The cost of running a Shopify store is rarely just the monthly cost of the Shopify plan. More costs build up: themes, point of sale, credit card processing fees, apps, etc.
And in this economy, especially if you are starting out, you must be aware of them before starting your online store.
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.
Shopify Pricing: Choosing a Plan — $5/month–$2000+/month
There’s no running away from it: if you want a Shopify store, you have to pay for a Shopify plan. There’s no free Shopify plan.
Shopify has five plans in total: Starter, Basic, Shopify, Advanced, and Shopify Plus.
Each plan includes all major ecommerce features, unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, fraud analysis, SSL certificate, and 24/7 support. And each plan comes with a 3-day free trial (no credit card required), plus then you have to pay just $1 for the next three months, which is more than enough to explore the platform and build your store on it. The real plan pricing starts after.
Shopify highlights only these three plans on its Pricing page. They are its core plans and what most Shopify customers use to run a successful ecommerce business. Here are the major differences:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|2 staff accounts||5 staff accounts||15 staff accounts|
|4 inventory locations||5 inventory locations||8 inventory locations|
|Basic 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|
|No third-party calculated shipping rates||No third-party calculated shipping rates||Third-party calculated shipping rates|
|Up to 77% shipping rate discount||Up to 88% shipping rate discount||Up to 88% shipping rate discount|
Basic — $29/month
I’d recommend most stores start with this plan.
It has everything needed to build a solid ecommerce store. You’ll have access to all the themes, apps, and features needed for an ecommerce website.
Shopify — $79/month
Move to this plan when you need gift card support, reporting, 3rd party shipping rates, and lesser 3rd party transaction fees.
Mathematically speaking, you should choose this plan over the Basic plan just for the lower transaction fees if…
- You are using Shopify payments and your monthly revenue is over $15,000.
- You are using a third-party payment service and your monthly revenue is over $5,000.
Of course, there are many more reasons to move to this plan: If your team grows beyond two people who need Shopify access, the higher shipping discount makes sense over lower plan costs, you need better reporting, etc.
Advanced — $299/month
This plan includes features for advanced reporting, more staff accounts, more inventory locations, ecommerce automation, adding custom pricing by market, even lower transaction fees, etc.
You should switch to this plan when you need the advanced features. But switching just for the lower commission rates is also logical for stores earning over $40,000 in monthly revenue.
The Other Two Plans
You’ll find the other two Shopify plans as you scroll down the page. They target a more specific audience:
Starter — $5/month
This plan allows you to create a simple storefront. It includes essential ecommerce features like product pages, order management, checkout, and analytics.
However, you can’t build a website with the Starter plan. It merely enables you to add ecommerce functionality to a non-Shopify site (through the Buy Button channel) and social media (through Linkpop, Shopify’s link in bio tool).
So, for example, let’s say you run a successful blog on WordPress and want to sell merchandise. You can set up a Shopify storefront with the Starter plan and showcase and sell merchandise on your existing website by embedding products or collections from Shopify into your blog.
Shopify Plus — starting at $2000/month
There’s no set price with Shopify Plus. Instead, prices are set by a quote and run from $2,000/month to $40,000/month.
This plan is for enterprise-grade stores like AllBirds, Rothy’s, Gymshark, Staples, etc. In total, just 12,000-something stores use Shopify Plus. You should only ever consider it if your store does $1 million+ in annual revenue (unless you have a specific need).
Shopify Plus has everything that the Advanced Shopify plan has. Plus:
- You’ll get an account manager,
- You can create unlimited staff accounts,
- You can create additional stores (for free) under the same account,
- You’ll get better payment processing rates (2.15% + $0.30),
- You can sell B2B,
- You can make advanced customizations to Shopify Checkout,
- You can find high-intent customers at lower costs with Shopify Audiences,
- And more.
Shopify Plans Pricing By Country
The above details are of the Shopify US/Global plans. Your Shopify plan fee can be cheaper depending on where you live/want to sell. Also, Shopify features may differ depending on the region. For example, Shopify India doesn’t have Shopify Payments.
Let’s look at Shopify plan pricing of countries we get the most visitors from (besides the US):
- Starter: INR 399/month
- Basic: INR 1499/month
- Shopify: INR 5599/month
- Advanced: INR 22680/month
Key differences: Shopify India doesn’t have Shopify Payments or any third-party calculated shipping rates.
