Agency X Podcast: When Your Company Should Upgrade To Shopify Plus

Ep 21 Banner
by: John Surdakowski03/16/2021

Quick Summary In episode 21 of Agency X, our CEO John Surdakowski and Senior Ecom Strategist David Anzalone talk through the things they consider for a brand after they ask the very common question of “should I upgrade from Shopify to Shopify Plus?” While the answer is not a simple and straightforward one, John and David do their best to break down how to know your brand is ready for Plus.


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We’ve pulled the best quotes from the episode and transcribed them below. If you’d like to listen to them in the context of the full episode, click here

One Of Our Favorite Shopify Plus Apps: Launchpad

David 6:52

I think one of the most useful or easiest to leverage for a merchant when considering should I be on plus is first looking to Launchpad. What Launchpad lets you do is you can schedule content updates and site changes to coordinate with what's on your promotional calendar and do that beforehand, rather than, duplicating the theme, changing the content, and then manually publishing it when the promotional event or holiday goes live. This lets you schedule it instead. And that's a pretty big ask from a lot of brands about hey, can we schedule content to go live rather than having to do it manually and you can Plus. There are some tools that let you do it for nonPlus stores, like some third-party apps on the Shopify store. They're not great, they don't give you the same connectivity or integration with the platform, then, of course, the thing that Shopify creates. So that's a pretty good indicator, if you're running a lot of promotional events, or if you're a bigger brand where sales, holidays, or promotional events are a big part of what you're doing on a weekly/monthly basis, then you save a lot of operational time with setting that up because you can have over the ecomm manager is just schedule, almost even schedule, like all events for the year of content discounts. And it's done beforehand, rather than having to do it manually on the fly each and every time. It's a huge time saver. And it kind of help prepares for things, especially when the unexpected happens, which is very much the case in a lot of stores.

How To Know When You Can Automate Rather Than Hire

John 14:22

The cost of hiring people in exchange for either using some functionality like SaaS products like Shopify Plus or some of the apps in the ecosystem, or even hiring an agency like ours, I think that oftentimes we look at return on investment, and we talk about how much money are you going to make, as opposed to how much money are we going to save as well. So sometimes whether it's hiring someone to do Klaviyo email marketing and setting up automations and running your campaigns or building your store or optimizing it for conversions. Or using certain SaaS products like in Shopify Plus using flow and all these things, that might save you two to three hires. And on the business side of things that salary, that's insurance, that's other costs of doing business. And until that makes sense to bring someone in internally, you want to try to leverage all of these different tools. And that's the purpose of automation is trying to leverage some of these tools until it's right for someone to come in and maybe oversee that portion of it, or oversee some other portions of your business.

Should You Start On Plus Before Trying Shopify?

John 19:48

We've had brands who started off on Shopify Plus. They were backed by finance, they were prepping and knowing they were going to do higher sales in the first quarter that they launched. But I do think that there are some misunderstandings about upgrading to Shopify Plus meaning that it might be some sort of big process to do so. It's not like with Magento. It's not like changing hostings. It's not like you have to migrate anything, you could start off on Shopify Advanced or something and then grow into Plus. And I think Shopify themselves would probably agree with that, because the last thing that they want is someone signing up for Shopify Plus, and it doesn't work out for them in the first year. And then they're looking to downgrade because that's going to show a higher churn rate for them of people upgrading the Shopify Plus and then downgrading. So they do want to make sure a brand is ready for it and a lot of other SaaS products and things like that, that might be a higher cost, operate the same way. So someone like Yotpo is not the cheapest solution out there, they're more of a premium solution because they have some really great products there. They also want to make sure that you're going to stay on the platform. And I think that's smart for Shopify Plus as well as not wanting brands that are just into it because it's a name or they think that they need to start with it. So it has to be right for your business. 

Top 3 Things to Consider When Switching To Shopify Plus

David 23:37

So I think to kind of sum it all up to the question of when or if, should I upgrade to Shopify Plus? You have to consider one, financially, can your brand afford it? Does it make sense to do so at that point? Two, not thinking about it as how much more money is Shopify Plus going to make me, but how much time and money am I going to save from the operational automations that it provides? And how much can I benefit from that? And three, like we've said before, I review how many customers you're having, how many transactions you're getting. At what point are you seeing the growth in your brand so much that you may want to even consider it? Because it's one thing to think about it, but as time goes on, and as you make more sales, you make more changes to your site and brand and business, start thinking, Okay, when should I have that conversation, when they start even doing the work of weighing the pros and cons? And from there, I think that's a pretty good way of gauging, okay, do I really need this or can I hold off and wait for now?

Listen to the full episode here!

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