Advertiser Disclosure

A Quick Guide To Shopify Pricing 2019

  • 1 comment
  • Updated on:
Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

When it comes to shopping cart platforms, Shopify (see our review) is the one to beat. This hugely popular ecommerce platform serves over 600,000 merchants worldwide and has facilitated $72 billion of sales since its founding. 

Shopify’s easy-to-use design and affordable price make it a highly accessible choice for small business owners who want to expand to an online store. And with pricing options ranging from a few dollars a month to a few thousand, this ecommerce platform offers pricing plans that meet the needs of small to enterprise level merchants.

So, how much does the Shopify app cost? The answer is, in short, “it depends.” Keep reading for a complete breakdown of what Shopify offers at each price point. There are several components to Shopify’s pricing system, so we’ll take it all piece-by-piece. We’ll also look at additional expenses you should prepare for, including add-ons, transaction fees for accepting credit card payments, and more. 

MobilePOSOnlineSocial Media
Mobile App + Free Card ReaderPoint of SaleOnline StoreSocial Media Selling
Get StartedGet StartedGet StartedGet Started
Low-cost POS for iOS and Android with free hardwareAll-purpose POS integrated with all sales channelsBuild a store or integrate with your current websiteSell on Facebook and other platforms
Starts at $9/monthStarts at $29/monthStarts at $29/monthStarts at $9/month
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial

Features

We’ll be using the Shopify pricing chart as our main reference point throughout this article. Take a look at the first section below for a brief overview of the three mid-level plans:

As you can see, pricing is not determined by the number of products you list, the number of customers who visit your online store, the amount of bandwidth and storage you use, or even your annual revenue. Rather, each step up in plan level includes more advanced features and increases the number of staff accounts you can set up.

It’s helpful to think of the $29/month Basic Plan as Shopify’s standard feature set. All Shopify users on this plan or above have access to the following:

  • Online store & blog
  • Unlimited products, bandwidth, and storage
  • 24/7 Support
  • Discount code engine
  • Manual order creation (virtual terminal)
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Shopify Shipping
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Shopify POS app
  • Free Shopify mobile card reader (for new US customers)

In order to get access to more built-in features for your online store, you’ll have to pay a bit more per month. The next step up, the $79/month Shopify Plan, adds the following features:

  • 5 Staff accounts
  • Offer gift cards (digital & physical)
  • Professional reporting

The Advanced Shopify Plan is significantly more expensive at $299 per month. Here are the added features:

  • 15 Staff accounts
  • Advanced report builder
  • Third-party calculated shipping rates (beyond rates calculated with Shopify Shipping)

Transaction Fees

“Transaction fee” is a broad term used to describe any fee(s) (percentages and/or dollar amounts) you must pay on every sale you make. When you use Shopify, these transaction fees come from two sources:

  1. Credit Card Processor (a.k.a. Payment Gateway, Payment Provider): This is the company that handles the actual payments customers make at your store. Examples include PayPal and Stripe, and a common rate to pay for online credit card transactions is around 2.9% + $.30. There are over 100 gateway options to choose from with Shopify, including Shopify’s own payment provider, Shopify Payments (which is essentially a Shopify-branded version of Stripe’s gateway).
  2. Shopify: Shopify also charges its own commission per sale as part of the fees for using its software. The fee varies depending on your subscription level:
    • Basic: 2.0% per sale
    • Shopify: 1.0% per sale
    • Advanced: 0.5% per sale

In order to collect payments via your Shopify store, you’ll need to sign up for a payment provider and start paying transaction fees to that entity. There is no getting around these fees, whether you’re using Shopify or a different ecommerce platform to set up your store.

However, there is a way to circumvent Shopify’s separate transaction fee by using Shopify Payments as your processor. In other words, Shopify stops taking its own commission per sale if you agree to sign up for the in-house payment system.

On top of this, if you use Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe), you qualify for discounted processing rates at the $79/month and $299/month subscription levels. By “discounted,” we mean less than that 2.9% + $0.30 you’d normally pay Stripe if you signed up for it separately.

Did you follow all that? It’s a little confusing, but it’s all summarized in the following section of the main pricing page:

Note: Not everyone is eligible for Shopify Payments, so don’t bank on those transaction fees going away. You may have to use an external payment gateway.

Shipping Discounts

Unless 100% of your products are digital, shipping costs will eventually factor into your operating budget. Shopify has an in-house shipping platform called Shopify Shipping to help you manage these logistics and costs. Among other features of the system, Shopify Shipping calculates real-time shipping rates from USPS, UPS, and DHL at checkout. On the backend, you also have access to discounted shipping rates with these carriers, with the deal sweetening as you climb the subscription ladder.

