What Are The Best Shopify Alternatives For Your Online Store?

Shopify is the king of ecommerce, however due to various reasons, it might not be for you. Find out all of the top Shopify Alternatives for 2020

Adam Eleiko
Adam Eleiko
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What Are The Best Shopify Alternatives?

shopify

Shopify is one of the largest ecommerce platforms on the market today. But does that mean they’re the best option? Well, not always. Many people are actively seeking out Shopify alternatives because it just isn’t quite the magical answer when it comes to finding the best ecommerce platform to power your online store.

Shopify, just like every option on our list, has its downsides (no software or service is ever perfect) and it may not be for everyone. Let me get this out of the way first: Shopify is an amazing platform that has completely changed the world of eCommerce over the last few years. They just aren’t for everyone though.

Whether your online business is a smaller sized shop or a big online store, we have some great alternatives to Shopify.

Shopify Alternatives For Bigger Stores

Please note: any of the platforms in our Bigger Stores section below can be used for smaller stores, and oftentimes are. We just wanted to keep them separated so that someone with a large ecommerce outfit didn’t try to use one of the selections listed towards the middle or bottom of our list.

BigCommerce

The top comparison to Shopify when it comes to catering to larger online shops would have to be BigCommerce. Their flexible drag-and-drop editing features make creating your website super simple and quick to set up. BigCommerce is an all around one-stop shop when it comes to creating your store’s website.

Theme wise, BigCommerce currently only offers seven free options, but what they do offer is extremely well put together. Depending on your industry or style, you may have to pay for premium themes that can run you anywhere from $135 to $300 per theme. Currently there are over 600 application variants to further customize your website, that towers over Shopify’s 100.

What sets them apart from other services is that when you purchase a theme it is a one-time payment, and you have unlimited access to that particular theme for life. This means if the creators of a particular theme come out with an update after you have purchased it, you will be entitled to the updated theme and add-ons at no additional cost.

In regards to how you will promote your products on the internet, BigCommerce has some advanced content-marketing features that set it apart from their competition. There are also hundreds of built in features offered for free on BigCommerce where other sites, like Shopify, will charge you with each feature you purchase from the app store.

Multi-channel selling is a big aspect of some business owners in regards to growing their business. With BigCommerce they have streamlined this process. So if you are selling on Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, and even Facebook, BigCommece allows you a place to manage each store in one convenient place.

Pricing

bigcommerce

Price wise, there are different levels of plans that result in different price brackets. For the standard pricing package, plans run at $29.95 per month. This plan allows for you to sell an unlimited number of products, unlike Shopify who, at their highest tier, limits the number of products you can list and sell on your own website.

The Plus plan will cost you $71.95 per month and gives you access to their abandoned cart server included with this level. Next up, is the Pro plan at $269.96 per month. Access to this plan gets you product filtering as well as Google reviews integration. If you still don't see a plan that fits your qualifications, reach out to receive a custom quote. This is ideal for enterprise, and you will work specifically with a BigCommerce marketer that will help you with your store.

It’s important to note that if you exceed particular yearly sales thresholds that your plan allows, you will automatically be moved up to the next available plan. If you currently have the standard plan you are allotted a yearly threshold of $50K. Moving up to the plus plan, your yearly sales threshold limit will raise to $150K, and finally the pro plan maxes out at $400K.

A big factor in going with BigCommerce is the fact that there are no transaction fees with this company. Essentially, what you sell is what you get, which is a great aspect when building your own ecommerce business. BigCommerce also puts extreme importance on SEO, so if this is crucial for your website, it might be worth considering.

Of course there are negatives to going with BigCommerce. Currently, they do not offer a multilingual store. If this is something that is pertinent to your niche store, you may have to learn how to code your website yourself, if not going to another option. Where BigCommerce excels with commerce pages, it’s more difficult to work with making regular content pages.

BigCommerce is probably Shopify’s largest competitor on the market right now, which makes it a viable option for your ecommerce business. The biggest selling point we think is important to mention with BigCommerce is how they handle product management, which is a crucial aspect of a bigger online business.

