Magento alternatives

Updated: August 17, 2020 | Nikolay Sidelnikov, Business Product Owner

Magento can be easily ranked among the top of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. It is the driving force of innovation in its market segment, providing its customers with three distinct platforms: Magento Community Edition, Magento Enterprise Edition, and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition. This platform easily attracts businesses of all sizes and areas and there are many reasons why it does. While Magento markets itself as the perfect solution for your business’ e-commerce goals, it can be quite frustratingfor a new user, without any coding or web developing experience, to manage. The advantages of using Magento include creating a fully customizable web store if your coding knowledge and expertise give you the ability to use its robust open source framework. Moreover, the paid extensions and enterprise solutions that Magento offers are second to none. Also, Magento takes great pride in providing its clients with the best possible customer support on the market, which has helped to attract more than 600 large enterprise customers. However, if you are a small business owner currently looking for a much simpler solution or you do not have experience in coding and you do not want to hire an IT manager, you might want to check out some of the best Magento competitors, currently available in the market of shopping-cart software.

Why switch from Magento?

Let’s say Magento is quite overrated. Even with modern proprietary solutions you can add bigger functionality to your website while still keeping the price within an acceptable range. Magento can be considered the most popular open source e-commerce platform, becausewhen they started, there weren’t many alternatives. If you don’t want to be stuck in expensive developing costs, poor website performance, unlimited bug fixes and configurations, you might want to consider staying away from it. Do not listen to ads about how easy it is to scale and how robust your feature set can be. Website owners realized Magento is a bang for the buck and the past year, another 600 websites left Magento. The biggest problem is the massive architecture structure that requires knowledge of computer engineering and structural design to set it up and run it.

For startups, this may not be the most valuable investment, especially taking into the account how expensive it is to hire a Magento developer that has knowledge of Java and PHP Zend Framework. The second major issue is the fact that Magento is overwhelminglyopen. For first time users, it is impossible not to be astonished by the amount of apps there are to add. While having such an open variety of applications and extensions is excellent, it comes at a high price in terms of website performance and terms of overall development cost. With most of today’s platforms, you get all of these features naturally embedded into the platform, allowing you not to pay extra money and not to suffer from decreased website speed.

If you have decided to switch from using Magento, here is what you should consider while choosing your Magento alternative.

  1. Open source or closed source. Open source software like Linux or Mozilla Web Browser and closed source or so-called proprietary software, like Microsoft Windows or Adobe products, have been around for a long time. Open source platforms offer a high level of customizability while at the same time being almost entirely free. However, there are certain things missing that are provided by closed source platforms. For example, security and customer support. If it is in your blood to have full control of your website, to share the extensions and plug-ins of the platform with the community, then open source Magento alternatives are the way to go for you.
  2. Price Tag. Proprietary (closed source) platforms come with a price tag that can add up to hundreds of US dollars. At the same time, open source Magento competitors offer basic features for free. However, if you would like to get an enterprise package or develop your website’s functionality with extensions, you may run into some unpleasant fees.
  3. Special Features. Always try to look for Magento competitors that have lots of extensions and plugins to work with. The right platform is the one that helps discover your website's potential and broaden its functionality for great value.
  4. Your technological literacy. Are you going to have a professional web-developer on staff that will help you with set up your website on a hosted shopping cart platform? If not, you might be left with an option of a much more expensive, yet more sophisticated closed source platform. If you do possess some coding knowledge, using open source shopping carts as a Magento alternative will offer the most freedom for the lowest price.
  5. SAAS or Self-hosted? If you are a large business with established hardware infrastructure, you will likely have the website hosted on your own. On the other hand, if you are less hardware-heavy, SaaS platforms hosting your website for a specific price makes more sense!

With these points in mind, let’s look at the following alternatives to Magento!

Shopify

Shopify is an excellent platform for those who want to get started quickly in the diverse field of e-commerce. It is a perfect Magento alternative that balances the convenience and control over setting up your first product’s website. What you get is instant access to easy-to-use web tools that allow you to build your site in a single click. This is a closed source platform (or so-called proprietary platform) that is a perfect solution for small-business owners who don’t want to handle much themselves and prefer the developing processes to be taken care of. The great 24/7 customer support will be happy to guide you through the challenging process of a webstore creation. An easy-to-use drag and drop development feature ensures that a person without IT experience is able to do it. However, despite its enormous amount of applications, plug-ins, extensions and fantastic customer support base, Shopify’s functionality is limited to the platform. You don’t have any options with regard toexpanding your website’s customizability, giving you less control over your site than open source Magento competitors can provide.

