Shopify vs. Shopify Plus: Should you upgrade? [Shopify Editions (Summer ’22)]

Nov 2nd, 2022

(This article is for current non-Shopify plus users. We will publish another article about migrating from non-Shopify platforms to Shopify Plus later.)

As the revenue of your store increases, Shopify’s regular plans may no longer be powerful enough for your business. You may start to consider doing Shopify Plus upgrade. But how do you know if upgrading is the right choice? Well, this article will introduce you to Shopify Plus and answer your question of “Should I do Shopify Plus upgrade?”.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level plan for you to do business online and has more than 10,000 users, including some world-renowned brands. It aims at providing users with a more powerful, reliable, and flexible platform. Upgrading to Shopify Plus allows you to customize your website to better suit your brand, enhance customer experience, and save valuable time. Shopify Plus targets people who have a high volume and high growth business, people who need more support, and people who want to focus their time on doing business rather than managing minor tasks. If you find the following features useful, then it might be a good time to upgrade your subscription to Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus vs Shopify Advanced: What features does Shopify Plus offer? 

When compared with other Shopify plans, Shopify Plus offers the following exclusive features:

1. Shopify Functions (replacing Shopify Scripts): Set your own pricing logic

Photo from Shopify

Shopify Functions is a powerful way to extend and customize Shopify features to meet business needs. It allows developers to customize the backend logic, starting with customization for discount, payment, and shipping. With Shopify Function, complex volume discounts like “buy 2 get 10% off, buy 4 get 20% off” that cannot be implemented with a regular Shopify subscription are now possible. Developers can create different Functions and deploy them into apps. You can activate the discount you want by installing the suitable app from Shopify App Store and setting it up in the Shopify admin dashboard. So even if you don’t work with a development team or agency, you can still gain access to the unique Shopify customization that your business needs.

2. Launchpad: Run smooth flash sales campaigns on Shopify Plus

Launchpad allows you to preplan your flash sale business. Simply input when you would like a new product to launch, then the product will hit the shelf automatically at the assigned time. Want to change your online store’s theme with FOMO features (e.g. countdown timers, discount notice, website banners, discount reminders, etc.) and a special theme during the BFCM or Christmas? Launchpad can also help you to preplan when to do so. On top of that, you can use the Launchpad and Shopify Functions (replacing Shopify Script) together to start a flash sale period with a customized discount by telling the system when the promotion should start and end. Say goodbye to staying up late the night before Black Friday!

3. More Advanced and Powerful APIs: Multipass, GiftCard, and more Powerful API with a higher rate limit

Exclusive API: Multipass

Apart from the Shopify store, some companies may have another website with user accounts and login functions. For example, you’re the owner of a successful website forum. All of your users must log in to the forum to contribute. Members of your forum can then purchase a forum t-shirt through your Shopify store. Unfortunately, your users have to log in to the forum first and then log in to your Shopify store before they can purchase a t-shirt.

Multipass login is for store owners who have a separate website and a Shopify store. It redirects users from the website to the Shopify store and seamlessly logs them in with the same email address they used to sign up for the original website. If no account with that email address exists yet, one will be created. There is no need to synchronize any customer databases.

Exclusive API: Gift Card

A gift card is an alternative payment method which is available for all Shopify Plans. Each gift card has a unique code that is entered during checkout. Its balance can be redeemed over multiple checkouts. Optionally, a gift card can be assigned to a specific customer. Gift card codes cannot be retrieved after they’re created—only the last four characters can be retrieved.

Gift Card API is also available for custom apps installed on Shopify Plus stores. For enterprises, gift card balance is a great deal to their accounting and financial reporting. Without Gift Card API to retrieve the information on gift cards, it’s impossible to have an accurate number.

What’s more, on the marketing side, Gift cards are a good deal for businesses. Not only do they guarantee that someone will spend the money at your store, they have the potential to bring in new customers. To evaluate the marketing performance, Gift Card API is necessary for extracting the marketing data.

