If your eCommerce platform is getting a little snug for your business’ needs, it’s time to start thinking about leveling up to an enterprise eCommerce platform. But where do you begin? Fast-growing and high-volume retailers across the globe are turning to Shopify Plus for growth, and the eCommerce experts at Expandly are here to explain it all in the ultimate guide to understanding Shopify Plus.
Since it’s launch in 2006, Shopify has gained popularity as a trusted eCommerce platform for small and mid-sized online retail businesses. High-volume retail and wholesale companies have traditionally leveraged other platforms like Magento Enterprise, BigCommerce, and Volusion to host web stores.
Now, Shopify Plus -- released nearly a decade after Shopify’s standard platform -- has become one of the top names in enterprise e-commerce solutions. So, we’ve pooled our experience and resources to provide you with a comprehensive Shopify Plus review.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know, with certainty, whether or not you want to migrate your store to Shopify Plus or stay put with your current platform.
What’s the Difference Between Shopify and Shopify Plus?
You’ll no doubt already be using or familiar with Shopify - the eCommerce platform that enables online sellers to build their own website and start selling products from it. But how much do you know about Shopify Plus?
As Gorgias has said before in their article, Shopify vs Shopify Plus, the enterprise solution is, “like the Shopify standard platform with something additional at every turn.” In a nutshell, Shopify Plus embodies its name. Here’s how. . .
First, the Shopify Plus API costs a bit more in monthly fees than Shopify, but less in transaction fees. It allows unlimited user accounts while the standard options cap user accounts at 15. The checkout page can be fully-customized with Shopify Plus rather than pulling from the theme file with a standard store.
Next, while standard Shopify accounts have informative analytics and reporting, Shopify Plus users can exclusively see their average order value over time. Where the main platform’s app store is open to all developers, Plus apps are vetted.
Then, Shopify Plus allows “clone stores” or “multi-stores” for international sellers, which is an elite feature. And, the level of support from dedicated launch and merchant success managers blows the semi-automated customer service options of Shopify’s standard platform out of the water.
So, compared to the original platform, Shopify Plus presents a step up for high-volume e-commerce sellers.
Shopify Plus is an enterprise eCommerce platform that brings the same features of Shopify, alongside additional, enhanced, and exclusive features.
Aimed at larger eCommerce brands, Shopify Plus’ 5,300+ customers range from high-volume sellers to Fortune 500 companies, with notable users including Nestle, Kylie, Leesa, and Rebecca Minkoff.
Of course, you’re eager to hear what these companies are achieving when using Shopify Plus, and you won’t be disappointed. Online retailers using the platform have experienced 126% year-on-year average growth and $1m - $500m+ in sales revenue.
Why would you choose Shopify Plus over a traditional enterprise system? Well first, if you’re already selling on Shopify, the transition is easier. Secondly, traditional enterprise eCommerce systems can be costly to build, maintain, develop, and fix; Shopify Plus isn’t.
What are Shopify Plus’ key features?
So, enough with ‘what is Shopify Plus?’ and more on what Shopify Plus does. Alongside the traditional Shopify tools that enable businesses to set up camp online and start selling, Shopify Plus comes with additional enterprise features, including:
Shopify Plus is highly customizable, allowing you to create a bespoke eCommerce experience for your customers that don’t feel like any other Shopify store. In particular, and not available for standard Shopify users, you can customize your checkout page including:
- Optimizing the layout, branding, and design;
- Assigning personalized discounts or messages for certain customers;
- Offering click and collect options based on the customer’s location;
- Setting custom pricing rules; and
- Calculating international taxes.
As an expanding online retailer, you’ll likely be planning on global eCommerce or already selling internationally. Shopify Plus merchants can excel their international presence by using the clone store feature, where up to nine additional stores can be created. This enables you to use locally-customized stores for each country that you sell into.
The benefits? 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product described in their own language. Locally tailored websites encourage sales by building trust, recognition, and ease into the process; and global conquering increases your audience reach and growth potential.
With all this increased global activity on your store, you’ll want to be confident that your website can handle it all. This is where Shopify Plus shines - guaranteeing you 99.9% uptime and the ability to handle over 10,000 transactions per minute (even on Black Friday).
The benefits? Whether you’re a year-round or seasonable volume seller, using a stable platform that won’t crash is crucial. Customers won’t be deterred, you don’t need to waste time monitoring outages, and money won’t be lost on urgent developer fees.
Adding a B2B strategy to your business plan is an attractive way to increase sales, but it can be challenging to manage. Shopify Plus makes it easier, offering a password-protected wholesale store specifically for your B2B and wholesale customers. Not only that, but you can also customize the store to feature:
- Different shipping rules;
- Custom pricing;
- Minimum and maximum order points; and
- Bulk discounts.
The benefits? complimenting your B2C sales with B2B is a great way to make money, especially when allowing your customers to self-serve, with little additional time or effort.
Multiple sales channels
As any enterprise (or ambitious) online seller will know, selling on multiple sales channels is essential for success in eCommerce. With Shopify Plus, users can take advantage of the in-built ability to sell on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
The benefit? Additional apps and integrations can clog up the backend of your store, affecting its performance. With these features built-in, you can benefit from social media sales without worrying about your website’s ability to handle it all.
