Think again if you think Shopify is the only guy in town! He might be the best (in my humble opinion), but there are plenty of shopify alternatives to explore!
If you’re an ecommerce brand, you need an online store.
Shopify has become almost synonymous with ecommerce for a reason: it’s a great option for business owners who want to build an ecommerce store but don’t necessarily want to get a degree in web development first.
But Shopify isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
What happens when Shopify isn’t right for you?
Are there other options out there that could work better?
In a word: yes!
In this post, we’ll explore six Shopify alternatives that may be a better fit for you, whether you’re looking for a cheaper price point, more ecommerce or marketing features, or more creative flexibility.
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Shopify is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, meaning everything is hosted in the cloud and maintained (and updated) by the software company.
That’s great news for brands that don’t want to worry about building a website from scratch, dealing with updates, and handling maintenance on their own.
Through Shopify, you can build a custom website, manage your product inventory, and sell your products across multiple channels, all without needing to do the back-end maintenance necessary for maintaining the software.
There are also pricing options for any budget and business size, ranging from Basic ($29/month), Shopify Standard ($79/month), and Advanced ($299/month).
- Easy to use—Drag-and-drop store builder with over 70 free themes to choose from
- Mobile responsive—All Shopify themes are designed to look great on all devices
- Shopify Payments—Supports credit card payments without requiring a third-party gateway
- Marketing—Built-in SEO features and automated marketing help you promote your eCommerce store
- Shopify Shipping—Calculate shipping rates, print discounted USPS labels, and send automated tracking updates to your customers
- App Store—Integrate with over 6,000 apps ranging from the dropshipping app Oberlo to social media apps.
While Shopify is probably the most well known ecommerce platform these days, that doesn’t mean it’s the only ecommerce solution, or that it works for everyone.
Some brand owners don’t need all the retail-focused features that Shopify provides.
And if you already have your own existing website, it may not be appealing to need to pay for a completely separate hosting service for your online store.
There are other common reasons Shopify may not be for you, such as:
- You need advanced features. Like the ability to accept gift cards or create custom reports, but you don’t want to pay for the Advanced plan tier.
- You don’t want to be limited to Shopify Payments. Processing payments outside of Shopify’s in-house service can cost additional fees of up to 2% of each sale.
- You want email hosting. While Shopify comes with website hosting, it doesn’t come with an email that matches your domain name (such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”). To get that, you’d have to use a third-party email hosting solution.
- You want (or already have) a complicated product catalog. If you sell a few types of items, Shopify’s catalog options are probably fine. But if you have a lot of product variants—like sizes, colors, and designs—you may feel constrained by the limitations of three option selections per product and a 100-SKU cap.
- You want to be able to fine-tune your SEO. Shopify comes with basic SEO functionality, but it limits how much you can customize your site to increase the chances of ranking on Google. You can’t customize your checkout page, for instance, or edit robot.txt files to tell Google how to index your site. As your website grows, having the ability to fine-tune your SEO becomes even more important.
These days, there are plenty of ecommerce platforms vying for the spot of top competitor to Shopify.
And like Shopify, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, some are better choices for small businesses who need fewer bells and whistles than Spotify at a more affordable price point, while others are better choices for bigger brands who need to scale faster than Shopify is letting them.
Below, I’ll introduce you to six of the top-rated Shopify alternatives in use today, along with their pricing, pros and cons, and who might be a good fit.
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 and, according to the company’s own reporting, has gained more than 60,000 merchants in over 150 countries on its platform.
Compared to Shopify, BigCommerce is a self hosted ecommerce platform aimed at businesses that want or need to scale.
The platform comes with many of the ecommerce features of Shopify, like a drag-and-drop website builder and several beautiful templates to get you started.
It also integrates with a large library of third-party apps to make running your store easier.
But unlike Shopify, BigCommerce comes with a bit more flexibility and scalability.
It allows for an unlimited number of goods (compared to Shopify’s 100-SKU cap).
