Shopify Competitors: Top 15 Shopify Alternatives in 2021
Shopify is not the only platform to launch your online store. It can prove costly, suboptimal for search engine optimization, inflexible, and rather inadequate for blogging and marketing your products and services. With that said, it’s still a great platform to use and an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals alike. However, since Shopify has its limitations, it’s worth considering other options.
Because a successful ecommerce store primarily depends on a good ecommerce platform, it makes sense to spend more time researching possible alternatives.
Without further ado, let’s deep dive into the best Shopify alternatives and see if there’s any other platform that’s worth considering for your online business.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is considered one of the best shopping cart platforms for an ecommerce website when it comes to balancing the convenience of setting up a website and controlling it. The great advantage of these kinds of ecommerce platforms, including Shopify and a number of alternatives, is that it gives you as much control as possible without using your own server. If you are a small ecommerce business owner, the first thing you will notice about Shopify is their large support base, which offers you a wide variety of tools to alter your ecommerce store. The AppStore available to its users is amazing for finding interesting plugins to customize your website.
Reasons To Look For Shopify Alternatives: Disadvantages of Shopify
However, with its multitude of features, like AppStore, cloud services, praiseworthy inventory management, unlimited products, and good quality customer support, Shopify can get expensive compared to some alternatives, especially for a small business owner. In addition, the lack of any advanced content marketing features or blogging platforms, that many of the Shopify competitors do offer, makes it very hard to promote your product. Content-marketing opportunities have become a prominent requirement in the ecommerce market these days. With good content marketing, you can almost double your conversion rates and make your customers aware of your competitiveness and expertise in any specific field. Other issues may cause you to consider switching to one of the Shopify competitors as well. For example:
Unnecessary transaction fees
Unnecessary transaction fees of up to 2% from Shopify payments are charged when you don’t use the built-in credit card processing service. That is something you can avoid with almost any alternative to Shopify!
Disadvantages of basic plans
If you don’t purchase advanced plans, you lose the ability to utilize certain crucial ecommerce features. Obviously, other ecommerce platforms offer similar to Shopify’s basic and advanced plans but the difference between them doesn’t seem as striking as in Shopify’s. For example, when you sign up for Shopify, your base cart will have practically zero features and you’ll end up buying a lot of third-party add-ons that carry monthly recurring fees.
Poor international support
Your Shopify ecommerce store needs to be in a ‘supported country,’ otherwise, you won’t be able to process Shopify payments. As of now, there are only a handful of countries that Shopify supports, which makes Shopify not only suboptimal but also an unsuitable solution if you have plans for international expansion.
Different markup language
The solution uses a different markup language than most Shopify alternatives, called Liquid, which will take additional time to learn.
Poor SEO support & suboptimal marketing features
Unfortunately, the Shopify platform is far from perfect when it comes to SEO optimization. Firstly, you can’t optimize your Shopify URLs; instead, Shopify often inserts extraneous terms in your URLs like “collections,” which can have adverse effects on SEO ranking. Moreover, SEO also suffers because Shopify doesn’t have its own adequate blogging platform and instead, offers to maintain a WordPress blog on a subdomain.
If you are not satisfied with your Shopify experience or you like to keep your options open, here are some of the best alternatives to Shopify you can look at.
Virto Commerce eCommerce Platform
Probably the most popular alternative to Shopify is BigCommerce. It is a major player in the field of ecommerce solutions and one of the largest of all Shopify alternatives. BigCommerce is a great solution if you require a full cycle ecommerce platform for your ecommerce business’ website. This is a solid platform that allows you to build a unique site even if you’re not savvy in technical aspects or don’t have advanced knowledge or skills in web programming. It also uses the same markup language as a few other alternatives to Shopify, making it easier to get familiar with when switching from other ecommerce platforms.
The big advantage of BigCommerce in comparison to Shopify’s other alternatives is its free themes and design templates, which are unlimited, regardless of the plan you choose. Big difference from Shopify!
