What are the Benefits of Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is a fully hosted enterprise eCommerce platform for merchants and brands. Shopify has expanded up market rapidly and is starting to take significant market share from the enterprise incumbents.
If your brand is doing over $40,000 a month in eCommerce sales, contact us for a free Shopify Plus evaluation and we can let you know if Plus is right for you.
Shopify has historically had three plans for all their stores: Basic, Shopify and Advanced. However Shopify realized that their 3 plans didn’t have enough functionality to compete with enterprise eCommerce platforms: Magento, Volusion or Demandware. To address this gap in their platform and begin to attract large eCommerce merchants, Shopify created the Shopify Plus program.
Shopify Plus is trusted by brands worldwide:
We have summarized the primary features of Shopify Plus below.
Shopify Plus Pricing (Updated Feb. 1st, 2017)
Starting February 1, 2017, Shopify Plus pricing transitioned to a variable rate pricing model. This new Shopify Plus pricing model ties the monthly cost of the platform to the sales volume of your store. Here is how it works:
If your store (or multiple stores) transact between $0 and $800,000 USD per month, Shopify Plus pricing will be a flat $2,000 USD per month. If your store transacts more than $800,000 per month (capped at $16,000,000 in sales) Shopify Plus will charge an additional 0.25% of store sales per month (aggregated across all stores under the same Plus contract). There is a pricing floor for Plus of $2,000 USD/month with a capped ceiling of $40,000 USD/month.
For example, let’s say you sign up with Shopify Plus and you launch a US based store. If your Shopify Plus store uses Shopify Payments the Plus rate is 2.15% (Amex cards are 3.15%) + $.30/transaction for all purchases performed with US credit cards. If you have overseas customers your store will be charged 3.15% + $.30/transaction for non US credit cards. As a side note if you find that many of your customers are overseas, it’s time for you to consider a clone store so you can get a better rate on your credit card processing fees.
If you are a Plus customer and choose to use your own external payment gateway you will be charged an additional transaction fee of 0.15% of monthly sales.
Shopify Plus Technology Partner Program
Shopify Plus recently announced the the technology partner program to provide Shopify Plus merchants a list of trusted and industry leading technology partners. Here are some of our favorites:
- Power Reviews – create and syndicate customer reviews for your products
- Stitch Labs – connect all your data sources and SaaS tools, a great resource for inventory and returns management
- Celebros – site search, advanced auto complete, product recommendations and much more
- Dotmailer – advanced email marketing with a free Shopify Plus connector
- Annex Cloud – online loyalty, refer a friend, ratings and reviews and gamification programs
The merchants selected for the Shopify Technology Partner program are selected for the following factors: joint Shopify value proposition, demonstrated ability to solve merchant problems and a commitment to innovation.
NEW SHOPIFY PLUS FEATURES (Updated May 5th, 2017)
At Shopify Unite this year in SF, Shopify announced a number of outstanding Plus features, here are some of our favorites.
iOS & Android Apps for Plus Merchants
If you sign up for Shopify Plus you now get a iOS and Android app included with your yearly contract. Using Shopify’s Mobile Store Builder you can create your own native mobile ecommerce application for iPhone and Android devices. The best part about this is that you don’t even need to have your own mobile development team, using the Mobile Store Builder platform allows you to create your own mobile store experience for your customers.
Flash Sale Automation
Many large Plus merchants are doing weekly or monthly product launches and flash sales on a regular basis. Preparing for each of these one off events manually is time consuming and stressful, which is why Shopify announced the creation of Launchpad as the automated command center for your major ecommerce sales events. Launchpad allows merchants to schedule product launches, pricing, adjust inventory levels and even theme customizations well in advance of the sale event.
Shopify Plus merchants now get access to Flow which allows you to customize and automate important inventory and order processes that were previously manual. With Flow you can now do the following:
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Create custom logic triggers to occur after certain events or criteria are met
- Customizations do not require coding knowledge
Shopify Pay allows your customers to check out in seconds by entering a 6 digit verification code sent directly to their phone. Your customers can skip entering their shipping and payment details when they buy from your or any store on Shopify that is also using Shopify Payments. Shoppers can opt in to have their checkout information stored with Shopify Pay and is available to customers using any type of device or browser.
Shopify Plus is a fully hosted solution that will cost you much less than Magento Enterprise when it comes to servers and maintenance. With Magento you need to pay for a license ($18,000/year), programming support for features as well as your own server which will cost you upwards of $500/month for hardened dedicated server. In addition, you need to have server admin skills on staff to maintain, update and monitor the server to ensure everything is set up and running correctly. With Shopify Plus, Shopify takes care of the server and the maintenance, freeing you up to focus on improving your user experience and growing sales for your store.
Shopify has a large Plus professional team that is always ready to get on a call to help with support. You also get a dedicated launch manager as well as a dedicated success manager to help ease the transition from your previous eCommerce platform to Shopify Plus. There is also 24/7 dedicated technical support so if an issue develops with a script or your site isn’t functioning correctly you have access to Shopify’s trained expert staff.
Shopify Plus customers receive a priority phone number and email to contact Shopify if there are any issues. You can expect a quick response from your dedicated support manager and also experience, most Shopify Plus account managers have a minimum of 2 years working at Shopify and come with a background in retail. You can expect to receive updates on apps and new beta features on a monthly basis from your support team.
Shopify Plus Uptime and CDN
Shopify maintains a large bank of servers at Rackspace, one of the largest cloud hosting providers in the world. With 99.99% uptime, Shopify Plus has a clear lead over the 3 traditional Shopify plans. Shopify maintains a status history of all known issues that you can track real time.
