Key Differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus
Shopify is easily one of the most valuable ecommerce store building solutions on the market today, brimming with innovative and intuitive tools for developers and business owners. However, there are different flavors of Shopify to choose from, depending on the functionality you need.
For instance, there’s the core “Shopify” service, and then “Shopify Plus” – the more advanced solution intended for those who need extra customization options and a wider range of tools.
For Shopify developers, the good news is the dashboard for both Shopify and Shopify Plus are very similar. However, while standard Shopify is intended for smaller to mid-sized businesses, Shopify Plus is intended more for enterprise-level companies.
Let’s take a look at some of the major differences.
Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Is There a Platform Difference?
First, it’s worth understanding that Shopify and Shopify Plus use the same foundational platform. This means the overall knowledge you’re going to need as a developer will be very similar. The solutions are built on the same technology, use the same Shopify themes, and have the same core functionality.
Shopify Plus has everything the standard Shopify plan has, plus more. This means the best way to distinguish between the two solutions is to focus on the dedicated features you can access with Shopify Plus, which aren’t available on Shopify.
- Dedicated Account Manager
Although this might not be necessary for all Shopify developers, it can be a helpful addition to your Shopify experience. Shopify offers support to users via its phone, email, and live chat functionality in general, but as a Shopify Pro, you’re unlikely to need these very often.
Shopify Plus assigns a Launch Engineer to the website to hold your hand through the migration and setup process. Since you’ll already have significant training, you probably won’t need too much help, but the account manager can assist with various tasks, including finding partners to work with on complex projects.
- Greater Theme Customization
With standard Shopify plans, developers can customize Shopify theme templates using the editor, but it’s hard to switch to an entirely new theme. On the other hand, Shopify Plus allows for a much higher degree of customization. The solution gives users full access to Liquid, so you can make deeper changes to the way the theme works.
Most companies searching for a Shopify developer will want someone who has a deep knowledge of Liquid, so they can make significant changes to the way each theme works.
- Unlimited Staff Accounts
Another feature that users need to keep in mind when choosing between Shopify and Shopify Plus is staff accounts. The basic plan on Shopify only permits access to a few limited staff accounts. On the other hand, Shopify Plus allows for unlimited staff accounts, and additional permissions.
This means if you need to work with another partner or developer on creating something within Shopify, your customer will be able to create additional accounts with the right permissions.
- More Checkout Control
Checkouts are one of the main areas customers using Shopify will want to adapt when they’re designing the perfect store. Shopify Plus allows more control not just over the Shopify theme, but over the checkout experience too.
Users also have access to Shopify Scripts. With the Script Editor, you’ll have a higher level of control, with the option to customize customer fields, shipping methods and payment options. With standard Shopify, you’d need to use special apps.
- Advanced Apps
Speaking of applications, Shopify Plus also gives you access to a wider range of apps to add to your customer’s Shopify store. Examples include the Shopify Flow code-free automation tool, which allows for the development of “if this then that” style rules and triggers.
There’s also support for the Shopify wholesale channel, and Launchpad, a tool for automating flash sales and product launches. You can use the Transporter app too, which makes it easier to import data into a Shopify Plus store, making migrations from other platforms simple.
- API Integrations
With Shopify Plus, you’ll be able to use the Shopify Application Programming Interface in more ways too. The Plus package allows you to “call” the API environment more regularly, and use it to design more sophisticated integrations with other tools.
For instance, you can use Multipass login to seamlessly redirect visitors towards a Shopify store without the need for separate logins, and unlock Giftcard as an alternative payment method. You can even build your own private or custom apps to add to the store.
The extra API access will also allow you to connect the Shopify store to more existing platforms, including Project Information Management tools, Enterprise Resource Planning tools, Customer Relationship Management, and Third-party logistics.
- Sandbox Stores
A particularly appealing feature for Shopify developers, Shopify Plus also allows users to create test sites known as “Sandbox Stores”. These can be used to give you more room to learn how to master Shopify Plus, and create demos for prospective clients.
The Sandbox stores environment gives developers freedom to make an unlimited number of “dummy” transactions through a gateway payment provider to track the performance of test orders too. This is a great way to ensure everything works smoothly.
- Bonus Resources
When you’re using Shopify Plus, you’ll have access to a range of resources the standard Shopify user doesn’t get. This includes tools like the Merchant Success Program, for extra help from the Shopify team, wholesale markets, and a partners directory.
There’s a Facebook community where you can share your experiences with other Plus users, and access to exclusive beta programs for new Shopify features. Plus, you’ll have access to the Shopify Plus Academy, where you can hone your skills within the platform.
- Unified Dashboards for Multiple Stores
If you’re building stores for a company looking to run multiple shops at once, then Shopify Plus is the best option. There’s a dashboard where you can manage all of your stores and staff accounts in the same place. This landscape also gives you access to automation tools, and analytics for a complete end-to-end view of different store metrics.
The dashboard for analytics is more in-depth too. This could be ideal if you want to create reports for your customers about how your Shopify store design is performing in terms of generating sales and return customers.
Perhaps the most significant difference between Shopify as a Standard solution and Shopify Plus is the pricing. The core Shopify service has a range of flat pricing plans to choose from, which remain the same regardless of your sales numbers. With Shopify Plus, users need to speak to the sales team for a specific cost.
Prices are often dependent on the sales volume of the store, but there is a cap involved on how much of a percentage Shopify can ask for. Using Shopify Plus might mean you need to charge your customers more to build their store.
Who Needs Shopify Plus?
For Shopify developers, Shopify Plus definitely offers a lot more functionality and freedom. While the two offerings have the same core components involved, Plus will give you more flexibility, and more access to the store’s underlying code.
While there are greater expenses to consider, you might find you’re more able to create highly unique and customized stores for your customers with Shopify Plus.