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Which Shopify Plan Is Best? Pros & Cons Of The 3 Shopify Plans

Choosing the best Shopify plan for your business can be tough to do. There are three main plans to choose from and each one has its pros and cons. 

If you're just starting as an eCommerce entrepreneur, deciding which of these is right for you can be hard. You know that having an online store hosted on Shopify is crucial in your eCommerce strategy but how do you decide between the Shopify Basic, Shopify (that’s the name of the mid-tier plan), and Advanced plans?

Let me help you figure this out by walking you through my personal experience with each plan so far and helping you determine which plan you should go with. We'll also discuss Shopify's cost and what's involved in getting started. Let's get right into it.

What Are Shopify Plans?

A Shopify plan is a membership package that gives you access to their online store builder and other tools. Different packages have different features and price points, so it is important to understand which plan you need before purchasing one. 

You can do this by determining how many products you intend on selling and what type of customers you're targeting.

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It's important to know that you can upgrade or downgrade your plan anytime. If you find that your needs change or the number of orders you're receiving is lower or higher than expected, then you can downgrade or upgrade your account without penalty. 

This flexibility allows you to make sure you are using their best package to start and worry about changing later on based on your needs.

Shopify Plans Comparison

There are three main plans: the Basic, Shopify, and Advanced Plans. Each one has its pros and cons so let's give a quick review of each plan and what you get with them so you can determine which is right for your business.

Basic Plan: This is the most recommended plan for people who are just starting in e-commerce and occasionally do in-person transactions

With basic features such as an online e-commerce website and a blog that features unlimited products, this is enough for you to get started. If you just want an online store and don't plan on doing anything out of the ordinary, this is enough for you.

It depends on your situation and what your business objectives are, but I would suggest starting with the basic plan to get a feel for things before moving up to the Shopify or Advanced plan - which we'll discuss in a minute.

With the Basic plan, you can give access to two staff members to manage your website. Offering 24/7 support, you'll be able to get your question answer about any of the included features.

Amongst others, these features include:

  • discount codes
  • manual order creation
  • abandoned cart recovery
  • gift cards

That is where the features of the basic package end. If you want to add more features, then keep reading to find out more about the next available plan.

Shopify: Best for those that are looking to scale their online and/or in-person business

This plan includes all of the previous features and adds additional e-commerce tools that you'll need to manage a successful business. You'll get access to five staff accounts, standard reports, higher shipping discounts, and better credit card rates.

When it comes to global selling, you can also have international domains (if you want to optimize your SEO) as well as set up international pricing.

With these features, you'll be able to run a fully functional eCommerce business that can rapidly grow as your company does. This plan is perfect if you're looking to sell online and in-person as it will give you everything you need to do both.

Advanced Shopify: Best for big businesses that require finer tuning and more detail in their reporting

This plan includes everything listed above and adds features that are more suitable for businesses with high sales volume.

With 15 staff accounts, higher discounts on shipping (up to 88%), as well as third-party calculated shipping rates, you'll get everything you need to manage an expansive business.

You'll get access to Shopify’s advanced report builder where you can access all of the advanced reporting features so that you can see how well your online store is performing and see detailed information about each transaction that happens on your website.

Shopify Plus

There is also Shopify Plus, which is on a whole different level when it comes to Shopify plans. This is created for those businesses that are already flying and want to take things to the next level. This enterprise eCommerce platform solution is quite costly but can work if your business is ready for it.

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For the purposes of this article, we will not be focusing on Shopify plus since its features and benefits deserve their own article. However, it’s good to know that prices for Shopify Plus start at $2000 per month.

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How Much Does Shopify Cost?

Going back to the three standard packages, let’s now have a look at the cost involved for each plan.

Shopify’s costs are as follows:

Basic Shopify: $29 per month

Shopify: $79 per month

Advanced Shopify: $299 per month

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All of these plans come with a 14-day trial that means that you have the option to test out each one and choose which plan is right for your business.

As we mentioned, Shopify makes it easy to upgrade or downgrade your plans so if you decide that something isn't right for your business today but might be tomorrow, there is no need to worry about being stuck in a long-term contract.

After your free 14-day trial, you'll be billed monthly until you cancel. With all three plans, you also have the option to pay yearly or biennial. 

If you do so, it’s good to know that there is a further discount. You will get a 10% discount if you go for the annual plan or 20% if you go with the biennial plan.

When it comes to costs, consider that Shopify fees also play a significant part and will add up with every transaction.

Depending on which plan you go for, you'll get different transaction rates when using an external payment gateway. These are as follows:

Basic Shopify: 2%

Shopify: 1%

Advanced Shopify: 0.5%

This means that if you're selling at a higher volume, it might make sense to consider the more advanced plans as you'll be saving a lot with the lower transaction rates.