Growing and managing an enterprise eCommerce business is extremely time-consuming for you and your staff. Shopify Plus’ automation feature reduces this pressure with the use of two tools:
- Shopify Flow - automate almost all customer-facing and back-office tasks, without any coding required. For example, automate offering high-value customers personalized rewards, re-ordering low stock, and flagging high-risk orders for human review.
- Shopify Launchpad - automate all of your campaigns and flash sales, without pulling an all-nighter. Schedule the start and end of promotions, discounted items, and campaign themes and monitor the progress in real time.
The benefits? Automation of any kind is a win-win situation - saving you time, keeping your staffing costs low, and providing and quicker service for your customers.
Shopify Plus customers also receive a higher and more responsive level of support than standard Shopify users. Not only will any technical issues be fast-tracked, but you’ll also be assigned your own:
- Launch manager - responsible for getting you up and running on the platform.
- Merchant success manager - responsible for your success on the platform.
- Solutions engineer - to fix any problems that may occur.
The benefits? Finding your way in the world of enterprise eCommerce can be difficult. With dedicated experts here to make your journey a success, you’ll be flying high in no time.
Shopify Plus apps
Last, but by no means least, Shopify Plus users get exclusive access to many Shopify Plus apps - more than 1,500 to be precise. The tools and technology on offer range from inventory management, Shopify Plus Xero integration, customer service dashboards, and much more.
Other benefits include unlimited users, open API, PCI level 1 compliance, custom reporting, and more than 100 different payment gateways.
What are the top Shopify Plus apps?
So, what are the top Shopify Plus apps that you might want to use? Good question. At Expandly, our clients’ use a variety of Shopify Plus apps to complement their stores, drive sales, and save time. The top five being:
1. Gorgias - the complete helpdesk solution
Offering a full suite of helpdesk features, Gorgias connects all of your customer support channels into one convenient dashboard. Whether a customer contacts you by email or comments on your Facebook page, your customer service team can access and respond on the platform as well as being able to view and edit order details, issue refunds, cancel orders, use templates, and benefit from automation rules. Streamlined customer service at its best.
2. Expandly - multi-channel management
The Expandly Shopify Plus integration powers your Shopify Plus multi-channel selling strategy beyond that of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. With Expandly’s multi-channel eCommerce software, you can integrate your Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Wish account, as well as multiple shipping carriers, and manage them all from one easy-to-use platform. Create listings, process orders, track inventory, print shipping labels, run reports, and automatically send sales orders to Xero. eCommerce made easy.
3. Smile.io - enticing rewards
Reward those customers who have helped get you to the enterprise level by connecting your Shopify Plus store with the Smile.io app. The total rewards solution powers you to introduce loyalty points, set up a VIP program, and offer a generous referral program. Smile.io users also have access to customized designs, reward reminders, and mobile compatibility - the perfect tools for a business of your size.
4. ReCharge - recurring subscription payments
Those taking full advantage of the subscription market boom will be pleasantly surprised by ReCharge’s recurring billing app. With features that enable customers to manage their own subscriptions, mixed product shopping carts, inventory tracking, and recurring payments, you’ll be offering a superior subscription service through your Shopify Plus store in no time.
5. Klaviyo - marketing guru
Growing Shopify Plus stores across the globe, Klaviyo brings outstanding marketing right to your keyboard. With email flows, cart abandonment campaigns, personalization, advanced analytics, and audience segmentation, you can collect and understand crucial visitor information to create powerful messages that convert sales. The intuitive and informative dashboard is installed in just a single click, giving you access to the tools generating an average 67x ROI increase.
6. Xero - cloud accounting
Xero’s cloud accounting software enables you to accurately track and monitor your Shopify Plus performance through your key metric: financials. With the ability to automatically import sales orders into Xero, you easily manage your Shopify Plus income alongside that of your other sales channels. Even better, with Xero’s tracking categories, you can quickly assign orders from different countries to the right tax rates - avoiding hefty penalties and account fees.
7. SMSBump - SMS marketing
With m-commerce taking the world by storm, SMS marketing is becoming more critical for eCommerce businesses. SMSBump makes this possible by automating SMS and MMS message campaigns and bringing you detailed in-app analytics. Plus, with the options to run A/B testing, segmented campaigns, and cart abandonment reminders, you’ll find the perfect solution to maximize sales both on and off of the phone.
What is Shopify Plus’ Pricing?
With enterprise and high-volume customers, comes enterprise and high-volume pricing. While Shopify Plus’ pricing is competitive in the world of enterprise platforms, it is a jump from the standard Shopify pricing.
Monthly fee - From $2,000 to $40,000 depending on monthly sales and payment gateway.
Payment processing fee - Between 1.5% - 3% depending on country + a fee per transaction.
On top of that, you must take into account the fees for any developers or apps that you want to use.
While this might sound mighty expensive, it’s important to remember that Shopify Plus is designed for high-value eCommerce businesses. If you’re not quite there yet, it’s ok, your time will come.