Just like Weebly, another Shopify alternative, this platform provides a good variety of how-tos, some useful tips, and videos to help you set up and run your store. With the advanced content marketing features, you can also promote your product on the web and drastically increase conversion rates. In short, BigCommerce offers good security, unlimited bandwidth, fast loading speed, so it’s a good alternative to Shopify to consider.
PrestaShop Self Hosted eCommerce Platform
PrestaShop is an open-source ecommerce platform that is currently home to more than 330,000 websites globally. Since PrestaShop’s code is open-sourced, you can download and install the platform for free. With that said, you’ll still have to pay for an SSL certificate, your own hosting provider, and add-ons to enhance the capabilities of your store, which may range from thirty dollars to several thousand. Also, keep in mind that open source implies that you’ll probably need to have some coding knowledge to be able to work with the platform comfortably.
Moreover, if at any moment of operating your store you require technical assistance, it can prove rather costly — depending on the level of the required support you may be charged anything between 250 dollars and 1,400.
In the design battle between PrestaShop and Shopify, it’s hard to pick up the winner since both platforms offer a multitude of templates and themes, even if at an extra price.
A major player in the field of ecommerce and a direct Shopify alternative. It currently serves over 40,000 businesses and is a cloud-based shopping cart solution that can be a perfect fit for small-sized businesses. Volusion, like other capable ecommerce online Shopify competitors, allows you to focus on selling your product online without having to worry about providing web hosting or connecting necessary applications to your website. The packages vary on the number of applications you can connect to your website. Volusion is praised among the ecommerce community for its prominent ecommerce features: easy-to-use user interface, 24/7/365 customer support services, unlimited product options, and absence of any transaction fees.
Besides, select the design for your website from the extensive list of templates and free themes available with all of the packages. What you should be aware of when using Volusion, is that it can charge fees for overage bandwidth, the amount of which varies in packages.
Big Cartel eCommerce Software
The next shopping cart on our list of Shopify competitors and best Shopify alternatives is the one that is specifically geared towards art creators. Over a million musicians, designers, painters, and other artists use this particular alternative to Shopify to sell their masterpieces. More and more people now trusting Big Cartel for its online storefront because of its affordable pricing, basic ecommerce features, unlimited bandwidth, HTML & CSS customization, inventory tracking software, quick integration with PayPal, Google Analytics, and Facebook. Get all the features you need to seamlessly set up your new website and start selling online with the coding experience required. Even though it is more limited in its features than Shopify and other Shopify alternatives, Big Cartel is cheaper if you do not have plans for building a large online store.
Despite the fact the platform does not charge any transaction fees, be aware PayPal will charge higher fees. Another disappointing fact is that Big Cartel does not offer chat or phone support, which is a crucial feature in building selling websites. In the end, if you are unsure whether you should use Big Cartel or not, you should definitely try it, as the 5 product plan comes free of charge.
Magento Open Source Online Store
This open-source, free-of-charge shopping cart solution, among Shopify competitors, is a perfect platform for mid-sized to large businesses. It is not a good idea for a small online business that has just entered the world of ecommerce to start their online store with Magento. Magento is a premier league and its solution is suitable for large corporations with sufficient resources to sponsor knowledgeable programmers and the time to adjust the platform to your needs. If you have such vast resources, this can serve as one of the most flexible of other Shopify alternatives and be optimized to handle thousands of products, vast amounts of traffic, and large counts of sales.
Magento is a downloadable alternative to Shopify, which means that you will have to host it on another platform. Because of its open source code, Magento is very powerful, scalable, and rich in features. Some of the most prominent ones include SEO tools, inventory management, shipping charges handling, promotion management, robust payment gateway options, and multilingual support.