Shopify United Kingdom:
- Starter: GBP 5/month
- Basic: GBP 19/month
- Shopify: GBP 49/month
- Advanced: GBP 459/month
Key differences: Shopify UK charges a lower credit card processing fee: 2% + 25p for Basic users, 1.7% + 25p for Shopify users, and 1.5% + 25p for Advanced users.
- Starter: CAD 7/month
- Basic: CAD 38/month
- Shopify: CAD 99/month
- Advanced: CAD 389/month
Key differences: You get up to 53% shipping discount on Canada post.
The prices are the same as that of Shopify US.
- Starter: There’s no starter plan.
- Basic: USD 19/month
- Shopify: USD 49/month
- Advanced: USD 299/month
Key difference: Shopify Payments isn’t available in the Philippines.
Shopify Pricing: Themes — $0–$350
Shopify has some of the best ecommerce themes of all ecommerce platforms. They are modern, responsive, and well-optimized (for both performance and conversions).
You can divide Shopify themes in multiple ways: paid and free, official and non-official, for small catalogs and for large catalogs, across industries, etc.
I like to put it this way (and it’s probably the clearest way to understand Shopify themes): There are three types of Shopify templates:
1. Official Shopify Themes — Free
There are 11 official Shopify themes that are free to use. Shopify provides official support for them and includes up to 60 minutes of complimentary design support for modifications.
All of them are a great fit for small to mid-sized catalogs.
2. Official Theme Providers — Paid
Official theme providers can sell on the Shopify theme store. They are vetted to ensure theme development is their full-time job—that way, the themes are kept up to date and can provide ongoing theme support.
All themes published in the official theme store must support a minimum set of features, such as a collection page with pagination, search, advanced filtering with price, metafields…this may not be the case for unverified themes. Those are all the requirements that theme developers must pass to have their theme approved (and there is also manual testing by Shopify).
— Michael Gallego, co-founder of Maestrooo - a leading official Shopify theme provider.
Themes from official theme providers have a one-time cost between $100 and $350.
There are 96 themes from official theme providers on Shopify Themes. Most of these themes are suited for high-volume, big-catalog stores.
3. Unofficial Theme Provider — $14–$114 (Theme Forest)
Unofficial theme providers sell themes on unofficial theme marketplaces. They aren’t vetted by Shopify. Therefore, 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.
Some of the most popular places to get unofficial Shopify themes are:
Shopify Pricing: Transaction Fees
Unlike the Shopify plan and theme costs, you have to pay transaction fees when an actual transaction happens (i.e., after you make money). But you must consider them before pricing your products to maintain a healthy profit margin.
With Shopify, transaction fees come in multiple shapes and forms. Some of them are avoidable; some are not.
1. Credit Card Processing Fee (Unavoidable)
To accept credit card payments, you need a payment processor. And all payment processors charge a credit card processing fee.
With Shopify, you can use:
- Shopify Payments (recommended) - This is Shopify’s own credit card processor. It is available in 19 countries - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Or from 100+ 3rd party processors such as Braintree, Stripe, Paypal, etc.
These are Shopify Payments’ processing fees, and they get cheaper with more expensive Shopify plans:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify||Shopify Plus|
|Online credit card rates||2.9% + $0.30||2.6% + $0.30||2.4% + $0.30||2.15% + $0.30|
|In-person credit card rates||2.7%||2.5%||2.4%||N/A|
The 3rd party processors have their own rate cards. For example, if you use Stripe, you have to pay them 2.9% + $0.30 in processing fees. You can negotiate a lower fee if you are doing high volume ($500k+ per month).
Note: The Shopify Payments transaction fees differ depending on the country. For example, Shopify UK charges a lower processing fee: 2% + 25p for Basic users, 1.7% + 25p for Shopify users, and 1.5% + 25p for Advanced users.
2. Transaction Fee (Avoidable)
If you use Shopify Payments for credit card processing, Shopify will charge no additional transaction fee.
But 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|
This can be expensive if Shopify Payments isn’t available in your country or you have to choose a third-party payment gateway for some reason. This YouTube comment from a Basic Shopify user illustrates a common scenario perfectly:
3. Shopify Tax Fee (Avoidable)
Shopify recently launched an advanced sales tax collection solution for US users. It’s called Shopify Tax, and these are its prices:
- No cost before $100,000 in sales: You can use Shopify Tax to collect sales tax at checkout for your first $100,000 (per year) for free.
