Nobody can deny the fact that Shopify is an all-inclusive eCommerce platform. It revolutionized eCommerce for everyday businesses. Before Shopify, there was no eCommerce platform, especially for beginners, to build a beautiful and fully functional online store. Shopify offers flexible and scalable tools, countless integrations, and yes, it is affordable.
However, when it comes to eCommerce, Shopify is unbeatable, but not the only game in town. We mean it’s not necessarily the best option for every online shop owner.
In fact, there are so many different types of eCommerce solutions, each with their specific feature set, unique appeal, and pricing. So, whether you are currently using Shopify or are trying to explore all of the options before starting your online store, it’s a wise decision to look into Shopify alternatives.
Top 5 Shopify Alternatives
With a number of Shopify alternatives that are available for small and mid-sized business owners, we’ve compiled a list of 5 Shopify alternatives. Here, you will find both, similar Shopify competitors like BigCommerce and those with more significant differences, say Magento, we’ll explain to you why they may be an appropriate option for your online business.
To some unhappy Shopify Customers: Whether you think…
- Shopify is expensive (as it charges a transaction fee of 2% and also charges a 3rd party app fee)
- Its payment system lacks international support,
- It’s prohibiting the sale of (your) certain products,
- Its blogging features are limited or mediocre,
- Its multilingual approach is difficult or expensive,
- Its SEO structure is rigid or limited,
Or, else - whatever the reason why you might be searching for Shopify alternatives, we’ve got you covered!
These are a few different types of eCommerce solutions that will possibly be great alternatives to Shopify.
If you want a no-sweat eCom solution with the flexibility of a drag-and-drop editor, BigCommerce is the best, offering a full-cycle solution for a website.
Its themes, though only seven are free, are downright stunning, for all the industries; anyway, its hundreds of built-in features won’t cost you as much money in the app store as with Shopify. Its advanced content-marketing approaches will let you promote your product on the web so that you can increase the conversion rates.
With BigCommerce, multi-channel selling is streamlined. You can manage your stores on Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Pinterest; no worries, you won’t be facing under/overselling, as BigCommerce syncs your entire inventory across all the channels.
Price ranges are between $29.95/mo to $249.95/mo, all the plans offer limited annual sales volume, so if your yearly sales cross $50,000, you need to upgrade the plan. If missed, BigCommerce automatically upgrades you to a higher-tier plan, and your monthly cost will be doubled.
Nothing is perfect; so is BigCommerce. The load times on BigCommerce sites is quite slow. Sometimes it also shows bandwidth errors.
WooCommerce is free. But since it’s not a platform, so you still be needing a budget to host your e-store; on average, it would cost you something like:
- Hosting: $5 – 25 / month
- Domain: $10/year
- Premium theme: a one-off fee of $59
- Added plugins: $40 – 80/year/plugin
WooCommerce is one of the few best eCom open-source platforms for WordPress aficionados, but make sure, it’s quite difficult to scale. And if you want all the bells and whistles, you have to buy the advanced functionality. Still, its free package is enough to build a site to compete with expensive carts.
Unlike Shopify and BigCommerce, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to take eCommerce transactions using the world’s popular yet complicated CMS. Meaning, you should have a WordPress site to install it.
With WooCommerce, but with some tweaking, you can build a mobile-friendly e-store with a one-time hosting fee, and if your budget allows for extra perks, you can cherry-pick any extensions you want. The platform offers a load of plugins that can easily be integrated well with WordPress.
The best thing about WooCommerce is that you own your platform, you will be the sole controller of your website. It means nobody is going to kick you out for not following the rules.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce boasts premium add-ons for a one-time payment. Its weakest point is troubleshooting - if your store experiences a glitch, WooCommerce will blame on your hosting or a plugin, and your hosting provider/plugin developer will blame the theme.
Just like WooCommerce, Magento is a free, feature-rich, open-source, and downloadable platform that is ideal for mid-sized to large businesses, especially those that have in-house programmers. The platform also allows advanced customizations as long as you are cool with coding.
Please note, that Magento is not a plug-and-play solution for beginners and those who have no tech skills. But if you have the development resources, Magento can shine in terms of flexibility, scalability, and optimization. The best thing about Magento is - it accommodates vast amounts of sales and traffic.
Magento’s platform has a lot of built-in features including instant payment gateways, more international shipping, a variety of payment options, site search, instant purchase, and a vast selection of integrations and extensions. Being an open-source, new extensions and integrations release more often than any other platform.
Since it’s a free download, you’ll have to host it somewhere. Hosting it may cost you a min of $7.99/month. Magento also offers free themes, but most of the premium ones are paid - themes range from $29 to $499/year, and extensions cost $50/module.
Shopify Plus & Headless eCommerce
Another alternative to Shopify can be going headless. This means decoupling front-end and the back-end of an online shop. In headless eCommerce the content presentation layer or the CMS is separate from the application layer.
A popular solution here is Shopify Plus. Its pricing model is based on usage with the minimum fee expected to be $2,000 per month. Credit card processing fee includes 0,15% fee if using Shopify Payments and it varies by country. With Shopify Payments, you do not need a merchant account or payment gateway. You should also take into consideration possible app and maintenance fees.
One of the main advantages of using Shopify Plus is the fact that it is a SaaS platform option for SMB and mid-market retailers. It has been built to reduce operational and maintenance activities as much as possible. The simplified nature of the platform with efficient admin functions are Shopify Plus’ main selling points.
If everything else fails or does not meet your needs the last option is to go custom. A custom-made eCommerce site offers crazy amount of flexibility and scalability. In this type of solution the website is owned by you. You can make it into everything you want. A custom design will stand out from the competition and allow modifications as the business grows. It also means that there are no limitations on how to set up the store and shopping cart.
Custom eCommerce stores are great for online marketing and SEO as they provide you with control over everything to achieve the best results. They can be configured for mobile devices with little to no effort.
However, when considering choosing a custom solution you should take into consideration whether you have the resources to do so. A custom website will most definitely require a bigger investment, so it is not for a start-up budget. What is more, you should have some experience with creating and running a website as well as the human resources like designers, programmers, marketing team. But if you are interested in such a solution and lack expertise you can always make use of outsourcing and let specialists do the job for you.
Which Shopify alternative is the best?
No two eCommerce solutions are the same. Every business has different goals and needs, so it all depends on your priorities. The good news is that you have plenty of options to choose from, including our selected ones.
Though Shopify is an obvious choice when it comes to building an eCommerce website, obviously, you might outgrow it at any time, or simply get bored with Shopify or want a more flexible option.
So, in our experience, BigCommerce is powerful and flexible, and one of the best yet most potent Shopify alternatives; if you are looking for a more straightforward solution, Squarespace is also an excellent option to consider. And yes, WooCommerce is also best but only for WordPress-based e-shops.
You won’t go wrong with any of these three options. They are just great for starting a successful e-store.