Shopify is one of the best eCommerce website builders to trust when dipping your toes into online business water.
It provides a decent-looking store with an easy-to-use interface, extraordinary features, and all the support one needs to build a strong foundation.
Recently, Shopify has gained the reputation of being an expensive eCommerce platform to opt for.
Let us explore why Shopify is expensive in terms of its service.
Why Is Shopify So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
The factors that make Shopify so expensive are more or less the bucket of services it promises to provide, e.g., the Shopify aesthetic themes, liquid computing language (HTML, Java, and CSS), loads of apps, and proper support team, etc.
Where it costs you a little more, it provides you with the best service.
Although Shopify charges more than its competitors, it is worth the extra pennies.
Here are the top ten reasons that contribute to making Shopify a comparatively expensive platform in the world of eCommerce.
1. Hosted Platform
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform, and this is the primary reason Shopify is expensive.
Being a hosted platform, Shopify assists you just like a virtual assistant, taking care of your store in the best way possible.
As a hosted service provider, Shopify comes with a full fledge package that includes:
- Helping you find a hosting company
- Installs the necessary software from time to time
- Keeps a check and balance on the architecture and interface of the website
- Provides a faster initial setup
- Absorbs the traffic spikes without the server down
- Comes with a guaranteed level of security patches
- Manages the online store well at the backend
In short, Shopify maintains the complete infrastructure of your online store without any hassle.
To receive all these services, though, you need to spend a few dollars.
Shifting to a self-hosted website just to save a few pennies will save you money, but you will have to spend a lot more to manage a smooth structure and flow.
Moreover, managing a website, store, and data structure all by yourself can be tiring and stressful.
Shopify promises all these services, leaving you to focus on your online store purchases and sales only.
2. Liquid Themes
If you are planning to run an eCommerce Store, you likely understand the importance of your website layout and theme in the long-term success of your business.
Shopify provides one of the premium and best theme services which include a variety of options like:
- Photo stock
- Design elements
- Customizable options
Shopify provides more than 160 themes, and the best part is that all of the themes are highly customizable.
You don’t need to change the underlying code at all.
You can change the color, design, font, and style to fit your branding style directly from the interface.
Moreover, each theme has thousands of free eCommerce photos that you can find in the “free images” section.
Since its themes and liquid coding provides you with so much, a bit of elevated price is something we expect from it.
3. App Store
Another reason Shopify is considered an expensive eCommerce service provider is its app store.
Its app store is a treasure trove of more than 1,500 wonderful apps, including free and paid ones.
Off the shelf, the app store has an app for almost everything.
For example, if you want to buy a product sourcing app, you can find many related options in the Shopify app store.
Similarly, tons of apps like background image remover, countdown timers, shipping software, customer wish lists, etc., are available to download and add more and more features to the functionality of your website.
The problem comes with the high prices for these add-ons.
For example, if you want to add the pre-ordering functionality to your website, it charges you an additional cost of $24.95 per month, and if you like the cart recovery feature, it costs $24 per month.
As a beginner, Shopify Apps aren’t the best choice as they eat 90 percent of the profit, making Shopify an expensive platform.
4. Development Service
Themes and apps are required for running a successful online store, but you can’t customize the website yourself unless you are a coder or programmer yourself.
This leads to additional expenses.
Most of the customizations require a change in the code language of Shopify templates.
One wrong line of code leads to syntax errors, crashing the entire site, and lost revenue.
You can’t do that all by yourself unless you are lucky enough to be a professional coder.
In the end, you need to hire a professional Shopify developer, costing you a good amount!
The fee of development, in turn, depends on two factors:
- The experience level of the developer
- The complexity of your project
Experience Level Of The Developer
A general rule of thumb is that, the greater the experience, the better the service and the higher the cost.
You can get web developers with prices as low as $20 to $30 per hour.
Opting for those costing you $40 to $50 per hour is better as you can expect decent quality work at a reasonable price from them.
Shopify also offers theme developers at $50 per hour.
The Complexity Of Your Project
Another factor that contributes to deciding the final cost of only the website development is the complexity of your website.
The larger store you want to open with more pages and edge-cutting features, the more bucks it will cost you.