With BigCommerce, you also have the option to tweak the HTML and CSS to customize your site, whether it’s for SEO purposes or just to be a bit more creative.
Pricing: BigCommerce pricing is similar to Shopify, with the basic plan costing $29.95 a month, the mid-tier subscription costing $79.95, and the professional plan priced at $299.95 a month.
- Unlimited inventory, which you can manage within the platform or from an external system
- Integrations with PayPal and 55 other payment gateways with no added transaction fees
- Multi channel selling (like in-app checkout on social media)
- Industry-leading shipping rates
- Blogging capabilities
- SEO options (like fully customizable URLs)
- Automated sales taxes
- Customer segmentation and data analytics
- The abandoned shopping cart feature lets you send up to three follow-up emails
- Multi-currency selling
And what’s more, BigCommerce offers more useful features with the entry-level subscription tier than other platforms.
With most other ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Wix, you’d have to pay an additional fee or get a paid third-party app to access several of the features listed above.
- BigCommerce places a limit on your online sales ($50,000 for the Standard plan, $180,000 for the Plus plan, and $400,000 for the Pro plan)
- The free themes are pretty basic and not too distinct from each other in style (but there’s a wide range of paid themes to choose from)
- Product categorization is less automated than Shopify
- You’ll need to install a third-party app like Spocket, Ali-Express Dropshipping, or Inventory Source to use BigCommerce for dropshipping
You’re ready to scale your retail business and Shopify’s limitations are holding you back.
If you need more advanced features, including better SEO capability, unlimited inventory, and advanced data analytics.Try BigCommerce
Wix is a very popular website builder, and it also offers an ecommerce tool that lets you sell products right from your website.
Since Wix didn’t start out as an ecommerce platform like Shopify did, it can lack some of the sophisticated sales tools that you’re used to if you’ve used Shopify before.
But Wix is very affordable, beginner-friendly, and intuitive, so if you want to get started selling fast, Wix might be a good choice for you.
Pricing: A basic subscription runs cheaper than Shopify, starting at $23/month billed yearly.
That price covers your website domain and hosting, plus basic ecommerce features like unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, and selling on social media.
- Very easy-to-use website builder, even for beginners
- More than 800 templates (114 of them eCommerce-specific) to choose from
- More creative freedom and flexibility than other website builders like WordPress
- Excellent customer support
- App store lets you integrate with other platforms
- Cheaper than Shopify
- No transaction fees
- Free domain comes with the annual plan
- Since Wix is primarily a website builder, its sales tools are not as comprehensive as Shopify (but still good)
- Inventory management is better-suited to smaller stores; those with a bigger inventory might be frustrated with the inability to batch-add products
- Can’t switch templates without starting over on your site design
You’re a small business or solopreneur looking to get started quickly, easily, and with a limited budget.
Wix lets you create beautiful sites in as little as a day with no coding experience necessary, and although its sales tools aren’t as sophisticated as Shopify’s, they’re more than good enough for a smaller online store or those who only sell a few types of products.Try Wix
PinnacleCart was built with marketing and customer experience in mind.
The platform lets you easily create an online store using chic templates, and it also comes with advanced SEO and email marketing tools that let you scale with relative ease.
PinnacleCart caters specifically to small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), so if you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, this software may be something to consider.
Pricing: After a 14-day trial, PinnacleCart pricing starts at $79.95/month for the Standard plan or $199.95/month for the Premium subscription.
For Enterprise plans, you’ll have to call to get a customized quote.
- Unlimited products and product categories
- No transaction fees
- Ability to create up to five administrator accounts and email addresses
- Automated and easy process for uploading inventory data
- More advanced SEO tools than Shopify
- Ability to add an About page and a blog to generate more organic traffic
- Extensive email marketing tools and a live chat feature
- Easy to use for both you and your customer
- Storefront looks great on mobile and can be translated to your Facebook business page
- Higher pricing compared to its Shopify and other competitors
- Limited theme options for setting up your site
- Standard plan limits sales volume to $250,000 annually
- Standard plan limits payments to PayPal and PruPay. For multiple payment gateways, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium plan
- Limited bandwidth for the Standard plan
- Doesn’t support point-of-sale (POS), so you can’t use it to conduct physical transactions
You’re a small business that’s focused on online-only sales.