WooCommerce

woocommerce

The second biggest platform for your ecommerce website on our list is WooCommerce. If you are already comfortable using WordPress, then using this free open-source tool may be the perfect option for you. Essentially, WooCommerce is a plugin for WorkPress that turns your website into an extremely powerful online store. Although the WooCommerce platform is huge, it can be great for sites selling one product, or sites selling 10,000 products.

Both WooCommerce and WordPress are free for personal and commercial use, and you can install them and start running your website right now. With both being open source, you have access to edit the raw, underlying code in a way to make it perfectly tailored to fit the needs of your store.

If you make the decision to go with WooCommerce, you will have to find an additional source of hosting, selecting a domain name, themes, email provider, and a few other aspects that will make running your website much easier. Hosting providers are numerous out there, but Bluehost is a great option for those who don't have the technical skills and know what they are looking for. Bluehost has powered over 2 million websites worldwide, with a big chunk of them being online store platforms, so it’s a pretty safe bet for your ecommerce site.

Pricing

One major selling point of WooCommerce, in comparison to others on our list, is there are quite a few plan options, with one being completely free. The free package allows for users to build their site that can compete with others that have paid for a plan. If you want the extra bells and whistles to your website, we do recommend purchasing a plan that will add the extra perks and features not available when utilizing their free plan.

While WooCommerce itself can be free, you will have to buy a domain name that is $12 dollars a year and find a hosting service that will probably run you anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars a month.

Unlike Shopify that has monthly subscription options, WooCommerce provides users with premium add-ons on a one time basis, monthly, and annually. There are also three WooCommerce pricing plans per month that will affect how much webspace is allowed, among other things.

Starter plan at $13.00 per month will get you a limited webspace of up to 100 GB. The next plan up is called the Plus plan and is $17.99 each month, but it offers unlimited space for your store. Finally is the Pro plan at $31.99 a month that gives you unlimited space as well as including an advanced backup solution. All three plans will include domain and email, so all you will have to do is pay for hosting.

It’s important to remember that you and your store may not require all the features we have mentioned, which will make your budget and expenses vary, but it’s a good way to plan your spending if you are not sure what you want on your website. With WooCommerce there is a lot available for free, but if you expect a certain quality from your business, you may expect the same from your website. Free may cutit for some businesses, but it might not for others.

Themes to add to your website may also run you some extra money. Finding a free theme with WooCommerce is not impossible, but they are rather limiting. When shopping around for themes, make sure you find one that supports WooCommerce. Your estimated costs should be around $59, but this will depend on the theme itself and the package you purchase.

A plugin you need to know about is WooCommerce Freshdesk. At $79 dollars, it's a plugin that will let you embed a ticketing system in regards to customer support. Customers simply receive a ticket directly from your store when they need help with something, and you can get to them when you have worked through to their ticket number.

WooCommerce is ideal for any hybrid model stores that sell digital and physical items as well as affiliate products. If you are running a content heavy website, WooCommerce may be the perfect option for your new website. Never underestimate the factor of the time it will take to set up and maintain your website. WooCommerce will consistently need updating and tweaking, so if you are looking for a hands off site, this may not be the platform for you.

Volusion

volusion pricing

Currently serving over 200,000 businesses, with 40,000 online retailers, is our next ecommerce platform Volusion. They set themselves apart from competition by utilizing a cloud-based shopping cart, making it ideal for people with only entry-level skills who are creating their ecommerce store. If you go with Volusion, there is no worry about hosting or integrating necessary applications because they excel in those categories.

They have an extensive list of features that make increasing sales as simple as adding them to your website. Due to all their available features it may take more than normal to set up your website, but if you have a clear vision of what you want your website to look like, then you may really enjoy the design process.

Pricing

volusion

Prices are rather comparable to others on our list. They offer plans available for any kind of business you may have or are looking to start. What’s different about Volusion’s pricing model, is your transaction total will be based on the number of plugins and add-ons you put on your online store.

