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Shopify Pricing: Explained

This article will give you have a better sense of what your Shopify store will cost.

Updated Feb 24 2021 Ben Pilkington Ben Pilkington

The cost of running a Shopify stores is rarely just the monthly cost of Shopify.

There are more costs that build up: themes, point of sale, credit card processing fees, apps and more.

This article is for the Shopify beginner. By the end of it you’ll have an understanding of all the costs involved with running a Shopify store.

Note: My work is supported by affiliate commissions. Read more »

App Store

It’s impossible to say which apps your store will need— but it’s very likely that your store will use apps.

Think of it like this: the Shopify’s core covers about 80% of what you’ll will need— the App Store covers the remaining 20%.

Some apps are free— but many cost money.

Examples Of Real Shopify Stores

Here is the monthly app spend for some real-life Shopify stores:

Shopify Store Revenue Income App Spend
Track Valley $1,400 $1,000 $0
Hey Cuddles $33,000 $6,700 $120
Zaio NYC $28,500 $6,500 $300
Grosso Shop $240,000 $60,000 $500

App Prices

This table shows what some of the most popular apps cost:

App name Cost /month App description More info
Aftership (Free) Free Realtime tracking, order lookup, notifications & tracking page 50 Shipments/month.
Aftership (Essentials) $9.00 Realtime tracking, order lookup, notifications & tracking page 100 shipments per month ($0.08 per extra shipment).
Cross-selling $9.90 Cross-selling app Fully automated cross-selling app
Plug In SEO (Free) Free Optimize SEO. Fix Broken Links. SEO & Speed checks, broken link checker.
Plug In SEO (Plus) $20.00 Optimize SEO. Fix Broken Links. Add JSON-LD Schema & Alt text. Automatic SEO improvements, Structured Data (JSON-LD).
Printful Free Top-rated print on demand dropshipping & warehousing service Printing, warehousing and shipping fees are taken as percentages of each sale.
Product Reviews Free Product reviews for your store This helps provide “social proof” for your online store.
Recent Sales Pop-Up Free Pop-up sales notifications Improves sales with pop-up notifications.
Seguno: Email Marketing (Free) Free Email marketing automation, similar to MailChimp Up to 250 subscribers.
Seguno: Email Marketing (Paid) $10.00 Email marketing automation, similar to MailChimp Up to 1,000 subscribers, more automation features and free templates.
Smile Rewards (Free) $0.00 Points & referrals. Attract & retain your most loyal customers Points and referral programs, contains Smile.io branding.
Smile Rewards (Starter) $49.00 Points & referrals. Attract & retain your most loyal customers Full design customization, integration with 1 Smile app, remove Smile.io branding.
Tidio (Basic) $0.00 Live chat boosted with Chatbots and Marketing Automation Up to 3 operators, live chat, messenger and email integration.
Tidio (Chat Bots) $18.00 Live chat boosted with Chatbots and Marketing Automation Basic + 1000 to unlimited chatbot triggers/month.
VITALS $29.99 40+ apps in one Claims to make pages load faster as lots of apps on a Shopify store can slow the store down.
Wishlist Plus (Free) $0.00 Customers who favorite items spend more Up to 100 wishlist items/month, up to 5k sessions/month, share wishlist with email.
Wishlist Plus (Starter) $14.99 Customers who favorite items spend more Up to 1000 wishlist items/month, up to 10k sessions/month.

POS (Point of Sale)

The first thing to know is that you don’t necessarily need any hardware for Shopify POS. You could easily use the iOS or Android app to take payments.

Shopify POS on iOS.

Shopify POS on iOS.

Choosing a POS Plan

Shopify has two different POS plans:

  1. POS Lite — Free.
  2. POS Pro — $89 / Month.

Both plans let you accept credit cards, debit cards and connect with the Shopify back-end.

Here’s what you get when you upgrade to POS Pro:

POS Lite POS Pro
No staff Unlimited staff roles and positions
1 Store Register Unlimited Store Registers
Sell Online Sell Online And Offline
No In-Store Analytics Analytics and Reports

Shopify’s POS Starter Kit

Shopify also offers a range of POS hardware that you can buy:

Product name Product description Notes
Tap & Chip Card Reader • $49 Card reader Supports Interac debit, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. USB-C charging
Dock for Tap & Chip Card Reader • $49 Card reader charger + dock  
Retail stand for iPad • $149 Stand for tablets + charging ports  
Mini Dock Cable • $9 USB-C cable  
Mounting Kit • $9 Two bolts and drill bit  
Tap & Chip Case • $19 Case for Tap & Chip Card Reader Case keeps iPhone X and card reader together, you can bring both together to customers so that sales can be made anywhere/on the floor
Chip & Swipe Reader • $29 Card reader No contactless, but needed if you want to accept swipe payments
Casual kit • $99 Tap & Chip Card Reader, Doick for Tap & Chip Card Reader, Tap & Chip Case $107 if bought separately
Retail kit • $99 Tap & Chip Card Reader, Dock, Retail Stand for iPad, Mounting Kit, Mini Dock Cable $255 if bought separately, or $237 if you already have some bolts and a USB-C cable

Third Party POS

You can also use third-party hardware with Shopify POS— with the exception of card readers (you can only use a Shopify card reader with Shopify POS).

