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Shopify Plus Review 2024

By March 27, 2024 April 23rd, 2024 No Comments

Liquify are official Shopify Experts & Partners since 2014. If you follow a link to Shopify from our website and make a subsequent purchase this may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Our opinions remain our own.

Unveiling the Powerhouse: A Shopify Plus Review

In the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce, businesses are constantly on the lookout for robust platforms that can seamlessly accommodate their growing needs. Shopify Plus, an enterprise-level solution from the Shopify family, has emerged as a powerhouse for high-volume merchants. As we step into 2024, it’s essential to explore the capabilities and enhancements that Shopify Plus brings to the table, as well as some of the possible setbacks to make a comprehensive review of Shopify Plus.

Our review is written from a web development agency perspective – one that specialises in e-commerce. We’ll delve into key insights that emerge only through hands-on involvement in building and managing stores on this platform.

As official Shopify experts, we boast a diverse portfolio of clients utilising various e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and others. Our expertise spans a wide array of e-commerce platforms globally, affording us a robust vantage point to offer informed guidance on the primary pros and cons of Shopify Plus and how it stacks up against other SaaS platforms.

Let’s dive into our Shopify Plus review!

Shopify and Shopify Plus Defined

What is Shopify Plus and how does it differ from Regular Shopify?
Shopify stands as a leading e-commerce platform globally, likely a name you’ve encountered if you’re already immersed in the e-commerce realm or just venturing into it.

As a hosted e-commerce SAAS solution, Shopify not only furnishes the hosting but also maintains the necessary software for operating an online store. Moreover, it extends its functionality to include physical point-of-sale capabilities or card readers, seamlessly syncing all aspects of your business operations, whether online, in-store, or on the move. Recent expansions even allow integration with Amazon and other platforms.

Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level version of the regular Shopify platform, tailored to meet the needs of high-volume merchants and large businesses. While both regular Shopify and Shopify Plus offer the essential features for creating and managing online stores, Shopify Plus provides additional functionalities, customisation options, and support services to accommodate the unique requirements of larger businesses.

One of the key differences between Shopify Plus and regular Shopify lies in scalability. Shopify Plus is designed to handle high volumes of traffic, transactions, and product listings more efficiently, ensuring smooth performance even during peak times. This scalability is essential for businesses experiencing rapid growth or anticipating spikes in demand.

Another significant distinction is the level of customisation and control offered by Shopify Plus. With Shopify Plus, merchants have greater flexibility to customise their online stores extensively, from the checkout process to the storefront design, using advanced scripting and API access. This level of customisation empowers businesses to create unique and tailored experiences for their customers, helping them stand out in a competitive market.

Moreover, Shopify Plus provides dedicated support and account management services to its clients, including access to a team of experts who offer guidance, technical assistance, and strategic advice. This personalised support ensures that businesses leveraging Shopify Plus have the resources and assistance they need to succeed and grow their online operations effectively.

In summary, while regular Shopify caters to small to medium-sized businesses, Shopify Plus is designed for larger enterprises with complex needs, offering enhanced scalability, customisation options, and dedicated support services to drive growth and success.

The Pros of Shopify Plus – Our Shopify Plus Review

Shopify Plus offers numerous advantages compared to both other platforms and lower-tier Shopify plans. Here are the primary benefits that we believe distinguish Plus as a premier enterprise-class e-commerce solution.

A Fully Hosted Solution:

With Shopify Plus, servers are expertly managed by Shopify and their partners, such as Fastly, ensuring an impressive uptime of 99.99%. This level of reliability is unparalleled, especially when compared to self-managed servers. Even a mere 1% downtime can severely hamper businesses, particularly during peak trading seasons like Christmas. It’s crucial to note that server issues often arise at the most inconvenient times, potentially resulting in significant financial losses.

Those who use platforms such as Magento, OpenCart, or WooCommerce will be stuck with occasional server downtime and maintenance which can incur substantial costs, including lost sales and staff expenses for maintenance tasks.

Scalability and Performance:

Shopify Plus is renowned for its scalability, making it an ideal choice for rapidly growing businesses. The platform effortlessly handles high transaction volumes, ensuring smooth and reliable performance even during peak times. With enhanced infrastructure and optimisations, Shopify Plus provides a reliable foundation for businesses anticipating substantial growth.

