Shopify is quite a popular platform for building e-comm stores, one of the best out there. It hosts over 1 million online shops in over 175 countries. It’s so popular that when you think of a platform that lets you create an online store, Shopify makes it to the list. And why not? It’s intuitive, easy to set up, and has the basic features to run an online store.
But if you’re reading this article, it means you’re looking for Shopify alternatives. Maybe Shopify didn’t fulfill your requirements or was too limited or costly. If that’s the case, this article is the best thing to happen to your online store idea. That said, before you jump to alternatives ahead, let’s take a look at Shopify’s best and worst aspects.
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Shopify Pros and Cons
|Easy to use software – The intuitive nature and user-friendliness help a user put items and categories relatively easier than most.||Transaction fee – Lack of choice in payment gateways causes a charge of an additional 2% on every transaction.|
|Apps and Community – Shopify has over 4200 apps, both paid and free, ready for integration. The wide availability in almost every category of application support expansion and smooth operation.||Limited Features – Cannot view real-time shipping costs or use an advanced report builder unless subscribed to an advanced Shopify plan.|
|Selection of Template – Over 170 professionally designed templates for all sorts of online businesses. With an option to create their own template using the liquid programming language of Shopify.||Expensive Multilingual Stores – Multilingual store option is quite expensive compared to some of its competitors.|
|Support – 24×7 customer support via phone and email, better than some of its competitors.||Shopify SEO – The SEO in Shopify has been reported as having the most issues. One of the major issues is a rigid URL structure.|
|Performance – Great uptime and speedy store.|
Why Are You Looking For Shopify Alternatives?
Just because Shopify is one of the best e-commerce store builders doesn’t mean it’d fit all the different needs. Several ecommerce builders in the market provide much better flexibility and prove to be better options. Some of the reasons why one may be looking for Shopify alternatives are as follows:
- Shopify Payments: Restricted payment options are a deal-breaker. If you aren’t using Shopify’s own payment gateway, Stripe, you’ll have to pay up to a 2% additional charge for each transaction.
- Need Better Control of SEO: For basic SEO needs, Shopify is spot-on good. But it doesn’t give you better control of your website to help your store organically on the SERPs. It limits on-page SEO since you cannot make changes or upload the Robots file. Such intricacy is needed to perform better on Google.
- Catalog Capacity: Shopify gets overwhelmingly complicated and limited if you have a large catalog. It limits you to 100 SKUs only and provides just 3 options on each product. It’s frustrating for a large apparel store to function if you can’t put varieties and options for all types of shoppers.
- It Just Doesn’t Fit: No way Shopify can meet all the expectations otherwise other platforms wouldn’t be so successful. There are so many limitations from payment gateways to SKUs to reporting, and a lot of people want better flexibility at lesser prices. So chances are, it doesn’t fit your needs.
What To Consider For Your Next Ecomm Platform?
If one is looking for alternative options for Shopify, they must ensure that the next platform they choose must meet all the requirements that Shopify didn’t. Here are a few common features to consider for the e-commerce platform:
Multiple Payment Options
Multiple payment options are a must for stores today. Not everyone has PayPal or exclusive cards. There needs to be variety allowing to accept different payment methods. A consumer feeling limited by payment options is a potential loss for your store. For example, a 3D cart supports over 70 payment gateways.
Another thing to keep in mind should be international transactions. Admittedly, not all online stores sell globally, but even then, the variety in the payment gateway is useful, making the store future-proof in case the store wants to expand.
Setting up and easily customizing stores are some of the essential elements. Not all who want to open online stores are well equipped with the technical know-how, so flexibility and user-friendliness are super important.
When you go for an alternative, ensure the platform gives you enough control to customize whatever aspect of the website design you want to customize or code if that’s what you do. Similarly, getting things done easily should be your concern if you’re a novice. Maybe, you don’t know the technicalities. Hence, ease of use should be a priority.