(Some users have reported compatibility issues with their third-party POS hardware and Shopify POS and Shopify does not publish a list of compatible brands/types of hardware anywhere.)

There are a lot of other POS systems on the market right now— for example: Square, Lightspeed and Toast. POS systems will vary by region and industry (restaurants have different needs to retailers, for example).

A good way to save money is to buy used POS equipment.

Transaction Fees

There are two types of fees that can go alongside transactions:

1. Credit Card Processing Fee

Unavoidable. You have to pay credit card processing fees.

You can use Shopify Payments (Shopify’s own credit card processor) or you a 3rd party processor such as Braintree or Paypal.

The fee gets cheaper with more expensive Shopify plans.

Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify
2.9% 2.6% 2.4%

2. Transaction Fee

Avoidable. If you use Shopify Payments for credit card processing, Shopify will charge no additional transaction fee.

If you decide to use a 3rd party credit card processor, Shopify will add a fee on top of every transaction. The amount changes based on your plan:

Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify
2% 1% 0.5%

Choosing A Plan

Shopify offers three main plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify. Here are the major differences:

Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify
$29 / month $79 / month $299 / month
2 staff accounts 5 staff accounts 15 staff accounts
4 locations 5 locations 8 locations
No reports Professional reports Professional reports and advanced report builder
2.9% online credit card rate 2.6% online credit card rate 2.4% online credit card rate
2% payment fee if not using Shopify Payments 1% payment fee if not using Shopify Payments 0.5% payment fee if not using Shopify Payments
Sell in 1 language Sell in up to 2 languages Sell in up to 5 languages

In addition there are two other plans:

  • Shopify Lite — $9 / month. Accept payments with the POS app and embed buy buttons on your existing website.
  • Shopify Plus — For enterprise. Pricing starts at $2,000 per month

Themes

There are three types of Shopify templates:

1. Official Shopify Themes — Free

There are 9 official Shopify themes that are free to use.

Shopify provides official support for them and includes 60 minutes of complimentary design support for modifications.

Free Shopify themes.

Free Shopify themes.

2. Official Theme Provider — $140 - $180

Official theme providers can sell on the Shopify theme store and are vetted to ensure theme development is their full-time job— that way their themes are kept up to date and they can provide ongoing theme support.

There are about 65 themes from official theme providers.

Themes from an official theme provider.

Themes from an official theme provider.

3. Unofficial Theme Provider - $19 - $79

Unofficial theme providers sell themes on unofficial theme marketplaces. Unofficial theme providers aren’t vetted by Shopify— so you may want to research the companies before you buy their themes— for example, you’ll want to ensure they provide good customer support in case something goes wrong.

Unofficial theme providers such as Theme Forest have 1,200+ Shopify themes available.

Browsing Shopify themes on Theme Forest.

Browsing Shopify themes on Theme Forest.

Shopify vs Etsy

How does Shopify compare to Etsy in pricing?

Etsy

  • Charges 5% of total transaction (including taxes, packaging and delivery) plus a number of transaction fees, 5% of shipping costs, and an advertising bill for off-site Etsy advertising of 15% or 12% of your total transactions (depending on if you sold less or more than $10,000 worth of stock in the year).
  • Fees are in addition to a free plan, or a paid plan costing $10 or $15/month.

Shopify

  • Basic Shopify, Shopify or Advanced Shopify plans charge 2.9%, 2.6%, or 2.4% plus $0.30 (all plans) per transaction if you use Shopify payments, and an additional 2%, 2% or 0.5% per transaction if you do not.

Key Takeaway

Even if you only count the 5% total transaction fee, Etsy payment fees are at least 2.1 cents more expensive than Shopify’s per dollar spent – the extra fees and advertising bill make this even worse. With large-volume ecommerce stores, especially those working with tight margins, a Shopify plan will be more cost-effective than using Etsy.

Etsy does help bring an audience to craft or hobby producers who don’t need to sell a lot of their product, but if you’re working with large volumes and/or tight margins and lots of suppliers, that 5-8% quickly becomes an unacceptable cost.

FAQ

What should I know about charging my customers tax?

Shopify provides default tax rates that they update regularily but you are ultimately responsible for ensuring you are charging the correct tax rate.

How much money does the average Shopify store make?

Pretty impossible to say.

According to Shopify’s disclosed financial reporting, the average Shopify store makes about $3500/month sales. But of course this average number is just an average— adjust your expectations accordingly.

Do I need an LLC to start a Shopify store?

Depends on your local regulations and the kind of business you run.

Does Shopify include domain names and email?

No. You can buy a domain name through Shopify for about $14 / year.

Email hosting must be done through a third party provider. For example: Google Workspace costs $5/month per email address.

Does Shopify have non-profit pricing?

Shopify offers a discount to non-profit organisations but you’ll have to contact them to see what the discount is.

Ben Pilkington

Ben Pilkington is a freelance writer who loves to tell complicated stories about science and technology in clear and engaging writing. When he’s not writing he’s riding his bike – or cleaning it! You can follow Ben on Twitter @bpkgtn