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Shopify Plus: To switch or not to switch? That is the question

Is Shopify Plus the right move for you and your brand? 

And, if so, when should you make the leap? 

These are big questions. And, they’re questions we get asked a lot. 

So, what better way to assess it than to dive into the details right here with you. If you’ve been grappling over whether or not it’s time for your business to take the next step in your relationship with Shopify, you’re in the right place. 

As a Shopify Plus Agency, we can help you make the right call and understand whether Shopify Plus is right for the stage of growth you’re at in your business.

While upgrading your Netflix subscription or getting rid of those dreaded “fake party sounds” ads with Spotify Premium might be the easiest up-levels of your life, choosing to take your eCommerce empire to the next level with Shopify Plus is a whole new ball game. 

Let’s start with the basics…

What even is Shopify Plus?

Basically, Shopify Plus is Shopify, PLUS a whoooole lot of impressive extras. It’s Shopify with increased capability, functionality and customizability. If Shopify is the platform for eCommerce brands to sell their products from anywhere in the world, Shopify Plus is the platform to do that, and makes it easier than ever before to scale the impact of your brand beyond your wildest expectations.

Shopify Plus is the Gold standard for eCommerce.

What’s the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus? 

Don’t get us wrong, Shopify is an amazing eCommerce platform for brands and agencies who want to take on the world of retail. But, Shopify Plus just hits different. And, that’s true for different reasons. We’re not the agency that’s going to tell you that you need to upgrade. It’s not the right solution for every brand, every time. And, a lot of whether it’s for you will depend on two things:

  1. What stage of growth your business is at right now
  2. Your vision for just how far you want to take this thing

Here are a few key ways the two differ:

UPDATES: When Shopify announces new functionality, those updates are released to merchants on Plus first, and then a tiered rollout will take place as the features are made available on other Shopify plans. For example, Shopify markets & multi currency were recently rolled out to Plus members first, which meant Shopify Plus members could take immediate advantage of seamless international selling, scaling their online stores into global markets and they had the opportunity to share that feedback with the platform. Pretty impressive VIP status.

COMMUNITY: When you’re a part of Shopify Plus, you also get access to an invite-only Shopify Plus group. There’s a lot to be said about getting access to a place for fellow merchants on Shopify Plus to network, collaborate, and share strategies & experiences. The entrepreneurial journey is a long and sometimes lonely one, access to this private group is like a mastermind for like minded eCommerce leaders.

SUPPORT: If you’re a Shopify alumni, you’ll know they have some of the best support in the game when it comes to eCommerce. Now, imagine that support at a VIP concierge level, that’s what you’re getting with Shopify Plus. You’ll get access to what they call “Merchant Success Manager” and your own personal launch engineer to make sure you’re up and rolling in 90 days or less – both act as a priority support function that not only helps in times of need, but can help you optimise your full potential with things like industry trend analysis and predictions.

Shopify Plus exclusive features:

Transaction fees: While transaction fees are standard to any eCommerce business, if you're a merchant on Plus using Shopify Payments, then you can, literally, wave goodbye to transaction fees. For enterprise-level businesses this can mean huge potential savings and is an almost unheard of feature in any other industry. 

Wholesale: The benefits of wholesale are clear for any eCommerce brand that means serious business - a higher volume of orders with less time spent on admin and manually entering order details – pretty killer combo, don’t you think!? The ability to add wholesale-only products means your store stays neat and optimised for D2C. BUT you can build better, long-lasting relationships with your wholesalers using customised invoicing and a more personal touch to receiving orders.

Headless: You don’t need Shopify Plus for headless commerce. However, Shopify Plus does offer some benefits when going headless over a regular Shopify plan. Adopting headless Shopify on Shopify Plus allows you to dramatically decrease page load times and own your checkout experience. And, studies show that faster page loading equals more money when it comes to your checkouts - it’s that simple. When you’re scaling beyond the early stages of business, these are the nuances that make all the difference.

Launchpad: Launch events are the lifeblood of successful restocks, new inventory drops and big sales for any dominating eCommerce empire. Launching and making a big deal out of the events your customers care about is just as important as the day-to-day experience and interaction with your brand, and can bring in big cash injections when managed strategically and with intention. Launchpad makes it easier than ever to manage and execute launch events and track their success in real time, and is currently only available on Shopify Plus.