We’ve been consistently impressed by the performance and dependability of Shopify Plus servers, witnessing our clients’ stores seamlessly handle high-volume transactions daily, while also boasting robust DDOS protection to safeguard against malicious attacks aimed at disrupting your website. Whether you’re orchestrating flash sales or extensive promotions, it’s crucial to have confidence that your server can withstand the load and be secure.

Customisation and Flexibility:

One of the standout features of Shopify Plus is its ability to cater to the unique requirements of diverse businesses. The platform allows for extensive customisation, enabling merchants to create a tailored and branded online presence. From the storefront to backend processes, Shopify Plus empowers businesses with the flexibility to adapt to their specific needs.

Enhanced Security Measures:

Security is a top priority for any online business, especially as cyber threats continue to evolve. Shopify Plus offers built-in robust security measures, including Level 1 PCI DSS compliance and automatic updates to safeguard against vulnerabilities. With features like dedicated SSL certificates and secure infrastructure, businesses can rest assured that their customers’ data is well protected – straight from the get-go!

Multi-Channel Commerce:

In the omnichannel era, reaching customers across various touchpoints is crucial. Shopify Plus excels at facilitating multi-channel commerce, allowing merchants to seamlessly integrate their storefronts with social media, marketplaces, and other sales channels. This not only expands the reach but also simplifies management with a centralised dashboard.

Multiple Stores on One Payment Plan:

With Shopify Plus plans, you can create multiple clones of your store to support multiple currencies or languages without incurring additional Shopify plan costs. This means that for a single fixed monthly price, you can operate up to 11 Shopify Plus stores. These stores can be hosted on subdomains or country-specific domains, and you only need to pay for the first Plus plan. In contrast, lower-tier plans require payment for a separate plan for each store, although volume discounts are available.

Advanced Analytics and Reporting:

Informed decision-making is vital for the success of any business. Shopify Plus offers advanced analytics and reporting tools that provide valuable insights into customer behaviour, sales performance, and inventory management. With data-driven intelligence, merchants can refine their strategies, optimise processes, and stay ahead of the competition.

Automation and Efficiency:

Time is money, and Shopify Plus understands the importance of efficiency. The platform comes equipped with automation tools that streamline various business processes. From order fulfilment to inventory management, automation reduces manual tasks, minimises errors, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

Dedicated Support and Resources:

Shopify Plus customers enjoy priority support and access to a dedicated account manager. This ensures that businesses receive timely assistance and guidance as they navigate the platform. Additionally, the platform provides a wealth of resources, including educational materials, webinars, and a community forum, fostering a collaborative environment for learning and growth.

Expanding Capabilities:

While some e-commerce platforms remain stagnant, Shopify continues to evolve and introduce new features. Platforms like Volusion and Open Cart are currently experiencing stagnation, whereas Shopify is actively moving forward, constantly enhancing its capabilities. We’re particularly enthusiastic about the array of new apps now accessible on Shopify, and it’s evident that theme developers are increasingly drawn to the platform. This growth fosters a vibrant and expanding community around Shopify.

Developer Friendly to Help Grow Stores:

Shopify offers powerful APIs that are readily available, making the platform highly flexible and developer-friendly. Additionally, Shopify Plus customers gain access to an extra API called Scripts, which enables developers to create custom applications using Ruby.

All Shopify stores have API access, but the API limits are significantly higher for Shopify Plus compared to lower-tier Shopify plans. This means that when your store is connected to other services, real-time data can be transferred more quickly from the store to the third party.

The Cons of Shopify Plus – Our Shopify Plus Review

Uncovering the drawbacks of Shopify Plus can be challenging until you’ve actively engaged in developing and designing stores using the platform. Through our hands-on experience of building and maintaining Shopify Plus stores for clients, we’ve identified the following main disadvantages.

High Entry Cost:
Shopify Plus comes with a significant price tag, making it less accessible for small and mid-sized businesses. Shopify Plus caters to established online stores with sizeable customer bases or ambitious startups aiming for rapid growth. With six- or seven-figure annual sales, it’s ideal for businesses in that league. Smaller to medium-sized businesses may find Shopify Advanced or Shopify Plan more cost-effective initially, scaling up to Shopify Plus when warranted. While pricing isn’t fixed, expect a minimum monthly cost of $2,000 covering server, software, SSL, and support.

