27 January 2017
What’s all this Shopify Plus hype about, anyway?
As Shopify Plus experts (one of the first Shopify Plus partners in Australia) and digital commerce professionals, we’re happy to talk you through it…
In the year 2017, online retailers are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to ecommerce solutions. However, when it comes to receiving advice, you can be hard pressed to find a non-biased opinion. Here at acidgreen, we’re platform agnostic, (we’re also a Magento Enterprise Partner) so we’re not going to sell you any embellishments or inflated truths.
This blog post is designed purely to talk you through exactly what the Shopify Plus features are and what they can offer (and what they can't) to your online business. For a detailed comparison between Magento Enterprise and Shopify Plus features, click here.
Shopify Plus is Shopify’s long awaited cloud-based enterprise solution that finally competes with the likes of Magento and Salesforce as a high volume merchant platform. It processes billions of dollars a year. So, it’s ideal for companies with ever growing ecommerce stores i.e. ones that have outgrown community/less integrated systems such as Shopify. With its recent introduction of multi-channel capabilities, it is particularly popular for businesses new to online retail or who are familiar with the market, however, are after a less complex solution on an enterprise level.
In 2016, FinancesOnline awarded Shopify Plus as the Best Ecommerce Software; a lot of its success stemming from its advanced out of the box functionality that allows for uncomplicated installations and user management.
Without a doubt, one of the best Shopify Plus features is its relatively low comparative price tag. As the newest member of the enterprise market, it doesn’t demand too much out of its retailers (in comparison to other enterprise solutions). The average cost of build is roughly between $40 - $80K (AU).
With its no added transaction fees and a flat monthly subscription, it provides a pretty good deal. However, that’s not to say it is the most cost-efficient for every business. Like everything in life, deciding what route to go down takes serious introspection. Choosing the right ecommerce platform can be the make or break of your business’s online success.
We’re not about smoke and mirrors, so before moving on to what Shopify Plus features can provide to you as a business, let’s get what it can’t offer you out of the way first:
It is not technology stack accessible
It does not allow for multiple currency checkout
It currently does not include tokenization capabilities
Its product variants are limited to 100
But hey, at the end of the day, you might not need any of that, so it’s not necessarily a negative.
We’ll loan a bit of the Goldilocks analogy here… just because it works for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. We want you to have that ‘aaggh’ feeling ie. that big red tick in the box for satisfaction. And that may be something Shopify Plus can provide… and it may not.
As your own Shopify experts, Sydney, we will now point out the key benefits of Shopify Plus' features, which will hopefully assist in your decision-making process.
How is Shopify Plus scalable?
The ecommerce solution offers unlimited bandwidth with scalable SaaS hosting. This means a fully supported, flexible and reliable solution that has the capability to process 8000 orders per minute and 500K hits per minute with 200TB storage capabilities. The completely self-hosted system also means an elimination of any added hosting costs.
It also includes advanced API that allows merchants to achieve much more with integrations like connecting to CRM and/or accounting systems.
One thing that Shopify couldn’t provide that Shopify Plus certainly can (due to its out of the box functionality) is its ability to offer stylish, adaptable layouts that are simultaneously responsive. Online retail merchants can customise any theme to an impressive degree; this includes changing the homepage layout i.e. header and footer menus, typography and colour formatting.
Like a true enterprise solution, Shopify Plus also uses same domain checkout with fully customisable CSS/SCSS/liquid code capabilities. This is without a doubt the most notable upgrade from Shopify. Visitors on a classic Shopify store will know that in order to complete a purchase, they need to be redirected first, before checking out under one of Shopify’s own web domains. This obviously isn’t great for branding, UX consistency and/or website navigation. Essentially, a checkout page redirect can deter the shopper and cause them to abandon cart. Luckily you don’t have to worry about that problem with Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus’ PCI level one compliance also means it’s available for integration with all of the important gateway systems.
How does this benefit retailers?
Well, this means you can accept credit card and debit card payments without the added costs due to payment data security.
Shopify Plus’, Shopify Pay system has machine learning integration that allows customers to save their credit card, shipping and billing information so that upon return, they can have a much faster, seamless checkout experience. This effectively reduces the form filling aspect of the checkout funnel from 16 fields to just 2. That is likely to have a profound impact on your mobile conversion rates.
Are you a big fan of flash sales? Do you like the stress that comes with processing a thousand transactions at once?
Great! Because Shopify Plus does too!
Give a warm welcome to Launchpad. Launchpad is the latest gimmick for Plus merchants designed specifically for flash sales and product launches. The system enables merchants to schedule multiple adjustments to their store to run with the start/end of an event.
It allows for the scheduling of:
Inventory and per-channel visibility
Event-specific creative content
Temporary site lock (ideal for building launch anticipation)
Use of captchas on the checkout page (prevents bots stealing the show)
The integrated systems also means the accessibility to a real-time analytics dashboard. That means advanced reporting to help understand important marketing data such as customer flow and behaviour. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend wholly relying on this system, it does minimise window surfing from one 3rd party analytics software to the next.
Shopify Plus features a scripting functionality that allows stores to configure discounts based on percentages and tiered pricings offered to specific retailers or VIPs. It also means better shipping functionality and combination offers i.e. buy one, get one free.
Retailers are also provided access to Script Editor, a system that allows developers to create custom scripts that are completely hosted/run by Shopify. This means more freedom for merchants to build custom business logic into their stores.
Shopify has partnerships with over 1100 app developers, internationally. Moreover, these apps are continually checked and verified by the Shopify team with a customer based star review system, so merchants have the opportunity to see how reliable and or effective the apps are before installation.
Some of the most notable apps include features such as:
Discounts & Special Offers
Handling Wholesale Customers
The advanced API limits also means retailers can achieve a lot more when thinking about app and ERP integrations. The allowance for multiple integrations means you can set up real-time valuable connections; from sales and marketing to accounting.
Shopify Plus features Flow, an automation platform that invites digital commerce merchants to manage the baked side of the business ie. inventory and order management without the additional costs of a bespoke system build. As well as its time-saving automation systems, Flow also enables merchants to necessarily experiment with backend configurations designed solely to boost business productivity.
The Shopify Unite 2017 conference saw the announcement of a new wholesale platform, which gives merchants the power to run separate wholesale sites from their pre-existing Shopify Plus account. This means that the orders and management can sit in the same Shopify dashboard, making the handling of wholesale activity that much more simple and easy to navigate.
“We want to help merchants modernize the wholesale side of their business and ultimately provide them with the same easy and intuitive experience they have managing their direct-to-consumer business” - David Moellenkamp, Shopify Plus’ Director of Products.
Whilst this is a brand new channel that it is still being incorporated, it’s great news for B2B businesses who are considering a capable online B2C environment somewhere in the not too far future. It is just yet another way Shopify Plus is pushing to prove it belongs on the enterprise stage.
Now that you’re more informed on the benefits and drawbacks of the Shopify Plus features, we hope you’re a step closer to choosing which ecommerce enterprise solution is best for you. The right decision for your business should come down to the one that offers the least resistance and minimal hassle.
At acidgreen, we’re ecommerce professionals and one of the very few Shopify Plus experts, Sydney and Australia wide. We know how to read a business and we understand what features your ecommerce store may benefit from, and which features may be unjustified. Give us a call to today, or contact us here. We’d be more than happy to help you make the right decision for your business… don’t forget the Goldilocks analogy.
acidgreen is an award winning e-commerce agency specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or give us a call to learn more about our services.
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