[2019] Shopify Plus Review, Pricing, Membership & Plans

Last updated August 12, 2019
shopify-plus-review

With Amazon’s mammoth foot in the middle of the ecommerce space (accounting for about half of all online shopping), it can be hard for your business to compete.

To do it properly, you need a platform which has your back in every way you need it to.

Enter Shopify Plus, Shopify’s enterprise-level ecommerce solution. 

This guide will give you a complete breakdown and review of Shopify Plus.

shopify-plus-review

Table of Contents:

  • What is Shopify Plus?
  • What does Shopify Plus offer ecommerce businesses that Shopify doesn’t?
  • A few Shopify bonuses
  • How much does it cost?
  • Alternatives to Shopify Plus
  • Shopify Plus Case Studies
  • Final Review

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is Shopify’s answer to those ecommerce businesses who require a platform with a bit more.


It’s for those businesses who are tired of crashed servers when a promotion goes well. 

It’s for businesses who are clearing six-figures or more each month and are tired of fighting a payment system built-in 2009.

It’s for businesses looking for a complete solution that works, rather than five solutions which work well enough.

In short, while Shopify’s other are designed for smaller businesses, the Shopify Plus mission is to handle high-volume stores or stores who anticipate high volume in the very near future.


What does Shopify Plus offer ecommerce businesses that Shopify doesn’t?

This is the real question, isn’t it?

What value can you get from the Shopify membership that you can’t get with regular Shopify?

Here are the most-impactful differences between Shopify Plus and Shopify’s regular plans.


Advantage #1. Shopify Plus gives you hands-on help from a “Launch Engineer.”

Shopify’s Launch engineers help your business get online more quickly, alongside helping you connect any third-party integrations you need.

If necessary, they’ll also connect you with design or developer partners to help you get up and running.

“Shopify Plus support and especially my Launch Engineer, Paul Moretti, have been incredible. […] Paul answered emails, Slack messages, and smoke signals typically within minutes and many times in the middle of the night. His guidance and advice were crucial to our success.” – Alex Cranmer, Vice President of International Military Antiques

(Source)

The launch engineer assigned to your account will help you with the following when using the platform:


Advantage #2. Shopify Plus gives you first-in-line, 24/7 priority support.

Being a Shopify Plus merchant means your request, ticket or issue goes to the front of the line when you contact Shopify (no matter if that call is made at 3 pm or 3 am).

Even if you’re looking for a small developer change, Shopify Plus will be there (and they’ll be there before your Basic Shopify competitors).


Advantage #3. Shopify Plus gives you their “Shopify Flow” automation system.

Shopify’s automation tool, Shopify Flow, is exclusively available to Shopify Plus users and makes those monotonous ecommerce management tasks automatic.

For instance, you can use Shopify Flow to send you an email every time a product’s inventory gets below a certain threshold:


The system also integrates with Trello, Asana, Slack and Google Sheets.

Here’s the video breakdown of Shopify Flow:

Shopify Flow works like a charm, allowing you to automate tasks that would normally be tedious as a high-level online store. 

Tasks like reordering inventory when stock is low, or assigning VIP status to big spenders: 

Shopify Flow helps you do more with less employees and less manual selection. 

If automation is your thing, Shopify Flow is perfect for you. 


Advantage #4. Shopify Plus gives you complete confidence your systems won’t fail at the most important moments.

If you’re running a Christmas sale and your marketing campaign goes viral, Shopify Plus guarantees 99.98% uptime and “blazing-fast servers,” meaning you won’t miss a single purchase.

Uptime and speed are both guaranteed with Shopify Plus. 

With a system able to handle 10,149 peak orders per minute (even when your stockroom is emptying faster than you can fill it and your staff are asking for scooters), you can be confident your back end will run without a hiccup.


Advantage #5. Shopify Plus gives you third-party apps and integrations which are unavailable to normal users

Shopify Plus has all of the bells and whistles that your online store can utilize to improve sales, efficiency, and customer service markers. 

Some of the best apps and tools you get access to include: 

Wholesale channel

The Shopify Plus Wholesale channel uses your existing inventory, customer, and product info as a protected storefront. 

If you cater to wholesale buyers, you can invite them directly to this password-protected storefront to browse in bulk, customizing their offers, prices, discounts, and more. 

Plus, it syncs directly with your CRM. Win-win. 

Launchpad

Launchpad is an event scheduling tool that Shopify Plus users can leverage for holidays and other large sale events. 

With a dashboard to schedule them, you can make big changes on your site that automatically start and end on specified dates. 

Other fantastic tools in the Plus-only category include: 


Advantage #6. Shopify Plus makes your global market more accessible.

If you are looking to expand past regional or even country-specific sales, look no further than Shopify Plus. 

Shopify Plus helps you build a presence around the world. 

It does this in a couple of primary ways:

  1. It gives you the ability to sell in multiple currencies.

This is an absolute necessity for larger ecommerce brands. Multiple currencies enable you to go global and show international markets you care about their needs.

