Shopify is now the leading eCommerce solution that accommodates over 1 million merchants worldwide. However, there are plenty of Shopify alternatives you might consider when starting a new business.
3 reasons why you’re probably looking for a Shopify Alternative
First, we want to highlight some reasons why you want to opt for another platform to optimize your eCommerce business.
Shopify payment gateway
Payment gateway could be a general nuisance for many Shopify merchants. If you don’t use Shopify Payments, you can be charged up to 2% per sale for additional transaction fees.
Additionally, if your business operates in more than one nation, you’ll find Shopify Payment gateway as something irritating. By not using Shopify Payments, you’re not allowed to transact in multiple currencies.
If your products are sophisticated with numerous variants for each, then you might be off-putting by Shopify.
For instance, you open a clothing store, now I’ll pick a basic T-shirt from your product catalog. Supposing for that T-shirt you have many sizes, various colors, and multiple designs.
Now let’s do simple mathematics. If each attribute has 5 variants, then your product has 5x 5×5 = 125 variants, which unfortunately exceeds Shopify’s limitation of 100 variants per product.
This can only be solved when you upgrade to Shopify Plus, which unfortunately costs you an arm and leg.
Despite the fact that Shopify can handle some basic SEO tasks, if you want to have full control over your website from A to Z then probably Shopify isn’t that great of a choice.
One of its SEO issues is fixed URL structure, which means you can’t customize them to the fullest as your intention.
Another common problem is that robot.txt files have to be left untouched. For your info, those are the files you use to tell Google how to crawl and index your website so that only the pages you want can make it to the search results.
Top 8 Shopify alternatives in 2021
If Shopify doesn’t make for a great fit for your business, it’s not the end of the day because we compile these 8 alternatives to Shopify just for you!
Great fit for: those who are on the growth, want to scale up their business and use their own payment gateway without being charged an extra fee.
Founded in 2009, BigCommerce is now a major competitor of Shopify. Similar to Shopify, the hosted platform allows users to create and optimize their own eCommerce sites from scratch. With BigCommerce, you can sell on multiple channels, manage all things in one central hub.
- Payment Gateway: unlike Shopify, BigCommerce does not charge its users any extra fees even when they use another Payment Gateway
- Sophisticated Product Catalog: the variants for each product of BigCommerce is 6 times higher than that of Shopify (100 limited variants) means that you can better categorize your products collection
- Beginner-friendly: with a drag-and-drop editor, BigCommerce is well-known for its ease of use. If you are a newbie, BigCommerce might work out for you
- SEO capabilities: more extensive than Shopify, allows users to fully customize their URLs
- Limited free themes: there are only 5 free themes available. That means if you want to customize your website, you have to cash out for paid ones
- Limited annual sales: if you use BigCommerce’s standard plan, you have an annual limit of $50,000 per year
There are no significant differences between BigCommerce and Shopify regarding pricing plans. BigCommerce offers users 3 packages, starting from $30 to all the way up to 300 monthly with the most popular one is the Plus package at $80/month.
However, if you want to use another payment gateway without being charged an extra transaction fee, or if you are in favor of its inventory capacity, BigCommerce is worth trying.
Great fit for: businesses that already have a WordPress site and want to customize their store to the fullest
WooCommerce is an eCommerce plug-in for WordPress which was launched in 2011. At the present, WooCommerce is one of the best alternatives for Shopify as it is the homeland for a quarter of the top 1 million sites worldwide.
- Various payment gateways: WooCommerce partners up with PayPal, Stripe, Square, WooCommerce Payments, and others, so you’re not limited when it comes to payment gateways.
- Powerful customization: since WooCommerce is open-source, you can have complete control over your eCommerce store. This means the plug-in allows you to build up everything from scratch if you have coding skills
- Built for developers: if you’re highly aware of what you’re doing then this plug-in could be a sharp tool
- Free to install: WooCommerce doesn’t cost you anything to install. So set aside the costs associated with plugins, hosting we’ll discuss below, WooCommerce could be a cost-effective solution
- Added costs: though WooCommerce doesn’t charge a monthly fee, you have to cash out for loads of stuff (Plugins, SSL certificates, hosting, domains, security). Stay alert when using WooCommerce if you’re on a budget
- Technical skills: in spite of the fact that WooCommerce empowers you to customize from A to Z, it’s time-consuming or even impossible for those merchants without much knowledge about coding
- Loading speed: though WooCommerce is fast when you add too many plug-ins to it, it will lower the loading speed performance
Though the WooCommerce plugin is free, you’ll still need to pay for hosting, an SSL certificate, and a domain.
Hosting varies in price, but it can end up costing around $30 per month, which is equivalent to the Shopify Standard plan that includes hosting.