Shopify is the leader in the field of e-commerce, especially the hosted shopping cart platforms. With its robust plans: Basic, Standard, and Advanced, you get everything you need to create a high-end web store, without spending thousands on development. The Basic plan will cost you $ 29 a month and comes with all of the necessary features for you to start selling online. Besides that, you get an unlimited storage space for the files related toyour online store and the ability to post an unlimited amount of products. The Standard plan comes at $ 79 per month and offers you to open multiple staff accounts, lowers your transaction fees and delivers advanced reports about your web store. Advanced Shopify – the most robust of the Shopify’s plans – comes at a price of $ 299/month and brings even lower transaction fees, increased staff accounts and calculated shipping rates. Everything you need to scale up your business and make the most out of your web store.

Volusion

Another popular Magento alternative is a hosted shopping cart service named Volusion. Unlike Shopify, Volusion is dedicated to those users who are much more concerned about the operational side of the website, than the marketing or visual one. At the same time, it offers you great expandability options with plug-ins and extensions that also include a variety of design templates to choose from. Volusion is a closed source platform that provides a vast knowledge base and friendly staff that will help you create your website at any given time. The Volusion team can be highly credited for putting immense effort into providing clients with the best possible experience. Despite these excellent features and a wide range of marketing tools, Volusion has many drawbacks. The most important one, as with Shopify, is the price tag. Volusion charges many add-on fees, which can be frustrating for small-business owners . Furthermore, Volusion’s template options are limited and you need to pay more for professionally designed templates.

4 Volusion plans represent roughly the same set of features. When you pay more, you receive more; the ability to upload a larger amount of products, priority phone customer support, larger amounts of bandwidth and with advanced plans; great features like marketplace integration, customer loyalty rewards and special deals. The plans cost between$ 15 and $ 135 a month, with the product and bandwidth amount varying from 100 products and 1GB of bandwidth to 10,000 products and 10GB of bandwidth. For the high-end Volusion plan, you will also have your personal account manager, who will help you to control your e-commerce store.

Bigcommerce

This hosted shopping cart platform is one of the biggest Magento competitors and a direct alternative to Shopify and Volusion. The only reason why Bigcommerce is falling behind Shopify on popularity is its limited set of features and design templates. One significant benefit of using Bigcommerce is an extensive set of how-tos and guidelines that help you develop your store’s web page. Developed by experts in the field, the tutorials consist of self-explanatory videos that will quickly help you in the field of electronic commerce and ensure a smooth transition from sophisticated Magento to a much more easy-to-use Bigcommerce. Like the other shopping carts presented in the list, Bigcommerce is a closed source (proprietary) solution that offers a high security and hassle-free setup, while at the same time putting a hefty price tag on it for a starting business owner.

Bigcommerce’s plans are somewhat similar to those of Shopify. However, you can save up to 10% if you pay for the year upfront. The most basic plan costs $ 29.95/month and has great features to set up a responsive web store. It also offers you unlimited product upload amount, data bandwidth, staff accounts and file storage for you not to worry about paying additional transaction fees. The Standard plan allows you to sell products up to $ 50k in total value over 12 months. The Plus plan requires you to pay $ 79.95 a month, which gives you the same feature set and the ability to sell up to $ 150k in total product value in 12 months. The Pro plan allows you to implement Google customer reviews, filtered product search and custom SSL, plus you can effectively scale up your business by being able to sell up to $ 400K in 12 months.

Virto Commerce

Virto Commerce is a unique open source platform that allows you to quickly set up your website and start selling products or services in no time. It is based on a .NET 4.6 framework and uses cutting-edge web technologies such as AngularJS, Liquid and many others. Just like Magento, it markets itself as both a small-business and an enterprise-level e-commerce solution. The platform allows you to launch your website via the Microsoft cloud and scale it up in no time using Virto Commerce’s multichannel solutions. The company has long been appreciated for its creative problem-solving approaches, flexible pricing models, e-commerce integrations and interchanges as well as great partner selection and website delivery. By using Virto Commerce as an alternative to Magento, you can enjoy its open source and agile features that enable you to achieve maximum customer satisfaction. Agile features of the platform are the topic of another discussion, but with them, you can scale up your market outreach with a single click without hiring an entire team of IT professionals. Take advantage of Virto Commerce’s practices and start selling beyond your business hours. We consider this platform to be the most suited for large and small businesses alike out of all the alternatives to Magento.

WordPress + WooCommerce

WordPress is one of the largest players in the website building market. When paired with WooCommerce, it becomes one of the major Magento alternatives in the field of e-commerce. The difference with Shopify and Bigcommerce lies in the fact that it is an open source solution. If you possess enough programming knowledge, you can turn your shop into a powerful selling platform that can be hosted anywhere. If you are a fan of installing a lot of plugins to improve your website’s work, this platform is made just for you. The plugins extend your options regarding functionality and make the process of tax reports smoother and at the same time increase conversion rates through unique design features. WooCommerce is pretty big: almost 1/3 of online stores are built with this platform. It is valued across users for its clear product presentation, with zoomed pictures, gallery pictures, and photos.