- A small-sized store normally costs $1,500.
- A medium-sized online store can cost up to $2,500 for its development.
- Large, brand-associated stores can lead to a minimum of $7,000.
5. Detailed Backend Development And Admin Domain
The website is based on the backend and front end.
Where all the eCommerce platforms promise a good front end, Shopify provides its users with exceptional backend support too.
Thus, it adds a bit to the final cost, making it more expensive than its competitors.
The backend of Shopify will provide you with detailed reports of all the aspects you need to know from time to time for running an efficient and successful online store.
It tells you about:
- Store performance on a weekly or monthly basis
- Total number of sales per day
- The most sold product
- Least wanted product
- Real-time view of your store
- How many visitors reach your store daily
In short, Shopify domain and backend work together as a comprehensive tool for an online merchant, giving you in-depth knowledge of your store’s working and efficiency without doing much.
It eases the process and saves your time from going through calculations to find all this information just at the cost of a few dollars.
6. Cloud Network
Another reasonable factor contributing to the escalated prices of Shopify plans is that it is a cloud network instead of a local server.
Most of the eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce share a server instead of a network, resulting in downtime whenever there is a sudden traffic spike.
As a result, you not only end up losing sales that day or next, but it also leaves a bad impression on customers.
In the worst case, you could end up losing your customers as well.
At Shopify, the odds of your website crashing or being down are very rare, leaving a good impression on customers.
Moreover, on days like Black Sunday, Mega Discount, etc., when the sales are on, your website functions smoothly without getting down, helping you earn a big amount.
Although it costs a bit more, it also gives a lot more return.
7. Transaction And Processing Fees
No matter which Shopify plan you opt for, you always have to pay an extra transaction fee for the payment if you opt for any other third-party service than Shopify payment.
Unfortunately, the Shopify payment gateway works in only certain countries.
Similarly, a credit card processing fee is also charged on all the plans.
However, the more expensive platform you choose, the lower the processing fees.
For example, the transaction fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in basic plan, and 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction in advanced plan.
All these fees ultimately cost you a lot, restricting you from making an ample healthy profit.
8. SEO Marketing Tool
Building a cost-effective website that leads to no real-time views and no visitors is worth zero.
Ultimately, you have to close the shutters of your online shop.
Although a bit expensive in terms of price, Shopify promises a powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) feature that boosts your website and ranks it higher.
As a result, more and more traffic will come to your website.
The SEO marking tools gives you access to various features, a few of which are:
- Advanced analytics
- Social media integration
- Email marketing
- Product reviews
- Create discount coupons and gift vouchers
This full-fledged Shopify SEO marking tool kit ultimately demands a few dollars.
9. Same Domain Blog
Another useful and prime factor in setting up a successful business in the online world is to set up your own blog with the same domain for $14 for one year.
Where most service providers like Volusion and BigCommerce offer sub-domains, Shopify provides its customers with the same domain.
This obviously leads to extra charges against the paid feature of getting the same domain.
The same domain helps to rank your content, blog, and store higher on Google and make them convey more authority and officialdom in the eyes of the Search Engine and Google.
10. Security (SSL + PCL)
A feature that all the eCommerce websites, including Shopify, charge for in all their plans is security.
Shopify provides SSL certification to encrypt customers’ sensitive data, like credit card details, addresses, phone numbers, etc., and save and secure them.
Moreover, it also takes care of PCI compliance whenever you use a credit card.
Apparently, setting up and running a store on Shopify looks expensive as compared to its competitors, but the other side of the story is quite different.
It provides a lot of powerful functionalities that help you gain a healthy profit at such a promising price.
What Are Different Pricing Plans Of Shopify?
Now that you are up to speed with what makes Shopify an expensive option, let’s dive into the three different pricing plans that Shopify offers.
1. Basic Plan
It is the best plan to opt for novice merchants and naive entrepreneurs.
It provides all the services you need to set up a fully functioning online website for just $29 per month.
However, it doesn’t offer gift cards, detailed reporting, and real-time shipping reports.
Moreover, it has the highest credit card transaction fees, i.e., 2.9% + $0.30 fee.
