.

Learning Curve

Shopify is renowned for its user-friendly interface, making it an excellent choice for individuals who are new to e-commerce. However, Shopify Plus introduces a range of advanced features and customization options that can increase the complexity of using the platform. Features like API access, custom app integrations, and advanced analytics with ShopifyQL Notebooks offer powerful tools for business, but they also require a deeper understanding and possibly even specialized staff to manage these functions effectively.

For businesses considering Shopify Plus, weigh the potential learning curve against the benefits these advanced features might bring. Larger businesses with the capacity to hire or train dedicated staff might find this a worthwhile investment, while smaller businesses might struggle with the complexity.

Understanding these limitations and considerations is crucial for making an informed decision about whether to stick with Shopify or upgrade to Shopify Plus. Each business has unique needs and growth trajectories, and what works for one might not be suitable for another. Consider your business's specific requirements, budget, and long-term goals when choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus. This thoughtful approach will ensure that the platform you choose not only supports growth but also aligns with your business's operational capabilities and strategic objectives.

Making the Right Choice for Your Business

When it comes to deciding between Shopify and Shopify Plus, several key factors must be considered to ensure that your choice aligns with your business's current needs and future aspirations. Here’s how you can break down the decision based on budget considerations, business size, and long-term goals:

Budget Considerations

Budget is often the most immediate concern. Shopify provides a cost-effective solution with plans starting at a lower price point, making it accessible for small businesses or startups. On the other hand, Shopify Plus starts at around $2,000 per month, which is a significant investment. This plan makes sense if your business demands the advanced features that Shopify Plus offers, such as enhanced customization and dedicated support.

For instance, if your monthly sales are consistently high and you're paying considerable transaction fees, Shopify Plus could be more cost-effective in the long run. The platform does not charge transaction fees if you use Shopify Payments.

Business Size

Business size plays a crucial role in choosing the right platform. For small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Shopify offers sufficient features like inventory management, a user-friendly interface, and basic customization options that adequately support business operations without overwhelming the user.

Conversely, large businesses or rapidly growing enterprises would benefit from Shopify Plus. The platform supports higher volume sales seamlessly and accommodates the complexity of large-scale operations. With Shopify Plus, you can manage multiple stores and integrate advanced features like Launchpad for handling flash sales, which are essential for big businesses.

Long-Term Goals

Considering your long-term goals is vital. If scaling globally is a part of your business plan, Shopify Plus offers robust international commerce capabilities, such as multi-currency transactions and localized experiences, which are indispensable for global reach. Businesses aiming to maintain a modest footprint might find that the standard Shopify offerings are more than adequate.

Furthermore, if customization and brand uniqueness are part of your long-term strategy, Shopify Plus provides more access to the store’s underlying code and APIs, allowing for deeper customization and unique customer experiences. This is echoed by Shopify Plus user testimonials, such as BlenderBottle and Jungalow, where enhanced customization capabilities have significantly contributed to their growth and brand identity.

Making the Decision

Shopify is ideal for smaller businesses or those just starting out, needing an easy-to-use platform with all the essential features to get their store up and running without a hefty initial investment. Shopify Plus suits larger businesses poised for rapid growth or those already at a high volume of sales, requiring a robust platform with advanced features to match their complex needs.

Before making your decision, consider not only where your business stands today but also where you aim to be in the future. Aligning your choice of eCommerce platform with your business’s budget, size, and long-term goals will ensure that it can grow and adapt effectively, supporting your success every step of the way.


As we wrap up our discussion on the benefits of Shopify Plus vs Shopify, it's crucial to reflect on how First Pier can play a pivotal role in your journey towards e-commerce excellence. Our deep expertise in Shopify development positions us uniquely to help you harness the full potential of your online store.

At First Pier, we understand that choosing the right e-commerce platform is more than just a technical decision—it's a strategic one. Shopify Plus offers a remarkable array of features designed for scalability and customization, which are essential for businesses aiming to expand their reach and streamline their operations. From handling high-volume traffic with ease to providing advanced tools like Launchpad and ShopifyQL Notebooks, Shopify Plus is equipped to meet the demands of large-scale enterprises.

However, the true strength of Shopify Plus comes to life when paired with our expert guidance at First Pier. We specialize in optimizing your Shopify setup to ensure it not only meets your current needs but also adapts to future growth. Whether it's customizing the checkout experience, integrating unique apps, or leveraging the extensive API access provided by Shopify Plus, our team is here to make every aspect of your online store work seamlessly.

Moreover, our commitment to online business optimization goes beyond technical setups. We focus on creating memorable shopping experiences that resonate with your customers, building lasting relationships that drive loyalty and repeat business. With Shopify Plus and First Pier’s strategic support, your e-commerce platform becomes more than just a place to sell products—it becomes a dynamic space that grows with your business and reflects your brand’s unique vision and values.

In conclusion, whether you're just starting out or looking to scale up, the combination of Shopify Plus's powerful capabilities and First Pier's expert insights creates a formidable toolset for any ambitious e-commerce venture. We invite you to explore how First Pier can make Shopify Plus work for you, unlocking new opportunities and driving your business towards unprecedented success. Let's navigate the future of e-commerce together, leveraging every feature to its fullest potential. Join us on this exciting journey and see where your vision can take you!

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