  1. It gives you nine possible store sites.

This means if your enterprise ecommerce business has multiple store locations, targets international markets, or (really) anything else, Shopify Plus has you covered with nine possible sites under your brand umbrella. Shopify plus expansion stores can really help you ramp up global sales.


Advantage #7. Shopify Plus enables more customization.

One of the primary criticisms of Shopify’s standard platform is the inability to customize the checkout process.

With Shopify Plus, that’s no longer an issue. You’ll have complete control over the branding of your store and your checkout.

For instance, this is what the checkout page looks like for HiutDenim (a regular Shopify client):


And this is what it looks like for MVMT (a Shopify Plus client):


With Shopify Plus, you can better tailor your checkout process to customer needs and behavioural patterns.

If you want and need more control, regular Shopify can’t give it to you. 


Advantage #8. Shopify Plus gives you Launchpad:

Like Shopify Flow, Launchpad makes it easier for your business to automate those awkward (but essential) tasks.

For instance, Launchpad allows you to…

  • Automate changes to product prices (i.e., discounts) automatically during an event. This means you don’t have to stay up until midnight to start a Black Friday or Cyber Monday event, for instance.
  • Queue publication of new products to your sales channels. This means you can schedule your releases for a certain time and date.
  • Automatically ramp up your inventory before a sale.
  • Schedule creative changes before an event. Similar to the “change product prices” automation, this means you don’t have to stay up until midnight to add a new, sales-oriented header to your site.

Here’s a video which shows you how Launchpad’s automation works:


A Few More Shopify Bonuses

Let’s review some of the best Shopify plus extensions.

Customized, Liquid Landing Pages

Shopify’s own “liquid” code enables your business (or, perhaps, your web developer) to customize your brand’s landing pages.

Using liquid code, you can create static sections within a landing page template, and (depending on what your campaign’s objective is), populate those sections with whatever you want:

  • Collections
  • Products
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Etc.

Once created, all you’ll have to do is choose your new custom, liquid landing page from your Shopify Plus theme library:


Why is this awesome?

You no longer have to beg your web developer to create a landing page every time you want to run a promotion to targeted segments of customers.

Imagine being able to create multiple landing pages for your multiple target segments. 

You could change your campaigns landing page from basic merchant financing


To this, targeting the fashion industry in specific:


(
Source)

Liquid landing pages are a scaling dream come true. 

What normally would cost a fortune with a developer or massive amounts of time on your own now takes minutes. 

A Built-in Content Marketing (and PPC) Tool

Shopify knows that content marketing generates sales for ecommerce businesses and B2B alike. They know that blogging results in a business being 13x more likely to see a positive ROI from their marketing efforts.

It’s why Shopify offers a built-in blogging platform, meaning their customers don’t need a third-party CMS integration. 

And, as Shopify’s own CMS integrates already with their other content-marketing apps, it’s a great place to start your blog. 


With SEO tools, you can optimize everything you’d be able to on WordPress. 

But, it’s not only content marketing that Shopify has integrations with Plus. In addition, you can leverage your existing information on products, SKUs, and inventory to run PPC ads:  


(Image Source)

And PPC has a stellar ROI. This way you can tackle both content marketing and PPC in one swoop with existing information. 

Shopify Plus makes it smooth, fast, and automated. 

The Shopify Plus Community on Facebook and the Shopify Plus Academy

The Shopify Plus Community on Facebook, with almost 5,000 members, is a closed group made up exclusively of Shopify Plus users. 

In their own words, the Community offers:

“A place for merchants on Shopify Plus to network, collaborate, and share strategies & experiences.”

Shopify Academy, with more than 600,000 other entrepreneurs, is a goldmine for business owners. The academy provides free online Shopify training and business courses led by industry leaders.

Courses include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Shopify Tutorials
  • Homemade Products
  • Dropshipping
  • Instagram
  • Product Photography and Editing
  • Email Marketing
  • Ecommerce Website Design
  • SEO for Beginners
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Google ads

Shopify Plus Pricing Plans

Shopify Plus’ pricing starts at $2,000 per month, with a 12-month commitment.

Pricing varies based on how much your business is making each month.

  • If your monthly revenue is $1,000, Shopify Plus would cost $2,025.50. 
  • If your monthly revenue is $10,000, Shopify Pus would cost $2,275.00.
  • If your monthly revenue is $100,000, Shopify Plus would cost $4,750.00.
  • If your monthly revenue is $1,000,000, Shopify Plus would cost $29,500.00.

Like most enterprise-level software providers, Shopify Plus wants to start a conversation before jumping into pricing:

(Source)


Alternatives to Shopify Plus

Not every business needs Shopify Plus.

In fact, for most, it might be information overload. If your business hasn’t scaled to a giant in your niche, you might consider alternatives before diving into the Plus platform. 

If you’re looking for an enterprise-level platform…

Shopify Plus’ main competitor is Magento Commerce, but there are a few differences between the two.