In simpler words – your next Shopify alternatives should cater to experienced and novice users. There should be freedom to access CSS and HTML for tweaking, at the same time, be an easy visual editor.
A Growing Catalogue
For a store with a smaller catalog, Shopify is more than good enough; But when you decide to expand, Shopify may not appear enticing enough. And you wouldn’t want constraints. So, keep your expansion possibilities in mind when looking for an alternative to Shopify.
Best Shopify Alternatives For Medium And Big Businesses
WooCommerce is an open-source, free-to-use plugin for WordPress that launched in 2011. Being open-source means it is free to use. However, there are some other costs involved. The best thing about WooCommerce is it can turn your existing WordPress blog into an online store should you choose to sell products. Other than WordPress, Bigcommerce has the option to integrate with WooCommerce.
|Free to Use Plugin||No Hosting included|
|Easy Integration with WordPress or Bigcommerce||CSS and HTML knowledge required|
|Highly Customizable Open-Source Nature||The use of Plugins leads to a slower site|
|Zero Transaction Fee||Dated feel|
You can build an online store using WooCommerce on WordPress with one click. However, there’s another process that will require your attention. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce isn’t self-hosted, at least not by itself. So you’ll need to buy a hosting plan and a domain.
A domain name can start from $15/year, and hosting plans start from $3-4/month for shared hosting. If you find connecting domain names to hosting services tiresome, you can get self-hosted WordPress. WordPress hosting plans start from $2 per month for a yearly plan ($5.10 if billed monthly).
Best for Personal Use
Best for Freelancers
Best for Small Businesses
Best for Online Stores
|Free Domain for One Year||Free Domain for One Year||Free Domain for One Year||Free Domain for One Year|
|Remove WordPress.com Ads||Live Chat Support||Advanced SEO Tools||Premium design options for online stores|
|Collect payments||Earn ad revenue||Jetpack Backup||Accept payments in 60+ countries|
|Best-in-class hosting||Premium themes||SFTP, SSH, WP-CLI, and Database access||Integrations with Top Shipping Carriers|
|Unlimited Email Support||Google analytics integration||Access over 50,000 Plugins|
WordPress offers a Free domain for one year, even with its most basic yearly plan. There are more than enough free and premium themes to satisfy every taste preference, and most are mobile-friendly. And since WordPress has almost unlimited features and customization options, you’ll never feel compromised.
Volusion is a cloud-based store-building platform gaining popularity and is amongst the most competitive Shopify alternatives. Serving over 53,000 businesses, Many companies or stores planning to scale their operations in the coming time prefer Volusion. What makes this a great option is its One-click checkout feature providing convenience to customers. On top of that, you can take advantage of many plugins and extensions to streamline your store-building.
|Multi-Payment gateways support.||Some coding skills are required.|
|Tons of free useful themes||Sub-par search function.|
|No transaction fee||Not-so-good SEO functions|
|Extremely user friendly||Costlier than many competitors|
|No limits on product listings||AngularJS has its problems|
|A super useful mobile app||Displays private information in page source|
Volusion also offers free hosting. It’s a self-hosted platform with unlimited bandwidth on all plans. With monthly subscriptions, you get a bundle of features, including gift certificates, various parent categories, subcategories, and much more. There are over 1000 apps for integration serving various purposes from accounting to marketing to sales.
|Max $50k GMV Per Year||Max $100k GMV Per Year||Max $400k GMV Per Year||Unlimited GMV Per Year|
|Max 100 Products||Max 5,000 Products||Unlimited Products||Unlimited Products|
|1 Staff Account||5 Staff Accounts||15 Staff Accounts||Unlimited Staff Accounts|
|Live Chat & Email Support||Live Chat & Email Support||Live Chat, Email & Phone Support||Live Chat, Email, Phone and VIP Support|
|$378/year||$853.2/year||$3229.2/year||Contact Sales For Pricing|
That said, you will need some coding knowledge to properly create the store while Volusion’s Graphics User Interface (GUI) handles the rest of the work. Apart from the weaker product function and costly plans, there’s nothing serious to avoid this store builder.