You might want to consider PinnacleCart if you don’t need a lot of flashy features, but instead want an easy-to-use platform with an unlimited inventory and powerful customer experience tools like SEO, marketing, mobile responsiveness, and support.Try PinnacleCart
Square started as a point-of-sale (POS) solution to let businesses accept credit cards.
Now, Square has expanded its suite of business tools to help brands of all shapes and sizes create an online store, sell products, and market their business.
Pricing: Price is really where Square shines. Amazingly, the platform has a free plan that lets you build an eCommerce website, sell unlimited products, and even sell on social media.
If you want a custom domain and more advanced features, paid tiers start at just $12/month.
- Extremely easy to use—much easier and faster to set up than Shopfiy
- Offers great value for money (especially since there’s a free plan that still has great features)
- Free domain for one year
- Inventory management is perfectly adequate for smaller businesses, with text alerts and POS integrations
- Faster website performance than Shopify
- Great customer support
- Extremely limited design flexibility—no themes to choose from, just 15 color palette and five style options (“modern,” “elegant,” “classic,” etc.)
- Limited payment methods: Square only accepts Square Pay, PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit cards
- Higher per-transaction fees than Shopify (2.9%+$0.30 per transaction)
- Inventory management isn’t built to handle large inventories
- Fewer omnichannel sales options than Shopify
- Doesn’t support dropshipping
- No blogging features and limited SEO tools
You have a limited budget and want a website builder that’s fast, no-nonsense, and easy to use.
Square lets you start an online store quickly and easily, and at those prices (read: free), its value for money is hard to beat!
Square can also be a great choice for local businesses that already use Square as a point-of-sale and want to add an online presence.Try Square
One of the more popular Shopify competitors for existing websites, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that turns your own website into an online store.
You can try it out for free right now with no added costs besides per-transaction payment processing fees.
WooCommerce Payments even let you purchase items directly from your website, which means they won’t be taken to an external payment processor to finish the sale.
This handy feature helps maintain customers’ trust in you (since being taken to a third-party site to enter your payment details always feels a bit fishy).
This plugin is a great option for brands that already have a well-established website and want to add an online store without paying for another platform to host it.
- Extremely flexible and customizable, since you install the plugin to the website you already have
- Free to install and use
- WooCommerce Payments make it easy for customers to buy products directly from your website
- Wide selection of extensions and additional plugins to scale and customize your online store
- Advanced SEO capability, especially if you download external plugins like Yoast
- If you choose a WordPress theme that isn’t WooCommerce compatible, you’ll be in for a huge headache. Your best bet is to purchase a premium, WooCommerce-optimized theme from a source like Themeforest
- More difficult to set up than no-code, drag-and-drop builders like Shopify or BigCommerce. If you struggle with WordPress, you may not want to choose WooCommerce
- While the plugin itself is free, the cost of needed add-ons can add up quickly
- No customer support is available
- Since the plugin is self-hosted, you’ll have to handle updates and maintenance yourself
You’re already using a WordPress site and aren’t intimidated by the backend of website building and maintenance.
It’s open-source, free to get started, and easily scalable for business owners who don’t mind self-hosting their online store.Try WooCommerce
Magento is one of the oldest and most well-known eCommerce platforms out there. It’s been around since 2008 and is now owned by Adobe.
With Magento, you can opt for either a free or a paid plan.
With the free, open-source edition, you can download, install it on your own server, and build the store yourself.
Like WooCommerce, the free edition of Magento is self-hosted and works on any PHP web hosting platform.
That means it’s a great option for online store owners who want a bit more flexibility and customization in their eCommerce software.
