Logistics & ops
/ 9 mins
Aug 11, 2023
Which plan is best for U.S.-based Shopify merchants? It depends, there are a range of Shopify subscription plans tailored to different business needs. Some are legacy plans and others like the “Shopify plan” are unique to Europe and Asia (more on these later).
Current plans and prices in USD:
Basic: $39 per month
Advanced: $399 per month
Plus: from $2,000 per month
OpenStore’s analysis of a couple of thousand U.S. Shopify merchants suggests that:
Basic Shopify is used by 46.6% of merchants, attracting the majority of smaller business owners, primarily due to its affordability.
But as the business scales up and as team requirements grow, Advanced Shopify becomes an attractive option for 7.6% of merchants. This plan offers improved reporting, more seats, and reduced credit card fees.
To discuss the practical differences between Basic vs. Advanced in this article, we spoke to Fernando Cortez and Dov Quint. They both have years of experience running their own e-commerce brands on Amazon, eBay, and Shopify (both Basic and Advanced).
Alternatively, read this detailed review on Advanced vs. Plus based on their experience of running 40+ stores on Shopify Plus. In most cases, Shopify Plus will not be a good fit for smaller merchants.
Entrepreneurship begins with choosing the right tools. Enter Basic Shopify — the plan tailored for individuals and small teams, as long as you don't need advanced reporting, additional shipping discounts, and international duties’ calculations (more on this later).
Basic Shopify is great if you need a full-fledged online store with two staff accounts, unlimited products, and essential e-commerce features such as:
Discount codes and gift cards
Manual order creation
24/7 support options: live chat, phone, email, forum, X
You can also get shipping benefits like:
Up to 77% discounts on shipping from leading carriers
Simplified label purchasing and printing
Basic Shopify can be optimal for brands focusing mainly on domestic and basic international shipping (in addition to features like currency conversion, language translation, and region-specific pricing)
And security and taxes features including:
Built-in fraud analysis
Free website encryption certificate (SSL)
Automatic sales tax and liability calculations for free up to $100,000 USD per year
You can also effortlessly accept point of sale (POS) payments at one retail location, pop-up, or market with Shopify POS Lite. Track inventory across various locations with up to two staff accounts.
Yes, especially if cost is a pivotal factor for you. Keeping your overhead costs low can make all the difference.
Designed for small teams:
“You have everything you need with the basic plan when starting off, especially if there are only one to two people on your team that need access to Shopify,” advises Fernando, having used the platform himself when starting out in e-commerce as a solopreneur.
"Always try to keep costs low when starting a brand," says Fernando, “and with the Basic plan you can do just that.”
In the United States:
$29 USD per month if you commit to paying annually, increasing to $39 USD on a pay monthly basis.
Start off with $1 USD per month for the first 3 months (current promotion), and a free 3-day trial beforehand.
Additional costs to consider include:
Credit card handling of 2.9% + $0.30, and 3.9% + $0.30 for American Express.
2% transaction fee if not using Shopify Payments.
The key benefit of the Basic Shopify plan is that it’s up to $4,320 USD cheaper per year than the Advanced Shopify plan.
Most merchants stick with Basic, but one in ten have additional needs. This is where Advanced Shopify comes in. Fernando explains:
“I switched to Advanced Shopify when my volume of sales grew so high that credit card fees were eating into my margins.”
Among other benefits, Fernando notes the ability to give access to the Shopify admin panel for more team members, and more in-depth and customizable Shopify Analytics reports that are missing from the Basic plan.
Advanced offers an array of additional solutions tailored for larger operations like for some of these clothing brands.
Here are the nine benefits of the Advanced Shopify plan over the Basic:
Lower credit card fees on all online transactions. Enjoy 2.4% + $0.30 with Advanced for MasterCard, VISA, and Discover, compared to the 2.9% + $0.30 with Basic. Every little bit counts with a high sales volume.
Low third-party transaction fee of 0.5% when using alternative payment methods instead of Shopify Payments, compared to the Basic plan’s 2%. This can mean significant savings if your customers prefer other payment gateways.
15 staff accounts: a substantial jump from the 2 allowed in the Basic plan. This feature is perfect for larger teams or when you want to delegate tasks like marketing to your team, agencies, or freelancers.
Advanced report builder that you can use to customize, save, and quickly access your store’s reports. This tool is useful for deep-diving into marketing performance and customer behavior. Fernando says it’s especially helpful if you’re not well-versed in Google Analytics, because Shopify’s Analytics can be easier to navigate.
Shopify Flow automation tool that allows workflows for customer loyalty and rewards, segmentation, merchandising, and fraud prevention. With Shopify Flow, you can offer personalized experiences to your customers without manual tasks.
