Shopify vs Shopify Plus

Today we are looking at two aspects of Shopify - regular Shopify vs Shopify Plus. Both online retail ecosystems are tailored for different sized eCommerce businesses with different aspirations and requirements, and ultimately both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s shed some light on these…

What is Shopify?

If you are one of the very few online retailers who hasn’t heard of Shopify, let’s bring you up to speed.

Shopify is a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) shopping cart solution, allowing you to present your products cleanly, customize the user experience, accept credit card payments, and respond to orders — all within a few clicks.

In short, Shopify allows you to sell products online without the hassle of developing your own eCommerce platform.

If you are looking to sell products online, using Shopify means you no longer need to worry about employing a web developer or designer to construct and manage these functions on your own website. Shopify offers a comprehensive eCommerce web builder, complete with hundreds of customizable themes.

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These themes are clean and modern, and include a variety of editing tools and apps, allowing you to tailor the chosen theme to fit your brand. Your customers will never know the difference — providing they have a pleasant shopping experience they won’t even care.

Additionally, a Shopify subscription includes secure, reliable hosting for your website. You don’t have to worry about your site crashing during peak traffic or hackers hijacking your transactions. With 99.9% uptime and a free SSL certificate, Shopify has you covered.

Naturally, with all these benefits, it goes without saying that Shopify has been pretty popular. In fact, since launching in 2004, the Canadian-born eCommerce platform has become something of a behemoth in the world of online retail. In the past 14 years, Shopify has grown to power more than 600,000 businesses and has been responsible for more than $72B worth of goods sold.

The Next Level: Shopify Plus

We’ve established that Shopify has given online retailers a very useful tool, which - as the numbers suggest - has been very well utilized by retailers of all shapes and sizes.

So much so that, in 2014, Shopify launched an advanced platform called Shopify Plus. As the name suggests, Shopify Plus is a supercharged version of Shopify with all the trimmings - aimed at medium-sized and fast-growing merchants, giving them the power to scale to enterprise level and beyond.

Shopify Plus provides businesses with a fully-hosted, SaaS eCommerce platform at a relatively low cost, when compared to traditional enterprise-grade eCommerce solutions. The platform is scalable and has the infrastructure to help any rapidly-growing brick and mortar and/or eCommerce retailer achieve sustainable growth.

Which is Better for My Business?

As with pretty much anything in the world of eCommerce, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution, and Shopify is no different.

Ultimately the best Shopify platform will depend on the size of your company and your vision of the future.

For small to medium-sized online stores and startups, regular Shopify will often be more than enough. Shopify comes pre-loaded with almost all of the features that smaller merchants need to build a successful online store. It proves an easy-to-use platform allowing for endless customization through drag-and-drop editing and more than 1,500 apps.

Shopify is the platform of choice for many dropshippers too. Integrations with Ordoro and Oberlo, or from one of your own vendors, makes dropshipping from your Shopify account a breeze. Shopify also offers great support via phone, live chat or email, while self-help options are also available.

However, for fast-growing medium-sized and enterprise-level businesses, the cracks in regular Shopify can soon begin to show. This is where Shopify Plus is recommended.

Shopify Plus comes with big benefits including super-fast servers, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to cope with a huge spike of simultaneous visitors and sales at a moment’s notice. Additionally, Shopify will also dedicate a Success Manager or two to every Shopify Plus account to help strategize marketing efforts and improve customer experiences.

Of course, Shopify Plus comes at a premium - starting at $2,000 per month. At this price, Shopify Plus may sound expensive, but it will make sense for many enterprise-level companies. This way of pricing is cheaper than paying for hosting plus fees plus web developer retainers. It is also more predictable and constant than hiring a developer for bug fixes, feature requests and to implement changes. Finally, if your store has big traffic fluctuations, this monthly fee is more predictable than budgeting for bandwidth, servers or cloud hosting fees.

Ultimately, the level of Shopify you opt for completely depends on the size and growth of your business. Use Shopify Plus for a small or startup business and you may find it will be complete overkill (a very expensive overkill at that). Use regular Shopify for enterprise-level businesses and the platform may soon start cracking under the weight of your operation.

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