4. A unified dashboard to manage multiple stores

With other Shopify subscriptions, you are only allowed to have 1 store. If you have a few stores in different locations, you will have to subscribe to multiple store plans. With Shopify Plus, you can have 1 main store plus 9 expansion stores, which means you can link up your stores or create some new ones. This function also allows you to copy information from an existing store upon creation so that you do not have to create all of your 10 stores from scratch. What’s more Shopify Plus provides you with an overview panel to oversee the sales of all the stores under the same Shopify Plus account.

One thing Shopify seldom mentions is that Shopify Plus also includes Shopify POS and Stocky, their inventory management system in the Shopify Plus plan! Don’t miss this from your cost estimation!

5. B2B on Shopify (Replacing Wholesale Sales Channel)

Photo from Shopify

With Shopify Plus’s new B2B offering, you can expand your business to more than just B2C and start doing B2B commerce. Shopify B2B allows you to do both B2C and wholesale in one single store. Or, you can choose to start an expansion store just for wholesaling if you prefer that way.

New Feature: Company Profile

Company Profile (Photo from Shopify)

You can also create a profile for each company to create a unique shopping experience for them. Things like contact permissions, payment terms, price lists, location, and tax exemptions can be provided distinctly to each B2B customer. This means you can set a longer payment term if the customers are creditable and a shorter payment for customers with lower credibility or who are new to your store. And with the powerful Dashboard of Shopify Plus, you can manage all these company profiles from different locations in one place.

Blended online store for both B2B and B2C customers

Speaking of the shopping experience, you can create a unified shopping experience for both your retail customer and B2B customers, since the B2B on Shopify is as flexible as the B2C business. The theme, discount, apps, API access, and Shopify Functions you have on your B2C storefront, can all be applied to your B2B business. You can now operate a blended online store for both B2B and B2C customers. They place orders through the same store, but B2B customers authenticate themselves via email address before seeing buyer-specific information, pricing, and payment terms.

B2B on Shopify also allows you to set a different price for different products, you can do it by fixing the price of each product or setting a percentage off for all products and variants. You can even make a different price for different customers or locations in multiple currencies to do your wholesale business globally. Earlier we mentioned that you can assign locations to each B2B customer. Here, they can select which location they would like to buy from according to the price list or the convenience of that location, allowing customers to choose what is best for them.

To summarize, the B2B eCommerce solution has the following functions:

  • Companies: Create wholesale company profiles with multiple locations and associated buyers.
  • Price lists: Offer percentage-based or fixed discounts.
  • Payment terms: Assign flexible payment terms like net 30 per location, visible at checkout.
  • B2B checkout: Show wholesale pricing during accelerated checkout based on the company profile.
  • Customer accounts: Authenticate buyers before they can access wholesale products and pricing, and view and manage account information and order history.

Price List for a company (Photo from Shopify)

6. Customized Checkout through Checkout UI extensions (replacing checkout.liquid)

Have you ever wished for a more customizable checkout page? Well, your wish will come true with this Shopify Plus feature! As your business matures, you may see the need of customizing the checkout page for promotion or branding.

Shopify Plus enables you to install Apps with Checkout UI extensions to increase the flexibility of the checkout page. App developers can use the Checkout extensions and Shopify Functions to add new functionality and customization to the checkout page without coding knowledge. This allows you to do customization on the checkout page as well as a loyalty discount, upselling and cross-selling.

7. Shopify Audience: Synchronize customer segments to advertising platforms

Photo by Shopify

Paid ads are getting more and more expensive because of the new Apple policy and targeting the wrong people means wasting your money. This is when Shopify Audience comes in handy. Using a machine learning algorithm, Shopify Audience helps you locate high-intent buyers on advertising platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. To use this feature, you will need to be a Shopify Plus merchant who uses Shopify Payment. Then, with just a few clicks on the dashboard, Shopify will help you find people who regularly purchase from shops like yours. You can choose the type of product you want to sell more on, and Shopify will generate a list of buyers who are likely to buy that product. Then, you can export that list to your Facebook ads account and launch your promotion campaign with targets.

