Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify are an excellent choice for people who want to launch an online store. When selecting a suitable platform, one of the things you need to consider is scalability. As your store grows, so will your demands, and the platform you choose should be able to adjust accordingly.
Whether you want to set up a dropshipping store or simply wish to establish an online presence for your brick and mortar setup, Shopify is an ideal choice. However, it does have its limitations. The absence of features that let you update the inventory stocks, for instance, and the poor blogging platform (especially for those spoiled by WordPress), may force you to look for some other Shopify alternatives out there.
Another common complaint from many users is the categorization of products. As you expand your product offering, you will realize that this is an incredibly difficult problem for you to work with. The company doesn’t use the word “categories,” but “collections.” You also can’t create a hierarchy with these “collections.”
Luckily, there are quite a few platforms that offer similar or even better functionality, and considerably better pricing, when compared to the business value they offer. Who doesn’t like some extra money in their pockets at the end of the month?
So why not choose one that suits your needs from the get-go? Here are the best alternatives to Shopify that you can choose from.
We have found some of the best alternatives to Shopify, and created a comparison to help you choose the best ecommerce platform.
Now, let’s delve into the comparison table.
A Brief Comparison of Common Shopify Alternatives
We have created the following table to give you a better idea about how other alternatives to Shopify compare. See below:
|Shopify Competitors||Ease of Use||Support Quality||Ease of Setup||Pricing Starts From||G2 Customer Ratings|
|Square Online Store||9.7||8.6||7.8||Free||9.2|
*These values were taken from g2.com
The 12 Most Popular Shopify Alternatives
Now, let’s go deeper and look at the top Shopify alternatives and what they bring to the table.
The tiniest amount of research about ecommerce applications will lead you to WooCommerce. For many entrepreneurs, it’s one of the best Shopify alternatives. It’s completely free to use, open-source, and best of all, highly rated when it comes to gauging visitor experience. Some users even claim it’s better than Shopify in many regards.
Scalability is a bit complicated; you will need to invest in the more expensive version to get the advanced functionality. But apart from that, WooCommerce has everything that you could ask for. You can build a site with an expensive cart in a matter of minutes.
It’s also responsive, so mobile-friendly websites are easy to set up. You just have to pay for the hosting. And, unlike Shopify, you don’t need to pay a monthly premium: you can get their advanced features for a one-time payment only. However, you should know that troubleshooting isn’t a strong suit for WooCommerce.
Coupled with reliable ecommerce hosting solutions, you can significantly boost the speed of your WooCommerce website.
If you want to upsell after a sale, you can set this up on your website so that customers can add new products or recommendations with just one click as well.
- No transaction fees
- Seamless integration for WordPress
- Several features guaranteeing maximum creativity
- Post-purchase one-click upsells
- Very easy to set up
- Freedom to sell unlimited products on your store
- Access to hundreds of free extensions + premium ones
- No hosting included
- You will need tech skills
- Can be a bit clunky
- Your hosting might be slow. Choose a dedicated WooCommerce host, like Cloudways’ Woocommerce hosting, to ensure fast speeds.
That’s not all. Cloudways also offers the WooCommerce Starter Bundle, which comes with 1-click integration for all popular plugins that you need to start your ecommerce journey. The bundle includes plugins like Stripe Gateway, PayPal Checkout, Cart Abandonment Recovery, Kadence Email Designer, and several others.
It’s the only thing you need to launch your WooCommerce store within minutes.
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If you want a simple, no-frills experience, as well as the flexibility of using a drag and drop editor when setting up your website, BigCommerce is a great choice. It’s one of the best Shopify alternatives and offers a full cycle solution for ecommerce store owners.
BigCommerce has a range of stunning themes, although only seven are free across all industries. You will have to pay for the premium ones, which makes it definitely better than Shopify in terms of customization. It also boasts a range of advanced features to improve your content marketing and allow you to promote your product in different ways. Plus, it has a host of tools designed to improve your conversion rate.
