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Among all of the online retail options for small businesses, Shopify is a perennial contender for best small-business e-commerce platform. What was once a robust option for selling products online has blossomed into a solution that includes web hosting, in-store POS systems and much more.
Just because Shopify offers so many features, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you need all of them. Familiarizing yourself with all the current Shopify plans and pricing will help you pick the right one for your business.
What is Shopify?
Shopify started as an e-commerce platform that helps businesses sell products online without having to go through the hassle of building out their own e-commerce solution. Business owners can integrate Shopify’s API into their own site or can opt to send traffic directly to their dedicated Shopify page to complete transactions safely and easily.
Shopify is hardly just an e-commerce platform now, however. Businesses can host their entire websites on Shopify, making it easier to offer a seamless buying portal for customers and owners alike. The platform can also support selling through other marketplaces as well, such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook.
Shopify has also branched out into brick-and-mortar selling as well, offering mobile card readers, POS terminals, inventory management and much more. What started as a simplified way to sell online has now become a full-scale merchant solution for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.
One of the benefits of Shopify for most small-business owners is the ability to choose from a wide variety of plans. With so many Shopify plans to choose from, you’re likely to find one to match your budget and needs. For as powerful as the Shopify ecosystem is, it’s also easy to start small — so there’s truly a solution for businesses of all sizes and selling needs.
$9 per month
2.7% per in-person transaction
Businesses that are dipping their toes into selling online
$29 per month
2.9% + 30 cents per online transaction; 2.7% per in-person transaction
Businesses with small-scale selling needs
$79 per month
2.6% + 30 cents per online transaction; 2.5% per in-person transaction
Growing businesses with moderate selling needs
$299 per month
2.4% + 30 cents per online transaction; 2.4% per in-person transaction
Advanced features to help scale your business
Based on your credit card sale volumes
Enterprise-level solutions for high-volume businesses
Shopify Lite is a great option for businesses that are just getting started with selling online or for others who may not have a full-fledged e-commerce business but still have an interest in selling a limited number of goods online. The Shopify Lite plan costs $9 a month and includes the basics of Shopify’s core components. This means adding buy buttons on sites hosted by WordPress, Squarespace, Tumblr and other popular web hosts — making buying as simple as clicking a button on your site.
A Shopify Lite plan makes setting up an e-commerce presence hassle-free. All you’ll need to do is add callouts to your existing site (as you won’t have access to a dedicated Shopify page). If you’re looking to sell products in person, you can also get a credit card reader to make selling easy no matter where you are.
Better still, a Shopify Lite account integrates seamlessly into your existing presence on social media, particularly through Instagram and Facebook. Shopify Lite enables you to use Facebook Chat to supercharge your sales. You can make and fulfill orders through chat and even provide order updates in real-time through chat as well. You’ll also be able to add a purchase option on your page that entices followers to purchase products with minimal steps. This Shopify plan costs $7 a month and transactions made with the card reader come with an additional 2.7% fee.
Basic Shopify is designed to help burgeoning small businesses that need more than what Shopify Lite provides but may not need the full slate of features that come with more expensive plans. Basic Shopify costs $29 per month and supports businesses through a ton of helpful and must-have features. These include a customizable online store, unlimited product listings, two staff logins and support for other sales channels outside of the Shopify ecosystem. You’ll also be able to manually enter orders, create different location entries (for warehouses and brick-and-mortar stores, for example), sell gift cards and even develop email strategies to remind customers of un-purchased items in their shopping cart.
A Basic Shopify subscription comes with card readers and a POS solution for businesses that want to conduct their in-store transactions within their Shopify account. With this plan, online purchases come with a per-transaction fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents. In-person purchases come with a 2.7% fee. If you opt to use another card reader other than Shopify Payments, you’ll also have your transactions subjected to a 2% fee.
Standard Shopify opens up the full potential of the Shopify system and is geared toward businesses with a more robust set of needs when selling online (and in-person). At $79 per month, Standard Shopify incorporates each of the features from lower-priced subscriptions, while throwing in a slew of additional benefits. These include five staff logins, support for gift card purchases and sales and performance reporting.
Credit card transactions come with a 2.5% plus 30 cents fee. The in-person card transaction is the same 2.5%, but there’s no surcharge. As with Shopify Basic, this subscription also comes with a 1% fee if other systems aside from Shopify Payments are used for transactions.