Shopify Plus will handle scaling and can deal with a massive increase in traffic to your store. If you are managing your own servers and get a sudden increase in traffic can your server handle the dramatic uptick in customers? What happens when your server goes down for Black Friday and you miss out on an entire day’s worth of sales? With Shopify Plus you no longer have to stress about scalability issues, you can take that off your plate.
Shopify uses Fastly for its worldwide CDN to ensure that stores everywhere have fast load times. A CDN is particularly useful for storing and caching images all around the world on edge servers that can deliver the data to a local host (website) very quickly.
Checkout Page Customization & Full SSL
This is a really big feature that pushes many clients into Shopify Plus. With the 3 standard Shopify plans you do not have the ability to modify the checkout page, but with Shopify Plus you can customize the checkout page experience by updating the checkout.scs.liquid file. By updating this file you can change the currency, text, layout, button states (regular, primary and inset) and create custom error messages, such as: Your Order Qualifies You For 10% Savings. This will allow you to create a completely branded experience on your checkout page that is fully responsive.
Also another key feature with Shopify Plus is that your checkout page URL will remain YOURDOMAINNAME.com instead of checkout.shopify.com. Your customers will stay on your root URL the entire purchase process.
Here is a summary of the checkout page benefits:
- Complete control over the checkout page experience, including buttons, layout, offers, etc
- Allow customers to pay with points from loyalty apps on the checkout page
- Include custom error messages/popups for abandoned checkout pages or for special offers
- Full SSL experience on your domain name
You can expect a significant revenue uplift on sales by customizing your checkout page, if you are doing over $30,000 a month in sales, add another 5%-10% with a fully customized checkout experience.
API Limits & Access
This is another tremendous advantage to upgrading to Shopify Plus, all the scripts your store gets to access. In addition you can get access to beta scripts many months before non Shopify Plus stores. Shopify Plus shops have many more API calls available to them and if you access your dedicated Plus manager you can even get the standard API call rate increased.
To get the most out of your Shopify Plus store you need to take advantage of Shopify scripts. Shopify scripts let you run your code on Shopify’s servers and this lets you create a number of features that you can’t provide with a regular Shopify store. For example, you can do the following:
- Create a set % discount on products
- Offer buy 3 get one 1 free, buy 2 get the 2nd ½ off, etc
- Developed tiers of discounts, based on volume orders or frequency
- Have a total dollar amount off a product, for example $20 off
There are many creative use cases for Shopify scripts, consider inserting a pop over when someone adds a product to the cart offering a free giveaway or a discount on a related product. If you want to give volume discounts, you can now update the pricing real time on the product detail page when a customer increases the quantity they want to purchase.
You can make these changes in the Shopify scripts editor, here is where you can update the Ruby scripts that can be stored permanently in your Shopify Plus store. If you need help getting started, Shopify has created some great sample scripts and be sure to check out their Github repository for more script templates.
Discount Code API
If you have a large number of store discount codes, it’s much easier to create, disable, enable and retire discounts through the discount API. You can create fixed_amount discounts for example you can give away $50 discount codes and $50 will be subtracted from the customer’s order upon checkout. You can create shipping discount codes to give free shipping if the customer spends above a predefined value.
Gift Card API
If you want to give away store gift cards you can create, count, modify, and disable your gift cards by using the Shopify gift card API. Gift cards can maintain a balance and be redeemed over multiple checkouts.
Selling in Different Currencies
To create stores that show prices in different currencies and maintain that currency all the way through the checkout process, you need to create additional Shopify Stores. QuadLockcase.com is a great example of how to create multiple Shopify sites and link them all together so that there is a seamless experience for your customer. You will notice that when you click on “Country” on the top of their website, you will see options to switch sites and that will show their products and prices in the native currency. Quadlock chose the option to change the top level domain name (watch the URL) when you switch countries. Alternatively you could set up subdomains like this: germany.quadlock.com, france.quadlock.com, but I like their choice of using different top level domains (TLD’s).
When you upgrade to Shopify Plus, it comes with 9 more clone stores that you can use to sell in additional currencies. If you are getting ready to sell globally, this is a major incentive to upgrade to Shopify Plus.
Unlimited Staff Accounts
With Shopify Plus you can grow your business and not worry about a limitation on who can access your site. Create individual staff accounts that can login, make updates and handle your inventory updates, product pricing changes, etc and track all their changes with Shopify Plus.
Selling Products to Wholesalers
Shopify Plus has long lacked the ability to create wholesale pricing on your store, but they recently announced wholesale channel functionality for Shopify Plus customers. In the past our agency has steered many clients to WooCommerce if they needed to create tiered pricing for their customers, but this new feature will make many people reconsider Shopify Plus. We created a report that explains how wholesale channels work for Shopify Plus customers, if you are thinking of rolling this out for your store hit us up with any questions.
Avalara Tax Integration
It’s critical that you charge your customers the right tax rates and with Avalara’s tax integration you can rest much easier knowing you have a 3rd party tax company to help handle this. Avalara comes free with Shopify Plus and has real time tax calculations for over 14,000 US tax jurisdictions. You also get guaranteed protection against tax audits, obsolete data and outdated tax laws.
Single Sign on for Forums/Group Membership Sites
The multipass login feature is another really cool add on for Shopify Plus users. If you have a separate website where your customers can login to see your content, now with the multipass feature you can redirect users from your membership site to your store without making them login again on Shopify. You must enable the multipass login feature in the Setting-Checkout page and then you can start generating tokens for your customers using JSON.
Shopify Plus Merchants get Discounts on Popular Apps
If you are running more than one Shopify store, maintaining apps for all the stores can quickly become pricey. If you are are able to move up to Shopify Plus, Shopify will give you exclusive pricing on the most popular apps.