Ecommerce | Updated July 20, 2021  

How Much is Shopify? The Best Shopify Pricing Guide

by Kiril Kirilov

How Much is Shopify? Start your first store hassle free (2022)

Shopify has recently become the go-to website builder for online stores because it is easy to use and gives you design flexibility & access to sales channels. Generally, it is a complete eCommerce store solution.

But all these features don’t come for free. So how much is Shopify? The answer depends because the builder has different pricing plans and a few extra optional costs.

We will go through the cost of setting up a Shopify store to help you pick the right subscription plan. Let’s get right into it!

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an application software for building, growing, and managing eCommerce platforms.

The application runs on the web browser and operates as a SaaS (cloud-based). With SaaS, you pay a monthly fee to use the software, not a one-time payment to own a copy.

Therefore, you don’t need to install the software or pay for a hosting plan because the product is a hosted solution.

Also, you don’t need to worry about maintaining or upgrading the software/web servers. This model gives you more time and flexibility to access and run your business from anywhere.

However, the features and functionalities you get from Shopify depend on your subscription pricing plan. Speaking of price, here’s a summary of the available subscription plans.

Shopify Pricing: A Quick Breakdown

Shopify has three primary pricing plans. They include

  • Basic - $29 per month
  • Shopify - $79 per month
  • Advanced - $299 per month

Each plan has the following credit and debit card rates for every transaction.

  • Basic (2.9% + $30¢ for online credit cards or 2.7% + $0¢ for in-person debit/credit cards)
  • Shopify (2.6% + $30¢ for online credit cards or 2.5% + $0¢ for in-person debit/credit cards)
  • Advanced (2.4% + $30¢ for online credit cards or 2.4% + $0¢ for in-person debit/credit cards)

Besides these three, there are two secondary pricing plans. These give more flexibility to suit more personalized needs, and they include:

  • Shopify Lite - $9 per month
  • Shopify Plus - Starting at $2,000 per month

The card and transaction fees on sales are the annoying charges that eat into your profit, but you can avoid them. We’ll talk about that later on in the article.

Each of the five plans also comes with a 14-day free trial period that you can sign up for without providing your credit card details. With that in mind, let’s look at a detailed comparison between the subscription plans.

Shopify Plans Comparison Table

Features

Basic

Shopify

Advanced

Store Components

Ecommerce website and blog

Ecommerce website and blog

Ecommerce website and blog

Products

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Staff Accounts

2

5

15

Support

24/7 (Email, Open Chat, Telephone)

24/7 (Email, Open Chat, Telephone)

24/7 (Email, Open Chat, Telephone)

Sales Channels

Social media and online marketplaces, but availability varies by country

Social media and online marketplaces, but availability varies by country

Social media and online marketplaces, but availability varies by country

Inventory Locations

4 max

4 max

8 max

Manual Order Creations

Available

Available

Available

Discount Codes

Available

Available

Available

Free SSL Certificate

Available

Available

Available

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Available

Available

Available

Gift Cards

Available

Available

Available

Reports

Basic

Standard

Advanced

Calculated Third-Party Shipping Rates

Not available

Not available

Available

Customer Segmentation

Available

Available

Available

Marketing Automation

Available

Available

Available

Ecommerce Automations

Not available

Not available

Available

Unlimited Contacts

Available

Available

Available

The plans also have the following differences when shipping.

For international commerce, the plans only have two differences.

As for the payments, each plan comes with fraud analysis, but the transaction fees vary, as shown below.

Differences in Shopify’s Pricing Tiers

Now, let’s look at each pricing tier individually.

Basic Shopify

This plan is great for new business owners who don’t sell a lot at first. It would also work well for stores that sell a wide range of products and sometimes sell ”in-person” to cut down on credit card fees.

The plan offers a Shopify-hosted storefront, 24/7 support, unlimited products, and language translation to boost business growth during its infancy.

However, there is a downside. The credit card (2.9% + $30¢) and third-party transaction fees (2%) are significantly higher than the other plans. You might have to increase your product prices to break even, which will impact sales.

