Shopify Plus Misconceptions: Setting the Record Straight
The ecommerce technology ecosystem has matured: where once hundreds of platforms competed for supremacy, we’re now left with the few who have survived.
While the dust is still settling, the rising MVP of ecommerce tech is absolutely the incredibly agile enterprise-level platform Shopify Plus. Over the few short years that the platform has been around, Shopify Plus has comfortably settled in as the top platform for complex multichannel merchants on the cutting edge of commerce. But just like any good old-fashioned competition, when you’re on top, expect for those who can’t keep up to start slinging mud. And when you’re attracting brands like Shopify Plus does, it’s no surprise that unsubstantiated rumours on what Shopify Plus can and cannot do are cropping up across the web like weeds.
The fact of the matter is that Shopify Plus is on top for many a good reason, and they’ve rightfully earned their position as a top ecommerce platform. There’s many a good reason why VL OMNI is partnered with Shopify Plus, and (spoiler) it’s not because Plus is as non-functional as some competitors and various internet ‘experts’ paint it out to be.
We’ve been surprised at what recent objections Merchants have shared with us on their concerns around Shopify Plus—because they’ve been increasingly based on completely untrue and unsubstantiated ‘facts’. And VL OMNI isn’t the only one that’s picked up on this growing trend of misinformation, either; our friends at Statement Agency are also writing editorial content focused on sharing factual information on Shopify Plus to clear up misconceptions they’ve seen in their home market of the UK.
When you’re a merchant evaluating ecommerce platforms, it can be extremely difficult to sort the misinformation from the truth; especially when it might be your own IT department or a trusted advisor supplying you with the incorrect information. It’s normal to be cautious and to take your time in evaluating any changes to your business, but Merchants need to be additionally cautious in this world of fake news to make sure decisions are based on accurate, truthful information. VL OMNI is here to help: we’ve responded to 6 of the biggest, most pervasive misconceptions we’ve seen around Shopify Plus from our perspective as an expert integrator and technologist.
Bookmark this blog: We will be updating this article with new information regularly!
Looking for a particular assumption? Jump to:
“Shopify Plus is the same as Shopify core, just more expensive”
Often merchants confuse Shopify (core) and Shopify Plus (enterprise-level), but they are not the same product with the same capabilities. Shopify Plus is dedicated to powering global enterprise and luxury brands, while Shopify core is geared towards smaller businesses and entrepreneurship. When you pay the premium for Plus, the platform and service you receive are built for high volume and complexity. Just a few perks included in Plus that do not exist at the core level include:
- A richer technology infrastructure: Shopify Plus has robust APIs and webhooks, as one example, making it extremely flexible to integrate to—so integrators like VL OMNI can do more on behalf of our Merchants. Plus stands head and shoulders above other ecommerce platforms in this category alone; no other platform can compare.
- A front-end that’s focused on customer experience and cutting-edge design: The Shopify Plus platform is structured so that a beautiful ecommerce website centered on customer experience is quick and cost-effective to create. Merchants on Shopify Plus can take budget formerly earmarked for front-end development and reinvest it in powerful back-end technology, strategic integration, and achieving complex objectives.
- A solid roster of partners and satellite services: Because of how attractive Shopify Plus is for agencies and technology platforms alike to work with, Plus unsurprisingly attracts the best of the best. Merchants can rest comfortably knowing that any Plus Partner they select are fully vetted and approved by stringent standards set by Shopify Plus themselves. Not just anyone gets into the Plus Partner club!
Assumption No. 2
“Shopify Plus cannot manage multiple warehouses without multiple Shopify Plus stores”
False, but with deeper explanation required.
Shopify Plus handles up to 20 inventory locations by default. While this capacity takes care of many Merchants comfortably, there are many that require far more than 20 inventory locations, they just have to ask Shopify to increase the number.
The story does not end here.
This is where the value of the Shopify Plus Partner community really shines. While Plus is a strong platform, it’s also designed to meet the needs of most Merchants. For those exceptional Merchants doing above and beyond, Partners are there to strategically augment the core capacity of the Shopify Plus platform through technology and services.
Since VL OMNI has Shopify Plus Merchants on our platform that have more than 20 inventory locations, this assumption is categorically false. We also serve Merchants who not only have more than the 20 maximum inventory locations, but multiple brands with multiple inventory locations, too, unified through the VL OMNI MultiStore App Viewer.
Assumption No. 3
“Shopify Merchants cannot handle brands with high volumes of products with complex variants”
False, but again with some further explanation.
This would be true… if Shopify Plus was a platform that existed in complete isolation without the robust partner network that Plus comes with, and if you don’t dig deeper into the technical specifications behind the core issue of this assumption. Shopify Plus does have a 100 variant limit, but this is specific to a single product.