If you want a simple drag-and-drop builder that is easy to go around with and without many technicalities, BigCommerce is not the one for you. It offers a drag-and-drop builder, but if you have used Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify, you’ll find BigCommerce difficult.
It has plenty of flexibility and features, and BigCommerce undoubtedly is a great Shopify alternative if you’re okay with the learning curve. Also, BigCommerce lacks an undo button, so if you mess up, you can’t Ctrl+Z, and you’ll have to do it again.
|Easy to use drag and drop builder.|
|Multi-channel selling.||No undo feature|
|Unlimited product listing and allocated bandwidth.||Limited number of free themes.|
|Super competitive SEO tools.||Steep learning curve due to so many features.|
|Ideal for all sorts of online stores.||Not many customizable widget options|
|Over 55 payment gateways available.|
Although in terms of free elements, it has only a handful of themes. For the premium themes, you have to pay but gain extreme control over customization, which is way better than what Shopify offers.
What’s even better are the tools you can access to optimize your store/website for better leads and conversion. With tons of features in the building, you wouldn’t have to spend time looking for 3rd party apps for integration. You can use multichannel selling to manage your catalogs on Pinterest, eBay, Facebook, and more.
|No additional transaction fees||No additional transaction fees||No additional transaction fees||No additional transaction fees|
|Free Dedicated SSL||Customer groups and segmentation||Google customer reviews||Express routing and priority support|
|Professional reporting tools||Persistent Cart||Product filtering||Price Lists for B2B|
|Unlimited bandwidth products, & file storage||Stored credit cards||Custom product filtering||Unlimited API Calls|
|4 Online storefront||5 Online storefront||8 Online storefront||Unlimited storefront|
The basic BigCommerce plan is similar to Shopify’s, but you receive many good features here. For example, BigCommerce lets you choose from the 55 available payment options without additional transactional charges, while Shopify doesn’t. There’s also a single-page checkout option for customers making shopping a better experience.
Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Magento is yet another open-source platform that offers store building for smaller businesses. It also has a dedicated provision for large businesses, Adobe Commerce. This ideal platform has built quite a large community across the globe, and when you look at its price-to-performance ratio, you wouldn’t wonder why.
Adobe is targeting big businesses here as the prices range from $15k to $50k a year. But smaller businesses can still use Adobe Commerce by downloading the community version and self-hosting on any of the Php servers. You have to pay for the hosting, domain, and themes. For big businesses looking to expand or transition from Shopify, Adobe Commerce (Magento) is a great option.
|Very scalable and flexible||Extremely Costly|
|Great community support||Overcomplicated for small business|
|Can be self-hosted on PHP hosting services||Technical know-how required|
|Community version is free to use||Not as SEO friendly as competitors|
|Plenty of plugin support|
Best Shopify Alternatives for Medium and Small Online Stores
Given below are some of the Best Shopify Alternatives for Medium and Small Online Stores:-
Big Cartel is another excellent Shopify alternative. It was created keeping artists in mind; to sell creative products like paintings, music, accessories, and more.
|Free plan||Only 18 themes available|
|Free themes||Top tier plan offers only 500 products listing|
|No transaction fee||Only 12 available themes.|
|Affordable premium plans||Limited customer support|
|Extremely easy to use||Limited customizations|
Big Cartel is not as competitive when it comes to SEO, PoS, dropshipping, or abandoned carts. But it still has several other advantages that make it a good deal.
For example, you can sell up to 5 products on Big Cartel for free forever. If you go for a basic paid plan, it will cost as low as $9.99/month, and it is one of the easiest builders to use with a low learning curve.