To conclude, WooCommerce might not save you much money; however, if you’re familiar with WordPress, the plug-in could be a savage tool to optimize your websites
Great fit for: eCommerce SMEs seeking low transaction fees
Volusion was launched in 1999 and is one of the first platforms that empowered online business. The platform is known as a top Shopify alternative due to its exact pricing strategy.
- Payment gateway: Volusion offers merchants several choices of payment, which are Stripe, PayPal, and Volusion Payments. If you use their own payment gateway, you’ll enjoy the low transaction fee at 2.15% + $0.30. Then how about using another third party? Don’t worry, the platform doesn’t charge you additional transactions fee like Shopify
- Usability: like BigCommerce and many Shopify alternatives, Volusion is well-known for its ease of use. The platform allows users to customize their eCommerce store without sweating thanks to its drag-and-drop builder and beginner-friendly interface
- Sufficient features: though the number of eCommerce features of Volusion isn’t that great compared to Shopify. However, it is far from enough for small businesses, including rich content editor, secure checkout, shipping options, CRM and so much more.
- Scalability: as mentioned above, Volusion is approachable for small businesses. Thus, Volusion’s limited add-ons, features might not catch up with your business’s growth.
- Free themes: Volusion offers users many stunning themes with the majority of them are free. Though it’s noticeable that these themes are not responsive to any devices if you do not cash out
Though the costs per month of Volusion are identical to that of Shopify, if you decide to purchase annually, these costs are marginally lower. To conclude, if your business scope is small and you want to get away from Shopify’s additional transaction fees, Volusion may help sort things out.
Great fit for: small enterprises that emphasize greatly on a stunning website to visualize their products the best
Squarespace is a web-builder platform that allows its users to start a blog or run a business. What makes Squarespace one of the top Shopify alternatives is its gorgeous themes and designs.
- Impressive design: regarding visuals, it’s not exaggerating to say that Squarespace is second-to-none. Squarespace provides its users with a wide range of stunning themes and designs that work for the business of any industries
- Ease of use: just like Shopify and BigCommerce, Squarespace is an appropriate choice for those who want to run a business without much coding experience
- Free domain name: if you purchase for the web builder’s annual package, then you don’t have to worry about the cost of the domain name
- SEO: with Squarespace, you can edit page titles, meta descriptions, make custom URLs, and they all include XML sitemaps and valid XHTML code
- Third-party limitation: one of its biggest disadvantages is that Squarespace do not have a lot of integration tools for those who want to fully optimize their eCommerce sites
- Limited payment: Stripe has been integrated with Squarespace as the main payment solution. And you also have one more option to go with either PayPal or Apple Pay
- Limited marketing features: Squarespace’s marketing features are quite humble compared to Shopify as it only has Google AdWords, MailChimp, share buttons, and Amazon affiliate tracking.
In comparison to Shopify, Squarespace has more various packages, which range from $16 to $54 per month. Additionally, users can choose to save more cost by purchasing annually. Though the business package of Squarespace is slightly cheaper than Shopify’s Standard Plan, you have to upgrade to the higher paid plan for more eCommerce functions.
Great fit for: those who are new in the field but want to make their sites fully optimized
Wix was established in 2006. Just like Volusion, Wix is most suitable for small businesses. The web development company is one of the direct Shopify alternatives for its cheaper pricing strategy, ease of use, and many beautiful free templates.
- Template design and customizability: out of 800 templates, Wix offers 114 free eCommerce-oriented templates, which totally beats Shopify on the number of free templates. In addition, Wix allows merchants to drag and drop anything anywhere, which may be a plus for those who don’t want to put much effort into customizing their store
- Marketing features: Wix Ascend allows users to manage everything in one place which is convenient for those merchants who don’t want to rely too much on third-party apps. Specifically, Wix’s SEO tool is strong when it recommends popular words or phrases to increase your Google ranking
- Business tools: one of Wix’s highlighted features is that it offers specific solutions for specific types of business. Plus, if you choose to pay for the Premium Business package, you’ll receive a custom domain, Google Analytics integration, and many extra web tools
- Product and inventory management: though Wix does a good job at inventory management, Shopify is superior. With Wix, you might need apps to help with inventory stock management, visitor analytics, and navigate your way around. For this, Wix is appropriate for small eCommerce businesses. To get customized reports with Wix, you have to cash out for the highest plan
- Payment gateway: though Wix doesn’t charge an additional transaction fee no matter what payment option you select, though the options are extremely limited to PayPal, Stripe, and Square
- eCommerce apps: the number of apps on Wix platform is humble compared to a huge range of choices provided by Shopify. If you want to get a tab on every single thing on your eCommerce site, we don’t highly recommend this platform to you
As of writing this article, it is so clear that Wix’s 3 packages are significantly cheaper than Shopify’s packages. The VIP package only costs you a mere $35 monthly. If your business is rather small and you want to stay on a tight budget, give Wix a try then.