The minimum price plan available is their Personal plan that alotts up to 100 product listings and up to 50K in sales in a year. The Personal plan will cost you $29 each month. Next up is the Professional plan at $79 per month that allows for 100K in sales. Business pricing plans will cost you $299 a month and up to 500K in sales each year. If none of these plans seems to work for you, there is a custom plan option that will allow you access to all available features and VIP support.

Regardless of the package you end up going with you will have access to a bunch of themes that you are able to download and set up however you’d like. Generating an add to cart link, setting up categories and subcategories, and even gift certificates comes standard across all plan options with Volusion. One standalone premium add on you may want to consider is an embedded eBay integration if you sell on multiple platforms.

The features available with Volusion are great for marketing, upselling, and listing. Volusion offers a one-page checkout that results in more customers completing their orders rather than abandoning their carts before finalising their purchase.

While the features and overall value of going with Volusion to Shopify’s current offers, you will probably have to have some very basic coding skills when setting up your website. The back end of your e-store will require some coding that if you can't do on your own, you may have to hire a developer to do on your behalf.

Bandwidth is something to keep in mind if you decide to go with Volusion for your ecommerce website. Each plan comes with an allocated amount of bandwidth and you will need to keep a close watch on this throughout the months. If you exceed the bandwidth limit in your plan you can be charged up to $7 dollars per gigabyte (as of May 2020). The monthly bandwidth limit can be a big deterrence, so it’s something worth mentioning.

Through Volusion’s increible list of available features, it’s a great way to increase sales and traffic to your website. Even though it may take a tad bit longer to set up your store than on Shopify, the ability to design the exact website you want is one of the reasons Volusion is such a competitive platform.

3dcart

If you are looking for a platform that has support from a company as big as Amazon, 3dcart may be worth looking into! Amazon mentioned that 3dcart was their preferred ecommerce platform for some of their fulfillment services, which caused an increase in users, so we had to add it to our list.

3dcart is a cloud-hosted shopping cart platform, which means there is an unlimited storage capacity for your products. This is a great added benefit if you are scaling your business due to large amounts of growth and customer popularity.

For those of you who are just getting started building your website, 3dcart’s versatile functionality and in-house web design services make it a one-stop shop for almost anything you could need. Other features available include a few tools for live chat options and the capability to bundle products and gift certificates for checkout.

Pricing

3dcart pricing

When it comes to prices, their ability to let users sell an unlimited amount of products without any transaction fees sets them apart from their competition. The lowest monthly pla, their Startup plan will run you $19 dollars a month and limits the amount of products you can list at 100. If you need more than 100 products, then their next plan up lets you have unlimited!

The Basic account is $29 dollars every month and, along with unlimited listings, offers 2 different staff accounts. This can come in handy when your business is growing and you hire an additional person to help run your website. Next up is 3dcart’s Plus plan that offers 5 staff accounts at $79 dollars a month. This is great for shops that have been blessed with enough success that they need multiple employees to actively manage the day-to-day operations.

3dcart’s most expensive plan, the Pro plan, will cost you $229 dollars each month and gets you API access. Additional features within the pro plan, and some other plans at a limited basis, are SEO tools, personalized products, drop shipping, tracking, and abandoned cart emails, just to name a few. They will also handle your sites interface and security certificates for a reasonable fee compared to the competition.

For those of you who utilize Amazon fulfillment to drop ship your products, 3dcart may be the best option out there. Although their customer service has some room for improvement and upgrades to your website will come slower than other platforms, it has some of the fastest load times out there. The speed your shop loads can hinder your success if it’s not fast enough. Users can leave if it doesn’t load within a certain time frame, and Google has admitted in the past that page load speeds can affect first-page Google rankings.

Magento

If you have been in ecommerce for a while then we’re sure you may have heard of Magento. It was originally purchased by eBay back in 2011. Adobe then purchased Magento in 2018, but the multiple transfers of ownership should not deter you from letting Magento become a viable option for your ecommerce store.

