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Shopify Plus Review: Is Shopify Plus the Best Ecommerce Platform?

Ryan Baum
Ryan Baum
Last updated on 
June 11, 2019
April 2, 2020
Shopify Plus Review: Is Shopify Plus the Best Ecommerce Platform?

Since its release in 2006, Shopify has grown to be one of the most respected ecommerce platforms for online sellers across the globe. The base package is great for new and small businesses because you can create a functional store in just a few hours of setup. But for merchants who need even more advanced features and support, an upgrade to Shopify Plus is worth consideration.

Launched in 2014, Shopify Plus is designed to give growing businesses more options for customizing their ecommerce stores, more hands-on support, and access to a wider range of ecommerce tools and features. Of course, all of these benefits do come at an extra cost, leaving it up to you to decide if paying for Shopify Plus is the right choice for your business.

To help you make this decision, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Shopify Plus, including its best features, the top apps available on Shopify Plus, and how it stacks up to its competitors.

Shopify Plus key features review

Along with the impressive range of features provided by Shopify, Shopify Plus offers a number of additional enterprise features that can prove highly beneficial to the right sellers. This includes features such as:

Unlimited customization and API options

Shopify Plus is highly customizable, allowing you to create a bespoke ecommerce experience for your customers that doesn't look and feel like every other Shopify store. By enabling you to access your store's underlying code, Shopify Plus offers limitless customization options. The dedicated support that accompanies Shopify Plus also means that you can look forward to first-class assistance with implementing these customizations.

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
  • Calculating international taxes

One of the most notable benefits of this comes in the form of better checkout processes. Complex checkout processes are the reason behind 17% of cart abandonment, so it’s worthwhile to dedicate some time to optimizing your checkout. Making your checkout process smooth, personalized, and rewarding can help you to win and retain customers.

Shopify Plus also has some unique APIs that may be especially appealing to enterprise stores, like Gift Card and Multipass. Gift Card allows Plus users to offer gift cards to customers without a ton of complicated development needs. With Multipass, gone are the days of forcing users to log in multiple times: If they’re logged into one of your sites and click through to another one of your sites, they’ll be automatically logged in with the same credentials. These features are excellent for building customer loyalty and improving the customer experience, making them a great perk for Plus users.

Check out our guide to improve your checkout process and reduce Shopify cart abandonment.

Global selling compatibility

As an expanding online retailer, you may be planning on global ecommerce — or perhaps you already sell internationally. Shopify Plus merchants can easily expand their international presence with localized storefronts tailored to each international market, international domains, estimated duties and taxes, and global delivery locations.

What are the benefits of localizing? For starters, research finds that 76% of consumers are more likely to buy a product described in their own language. Locally tailored websites encourage sales by easing consumers into the process, building trust and recognition. And remember: the better your global foothold, the greater your audience reach and growth potential.

Unmatched bandwidth and cloud functionality

With all this increased global activity in your store, you want to be confident that your website can handle it all. This is one area where Shopify Plus shines, guaranteeing 99.9% uptime and the ability to handle over 10,000 transactions per minute (even on Black Friday).

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 won’t waste time monitoring outages, and you won’t lose money on emergency developer fees.

Integration with 1,500 other apps

While Shopify boasts an impressive list of integrations, it pales in comparison to the list of apps that Shopify Plus integrates with. With Shopify Plus, you can integrate your ecommerce store with over 1,500 third-party apps.

Much of an ecommerce store's functionality comes from the apps that it integrates with. If your ecommerce, customer service, shipping, and returns platforms don’t work together, you’re likely losing hours each week. With more integrations to choose from, Shopify Plus provides sellers with more freedom to choose the combination of solutions best suited for their needs.

Related: Our list of the best apps available to all Shopify users (not just Shopify Plus).

Multiple sales channels

As any enterprise (or ambitious) online seller knows, selling on multiple sales channels is essential for success in ecommerce. With Shopify Plus, users can take advantage of the Shopify Audiences feature to export audience lists to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, making it easier to build targeted campaigns for those specific audiences. 

Plus customers also have robust omnichannel selling support. The goal of an omnichannel strategy is to break down the walls between your ecommerce, social media, mobile, and email experiences. For example, a customer may find your ecommerce store after searching Google for “men’s accessories.” Perhaps they look at a few hats, but don’t buy anything. A few days later they may start seeing ads on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for the hats they looked at with a discount code. They may sign up for the code and come back to your website, add a few things to their cart, and abandon the cart. A few days later they may get a cart reminder email that draws them back in. Ultimately, your goal is to be wherever your customers are with the intent to encourage them to purchase.

Additional apps and integrations can clog up the back end 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.

Seamless automation with Shopify Flow

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, offer high-value customers personalized rewards, reorder low stock, and flag 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.

Automation of any kind is a win-win situation — it saves time, keeps your staffing costs low, and provides quicker service for your customers.