Look at Shopify Plus’ Transaction Fees
Shopify Plus pricing varies based on your monthly sales volume. And while you’ll never pay more than $2,000 per month for your account, you will have set transaction fees.
With Shopify Plus, you can expect to pay base transaction fees of 1.6% + 35¢. The base cost is the same whether you choose to implement Shopify Payments or not. If you do leverage a third-party payment processor, you will pay an additional 0.15% each time a payment is processed.
So, the total costs for payments processed through a third-party service come to 1.75% + 35¢ + the cost charged by the payment processor.
Who are Shopify Plus’ Customers?
The platform was created for enterprise companies generating high-volume sales online. But, who precisely are these companies?
According to Built With, Shopify Plus currently has 5,810 customers with live, active websites.
- 4,160 registered in the United States
- 423 registered in the United Kingdom
- 330 registered in Canada
- 296 registered in Australia
- 75 registered in Germany
- 43 registered in France
- 42 registered in New Zealand
Overall, Shopify Plus’ customer base is pretty diverse. The majority of Shopify Plus customers are selling in the United States, but the platform is certainly gaining global traction. The current number of stores in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia alone total 1,049. And, not all countries using the platform were included in Built With’s reports.
Is Shopify Plus for High or Low-Volume Traffic Websites?
You might assume that, since Shopify is built for enterprise-level e-commerce, most of its customers run high-traffic websites. But, this isn’t necessarily the case.
In fact, more Shopify Plus customer websites have an Alexa rank below 100,000. Furthermore, many web stores ranked higher than 1,000,000 are hosted on the Plus platform.
- 1,218 websites with high-volume visitor traffic
- 2,739 websites with low-volume visitor traffic
So, if you’re thinking of making the transition to Shopify Plus after your website traffic increases, other factors might play a larger role in your decision and timing -- they have for other brands
Shopify Plus Customer Lifespan
Once you move onto the Shopify Plus platform, you may want to know how difficult it might be to migrate your site to another like Magento or BigCommerce. Looking at the customer lifespan of other users can provide you with clues.
Most of the existing Plus sites have been using the platform for at least a number of months. And, since it’s launch, many sites have either migrated or let their stores go.
- 5,587 sites have used the platform long-term
- 223 sites have recently launched on the platform
Fewer new than existing stores exist, which is telling that Shopify Plus’ customer retention is strong and the platform is growing in popularity.
What is the Technology Budget for Shopify Plus Customers?
Also reported by BuiltWith, In addition to the $2000+ in account fees, Shopify Plus users are spending anywhere from $1 to $100K per month. So, there is an extremely diverse crowd using the platform.
For example, sodastream.com’s budget is estimated at around $2,000. At the same time, seismicspeakers.com is estimated to spend upwards of $100K monthly. Both brands have websites with medium-volume site traffic.
Is the Platform Right for Major Retailers?
While Shopify Plus might not be the right platform for online marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart, is it right for major retailers? Of course! Many major brands are using the system to host their stores.
Image source: National Geographic -- https://shop.nationalgeographic.com/
One of the most well-known stores using the Shopify Plus platform is the National Geographic Shop. Other major brands like Steve Madden, Blendtec, and TBS trust them as well.
In a nutshell, Shopify Plus customers come in all shapes and sizes, work in varying industries, and have a mixture of budgets and site traffic volume.
Who are the Shopify Plus partners?
Shopify Plus customers also get access to Shopify Plus partners - Shopify Plus experts who can help you to take your Shopify Plus store to the next level with the necessary tools and knowledge. There are two types of Shopify Plus partner:
1. Service partners - these are the people that can help you to build your store, business, and brand through website and UX design, automation, marketing, fulfillment, product development, and more.
2. Technology partners - these are the people that can help you to accelerate growth on the platform, with customer service, loyalty, and multi-channel management integrations.
This is How to Upgrade to Shopify Plus:
When you’re ready to make the switch from a standard Shopify plan to Shopify plus, you will need to contact a company sales rep for a custom quote. The representative will interview you about your business needs and provide you with a pricing estimate.
From there, you’ll receive overwhelming support.
The two most talked-about Shopify Plus careers are that of the Launch Manager and the Merchant Success Manager, which fall into the engineering and development and customer support realms. When you meet your support, you’ll work one-on-one with them to help your transition to their platform (launch) or ensure successful business operations (merchant success).
When you make the switch, you will first be partnered with a dedicated launch manager who can help you make the most informed decisions about transitioning your store to the new platform. The launch manager will help you with an expert perspective on the technical and creative aspects of making the switch.
Next, you will be paired with a merchant success manager who will provide you with master advice about how to make decisions in your day-to-day e-commerce business operations. The merchant success manager will have both industry and platform training and experience.
Key Shopify Plus Takeaways
Shopify Plus is the enterprise-level eCommerce platform that incorporates several high-powered business-growing tools including:
- Advanced customization
- International clone stores
- 99.9% uptime
- Social media channel integration
- Advanced support.
Plus, with a variety of Shopify Plus partners and apps, such as Expandly and Gorgias, to pick and choose from, you can take your eCommerce business to the next level in no time.