10 expansion stores: You can create up to 9 (!!) additional stores alongside your main store, meaning you could have 10 Shopify stores all under ONE plan. Any eCommerce giant knows that people like to shop differently, depending on where they are in the world. What works well in the US, might not work as well in Europe etc. A clone of your existing store optimised for another territory could make for an easy, controlled international expansion. 

Shopify Flow: This might just be the most important differentiation we’ve mentioned so far. As a brand owner, chances are you’re looking to offload the more mundane tasks that can interfere with the actual running of your eCommerce business AND buy back more time to actually work ON the business, not be so stuck in it that you stunt your own growth. Shopify Flow has advanced backend automations to make your life, and your customer's shopping experience easier. Leaving you all the time you need to focus on your growth, innovate new ideas and expand your team (and let go of more of the reins).

If this is where you’re at right now, you might also want to check out our Mobius Membership, flexible full-service eCommerce support from a team of experts at a fraction of the investment if you were to triple the size of your existing team. Let’s get you into Shopify Flow, Mobius Membership, and take advantage of all that time to… maybe like… take a vacation. I dare you! (Shopify Flow is now available to merchants on the Advanced plan, too).

Advanced reporting: Shopify Plus gives merchants a wider range of custom reports without too much time invested, giving you a detailed insight into your store’s performance, including an improved Shopify API for more bespoke reporting. While you might love the reports available to you on your current plan, Shopify Plus reporting will give you expert insights for a quickly scaling empire - which can only lead to more profitable and better, data-driven decisions.

Bespoke checkout: A fully flexible, branded checkout experience that looks and feels like your brand, from basket to “bought” to “I love this brand and always shop there”. While Shopify’s checkout process is streamlined and efficient, Plus merchants have the freedom to design their checkout page any way they choose. Which, at certain levels of growth, can mean big increases in returning customers (yes, the experience they have when they give you their money makes all the difference in whether they come back and do it again).

Abandoned cart recovery: Get ready… scary statistic coming… did you know that eCommerce brands lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment? Welp. That’s huge. Thankfully, even if you’re not using a CRM platform like Klaviyo, Shopify Plus sends automated emails to customers who have abandoned their cart (because, you know, life happens), giving them a gentle nudge to hop back in and get their goodies. And, it’s wildly effective. 

Now, to the big question. While we would never suggest that making a decision like  this should depend purely on the investment itself (consider the ROI before you think of the cost), the fee is, of course, important, so…

How much is Shopify Plus?

It’s hard to define exactly, because it does vary greatly depending on your store. But, Shopify Plus plans start at $2,000 per month

However, if you’re considering upgrading to Shopify Plus, we’d also recommend having your own bespoke website that captures the look, feel, and shopping experience your brand is aiming for. An out-of-the-box eCommerce website just won’t bring the results you need when you’re moving up in the retail world.

With this in mind, we believe that Shopify Plus is a must for brands with an annual turnover of, at the very least, £1 million, who can comfortably budget $20k-30k for Shopify Plus website investment and 2-3% of annual turnover for website tech related costs.

This investment is minimal, considering the potential return with every single one of these optimisations and upgrades and would keep your brand at the cutting edge of online shopping for at least the next 3 years. Imagine being your customer’s absolute no-brainer, obvious choice above all of your competitors? 

Is Shopify Plus worth it?

Long-standing clients of Cake, P&Co, scaled globally and increased sales month on month with the help of premium Shopify Plus features such as automated discounting and custom checkout (small details, big impact). As a result, they experienced a 50% boost in transactions and a 40% boost in revenue immediately after making the switch. 

Should you upgrade to Shopify Plus?

Shopify has a user base of 500,000 merchants, while Shopify Plus has a user base of 2,500. A lot of brands struggle with deciding if Shopify Plus is a worthwhile solution for the challenges of online retail. If you’re already on Shopify and looking to scale even further, the benefits listed above could be just what your eCommerce brand needs to grow faster. 

SO, the big question really is more about what we mentioned earlier: 

Just how far do you want to take this thing?

And… how fast do you want to get there?

If you’re feeling the nudge and starting to visualise the massive potential benefit this switch could have to your overall global impact, let us know – reach out for a casual chat here. We can help you work out whether you’re ready for Plus, make sure you’re fully optimising all the benefits of upgrading or migrating from the get go, and support you through the whole process. 

Megan Chauhan


Megan Chauhan

Senior Website Account Manager