Shopify Pricing and Fees — Which Shopify Plan is Best?

Our content is impartial, but funded in part by affiliate commissions (at no extra cost to our readers). Learn more.

Shopify pricing and fees (the Shopify logo on a price sticker)

In this guide to Shopify pricing, I spell out the key differences between all the available Shopify plans — and help you pick out the right one for your ecommerce project.

First up you’ll find an at-a-glance overview of the Shopify plans, which is followed up by my deep dive into the features of each one.

At-a-glance overview

There are 5 Shopify plans available:

Plan nameBest for
Starter — $5 per monthSelling on an existing website or on social media, plus basic poitn of sale
Basic – $39 per monthMerchants on a budget who need a standalone store, plus more POS locations
Shopify — $105 per monthMerchants with a high volume of sales in need of professional reporting
Advanced — $399 per monthMerchants needing more control over international selling and real-time carrier shipping
Shopify Plus — from $2,300 per monthEnterprise-level clients with advanced security, uptime and API requirements

Discounts

A 25% discount is available if you pay on an annual basis, and a ‘first month for $1’ offer is also available.

Video guide to Shopify pricing

Key alternatives

Wix, Squarespace, WooCommerce

Free trial availability

A 3-day trial is available for Shopify, which can be extended for 1 month for $1.

Understanding the Shopify fees structure

Shopify is a software as a service (‘SaaS’) tool, where you don’t own a copy of the software but rather pay monthly fees to use it.

The exact functionality you get from Shopify depends on the pricing plan you opt for — more on these in just a moment — but all of them allow you to sell an unlimited number of products (digital or physical) and sell at point of sale.

And all but one allow you to build a fully-customizable online store, based on an editable theme that use as the basis of your store design.

Example of a premium Shopify theme, 'Startup.'
Example of a Shopify theme, ‘Startup.’

There are five Shopify plans to choose from:

  • Starter — $5 per month
  • Basic — $39 per month
  • Shopify — $105 per month
  • Advanced — $399 per month
  • Shopify Plus — negotiable, but usually costing around $2,300 per month

Now, if you have the budget to pay upfront, you can reduce your costs significantly by purchasing an annual Shopify subscription.

At time of writing, a 25% discount is available on annual plans — but the available discounts change periodically. You’ll find the latest offers in the pricing section of the Shopify website.

Shopify monthly pricing
Shopify pricing table

There is also a free Shopify trial that lets you test out the features provided by all the above plans, and a dropshipping starter kit that bundles the free trial with dedicated dropshipping resources (more on what dropshipping is shortly).

Finally, there’s also a point-of-sale (POS) add-on available — ‘Shopify POS Pro.’ POS features let you use Shopify to sell not just online but in physical locations too.

Basic POS features are bundled with all Shopify plans in the form of the ‘Shopify POS Lite’ feature — but the ‘POS Pro’ add-on unlocks considerably more advanced functionality. This costs $89 per location, per month ($79 if you pay on an annual basis).

As with dropshipping, I’ll discuss POS in more depth later on in the post — but for now, let’s drill down into the key features of each Shopify plan.

Related resources: Full Shopify review | Shopify trial

‘Shopify Starter’ pricing

At $5 per month, ‘Shopify Starter’ represents one of the cheapest ways into selling products online — but you need to be aware that it doesn’t provide you with a fully-functional standalone online store.

Instead, it allows you to:

  • display a product catalog on a very basic (and largely non-editable storefront)
  • sell an unlimited number of products on an existing website

  • sell in physical locations via a card reader and other POS hardware
  • sell on Facebook and other sales channels (Instagram, eBay, Amazon etc.)
  • sell on messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger etc.)

Displaying products on a simple website

The ‘Starter’ plan lets you create a very basic storefront that lets you showcase your products. This is done via the free ‘Spotlight’ theme — essentially a one-page affair that lets you display products or catalogs of your choosing.

By comparison to the types of stores you can build on the other Shopify plans, it doesn’t offer much in the way of customization options — and it doesn’t give you access to a blog, thus ruling out a lot of content marketing options. But it’s useful for getting something off the ground quickly.

Embedding your products on another website with Shopify Starter

A key feature of the ‘Shopify Starter’ plan is its ‘Buy Button,’ which lets you embed your products on another website.

This feature works in a similar — but more sophisticated — way to Paypal, in that you add a snippet of Shopify code to a website and a product’s details (photo, price, description etc.), along with an option to buy that product, appear on that site.

(You can create buy buttons for entire catalogs, too).

Creating a buy button in Shopify
Creating a buy button in Shopify

Once you’ve added a buy button to your website, any changes you make to relevant products in Shopify will be automatically updated on your site.

The Shopify 'Buy Button' in action.
The Shopify ‘Buy Button’ in action.

This is ideal for anyone with an existing site that wants to add simple ecommerce functionality. For example, you might already have a WordPress blog or website that you want to embed products on — and this solution is great for doing that.

Selling at point of sale

Shopify Starter is a good option for those who sell in physical locations and need a ‘point of sale’ solution for processing payments and managing their inventory.

The plan allows you to make to accept payments via your smartphone using a card reader and the Shopify app. Every time you make a sale, Shopify will take a note of this and update your inventory accordingly, meaning you’re unlikely to run out of stock when you need it most.