The best part is the wide array of built-in features, so you won’t be spending as much in their built-in store as you would on Shopify. It also supports multi-channel selling, allowing you to manage your store on Amazon, Pinterest, eBay, and Facebook. However, when you compare the load times on BigCommerce with others, you will realize that they are slightly slow.
The prices start from just around $29.95/mo and go all the way to $299.95/mo, so you have to choose accordingly. Your costs will vary depending upon the number of goods you are selling, and the revenue you generate.
- Multiple in-built, drag and drop visual editing tools so you can create your beautiful ecommerce store
- More than 55 secure payment gateways and no transaction fees
- Multi-channel selling
- Several free apps and features to choose from, including an in-app checkout feature for Instagram
- Fully customizable URLs and SEO function
- Ideal for different business models
- Pricing can seem a bit complex if you are a new user
- A little difficult to setup
- Only 5 free themes
- Speeds are inconsistent
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You might have heard about Magento already. The company was purchased by eBay in 2011, and then Adobe bought it in 2018. This popular platform is ideal for established store owners, and it has a wide and established community across the globe.
When you look at the prices, it’s easy to see the reasons behind Magento’s popularity. The pricing is very similar to WooCommerce’s, making it one of the best Shopify alternatives. While the content management software is free, you will need to pay for the hosting, the themes, and the plugins.
However, Magento is basically a CMS platform that lets you focus on selling all of your products through an open source ecosystem, which is great for businesses looking to expand.
- It’s quite flexible and scalable
- Cutting-edge functionality with 250K+ developers to help you set up a beautiful and functional ecommerce store.
- Several options to benefit from in terms of secure payment gateways
- Responsive design for your ecommerce store
- Multiple add-ons and extensions to choose from through its large partner ecosystem
- Excellent community support
- Coding and technical knowledge is required to fully utilize the open source option
- New Users may find it complex as it is difficult to manage on your own
- Quite expensive
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3DCart is a good hosted platform for ecommerce store owners. There are several different reasons why 3DCart is one of the top Shopify alternatives. The prices range from a mere $19 per month and can go all the way to $229 per month. For this, you get a range of SEO tools, emails for following up on abandoned carts, and personalized products.
You also get Facebook sync, incredibly versatile functionality, as well as an excellent web design service that provides you with SSL certificates at relatively reasonable rates. They will also tailor the UI and the UX according to your requirements.
However, the service is a bit sluggish, and there’s very little variety in the themes. On top of that, you won’t find many praises sung about their support offerings either.
- Support for more than 70+ payment gateways
- Excellent store speeds
- In-house web design service
- Incredibly fast load times
- Unlimited listings
- Much more advanced than Shopify with no transaction fee
- Affordable for beginners as well as big companies
- Service is sluggish
- Support isn’t highly rated
- The mobile UX on Shopify is better
- Limited number of themes
- You will face issues when upgrading.
- User experience and dropshipping is much better in Shopify
- Slightly difficult to setup for beginners
Prestashop is a popular Shopify alternative for ecommerce entrepreneurs on a tight budget. Technically, it’s free, but like all others on this list, you will have to buy a hosting package as well as a domain name. The company does have partnerships with Azure, WebHostingHub, and 1&1.
When you compare the themes and the templates, Prestashop definitely lags behind. However, in terms of usability, it’s on the same level as Shopify. There’s no additional transaction fee, and it supports up to 25 languages. What’s more, it also has support for multiple currencies. If you hire a decent developer who has experience with Prestashop, you can easily create a fantastic online store without spending a lot of money.
- Open source and free of cost
- No additional transaction fees
- Support for multiple languages
- A wide range of features
- Option to host your store on any server or with any hosting provider
- Themes and templates are limited
- Doesn’t have as much features
- Requires considerable tech skills
Volusion is one of the more popular Shopify alternatives. This cloud-based shopping cart serves more than 200,000 businesses and is quite popular with smaller businesses and companies that are looking to scale upwards. Volusion’s nifty one-click checkout feature offers convenience to your customers. The platform also gives you access to a wide range of plugins and features that you can integrate within your online store. It’s great for shipping businesses. However, you also need to know how to keep your shipping costs low.