Shopify

This plan can help growing businesses by giving them more professional reports. These will give more accurate information about how the business is doing.

Even though the plan is more expensive, it makes sense because you will get lower card and transaction fees (2.6% + 30¢ and 1%, respectively).

Shipping is also a key factor for online stores, and this plan gives up to 88% discounts from USPS, DHL Express, and UPS. Such deals will lower costs on the customer end, increasing the chances of getting more sales.

The plan is ideal for businesses netting about $5,000 monthly.

Advanced Shopify

Online stores earning about $10,000/month need advanced tools to run the business, which is what the Advanced Shopify plan provides. These include

  • Advanced reports
  • Automated tasks & workflows
  • Custom pricing depending on the market (best for selling internationally)
  • Calculated shipping rates for your account or third-party apps
  • Tax/duty estimation at checkout

Additionally, the plan has lower transaction and card fees, which will enable you to lower your product prices and boost sales.

What About Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus?

What if none of the three plans above fit your business? Shopify provides two custom pricing plans for light and complete integration.

Shopify Lite

This plan is the cheapest of the five because it costs only $9 monthly. But it has limited features. The most notable difference is that this does not include a complete storefront.

Instead, it adds features to an existing website. Therefore, if you already have a website or social media page for your business, Shopify Lite is the ideal plan. It gives you an admin panel/ overview dashboard plus the following.

  • A buy button
  • Gift cards
  • Email carts
  • Customer profiles
  • Order management (create orders & send invoices)
  • Customer profiles
  • Product management
  • Hardware accessories
  • Finance reports
  • Mobile POS (accepts credit cards from anywhere)
  • QR code for product details
  • Custom discounts & discount codes
  • Split bill
  • 24/7 support

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is on the other end of the scale compared to Shopify Lite regarding pricing. It starts at $2,000 per month, making it the most expensive and advanced Shopify plan.

Such a fee is only ideal for big brands that make significant monthly profits, and you need to contact Shopify to activate this plan. So, what does $2,000 monthly get you?

  • Business & store management (staff accounts, automated workflows, discounts, etc.)
  • Futuristic product pages with 3D media, AR, and video
  • Customizable checkouts
  • Localized shopping experiences
  • Up to 18% higher conversion with shop pay
  • 60% faster checkout
  • 99.99% uptime
  • Zero fees with Shopify payments
  • 0.15% per transaction when using third-party payment processors

What if I Want to Add a Point-Of-Sale (POS) System?

All Shopify plans include a POS lite feature for integrating the Shopify backend with iOS and Android apps for in-person selling. POS lite attracts zero transaction fees, but you will incur card fees per the pricing plan.

There is a POS pro version with advanced inventory tools, staff permissions, in-store pickups, and faster workflows.

If you want this POS system, you must pay $89 monthly regardless of the Shopify plan. You can also choose which locations to upgrade to the pro version to get the above benefits.

Shopify Pricing: How to Reduce Your Costs

The costs associated with running a Shopify store include the subscription fees and transaction/credit card fees. If you can find a way to lower these, your accounts will have a higher balance. Here’s how to achieve that.

Use Shopify Payments to Avoid the Shopify Transaction Fee

You will note that the transaction fee for third-party payment providers is separate from the credit card fees in the shopping payments comparison above.

Remember that using the third-party option attracts the transaction fee plus whatever the payment provider charges.

This fee might seem small, but even the 0.5% for the advanced plan is a considerable sum if your sales volumes are high. You can avoid this transaction fee by using Shopify payments.

Although only available in specific countries, Shopify’s payment system accepts the most popular online payment methods and all major credit cards. You will avoid these extra costs if you can direct your customers to pay directly via Shopify.

PDF resource on Shopify payment requirements

Purchase your Domain Name Elsewhere

Shopify online stores use a “myshopify.com” domain by default. It’s like the “wordpress.com” domain for free WordPress-hosted websites. This domain does not look and sound professional, so you might want to purchase a custom domain name for your store.