(This syncing of real-world sales to an online selling platform also makes bookkeeping and accounting a bit easier.)

Shopify Point of Sale
Shopify Point of Sale

Other POS hardware is also available to purchase from Shopify. This includes a new ‘all-in-one’ selling device, Shopify POS Go, that features a built-in card reader and barcode scanner, along with a touchscreen that provides you with access to your Shopify dashboard. This is currently available in the US, Canada, UK and Ireland only, but should be released in other countries soon.

Shopify POS Go
Shopify POS Go

Although the Shopify Starter plan gives you a good range of features for selling in person, it’s important to note that the most comprehensive, multi-location point-of-sale features are only available for an extra fee — via the ‘Shopify POS Pro’ add-on.

(More on this shortly!).

The Shopify POS Terminal Countertop Kit
The Shopify POS Terminal Countertop Kit

Shopify Starter and digital products

One of the things that I most like about Shopify as an ecommerce platform is the way that it facilitates the sales of digital products (music, eBooks and so on).

Selling digital products can be a more complicated affair than it might seem, because of something called VAT MOSS.

If you sell them to customers living in the EU, and generate more than €10,000 in revenue per year from them, VAT MOSS rules require you to apply VAT to those products (this is the case even if you are not a VAT-registered business). The problem here is that EU VAT rates vary from country to country — so you might need to charge your German customers one VAT rate, your French ones another and so on.

When building ecommerce stores that involve selling digital products, I’ve found dealing with VAT MOSS adequately one of the trickiest things to do.

Shopify digital downloads app
Shopify’s digital downloads functionality can be used to deliver a wide range of online goods to customers, including music, video and images.

The good news here is that Shopify is fairly unique amongst the major website builder platforms in catering well for VAT MOSS rules. You’ll need to install a free ‘Digital Downloads’ app and make a couple of changes to your Shopify settings, but once you do, the correct tax rates will automatically be applied.

Accordingly, the ‘Shopify Starter’ plan can be a great option for merchants who are already selling digital products on another platform — I’m thinking in particular here of Wix or Squarespace users — and now want to meet VAT MOSS rules without building a whole new website. The ‘Starter’ plan offers a low cost way of doing this.

The other nice thing about Shopify and digital products in general is that the file size limit is pretty generous by comparison to key competing products I’ve tested.

Digital products of up to 5 GB in size can be sold with Shopify — this contrasts very positively with BigCommerce (review here), which applies a 512 MB limit, and Squarespace, which restricts product download file size to 300 MB.

Selling on Facebook with Shopify Starter

If you are only interested in selling on Facebook, and aren’t bothered with creating a standalone store, then ‘Shopify Starter’ is a potentially good option: with a couple of clicks of a mouse you can publish all your products to your Facebook page, on a dedicated ‘Shop’ page.

One limitation of the Facebook integration to be aware however of is that you can’t use it to sell digital products (as I found out when trying to sell an e-book on the Style Factory Facebook page).

This is due to the fact that Facebook only permits you to sell something that can be shipped, thus ruling sales of digital products out — i.e., I’m not talking about a Shopify feature omission here.

Shopify's 2023 point-of-sale (POS) hardware
Shopify point-of-sale (POS) hardware

Shopify transaction fees and credit card fees

With all Shopify plans, it’s important to be aware of the difference between transaction fees and credit card fees.

Transaction fees are charged by the company you use to build your online store, and credit card fees are charged by your ‘payment gateway’ (the software used to process credit card payments).

If you are on a ‘Basic’ plan or higher, there are no transaction fees to worry about, so long as you are prepared to use Shopify’s own payment processing option — Shopify Payments — as the payment gateway.

There is a bit of a catch here for some users however, as Shopify Payments is not yet available in all countries. At time of writing, the supported countries are currently as follows:

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Canada

  • Czechia
  • Denmark

  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany

  • Hong Kong SAR

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

  • United States of America

If you’re on the ‘Starter’ plan and using Shopify Payments, transaction fees do apply, and they’re very high: 5%.

As for the credit card card fees for the ‘Starter’ plan, these are are 5% + 30c if a purchase is made online (for example, using a Shopify Buy button) and 5% + 0c if a purchase is made using the Shopify point of sale card reader and a mobile device.

If you use a third-party payment gateway — of which over 100 are available for Shopify — you can expect to pay a 5% transaction fee on each sale made via the ‘Starter’ plan, plus whatever credit card / monthly fees your payment gateway provider charges.

Note: Shopify’s credit card fees vary by country — the ones listed in this article are for the USA, but considerably different rates are available in other territories.

Dropshipping with the Shopify Starter plan

Many potential users of Shopify will be wondering how it facilitates dropshipping, a fulfilment method where you don’t keep what you’re selling in stock.

With dropshipping, you take an order, send it to a supplier, and they deliver the goods to your client — your store in effect becomes a ‘middle man.’

If you want to dropship with Shopify, you’ll need to install a third party app to do so. There are lots of dropshipping apps available from the Shopify app store (I counted 554 at time of writing); a very popular choice is DSers (which integrates with AliExpress), but there are many others available.

