It's natural and common sense for any business to be looking for the most cost-effective solution to their problems. It’s just as important to understand how cost-sensitive your particular business is at any given moment. Addressing the following two questions, for example, will give us a better sense of your financial fit to Shopify Plus:
Your current solution?
Any self-hosted or enterprise solution on the market is likely to be more expensive than a cloud-based, ecommerce (paas) platform-as-a-service solution such as Shopify. With self-hosted solutions, fees for maintenance, support, updates and changes all add up.
Your overall budget?
It’s also crucial to have a good idea of your overall budget early on since it will impact the solutions on offer to help you resolve your problems and requirements. Bespoke customizations and 3rd party applications also add up. It’s important to set expectations beforehand, as the Shopify platform fee includes a lot of out-of-the-box functionality but extending beyond it will involve custom development and/or additional applications.
What to consider for Shopify Plus
A large organization with many employees managing orders might run into complications if they intend to rely solely on Shopify for their entire sales and support operations.
For example, imagine a company that takes sales orders over the phone. Besides managing online orders, perhaps they require a more robust solution to manage inventory sold through phone orders.
While a lot is possible on the Shopify platform, we need to understand how your business operates. This will help us determine the amount of custom work or third-party solutions we need to run smoothly and manage sales effectively.
Some businesses may not be large in size but can still be extremely complex. This is where we need to gather as much information as possible about your business model, sales and pricing strategies, shipping and fulfillment methods, and so on. Understanding how complex a business is early on will help us estimate the cost of the project as well as potential technical challenges.
Payments, shipping, inventory, tax, languages are all important considerations depending on where the merchant is based and which regions they service. It’s also important to know if all regions will be served by one online store, or if each region will have a separate online store. Does the merchant have any physical locations? Is there an existing omnichannel approach (e.g. buy online, pickup in-store)? Is the merchant operating solely in one particular country? Do they have warehouses all over the world?
Response to Change
Changing ecommerce platforms is a huge time and cost investment that can be risky for businesses. Some organizations are attached to how they operate, especially those who have been in business for a long time. Many of their staff will already be trained on existing platforms and they may want to keep all their existing processes intact.
For these reasons, they may also be resistant to replacing legacy systems —like an outdated email marketing system or third-party logistics). If they were using a bespoke solution, they may not be as familiar with the structure of a SaaS solution.
If the company isn’t ready to embrace some changes in their existing processes, then moving to Shopify Plus could be a painful procedure. Shopify is very flexible and many merchants have successfully adopted the platform, but with any change, this requires taking the time to learn the new system and onboard their teams.
Understanding comfort with change early on will help us set the right expectations.
Existing Tech Stack
Large businesses typically work with an array of other solutions to help them manage their operations. While some solutions connect extremely well with Shopify Plus using existing middleware, others may require challenging or costly custom integrations. Building a custom integration or using an existing connector have both pros and cons. It’s important for us to understand the timeline, cost, and usability implications of each solution in the relevant tech stack.
The time available to build an end-to-end solution will drastically impact the scope of a project and the type of solutions we can offer to a merchant. Having very little flexibility in the timing (e.g. if a merchant has a hard launch date) will also impact how we run a project. Knowing timelines before suggesting technical solutions is crucial.
Having a sense of in-house resources is important for predicting what the project process will be like. It will also affect what might likely happen once a project is completed.
For instance, if a client has a team of developers, they might be comfortable with making tweaks and changes to a custom solution that has been built for them down the road. But if the merchant doesn’t have a technical person on board, then we'll need to consider a user-friendly implementation that allows anyone to make modifications. The other option we offer is to keep working with the merchant after the initial project is completed.
Motivations for Shopify Plus
Understanding your interest in Shopify Plus or what your motivations are for switching platforms or even building your online presence for the first time will provide us with valuable insight as to whether Shopify Plus is the right platform for you.
If you're looking for more independence and to cut costs on development, you should consider as many out-of-the-box options as possible. If custom work is required, we will ensure user-friendly functionality that will allow you to take ownership and control of your solutions and make the changes without having to rely on third parties for this after the project is complete.
We are flexible and will always help you focus on what’s really important to you and your business.
How we help you select the right ecommerce
After all this, we should be able to position your business in terms of cost, timescales and tier of proposed ecommerce solution.