Shopify is quite a popular platform for building ecomm stores. 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 the list. And why not? It’s intuitive, very easy to set up and comes with most of the basic features needed to run an online store.
But you’re reading this article, it means you’re looking for alternatives. Maybe Shopify didn’t fulfill your requirement or maybe it was too limited. If that’s the case, this article is the best thing that can happen to your online store. That said, before you jump to alternatives ahead, let’s take a look at Shopify’s best and worst aspects.
Shopify Pros and Cons
Before considering alternative options for Shopify, it is better to know about the pros and cons of Shopify.
|Easy to use software – The intuitive nature and user friendliness help a user put items and categories relatively easier than the most.||Transaction fee – Lack of choice in payment gateways cause a charge of additional 2% on every transaction.|
|Apps and Community – Shopify has over 4200 apps, both paid and free, ready for integeration. The wide availablity in almost every category of application support for expansion and smooth operation.||Limited Features – Cannot view real-time shipping costs or use an advanced report builder unless subscribed to 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 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 being, a rigid URL structure.|
|Performance – Great uptime and speedy store.|
Why are you looking for Shopify Alternatives?
Although Shopify is one of the most popular software, it is also relatively older. There are several alternatives now in the market that provide much better flexibility hence prove to be a better option. Some of the reasons why one may be looking for Shopify alternatives are as follows:
- Shopify Payments: Restricted payment options is a deal breaker. If you aren’t using Shopify’s own payment gateway, Stripe, you’ll have to pay upto 2% of 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 neededd to perform better on Google.
- Catalogue Capacity: Shopify gets overwhelmingly complicated and limited if you have a large catalogue. It limits you to 100SKUs 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 the type 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 like 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
A store has to include an array of payment options. Not everyone has PayPal and not everyone has Visa card. There needs to be a diversity allowing to accept different payment methods. A consumer limited by payment option could result in loss of sale. For example, 3D cart, it supports over 70 payment gateways.
Another thing to keep in mind should be international transactions. Admitted, not all the online stores sell globally but even then the variety in payment gateway is useful, making the store future proof in case the store wants to expand down the line.
No way business X is similar to business Y. The difference in business model is obvious and so is the message a business wants to convey to its customer. A platform should provide ample room to the store to customize or tinker with website design, catalogue appearance or the way menu slides open.
So, when you go for an alternative, make sure the platform gives you control to customize whatever aspect of the website design you want to customize or code if that’s what you do. Similarly, if you’re a novice, getting things done easily shold be your concern. Chances are you don’t know the technicalities hence ease of use should be priority.
In simpler words – A coder should have freedom to code and a newbie should have access to visual drag and drop builder for smoother store building experience.
A Growing Catalogue
For a store working with a smaller catalogue, Shopify is more than good enough. It’s when you decide to expand, things go a little wee with Shopify. And you wouldn’t want constraints. So, when you look for an alternative builder, keep your expansion possibilities in mind.
Best Shopify Alternatives for Big Online Stores
Enlisted below are some of the Best Alternatives for Shopify for Big Online Stores:-
This a open-source, Free to use plugin store builder that was launched almost a decade back in 2011. The best thing about WooCommerce is it can turn your exisiting wordpress blog into an online store should you choose to sell products. Other than WordPress, Bigcommerce too has an option to integrate with WooCommerce.
It lets you build your site store in matter of minutes. Although you don’t get to enjoy the advanced features unless you buy a premium package, which also happens to be a one time payment package, unlike shopify where you pay a monthly premium.
Responsivenes is yet another forte of Woocommerce meaning mobile friendly websites are easy to create. The only thing to keep in mind is, you have to buy hosting yourself. Can’t expect to get everything for free!
- Free to Use Plugin
- Easy Integration with WordPress or Bigcommerce
- Highly Customizable due to Open-Source Nature
- Zero Transaction Fee
- No Hosting included
- CSS and HTML knowledge required
- Use of Plugins lead to slower site
- Dated feel
Domain: $10/years (Approx.)
Hosting: $5 to $25 each month
Premium Theme: $59; one-time fee.
Volusion is a cloud-based store building platform that is gaining popularity and is amongst the most competitive alternatives to Shopify. Serving over 200,000 businesses, Volusion is mostly prefered by companies or stores planning to scale their operations in coming time. 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 a number of plugins and extensions to streamline your store building.
One thing to keep notice of while purchasing Volusion package is it offers metered bandwidth so crossing the limit causes extra charges that go by $7 for 1 GB. With monthly subscriptions, you get a bundle of features including gift certificates, various parent categories and subcategories and a lot more.
That said, you are going to need some coding knowledge to properly create the store while the rest of the work gets handled by Volusion’s Graphics User Interface (GUI). Apart from the weaker product function and limited bandwidth, there’s nothing serious to avoid this store builder.
- Multi-Payment gateway support
- Tons of free useful themes
- No transaction fee
- Extremely user friendly
- No limits on product listings
- A super useful mobile app
- Some coding skills required.
- Sub-par search function
- Limited numbers of integration apps
- It is not possible to integrate it with Pinterest and PLA’s.
- Bandwidth limit.
Pricing: Personal – $29 for up to 50k in sales; Professional – $79 for up to 100k in sales & Business – $299 for up to 500k in sales.
If you want a simple drag and drop builder that is easy to go around with and without much technicalities, BigCommerce is the name for you. Offering plenty of flexibility and features, BigCommerce, undoubtedly is a great Shopify alternative. Although in terms of free elements it has only a handful of themes. For the premium themes, you have to pay but you gain extreme control over customization, which is way better than what Shopify offers.