The platform offers a free domain generator tool, but purchasing a domain name costs at least $14 per annum. You can save a few bucks by buying a domain from external registrars like GoDaddy, NameCheap, Domain.com, Google Domains, etc.

Also, the Shopify domain registration service does not include email hosting, so you will probably get a better deal by getting a domain elsewhere.

Besides the domain name, compare the custom template vs. adding apps from the app store. It is best to test as many features as possible during the 14-day trial to determine which features to purchase.

Upgrade to a Yearly, Biennial, or 3-Year Plan (Save up to 25%)

While the monthly plans seem reasonable, you can get a better deal if you pay for an annual, biennial, or 3-year subscription. A yearly subscription will get you a 10% discount, while the two-year plan can save you 20%. The 3-year plan gives the best deal of 25% off.

Another benefit of switching to annual or biennial plans is that you qualify for the free third-party calculated shipping rates.

However, such long-term payments are expensive for beginners, so you might want to pay monthly, then switch to an annual subscription later.

Furthermore, trying Shopify for some time is vital to see if it works, so paying long-term is not a wise decision at first. Remember, there are no refunds if you cancel your subscription.

Shopify Credit Card Rates Explained

Credit card rates are the fees charged for handling payment processing. Shopify deducts this amount before the money hits your account to facilitate its operations.

Most merchants transfer this cost to customers by increasing product prices to match the deductions.

It is vital to note that these fees are per transaction, not per item sold. Therefore, the fixed amount in cents is standard whether a customer buys one or 50 items in a single transaction. However, the percentage will vary depending on the sale amount.

How Do Transaction Fees Work?

Transaction fees are the charges incurred for purchases made using third-party payment processors instead of Shopify payments. These are 2%, 1%, and 0.5% for the Basic, Shopify, and Advanced plans.

What are Transaction Fees For?

Customers visit your online store and look through the product pages before purchasing something. Since Shopify hosts the software, it takes resources on their end to power your store.

The transaction costs help offset these costs to keep your store running optimally, which is crucial if handling multiple shoppers. 

Doesn’t the Monthly Plan Fee Cover this Already?

The monthly fee primarily covers access to Shopify as a platform and its tools, which get your store up and running. However, transaction fees keep the store powered by contributing to Shopify every time you make a sale. 

Do Other Ecommerce Builders Charge Transaction Fees?

Yes, they do, but in different ways. For instance, BigCommerce automatically upgrades you to a higher pricing plan if you exceed a certain sales threshold.

Even though they don’t charge the transaction fee directly, this model will eventually force you to pay more monthly. Part of this money will cover the transaction fees.

Wix also has no transaction fees, but the service’s plans are more expensive than Shopify’s. Additionally, you must pay the payment gateway provider fees for each transaction.

Do Other Ecommerce Builders Charge Transaction Fees?

As explained earlier, you can eliminate these fees by using Shopify payments.

How Can Shopify Keep My Ecommerce Website Powered Without the Transaction Fees?

If your customers use Shopify payments, you will not incur transaction fees. However, you will incur the credit card fees, which go to Shopify’s account.

Therefore, Shopify handles the transaction instead of a third party, enabling them to waive the transaction fee. They still get their money, but you only have a few deductions (credit card fees).

Credit card fees are actually lower than the charges incurred by most payment processors like PayPal. Thus, Shopify payments will save you a lot more.

Additional Shopify Costs

Setting up your online store is one thing, and running it is another. Shopify does not provide all the tools, even in the most expensive package. Therefore, you might incur extra costs to acquire the following.

Apps

Like WordPress, Shopify has a  for customizing your website design (layout, color, style, etc.). 

Shopify operates like most operating systems. It acts as the backbone on which you can add more services and additional functionalities via apps.

The service includes access to an app store containing third-party apps designed to enhance your store’s performance. Some are free, and others are premium. If you find some of these essential to your store, you will have to pay extra charges monthly for the services.