Some of the 556 Shopify dropshipping apps that are currently available in the platform's app store
Some of the 556 Shopify dropshipping apps that are currently available in the platform’s app store

You can use a dropshipping app on any Shopify plan, ‘Starter’ included, but you’ll probably find that they are more useful on one of the other Shopify plans (as the products you are selling will be displayed, and searchable, on a fully-editable, branded online store).

That said, if you intend to integrate the ‘Shopify Starter’ plan with another platform — for example WordPress or Squarespace — the fact that you can use it to start dropshipping is really helpful.

In terms of the pricing for Shopify dropshipping apps, most provide a free trial to get you started (or in the case of print-on-demand apps like Printful, can often be used without any monthly fees applying).

However, many popular dropshipping apps, including DSers and Spocket, do charge additional fees for premium features — like access to a larger range of products, or branded invoicing. To give you a bit of context here, the fees charged by DSers for access to premium features range from $19.90 and $49.90 per month; the equivalent Spocket fees range from $39.99 to $99.99.

The Shopify dropshipping starter kit

If you’re interested in dropshipping, I’d recommend that you take a look at Shopify’s dropshipping starter kit — with this, you get several days of free access to Shopify plus lots of bundled resources and tools that show you how to launch a successful dropshipping business.

Support on Shopify Starter

Although 24/7 support is included with the Shopify Starter plan, this is limited to email and live chat only — you won’t be able to speak to anybody about your account in person over the phone.

Is ‘Shopify Starter’ for me?

Shopify Starter is best for merchants who

  • want to add ecommerce / dropshipping functionality to an existing website
  • want an easy way to solve VAT MOSS problems
  • wish to sell on Facebook and other social media channels
  • are comfortable with only having access to live chat and email support only (i.e., no phone support).

You can try Shopify Starter for free here.

If your needs are a bit more extensive, it’s worth taking a look at ‘Basic Shopify.’ I’ll walk you through that now.

Tip: how to save on Shopify

If you’re interested in using Shopify, you can save considerably on your subscription if you purchase your plan in a particular way. Here’s how:

  1. Start a trial using this special link.
  2. After your trial is over, you’ll be given the option to subscribe to Shopify for $1 for your first month.
  3. When this period is over, purchase an annual plan. You’ll then get a 25% discount on your subscription.

‘Basic Shopify’ pricing

‘Basic Shopify’, at $39 per month, is the cheapest Shopify plan that lets you create a fully functional standalone online store.

The plan includes the following core features:

  • A fully functional and customizable standalone website
  • Ability to sell an unlimited number of products
  • Ability to sell in physical locations, via point-of-sale features
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 1 staff account
  • 24/7 support via email and live chat
  • Manual order creation (this allows you to create new orders and enter card payments in Shopify for sales you’ve made offline — by phone, in person, or elsewhere)
  • Discount code creation
  • A free SSL certificate (this allows you to host your store securely using the HTTPS protocol)
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Gift cards
  • A blog
  • The option to sync your inventory across key marketplaces (Amazon, Walmart and eBay)
  • Ecommerce task automation tools
  • Discounted shipping rates of up to 77% (depending on the country you’re selling from)
  • Option to print shipping labels (depending on the country you’re selling from)
  • Fraud analysis (this allows you to spot fraudulent transactions)
  • Point of sale features
  • Up to 10 inventory locations

‘Basic Shopify’ vs ‘Shopify Starter’ — what are the main differences?

The most important thing you get with ‘Basic Shopify’ that you don’t get on ‘Shopify Starter’ is a fully functional, editable online store.

This includes blogging functionality, which is essential for generating traffic via inbound marketing — and point-of-sale features, which let you use your Shopify account to take orders not just online but in physical locations (retail stores, market stalls etc.) too.

Although as discussed earlier, Shopify Starter does let you sell via a simple one-page storefront, I think it’s fair to say that this doesn’t compare to the sort of store you can build with the ‘Basic’ plan.

Full online store created with the 'Basic' Shopify plan.
Unlike the ‘Starter’ plan, the ‘Basic’ plan lets you build a fully-featured standalone online store

Let’s take a look in a bit more depth at some of the other key features you get on the ‘Basic’ plan that you won’t find on ‘Starter’ — templates, point-of-sale features, more comprehensive support and blogging.

Templates

Once you’re on a ‘Basic Shopify’ plan (or higher), you can choose from a wide range of templates (or ‘themes’) for your online store — when researching this piece, I counted 13 free ones and 184 paid-for ones.

I’ve always found the Shopify free themes to be perfectly usable (and you can tweak them quite extensively by adding CSS and HTML), but if you would prefer to use a paid theme, they cost between $140 and $400.

Examples of some free Shopify themes, 'Refresh' and 'Craft.'
Examples of some free Shopify themes, ‘Refresh’ and ‘Craft.’

(It’s worth noting that unlike the free Shopify themes, most of the premium ones come in a couple of different variations, giving you considerably more choice when it comes to aesthetics and layout.)

You can filter all the templates by price (paid vs free), industry, catalog size and features.

You can view all the available themes here.

One thing that’s important to note about the themes is that if you need any support with installing or configuring them, you may end up dealing with a third party — Shopify only supports themes that the company has developed itself.

This means that Shopify will support you with any query you have about the free ones — but you may be referred elsewhere if you buy a paid theme.

