A Comparison of Shopify Plans In Light of Online Store 2.0

June 30, 2021

Why Shopify

Shopify has become our go-to commerce platform at Sitelogic and, with the announcement of the Shopify Online Store 2.0, it’s only going to get better. In light of this, we wanted to put together a Shopify plan and pricing comparison resource for those considering making a move to the platform.

We like Shopify because it offers a well-tested checkout experience, intuitive product management, and plug-and-play integration with important third parties like Google and Facebook. For anything non-native to the platform, there is a robust ecosystem of apps available that help extend the platform’s functionality.

Historically, some of the native content management limitations have made other platforms a better fit for some businesses with extensive blog/editorial content and a variety of page types. Performance has also been somewhat of a hurdle to overcome. However, the Online Store 2.0 standards offer a higher level of flexibility for developers and more robust content management for less technical store admins. It's a game-changer.

Because Shopify takes care of most time-consuming issues related to maintaining a webstore, you are freed up to focus on what matters most: selling your products and growing your business. Shopify has some important benefits for business owners:

  • Fully hosted solution with built-in security. No need to hassle with infrastructure; simply log in anywhere with an internet connection.
  • 24/7 support team to assist whenever you need them.
  • Easy multichannel integration–sell on Facebook, Amazon, and others through Shopify.
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use platform. No knowledge of coding is required (although it can help in certain cases).
  • Built-in marketing automation like abandoned cart recovery, order and shipping touchpoints, and customer lists.
  • All-in-one e-commerce platform. Shopify’s platform easily handles all of the back-end logistics of running your business while maintaining a beautiful digital storefront.
  • New theme app extensions and page sections available on every page.

Shopify Plan Options

Basic Shopify

The Basic Shopify plan provides all of the core functionality and will still allow you to have a beautiful online store to showcase your brand. It lags behind the Shopify plan in a few categories that become more important as your business grows.

When should you choose the Basic Shopify Plan?

This plan is best for those just launching their e-commerce business or with a very small staff. You should choose Basic Shopify if you need to get an online store set up quickly and correctly.

Shopify

The Shopify plan is best for small but growing online businesses, with or without an established physical retail store. It provides all of the functionality as the Basic Shopify plan, along with increased plan limits as well as some additional functionality. It is the most common plan option among our clients.

When should you choose the Shopify Plan?

Many small and medium sized businesses should choose the Shopify plan. Although it’s $50/month more expensive than Basic Shopify, the Shopify plan helps your business continue to grow. Plus, the cost difference between the two plans shrinks as you increase monthly sales (see Pricing section for more detail)

Advanced Shopify

The Advanced Shopify plan is perfect for the expanding business, especially those looking to establish a growing international presence or with multiple inventory and retail locations. Although it comes with a higher price tag, it offers more functionality and flexibility to help your business continue to grow.

When should you choose the Advanced Shopify Plan?

The Advanced Shopify plan is much more expensive than its alternatives. You should choose this plan once your business begins to plateau after beginning to scale up. The lower fees, better shipping features, advanced reporting, and enhanced international options give you the tools to keep growing your business.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is the enterprise option offered by Shopify designed for high volume businesses. It is designed for larger, well-established stores with pricing starting at $2,000 per month. It offers customization within checkout, a high-level of customer support, and more. For now, we’ll limit the rest of our discussion to the other Shopify plan options and save that for another post.

Side-by-Side Shopify Plan Comparison

Features

All Shopify plans come with the core commerce functionality needed for your webstore. Some of these features shared by all plans include:

  • Online store with many design options and tried-and-true checkout process.
  • 24/7 support.
  • Ability to integrate additional sales channels, such as Amazon and Facebook.
  • Shopify POS Lite, which allows you to easily accept in-person payments.
  • Included hosting and SSL certificate.
  • Shopify’s own payment gateway, or option to use an alternative gateway with fees.
  • Printing of shipping labels with a standard printer

In the table below, you can see the primary differences between the three plans.

Basic ShopifyShopifyAdvanced Shopify
Staff Accounts2515
Inventory LocationsUp to 4Up to 5Up to 8
ReportingNoneStandardAdvanced
3rd Party Calculated Shipping RatesNoNoYes
Sell Gift CardsNoYesYes
Shopify Shipping
Discounts from CouriersUp to 77%Up to 88%Up to 88%
USPS Priority Mail Cubic® PricingNoYesYes
Shopify Payments (default payment gateway)
Online Credit Card Rates2.9% + 30¢2.6% + 30¢2.4% + 30¢
In-person Credit Card Rates2.7%2.5%2.4%
Other Gateway Fee (e.g. Stripe or PayPal)2.0%1.0%0.5%
Global Selling
International DomainsNoYesYes
International PricingNoYesYes

Pricing

The price you pay for your Shopify plan is a combination of three factors:

  1. The base monthly plan (paid monthly, yearly, or biennially)
  2. Credit card/transaction fees
  3. Add-on app costs. 

An important note on the monthly plans is that there is a 10% discount if you pay yearly or 20% discount if you pay for two years. Here, we will just walk through the differences between the base monthly cost and credit card fees. We will discuss more about apps later in Other Considerations & Extra Costs.