- 0.35% after $100,000: Once your store surpasses $100,000 in US sales in the calendar year, you have to pay a 0.35% fee on each transaction in the US. This fee reduces to 0.25% for Plus merchants.
The Shopify Tax fee is avoidable by using Shopify’s legacy tax solution, which is good enough for most merchants.
4. Transaction Fees by Apps (Avoidable)
Some Shopify apps charge a fee on each transaction that happens through/because of the app. Here are a couple of examples:
- Recharge enables Shopify stores to collect subscription payments. They charge 1% + $0.10 transaction fee on its free plan and 1% + $0.19 on its Pro plan.
- Social Snowball helps create automated affiliate programs and referral programs. They charge 3% of the revenue that affiliates bring.
You can avoid third-party app transaction fees by choosing a more premium option of the same app or choosing an alternative app (because there’ll likely be an alternative app without transaction fees).
Shopify Costs: Apps
The way Shopify has structured its platform, you’ll inevitably need to add apps to your store.
The basic ones are free and from Shopify itself. For example, these Shopify’s marketing apps are free or freemium:
- Shopify Inbox (Free): To chat with customers and drive sales.
- Shopify Email (Freemium - first 10,000 emails per month are free. Then, it is $1 for every 1,000 emails.): Shopify’s email marketing tool. It includes basic templates and a nice email editor.
- Linkpop (Free): Shopify’s link-in-bio tool.
However, you’ll need to add third-party apps to your store as you scale. These third-party apps can quickly add to the business costs.
Typically, beginner-level stores invest between $50–$100 per month on Shopify apps, but many also make do with $0 in app costs. The number can go into hundreds or even thousands depending on the size of the business. For example, this Reddit user spends $1200 per month on Shopify apps:
It’s impossible to say which apps your store will need—but your store will likely use apps.
Think of it like this: Shopify’s core covers about 80% of what you will need— the App Store covers the remaining 20%.
Some apps are free, but many cost money.
Examples Of Real Shopify Stores
I looked at some of the recently listed or sold Shopify stores on ExchangeMarketplace. Here is the monthly app spend for some real-life Shopify stores:
|Shopify Store||Revenue||Profit||App Spend|
|Garden Life Stores||$4,500||$1,100||$0|
|Nova Boutique Paris||$54,000||$15,000||$280|
This table shows what some of the most popular apps cost. As you’ll see, most apps have free plans that can work well for most starter stores:
|App name||Cost /month||App description||More info|
|Aftership (Free)||Free||Realtime tracking, order lookup, notifications & tracking page||50 Shipments/month.|
|Aftership (Essentials)||$11.00||Realtime tracking, order lookup, notifications & tracking page||100 shipments per month ($0.08 per extra shipment).|
|Reconvert||Free||Upselling and Cross-selling app||1 click upsell, free up to 49 orders/mo|
|Reconvert (Premium)||$7.99 + 0.75%||Upselling and Cross-selling app||1 click upsell, for up to 99 orders/mo (Total orders on your store)|
|Plug In SEO (Free)||Free||Optimize SEO. Fix Broken Links.||SEO & Speed checks, broken link checker.|
|Plug In SEO (Plus)||$29.00||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 (Pro)||$4.99||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)||Free||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 (Free)||Free||Live chat boosted with Chatbots and Marketing Automation||Up to 3 operators, live chat, messenger and email integration.|
|Tidio (Communicator)||$19.00||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)||Free||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.|
|Klaviyo (Free)||Free||Email marketing & SMS marketing SaaS||Email free for up to 250 contacts. SMS free for up to 50 SMS contacts.|
|Instafeed (Free)||Free||Show your Instagram feed on the store||Forever free with basic features.|
|PageFly (Free)||Free||Easy to use landing page builder||Includes 1 publishable slot.|
|PageFly (Pay As You Go 1)||$24.00||Easy to use landing page builder with templates||Up to 10 publishable slots.|
Shopify Pricing: POS (Point of Sale)
Choosing a POS Plan
Shopify has two different POS plans:
- Shopify POS Lite — Free. In-person credit card rates starting at 2.4%.
- Shopify POS Pro — $89/month per location.