Opt for this plan if you already have an established, well-reputed business.
It offers features like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and detailed reporting for just $79 per month.
3. Advanced Shopify
Advanced Shopify is ideal for larger stores aiming to set a name in the world and conquer the international markets.
This subscription plan comes for $299 per month.
It includes all the premium features, detailed reporting, real-time shipping, etc.
Moreover, the credit card transaction fees are further reduced.
If the three stated pricing plans don’t fit your need, don’t despair, as Shopify provides three more plans to opt for.
4. Shopify Starter
The Shopify Starter plan fits you best if you aim to sell online without setting up a full-fledged website.
It provides the missing link and checkout page at the cost of only $5 per month.
You can set up a shop on any social media platform, and to make payments secure, buy the checkout page of Shopify.
5. Shopify Lite
If you already have a website and are looking to integrate the page with some better features, Shopify Lite will help you with that.
Shopify Lite costs only $9 per month.
However, it doesn’t set up a complete online store but integrates with pre-existing stores to provide features like chatting with customers, 24/7 support, creating invoices, etc.
6. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus is a premium, top-level plan that targets big, established businesses.
It provides the best features and services, thus preventing your website from getting down or crashing.
It goes for $2,000 per month, and sometimes even more.
How To Grow A Successful Shopify Store
Once you have set up your online store on Shopify, next comes the phase of how to get started and make your store successful.
Here are a few ways to grow the eCommerce store rapidly using Shopify:
- Create Ads for your store and run them on different platforms, depending on the audience they attract. Facebook, Google, and Instagram are some really popular Ads platforms. However, you can opt for other social media platforms too.
- Since Instagram is among the top-used social media platforms, it is better to build an Instagram shop or page associated with your eCommerce store, helping you earn more money and recognition. You can offer discount vouchers on Instagram stories, make them aware of the sales, and apply other marketing tactics.
- Using SEO for gaining organic traffic is the most successful growth tactic for eCommerce stores, and it lowers the acquisition cost, too.
Is Shopify Worth It? The Pros And Cons
Before deciding whether Shopify is the right eCommerce platform for you or not, it is better to learn the pros and cons one can expect to encounter when using Shopify as an eCommerce service provider.
Pros Of Shopify
- Easy-to-use interface with no fuss regarding servers
- Mobile Responsive themes
- Abandoned Cart Feature is present in all the plans of Shopify
- Ideal for drop shipping service
- Has automatic tax calculation tools that save a lot of time for the merchant
- A lot of apps and themes
- Offers third-party integrations
- Provides a large number of external gateways. Moreover, it has its own payment gateway that is powered by Stripe
- Search Engine Optimization SEO features
- Comes with a 14-day trial for free, letting you decide if it suits your branding style or not
Cons Of Shopify
- The Shopify payment works in only a limited number of countries. In others, you have to use a third-party payment processor, thus eating a chunk of your profit.
- Fully Reporting Functionality, and many other features like multiple currencies, etc., are restricted to the higher, advanced plans.
- Limited in customization unless you change the code
- No access to email hosting and marketing automation
- Has comparatively higher transaction and hosting fees.
Best Alternatives Of Shopify
There are a couple of eCommerce business platforms that offer more or less the same service.
Here are some alternatives to opt for if you think buying and establishing a business on Shopify is not within your budget range:
- Web.com (Powerful and Inventory features)
- Magento (Ideal for Adobe fans and developers)
- WooCommerce (Converts blogs and WordPress websites into eCommerce websites)
- Wix (Ideal for Beginners and new e-stores)
- Zyro (Best in terms of the price range for its various plans)
- BigCommerce (Perfect for increasing scalability)
- PinnacleCart (Ideal for small businesses)
- Shift4Shop (Offers limitless customization)
Shopify is undoubtedly among the best-hosted eCommerce platforms that provide top-notch features.
These features like templates, customization, apps, and payment gateways make it an expensive platform.
All these services ultimately lead to better sale potential, satisfaction rates, and thus a bigger platform.
As the adage claims, one gets what one pays for, so why not spend a few extra dollars, and get a lot more in return?