Great fit for businesses that want to have utter flexibility regarding payment gateways and inventory management
3DCart has existed in the eCommerce market since 1997. This privately owned eCommerce solution empowers online merchants to build up their websites and boost their sales from scratch regardless of scope or industry. 3Dcart is highly reputed as one of Shopify fierce alternatives due to its inventory management and wide range of payment methods
- Payment gateway options: when using 3Dcart, you’ll be able to choose from 100 various payment gateways as your likings without being additionally charged. If deciding on payment processors does matter to you, this is such a good news
- Built-in features: the platform provides you with 200+ built-in features so that you can stretch your budget and fully optimize your eCommerce store. A big plus is that all 3dcart plans offer single-page checkout, domain name, customer reviews, coupons, saved carts, and so much more.
- Unlimited product listings: 3Dcart offers its merchants unlimited product storage options. And that makes it a strongly scalable platform for the businesses on the growth
- Technical skills: the bad news is that the platform requires you to edit your themes with HTML or CSS. If you don’t have any technical skills, you might be turned off by this
- Negative customer support: many users told they were not much satisfied with customer support from 3Dcart, which may be a pain point as mentioned above, it requires you to have some coding skills
- Apps and add-ons: among Shopify alternatives, 3Dcart is the one that provides the most apps and add-ons to support eCommerce sites. However, your options are quite limited with standard plans. To open new useful features such as email marketing or abandoned cart, you probably have to cash out more. Plus, if you want to fully optimize your store with many third-party, though it doesn’t lower your loading speed much, it’s not that great of a cost-effective choice
On average, 3Dcart is slightly more affordable than Shopify but Shopify may be worth your extra spending. To conclude, if you have a relative amount of coding skills and want to optimize your product catalogs and be more flexible in payment gateways, 3Dcart could be a perfect choice
Great fit for: small businesses that want to stay on a really tight budget
Weebly is a web hosting service founded in 2006 which is owned by Square Inc. The platform is known as one of Shopify’s less expensive alternatives for its lowest cost in the eCommerce service marketplace.
- Great ease of use: pretty much like Shopify, Weebly is designed for beginners who have the least technical skills. The platform gives you all the tools you need to get started
- Excellent pricing: Weebly is one of the most cost-effective web hosting platforms; therefore, you can launch your business without being concerned about budget
- Limited eCommerce tools: if you want to gain full control over your online business and scale it up significantly, Weebly is perhaps on your blacklist. Its eCommerce-oriented tools are quite restrictive compared to that of Shopify
- Limited customization: though Weebly offers users some professionally cool themes, it might be troublesome to make any alteration to your store for optimization
As of writing this article, it’s apparent that the pricing packages of Weebly are remarkably cheaper than Shopify and almost all its alternatives when they only range from $12 to the maximum of $38. However, considering its limited sales tools and customization, Weebly is only appropriate for merchants who have just dipped their toes on the game
Great fit for: small businesses with simple product catalogs that just jump in online sales and want to choose a wallet-friendly platform
Big Cartel is a fully-hosted software that empowers small online shoppers to get entry to eCommerce games without worrying about being eaten up by extra fees. Though its features are more limited than Shopify, its low-cost pricing strategy makes Big Cartel a worth-trying Shopify alternative.
- No extra transaction fees: Big Cartel stands out as one of the eCommerce platforms that allows you to sell your products for totally free
- SEO capabilities: though Big Cartel doesn’t cater to such a massive number of apps like Shopify, the platform supports dozens of SEO tools
- Ease of use: as Big Cartel was initially designed for artists and creators, it focuses on simplicity; therefore, its back end is beginner-friendly with a convenient back end
- Payment: though Big Cartel doesn’t charge you extra fees, its payment gateways are strictly confined to Stripe and PayPal
- Hard to scale up: since Big Cartel features are limited, it’s unlikely to help you scale up your business scope
It’s noticeable that the highest plan of Big Cartel is equal to the basic plan of Shopify. Additionally, if you sell up to only 5 products, you can do it for totally free. Thus, Big Cartel is nothing but a perfectly cost-effective choice for small businesses with a simple product catalog.
There could be a hundred Shopify alternatives out there. And we know you might get overwhelmed to decide on which one to flourish. That’s why we narrow the list down to the 8 best Shopify alternatives for you to consider.
Finding a “Mr or Mrs. Right” for your online business is never an easy task. And for that, we genuinely hope after you come to grips with our recommendations above, you can find a platform that hits all the right notes- needs, skills, and budgets.