It’s also good to consider that there are no transaction fees if you use Shopify Payments. This is very attractive for new businesses as you'll get all the benefits of accepting credit cards without having to pay any fees. If you're trying to make money on Shopify as a beginner, this might be the way to go.

That being said, for online businesses where you're selling at a lower volume, the Basic Shopify plan might be your best bet even with the higher transaction fees that are incurred when using external payment providers

Shopify Dropshipping With Different Shopify Plans

Dropshipping is a business model where order fulfillment happens from a third-party company and gets delivered to the customer’s door—without ever actually stocking the product. 

Dropshipping was popularized as early as the 1960s, but it has grown in popularity over the last few years as more people have been attracted to the low startup costs and profitability.

Dropshipping with Shopify is made possible because you don’t need to maintain inventory. You simply add your shop, find the right manufacturers and start accepting customer orders. With dropshipping, you handle your online store and your product listings and let a third-party fulfillment company do the rest.

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You can do drop shipping on any Shopify plan. There is no extra cost involved. Dropshipping for high ticket items is also a good strategy if you want to sell luxury/expensive products, but there are some challenges when it comes to ensuring that things go smoothly. 

Ensuring that you are dealing with and working closely with a reliable supplier is crucial when you are involved in high ticket sales. Customers that pay a lot of money to buy products expect a top-notch service so finding suppliers that provide this kind of experience is key to long-term success in this type of online business.

Other Shopify Factors To Consider

Let's now cover other factors you should think about when deciding which Shopify plan is best for your business.

Shopify apps

All Shopify plans come with thousands of third-party apps that can be installed to add extra functionality to your online store.

These apps range from marketing automation tools to apps that help you manage your inventory. When it comes to these apps, Shopify offers a range of options for different budgets and needs.

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You can find many free apps on the Shopify app store that offer useful features or improve your sales funnel without having any heavy costs involved. Paid apps tend to be developed by third-party developers and not directly by Shopify. 

They'll usually have a higher level of functionality but come with a monthly cost associated with them as well as extra setup fees if you opt for customization rather than use one of the pre-built templates.

You need to do some research before deciding which apps are right for your business so consider what sort of functionalities you want and how much you're willing to spend.

Shopify point of sale (POS) system

If you're running a physical store or plan to sell real products (not just virtual items), then Shopify POS is an option that you might want to consider. It combines all your online and offline sales into one platform.

You'll be able to access customer information including their purchase history, product preferences, and where they came from via the integrated Google Analytics feature.

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All of this information can help inform your future marketing decisions so it's worth considering if eCommerce is going to be part of your long-term plans.

You can also use Shopify POS for customizing orders on the fly with special instructions or discounts, print invoices, process refunds, take payments in-store or set up payment collection points, and more.

if you sell (or plan to sell) in person, this is a convenient all-in-one option you might consider.

How Do I Choose The Right Shopify Pricing Plan For Me?

To decide which plan is best for your eCommerce store, consider the volume and size of the orders you want to process, whether you’ll be using external payment gateways or Shopify’s native payment processor and how much functionality you'll need from third-party apps (this will help you calculate the costs involved).

Consider also Shopify’s pricing. The cheapest Shopify plan (sometimes called Shopify Lite) is very convenient and perfect for entry-level store owners or those that might not be sure how big their business will grow.

On the other hand, a more advanced Shopify plan might be better suited to larger businesses looking for the full range of Shopify features.

Each Shopify pricing plan can be paid on a monthly, yearly, or biennial basis so this is also something to consider. It might be more cost-effective to pay yearly than monthly, for example.

If you're confident your business will grow and you want access to all Shopify features now or in the near future, then go for one of the higher plans with all their extra functionality. If you need some tools but don't know how big your business is going to grow, start with the Shopify Lite plan.

What If I Don't Have An Existing Website?

Setting up a Shopify online store website with any of the plans is very easy. With the simple store designer, you can have a fully functional online store up and running in a few hours (if you’re a beginner; faster if you have some experience).

There are also many themes to choose from, which will dictate how your website looks, so you might want to choose one that best suits your branding.

What Are The Costs Involved With Different Shopify Plans?

The biggest thing to consider after choosing the right plan is credit card payments. If you decide to go with Shopify payments, these fees are waived. If not, they will depend on the plan that you choose.

For example, Shopify Lite has credit card fees of 2% per transaction. Shopify (the mid-tier plan) has a 1% rate while the Shopify advanced plan has a 0.5% rate. There are also online credit card fees at 2.9%, 2.6%, and 2.4% (for each Shopify pricing plan respectively from Advanced to Lite) and 30c for each transaction.

What Can I Sell On Shopify?