Domain Name

As explained earlier, you can register a domain name via Shopify or any external registrar. Domain name registration begins at $14, but using an external registrar can be cheaper or costlier.

Email Hosting

Shopify does not have a service for email hosting, but you can get free, unlimited email forwarding to your registered domain from an external hosting service. However, hosting costs as little as $1 to less than $10 monthly, but you have paid for a domain name.

Themes and Design

Like WordPress, Shopify has a theme collection for customizing your website design (layout, color, style, etc.).

Some are free, while others are premium, costing anywhere between $150 and $350.

How to Improve Customer Experience After Setting Up Your Online Store

Most businesses understand that customer experience is vital for retaining customers and increasing sales. However, some leave the customers unattended after making a purchase, leading to a poor post-purchase customer experience.

A poor post-purchase customer experience is costly for any business because it will reduce the number of repeat customers.

Such customers usually bring in more money because they have tried the brand and gained some trust. According to a report by Manta and BIA/Kelsey, over half of the revenue earned by small businesses comes from repeat customers.

Repeat customers are also easier to sell to, buy more, and promote your business, so it is vital to ensure they get the best shopping experience.

One way to improve customer experience after purchasing is by automating the shipment tracking process. Rush is one of the best apps for this task because it keeps customers updated about their shipment’s location until it arrives.

The app does much more than just real-time order tracking because it offers:

  • Detailed shipment analytics
  • Location hiding (blacklisting)
  • Upselling and cross-selling
  • And more

Therefore, Rush is an asset for your online store and will help boost your sales so that you can break even and make your business profitable asap.

FAQ

Can I try Shopify before committing?

You can try Shopify before committing. The service has a 14-day free trial period for all five plans, which you can sign up for without providing credit card details.

Can I Upgrade or Downgrade My Plan Easily?

Yes. You can upgrade or downgrade your subscription easily. Such a request will terminate the current billing cycle and initiate a new one. If your current plan has any funds, Shopify will credit them to your new subscription.

How Do I Cancel My Shopify Subscription?

You can cancel your Shopify subscription by going to the admin page, then “settings > plan.” Click on “pause or deactivate store.”

After that, you can click “deactivate store” to cancel your subscription. Next, enter the reason for deactivation, then click continue. Conclude by entering your password and clicking “deactivate now.”

Is There a Money-Back Guarantee? Can I Get a Refund?

Shopify has no money-back guarantee. Instead, the service has a 14-day free trial period that should give you enough time to determine if it is a worthy investment for your business.

How Much are Shopify Themes?

The prices vary from $0 to about $350. There are nine free themes, but the majority are premium.

Do I Need to Enter My Credit Card Details for the Free Trial?

No. All you need is to sign up using a valid email address, and you can begin exploring the hosted software.

Is Shopify Lite the Same as Shopify Basic?

No. Shopify Lite does not include a complete Shopify-hosted storefront, while Shopify Basic has one. Shopify Lite is the best plan if your business has an existing website or social media page.

Is Shopify Good for My SEO?

Shopify has excellent tools for SEO, but these cover the basics. To improve SEO, you should consider getting other tools from Shopify’s app store.

Do I need a business license for a Shopify business?

It depends on your city or state’s policy. You might even need a reseller’s state tax certificate, so check your local business requirements.

How Much is Shopify? - Our Verdict

In conclusion, Shopify is a reasonably priced eCommerce store builder, but you must spend more to get the best features. However, the Rush app can help increase sales and ROI by boosting your customer’s post-purchase experience.

High sales volumes will make sustaining your business and upgrading your Shopify plan easier to get the best features.

Best of all, the app is quite affordable, starting from $9 to $199 monthly. So take advantage of the free 14-day Shopify and 7-day Rush trial periods to unleash your business’s potential today!

Kiril Kirilov is co-founder at Rush - Increase sales and boost customer retention rates. Rush automates the shipment tracking process on all fronts so you can turn your loyal customers into "human ATMs"