Shopify Plus Cost of Ownership: Is It Worth It?

Patrick McCarthy

Thinking of making the switch to Shopify Plus?

We’ll dive into the details of this platform so you can make an informed choice about whether it’s the right move for you.

As long as you’re an enterprise-level ecomm business, you really can’t go wrong with Shopify Plus. Indeed, in a number of ways, it is a far more robust choice, particularly because it’s flexible, easy to use, and allows you to customise many different features. When you’re making seven digits (or close to) every month, that kind of freedom is a no-brainer and makes the total cost of ownership worth it. 

Some well-known brands that have recently migrated to Shopify Plus include: Rebecca Minkoff, The NY Times, Chubbies, Kylie Cosmetics, MVMT, Beyond Retro, Gymshark, Venroy, and Pavers.

That doesn’t mean basic Shopify is only for the small fry businesses. It’s an excellent option for small to medium sized shops, and if they have massive scale-up potential, then graduating to Shopify Plus is always an option.

Before you make any snap decisions, let’s look at what Shopify Plus provides beyond basic Shopify provisions. Then we’ll dig into how much all those extras will actually cost you.

While the following may be obvious, we’ll mention it anyway. Shopify Plus gives you everything the basic Shopify platform does, plus a whole lot more. 

Take a look:

  • A dedicated account manager
  • Supports up to 10K transactions per minute
  • Unlimited staff accounts
  • Greater code-level theme customisation
  • A customised checkout experience
  • Enhanced API resources
  • Access to exclusive apps
  • Integrations with existing platforms
  • Wholesale channel option
  • Comprehensive support
  • In-depth analytics

Of course, all that comes with a higher price tag!

Use this article as a guide in your decision-making process. We’ve broken the costs down into platform, processing, app, and agency costs. Bear in mind that most prices are expressed in USD for accuracy.

The Total Cost of Ownership = complete, combined cost to buy, build, and operate your ecommerce site.

Shopify Plus Base Platform Costs

Rather than paying a flat fee, as you would with Shopify basic, Shopify Plus operates on commission once your business hits a certain monthly revenue. This makes sense considering that it’s a fully hosted platform so the more active your shop is, the more bandwidth and resources you’re using. 

Minimum fee = $2000 (up to $800K / month) 

Maximum fee = $40K (at $16M / month)

Every business on Shopify Plus pays a standard $2000 per month for a license fee. Once you’re pulling in $800K+ per month, that fee operates on a revenue-based model taking 0.25% of your monthly sales volume. So if your shop is making $1 million each month in sales, you’ll pay $2500 in fees. 

The licensing fee covers competitive account management, which includes administrative support, basic front-end development work, business growth guidance, onboarding support, and more. 

Hosting costs are also included, which is a massive benefit given the average hosting costs for the mid-level merchant. Updates, wholesale, Shopify POS, and Shopify exclusive apps are also included. Additionally, they can help manage scaling and include native multi-channel capabilities. They have integrated solutions for selling on Facebook, Amazon, and eBay, as well as their own POS solution. 

And there’s no cost to migrate from basic Shopify to Shopify Plus.

Payment Processing Costs

You may decide to use a third-party processor instead of Shopify payments, and it’s definitely worth shopping around and comparing prices. 

Shopify Plus card processing costs are 1.6% of transaction cost plus 20p in the UK. (For US-based merchants it’s 2.15% of transaction plus $0.30 for Visa and MasterCard or 3.15% plus $0.30 cents for AMEX and international cards. 

You’ll probably find lower rates than this, but Shopify Plus will charge an additional 0.15% for using a third-party payment provider. Keep in mind that these costs are on top of card network rates.

Once you reach a certain minimum payment threshold, Shopify Plus offers lower rates for the base Plus license if you use their payment system. So, that’s another benefit to an exclusive relationship with Shopify Plus.

App Costs

Additional apps will maintain a robust, enterprise-level functionality on your site. The cost is hugely variable, depending on what you select. Consider, for example, loyalty programs, subscription services, and sophisticated search solutions. More enterprise-focused apps can range between $50-$500 per month. 

Average monthly tech-stack ranges are as follows:

Personalisation: 0-1k+GBP / $0-$1.5K+

Returns: 0-2.5k+ GBP / 0-$3.5k+ 

Loyalty:  50-1.2k+ GBP / $70-$1.7k+

Search: 50-2k+ GBP / $70-$2.8k+ 

Marketing automation: 100-3k+ GBP / $140-$4k+

Agency Costs

Design and build accounts for most of your budget, so it makes sense to devote a considerable amount of time and attention. 

While Shopify has off-the-shelf themes, we recommend a bespoke design and build for mid- to enterprise-level businesses. A Shopify Plus agency is crucial for helping you accomplish this. 

No matter how programming savvy you are, you simply can’t devote the same time, attention, and expertise to build and design that a Shopify Plus agency can and––this is the most critical bit––get it right the first time. Their costs depend on a number of factors, including whether or not they charge a discovery fee, design and build, project management costs, bespoke development, and marketing support. 

Do You Need A Consultant?

Whether you need an ecommerce consultant isn’t a Shopify Plus-exclusive consideration, but it’s worth a mention, particularly if you’re aiming to be an enterprise-level business. 

It really depends on what your team can do independently. What is your level of ecomm knowledge? What’s your capacity? How sophisticated is your current website?

If you do go the consultant route, we recommend onboarding one early in the game for a more rigorous assessment of your business’ needs. A consultant can help you find the right platform and offer recommendations for increasing conversions and maximising revenue. 

If you need assistance with the logistics of ecommerce website design, structure, user experience, or anything else related to creating an outstanding online business, give us a call. We're a Shopify Plus agency, and we can help.

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