8. Merchant Success Program: Grow your business with Shopify team

Although this is the last item in this section, the Merchant Success Program is the most important as well as undermined feature of Shopify Plus.

You may think Shopify Plus has many functions that you may not know how to use, or you may be worried about your ROI when you are paying more than 6X of a Shopify Advanced store. Don’t worry. The Merchant Success Scheme is here to help you make the most out of what you have paid for. After subscribing to Shopify Plus, there will be no shortage of experts to help you plan your roadmap to your goal. Besides, the Merchant Success Program also provides you with various suggestions and courses to help you improve your business, including branding, retention, and technical operation and solutions. The ultimate goal is to bring bigger and faster business growth and success to Shopify Plus merchants.

As you can see, the Shopify Plus subscription fee is more than just subscribing for more functionality technically. It also brings in experts with know-how from Shopify. Meanwhile, if you hire Shopify Experts like Navy FAB for monthly services at the same time, they may also closely cooperate with Shopify to add more value through the Merchant Success Program.

However, this service is only available once you have subscribed to Shopify Plus. If you have questions about how Shopify Plus works, feel free to contact our Shopify Plus Expert Team. We will guide you through the whole process, from consultation to Shopify Plus onboarding.

Shopify Plus vs Shopify Advanced: When should I do Shopify Plus upgrade?

We have been talking a lot about Shopify Plus’ exclusive features, it’s time to dig into whether you should do the upgrade or not. If you find your answer is yes to the following questions, then maybe it would be the right choice for you to upgrade your subscription.

1. Are you making more than US$ 1 million in revenue annually?

Photo from Unsplash

When business size increases, merchants usually find themselves needing more and more features. We are not saying that once your business reaches $ 1 million annual revenue you will need to upgrade to Shopify Plus, but it may be a benchmark to review if the features of your current plan are sufficient to sustain your business. Do you need extra help from the merchant success program? Do you want more customization to create discounts?

2. Are you looking for a customized checkout solution?

The checkout page is one of the most important pages of your site, it is where your customers determine whether they are going to purchase from you or not. You may want to unify the style of your checkout page with other pages to create a more consistent shopping experience, lowering the abandoned cart rate and increasing the conversion rate. You may want to have different discounts for different customers to encourage them to shop. Or maybe you want to do some upselling during checkout to increase your average order value. These can only be done through the Checkout Extension and Shopify Functions provided by Shopify Plus. 

3. Are you planning to go international?

Photo from Unsplash

Shopify is a platform that allows you to do business globally by supporting multi-language and multi-currency. Shopify Plus takes it a step further by allowing you to have 9 expansion stores so that you can build stores in different locations, with different languages and currencies, targeting customers from all over the world. For example, if you know that many customers from Japan are buying your product while your store is in the US, then you can build an expansion store in Japan, charging customers with Japanese yen and receiving your revenue through a Japanese bank account. This allows the store to do better localization and avoid double charging the currency conversion fee for international transactions.

4. Do you need more support on your eCommerce journey?

Even with regular Shopify subscriptions, Shopify offers many supports including live chat, phone, and email. But when you upgrade your plan, these supports have been upgraded as well. With Shopify Plus, you will have access to Shopify Plus Academy, a platform with lessons hosted by industrial experts to help you become an eCommerce expert yourself. On top of that, the Merchant Success Program is also here to help you make the most out of your subscription fee, learning more than just how to use Shopify Plus. If you have been working with a Shopify Partner, Shopify will also contact your Shopify Expert, who knows best about your business, creating a one-plus-one-greater-than-two effect.

5. Are you tired of importing customer information to ad platforms?

Finding and importing customer information to ad platforms can be time-consuming and boring. With the help of Shopify Audience, you can generate a list of high-intended customers who regularly shop at similar stores. This list can be easily exported to your Facebook Advertisement account. Saving you lots of time and effort of finding the targets on your own as well as your advertising cost. Users of Shopify Audience has reported that their return on advertising has increased by 3 times after using this function. 