(Source)

Shopify Plus has only been pushed by Shopify for the past couple years, so their market share is significantly smaller than Magento’s (about 5,300 stores vs. 250,000), but they’re growing more quickly.

Shopify Plus gives their merchants 24/7 care and the “launch engineer” which you won’t get with most Magento plans. 

However, the primary difference between Shopify Plus and Magento is the hosting.

Magento, unlike Shopify, requires your ecommerce website to be self-hosted. 

As a result, all of the things Shopify Plus promises, such as 99.98% uptime and security compliance, become your responsibility. And that can be a headache.

Price-wise though, there’s not much in it:

Magento Commerce starts at $22,000/year and increases based on a merchant’s sales. Compare that to Shopify Plus, which starts at $24,000/year (which includes hosting), and goes up from there.

If you’re looking for a mid-range platform:

Depending on your monthly revenue, Shopify’s regular plans may fit better than Shopify Plus (and be more economically viable).

From a competitor standpoint, BigCommerce is the closest for your mid-range business.

Most reviewers (including myself) agree that Shopify’s interface is simpler and more powerful.

BigCommerce wins for its total number of features, but Shopify has everything you really need.

Shopify wins for its inventory system and multi-channel selling (mobile, social media, etc), but struggles (at the Shopify Basic level) to scale internationally.

If you’re a small business:

Basic Shopify, which starts at only $29 per month, is your go-to if you’re just starting out. It offers the store, the blog, unlimited product listings, support, and discount codes.

You’ll struggle a bit on the analytics front, unfortunately, as Basic Shopify doesn’t include reporting.

Looking for industry-specific or cheaper ecommerce software providers? Here are a few great examples:

  • Just starting out with 1-2 products to test the waters or explore a hobby? Check out Weebly or Prestashop
  • For the Legal Profession: Clio
  • For service businesses who need online store capabilities: HouseCallPro
  • Financial Services, Logistics, or Communications: CloudSense

Shopify Plus Case Studies

Let’s take a look at some of Shopify Plus’ most successful clients: MVMT and Blenders Eyewear.

For more Shopify Plus case studies, check out their library here.

1. MVMT Watches uses Shopify Plus’ apps and social selling to their greatest potential

While Shopify Plus themselves talk about MVMT’s use of mobile optimization (which is all well and good), it’s really their capitalization of Shopify’s app partnerships and social selling partnerships which have driven their success.

 


(
Source)

MVMT uses more than 30 Shopify apps to “collect and display customer reviews, host contests, manage their email marketing, offer live chat, and rescue abandoned carts.”

“The real win, however, was their innovative approach to selling. MVMT’s Facebook Shop, for instance, generated 60,000 visitors and $15,000 in revenue during its first three months. Over the last year, it’s accumulated nearly $150,000 that could have otherwise been lost.”

Here’s a video outlining MVMT’s successful use of Shopify Plus:

2. Blenders Eyewear increases Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales by 10X YoY

Back in 2017, Blenders Eyewear was unsatisfied with its ability to capitalize on the year’s biggest consumer holidays: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Their strategy wasn’t incredibly innovative, but it didn’t have to be. Founder Chase Fisher ran the following campaign:

  • He rolled out targeted email ads and social media posts for almost four weeks before Black Friday.
  • He ramped up paid ads from Thursday before to the Wednesday before, investing $34,200 into Facebook and Instagram.
  • He ran a promotion which discounted all sunglasses by 55%, with 40% all snow goggles for Cyber Monday.


(Source)

Standard, right?

But it was his use of Shopify Plus’ Launchpad automation which brought it all together. 

He scheduled two separate site designs to publish at 12:01 am on Thursday and then again on Monday morning. This enabled him to plan it all and automate it, meaning he could nap in an armchair after the football game:

“When things go live at midnight, you don’t want to have to stay up till midnight to do all these changes. We had our offers switched to go out through Launchpad. We had our themes switched to go out through Launchpad. They pushed everything through successfully.” – Chase Fisher, Blenders Founder


Final Review of Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is an all-round winning platform. It’s meant for some of the biggest online stores in the world. 

With Shopify Plus, you get: 

  • A launch engineer to help you get set up, and have your back always
  • 24/7 support where you’ll always be the priority
  • Reliable, 99.98% uptime and security confidence you need to run a stable, enterprise-level business with no surprises
  • The benefits of automation through Shopify Flow and Launchpad
  • International flexibility with foreign currencies and nine store sites make every market accessible

And, with hosting provided, you’ll pay about the same as you would with Magento, for a more reliable platform from which to grow your business.

While it’s not for everyone, and it’s surely expensive, Shopify Plus is one of the most “decked-out” platforms for online stores you can use. 

giles thomas

Author:

Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert. Ps. Check out my new blog RisePro.co

Comments

6 Responses or Pingbacks

  1. Russ B says:

    Thank Giles, Launchpad In plus is an awesome feature. Thanks for breaking it down, appreciate the work you put in to the write up.

    Best,

    Russ

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