Transaction Fees:

Despite paying a substantial monthly fee, Shopify Plus merchants are still subject to transaction fees for each sale. This additional cost can impact overall profitability, especially for high-volume businesses.

For each transaction, Shopify applies a 0.15% charge to contribute to the enhanced security features of Shopify Plus. However, you can bypass this fee by using Shopify’s payment processor, Shopify Payments. It’s the most economical choice within Shopify Plus, ideal for businesses aiming to cut costs.

Back-End Customisation Limitations:

While Shopify Plus offers complete customisation for the front end, the back end isn’t as flexible. For most merchants, this isn’t an issue, but for some, it poses significant challenges. To expand core functionality, you typically need to rely on apps, which can add complexity, especially for unique products or integrations. While everything is technically achievable within Shopify’s backend, the processes for store managers may not be as streamlined as they could be if the backend were customisable. Specific examples include products requiring extensive customisation or personalisation, or those with large numbers of variants or complex component tracking.

Dependency on Apps:

App Costs and Reliability: While the Shopify App Store provides a plethora of extensions and apps, relying on third-party apps can add to the overall cost. Moreover, the dependency on these apps introduces an element of risk, as the reliability and compatibility of third-party solutions can vary.

Limits on High Amounts of Variants Per Product:

Shopify imposes a strict limit of one hundred variants per product. While there are some workarounds available, typically all Shopify products are restricted to this maximum when it comes to tracking SKUs and stock. While this limitation may not pose an issue for many clients with products available in a limited range of sizes or colours, it can become a significant challenge when dealing with items like paint, which come in numerous colours and finishes. Managing stock in such cases can become quite cumbersome. However, we’ve found that, from an SEO perspective, it’s often advantageous to split products with hundreds of variants into separate listings.

Lack of Checkout Code Customisation:

Transitioning from Shopify Advanced to Shopify Plus can sometimes lead to confusion regarding the extent of checkout customisation available. While Shopify initially marketed the Plus package as offering complete checkout customisation, the reality is that there are certain limitations due to PCI compliance requirements.

Although yes, it can be heavily customised visually while ensuring PCI compliance, it’s worth mentioning as some individuals may be surprised to learn that certain code modifications for developers aren’t possible at the checkout.

Split Multi-lingual and Multi-currency Stores:

Running a multi-lingual or currency store with Shopify requires managing multiple stores instead of just one, unlike Magento, where you can have a single store with multiple languages and currency checkout. Shopify, like many platforms built in North America, doesn’t handle multi-anything very effectively. To achieve a genuine multi-currency/language store with Shopify, allowing checkout in multiple currencies, you’ll need to clone stores into subdomains, each with its own checkout and currency settings. On the positive side, this approach simplifies tasks such as accounting, regional pricing, and managing Google Shopping ads. While some may prefer managing all stores and sales from a single dashboard, it’s challenging to do so without encountering significant maintenance issues, unlike Magento, which can handle this seamlessly.

VAT Front End Displays:

Shopify’s native handling of VAT is not very robust. Many European users encounter challenges, particularly regarding the need to display prices including VAT while not charging VAT to non-EU customers. It’s important to note however that VAT displays on Shopify are manageable with the right developer knowledge, so this drawback does ultimately have solutions that come with an extra cost.

The Verdict: Liquify Web Design’s Shopify Plus Review

As we navigate through 2024, Shopify Plus remains a frontrunner in the e-commerce landscape, offering a comprehensive suite of features designed to meet the demands of enterprise-level businesses. From scalability and customisation to advanced analytics and support, Shopify Plus continues to empower merchants to thrive in the dynamic world of online commerce. Considered more than just a platform, Shopify Plus is a strategic ally for businesses aiming to achieve sustainable growth and success in the digital marketplace.

Although Shopify Plus is a powerful solution for many businesses, potential users should carefully consider their specific needs, budget constraints, and long-term goals before committing to the platform.

If you’ve got any questions about Shopify Plus which aren’t covered in the article or would like to speak with a Shopify Plus Expert – you can contact us and one of our team will get back to you within 24 hours!

Jasmine Silvester

Jasmine Silvester

Jasmine is head of content @ Liquify