Magento is a CMS platform that is focused on allowing their users to sell products and are extremely focused on an open-source ecosystem. Their CMS software is completely free for users, but you will have to pay for plugins, themes, and hosting. Because it has been around for so long, Magento is a great option for stores that are already established and are looking to grow.

Customizing your site through Magento is pretty straightforward as long as you have a basic understanding of coding. For those of you who might not be as well-versed in these areas of creating a website, Magento has development resources available that you can access at any time. When it comes to their optimization, scalability, and flexibility options, it’s a great resource.

Accomodations for large amounts of traffic and sales is just another great feature that Magento offers. For well-established businesses, moving to Magento can open the capabilities to your website, and they offer tier pricing where you can segment the prices of your products and services based on any specific and target markets you want to direct your business at.

Pricing

While probably one of the more expensive options at their enterprise level at $1,988 dollars per month, they do offer a free trial where you can test out the capabilities available to you. There is also a $2,000 annual plan that offers their cloud services option and a free option for smaller businesses that do not require all of the bells and whistles that come with paying their premium price.

Magento offers one of the largest selections of payment gateway options, inventory management, and some of the top of the line SEO tools to further grow and scale your ecommerce business. If you are well versed with Adobe products, and like how they run, then Magento will probably be the perfect option for your online store.

The Best Shopify Alternatives That Are Perfect for Small & Medium Sized Shops:

Wix

wix

One of the best drag-and-drop design services for creating your website can be found on Wix.com. They are known as the flexible website builder due to their ease of setting up and starting to sell items on your website. Currently, Wix hosts over 160 million websites, a large portion of which are ecommerce stores.

When setting out to build your website on Wix, there are hundreds of free theme templates available. It’s easy to get lost spending hours of time creating the perfect website for your ecommerce business. All Wix websites are optimized for mobile devices and can be improved upon with the countless apps available on the Wix App Market.

Design wise, Wix themes come with a structure that cannot be changed, leaving the creative process to be in the theme you choose and the app options available to add to your site. This lack of design creativity shouldn’t be an issue for most new or small shops. Wix also offers tools that make editing your pictures and animated text set your website apart from others.

Pricing

wix pricing

A great benefit of Wix is that you can essentially create a website and run it completely free. Of course these options will have limited features and even the free option will require a custom domain name that will cost you $13 dollars a month. For ecommerce purposes, you will probably have to buy a plan level so you can have access to the features you will need to run your businesses successfully.

The cheapest plan, their Combo plan for personal use, will run you $13 uncks a month. You will get 2GB of bandwidth, 3GB of storage, the capability to connect your domain as well as remove Wix preplaced ads. Next up is the Unlimited Plan available for entrepreneurs and freelancers. It will run you $17 dollars a month with unlimited bandwidth and 16GB of storage making it a great choice if you need a lot of web space.

Perfect for complete online branding is their Pro plan that is $22 dollars a month. If you are looking to run a business or ecommerce site, this is the perfect option for you. The Pro plan allows use of premium apps and is essential for creating an online store. If none of these plans work for you, Wix also offers a VIP and Unlimited plan at $39 dollars per month with free priority support any time.

Between the template and pre-built layout options and the hundreds of website apps you can add to your website, Wix is a great option for smaller businesses. They are also one of the few ecommerce platforms that lets users add animations to your text and other elements, which can set your website apart from the competition with an eye catching design.

Wix also utilizes ADI, or Artificial Design Intelligence, which is essentially a smart assistant that will help you create your perfect website. It’s a great choice for beginners who may not know their way around creating websites from scratch. Wix’s ADI feature will automatically integrate all of your social media accounts, pick a suitable design for your intended audience, and even generate a contact form where your customers can reach out with any questions.

Of course any feature can be changed if you don't like it, but it’s a great option to see what’s available through Wix. If you are looking to redo something on your website, Wix does not allow for changes to be made easily. Once you have chosen your initial template, it is also difficult to switch to another. Wix wants to get their customers set up with a website and moving forward, not wasting time going back and forth between a theme design.