Multilingual selling features

Once you’re on a ‘Basic’ plan or higher, you’ll be able to sell your products in multiple languages — up to 20 in total.

When you enable multilingual selling, a language ‘folder’ is added to your domain. So you’ll end up with myshop.com/fr/, myshop.com/de/ etc.

Abandoned cart recovery

Abandoned cart recovery allows you to identify and contact site visitors who add a product to their cart, go to the checkout and then leave your store without completing their purchase.

In Shopify, you can either recover carts manually (i.e., send abandoned cart owners an email yourself) or automatically (ask Shopify to send an email to relevant shoppers every time a cart is abandoned). The automatic option is usually best, as it saves you a lot of time.

Now, abandoned cart recovery can significantly increase your revenue with little effort — other than the time investment in setting up an automated message — being involved. And the interesting thing about abandoned cart recovery’s inclusion on the ‘Basic’ plan is that it means Shopify offers this functionality at a much lower price than several competing solutions

If you want a cart saver on BigCommerce, you’ll have to be on a $105 per month plan; with Squarespace, a $72 per month plan; and Volusion a $79 per month plan.

And the functionality on offer is more sophisticated too — as you can see from the screenshot below, you can really edit the abandoned cart saving workflow to the nth degree with Shopify. This is not always the case with the competing products mentioned above.

Abandoned cart recovery in Shopify — this feature is included in all plans, which is very generous by comparison to competing solutions.

Automation of ecommerce tasks

Unlike the ‘Starter’ plan, ‘Shopify Basic’ allows you to automate a lot of ecommerce tasks via a visual workflow builder called ‘Shopify Flow.’ This facilitates the creation of ‘if this then that’ (IFTT) style rules which make Shopify take certain actions based on certain events (for example, if your inventory is running low, it can send an email message to a supplier etc.).

What about Shopify’s shipping fees?

It’s easy to set up simple shipping rules based on price or weight using any Shopify plan.

When it comes to real-time shipping rates — where carriers provide live estimates at checkout, based on distance, weight and the number of boxes needed to ship items — you have two options, depending on your location.

Shopify Shipping

If you’re based in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain or the United Kingdom, you’ll find that Shopify has teamed up with a selection of local postal companies to provide real-time carrier shipping (and also provides preferential rates with these companies).

This service — “Shopify Shipping” — is available on all plans, and the discounts provided can be quite generous (in the case of the ‘Basic’ plan, a discount of up to 77% can apply; on higher plans, the discount can go as high as 88%).

In the USA, the carriers you can use as part of the Shopify Shipping service are FedEx, USPS, UPS and DHL. The service is provided by Canada Post and UPS in Canada, Sendle in Australia, Chronopost, Colissimo and Mondial Relay in France, Poste Italiane in Spain, Correos in Spain and Evri and DPD in the UK.

Third-party calculated shipping rates

Alternatively, you can use third-party calculated shipping rates — however, you can only do so if:

  • you’re on the ‘Shopify’ plan and pay a monthly add-on to do so
  • you’re on the ‘Shopify’ plan and pay for it on an annual basis
  • you are on one of the most expensive monthly Shopify plans (‘Shopify Advanced’ or ‘Shopify Plus’).

This contrasts negatively with some competitors, notably BigCommerce, which makes this feature available on all its plans — even its entry level one.

A blog

If you’re serious about selling products online, you really need to blog. Blogging is a core part of a good inbound marketing strategy because it generates relevant keyword-rich content that can make your site more visible in search results and increase traffic significantly.

‘Basic Shopify’ provides you with a blog that you can use to increase traffic to your store by publishing relevant keyword-rich content.

Blogging in Shopify
Blogging in Shopify

Now, I’ve used Shopify’s blogging feature a lot. On the plus side, it’s easy to use and the content I’ve created with it has ranked fine in Google search results. That said, it’s pretty basic and doesn’t rival WordPress (arguably the best platform for blogging) in the functionality stakes. It doesn’t provide a revision history, its post categorisation options are fairly limited, and there’s no drag and drop editor for it.

But overall it’s perfectly usable and, with the publication of good content, can facilitate an inbound marketing campaign well.

Transaction fees and credit card fees

When it comes to the ‘Basic’ plan’s transaction fees, there are no transaction fees if you use Shopify Payments, but a 2.0% transaction fee on each sale applies if you use a third party payment gateway.

US credit card fees are 2.9% + 30c per transaction if a purchase is made online and 2.6% + 10c if a purchase is made using the Shopify point of sale card reader and a mobile device.

‘Basic’ pricing

As I mentioned earlier, the above rates vary by country, so you may enjoy cheaper rates than the above depending on the territory you’re operating from.

Is Basic Shopify for me?

‘Basic Shopify’ is good for merchants who

  • have a fairly limited budget but need a well-specced, fully-editable standalone online store

  • do not need advanced selling or reporting functionality (more on that below)

  • want a platform to process payments and manage inventory when selling at markets or events
  • want to use blogging as a means of attracting inbound traffic

  • want a sophisticated abandoned cart saver to help them recover lost sales.

You can try Basic Shopify for free here.

Moving up the ladder, we come to the ‘Shopify’ plan. Before discussing that however, I want to quickly discuss inventory location limits.

Inventory location limits

All Shopify plans let you set up multiple locations and track inventory and fulfil orders at them. Your locations can be retail stores, warehouses, popups, etc.