Access up to 88% shipping discount with DHL Express and UPS. Get higher discounts on shipping rates compared to the Basic plan’s 77%. For stores with high shipping volume, these savings add up. There’s also discounted USPS rates for small, heavy packages (up to 20 pounds and less than 1 cubic foot in volume), not available for Basic. This can translate to more competitive product pricing or higher profit margins.
Calculate third-party shipping rates at checkout. Accurate shipping rates can lead to increased customer trust and fewer cart abandonments.
Get shipping insurance included, with up to $200 coverage on Shopify Shipping labels to protect your business against uncertainty.
Explore estimated duties and import taxes for international customers. Get clearer estimates at checkout, reducing returns.
Advanced Shopify offers a comprehensive suite to support the growth of your e-commerce venture. As your business scales, these features can be instrumental in managing volume and optimizing margins.
It depends on how many orders you have because this will dictate how much you pay for credit card processing and shipping. In Fernando’s case, growing sales and thus lower transaction fees of the Advanced plan offset the increased monthly cost.
In the U.S., the Advanced plan costs:
$299 USD per month if you commit to paying annually, or $339 USD on a monthly basis.
Start off with $1 USD per month for the first 3 months (current promotion), and a free three-day trial beforehand.
No, not at all. Shopify Plus has a host of additional features like multi-store management, customization options for the checkout process, and Plus-exclusive apps.
In addition to the cost considerations discussed above, base your choice on your team size because otherwise, sharing Shopify logins can become quite cumbersome, as Fernando explains:
“At some point, we used 1 login for everyone, which was not a great idea. When someone made an edit to something we would not be able to trace that edit back to the user.
When everyone has a login, any edit made in the back end shows who made that edit. So if there’s a problem, you can reach out to that person to get more context.”
To recap, four key questions to ask yourself:
What stage is your business in? How much volume are you currently doing?
Does everyone on your team really need access to Shopify?
How well do you know how to navigate Google Analytics? “If not very well, upgrading to Advanced would help since Shopify does a good job of displaying a lot of the data Google Analytics has,” Fernando says.
Are you looking to edit the checkout page? “You need Shopify Plus for that feature and at this stage for OpenStore, I would pay for that,” Fernando explains.
Do you need priority support? “Lower plans do not have priority chat support. We have a lot of brands so we need to have priority chat support at all times to help us with any issues,” Fernando adds.
If you use a lot of apps, then both Basic and Advanced Shopify let you use the same set of apps. This also means that if you're upgrading, there's no need to change the apps that you currently use.
Yes, and Shopify says that a good time to upgrade is when you’re paying more in transaction fees than it costs you to upgrade.
The key difference between the current offering in the U.S. and other regions is the presence of the legacy “Shopify plan” outside of the U.S.
In Europe, for example, the “Shopify plan” is priced at €104 EUR per month and features 5 staff accounts, sitting between the two other offerings:
The Advanced plan is priced similarly in the U.S. and Europe, at $399 and €384 monthly, respectively. Both plans allow for 15 staff accounts, advanced reporting, but no shipping discounts. European plans feature lower standard credit card rates, for example, 1.6% + €0.30 EUR, compared to the U.S. plan’s 2.4% + $0.30 USD.
The Basic Shopify plan is also similarly priced between the U.S. and Europe, at $39 and €36 monthly, respectively, with similar differences in credit card transaction fees.
Shopify Plus is also notably missing in Shopify’s offering on the European website, although it has a strong presence among Shopify stores in Europe (including the United Kingdom).
There are many reasons why Shopify is the market leader for small to large businesses. Fernando built multiple brands, selling thousands of products on Shopify, eBay, and Amazon over 7 years, and here’s what he finds most important:
“Shopify gives you way more data and insights. At the end of the day, you own the customer data, while on Amazon and eBay you don’t.”
This ownership allows for more flexibility in logistics and operations, more tailored marketing, and a deeper understanding of the customers you want to serve. Ultimately, a foundation for you to build your brand on that you control.
Pricing structure differences:
Shopify offers a range of plans to suit various business sizes and stages: from $29 to $2,000+ per month (USD).
eBay typically extracts around 10% from every sale.
Amazon operates on a single plan: $39.99 USD a month (plus selling fees).
If you're a large merchant in the US, compare the Advanced and Plus plans.
Need to reach Shopify support? Here are the best support channels.
Not ready to change plans? Migrate your theme to Shopify’s online store 2.0 and increase conversions.
Decide if to hire a Shopify agency or freelancer to help you manage your store.
Tired of the day-to-day grind? Consider OpenStore Drive.
Enjoy passive income payments for 12 months while OpenStore handles operations, marketing, fulfillment, and migrates your store to Shopify Plus from whichever plan you’re on now.
Shopify automation service
OpenStore will analyze your store’s performance to calculate your monthly payments for 12 months. Get started — for free, no-strings-attached:
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