How to Determine the Best Shopify Pricing for Your eCommerce Store


Some choices are simple, like what to have for lunch on Taco Tuesday.

Other choices, like what to say when told your in-laws are coming for a visit, are not.

Somewhere in between those two falls your choice of Shopify pricing. Not quite the minefield of your significant other’s parents, but not quite as straightforward as bean and cheese with extra guac.

Many factors go into deciding which Shopify tier is the right one for your business, including how much Shopify costs you every month.

Today, we’re going to examine just what each plan offers, and what sort of business does best with each plan.

We’ll look at:

The Basics: What You Need to Know Before You Start
Basic Shopify: Enough to Get You Started?
Shopify: The Classics Are Always a Good Choice
Advanced Shopify: For the Serious Retailer
Shopify Plus: Playing in the Big Leagues
Shopify Lite: For the Little Leaguers
Wrapping It All Up

Let’s get going, shall we?

The Basics of Shopify Pricing Plans

While many of you are our advanced eCommerce members, you still may not be as familiar with Shopify’s offerings as you’d like.

So let’s cover a few of the basic ins and outs of Shopify and level the playing field a bit for all of you.

What You Get With Any Shopify Plan

Except for the Shopify Lite option (which we’ll discuss briefly in a moment, but not in any great detail), all Shopify plans supply you with:

  • A fully functional online store.
  • The ability to sell an unlimited number of products.
  • A free SSL certificate, providing a secure payment gateway.
  • No additional transaction fees if using Shopify Payments (country-dependent).
  • A blog, for content marketing and inbound traffic.
  • 24/7 support.
  • Abandoned cart recovery.
  • Manual order creation, allowing you to make offline sales and process them through your Shopify account.
  • Discount code creation, giving you the ability to hold sales.
  • Fraud analysis, to alert you to fraudulent transactions.

As you can see, you get a lot for your money, regardless of which of the Shopify tiers you choose.

And if there is something more that you want or need, you can always visit the Shopify App Store and find just the right add-on for you.

A Word About Shopify and Shipping

All Shopify plans in the US, Canada, and Australia offer discounted real-time carrier shipping through certain select services.

For example, in the US, you can use the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, or DHL, and in Canada, it’s simply Canada Post.

To use third-party calculated shipping, however, you must have either the Advanced Shopify Plan or the Shopify Plus plan.

It’s one of the perks of their more expensive plans, unlike other eCommerce services like BigCommerce, which provide third-party shipping with every plan.

Another Shopify and shipping issue to note is that the printing of shipping labels via Shopify is also restricted to only the US, Canada, and Australia. Elsewhere, you have to use a separate shipping label app.

A Word About Shopify Payments

Online shopping with a credit card

Source: Flickr

You’ll notice in the list above, we’ve stated that there are no transaction fees if you use Shopify’s payment gateway, Shopify Payments.

That’s mostly true.

Like their shipping and shipping labels, only certain countries currently have access to Shopify Payments.

In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The U.K.
  • The U.S. and Puerto Rico, but no other U.S. territories

A Note About Transaction Fees and Credit Card Rates

The credit card rates given in this guide are for the U.S. only. Each country has its own rates, and, depending on where you are, they may be higher or lower.

For example, in the U.K., as of this writing, one of the plan’s fees was 1% — a significant difference from the U.S. fees.

Basic Shopify: Is It Enough for Your Online Store?

Shopify Basic is the most useful and the cheapest plan per month. It’s plenty for the typical new eCommerce business.

First, the Good News

One of the biggest advantages of Basic over other competitors is its inclusion of abandoned cart recovery.

Allowing customers to log off and then come back without clearing their cart significantly increases your conversions and creates sales where they may not have been before.

By including it in the Shopify Basic plan, they’ve outstripped the competition. BigCommerce and Volusion would both charge you $79 per month for that service add-on.

The closest you could get from any of the “other guys” is Squarespace’s $46 monthly fee.

It’s Not All Good News

One negative aspect of Shopify Basic is worth mentioning — the plan does not offer any type of advanced report.

For professional bookkeeping reports (like monthly sales), you need to upgrade to the Shopify plan.

Another is that you cannot offer gift cards to your customers. You can only make direct sales of your products.

The Best Business for the Basic Shopify Plan

It really doesn’t matter what you offer in your online store. Our members sell everything from clothes to jewelry to home goods.

What does matter is how much of it you sell.

Let’s crunch some numbers. The big differences in cost between a Basic Shopify and “regular” Shopify store are in the credit card fees and monthly plan costs.