What’s even better is the tools you can access to optimize your store/website for better leads and conversion. With tons of features in built, you wouldn’t have to spend time looking for 3rd party apps for integration. You can make use of multichannel selling to manage your catalogs on Pinterest, eBay, Facebook and more. In terms of pricing flexbility, BigComm offers some nice packages that strat from $29.95/month for the basic package and goes upto 299.99/month for the Pro plan. If you want a custom plan, you can contact their sales rep and they’ll offer you a right price based on your need.
- Easy to use drag and drop builder
- Multi-channel selling.
- Unlimited products listing and allocated bandwidth
- Super competitive SEO tools
- Ideal for all sorts of online store
- Support for over 55 payment gateway, no additional charges
- Limited number of free themes.
- A little bit of learning curve due to so many features
Pricing: Standard- $29.95/month; Plus – $71.95/month, & Pro – $269.96/month
Magento is yet another open source platform that offers store building for smaller businesses. It also has dedicated provision for large businesses, Magento Commerce. This ideal platform has built quite a large community across the globe and when you take a look at their price to performance ratio, you wouldn’t wonder why.
WooCommerce and Magento go hand in hand in terms of pricing, making it a useful and better Shopify alternative. You have to pay for the hosting, domain and themes though. For businesses looking for expansion or transitioning from Shopify, Magento is a great option.
- Very scalable and flexible
- Great community support
- Loads of additional features
- Easy-to-use on mobile phones
- Costly affair
- Sub-par Product support
- Handful of developers
PinnacleCart is a solution medium to large stores. It puts quite the emphasis on marketing. Unlike many other platforms, PinnacleCart gives you an option to either host on your own or host with them. The flexibility alone could be important for many, making it an amazing alternative.
In terms of freebies, a user gets access to 12 free theme templates which are highly responsive. The backend UI is quite intuitive, simple and clean to use. On top of that, PinnacleCart gives you integration availability for platforms like Facebook.
- Hosting Options
- Abundance of SEO features including custom URL etc.
- No limits on categories and products
- Limited bandwidth on entry level package
- Manual upgrades
- Only 12 available themes
Best Shopify Alternatives for Medium and Small Online Stores
Given below are some of the Best Shopify Alternatives for Medium and Small Online Stores:-
One of the easiest drag and drop builders out there with affordable plans and excellent app library. WIx provides over 100 of responsive templates for all sorts 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.
There are two ways to get started: 1. By answering questions. Wix’s ADI will take your answers into consideration and will create a template accordingly. 2. Do it yourself through wix editor. You can either choose a template and edit it or start raw from blank canvas. Wix is by far one of the most flexible
- No extra fee
- Plenty of stunning free themes
- Really easy to use
- On par marketing features
- Support for 6 products and 300SKUs
- Free Domain with premium plan
- So so SEO performance
- Limited Storage space except for enterprise plan
- Poor Amazon Integration
A lot of people don’t have technical skills to design a website, for those folks and people wanting to sell with a smaller catalogue, 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.
The most basic plan offers free domain, and unlimited bandwith and storage. Meaning, user can create any number of website pages. There are plenty of 3rd party apps for integrations and SEO capabilities that help you optimize website for search engines. Some of the noteworthy marketing features of Squarespace are MailChimp, AdWords, and Amazon Affiliates for tracking.
- Easy to navigate
- Intuitive Drag and Drop builder
- Inbuilt marketing and analytics feature
- Stunning responsive themes
- Limited multi-channel features
- Limited customer support
- Integrations and addons limitation
For people who are looking for a cheaper alternative, look no farther 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.
It is such a simple builder to create a website with fairly convenient UI, so you don’t have to dig around much.
- Easy to create and launch a website
- Free trial
- Most affordable of all
- Free domain with premium plan.
- No scalability option
- Not meant for stores selling in high volumes
4. 3D Cart
3DCart is another emerging name in the cloud-based ecommerce space. The popularity is due to its 200 inbuilt features and over 90 free templates that 3DCart provide. The support for payment gateways is amongst the most impressive builders with over 100 different options. Flexible prices in combination with unlimited storage makes 3DCart an amazing 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 choose a theme since there aren’t many. But it has quite the room for 3rd party intergration apps.
- Loads of features
- No transaction fee
- Super fast store speed and load time
- Over 100 payment gateways.
- Unlimited listings
- Learning curve because of features
- Bandwidth restrictions on entry level plans.
- Inferior customer support
- Old themes
Etsy is a global marketplace with well over 1.7 million sellers selling to around 33 million buyers. You, as a seller, get to list your products alongside other sellers on their website. It’s like Amazon but better. You get a free 30-day trial to try and see if that’s what works for your business.
One of the many reasons why Etsy is a great choice is the ease of using it. Even for people who are not from the web designing field, you will easily be able to create a shop, add your listings and get set selling..
You do not need to set up third-party payment gateways separately; you can use Etsy’s payment processing options and order fulfilment services. When you set up an Etsy pattern website under your domain name, you also get a regular Etsy store as well for the same price.
This makes it possible to sell your products at both places at once 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.
- Very easy to use and saves a lot of time
- Etsy pattern syncs with your Etsy shop and your listings automatically.
- Fierce competition
- 5% commission on product value.
- Etsy owns the customer data.
Final Verdict: What is the best Shopify Alternative for you?
The best Shopify Alternative at the moment seems to be BigCommerce or 3DCart. Several top industries and businesses are at the moment making use of these two platforms for their online businesses.
BigCommerce and 3DCart have loads of features to cater different businesses’ needs. But if you want to do everything by yourself and want room for expansion, WooCommerce with WordPress is a superb choice.
However, if one wants to keep the technical work to a minimum, have a smaller or medium sized store to run, Wix or Squarespace is more than enough. If one is looking for cheaper options, WooCommerce and Magento are worth considering. On the other hand, if the focus is on blog and content marketing, Squarespace and Selz are good options.