Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite: Which eCommerce Platform Is Best?
If you’re considering launching your first eCommerce store or are interested in replatforming your current one, likely you’ve narrowed down the discussion to Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite. Both of these powerful platforms have strengths and uniquities, so the decision between the two lies in the specific goals and needs of your company.
To keep the comparison as balanced as possible, we’ll review each platform’s most advanced tier: Shopify Plus (from Shopify) and SuiteCommerce Advanced (from NetSuite.) Let’s first discuss the fundamentals of each platform, before delving into the pros and cons.
What Is Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is a cloud-based eCommerce platform designer. It is reserved for businesses generating over $1M in sales each year, the highest tier of Shopify’s family of plans. Created as an all-in-one eCommerce solution, this out-of-the-box subscription service facilitates the simple creation and management of eCommerce stores for high-volume companies.
What Is NetSuite?
On the other hand, NetSuite is a solution-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) system designed for comprehensive, omnichannel business management. Users can add eCommerce functionality to this platform with SuiteCommerce Advanced. This cloud-based integration unifies eCommerce in the same place as the company’s CRM and ERP.
Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite - The Pros and Cons
To find out which platform is best for your company, let’s discuss the pros and cons of each in seven key categories:
- Website Customization and Themes
- Apps and Integrations
- Site Speed/Performance
- Merchandising Functionality
- B2B Capabilities
- Scalability and Global Expansion
- User Satisfaction & Assistance
1. Website Customization and Themes
The design, layout, and customized branding of a store are some of the most influential aspects when it comes to converting a shopper into a customer. Thankfully, both Shopify Plus and NetSuite offer beautiful, responsive, and flexible themes from which entrepreneurs can choose.
However, while Shopify has more theme options and an ultra-easy initial set-up, making in-depth development changes is more difficult. The themes are easy to install, and Shopify does feature an intuitive DIY dashboard for simple edits. Unfortunately, knowledge of Shopify’s Liquid language is necessary if you wish to personalize the site more thoroughly - a language in which many developers aren’t yet proficient.
2. Apps and Integrations
Though custom code is a great way to personalize an online store, both platforms offer apps to increase functionality - and save valuable time. The Shopify and SuiteCommerce app stores provide users with large collections of integrations from which to choose.
However, while the former option boasts a wider selection of vetted apps on its store, business owners should still choose sparingly. After all, connecting too many third-party integrations can slow down a site - and, you may even run into issues integrating the apps with each other.
As a result, in this category, the Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite comparison is a close one to call. Keep in mind that users on either platform should ensure an app is reliable, updated frequently, and compatible with other third-party integrations before adding it to the site.
3. Site Speed/Performance
Coming in with another close call is site speed and performance. As mentioned before, Shopify Plus and NetSuite run on a cloud-based infrastructure. Similarly, both platforms offer a free CDN (content delivery network) at no extra cost: Shopify Plus with Fastly, and NetSuite with Cloudflare. This guarantees faster user load times - something critical to online businesses.
4. Merchandising Functionality
Effectively managing the display of products is another important factor in helping customers navigate the sales funnel. So, in the Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite comparison, who ranks higher? Let’s take a look.
Shopify Plus initially displays products on your site in a manner set by your theme. This is great if you love your theme display, or if you have a limited amount of SKUs. However, the lack of mobility may become a point of pain for large business owners.
On the other hand, NetSuite features a unique Merchandising Zone, where sellers can organize and display products based on a myriad of business logics. This means that, by utilizing data directly from NetSuite’s ERP, store owners can display live product feeds based on factors such as best selling items, most profitable products, new arrivals, lowest inventory stock, and so on.
This powerful tool is only possible due to the direct integration between NetSuite as a CRM and SuiteCommerce Advanced - something Shopify fundamentally cannot rival.
On a Shopify-based store, a third-party app is needed to allow shoppers the ability to narrow and filter through search results. Plus, on a further note, some users have criticized the lack of SKU functionality for products with unique attributes, indicating difficulties related to the organization of a large catalog.
Contrastingly, NetSuite offers powerful faceted navigation, allowing shoppers to narrow search listings by a variety of factors. In fact, critics have given praise to NetSuite for its thorough, deep management of SKUs and variants.
5. B2B (Business-To-Business Selling) Capabilities
If selling business-to-business is an important factor for your company, the Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite competition is a simple one to call. Simply put, NetSuite was initially created as a B2B platform. Let’s elaborate on that a little later.