Apart from physical products, you can put almost anything on your Shopify store.

This includes digital downloads (photos, music, etc), services, events, and even subscriptions. 

There are also plenty of apps you can use to extend or enhance your store so this is an area worth considering if there's something specific you want your online shop to sell.  

Have a look at how to sell on Shopify for beginners if you'd like to get a better idea of which products are easier or more difficult to sell. In the meantime, let's have a look at some of the most popular products you can sell on Shopify in more detail.

Services

Selling services can be a great way to diversify your income and it's something many people need help with. You can offer general services if you're an expert in several areas or specialize in one service if that is your forte.

With Shopify, you can create the perfect store to sell those services online and reach more potential customers than ever before.

Event tickets

If you run events such as conferences, expos, weddings, etc., these are fairly easy to sell online with Shopify. You don't have to charge people ahead of time either; they can pay on the day and choose their seat (if applicable).

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It's also very easy for ticket buyers: they enter their details once and then just have to check in on the day with their ID. No more waiting in line just to be told the event is sold out or having to print off multiple tickets. 

Digital downloads

Shopify allows you to sell digital goods such as photos, videos, documents, and music files. You can also sell subscriptions which might be useful for memberships, magazines, etc. 

Some of these products (like eBooks) can also be sold in physical form (through a third-party printing service) if you'd prefer and are some of the most popular digital items bought online in this day and age.

Consultations

You can offer consultative services on your Shopify store. With the Shopify POS option, you can even charge people in person with a credit card, cash, or EFTPOS.

This is ideal for local businesses (like restaurants) who want to grow their online presence without having to change their traditional methods of operation.

Workshops

You can run workshops where you teach people specific subjects which they might not be able to learn elsewhere. You could even sell subscriptions for ongoing learning or one-off workshops.

These are great if you're an expert in any particular field and you want to reach more people than just face-to-face.

Gift cards

You can sell gift cards that are automatically applied to the recipient's account. For example, you could give away a $100 gift card with your branding on it for someone to use at their leisure in your store. 

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This is great for businesses who want to market themselves in an innovative way and people/businesses who might simply want to support your business and help you grow. In the case of the latter, this is a nice way to show your gratitude by giving these people something they can redeem in your online store.

Can I Try Shopify For Free?

Yes, you can try Shopify for free. There is a 14-day free trial, and no credit card is required. All you need is a valid email address and your name. This gives you the chance to use all of Shopify's features for 14 days with no strings attached. 

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What Payment Methods Does Shopify Support?

The most popular payment methods (apart from Shopify payments) include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club debit and credit cards. 

Shopify also works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Shopify Pay.  These payment processors can remember card details so that customers that have already bought from your store before won't have to enter their details again. 

This is beneficial for your customers and will increase their willingness to buy more from you in the future.

How Much Money Can I Make On Shopify?

This is a difficult question to answer and will depend on the type of products you sell as well as your conversion rates. Shopify makes it easy for you to track sales and set up goals so that you can stay motivated when growing your business. 

Also, the more traffic you drive to your shop, the more sales you'll make. 

In addition, the profit margin on every product you sell will also affect your earnings. If you sell food, for example, it's hard to make a significant amount of money when the grocery store next door provides their produce at much cheaper rates.  

On the other hand, if you choose to sell digital products, then the profit margin might be higher. This is because once your online shop has been created, you don't need to worry about paying for expensive equipment, distribution costs, or other things associated with running a traditional business.  

With that in mind, it's possible to make money on Shopify with no experience. Other people have done it and so can you.

How Do I Make My Store Secure?

Make sure your site is HTTPS or SSL enabled so that you can provide a safe environment for your customers. Each Shopify store comes with a free SSL certificate so this is one less thing to worry about.

Shopify stores will automatically become HTTPS sites when you enable this option. It's also important to note that if your product description leads back to an external link where people may enter their credit card details, then it should be an HTTPS link too. These features all help with ensuring that your customers have a safe online shopping experience.

Also, keep in mind that Shopify is PCI level 1 compliant for merchants which means it complies with the highest standards for online security.

Conclusion

Shopify is an easy-to-use all-in-one platform for creating your online presence. You can use Shopify to take payments, create products and even run workshops all with the same account.  

This means that you don't need to sign up for additional services if you want to start selling quickly without much hassle. Compared to other eCommerce platforms, Shopify may be more expensive (when considering the transaction fees involved) but it provides plenty of tools that make running a business simpler.  

The best Shopify plan for you will depend on your business and what you need. We recommend Shopify's starter plan for new eCommerce entrepreneurs, but the mid-range plan is great if you want more features when thinking about growing your enterprise.  

By keeping all of this in mind, you'll be able to find the best Shopify plan for your business.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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