Both plans let you accept credit cards and debit cards. And connect with the Shopify backend—i.e., all the orders, customer data, and inventory data are in sync.
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 Hardware
Shopify also offers a range of POS hardware that you can buy:
|Product name||Product description|
|Shopify POS Go and Case — $429||All-in-one POS device complete with integrated card reader and barcode scanner. The case provides secure protection for the Shopify POS Go and comes complete with an adjustable hand strap.|
|Chipper 2X BT Reader — $49||Use this card reader to securely accept tap, chip and swipe payments, all fully integrated with Shopify POS.|
|Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader — $49||Accept tap and chip payments from customers.|
|Shopify Dock for Tap & Chip Reader — $39||Built for Retail Stores: Raise the Tap & Chip Reader to an ergonomic height and angle for card payments at checkout.|
|DYMO LabelWriter® 4XL Bundle Pack (USB) — $319||Includes the DYMO® 4XL label printer and 4 rolls of 4" x 6" Extra Large Shipping Labels.|
|Other Shipping label printers and labels||Get labels and printers from other companies.|
|Other things||Like iPad stands, barcode scanners, etc.|
Unlike competitors like Wix, you can also use third-party hardware with Shopify POS. There’s one exception: You can only use a Shopify card reader (that costs $39-$49) with Shopify POS.
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 than retailers, for example).
Tip: A good way to save money is to buy used POS equipment.
Shopify Costs: Store Design & Development (Optional)
One more cost you should be aware of when thinking about building a Shopify store is store customization and design cost.
Shopify has awesome themes and an easy-to-use customizer for basic changes. However, you’ll occasionally need to edit HTML and CSS code to make your website look like you want to.
You can either make the changes yourself or hire an expert to do it for you.
The professionals charge $50-$200 for basic theme customization.
If you want a fully custom design, you may want to hire an agency. And a good agency will charge thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for design & development. For example, SharmaBrands must have charged tens of thousands to MrBeast for creating the Feastables Shopify site.
Overall, Shopify developer charges are all over the place — from $20/hr to $200/hr. So, the designing and development costs depend on the scope of your project and who you hire.
Shopify is the best ecommerce builder and one we recommend to most people looking for a scalable ecommerce solution. But building and managing a Shopify store can get expensive if you are on a shoestring budget.
So here are some cheaper (not better) Shopify alternatives:
To save plan costs
- Square Online: Square Online is the best free ecommerce website builder. It includes POS, curbside pickup, discounts, and many other features for free that competitors don’t.
- WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a free-to-use WordPress plugin for ecommerce. It’s not like Shopify in that a website builder, hosting, SSL certificate, etc., aren’t included in the package. You have to buy them separately.
- Squarespace: Squarespace’s ecommerce plans start at $23/month, which is cheaper than Shopify. Plus, it is cheaper on the development and themes front.
To save theme costs
- Squarespace: Squarespace has some of the most beautiful themes. And all of them are free to use. More on it here.
- Wix: Like we mentioned in Wix vs Shopify comparison: Unlike its regular templates, the ecommerce-specific Wix themes look nice & modern. And all of them are free with Wix plans.
To save development costs
- Squarespace: Squarespace has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop page editor. You can likely quickly make the site of your dreams with it — no coding required. More on it here.
- Wix: Wix also has a powerful drag-and-drop editor. You can make changes to your pages to the pixel, but this unstructuredness of the editor also makes it overwhelming for regular users.
To save transaction fee costs
Shopify vs Etsy
How does Shopify compare to Etsy in pricing?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a free Shopify plan?
There’s no free Shopify plan.
However, all plans come with a 3-day free trial. After the free trial, you just have to pay $1 total for the first three months so you can test out the platform and set up the store patiently.
Is Shopify worth it?
100%, Shopify is worth it. It’s the best ecommerce platform out there.
Does the Shopify plan include a free domain name?
No, Shopify doesn’t offer a free domain name. You have to pay $14/year for the domain name to Shopify, or you can buy it from a third party like Google Domains or Namecheap.
Is Shopify the only platform with all these costs?
No. In fact, many other platforms can demand more money & time than Shopify (to create a similar store).
How much does Shopify charge per transaction?
If you use Shopify Payments, there’s no transaction fee. However, Shopify charges between 0.5% and 2% of the sale amount if you use a third-party payment platform.