The following features exist but are difficult to program, which makes it almost unusable by novices in ecommerce. A perfect user would be an already established online business that wants to have complete control over the online store and has the funds to sponsor its own web hosting and IT professionals to do all of the web design and security work. The pricing is another tricky part of this platform. You can get the community version of Magento for free. However, you will have to program your online store by yourself. If you purchase the Enterprise Edition (or Magento Commerce, which is a Saas ecommerce platform), the developers from Magento will come to your aid, for $15,000 - $50,000 a year.
In the end, even though Magento attracts a very narrow range of customers, you might want to have it for your storefront because of these great features: the absence of monthly service charges (be prepared to pay for your own web hosting), better multi-lingual support when compared to Shopify, a greater variety of applications, add-ons, and plugins that ensure you have the greatest customization possible along with the full control over all of the processes involved in your website.
WooCommerce + WordPress Free Shopify Alternative
If you like using WordPress, you may want to consider WooCommerce alongside other Shopify alternatives. It is an open source WordPress shopping cart plugin that can be installed for free and used with any WordPress account. WooCommerce can easily turn your WordPress websites into the feature-packed webshops. Considering both are free, the online store can be hosted anywhere after you install WordPress. Keep in mind you will have to purchase a separate hosting subscription and this may cost some money. Having a website hosted on another platform may require some technical skills.
Moreover, you can expand WooCommerce’s ecommerce functionality by downloading more extensions and add-ons. The thing to remember with the pricing is you might have to pay for add-ons (however there are some free basic features, including free themes) and for your WordPress hosting. Other than that, WooCommerce is valued among its users for seamless WordPress integration, absence of monthly service charge, ability to create a responsive, mobile-friendly website, and for having a developer-friendly environment that increases productivity.
Once you have set up your basic online store with the plugin, it would be beneficial to purchase some advanced feature packages for it. There are two prominent packages that you might want to consider. The first is Product Bundles, which can be used to increase the sales of your store. The feature comes at $ 49 and gives you the option to bundle multiple products for sale and enhance your website’s sales. The second add-on is WooCommerce Freshdesk. It costs $ 79 and enables you to provide customer support to your online store’s visitors by receiving and handling support tickets. WooCommerce plugins come in all shapes and sizes for you to increase the productivity of your webshop.
Therefore, if you have a business that already runs on a WordPress platform, you can quickly integrate this plugin into an existing website. Enjoy even more freedom and flexibility by not disclosing your data to third-party software platforms and making a single payment for any add-ons you will install (compare to Shopify’s monthly subscription feature).
Ship4Shop | 3dcart eCommerce Software
A cloud-hosted cart solution is prominent among Shopify competitors for its robust features and offered at a small price. It is most suitable for small business owners who do not want to list many products but have much traffic on the website. The packages vary in the amount of bandwidth provided per month, so if you are a big company looking to open an online outlet, skip this option right away. If you are just getting started in ecommerce, this platform will not disappoint you with the features and ecommerce functionality it provides. Therefore, be aware of bandwidth overage fees of $ 5 per GB exceeded. The main things 3dcart offers are web design services to skillfully tailor your website’s UI and UX as well as SSL certificates. One of the most important features 3dcart is praised for is its unlimited products storage options.
It does not matter how big your business is, there will never be a limit on the number of products that you want to post. With that in mind, imagine your business growing rapidly, how easy it would be to scale the platform. Another thing to mention is that 3dcart can seamlessly support over 100 different payment gateways, which can provide your customers with flexible options and provide the payment method they want. One last thing that stands out is the tremendous support the company provides while you are launching the online store. Instant chat and phone customer support give you the assurance you have chosen the right people and will help you feel supported in the community.
Overall, 3dcart is a well-rounded solution that is a strong Shopify alternative due to some valuable features praised by its customers, including 50 free templates to customize the design of your website, product bundle options, discounts and special deals at the registry, SEO tools, and full integration with over 100 payment gateways. The “Nano” package comes only for $ 9.99/month and gives you the availability to post up to 10 products, with unlimited storage and the majority of features. Also, you get a 15% discount if you purchase the subscription for the entire year.