World-class customer support

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

Finding your way in the world of enterprise ecommerce can be difficult. With dedicated experts there to make your journey a success, you’ll be running smoothly in no time.

The best Shopify Plus apps

We've mentioned already that Shopify Plus is capable of integrating with over 1,500 third-party apps. But with so many apps to choose from, finding the best solutions for your business can sometimes be tricky. To help you get started, here is a small selection of some of the best Shopify Plus apps available today:

1. Gorgias: Customer service built for ecommerce

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 right on the platform. Your customer service agents can also view and edit order details, issue refunds, cancel orders, use templates, and benefit from automation rules. 

Unlike many other customer service platforms, Gorgias is built exclusively for ecommerce. If you use Shopify (Plus) and Gorgias, you can modify orders with Gorgias, pull up-to-date information from Shopify, and view all past purchases and interactions with customers in the customer sidebar. All of our design decisions — past and future — are guided by the needs of merchants like you.

2. Expandly: Multi-channel selling 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 accounts, 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

3. Smile: Enticing rewards for shoppers

Reward the customers who have helped get you to the enterprise level by connecting your Shopify Plus store with the Smile app. The total rewards solution powers you to introduce loyalty points, set up a VIP program, and offer a generous referral program. Smile users also have access to customized designs, reward reminders, and mobile compatibility.

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 can offer a superior subscription service through your Shopify Plus storefront.

5. Klaviyo: Data-driven and segmented marketing

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. You can install the intuitive and informative dashboard in a single click, giving you access to tools that generate greater ROI.

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 can 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 mobile 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 option to run A/B testing, segmented campaigns, and cart abandonment reminders, you’ll find the perfect solution to maximize sales.

8. OptiMonk: Conversion optimization

OptiMonk is a free conversion optimization tool that turns your traffic into sales. It allows you to create, personalize, and launch popups, sidebars, notification bars, and full screens — without coding. With OptiMonk, you can capture more email & Messenger subscribers, reduce cart abandonment, and increase cart value. OptiMonk also gives you tools to promote special offers, collect feedback, and facilitate social sharing.

Check out our guide to conversion rate optimization for further reading.

Shopify Plus pricing review

Shopify Plus offers a straightforward pricing plan that makes it easy to determine if Shopify Plus is the right choice for your business. A Shopify Plus plan starts at $2,000 per month, and this plan includes personalized assistance setting up the platform and adding integrations. This plan offers everything that most online sellers need. 

For sellers with an especially high-volume business or complex, custom needs, Shopify Plus offers a variable fee option. If you feel that you will need features and support that go beyond what is included with a standard Shopify Plus plan, you can contact Shopify for a custom pricing quote for those add-ons.

Aside from these fees, you won't incur any other fees for using Shopify Plus as long as you use Shopify Payments to process transactions. If you use a third-party payment processor, you will be charged 0.15% per transaction.

While its $2,000 per month price tag puts Shopify Plus out of reach for smaller online sellers, the platform is designed to meet the needs of higher-volume sellers who require additional features and support. For these sellers, Shopify Plus is often well worth the cost. For one, using Shopify Plus eliminates the per-transaction fees that Shopify charges. These fees can range from 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction to 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction depending on the Shopify plan that you choose. This means that for high-volume sellers, Shopify Plus can quickly pay for itself — even if you don't take into account all of the other extra features and benefits that Shopify Plus offers.

Shopify Plus compared to its competition

Shopify Plus is an exceptional ecommerce platform, but it’s not the only option available for online sellers looking to expand their business. Before you decide if Shopify Plus is the right choice for you, it's a good idea to compare it to its competition. With that in mind, let's take a look at how Shopify Plus stacks up to some of the other top ecommerce platforms.

Shopify Plus vs. BigCommerce Enterprise

BigCommerce is a well-known ecommerce platform that offers an upgraded solution similar to Shopify Plus called BigCommerce Enterprise. Like Shopify Plus, BigCommerce Enterprise eliminates per-transaction fees, making it a great choice for high-volume sellers. Other similarities between Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise include dedicated 24/7 support, coding access for backend development, and expanded customization options such as a fully customizable checkout environment.

Out of the box, BigCommerce Enterprise comes equipped with a few more tools and features than Shopify Plus. However, Shopify Plus offers a much longer list of integrations. This means that optimizing a Shopify Plus store with all of the tools you need will take a little more effort and money, but you will have a lot more options to choose from in the end.

According to a summary of reviews from G2, most reviewers find Shopify Plus easier to set up, use, and administer than BigCommerce Enterprise. One of the biggest selling points of Shopify Plus is the fact that it claims to reduce the time it takes to replatform from 12 to 18 months all the way down to three to four months. While BigCommerce Enterprise is known for offering great support and being a user-friendly platform, it doesn't quite offer the same easy setup and use as Shopify Plus. The majority of G2 reviewers also find Shopify Plus to better meet the needs of their business overall — offering better feature updates, roadmaps, and ongoing product support.