Basic charges a credit card rate of 2.9% + 30 cents, while Shopify costs 2.6% + 30 cents. And then there’s the $50 dollar difference per month, just to have the Shopify plan.

That .3% and $50 difference means you have to sell $50/.3 or $16,333 of product every month to break even.

So, if you’re just starting out and not making those kinds of sales numbers yet, the Basic plan will be the better choice. It’s lower per month fee, along with its lower credit card transaction fees, will allow you to pocket more profit.

The Classic Shopify: For Most of Us

Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, this is where most Shopify store owners should at least aim to land.

The reasons are simple — using the same process we used above in comparing Shopify with Advanced Shopify, we get an interesting figure.

The difference between the two plans shows that you don’t need the Advanced plan until you make over $110K every month.

You get 99% of Shopify’s features for only $79/month, which makes this plan the “sweet spot” for most online retailers.

Why Classic Shopify May Not Be For You

Something we’ve not mentioned is that each Shopify tier comes with an increasing number of “staff accounts”. These are for owners, managers, directors, and others who may need to access the online store.

Classic Shopify only offers 15 of these staffer accounts. If your organization is larger than 15 people, or if you need more than 15 folks to have access to your store, then you may want to choose the higher plan.

Another reason Classic Shopify may not suit you is if you are not or cannot use Shopify Payments. Using an external payment processor can really wrack up those transaction fees, eating into your profits.

Lastly, since calculated shipping and third-party shipping is only available in Advanced Shopify if that is an option you need or want, then the Classic plan is not for you.

Advanced Shopify: For the Serious Seller

We’re not saying you’re not serious about your online business. What we mean by “serious seller” is that Shopify Advanced is best for those making between $110K and over half a million a month.

The exact top figure is $680K. And, at this level, the few advanced features are probably necessities and not just niceties.

If you’re operating at that kind of volume or selling that kind of high ticket inventory, you’re probably already using some third-party shipping vendor. You need those advanced reports for your bookkeeping.

And with its lowest transaction fees, it’s the best choice for maximizing profits.

Shopify Plus: Welcome to the Big Leagues

We’re already determined that Shopify Plus is for those making the big bucks every month. There are also some awesome features that add up to big benefits for the Plus store owner.

The transaction fees are 2.15%. That’s just about as low as you are going to get from any merchant account and payment portal combo.

And then there’s the following:

  • Multiple stores, perfect for international sellers.
  • Shopify Launchpad, an automation tool that allows you to do things like automatically adjust payments for discounts and sales events.
  • Event dashboard, for real-time reporting during launches, sales, and other special events.
  • Wholesale capabilities, allowing you to go from retailer to supplier.
  • Customized check out.
  • Shopify Flow, which lets you customize workflows within your business, for things like email segmentation based on purchases and loyalty discounts.

These features are only available to Shopify Plus customers and can make all the difference in deciding to upgrade from the advanced tier.

Shopify Lite: For Those With Lower Per-Month Incomes

Delivering happiness book signing

Source: Flickr

Shopify offers a Shopify Lite plan. You use Shopify Payments, pay $9 a month, and have transaction fees of 2.9% + 30 cents. What you don’t get is an online store or any of its features.

You have to have your own website, sell through social media like Facebook, or sell in-person.

It’s perfect for the website owner who may want to turn their site into a point of sale for a few digital products, or make a few in-person sales at book signings, seminars, or other events, without the need of an online store.

We doubt that’s any of our readers, but we thought we’d mention it to give you the full scope of Shopify’s offerings.

Putting It All Together

We’ve summed up all the basic facts regarding your choices in Shopify plans in the chart below. You can use it for easy reference whenever you need it.

Now, all you have to do is make the choice for your Shopify store. Hopefully, we’ve made it as easy to choose as those tacos.

Shopify Pricing Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify Shopify Plus
Per Month $29 $79 $299 $2000+
Online Credit Card Rates 2.9% + 30¢ 2.6% + 30¢ 2.4% + 30¢ 2.15% + 30¢
Credit Card Processing — In-Person Sales 2.7% 2.5% 2.4% 2.15% + 30¢

NOTE: All prices and figures provided by Shopify at the time of writing.

Photo by Flickr

Katrina McKinnon

Post by Katrina McKinnon

Katrina is a Charter Member of eCommerceFuel and leads an eCommerce content creation agency. Need content? Blog posts, product descriptions, category content, buyers guides, product reviews and more. Get in touch –

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