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The Pros and Cons of Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is Shopify's cloud-based e-commerce solution for enterprise-level businesses. Larger organizations require a platform that can handle heavy traffic and high transaction volume. While the company provides extensive features, it has limitations that may hinder some merchants. Understanding Shopify's pros and cons will help determine if this platform is the right fit for a client.

An Introduction to Shopify Plus

Many SMBs have used Shopify to provide the framework for their online stores since the company started in 2006. Shopify began offering the Shopify Plus platform to meet the needs of larger, enterprise-level businesses. As a SaaS, this platform provides comprehensive e-commerce resources without a significant investment in new technology for the client.

Its cloud-based, fully-hosted structure is one of the biggest Shopify store pros. Merchants can do extensive designing of the front-end experience while relying on Shopify for a simple back-end and a seamless payment process. However, merchants with a complex business model may find the standardized back-end one of the main cons of Shopify Plus.

The Pros of Shopify Plus

Competitive, Predictable Cost
A locally-hosted site requires hardware, software development, and regular maintenance. For e-commerce, there may also be costs for payment gateways, integrations, and app licenses. Shopify Plus uses a subscription model that allows for predictable budgeting. The monthly cost for a Shopify Plus plan is comparable or even less than its competitors.

Increased Efficiency
Many clients appreciate working with a SaaS provider because it decreases the time spent dealing with online store administration. Merchants trust Shopify to do the heavy lifting of development. The platform also makes integrations easier by employing standardized APIs. Such connections will increase the number of automatic processes in a merchant's workflow. 

Extensive Apps and Integrations
While clients may need developing help with custom integrations, Shopify Plus comes out-of-the-box ready to connect with many popular apps and integrate with other platforms. Browsing through the Shopify app store, merchants will find products that link to social media, send push notifications and improve SEO.

Simple Back-end Structure
Shopify Plus makes site administration simple with a standardized back-end. Merchants can also quickly improve the front-end functionality of their stores. The user-friendly format incorporates new apps rapidly and prevents frustrating conflicts.

The Cons of Shopify Plus

Most of the cons plus are related to the simple design of Shopify that many clients will find appealing. Shopify Plus’s goal is to reduce the administrative burden to focus on marketing and sales. However, some clients may discover that the streamlined format is too limiting for their needs.

Limited Back-end Customization
The uniform back-end design makes it to both of the lists of pros and cons of Shopify Plus. Most merchants will find its simple format extremely helpful. Part of the reason they choose a SaaS provider is the customizable front-end matched with a worry-free back-end. 

However, some complex e-commerce models may find this format restrictive. Merchants who want to develop advanced back-end processes may find that they need to invest more in development than expected.

Limited International Payment Resources
Shopify Plus is growing in its international outreach, but merchants with a global market may run into problems. For example, the payment gateway is not available in every country, so merchants must make sure they do not lose part of their market if they switch to the platform. 

The apps can also be problematic for international use. Some apps are not yet ready to handle multi-currency transactions. The cost of licensing apps can also present an unexpected expense. In some cases, the same merchant must pay for a separate app license for each virtual store location.

Fixed Checkout Process
Shopify Plus seeks to simplify the checkout process by providing a uniform checkout page. When it comes to Shopify's pros and cons, merchants might place this design on both lists. The user-friendly process will appeal to most clients. However, stores with unique needs may find they require a different solution.

Limits on SEO Modification
Search engine optimization is a primary concern for online retailers. They want every option possible to bring search results their way. Some clients may find that Shopify's limits on SEO customization are too constricting. For example, merchants cannot control the overall URL structure. When migrating to the platform, some merchants will need to change all the URLs associated with the site to work with Shopify's organizational rules. This switch might place blog posts and other content lower in search algorithms.

SaaS E-commerce Competitors

Shopify Plus is not the only enterprise-level e-commerce platform available. Two of its major competitors are Magento and BigCommerce.

Magento 2 Commerce
Magento is an e-commerce platform currently owned by Adobe. This relationship means that the platform integrates well with Adobe products. As a global platform, Magento 2 Commerce has a reputation for benefitting international and multi-store merchants.

A significant difference between Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce is hosting. Shopify is a fully-hosted, cloud-based platform, while Magento is a locally-hosted product. Because of this difference, Magento users may have more opportunities for customization.

BigCommerce Enterprise
BigCommerce is a newer player in the enterprise-level e-commerce field. Like Shopify, it is a cloud-based solution that minimizes a client's development needs. As a younger platform, it does not have as many apps available for integration, but it is growing. Overall performance and user experience are similar between the two companies. BigCommerce has advantages in its SEO and product option features, while Shopify Plus has more robust email and marketing tools.

A Shopify Plus Development Partner

Working with a partner who understands Shopify's pros and cons will help clients receive the best performance from a Shopify site. At Chetu, our Shopify Plus development team can help online retailers create memorable sites that take advantage of all that the platform offers. We can deliver an attractive, dynamic front-end with branded themes and a user-friendly interface. Our team will also enhance the back-end with integrations that link to social media, CRM, and accounting solutions. For established stores moving to Shopify, we can offer a smooth migration process. A knowledgeable partner can create a more substantial Shopify experience for both shoppers and merchants.

About the author:

Dave Wood is an industry expert within the supply chain and logistics technology landscape. He works at Chetu Inc., Plantation, Fla., a custom software development provider and thought-leader within the IT community. He offers commentary on changing tides within logistics and how inventory and warehouse management systems can propel all facets of retail and supply.

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