6. Do you have wholesale businesses?

Photo from Unsplash

Shopify Plus provides a powerful B2B experience that is as customizable as your retail store. If you have been doing wholesale in another platform already, then you may think about combining your wholesale business and retail business and migrating to Shopify Plus. B2B on Shopify Plus allows you to sell your products directly to your customers, skipping all the third-party solutions and complex workarounds, making sure it is the best deal for both you and your customers. It also allows you to manage both sides of your business in the same place, making it easier for management.

7. Is your staff outgrowing your staff accounts?

According to Shopify’s research, customers expect good customer service even if they are shopping online, 58% of the surveyed customers re-purchase in the shop because they are satisfied with the service that they received. This means that when your business grows, you will be needing more staff to provide quality customer service. However, even with Shopify Advanced, you can only have 15 staff accounts, which is insufficient if your business is huge. After doing the Shopify Plus upgrade, you can create unlimited staff accounts, you can give different access to different staff according to their position, and manage them at once from the dashboard. This way, no matter how large your business is, you will never have to worry about running out of staff accounts ever again.

managing staffs of different stores at once

Shopify Plus vs Shopify Advanced: Why should I do Shopify Plus upgrade? 

So now you know what advantages can Shopify Plus bring. Now, you will see how these advantages can benefit you.

1. Shopify Plus is more cost-effective

Using Shopify Plus, you are actually waving many fees. Shopify Plus merchants enjoy a no transaction fee when using Shopify Payment. And as mentioned above, you can use a Japanese bank account to collect your revenue in Japan. This allows you to waive the transaction fee collected by Shopify when converting the revenue among different currencies. With Shopify Plus, you can also expand your business with 9 extra stores and a wholesale channel without extra cost. Compared to paying $299 to subscribe to a new store, subscribing to Shopify Plus directly sounds more cost-effective.

2. Shopify Plus helps increase your revenue

Photo from Unsplash

Not only does Shopify Plus worth every penny you spent on it, but it also helps you increase your revenue. With the checkout extension and unique discount offered by Shopify Function, you can have a higher conversion rate. According to Shopify, the average order value increased by 20% with the promotion from Shopify Function. You can also use these features for testing to better understand your customers and optimize your site. The Merchant Success program is here to teach you how you should do your business to promote and retain your customers. On top of that, you can enjoy the increasing return on advertising brought by Shopify Audience. These all help you to encourage transactions within your store and increase your income. $2,000+ a month might seems so much compared to the regular Shopify Plans, but while you are paying more, you are also earning more.

3. Shopify Plus helps you manage your business more effectively

With Shopify Plus, You can also manage an unlimited amount of staff as well as give them access to help you manage your business and other staff. Launchpad allows you to pre-plan and manage your resources and activity months ahead of time. Moreover, the admin of Shopify Plus is more powerful than ever before. You can manage both your DTC and B2B business in one single platform, saving time and money in managing your inventory and data of different selling channels on different platforms.

4. Shopify Plus provides first-priority premium support

Photo from Unsplash

Apart from the Merchant Success Program, Shopify Plus also has more access to resources that support your business. It also provides merchants with 24/7 support with 1st priority and Shopify Plus Solution engineers to help you solve any problems that you may have. Some apps and experts are only exclusive to Shopify Plus merchants. Only by doing Shopify Plus upgrade can you fully experience the power of the ecosystem built by Shopify.

Lastly, if you have any inquiries regarding setting up Shopify for the Hong Kong market, please feel free to contact us!

Common Questions

Q1. How much does Shopify Plus cost?

Q2. What if I have already paid the annual fee of another Shopify plan?

Q3. What if I need more than 9 expansion stores?

Q4. Why should I choose Shopify Plus but not other eCommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopline Enterprise version?



Innotier originally started off from a B2B business as a garment factory in the U.K, mainly focusing on research and development.

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