Nevertheless, BigCommerce Enterprise is a powerful and feature-rich platform that comes out of the box with almost everything a scaling ecommerce business could possibly need — particularly if you already use and enjoy BigCommerce.

Shopify Plus vs. Magento

Unlike Shopify Plus, Magento is a self-hosted, open-source ecommerce platform. With Magento, the options for customization are truly limitless — as long as your coding skills are up to snuff. This makes Magento an attractive choice for large enterprises that can afford to pay a development team to create a truly unique website that might not be possible using hosted solutions such as Shopify Plus.

Ease of use, however, is not where Magento shines, and it can be an intimidating prospect for the average online seller. Magento requires you to build your online store from the ground up and host it yourself, and using it means you’ll have to keep your store's customized code compatible with each new software update.

If you already have a skilled team of developers working for your company, it might be that none of this is too much of a concern. In this case, it's certainly true that Magento allows for a lot more creativity and customization: If you can dream it, you can build it into your Magento store.

But for the majority of sellers, Shopify Plus offers more than enough features and customization options. There's even the option to work with Shopify to further customize your store at an additional price. Speaking of price, while it may seem that Magento's largely DIY model should be more affordable than hosted solutions such as Shopify Plus, this isn't always the case. Magento’s licensing fees are variable depending on your exact needs, but they can often climb quite high. In fact, some large corporations pay millions of dollars per year in Magento licensing fees.

Read our in-depth review of Magento vs. Shopify for more information.

Shopify Plus vs. Volusion Prime

Volusion isn't nearly as well known as Shopify, but it is incredibly similar in terms of its features and pricing. Like Shopify, Volusion also offers an upgraded version of its platform for scaling online businesses, called Volusion Prime.

While Volusion Prime offers a few of the same benefits as Shopify Plus (including dedicated support and first access to new features) the difference between Volusion and Volusion Prime vs. the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus aren't nearly as pronounced. With Shopify Plus, you get new customization options, new automation features, global selling compatibility, greater bandwidth, new integrations, and much more. Volusion Prime, meanwhile, offers far fewer upgrades to Volusion's base offering.

Aside from dedicated support from a client success manager and first access to new features, Volusion Prime's only other key advantage is the fact that it offers lower payment processing rates when merchants use Volusion's native payment processing solution. With Shopify Plus, however, there is no charge at all to process payments using Shopify Payments.

Since pricing for Volusion Prime is based on the seller's volume, it’s difficult to know if these few upgrades are worth the cost without contacting Volusion. If you already use and enjoy Volusion and are just looking for extra support as you scale your business, then there's no harm in checking out how much it will cost you to upgrade to Volusion Prime.

When to upgrade to Shopify Plus

If you’re a Shopify user, you may be wondering if — and when — it would make sense for your brand to upgrade to Shopify Plus. While all the additional features of Plus make it a fantastic tool for the ecommerce stores that use it, the $2,000 per month (minimum) price tag is enough to make anyone think twice. 

Shopify offers some sound advice here. Their FAQ page explains that brands tend to make the switch when their monthly online sales reach about $80,000, or around $1 million ARR. Because Plus is designed for scalability, businesses should definitely consider switching once they reach the $10 million ARR mark. 

However, it’s worth noting that every ecommerce business is unique, so consider whether the additional Plus features will benefit you. Do you plan to go global with your ecommerce store? Do you need dedicated support from Shopify experts to reach your goals? Are repetitive tasks keeping you from focusing on growth opportunities? If the answer to most of these questions is “yes,” then it’s probably time to make the switch.

How to migrate to Shopify Plus

If you already use Shopify, it’s pretty easy to upgrade to Shopify Plus. Log into your existing Shopify account to upgrade your plan. If you’re migrating from another ecommerce platform, you can migrate to Shopify Plus within 90 days with help from a dedicated support agent.

Combine Shopify Plus with Gorgias for the best customer experience

Designed specifically to support growing ecommerce businesses, Shopify Plus offers all of the tools, features, and dedicated support you need to scale and optimize your ecommerce website. And with 1,500+ integrations to choose from, anything that Shopify Plus doesn't include out of the box is easy to find on the Shopify App Store.

Another solution that every scaling ecommerce business needs is a customer support platform. At Gorgias, we offer an all-in-one customer support solution with unmatched Shopify integrations. Gorgias offers a centralized customer support dashboard, chatbots and other automation features, live chat customer support, multi-channel customer support, and so much more.

If you’re interested in Shopify Plus to scale your business, also check out Gorgias’ automation add-on. The package offers additional features to scale your customer service and generate revenue by deflecting low-impact tickets, proactively answering product questions, and offering 24/7 support. 

Sign up for Gorgias today to see why countless Shopify and Shopify Plus users choose us to streamline customer support and boost customer satisfaction.

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