Point Of Sale & Shopify POS

Many ecommerce sellers also sell in-person. Shopify provides a POS app to use on its own or in combination with hardware. All Shopify merchants have access to the app, but those who want to use Shopify POS as a more fully-fledged POS system (think barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, and the like) will need to be on the $79/month plan or above. The $79 plan also opens the possibility of connecting to alternate POS systems.

What About Shopify Lite & Shopify Plus?

Shopify does have an even cheaper plan, called Shopify Lite, which is only $9 per month. Shopify Lite lets you sell on Facebook, add products to a website or blog with “buy” buttons, and accept payments. However, it does not include an online store builder, so we haven’t focused on that plan in this article.

If you’ve looked very far into Shopify, you’ve also likely heard mention of Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus is an enterprise level offering for merchants who need scalability, higher support levels, and better server capabilities.

Shopify Plus is intended for merchants who sell over $1 million per year. This platform can handle up to 10,000 checkouts per minute and provides 13+ PB of storage and over 29,000 CPU cores. When you sign up for Shopify Plus, you’ll have those pesky extra Shopify transaction fees waived, and you’ll receive premium customer support with a dedicated account manager.

Pricing for Shopify Plus varies depending upon your company’s needs, but you should know that plans start at $2K per month. To read more about Shopify Plus, check our full review.

Annual Discount

Our bargain-hunting readers may have noticed that Shopify offers discounted subscription fees to merchants who commit to the software for a year or more. If you purchase a yearlong membership with Shopify, they’ll discount your monthly subscription cost by 10%. If you buy two years out, the discount is 20%.

I can already hear you Costco shoppers and coupon clippers celebrating, but before you go purchase this app for a year or more, I strongly recommend you take a step back. Don’t commit to an entire year of Shopify unless you’re absolutely certain the software will fit the needs of your online store.

I often see complaints from merchants who committed to a software too early (this is true of many software programs, not just Shopify). They’re frustrated that the software does not work for their business, and they’re unable to get a full refund on the purchase.

My advice is to subscribe to Shopify’s monthly plan for at least one year before you go all in. That will give you a good chance to deal with customer support, experiment with add-ons, and make sure the platform really works for your company. That annual discount only saves you $34/year on the Basic Plan, anyway.

Other Costs To Consider

Although SaaS solutions pride themselves on being all-inclusive, you’ll likely run into new expenses as your store grows. Here are a few additional considerations as you build your Shopify store:

Add-Ons

Shopify is excellent store-building software when it comes to basic features, but still has plenty of room for expansion via more advanced features and apps. Even sellers who are just starting out may find they need one or more extensions from the Shopify App Store in order to tailor the platform to their exact needs. You should also consider integrating with third-party solutions for shipping software, CRM software, marketplace connections, and accounting software. The majority of these add-ons will cost an additional monthly fee.

Web Design

Although Shopify offers a number of free themes with excellent web design tools, you may not be pleased with Shopify’s free options. In this case, you’ll have to do one or more of the following: purchase a premium theme, design your own theme, or pay for someone to design a website for you. These options can quickly become expensive.

Development

It can be very difficult to get multiple software systems to work well together. Sometimes, you need an expert to step in. Shopify experts are available for hire. The cost of their assistance ranges from a few hundred dollars into the thousands.

How To Choose A Plan

By this point, you probably know which Shopify plan fits your business’s online store best. However, if you aren’t sure yet, here are a few things to consider:

  • What features do I need?
  • What advanced features can I add on?
  • How many user seats do I need?
  • What can I afford at this time?

You should also sign up for a free trial of Shopify to ensure the software works seamlessly with your business. Upload your products, test out the design tools, and call customer service. And remember, if you decide to sign up, always go with the monthly plan first.

For more information on Shopify’s app store, pricing plans, features, design tools, and customer support, head on over to our full review. Or, to see how it stacks up against the competition, try our comparison page.

MobilePOSOnlineSocial Media
Mobile App + Free Card ReaderPoint of SaleOnline StoreSocial Media Selling
Get StartedGet StartedGet StartedGet Started
Low-cost POS for iOS and Android with free hardwareAll-purpose POS integrated with all sales channelsBuild a store or integrate with your current websiteSell on Facebook and other platforms
Starts at $9/monthStarts at $29/monthStarts at $29/monthStarts at $9/month
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial
Rose Holman

Rose Holman

Writer
Rose Holman is a writer, blogger, and educator from Portland, OR with an MA in Teaching from Western Oregon University. She enjoys educating SMB owners about the complicated (and notoriously sketchy) world of payment processing. Since starting at Merchant Maverick in 2016, she has also added eCommerce software to her areas of expertise.
Rose Holman
Rose Holman

Latest posts by Rose Holman (see all)

Leave a comment

1 Comment

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Mason Preddy

    Thanks, Liz! Great job of breaking down the various payments on Shopify. This should be very helpful to anyone new or considering Shopify. StaySm:)in!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Your Review

    Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.
    Please read the "User Review and Comment Policy" before posting.

    Share