Adding products to your store equates to adding a few lines of code as an attribute. If you want to sell up to 10 items, this is a great solution that is offered free of charge along with unlimited bandwidth, automatic updates, and real-time shipping rates. The setup wizard is quite beneficial and will help you achieve many features that can be linked to your store. As far as features, the solution is packed with them from the start. Being a cloud-based platform, you automatically receive the following ones:
- Social media integration: Link your Ecwid store to a Facebook page and double the sales you make and increase traffic through Facebook targeted marketing.
- Multi channel selling: Want the comfort of selling through multiple websites? Do it! Manage them all through a single admin account.
- Language: Automatically translate your store into 45 languages.
- Promotions: Manage promotional content and pricing.
- Digital goods: Good option if you provide intangible services.
If you have an online presence, you can set up an Ecwid store in no time and at a low cost (Ecwid has an entirely free plan), with the same features as in high-end shopping cart ecommerce solutions. The only downside of it will be the absence of any web design tools and templates, as the company expects you to already have an existing website in place, to which the ecommerce function can be integrated.
Created in 2004, this ecommerce software as a service and Shopify alternative comes with a variety of outstanding features and offers great usability to all its users. If you want a solution that gives you control over every aspect of your website, while not demanding high technical knowledge, you have just found the right one. At about the same price as Shopify, this website builder will allow you to open an unlimited number of admin accounts to manage your online stores, upload unlimited product images, and get real-time shipping quotes with shipping tracking features.
PinaccleCart can be treated as one of the most accessible platforms to use for building a custom ecommerce website. You can easily choose from 30 free themes and templates, or order a customized one from the company. While the templates are sufficient in their design, you are free to edit HTML or CSS or specify the layout of your products. As one of the Shopify competitors, this platform can offer you a domain and even integrate it with WordPress. Over 30 payment gateways are available to connect to. Guest and PayPal checkout options are allowed and can be integrated into the mobile version making it easier for customers to buy your product. For more advanced plans, you will get fraud protection with a dedicated SSL certificate that provides great protection to your website and payment gateways. Customer support is a priority at PinnacleCart, with 24/7 customer support on the phone and online text. This also provides an online knowledge base to help you with your ecommerce journey. The store, however, does not offer custom store email, which may be a drawback.
You can feel this particular shopping cart is well-suited for you if you like a great variety of features. And you are not losing much of the website speed by burdening your store with many plugins (compare to Shopify, where you have to install multiple add-ons to have these features). Another great advantage of Pinnacle cart is its absence of any credit card transaction fees with the competitive pricing.
Wix tops up the charts of online store builders for beginners. The platform was initially conceived to help people create content-based websites such as portfolios, brochures, blogs, or news websites, whereas Shopify was designed from the ground up to help people sell. Of course, over the years, both platforms have evolved considerably, with box Wix and Shopify now offering both selling and content management features. With that said, Wix still remains a better option if your website is going to be content-heavy.
While Wix and Shopify might look like similar products, there are some notable differences. Although both websites have been developed for people with no coding skills, Wix is easier and more intuitive to use and might be ideal for small businesses and individuals. When it comes to pricing, Wix is also cheaper and has an entirely free plan, although limited in functionality. Even though Wix and Shopify charge similar transaction fees for in-built payment processors, Wix doesn’t charge you for using a third-party payment gateway. Moreover, when upgrading from the basic plan to Business, you not only get a ton of advanced features but also a free domain name for a year.
When it comes to SEO, both platforms are suboptimal especially when it comes to handling URLs – both sites add extra words like collections or product pages, which doesn’t work very well with search engines.
When it comes to a free plan, your site address will carry Wix favicon and Wix ads on every page, you can’t have a free custom domain, change templates, receive payments, and so on. So if you’re serious about your online business, perhaps it’s worth bypassing the free plan altogether.
