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Shopify is one of the cheaper ways to sell online, with its initial “Shopify Lite” plan costing $ 9 a month, allowing you an unlimited amount of merchandise.

However, it is important to note that the ‘Lite’ plan does not actually allow the construction of a fully functional, standalone online store: rather

  • lets you sell through your Facebook page

  • Shop at a physical location to sell goods or manage inventory

  • gives you access to the Shopify’s Buy button, which lets you sell goods at existing website or blog.

The “Buy” button works similar to the “Buy Now” button on Paypal, but given that they return to Shopify, more sophisticated options are available regarding tracking orders and their fulfillment status. In addition, you can use the Buy button to display all product categories on another site.

Using the Shopify Buy button allows you to integrate Shopify into a site built on another platform – for example, Squarespace or WordPress; this is a useful feature for users who are mostly satisfied with an existing website but want to integrate some Shopify e-commerce features on it.

As you move up the price ladder, you will come across a ‘Basic Shopify’ plan for $ 29 a month; “Shopify” plan for $ 79 per month and “Advanced Shopify” plan for $ 299 per month. Unlike the ‘Lite’ plan, all those plans Doctor allow you to host a fully functional online store.

Finally, there’s the Shopify Plus plan to consider – this, as the name suggests, is a “business level” solution designed more with respect to large companies; offers advanced features in terms of security, APIs and fulfillment.

So what are the main differences between each plan?

Key differences between Shopify plans

The key features to keep in mind (not missing out on choosing the wrong Shopify plan) are:

  • reporting – Professional reporting functionality is only available on “Shopify” purchase plans of $ 79 and up; and advanced reporting tools (which allow you to create custom reports) are only provided on the most expensive “Advanced” and “Shopify Plus” plans.

  • gift cards – Only available on Shopify plans $ 79 and up

  • real-time transportation – this is only available on the most expensive “Advanced Shopify” plan

  • staff accounts – this allows you to give different members of your team different permissions (something that is very useful for restricting access to sensitive data); you have 2 accounts for ‘Basic Shopify’ staff; 5 on the “Shopify” plan and 15 on the “Advanced Shopify” plan.

  • Point of Sale (POS) functionality – You have access to all POS features that allow you to sell through Shopify in a physical location, unless you are on “Shopify” or above (I discuss the point of sale below).

Shopify Plus, the business version of Shopify, provides all the major features, but additionally offers some features for large corporations, including:

  • server uptime guaranteed

  • API support

  • The level of ‘white glove’ support through a dedicated merchant success manager

  • dedicated SSL / IP address

  • advanced security features.

It is worth mentioning that you have to pay for the plans on a monthly basis – you can pay them on an annual or biennial basis. Shopify offers 10% off annual and 20% off two-year plans when paid in advance.

Shopify’s overall pricing structure is quite in line with key competing products such as Bigcommerce, Squarespace and Volusion; the main difference really involves the ‘Lite’ plan, which, although it doesn’t give you an online store entirely with a host, does not allow you to use many of the key Shopify features on another site for a very low monthly fee.

If I were to criticize Shopify’s pricing structure, it would be that some of the features you expect to find in entry-level plans – such as gift cards and proper reporting – will only become available to you if you decide to be more expensive (or if you’re using a paid app ).

Other solutions, most notably Bigcommerce, are significantly more generous with a set of input features, offering a bit more all-in-one access.

Let’s look at how Shopify actually accepts payment for their products – because there are some key benefits to using the platform.

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