Shopify’s “enterprise-level” offering, dubbed Shopify Plus, can be an efficient platform for midsize eCommerce companies with straightforward product offerings.
However, the service falls short when your growing business requires expansive catalogs, detailed customization, deeper capabilities for selling internationally, and other functionalities that larger digital commerce brands require.
Although Shopify has now grown into one of the largest eCommerce platforms in the world, there are important limitations with its Shopify Plus offering that you should consider before selecting this solution for your business.
Here are 8 eCommerce functionalities that you won’t get with Shopify Plus:
Customizable Backend: While Shopify Plus allows for some front-end customization, back-end alterations can be quite cumbersome and problematic.
Changes and additions to the functionality of your store must be managed through the front end or work with Shopify’s API.
Shopify Plus uses third-party apps to give store owners options for design, marketing, integration and accounting, giving it some flexibility. However, you can still run into complications and additional expenses when coordinating with 3PL fulfillment centers or when developing backend tools that don’t integrate well with its API, for example.
Branded Storefront: You’ll likely want to customize how your Shopify store looks and behaves. Although the platform offers many pre-built themes, many other store owners are using those same templates out of the box. Unless you make changes, you won’t achieve the branded look and feel that will distinguish your store from the competition.
Shopify primarily relies on its own templating language called Liquid to customize webpages. Although you don’t have to be a development wizard, you do have to be familiar with the platform and the language to make the changes you want. If you aren’t experienced in developing Shopify sites, you’ll have to hire a third-party consultant or recruit in-house personnel to do it for you, which can rack up development costs fast.
Additionally, many of the third-party apps that Shopify relies on for its flexibility require monthly service fees, some of which cost hundreds of dollars and can easily add up. What’s more, trying to stitch together a bunch of apps with limited customization options can make your site look disjointed and hard to manage.
Robust Analytics: Some Shopify Plus users have voiced frustration over the lack of in-depth native reporting functionality, particularly for larger stores with more complex product offerings. Many of Shopify’s built-in reporting tools are geared toward small businesses with simple product lines, so the tools lose their value as you scale up your business significantly.
For example, one customer said he would like better tools to quickly identify margins rather than simply seeing revenue charts. Additionally, he complained that the support team doesn’t walk new users through best practices to maximize profitability based on robust analytics.
Native Search Filtering: There is a lack of native filtering and search options when setting up your catalog. Specifically, you can’t do a search limited to a given category of product and misspellings aren’t auto-corrected.
The platform also has limited product attribute specifications, making it difficult to set up different fields for different types of products. There are third-party apps that can solve some of these problems, but they are not built into Shopify’s platform.
Additionally, Shopify Plus has a variant limit of 100 per product. This means that you can’t sell more than 100 different colors, sizes or flavors for any given product.
Locked Checkout Functionality: Although you can alter the look of the of your front-end checkout, you cannot add fields or alter functionality. This can be frustrating if you want to add address fields or make other country-specific customizations. Selling across borders could be rather problematic with this limitation.
The checkout process is one of the most crucial elements of any eCommerce. It can mean the difference between a high conversion rate and a high cart abandonment rate. Not having total control over setting up your checkout funnel is problematic.
Multi-storefront Management: While you can link multiple domains back to a single site, Shopify Plus does not allow you to manage different storefronts with different warehouses, or products from a single place.
This makes it difficult to manage multiple brands, catalogs, and B2B service offerings, not to mention your complete inventory if you happen to store and ship from various warehouses. This is one area where it would be really difficult, if not impossible, to overcome on Shopify Plus if you’re a large-scale eCommerce business with various brands and stores to manage simultaneously.
Inventory and Logistics: Shopify provides software as a service which allows you to put up an eCommerce store. It is not a full-service eCommerce provider by any stretch. To operate the other parts of your business, you will need to synchronize shipments, inventory, and fulfillment with one or more separate companies.
If your storage and transport operations don’t connect with Shopify’s API you’ll have to get a developer to integrate them for you.
If you don’t own your own storage facilities and transportation vehicles you’ll have to pay a third party to manage that for you, too. Don’t forget the staff associated with inventory management and logistics.
As you expand to new regions and countries the upfront costs of in house storage and fulfillment can prohibit rapid growth. Shopify Plus does not provide customers with any of these services.
Partnering with a service provider that manages inventory and logistics can save you time, and money, and give you the flexibility to scale up or down according to real-time demand.
International Support: If you are looking to expand globally it is important to know and comply with the laws of various countries. Shopify Plus does not offer native tools that help customers navigate customs clearance, regulatory compliance, advanced tax requirements, or other legal complications associated with operating an international eCommerce store.
For example, the platform doesn’t offer native support for multiple languages or multiple currencies. If you were looking to sell across the European continent, with its various languages and tax compliance requirements, it would be really difficult to do so with a single Shopify Plus store.
When working with a full-service e-commerce provider that manages everything from shipping, fulfillment, web design, tax and regulation compliance and payment processing you can save you time and money, and stay focused on building your brand.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Scalefast can help manage your online store by providing the enterprise-level capabilities that Shopify Plus cannot.