Squarespace is a hosted content management ecommerce solution to create and manage websites, blogs, ecommerce stores, and so on. As in the case with Wix, Squarespace was initially designed to support content-based websites. Nevertheless, it’s a good option for online commerce and a decent alternative to Shopify, especially when it comes to design and user experience.
Squarespace is also cheaper – for a little over 50 dollars, you’ll get access to all advanced features, whereas, with Shopify, you’ll need to pay around 300 plus extra for the add-on functionality. However, when it comes to payment options, Squarespace fares significantly worse than Shopify. Thus, Squarespace only supports PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay, while Shopify supports all the major payment gateways and accepts cryptocurrency on top.
As for shipping, Squarespace cannot really compete with Shopify, where the latter provides everything you might need to organize a “smooth sailing” of your product — from built-in integrations with UPS to drop shipping. However, when it comes to inventory management tools, both platforms are on par: both support an unlimited number of products, single and bulk items, in-house revenue reports, email notifications for low stock.
Weebly is best known for its ease of use, intuitive and eye-catching design, and slick user experience. Weebly is a freemium website builder (meaning it has an entirely free plan) that allows you to create a website for free with limited available built in features and purchase additional functionality whenever you require them. Weebly, in general, packs a surprising punch – it’s much cheaper than Shopify and more user-friendly.
With Weebly, you won’t need to spend a lot of time tinkering with setting up your store unless you derive pleasure from tweaking the features or dragging and dropping the components in ornate shapes. The Weebly setup process is incredibly simple, the interface and navigation are more than straightforward.
Even though Weebly offers more than 60 themes, 15 of which are exclusively designed for online stores, the themes only allow basic customization such as editing text, changing images, and dragging-dropping them to preselected areas. Shopify, on the contrary, offers more themes and is generally more flexible.
When it comes to payments, Weebly takes a back seat, as it offers only three popular payment options, whereas Shopify has more than 100.
Even though Shopify might appear as a hands-down winner relative to Weebly, the latter is a good enough platform that might be an ideal option for beginners: it has adequate features, it’s cheap, it’s easy to use.
OpenCart Self Hosted eCommerce Platform
When it comes to free open source ecommerce platforms and self hosted solutions, OpenCart tops up the charts. With OpenCart, you can freely access the source code and backend functionality, customize the platform the way you want it both in terms of design and platform features (provided you have technical skills and coding knowledge to modify the source code).
Albeit free to install and use, OpenCart website builder will require some expenses to get your online store up and running, such as those you’ll inevitably spend on a hosting provider, domain name, extensions, add-ons, SSL certificate, and so on.
With that said, OpenCart is still incredibly cheaper than Shopify: the latter can cost you up to 300 dollars a month plus other expenses on extra plugins. With Shopify, however, you don’t need to know a single line of code, whereas with OpenCart, you certainly have to.
So, OpenCart, albeit user-friendly and easy to set up, is not an option for newbies in ecommerce.
Sellfy eCommerce Store Platform
Sellfy, another contender on our best Shopify alternatives list, is an ecommerce platform and a website builder that’s specifically designed with creators in mind. Trusted by over 100,000 writers, designers, filmmakers, and other artists — Selfy is indeed a popular choice among creators, and for good reasons.
With Sellfy you can effortlessly create a beautiful storefront for both desktop and mobile that will uniquely represent your brand without so much as touching the code. Selfy allows you to sell online both physical and digital products, such as ebooks, audio, film, graphics among others, as long as they don’t violate Selfy’s policies.
Some of Selfy’s unique built in features aimed at protecting creators include limited download attempts, unique download links, and PDF stamping.
Moreover, Sellfy supports multiple integrations like Facebook Live Chat, Wix App, Patreon, Zapier, among others.
Unfortunately, when it comes to payment processing, Sellfy doesn’t have many options, as it now currently accepts only two payment providers, Paypal and Stripe.
In terms of pricing, Sellfy’s bound to be cheaper than Shopify — even at a premium rate, you won’t be charged for more than 130 dollars (whereas with Shopify it’s at least 300).