For sellers in the traditional product line-up like electronics, clothing, food, etc, Shopify is still a better option. However, if you’re low on budget or want to sell artistic items, Big Cartel is hands down the easy choice.
|Upto 5 products listing||Upto 50 products listing||Upto 500 products listing|
|Real-time stats||5 images/product||Theme code editing|
|Use a custom domain||Inventory tracking||Sell online & In-person|
|Run promos and discount offers||Google Analytics||Bulk editing|
|Sales tax autopilot||Shipment tracking||Product option groups|
One of the easiest drag-and-drop builders out there with affordable plans and an excellent app library. Wix provides over 100 responsive templates for all sorts of businesses/industries. These templates are extremely customizable, even to the extent of coding. The ease of use and access to HTML code makes it a great choice for newbies and professionals alike.
|Over 800 templates to choose from||Very limited bandwidth on combo and unlimited plan|
|Easy drag-and-drop builder||Can’t switch templates easily|
|Built-in SEO tools||Slower website load time|
|Wix ADI for easy website building||Some apps for integration cost extra|
|Dedicated App Market with 200+ apps||No migration option|
There are two ways to get started: 1. By answering a few questions: Wix ADI will take your answers into consideration and will create a template accordingly. 2. Do it yourself through the Wix editor. You can either choose a template and edit it or start from scratch. Wix is by far one of the most flexible website builders. If you want to learn more, we have created a thorough Wix review.
Wix’s Business and e-commerce plans start at $27/month.
|Business Basic||Business Unlimited||Business VIP|
|50GB storage||100GB storage||Unlimited storage|
|Unlimited products||Subscriptions||Customized reports|
|Abandoned cart recovery||Multiple currencies||Loyalty program|
|Sell on social channels||Advanced shipping||Unlimited dropshipping|
|24/7 customer care||Sell on marketplaces||Upto 3000 Product reviews|
A lot of people don’t have the technical skills to design a website, for those folks and people wanting to sell with a smaller catalog, Squarespace is a brilliant alternative.
The platform has a good number of free and premium templates to choose from; all of them being highly responsive. Furthermore, Squarespace also offers tools or features to tweak or add a custom code to the website.
|Easy to navigate||Limited multi-channel features|
|Intuitive Drag and Drop builder||Limited customer support|
|Inbuilt marketing and analytics feature||Integrations and add-ons limitation|
|Stunning responsive themes|
The most basic plan offers a free domain, and unlimited bandwidth and storage. Meaning, users can create any number of website pages. There are plenty of 3rd party apps for integrations and SEO capabilities that help you optimize websites for search engines. Some of the noteworthy marketing features of Squarespace are MailChimp, AdWords, and Amazon Affiliates for tracking.
|Personal||Business||Commerce Basic||Commerce Advanced|
|Templates to fit every need||Professional email from Google||Checkout on your domain||Sell subscriptions|
|Free custom domain*||Unlimited contributors||Product reviews||Commerce APIs|
|Audience management||Advanced website analytics||Point of sale||Limited availability labels|
|Fully integrated e-commerce|
3% transaction fee
|Fully integrated e-commerce|
0% transaction fee
|Advanced Shipping & Discounting|
Recently, Squarespace introduced its new editor, Fluid Engine. It gives more customization control for better editing. You can read our Squarespace Fluid Engine Review to learn more about it.
For people who are looking for a cheaper alternative, look no further than Weebly. Its most premium plan is cheaper than Shopify’s starter plan. Although Weebly doesn’t offer as many features as Shopify or BigCommerce, it definitely is more than enough for smaller businesses with so nearby plans for expansion.
|Easy to create and launch a website||No scalability option|
|Free trial||Not meant for stores selling in high volumes|
|Most affordable of all|
|Free domain with a premium plan|
It is such a simple builder to create a website with a fairly convenient UI, so you don’t have to dig around much. You can read more about Weebly in our detailed review.
Shift4Shop or formerly 3DCart is another cloud-based e-commerce space. It gained popularity due to its 200 inbuilt features and over 90 free templates. The support for payment gateways is among the most impressive builders with over 100 different options. Flexible prices in combination with unlimited storage make Shift4Shop an excellent Shopify alternative.