To ensure your inventory quantities are always accurate, online orders and in-person sales are assigned to locations. If some of your inventory is out of stock at one location, but in stock at another location, then Shopify will split the order so that it can be fulfilled from multiple locations.

Until recently, the number of locations per Shopify plan was very generous — with most plans letting you make use of 1,000 inventory locations.

Unfortunately with some recent changes to Shopify’s pricing structure, the number of locations you can use has been significantly reduced. The following inventory location limits now apply:

  • Shopify Starter — 2 locations
  • Basic Shopify — 10
  • Shopify — 10
  • Advanced Shopify — 10
  • Shopify Plus — 200.

‘Shopify’ pricing

The next plan to consider is simply called ‘Shopify’ and the pricing for this is $105 per month.

The key additions that the ‘Shopify’ plan brings over ‘Basic Shopify’ are:

  • more staff accounts (5 vs 1)
  • better reporting
  • included shipping insurance (US users only)
  • the option to use USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing (US users only)
  • lower transaction and credit card fees.

Better reporting

In-depth reporting functionality is quite a big omission from ‘Basic Shopify’ plan — and, in my view, one of the biggest reasons why you might want to choose the ‘Shopify’ plan over it.

With ‘Basic Shopify’, the reporting functionality is — in keeping with the plan name — quite basic! You just get some simple ‘overview’ style dashboards, not in-depth analytics.

Upgrading to the ‘Shopify’ plan however gives you access to a wider range of ecommerce reports and insights.

(Regardless of the type of Shopify plan you select, I’d recommend adding Google Analytics to your store too, as you’ll get a host of additional insights by using it.)

Example of a Shopify conversion report
Shopify conversion report

It would be nice however if more comprehensive reporting features were made available to Shopify users on cheaper plans — BigCommerce, for example, offers professional reporting on all its plans.

Shipping insurance

If you’re on a ‘Shopify’ plan or higher, you can benefit from bundled shipping insurance to the value of $5,000. However, you will need to be based in the US and using the Shopify Shipping service to avail of this.

USPS Priority Mail Cubic Pricing

US users who upgrade to the ‘Shopify’ plan can make use of ‘cubic pricing.

Two options are available on this front:

  • USPS Priority Mail Cubic® pricing — discounted rates on priority mail for packages that weigh less than 20 pounds and measure less than 0.5 cubic feet in volume.
  • USPS Parcel Select Ground pricing — discounted rates on priority mail for packages that weigh less than 20 pounds and measure less than 1 cubic feet in volume.

Lower transaction and credit card fees

The ‘Shopify’ plan brings with it lower credit card fees than both the ‘Basic Shopify’ and ‘Shopify Starter’ plans, along with lower fees for using an external payment gateway.

As with all the other Shopify plans except ‘Starter’, if you’re using Shopify Payments, you will avoid transaction fees. In terms of credit card fees, you can expect to pay 2.7% + 30c for online transactions and 2.5% + 10c for point-of-sale transactions (US rates).

'Shopify' plan pricing (2024)
‘Shopify’ plan pricing

If using an external payment gateway, the transaction fee applied by Shopify on this plan is 1%.

Is the ‘Shopify’ plan for me?

The ‘Shopify’ plan is good for merchants who…

  • have a high volume of online sales (or expect them): if the sales levels are high enough, the lower transaction fees will help offset the higher monthly cost
  • require professional reporting
  • wish to avail of discounted shipping rates
  • need to use cubic pricing.

You can try the ‘Shopify’ plan free here.

Shopify Email

A key part of running an online store is email marketing — sending e-newsletters to an engaged mailing list is vital to generating sales.

Recognizing this (and perhaps the fact that key competitor Squarespace now offers built-in email marketing), Shopify introduced a useful email marketing feature, ‘Shopify Email,’ which allows you to design and send newsletters (using 50 different templates).

Whereas in the past you would have had to use a dedicated email marketing app like AWeber or GetResponse to do this, you can now carry out basic email marketing without leaving the Shopify interface.

And it’s very reasonably priced — you can send up to 10,000 emails per month for free with Shopify Email, with a $1 fee applying to every 1,000 emails you send after that.

(You can avail of cheaper rates if you are a high-volume sender: merchants sending 300,000+ e-newsletters per month are charged $0.65 for every 1,000 emails, and those sending 750,000+ e-newsletters per month are charged $0.55 per 1,000 mails sent).

A recent update of the tool added some automation features, which includes the following automated emails:

  • Welcome new subscriber
  • First purchase upsell
  • Customer winback

Now, if you need very sophisticated email marketing features, including autoresponder functionality and marketing automation, I’d argue that you are still probably better off considering using a dedicated email marketing tool like GetResponse or Mailchimp to handle this.

But Shopify Email will serve as a very useful tool for a lot of merchants, especially those who like to take an ‘all in one’ approach to running their online business.

‘Advanced Shopify’ pricing

With ‘Advanced Shopify’, you get five key features that are not included with the plans discussed above:

  • more staff accounts (15)
  • advanced report building
  • real time carrier shipping quotations
  • more sophisticated international selling features
  • more API calls.

You get significantly lower credit card rates too (and lower transaction fees if using a third-party payment gateway).