In a valiant attempt to compete, Shopify Plus does provide business owners with the option to create a password-protected wholesale portal for business customers. Along with that, Shopify allows the user to:
- Set up special customer-based pricing
- Initiate pricing tiers
- Set complex pricing discounts
- Send wholesale account invitations
- Edit and cancel wholesale accounts
- Set minimum and maximum order thresholds
- Set different payment options/product visibility for different customers
However, Shopify’s limited native functionality cannot compete with the built-in B2B features with which NetSuite was created. In addition to what Shopify offers, here are some more factors that only NetSuite can provide B2B sellers:
- Credit limits
- Exclusive shipping methods
- Invoice payment methods
- Payment portal for customers with complete history view
- Quick-order by SKU
- Multiple shopping lists
- Stock visibility
- B2B store design flexibility
6. Scalability and Global Expansion
Built for large businesses, Shopify Plus is designed with scalability in mind. In fact, it is the most scalable out of all of Shopify’s plans. Users with Shopify Plus have access to API to extend store functionality further onto the IoT (internet of things) and become truly omnichannel. However, organized, stable growth with Shopify Plus is reliant on third-party ERP and CRM integrations.
On the other hand, as discussed earlier, NetSuite is an ERP and CRM, with eCommerce capabilities bundled right in by means of SuiteCommerce Advanced. Due to this unified business management, scalability is not only made possible, but some might argue that it’s more effective.
Growth is essential to enterprise-level businesses, and global commerce is an integral part of that. Shopify Plus and NetSuite both offer multiple currencies for worldwide commerce and support multiple languages by store clones. However, NetSuite takes the edge with a slightly larger amount of options than the competition.
7. User Satisfaction and Assistance
No matter which platform you choose, questions are bound to arise. Thankfully, Shopify Plus and NetSuite alike provide resources to assist. Both provide online, phone, and FAQ contact support for urgent inquiries.
Shopify Plus earns 4.5 stars out of 5 based on over 3,500 reviews. From the start, users are provided with Shopify’s Merchant Success Program, access to the Shopify Plus Academy, and membership in the Shopify Plus Partners Program. A dedicated launch team stands by to help with any issues getting started, and an extensive help center is at your disposal, too. With over 160,000 users in 100 countries, Shopify Plus maintains the ranking as one of the most popular eCommerce options on the market.
Comparatively, based on over 1,000 reviews, NetSuite earns 3.9 out of 5 stars in terms of customer satisfaction. While there is no training course specifically designed for SuiteCommerce Advanced, users can apply the knowledge from the following recommended courses: NetSuite Essentials; SuiteCommerce: Web Store Administration; SuiteCommerce: Theme and Extension Development; and SuiteCommerce InStore: Fundamentals. With over 18,000 customers in 200 countries, it’s safe to say that NetSuite users are in good company.
Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite: Investment Breakdown
Before you make a final decision, let’s review the investment breakdown of both platforms. Keep in mind that some pricing information is not made public by the companies in question, and some costs vary depending on the client’s needs. For that reason, the investment below best reflects estimates based on publicly available information.
$2,000/month (non-negotiable) + additional fees
Up to 30%
Integration with NetSuite
Over $80,000/mo pay Shopify 0.25%
1st Year Cost
Starting around $89,000
Starting around $65,000
3rd Year Cost
Starting around $147,000
Starting around $145,000
As shown above, the estimated investment by year three for Shopify Plus and NetSuite are very similar. Plus, depending on your needs and goals, you’ll need to factor in development and plugin costs, too. For that reason, if your final decision between the two platforms is solely based on investment, make sure to get an accurate quote proposal from each company.
Shopify Plus vs. NetSuite - Which Is Best For You?
The competition between Shopify Plus and NetSuite is a close one to call. As we reviewed, Shopify Plus may be best for you if:
- You primarily sell D2C
- Your SKU list is on the simpler side
- You aim to use API for omnichannel selling
However, NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce Advanced may be the better choice if you:
- Sell B2B and/or D2C
- Require faceted navigation
- Prefer a unified ERP/CRM/eCommerce management system
So, which platform is best for you? In such a fierce comparison, with two powerful competitors, there really is no “wrong” answer. Weigh your business needs and goals with the pros and cons of each platform and you will surely position your company on the path to success.
If you’re still not sure about your eCommerce options, be sure to check out our other platform match-ups:
Still, have questions? Feel free to get in touch with one of our eCommerce experts. We’re happy to help you navigate the eCommerce market with confidence.