While you have full capability to change the design of the theme you selected, choosing a completely different theme is not possible. On mobile devices in particular, Wix runs slower than most on our list. There are competitors out there that can offer faster mobile speeds than Wix. Wix offers a great balance of features for value, making it a great contender when selecting the platform to host your growing or newly created business.

Weebly

One of the most intuitive platforms out there is Weebly, currently with over 50 million websites built through their platform. Something that sets this company apart from their competitors is their focus on constant improvements rather than expensive marketing campaigns. (Think about it, how many Wix ads have you seen compared to Weebly ads?)

Weebly offers users an easy-to-use format, which makes creating your website super simple. They offer a drag-and-drop feature so you can see your updates in real time, which can quicken the time it takes to create your website. Selecting a mobile responsive theme is also a great selling point, because Weebly offers over 40 themes you can download and install.

All of Weebly’s themes are responsive and are perfectly able to adapt to whichever kind of device your customers are using. Adding additional features to your site can be achieved through their app center, with only a few clicks. Aside from Weebly’s individual apps, there are also third party apps available as well.

Unfortunately, there is limited design flexibility within Weebly. Compared to other website builders on our list, Weebly provides a more structured outline of possible website creations. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, because for those just starting out designing their website or store, having a guideline in place can help them get their website up and running without having to spend a lot of excess time on the design aspect. The freedom to redesign your website is a preference that will differ depending on users, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

Their themes offer blog options, image galleries, and most other features you would need for your online store.

Pricing

weebly pricing

Their fee pricing option displays a small Weebly ad in the footer of your website and doesn't offer a domain name. However, the next available plan, their Personal plan, offers an option to connect your site with your domain name for only $6 a month.

The next plan up is the Professional plan at $12 dollars a month. This plan includes additional features not available with the free and basic plan like phone support and video and audio features that can add extra pizazz to your website. Both this plan and their top plan offer your site completely Weebly ad-free!

Finally, their Performance plan comes with even more additional ecommerce features and is preferable if you have a larger web store. It will cost $26 dollars each month. Regardless of the plan you choose, the monthly prices are based on a yearly contract. Your domain will also be free for a year when using Weebly, and additional renewal fee each year of $19.95.

Additional Weebly features include team management and membership areas you can add to your website. The team management feature is great if you are not the only person who works on your website. You can give others control and access over editing and creating listings. The membership area gives you access to open certain parts of your website to particular members. This is great if you have a rewards program where customers can pay to have access to specific content you don't want to make available to everyone.

One major set back with using Weebly is how limited they are in regards to international websites. Even though Weebly offers customers a couple of third-party apps, SEO-friendly websites in different languages will be almost impossible to create. Weebly will block traffic coming from China, Russia, and Ukraine, so if you are depending on traffic from these companies to grow your business, you may want to look elsewhere.

Overall, Weebly is one of the best options for complete beginners looking to start a business in the ecommerce world. If you are looking for simplicity, look no further than Weebly to create your website. If adding a blog or any other type of non-ecommerce content to your website is something you’d like to do, Weebly makes this extremely simple by dragging and dropping additional pages onto your website.

Squarespace

squarespace wesite

You can achieve a competitive looking ecommerce store without spending a ton of money, and that is why people love using Squarespace for their websites. For businesses with a smaller product catalog and entrepreneurs with little to no tech skills and resources, Squarespace is the platform to go with.

Creating your website through Squarespace is quite simple with their large variety of themes and templates. If you want to spend the time tweaking your website to be exactly what you want, Squarespace offers this capability too. If your branding is on the minimalist aesthetic, you may find the perfect look with Squarespace for your online shop or store.

Adding a blog to your ecommerce store is becoming a popular option. It gives customers the chance to learn about the creator of their favorite company as well as insight to creations and designs that can become available in the near future. Squarespace gives users the capability to add a blog to their website with ease, so it’s an important feature to remember if this is important to you.

