10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Upgrading to Shopify Plus

Three young people in a convertible, all holding a bag from LeSportsac

LeSportsac sells their iconic bags on Shopify Plus

As you’re thinking of upgrading to Shopify Plus, let’s start with some facts about basic Shopify. Afterall, with Plus, you’re going to get the benefits of standard Shopify – and much more. With this in mind, Shopify offers three clear advantages to ecommerce retailers:

  1. The Shopify platform includes hosting services with 99.98% uptime for your site.
  2. Sites are Level 1 PCI compliant right out of the box (meaning financial transactions and data are secure; Shopify takes responsibility for security.)
  3. Shopify has a huge library of customizable themes for your site, all of which are mobile responsive.

Again, just for starters. The standard version of Shopify has been a game-changer in retail. But how do you know when your retail company is ready to go to the next level? Today we’ll help you find the answer through these 10 questions to ask before upgrading to Shopify Plus.

Let’s walk through the questions and see if the moment is right to take advantage of this offer and upgrade your site to Shopify Plus.

1) Do you do at least $1 million in sales per year?

Shopify Plus starts at $2000/month. It has everything you need (and more) to grow your ecommerce business. Hosting services alone range in price, but they can run to up $10,000 a year or more, depending on the size of your business. Also, by bundling hosting into Plus’ full service package, merchants have one less vendor to worry about.

Which brings us to another point: Shopify Plus has excellent scalability. The platform gives retailers ample runway to take-off and fly. If you’re worried you’ll outgrow Shopify Plus, think about Rebecca Minkoff, MVMT Watches, and Kylie Cosmetics. These businesses (each doing 10’s of millions in online sales) are all thriving on Shopify Plus.

2) Do you have staff dedicated to ecommerce?

Lettering by Sarah Dayan

The experts at Shopify Plus recommend having at least one employee dedicated to ecommerce at your company. More than one–even better. Yes, Shopify Plus is super intuitive. Other key players in your company, like founders and digital marketers, can certainly navigate the Shopify Plus backend. But the analytics engine in Shopify Plus produces so much good information. It illuminates site performance, customer experience, and much more. You’ll want to have someone on staff who can monitor this information and use it to grow your business.

3) Do you want additional expert hands on deck at site launch (& beyond)?

Every Shopify Plus site launch is supervised by a Launch Manager. This Shopify-assigned manager works with your team (and ours) to ensure that the site debut is on time and successful. After the site launch, retailers are then assigned a Success Manager, another in-house Plus expert. The Success Manager helps with onboarding, and once the retailer is up and running, continues to support the team through bimonthly calls and regular updates. Shopify also gives priority to Plus merchants on their 24/7 phone support line. The value of these extra folks cannot be understated–it makes a huge difference in our experience.

4) Are you ready to automate tedious & time-consuming processes?

Shopify Flow is all about automation. The company debuted this backend tool last year, and it’s the result of years of development the Shopify Plus platform. Flow gives merchants the opportunity to create an automated workflow for any process. What kind of process, you ask? The answer is entirely up to the retailer! Perhaps you want to send a special thank you note to any customer who spends more than $500 on your site. Or purchases more than 3 times. Or maybe you want to be alerted anytime a sale generates from a suspicious domain.

For inspiration, peruse the community posting site for Shopify Flow workflows. We can’t emphasize it enough: these are customizable for your business. But, when you discover a good one, you’re encouraged share new tricks with fellow entrepreneurs on Shopify Plus.

5) Do you sell wholesale–or want to?

Launched in 2017, the Shopify Plus Wholesale Channel made Shopify Plus available to the world of B2B retail businesses. Now companies can sell to both B2B and/or B2C at the same time on Shopify Plus. To start selling wholesale, retailers segment their wholesale customers from their overall list and assign the appropriate pricing to them. Then wholesale shoppers log-in and see only their pricing. Merchants can create a richer B2B experience through additional tools, but to get started, it really is this simple. Best yet, B2C shoppers can continue to view products at full price with no confusion.

6) Do you have a brick and mortar store? Or do you do pop-ups?

Shopify’s Point of Sale (POS) system confirms (yet again!) that they deeply understand the evolving retail landscape. The POS is available to all Shopify merchants, however, it’s bundled into Shopify Plus out of the box. This makes Plus an even sweeter deal for those who need it.

We’ve all seen the headlines that warn of a retail apocalypse. But here’s the headline we agree with: Physical retail isn’t dead. Boring retail is. That’s why digitally native retailers like Casper and Untuckit are opening cool brick and mortar stores. Even if your trajectory isn’t brick and mortar, the bundled Plus/POS deal helps online merchants hit the streets with their POS. As a great example, take a look at how Gymshark created major buzz–with boomin’ sales–through pop-up events.

7) Do you wish you could plan sales events in advance?

When you really have a grasp of your sales cycle and inventory flow, retailers on Plus can take advantage of Shopify Launchpad. Like Flow, it’s an automation tool, but in this case, it’s focused on sales campaigns. Use it to plan product releases, flash sales, and more. For instance, if you sell Halloween costumes, you could set up a “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” discount campaign to start on November 1st. (Think of Moms who want to save on kids’ costumes for next year.) With Launchpad, you won’t have to deal with setting this up during the busiest season of your business. It can already be in place.

8) Do you need to customize site checkout?

Exclusive to Shopify Plus retailers, the platform offers an asset called checkout.liquid. This allows retailers to customize the look and feel of their store checkout. But don’t worry if it looks complicated–that’s why we’re here.

Historically, one of the drawbacks to Shopify was the inability to customize the checkout flow to match your brand. No longer so! With Plus, we can help you customize these interfaces to match the rest of your site–and have your main navigation seamlessly carry through checkout.

9) Are you ready to sell internationally?

In Shopify’s own words, “each Shopify Plus store can have 9 additional ‘clone’ stores at no extra cost.” These 9 store instances can include different currencies and languages–and different content too. Third-party solutions, like Stitch Labs, help retailers manage their inventory for omnichannel sales. In other words, your global expansion is entirely possible.

Also, Shopify as a whole is a global-facing company. For instance, after a successful test run in the U.S., Shopify just made Shoppable Instagram available to their retailers in eight more countries: the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Brazil. We believe this is an example of how the company will continue to create opportunities for retailers around the world. (They write a lot about the future of international ecommerce on Shopify Plus, too.)

10) Do you have a vision of how you want your company to grow?

Image courtesy of The World Is My Office

Speaking of 3rd party solutions, the Shopify Plus API infrastructure allows for easy integration with outside platforms to make your entire digital commerce ecosystem share data back and forth. This opens up a world of features. Need to connect your ERP with Shopify to push orders back and forth? No problem. What about automatically adding new customers to your CRM once an order is placed? We got that too.

Shopify Plus’s easy to use, well-documented RESTful API is truly a pleasure to work with making any sort of integration possible. There are over 1500 existing apps to choose from–or let us build one for you. The sky is really the limit (finally!).

In Conclusion

This week is Shopify Unite 2018, a.k.a. one of our favorite events of the year, is being held in Toronto, Canada. If it’s anything like last year, there’s a ton of product launches in store.

Over the next few days, we’ll learn of the latest innovations for Shopify and Shopify Plus. Stay tuned to our blog and social channels (Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn) as we share Shopify’s plans to keep making Plus even better.

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