If you’re thinking about starting an e-commerce store, you’ve probably heard about Shopify. Quite honestly, Shopify is one of the best and easiest ways to get a store up and running with minimal in-house development on your part. As part of your research, you have also probably noticed something called Shopify Plus and wondered exactly what that was.
Shopify itself is split into three tiers of service, so you might wonder why the need for Shopify Plus exists. It turns out that there is actually a big difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus, in various levels of service, products offered, pricing, and in who should actually be using each service.
Who Shopify and Shopify Plus are Targeting
The primary difference in Shopify and Shopify Plus is in who they are meant for. Essentially, if you’re just starting out, you want to go with Shopify with one of their three tiers. If your business is already well established and you’re ready to start considering other options for growth and scaling, then Shopify Plus may be worth taking a look at.
We aren’t going to go much into how the standard tier of Shopify works here; suffice it to say that as an e-Commerce platform, they are one of the best in the business. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re shipping a thousand units per week domestically, Shopify will let you handle marketing, issue gift cards, pull reports, and automate a ton of back-end stuff for you. But once you’ve got a handle on domestic sales, and want to go international, or you are thinking about becoming a wholesaler, Shopify Plus is going to be what you need.
Local Versus International
Shopify Plus offers support for international shipping. If you’ve ever shipped internationally or worked any sort of fulfillment business overseas, you know that one of the most challenging aspects is localization and payment processing.
Shopify Plus takes that out of your hands, allowing you to get your store up and running no matter where you’re choosing to do business. Localization doesn’t mean just getting an accurate translation for your item descriptions and blog (although that is a very big part of it). It also means making sure that your platform takes advantage of multi-regional SEO best practices.
This tier of Shopify simplifies most of that for you with international templates and assistance with localized marketing. Additionally, you get access to multiple payment options for your customers, which makes exchanging and accepting foreign currency easier than ever.
Shopify Plus also makes it extremely easy to figure out where to focus your efforts in overseas commerce. The reports available let you see where you’re making sales so you know where to spend your advertising dollars.
Transitioning your business from a few orders per week to a few orders per day is challenging. Shopify does a good job of helping you scale from a casual business to one that’s becoming more than just a side project. However, when you’re ready to scale up farther than that, you might find your business beginning to suffer. After all, you can’t make more hours in the day just to squeeze in what you need to do. Scaling then becomes an issue when you find more and more tasks waiting for you every day.
Shopify Plus recognizes this and has a great new tool for users who are looking to go up to that next level of business. Shopify Flow is a tool that lets you take care of various tasks automatically, letting your team focus on other activities that become essential. Shopify Plus and Flow give you a 3-step visual automation process that lets you create automatic workflows in several areas.
Order Automation: With Shopify Flow’s integration into Slack, it becomes easy to notify your employees when there’s a task that needs to be done. For example, if you have orders that need to be manually reviewed, you can automatically notify your team to check them. And if they don’t need to be reviewed, you can have them sent on to your shipping team to have them sent.
Product Tasks: One of the most time-consuming tasks is keeping track of your inventory. Shopify Flow lets you create triggers that automate ordering when inventory runs low. You can select the individual products for automatic reordering or create notifications if you want to manually review the items before ordering.
Another automated process that Shopify Plus and Flow help with is when dealing with customers who are exceptionally loyal. You can create a customizable trigger for customers who spend certain amounts, or who buy certain products. Whether you just want your shipping team to be aware of when products are going out or if you need your customer service team to reward buyers with exceptionally large order histories, Flow makes it simple to set up those triggers.
Customer Service Triggers: Customer service is and should be one of the largest concerns of any e-Commerce company. Customers who have been unsatisfied with a product can be turned around to reenter your shopping funnel. Most of them want to do this, and they will, provided that they are made to feel as if their concerns have been properly addressed.
Rather than have your customer service team chase down negative reviews or pore over emails, Shopify Plus and the Flow application allow you to automate tasks for your agents. They can also update the tasks easily, as Flow integrates with several tasking software applications with no code jockeying required. You may even find yourself able to remove some of the patchwork of apps, code, and programs that you are relying on now as you migrate over to Shopify Plus.
One of the biggest transitions that any company can make is going from business-to-consumer to business-to-business. It’s a smart move, considering that there are about 5.72 million B2B companies on course to generate roughly $1.18 trillion annually by 2021.
Usually, when you transition into wholesale, you have to make an entirely new storefront. That can be a fairly complex process, resulting in valuable downtime where you could be making sales. With Shopify Plus, the process is made simple. Shopify Plus generates a new shopping portal that pulls from your existing B2C storefront. This lets you focus on deciding what products you want to sell and how you want to price them.
This new B2B storefront is also designed with your customers in mind. You can set prices for items and let your customers serve themselves. Or you can let them choose what they want to buy and then send an invoice with a pre-negotiated discount. How you handle your B2B sales is entirely up to you. Best of all, Shopify Plus makes it easy to integrate a loyalty program using their Wholesale channel.
While Shopify Plus definitely isn’t for everyone, there is a specific time when you should be looking into it. If your sales and growth are such that you think that an international or B2B platform is what you need in order to keep expanding your e-commerce division, Plus deserves your attention. You know that it’s not a flash in the pan company, considering that it’s backed and run by Shopify. And if you don’t already have a Shopify storefront, integrating your current website into Shopify is also extremely easy and worthwhile. That makes it even easier for you to upgrade to Shopify Plus at a later date.