So if you’re a merchant with 100 products that each have 100 variants, you’re well within the native Plus variant limits. But if your business needs above and beyond this, there’s a Plus Partner who can help you extend the platform to meet your needs exactly (of course, VL OMNI is one of these Partners).
Need further proof? If Shopify Plus couldn’t handle more than 100 product variants or Merchants with high sales volumes, they wouldn’t have major brands like Kylie Cosmetics, MVMT, or Pink Boutique using the platform. VL OMNI implemented the integration for Pink Boutique as a part of the larger project alongside our partner, Fostr; they see 1000+ orders per day, and the VL OMNI platform completes even more data movements on the back-end to help Pink Boutique fulfill on these orders.
Assumption No. 4
“Shopify Plus cannot handle returns within the platform; returns have to be handled outside their system”
False, with caveats.
Returns are a multi-billion dollar industry; there’s no way Shopify Plus would leave Merchants out in the cold by not embedding return functionality on their platform either natively or through plug-ins.
In fact, Shopify Plus saw the looming need to address returns as a part of their platform, and officially acquired Return Magic in June of 2018. But even before the acquisition, Merchants could still incorporate returns on Plus; before joining the Shopify Plus family, Return Magic was a Shopify Plus Partner, and there are a handful of other Plus Partners who also handle returns as native plug-ins to Plus.
And for those Merchants with complex needs, complex strategic goals, or are managing multiple sales channels including Shopify Plus, more complex return workflows might be required to get everything in sync and flowing automatically. For those projects, strong integrators that have a strategic emphasis—like VL OMNI—exist to create the functionality your business requires.
Assumption No. 5
“Shopify Plus cannot handle merchants with multi-language and multi-currency needs”
Shopify Plus supports both multilingual and multi-currency needs.
A potential pain point for Plus Merchants related to multi-language and multi-currency is getting a unified view of all your Shopify Plus storefronts that operate on separate Plus instances. But, as has been our answer for most of these assumptions, there’s a partner for that! VL OMNI has created our Shopify Plus Multi-Store View App specifically to serve the need for a unified view of all Plus storefronts. It connects all instances for real-time visibility, and it’s already a solution live and running for some of VL OMNI’s UAE Merchants.
Assumption No. 6
“Shopify Plus is not for enterprise-level businesses”
Already touched on in Assumptions 1 through 5, Shopify Plus is absolutely a fit for enterprise-level businesses. A much more flexible, agile, scalable ecommerce platform compared not only to the core Shopify platform but to many other solutions on the market, the proof is in the Merchants already on the platform. Again, if Plus wasn’t fit for the massive transaction volumes and complexities of the likes of Kylie Cosmetics, which “handled 200K visitors simultaneously during the biggest product drop in ecommerce history and helped Kylie become a billion-dollar brand in just three years”, Plus is absolutely built for anything enterprise-level Merchants can throw at it.
What’s With All The Assumptions?
Replatforming ecommerce platforms is a massive undertaking. Frankly, making the move to a new ecommerce platform can be outright anxiety-inducing, especially for large or enterprise Merchants. It’s a big change, but one that’s become infinitely smoother with the help of expert migrators who specialize in moving Merchants from any ecommerce platform over to Shopify Plus. Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen major luxury and high-growth brands migrate to Shopify Plus, and a number of Merchants on VL OMNI’s platform (like Pink Boutique and Nicole Miller) have gone through the transition to Shopify Plus. Their worlds did not crash down: in fact, their businesses improved post-Shopify Plus. Some of VL OMNI’s customers are benchmarking an incredible 150-250 orders processed per minute on Shopify Plus with the help of integration platform.
Watch who’s feeding you misinformation, and question why
All of these assumptions and misinformation likely stem from fear; fear of the unknown, fear of the work to come, and ultimately, protectionism of how things have always been (especially true for more mature retail businesses). But the moral of all these assumptions and the surrounding story we’re outlined is clear: mind the sources of information you’re relying on, especially when it comes to a major decision like an ecommerce site migration. Consider the advice you’re being supplied with, and the interests of the source of the information. It’s not uncommon for VL OMNI to hear these push-backs based on absolutely false information on Shopify Plus from Merchants’ own IT departments. But when you consider what IT might really be concerned with is change, and the implications of that change.
Ultimately, VL OMNI has been partnered with Shopify Plus since the start, and we’ve seen them take the market on and have true success with enterprise and luxury merchants pushing the boundaries of ecommerce. Merchants are seeing the value in Shopify Plus’s scalability, quality APIs, and its top-tier partner network. Our own customers have migrated overwhelmingly to Shopify Plus over any other ecommerce platform, and do so with peace of mind knowing they can seek advice from trusted, objective sources and strategically plan their integration needs around their new ecommerce platform.