Keep in mind that the bandwidth is metered, so if you go over the limit, the company might charge you around $7 per GB. The prices usually vary between $15 and $35 each month and gives you access to a host of new features, like different categories, subcategories, and gift certificates.
While most of the work is done through a GUI, you will need some basic coding skills to set your store up. Plus, the product function is relatively weak. Perhaps the real limiting factor is the bandwidth limit, which requires you to pay more as your store grows.
- Very easy to use
- Support for different payment processors
- An excellent mobile app
- Free access to SEO and analytics tools for easy analysis and reporting
- A range of free, excellent themes
- No worries about transaction fees
- Unlimited product listings
- Instant calculation of shipping and tax rates
- Other hosting options usually have more features
- You will need minimal coding skills
- Doesn’t integrate with PLA’s and Pinterest
- There’s a monthly bandwidth limit
- The product search function is weak
- Limited apps compared to Shopify
OpenCart is a free Shopify alternative, and has a relatively modernized platform that allows you to create professional-looking websites which you can customize according to your needs. The documentation is strong, and it has a pretty robust user base. It also supports thousands of add-ons and third-party modules, which is what most ecommerce clients usually want.
- Ideal for most ecommerce stores
- Quite flexible and supports a range of payment gateways
- Very fast setup and quick launches
- Supports multiple payment gateways
- Not as easy as Shopify to use
- The support and documentation are not easy for a layman
- Certainly not the easiest platform to use
- Not as many add-ons as Shopify
If you are looking to get your business off the ground and have a relatively small product portfolio, Squarespace might be just what you need. The platform comes with an excellent website building tool and gives you a wide variety of templates to choose from.
With just a little bit of tweaking, you can build an excellent online store. The base package costs around $26 per month, giving you an unlimited number of pages, blogs, galleries, contributors, a free domain, storage, and a lot more. But you should know that Squarespace only accepts payments via PayPal and Stripe.
It also contains some marketing features, like AdWords, MailChimp, as well as tracking for Amazon Affiliates.
- Ideal for smaller stores
- Very easy to set up
- No need for coding knowledge
- Impressive themes
- Gives you freedom to use your own product photography and templates + offers a large selection of beautiful templates to give you an impressive online store.
- The website builder is easy to navigate so you can easily work on the backend
- Doesn’t allow integration with the tracking code API to track store visitors
- Support is limited
- Multi-channel features are limited
- Website loading time is a bit slow
- You don’t get as many add-ons as you will with Shopify
Developed by Qualiteam, X-Cart is fast, streamlined, and relatively easy to use. It’s sold as an all-in-one solution to your ecommerce needs and comes loaded with a bunch of different features. The platform grants you an unlimited number of customizations and an experienced developer can easily use it to create an excellent store, making it a viable Shopify alternative.
However, know that in case of an issue, the company may not offer much in the way of support. They will simply blame the issue on your servers, leaving you all to yourself to fix the problem.
- Comes with an array of advanced features
- The virtual server works really well
- Easy to set up and use
- Developers for X-cart are hard to find, and can get fairly expensive
- The company has a reputation for blaming issues on your server
10. Square Online Store
The Square Online Store is widely touted as an all-inclusive solution for your ecommerce needs. If Shopify feels like overkill for your business plans, Square Online Store might be a suitable choice. Square is known primarily for its POS systems, but as of late, their ecommerce offering has also become quite popular.
You can choose from a free plan that charges a transaction fee with every payment. For this, you receive shopping cart functionality, support for unlimited products, and more. But on the flip side, payment processor support is limited to Square only. To use PayPal, you have to choose their higher-end plan. For beginners, it’s a great Shopify alternative.