Advanced report building

The ‘Advanced Shopify’ pricing plan allows you to manipulate your Shopify data more easily, and create your own custom reports.

You can select various dimensions and metrics and use them to create bespoke reports which you can save and refer to in future. You can also apply a multitude of filters to your data to get a view of it that best informs your business objectives.

(Users of Google Analytics will be familiar with this sort of thing).

In short, this functionality is great for vendors who want to drill down into their sales data extensively, with a view to tweaking their sales processes / operations to the nth degree. Accordingly, these reporting features are of most use to merchants who are selling a lot of goods (as doing so will provide a significant enough amount of data to make the advanced report options worth using).

Third-party real-time carrier shipping

Real time carrier shipping functionality is where the fees that carriers charge to deliver a customer’s order are automatically calculated and displayed at checkout. Depending on the country you live in, you can get this functionality on cheaper Shopify plans — so long as you are happy to:

  • use Shopify’s preferred providers via the ‘Shopify Shipping’ service; or
  • subscribe to the ‘Shopify’ plan and pay for a monthly add-on; or
  • subscribe to the ‘Shopify’ plan and pay on an annual basis.

If you intend to use Shopify with a carrier that isn’t part of the ‘Shopify Shipping’ service — or live in a country where it isn’t available — then you are going to have to use a ‘third-party’ option.

You can edit Shopify’s settings to mark third-party fees up (i.e., add a handling fee) or down (to compensate for a shipping rate which you feel may dissuade customers from completing a purchase).

More sophisticated international selling features

All the ‘Basic’ or higher Shopify plans let you convert your products’ prices into local currencies, and facilitate checkout in those currencies. However, if you’re selling internationally, you may also need to calculate and apply import duties and taxes at checkout. To do this, you’ll need to be on the ‘Advanced’ plan or higher.

The Advanced plan also lets you create more ‘Shopify markets’ — groups of countries that you can set custom pricing rules for. You should note that each new market will involve a $59 per month add-on fee, however.

More API calls

Shopify’s Application Programming Interface — or ‘API’ — lets you build apps and integrations that extend the functionality of your store. The API effectively connects Shopify to your app or integration.

An ‘API call’ allows your app to request data or services from Shopify — and on the ‘Advanced’ Shopify plan you can make double the number of calls facilitated by the cheaper Shopify plans (see screenshot below for latest limits).

API calls by Shopify plan (2024)
API calls by Shopify plan

Transaction fees and credit card fees

Of the four Shopify plans aimed at SMEs, ‘Advanced Shopify’ offers the lowest transaction fees.

As with the other plans, if you’re using Shopify Payments, there are no transaction fees; the US credit card fee is 2.5% + 30c for online transactions, and 2.4% + 10c for point-of-sale ones.

Advanced Shopify pricing (2024)
‘Advanced’ plan fees

Using an external payment gateway costs 0.6% in transaction fees, plus whatever fees the payment gateway charges you.

Is ‘Advanced Shopify’ for me?

The ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan is good for merchants who

  • have a very high volume of online sales (or expect them): as with the ‘Shopify’ plan, if sales levels are high enough, the lower transaction fees could provide considerable savings

  • require advanced reporting features

  • need real-time-carrier shipping delivered by third parties

  • want more control over pricing for products sold internationally.

You can try ‘Advanced Shopify’ for free here.

‘Shopify Plus’ pricing

Finally, there’s the ‘Shopify Plus’ plan to consider. Unlike the main Shopify pricing plans discussed above, this is aimed not at small business owners, but at big ones.

Shopify Plus features

‘Shopify Plus’ is an enterprise grade solution, which basically offers all the features of the ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan plus advanced features involving security, automation, multi-currency selling, checkout customization, APIs and fulfillment.

(Our Shopify vs Shopify Plus comparison and our YouTube shootout of the two versions of the platform give you the full rundown on these.)

The 'Shopify Plus' version of the platform
Shopify Plus

With Shopify Plus, you get the option to manage 10 different stores from one account — this is good for brands who need individual stores for specific product lines.

Significantly, you also get 20 Shopify ‘POS Pro’ locations bundled with your Plus account.

You also get phone support with Shopify Plus — this is the only Shopify plan that now provides it.

And finally, Shopify Plus is much more flexible when it comes to international selling than all the other Shopify plans, because it gives you access to 50 markets (meaning that you can set custom pricing in local currencies in up to 50 different territories).

Standard and variable pricing options

With Shopify Plus, there are two pricing options available:

  • Standard pricing: $2,300 USD per month (for ‘standard’ setups and integrations) if on a 3-year plan, or $2,500 per month if on a 1-year plan.
  • Variable fee: a negotiable percentage of monthly sales (this percentage will depend on your requirements and the complexity of your ecommerce setup).

As you might expect given the significant costs, Shopify Plus comes with ‘white glove’ account management (dedicated onboarding, account management and support).

Is Shopify Plus for me?

‘Shopify Plus’ is for (large) businesses who have

  • an extremely high volume of sales
  • a need to manage a large number of stores from one account
  • a need to use POS in a large number of physical locations
  • a need to create very bespoke connections between Shopify and internal systems (CRM tools etc.)
  • a desire to automate workflows
  • very particular requirements regarding security and uptime
  • a need to have fully automatic currency conversion in place
  • a large budget
  • a need for more handholding and support.