Your credit card fees on your store have two components:

  1. A percentage of the sale (variable dollar amount; the higher the sale, the higher the fee)
  2. A fixed 30¢ fee per transaction.

What does this mean for your business? One thing is that you benefit by having a higher Average Order Value (AOV). Take the below illustration as an example:

Scenario 1Scenario 2
AOV$1,000 sold in 10 orders (AOV=$100)$1,000 sold in 40 orders (AOV=$25)
Fees($1,000 * 2.9%) + (30¢ * 10 orders)($1,000 * 2.9%) + (30¢ * 40 orders)
Fees Paid$32$41

This may seem small, but the effect only gets amplified with more volume. Whenever possible (not only for fees), increase Average Order Value!

To help you compare the total cost of each Shopify plan based on monthly subscription AND credit fees, use our Shopify Pricing Calculator below. Just insert monthly sales and AOV to see how it affects your total cost.

Note that we’re assuming the monthly base Shopify fee. You should factor the discount in if you pay yearly. We’re also assuming the use of Shopify Payments, since 3rd party payment gateways include additional fees.

Shopify Plan Pricing Calculator


Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify
Total Price $64.00 $111.00 $329.00
% of Monthly Sales 6.40% 11.10% 32.90%
Monthly Fee $29 $79 $299
Credit Card Fees $35.00
2.9% + 30¢
$32.00
2.6% + 30¢
$30.00
2.4% + 30¢

When do Shopify plan upgrades pay for themselves?

Because Shopify plans have different credit card rates, there comes a point where high enough monthly web sales actually cause the Basic Shopify plan ($29/month base fee) to be more expensive than the Shopify plan ($79/month). As you can see from the chart below, any time you sell more than $16,667 per month, Shopify actually becomes cheaper than Basic Shopify. 

By the same logic, as you increase your monthly sales, the extra features that come with Shopify actually become less expensive. For example, at $10K/month in sales, Shopify is only $20/month more expensive than Basic Shopify. When you’re bringing in that much revenue, you’ll likely benefit more from the extra features in an upgraded plan than you will from that $20/month.

Common Limitations & Other Considerations

Common Limitations with Shopify

Although Shopify is our preferred e-commerce solution, there are still limitations we’ve run into. The primary method of working around these limitations is adding apps to your store from the Shopify App Store. Apps add functionality to your online store in many categories, including store design, marketing, fulfillment, customer service, and more. These often come with an additional cost (see Other Considerations & Extra Costs section for more on this). Below are some common limitations that we’ve seen:

  • Shopify limits you to only 100 variant options per product out-of-the-box. This is not a problem for most merchants and there are plenty of good add-on apps available to supplement, but it is good to know as you plan your catalog structure.
  • In the past, content management has not been as robust as alternatives. Shopify has always had a fully functional and easy-to-use blog feature, but the platform was built more for selling products than hosting an impressive blog or other interactive content. We expect a lot of these limitations to be a thing of the past with the updates for Online Store 2.0.
  • International expansion and localization. Although Shopify makes it easy to accept multiple currencies and handle multiple domains, it is not easy to support localized language settings out of the box. There are multiple good apps that can help if you run into this limitation.

Other Considerations & Extra Costs

One important consideration for Shopify stores is the customized functionality your store will need and how Shopify’s apps can meet your needs. Some apps are free to add to your store, but many come with a monthly subscription. The average Shopify merchant has 6 apps installed (source: Shopify & You), which shows how fundamental Shopify apps are to your e-commerce strategy. 

As much as possible, you should plan which apps to download before building your site and choosing your Shopify plan. This will help you decide what functionality is worth the cost, and it might lead you to decide on an upgraded Shopify Plan. For example, you might know you want to utilize Shopify Shipping and benefit from greater discounts (choose Shopify instead of Basic Shopify). Or else you might want to have calculated shipping rates from your own couriers of choice, leading you to prefer Advanced Shopify.

Further Questions?

Shopify's blog is a great resource for anyone operating an e-commerce store. The plans are ever-evolving, so we will do our best to keep this resource up-to-date, but you can find direct pricing information here on their site. If you want to test it out on your own, you can start a free Shopify trial here (affiliate link).

We're also here to help answer questions, and you can get in touch by using our contact form by scheduling a meeting.