This is a great combination for creating a powerful web store. However, there are still some costs involved. First, you need $ 5 - $ 15 per month to host it somewhere. While some offer you a domain along with the hosting, others do not, which means you have to spend $ 10 extra for the custom domain. If you do not have the knowledge of creating custom themes, consider spending an extra $ 50 to purchase a stock theme for your website. These are the main expenses associated with launching your website with WooCommerce. But if you don’t like to do it yourself, you can hire a professional web-developer to do it for you. And as we know, this can increase the price even more.

Squarespace

A multi-tool in the e-commerce field and a important alternative to Magento. It is highly recommended for people who know nothing about programming or design but still want to have a fancy website. It is easy to set up and manage, but compared to other platforms it lacks some essential features that Shopify or Bigcommerce possess. What the Squarespace staff knows for sure is how to present their product; their home page is truly a masterpiece. You may even think about the advanced features the service may provide, and it does so for sure. Keep in mind the important advantages the service offers: Cover Page Builder, live content editing, inline editing. Great-looking templates ensure your clients receive the top-notch user experience and make your product look much more sophisticated. With Squarespace, get into SEO by receiving custom page titles, URLs, description titles, and redirects in addition to blogging capabilities that allow you to host your podcast, just like using WordPress.

Squarespace offers 2 plans for building your online store. The Basic plan is offered at a price of $ 30 per month and helps you set up your website immediately. Beautiful templates, easy user experience, no hidden transaction fees make this plan very affordable and appealing to beginners. Set up a responsive website and post unlimited products. With the Advanced plan for $ 46 a month, you can get some additional features like customer account, cart recovery, real time shipping rates, gifts and discounts. With this plan, powerful e-commerce metrics will also be available to you. You can also save up to 10% by purchasing a plan on a year-basis.

Wix

Just like WordPress, Wix delivers an incredible website builder that can be used for free. In recent years, they promoted themselves as an e-commerce platform, becoming one of the great alternatives to Magento in the field. It is especially useful for small businesses and for those who are going to create websites in the following niches: design, photography, restaurant business and music due to the abundance of specific tools to boost your website. Wix poses itself as the most innovative website builder amongst the existing competitors. Easily accessible dashboards and drag & drop solutions allow you to quickly send invoices, accept any orders or let the client place the bookings. The design can be suitably chosen exactly for your needs by selecting from multiple themes and templates. To further promote it, the company has recently introduced Artificial Design Intelligence that can create your website for you based on your preferences. The platform continues toexpand and over the years they will introduce new features to suit your business.

Wix is the platform that can help you host an already existing website and enable some essential e-commerce features into it. It is cheap and versatile. The cheapest plan costs $ 5/month and can host your already existing website, giving you 500 MB of storage and 1GB of bandwidth. For $ 10 per month, the amount of bandwidth and storage space increases to 2GB and 3GB, respectively. Get your custom domain and eliminate any of the Wix ads from your website. With $ 14 a month you get all the previous features, including $ 300 Ad vouchers, Site Booster and Form Builder Applications. With this plan you get unlimited bandwidth and 10GB storage space for your website. All of these plans are great. However, you can only integrate the e-commerce features into you online store with the next plan that comes for $ 17/month. The features are the same as in $ 14 plan, but now, you can integratethe e-commerce part into your website. With the last plan for $ 25/month, you get priority support for your website and get your website reviewed by a professional developer.

3dcart

This platform, besides other Magento competitors is being widely used, and should never be looked down on. It can be a perfect solution, especially if you plan to set up a hosted e-commerce shop. The platform is highly customizable, giving you the needed flexibility to set up your online shop. 3dcart has been in the field since 1997 and has proven its reliability. Since then, they are up to date with the latest cutting-edge technologies and design trends, always updating their templates and themes. If you compare it to other shopping carts like Shopify and Bigcommerce, you will be able to use great reporting tools with exciting built-in features such as gift certificates, live chat plugins and bundling options. The only significant disadvantage that users have noticed while using Magento is it's difficult to use the interface and the complexity of adding a new product to a store.

3dcart is an appealing Magento alternative in the sense that it doesn’t include any transaction fees, allows you to upload unlimited products and has unlimited bandwidth. With the basic plan for $ 29 per month, you receive a vast amount of features help you set up a solid store and market it successfully with rich SEO features. Plus plan for $ 79 offers you CRM features, allows you to create customer deals and open up to 5 manager accounts. The ultimate e-commerce solution is 3dcart’s Pro plan for $ 229/month which gives you more sales management over your web store.

Nikolay Sidelnikov
Business Product Owner