Shopify Pricing (2020): What to Expect from Their Plans & Prices?

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world. I mean, just look at these crazy figures:

shopify price popularity

So of course, I’ve written about Shopify quite a bit: reviewed the service overall, compared it to competitors, and even dug up some interesting statistics about it.

But this time, I’m talking about one particular part of Shopify:

The pricing. Duh.

While Shopify seems like a great option, there’s no shortage of competitors. And truth be told, even though Shopify is a great service, costs can quickly add up.

So if you’re interested in Shopify, you need to KNOW if the price is worth it.

Let’s dive in. I’ll start us off with an overview:

Shopify’s Pricing Plans

First, let me just show you what the actual prices that we’re looking at are.

These are the three main tiers:

shopify price

Shopify also offers a couple other pricing plans:

One is Shopify Lite, which is only $9 a month and lets you add a shopping cart to your store and sell on Facebook.

The other is Shopify Plus, which is an enterprise-grade solution. You’d need to be running a pretty large business to use this, so the price will be custom.

For the most part, I’ll be talking just about the three main pricing plans in this article.

That’s because it’s what most of you will be looking at, and these plans are the ones that Shopify is usually evaluated for.

One more note about the prices that’s VERY important:

These prices are assuming you pay month-to-month, which is the default method for Shopify.

Why does that matter?

TONS of software as a service (SaaS) companies list prices as $_/month but actually charge you a year of service up-front. The price-per-month is often a sneaky way of making it look cheap.

But Shopify’s prices are actually monthly, which makes them much more flexible.

You CAN purchase a one or 2-year plan, which discounts 10% and 20% respectively.

So, with this pricing structure in mind, let’s dive into what the numbers actually mean for you.

Breakdown of Shopify’s Pricing

Part 1: How much does Shopify cost?

I already showed you the pricing tiers, and I’m going to cover additional costs soon, but first let’s do a quick recap to keep things simple:

Shopify costs essentially break down as follows:

  • Shopify Lite + Whatever you’re spending on your web presence
  • 3 main Shopify tiers + transaction fees + a domain name + optional premium themes, apps
  • These costs are paid monthly, unless you opt for a 1-2 year commitment.

Part 2: Which pricing plan is right for you?

If you are trying to keep costs down as much as possible, and you already have some online presence for your brand—a website, a Facebook page, etc—then Shopify’s Lite tier ($9 a month) isn’t bad.

However, it truly depends on how much you’re already spending on your online presence. If you are paying minimal amounts for an online presence, a simple Shopify checkout integration could be worth it.

But if you’re already spending a bit, it may be worth using either A) one of Shopify’s main tiers, or B) using a website builder or web hosting plan that includes basic shopping cart functionality.

In general, small businesses and individuals are a good fit for the first tier, Basic Shopify.

It’s much more expensive than the Lite plan, but it’s also bringing you an all-in-one solution.

So if you’re a small brand and you prefer ease of use, being able to manage everything in one platform, Basic Shopify is better. If you’re small and you want to maintain flexibility by connecting different services together, Shopify Lite is better.

The second and third tiers have the same basic features (unlimited products, discounts, etc) and storage and bandwidth allowances.

So the main differences between the tiers are the advanced features, not performance:

shopify price which plan is best

Formerly, the abandoned cart recovery tool was only available for the second and third tiers and was a major reason why people picked those higher plans.

So while the first plan is made much better now for having this feature, you’ll have to ask yourself if your business benefits enough with those OTHER extra features:

Gift cards are useful if your customer base is sizable and consistent enough, and better reports are always useful.

The shipping discounts are a great incentive to upgrade tiers, IF you’re selling products that need to be shipped.

But if you’re selling digital downloads, for example, I’m not sure the highest tier is really necessary—the first or second would be okay, depending on how many sales you’re bringing in.

It should go without saying that everyone’s case is unique. But generally, these are the guidelines for picking a plan.

Now, let’s get more into some of those additional costs that don’t show up at first glance:

Part 3: Additional Shopify costs

The first extra cost to consider is that of Shopify’s transaction fees. Shopify charges a certain percentage of sale for the use of its default payment provider, Shopify Payments.

This is what those fees look like for each of the main pricing plans:

shopify price shopify fees

The first tier pays the highest rate for online card purchases.

You can use other payment processors in your store. But don’t get your hopes up:

Most other payment processors are going to take transaction fees of their own, so it adds up in combination with Shopify’s extra fees.

While Shopify’s payment provider fees aren’t enormous, they certainly are an unfortunate drag, especially as some of Shopify’s rivals (like BigCommerce) do NOT extract these fees.

Another potential cost is that of templates. Shopify has a lot of templates, but only a small amount are free:

shopify price theme

If you look at the top-left corner, you’ll see only 8 themes are free, compared to 64 paid ones.

And even those free templates look a bit similar.

So while they work just fine, realistically many businesses need to purchase a paid theme to get a site that looks more robust.

You may also have additional costs from integrations, or apps:

shopify price app store

To be fair, Shopify has a good selection. And some of them are free.

Many are paid, but fairly affordable:

shopify price app store

But others are a significant additional cost, relative to whatever else you’re paying for your online site.

It can range from free, to a couple bucks a month, to $20+ a month.

To be clear, this isn’t necessarily a fault of Shopify. Many of these apps may be available on other platforms and have similar prices, and Shopify has more free and affordable apps than it used to.

For example, if you want to create periodic backups of your site, you will need an app like Rewind that costs as little as $3 per month. Or, if you want to protect your website against data breaches, you would need an app like McAfee SECURE that is free for up to 500 visitors a month

But if you’re trying to customize your store management you’ll likely be using apps.