Click here for more information on Shopify Plus.

‘Shopify POS Pro’ pricing

Although all Shopify plans let you sell in person via basic point-of-sale features (‘POS Lite’), you have to invest in a ‘Shopify POS Pro’ add-on to avail of the most sophisticated functionality.

Doing so involves a not-inconsiderable $89 per month, per location fee on top of your regular Shopify costs.

You will need the ‘Pro’ add-on if you want to do things like:

  • work with a large number of POS-only staff
  • use an unlimited number of cash registers
  • allow your customers to buy products online and pick them up in store

  • facilitate product exchanges

  • provide custom printed receipts

  • create purchase orders
  • define specific staff roles and permissions

  • attribute sales to particular staff members.

If you’re interested in using Shopify POS, I’d suggest watching the below video review of it. This is based on an interview I conducted with my friend Liz Jones — a Shopify POS user who runs a gift shop in London.

Buying Shopify POS hardware

Shopify’s POS hardware — card readers, receipt printers, barcode scanners etc. — is not included with your Shopify plan and you must purchase it separately.

The Shopify hardware store
The Shopify hardware store

You can buy hardware from the Shopify Hardware Store from a wide range of locations including Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US. If there isn’t a dedicated hardware store for your country, you can buy Shopify POS equipment from an authorized reseller.

You can learn more about Shopify Point of Sale here.

Beefing up your Shopify plan using apps and integrations

If the functionality included in your chosen Shopify plan isn’t quite enough, you can enhance it by adding apps to your store.

Shopify’s app store contains over 13,000 apps (both free and paid) that are straightforward enough to integrate. Some are considerably better than others though — so always check out the user reviews before committing to one!

Some examples of Shopify apps in the Shopify app store
Some examples of Shopify apps

A key example of where you might want to add an app (and as touched on above) is in the dropshipping department — there are hundreds of apps available to help you start a dropshipping business with Shopify.

You can also use Shopify apps to integrate your store neatly with well-known productivity / business apps like Xero, Zendesk and Mailchimp.

Other apps let you add more sophisticated functionality than you might find out of the box in Shopify — key examples of these include customer analytics, upselling, gallery and product options apps.

Although the app store represents a selling point for Shopify — because it contains a myriad of apps that can be used to enhance your store — it also highlights a potential weakness of the product. With Shopify, I’ve often found myself reaching for the app store (and my wallet!) to add certain types of functionality that other platforms provide as standard out of the box.

Examples of this include adding persistent carts (which let you continue a purchase across multiple devices); extending the number of product options you can use; and creating custom fields (to capture data such as inscriptions, dedications etc.).

On the plus side, the well-stocked app store means that you can integrate your Shopify store easily with a very large number of other popular online services.

Buying a pre-built Shopify store

What about buying an existing Shopify store?

The advantage of doing this rather than building one is that it takes a lot of the effort out of setting one up and, assuming the store you buy is already profitable, can reduce the risk of making a bad investment.

Now, Shopify used to provide service that allowed you to buy Shopify stores. It was called the ‘Exchange Marketplace’ and it contained listings of existing Shopify stores that were available for purchase.

This service has unfortunately been discontinued, but you can still buy Shopify stores from third party broker websites, the best-known probably being Empire Flippers.

You can learn more about buying a Shopify store here, or selling one here.

Free trials

I hope my Shopify pricing guide has helped clarify which plan is best suited to your needs! Do feel free to share it on social media, or link to it from your own site if you found it useful 🙂

If you’re still undecided about which Shopify plan is going to work best for you, you can avail of a free trial of the product and select your plan at the end of your trial.

This allows you to test out the product’s core functionality and work out which Shopify pricing plan might be the best fit.

You can access Shopify’s standard free trial here, or its free dropshipping starter kit here (the latter bundles a free trial and a dropshipping course together).

Alternatives to Shopify

Shopify is by no means the only online store building platform on the market — there is a wide range of competing products to choose from.

BigCommerce is probably the most similar hosted solution to Shopify, offering a range of similar features at a similar price point. Check out my BigCommerce vs Shopify comparison for a full overview of how it stacks up against Shopify.

Users who want to try out a platform that is more geared towards showcasing content than Shopify — for example image galleries, audio or video — might want to check out Squarespace, as it combines excellent content management tools with some simple but effective selling tools.

You can check out our Squarespace review, our Squarespace pricing guide, our Shopify vs Squarespace comparison or our YouTube video review of Squarespace for more details on this platform.

If you’re on a budget, Wix is worth a look, as you can get started with ecommerce more cheaply with it. You can check out our Wix vs Shopify comparison for more information on how the two platforms stack up against each other.

Alternatively, check out our Wix review, our Wix vs WordPress comparison and our Wix vs Squarespace posts for more information on this option.

Another budget option is Big Cartel — our Big Cartel vs Shopify post explains how it stacks up against Shopify.

If you’re primarily interested in POS, Square is well worth a look (particularly if you’re operating in the food and drink industry). Check out our Shopify vs Square shootout for more details about this platform.

WordPress can work well as an ecommerce solution too — you’ll need to integrate a plugin like Ecwid or WooCommerce with it in order to start selling online, but you can end up with a very good end product this way.