Additionally, as your store grows, you will want to add more options for accepting payments, and that’s not going to happen. As a result, your business could suffer.
- Quite easy to set up
- It offers you a free plan
- Provides direct integration with Square
- Supports only Square unless you pay a high amount to unlock PayPal support
- Scalability is a problem
- The features vary depending upon the plan you choose
11. Big Cartel
Big Cartel was designed primarily for a niche audience including content creators, artists, and artisans. In fact, the website could easily be considered a direct alternative to Etsy. It favors a neat and clean aesthetic, and the company claims to have helped people sell more than $2.5 billion worth of services and goods since its inception in 2005.
They have four different packages, starting from the free gold package and going all the way up to the Titanium package, which costs $29.99 a month and gives you support for 300 products.
- Designed for a specific niche
- Easy to manage
- Quick to set up your store
- Very limited functionality
- The prices are not as competitive
- Limits your ability to sell other goods or services
Weebly is another convenient hosted platform for those who want a free Shopify alternative to get started. The number of features that you get with Weebly isn’t as high as Shopify’s, but their most expensive plan is much cheaper than Shopify’s Basic Plan. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, then Weebly may be what you’re looking for.
If you want to set up a website using a simple builder, Weebly is a great choice that is easy to use right out of the box. However, when it comes to scalability, Weebly may let you down.
- Quick and easy to get started
- Launch your website in minutes
- Range of apps and tools that you can choose from
- Allows you to collaborate with your team and provides membership areas
- Free domain name
- Free trial
- Scalability is a problem
- Relatively simple so don’t expect the bells and whistles
- Not suitable for high volume stores
We have talked about hosted and self-hosted competitors to Shopify. But, exactly what is the difference between the two? Let’s talk about them.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted
As an online retailer, you will have two options available to you. Either host an ecommerce application yourself or choose a hosted solution. Both of these will give you the core features you need to establish your online store: a shopping cart solution, pages for products, and a comprehensive content management system that you can use to add or remove different products.
If you go the self-hosted route, you will have to self-host ecommerce applications on your own web hosting account, or on a server you own or rent. The application is available separately from the hosting infrastructure. Common examples of self-hosted applications include OpenCart, Magento, and WooCommerce.
On the other hand, hosted ecommerce platforms usually bundle the application and the hosting together. These are provided by the same vendor. The vendor usually develops and maintains the application, and also owns and manages the hosting. The consumer must pay a fee in order to use the service. Many hosted ecommerce platforms are regarded as Software-as-a-Service applications. Shopify is an example of a hosted ecommerce platform, as is Prestashop.
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As you can see, there’s no shortage of Shopify alternatives in the market. The question is, which one should you choose? It’s important that you first layout your requirements and then compare them with the features provided by any shopping cart platform. If it doesn’t meet your needs, you don’t have to invest in it. Always choose the platform that’s right for your unique needs!
Q1. What is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that facilitates you to build a feature-rich ecommerce store for your prospective customers to sell your products online and offline as well through the help of Shopify POS.
Q2. Is WooCommerce better than Shopify?
Woocommerce comes with advanced, seo-specific options and is better for you if you want to build a large-scale online store with greater product variety. Whereas, if you are a startup, then Shopify is the ideal choice for you. Woocommerce comes with greater flexibility even when it comes to price.
Q3. Is there a free alternative to Shopify?
While Shopify is a great platform, there are other free alternatives such as WooCommerce and Magento that offer a similar set of features at a minimal cost of operations.
Q4. Who are Shopify’s competitors?
Shopify competitors include both paid (Squarespace, Volusion) and free (WooCommerce, Magento) platforms. However, you should compare the features of several platforms to make sure you are not missing out on the Shopify features.
Q5. What can I use instead of Shopify?
If you are looking to migrate your Shopify store, you can either opt for WooCommerce or Magento as both platforms provide all the features that you use at your Shopify store.
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