There are other costs, not necessarily specific to Shopify:

You may hire someone to design a theme for your Shopify site, or to manage your marketing. You may want to upgrade pricing plans to allow more team accounts.

Plus there’s shipping, but this is highly variable depending on what kind of shipping you’re doing (drop-shipping, shipping manually), what services you’re using, and the nature of the products you’re shipping.

If you need real-time carrier shipping (which is when the shipping rates a carrier charges are put into the checkout page), you basically have to choose the third tier.

Lastly, Shopify doesn’t come with a domain name for free. You can connect your own domain if you registered one separately, or buy one from Shopify.

So all in all, there are some extra costs that may accompany any ecommerce venture—hiring design and marketing professionals, shipping, and some that are specific to Shopify.

While other platforms have paid templates, paid apps, and variations of transaction fees, we know there’s a fair chance you’ll use these through Shopify.

Speaking of other platforms…

Part 4: Shopify pricing vs. competitors’ pricing

This is one of the trickiest parts of the article, because Shopify has a lot of competitors and they each measure up against Shopify in different ways.

For the purpose of simplicity, here’s what I’m focusing on:

First, WooCommerce; Second, other out-of-the-box ecommerce platforms; Third, website builders that include ecommerce.

The distinction between the last two is fuzzy, but it basically comes down to overall purpose: Shopify itself is a website builder, but it’s fundamentally a store builder and the website building is part of that.

So, WooCommerce:

It’s a free WordPress plugin that allows you to add a shopping cart to your WordPress site.

It being free alone makes it a really worthy competitor, but here’s the thing:

It contains a lot more moving parts and the price is more variable. Yes, the plugin itself is free, but you may want to upgrade to get more features.

Plus, this assumes you’re already paying a host for a site that you’ve installed WordPress on, and you’ll likely pay for MORE plugins and site themes to enhance your store.

So it’s hard to get a read on what the typical price is, especially compared to Shopify. It really depends on how much you want to do.

You can check out my comparison of WooCommerce and Shopify here, and my comparison of WordPress and Shopify here.

As for the second category, Shopify vs. similar out-of-the-box solutions, I’d say Shopify takes the cake.

It’s not super one-sided, to be clear. BigCommerce, a major rival to Shopify, offers features here and there that Shopify doesn’t.

The same thing goes for Volusion, another major rival.

But ultimately Shopify wins out because its prices are similar, features are OVERALL similar, but it has a strong website builder and fantastic shipping integration.

In other words, it just does the all-in-one/all-rounder thing best. You can read my comparison of Shopify and BigCommerce or Shopify and Volusion for more details, though.

Lastly, Shopify vs. the website builders that also have e-commerce functionality.

This is trickier because it basically depends on what you prioritize more.

If your priority is to make a super slick website that’s a portfolio or for some other artsy purpose, Squarespace may be a better bet (read more about how it stacks up with Shopify here).

If your priority is still building a website, but you’re not as set on the artsy, individual-creator feeling of SquareSpace, Wix is probably a good bet.

Wix’s ecommerce-enabled plans have roughly the same range as Shopify, but it’s more like a high-capacity website builder that includes shopping cart features.

It’ll do the job fine, but if your #1 priority is to sell online, Shopify would still win out. As usual, you can check out more here.

So all in all?

Some of Shopify’s competitors may bring more bang for your buck, but only if you’re interested in prioritizing what they prioritize.

If you prioritize flexibility and DIY-ing, WooCommerce is best, for example.

But if you’re just trying to build an online business in one platform, period (especially if you want to drop-ship), Shopify is probably best.

Part 5: Shopify FAQs


How can Shopify be useful for saving money on shipping?

Depending on the nature of your business’ shipping, Shopify can secure discounts.

If you’re doing drop shipping, which is when you don’t maintain a physical inventory of the products you offer and let third parties store and ship for you, Shopify is well-equipped.

Shopify integrates with Oberlo, a popular drop shipping service. And…

shopify price oberlo

Oberlo is free when used with Shopify.

Additionally, Shopify does provide shipping discounts in its main tiers:

Basically, Shopify has secured competitive rates from major carriers, which do not GUARANTEE major discounts but CAN discount the majority of the price.

Plus, the latter two tiers have USPS priority mail cubic pricing, which essentially discounts shipping rates for packages that are small, but heavy.

So without a doubt, one of Shopify’s appeals in pricing is that it can save you money if you plan on doing a lot of shipping.


Is there any email hosting included with Shopify’s plans?

Although email hosting and at least a few email inboxes are included for most hosting services, unfortunately none of Shopify’s plans come with this.


Are there bandwidth or storage constraints on any of the plans?

Nope. While a lot of hosting plans claim to offer “unlimited” bandwidth or storage without fully doing it, Shopify actually does.

Most of the reasons to upgrade your plan will be if you want to get access to better features, not to get better storage or bandwidth capacity.


Conclusion

So, while everyone has a different situation, I think Shopify has a good option for most readers.

If you just want the “buy” button on your existing set-up, you can get that for a low monthly price.

However, it may be cheaper in the long run to simply choose a host or website builder that comes with ecommerce functionality, instead of paying for a host AND Shopify Lite.

It’s really the three main tiers that are interesting, though. The main difference in upgrading tiers is additional features: performance and storage will be the same.

So it’s your call whether the extra features I showed you—gift cards, live shipping rates—warrant higher prices.

Additionally, you’ll likely need to pay for a premium theme and install some extensions, though the costs can range on those.

Shopify CAN quickly become expensive, and that’s just the truth.

But Shopify also offers a lot of tools out of the box, and if you know what you’re doing, you can keep your costs down overall with Shopify as well.

The most realistic thing I can tell you is to test Shopify yourself!