The overall installation process through Squarespace is extremely simple. All you have to do is choose one of their pre-made designs, set up your online store, add your product listings, and you are ready to go online and start selling. It's streamlined because you manage everything for your site in your browser, and nowhere else.

Pricing

squarespace pricing

You can sign up for Squarespace without your card, and try it out for free for the first 14 days. If two weeks is not enough time to figure out if Squarespace is the perfect platform for you and your company, it is possible to extend that trial for an additional 7 days, but you risk your store getting deleted after a month automatically if you don't purchase a plan.

Ecommerce pricing plans come in three options through Squarespace, and all include a domain name and mandatory 1 year contract. Their cheapest option is their Business plan that lets you sell an unlimited number of products, whether they are physical and/or digital, and has a 3% transaction fee. Next up is their Online Stores Basic package where you can sell online without any transaction fees at all. You also have the capability to add customer accounts which can grow your customer loyalty to your brand.

The highest plan available with Squarespace is their Advanced Commerce plan at $40 dollars per month. This plan offers users some great features including real-time shipping carrier rates and a sync option to your Instagram account to boost traffic from your socials to your website. Squarespace’s top tier plan also offers automatic discounts on additional features for your site.

If your ecommerce plan includes subscription services, Squarespace offers a platform for these right on your website. You can charge your customers monthly or every two weeks, and remove the feature completely if your ecommerce stores does not include a subscription service. Squarespace is also a great option for connecting your social media accounts within your store. It offers an option for your customers to make a purchase from your Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms straight from your store without leaving their apps.

Adding products and services to your Squarespace account is extremely easy as well. All you have to do is select the type of product or service you want to add, upload any photos, and fill in the information. Squarespace’s streamlined product feature makes it a top competitor for your ecommerce store.

BigCartel

bigcartel website

Unlike other competitors, BigCartel has a direct niche market that, if your website fits into this market, may be the platform you have been looking for. BigCartel’s audience is centered around artists, creators, and artisans. Think of BigCartel as an alternative to stores like Etsy, where you are selling your own handmade goods on your own platform.

With over $2.5 billion dollars worth of custom work sold since 2005, BigCartel is a growing competitor in the ecommerce realm. They offer unlimited bandwidth, inventory tracking, and CSS and HTML customization just to name a few essential features. While it may be more limiting than others, it’s cheaper price options work well for solo-entrepreneurs and small businesses.

BigCartel automatically comes integrated with Google Analytics, PayPal, and Facebook, making selling on multiple platforms extremely streamlined. For beginners, using BigCartel makes setting up your website extremely user friendly with absolutely no coding skills required.

Pricing

bigcartel pricing

Pricing options vary from free to $29.99 a month, making it a great choice for those with a more limited budget. Starting with the free plan is the Gold plan that is completely free each month but only lets users sell up to 5 products. Next is the Platinum plan at $9.99 a month and alotts for selling up to 25 products. Diamond plan is the next plan at $19.99 a month and you can sell up to 100 products. Finally, BigCartel offers their Titanium plan at $29.99 a month and allows for you to sell up to 300 products in your store.

Fee wise, BigCartel has absolutely no additional transaction fees. Keep in mind that if you utilize PayPal for your transaction fees with BigCartel, PayPal will charge higher fees on your website orders. One major drawback of BigCartel is the fact that there is currently no offering of live chat or phone support.

BigCartel also does not offer an inventory search function from the admin side of things which can make it tough for larger stores to find and edit certain item listings. For smaller stores this may not be an issue since you will have a limited catalog of items, but it’s something to keep in mind.

For those looking to just get started in the ecommerce market, BigCartel may be the perfect platform to sell your handcrafted items. It’s extremely wallet friendly and instantly integrates with PayPal making for simple transactions.

Finding The Right eCommerce Platform

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the perfect platform to power your online store. Different people and businesses will all have different needs and different long-term and short-term goals. We hope our list today will at least serve as a nice starting point for those that are looking for Shopify alternatives.

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Adam Eleiko
Adam Eleiko
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