(Check out our Ecwid vs Shopify and our WooCommerce vs Shopify comparisons for more information on how both of these plugins stack up against Shopify).

Over to you — got any thoughts on Shopify fees?

If you’ve got any queries or thoughts on Shopify fees, or the product in general, I’d love to hear them!

Feel free to add a comment below — I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have on the platform.

Shopify pricing FAQ

How much does Shopify cost to use?

Shopify starts at $5 per month — for this you get access to its entry-level ‘Starter’ plan. However, this plan doesn’t let you build a fully-editable online store (it’s mainly designed to let you sell your products on an existing website or on social media). The other plans — ‘Basic,’ ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced Shopify’ — provide full store-building functionality and cost $39, $105 and $399 per month respectively.

Can I use Shopify for free?

Unlike some other ecommerce platforms, Shopify doesn’t provide an entirely free plan. However, a free trial is available, and you can extend this for a month for $1.

Does Shopify take a cut of sales?

Shopify doesn’t charge transaction fees on its ‘Basic’ or higher plans if you use its own payment processing option, ‘Shopify Payments.’ However, if you use a third-party payment gateway, Shopify will apply them, and these range from 0.6% to 2% depending on plan. In either scenario, credit card processing fees will always apply — either those charged by Shopify (typically 2.4%+10c to 2.9%+30c in the USA) or those applied by your payment gateway provider.

What’s the best value Shopify plan?

The ‘Shopify’ plan arguably represents the sweet spot in the Shopify line-up, because it unlocks most of the key functionality required to run a successful ecommerce business, including professional reporting, international domains, flexible currency conversion features and a generous number of user accounts.

How much do Shopify themes cost?

There are 13 free Shopify themes available, and 184 ‘premium’ themes that you pay to use. The fees for these range from $140 to $400.

What are the hidden costs of Shopify?

The hidden costs of Shopify are typically associated with templates, transaction fees, apps and integrations, stock (and storage of it), web development, point of sale charges and store marketing.

Why you can trust Style Factory’s content

We test products via independent research and, more importantly, via hands-on experience of them.

Although our work is supported by affiliate advertising commissions, we believe in an ethical approach to product reviews and strive to be 100% impartial at all times. If you have any queries about our approach, please do read our editorial policy or contact us.

If you’re interested in learning more about the criteria we use to test ecommerce platforms, please read our ecommerce platforms buyer’s guide, which lists many of the factors we evaluate when reviewing and comparing ecommerce products.

More Shopify resources from Style Factory

If you’d like to do some further research into Shopify or starting an online business, check out some of our related resources:

This post was written by Chris Singleton, with additional research and fact-checking by Matt Walsh.

Comments (11)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for your query Ruth — a good point and something I’ll look into. There does seem to be a page on the Shopify site which implies preferential rates for non-profits — see https://www.shopify.co.uk/nonprofit — but it’s not clear what those rates are. Will investigate and update in due course!

Hi! I would like to develop a webpage/platform that integrates many dental supplies from different dental stores websites.

I already have talked with some of the Dental Stores and they are open to give me the API Keys in order to have the actual product description, product image, stock, etc.

Most of the dental webpages are in woocommerce, shopify, jumpseller and other.

The idea is the following. The Dentists goes to my webpage, search for the best dental products from different dental stores (all integrated in the platform), pays in my platform and the payment goes to me.

Then, instantly, the platform lowers down the stock of the product from each Dental Store.

Do you think is it possible to do this? Do you know who I could talk to?

Thanks!

Hi JP,

I think that realistically you’d need to speak to a web development agency specialising in custom builds – from what you are saying this is probably bested catered for using a bespoke setup (rather than a hosted solution like Shopify) that collates all the product info automatically via the various APIs.

Hope this helps?

Best wishes Chris

WordPress can work as an e-commerce solution too — you’ll need to integrate a plugin like Ecwid (or indeed Shopify) with it in order to start selling online, but you can end up with a very good end product this way — really!! No mention of woocommerce!!! The largest ecommerce footprint globally that too for free

A fair point Umair — we’ll add in a reference to Woocommerce when we next update this post.

Hi Jennifer – I’ll look into that! Shopify are a bit vague about this on their page about not-for-profits (https://www.shopify.com/nonprofit) but they do mention a special rate on there. I’ll do a bit of digging and update the piece accordingly.

I’ve been talking with some friends lately who use Shopify for their clothing lines online sales. They’re very happy with it and I’m almost convinced. I think I’ll use the trial – though I’d feel like I have to commit if I spend the time setting it up!

Tks for a great article. In case I use Shopify Lite, and sell the product from a different platform (a market place for example), but want to register the sale in Shopify to keep my inventory and sales record there. Payment was made in cash. Is there a way to do it this way? Would Shopify still charge 2%? How would they collect this fee? Thank you

Many thanks for the kind words on our Shopify fees article CJP…and so sorry for the ridiculously late response! I think you’d just create a manual order in Shopify entering in the details of the transaction. Not sure of the implications regarding fee, but I suspect as it didn’t involve a credit card there wouldn’t be grounds for Shopify to take a cut. Probably best to give them a shout about this before committing to a particular pricing plan (but I suspect you already did this as a result of my abysmally slow response!). Thanks again for reading the article.