The other option is to purchase Adobe Commerce (formerly known as Magento Enterprise), where the online store is hosted for you and comes with a Shopify-like drag-and-drop website builder.
It also comes with many useful features like performance monitoring tools, automated data backup, and managed cloud services.
Pricing: The self-hosted edition of Magento is free to download and use.
Pricing for the Commerce version of Magento isn’t listed on their site, but Website Builder Expert estimates it could cost between $22,000-$125,000 annually depending on your average gross sales revenue.
- The free edition is self-hosted and highly customizable
- Since Magento is so established and well-known, it’s easy to find developers to build your store for you
- Lots of compatible plugins and plugins available
- Multiple payment gateways
- Multilingual support
- Once it’s set up, the platform is relatively easy to use
- Easily scalable
- Steep learning curve; if you don’t have web development experience, you’ll need the help of someone who does
- The platform doesn’t come with themes to get you started. You’ll have to visit a third-party developer like Themeforest for a premium theme (or build one from scratch yourself)
- The paid plan can be extremely cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses
You’re confident in your store’s success.
Magento is a high-powered and advanced piece of software, so it may not be the best fit for new entrepreneurs dipping their toes into eCommerce for the first time.
But if you’ve got the resources and know you’re in it for the long haul, Magento is a great option.
Once it’s set up, the platform is highly scalable, easy to use, and powerful enough to take on any challenges you face in your eCommerce business.Try Magento
If you’re a solopreneur or a freelancer, your needs are probably much different than a large retailer with a complex inventory.
Each of the shopify alternatives listed above could be a great fit for certain businesses, and a poor fit for others.
Before you pull the trigger on any of these options, I recommend considering the following:
While the saying is true that you need to spend money to make money, when it comes to eCommerce platforms, there’s no need to be hasty.
There’s a wide range of prices available (from free to into the tens of thousands) so it makes sense to choose a platform that fits your current budget. You can always upgrade later.
Are you a complete beginner when it comes to web development?
In that case, you may prefer one of the options that does most of the work for you and has a very simple, streamlined interface—like Square or Wix.
On the other hand, maybe you know a little something about coding (or you have a web developer to help you).
If that’s the case and you care more about having the creative freedom to control every granular aspect of your eCommerce site, you may prefer Magento or WooCommerce.
Do you sell across borders?
You may want to double-check that the platform has multi-currency options.
And make sure the available payment gateways (and associated transaction fees) fit with your needs as well.
Are you a small business or freelancer who only plans to sell a limited number of items?
In that case, sticking with a simpler eCommerce platform like Wix or PinnacleCart would probably work great.
But if you need a robust inventory management system that can easily scale with you, a platform like BigCommerce or Magento is probably a better fit.
I hope this list of six alternatives to Shopify has given you some ideas!
There are so many options out there, and each one is geared toward a different type of business.
In the end, the best Shopify alternative comes down to your individual goals, preferences, and skills (not to mention budget).
So think about your top priorities, then choose the platform that checks all the boxes!
Woocommerce is not only a cheaper option for building out your online store, it’s a completely free shopify alternative!
Also starting a Square online store is a much cheaper ecommerce solution, as it comes with a free plan, going up to just $12/month for a custom domain.
Touted as one of the best ecommerce solutions when it comes to marketing features, search engine optimization and advanced functionality, Bigcommerce is probably one of the top shopify alternatives for those looking to build a scalable ecommerce platform.
If you haven’t yet heard of headless ecommerce, already have a website and don’t want to build an entirely separate ecommerce store, then this is the solution you’re looking for.
Headless ecommerce is when the front end of an ecommerce solution is decoupled from the backend.
This means, you get all the ecommerce features and functionality of a fully self hosted ecommerce platform in the backend of your existing website, but you display and promote your products within your current content and brand.
In my separate analysis of the best ecommerce platforms for wordpress websites, my recommendation for the best ecommerce solution for existing wordpress websites is Bigcommerce.