If your business needs a broader set of features for selling online, in-store and on the go, then Advanced Shopify might be the right solution for you. With this plan, you’ll get each of the items included in the previous Shopify plans and more. Advanced Shopify includes 15 employee logins, advanced sales and performance reports and third-party shipping calculations that show customers what they’ll pay in real-time.
Another perk of an Advanced Shopify subscription is enjoying lower fees for credit card purchases. With Advanced Shopify, online transactions come out to 2.4% plus 30 cents. In-person purchases also incur a 2.4% fee, but the surcharge is waived for in-person credit and debit card transactions. Instead of paying a 1% fee for using providers other than Shopify Payments, you’ll only have to pay 0.5% to use another provider.
Finally, if you’re a high-volume multichannel seller with annual revenues over $2 million, a business that needs volume-focused sales tools or if you’re managing multiple country-specific or wholesale websites, you may want to opt for Shopify Plus. This plan has everything the lower-level plans offer, plus the ability to accept over 10,000 orders per minute, run multiple websites from one management dashboard, offer customer-based pricing including wholesale tiers, customize the user experience with AI technology and customize shipping processes.
You’ll also receive a dedicated Launch Manager and ongoing Merchant Success Manager to help you optimize your Shopify store. Shopify pricing for this plan — from the monthly subscription fee to transaction fees — is quote-based, depending on your sales volume.
Shopify may be known for its industry-leading e-commerce capabilities, but it does so much more than just that. Depending on your needs, you’re likely to find a solution — or suite of solutions — to help you accomplish your business and sales goals.
E-commerce is the bread and butter of the Shopify ecosystem. This feature allows companies of varying sizes to sell goods and services online easily. You can set up a customizable shop, manage inventory, create customized SKUs, sell services and even offer gift cards. Shopify offers tailored options designed to help meet the needs of specific industries as well, making it easier to start off with a set of tools that are more likely to serve your business.
Shopify’s inventory management system makes it easy to group products based on user-defined categories, product type, seasonality, sales or other helpful groupings. Once you’ve uploaded your products, you can include vendor information, current stock and other characteristics that might prove helpful for keeping tabs on what you have on hand. There’s no limit to the number of inventory items you can track in Shopify and your stock levels will always reflect what you have in stock based on orders (if you use the Shopify card reader or POS for in-person sales, of course).
The Shopify system includes a unique web address for your store, but the platform also offers an all-in-one web hosting solution for your entire business’s site. With Shopify web hosting, you can register a custom domain name (if you don’t already have one), forward email addresses from your domain to other accounts you already operate (or ones you want to set up) and get unlimited site bandwidth to accommodate growth — and spikes — in web traffic to your store.
Third-party merchant sales
If you’re interested in expanding your sales across several vendors, such as Amazon, Etsy or eBay, Shopify has you covered. You can turn your existing Shopify account into a centralized hub for multi-vendor selling, including an unlimited number of vendors and product SKUs. Better still, you can also sync your products from other selling locations, helping you to keep track of products and sales from wherever you want to sell them.
Signing up for the Shopify ecosystem isn’t limited to online sales. The company also offers a robust POS system built for mobile or brick-and-mortar sales. With the Shopify POS platform, you can process orders, accept payments, allow customers to pay by debit or credit card and provide digital or paper receipts. Plus, since you’re fulfilling orders and payments through Shopify, your data will sync automatically with inventory tracking, making it easier to keep tabs on your existing inventory.
The customizability that Shopify provides its customers within the native platform isn’t the end of what you can do with your account. The Shopify App Store has more than 1,200 listings that can help you with a variety of facets of your e-commerce business. For example, you can use the Shopify App Store to find solutions to improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), make email marketing more efficient, keep tabs on a dropshipping operation or improve your online customer service. These are just a few of the options available, with plenty more being added on a regular basis.
Most Shopify integrations come with extra fees, but these are usually either small subscription payments, per-use fees or one upfront fee upon download. Plus, they’re often less expensive than what you’d have to cost to hire a developer to build for your site from scratch. And, best of all, you’ll still get developer support for integrations without having to keep developers on retainer (or payroll).
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.