Its dynamic allows all sorts of businesses to build and efficiently run their stores. In the features department, you get SEO tools, abandoned cart mail and follow-up, dropshipping, personalization of products, and other tinkering tools as well.
You can get the UI and UX tailored to your needs and improve the feel of your website. The drawbacks start appearing when you don’t meet the free plan criteria because it is more expensive than a lot many competitors and it doesn’t have a mobile app. But it has quite the room for 3rd party integration apps.
|$0 cost enterprise-grade plan* or $29/month||Steep learning curve|
|Unlimited bandwidth||Comparatively expensive if you don’t meet conditions for the free plan|
|Over 100 premium themes||Lack of mobile app for on-the-go selling|
|Unlimited listings||Overly complicated|
|100+ payment gateways|
Etsy is a global marketplace with over 7.5 million sellers selling to around 96.3 million active buyers. You, as a seller, get to list your products alongside other sellers on their websites with access to a humungous audience base. It’s like Amazon but better. You get a free 30-day trial, which is enough time to see if Esty is what you want.
One of the many reasons Etsy is a great choice is its ease of use. You join Etsy as a seller. There’s a $0.20 fee for each product you list. If you sell multiple quantities of the same listing, you’ll pay for each of them.
Your listing expires after 4 months, and if you didn’t make a single sale, you’d still be paying for the listings.
|Access to a large audience base||Fierce competition|
|Etsy pattern syncs with Etsy shop and listings automatically.||6.5% commission on product value.|
|Easy and cost-effective||Etsy owns the customer data.|
Furthermore, you do not need to set up third-party payment gateways separately; you can use Etsy’s payment processing options and order fulfillment services. When you set up an Etsy pattern website under your domain name, you also get a regular Etsy store for the same price. Etsy charges a 6.5% commission on each sale
Etsy allows you to sell your products at both places without much fuss. There are no limitations or restrictions to what you can sell using the Etsy pattern, even items that aren’t allowed to be sold on regular Etsy.
Conclusion: The best Shopify Alternatives
The best Shopify Alternatives are BigCommerce or WooCommerce for big businesses. Several top industries and businesses are currently using these two platforms for their online stores. Shift4shop is another good option for large businesses if a few cons don’t hinder your operations.
BigCommerce and WooCommerce have loads of features to cater to different businesses’ needs. WooCommerce with WordPress is a superb choice if you want to do everything yourself with room for expansion.
However, if one wants to keep the technical work to a minimum and have a smaller or medium-sized store to run, Wix or Squarespace is more than enough. Big Cartel and Weebly are worth considering if one is looking for cheaper options.
You should choose a plan that fits your online store’s need perfectly. If you’re starting a new store, going with the basic plan would be a smart choice. For stores migrating to Shopify, the Shopify plan would be ideal. You can always upgrade to a higher plan later.
Some cheaper Shopify alternatives are Weebly, Big Cartel, and WooCommerce. If you want complete control, WooCommerce is the way to go. For small businesses or creative businesses, Big Cartel is best. Weebly is another cheaper platform with tons of features and control.
There are free alternatives to Shopify like Big Cartel, WooCommerce, or Shift4Shop. Big Cartel lets you sell up to 5 products free of cost forever but it is more geared towards artists selling creative products. WooCommerce is open-source and free to use, however, you’ll need to buy a domain name and hosting service yourself. Shift4Shop offers enterprise-grade features free of cost given that you meet their $500/month processing threshold.
Shopify gives you complete control over your store design, marketing, payment gateways, and more. It is crucial if you’re planning to build a brand out of it. Amazon is an online marketplace that lets you easily join their platform and sell products to their existing customer in exchange for a referral fee. On Amazon, getting noticed might take some time as you’ll be competing with thousands of other sellers. You can’t run discounts or promotions as freely as you can on Shopify.