Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms right now, however, it’s not the best option for everyone, especially, when it’s far from being a budget solution.
Shopify claims to be the best eCommerce platform that has everything that you might need when building an online store. It’s a bold claim and one that is not easy to stay true to.
Yes, Shopify, might have nearly any solution for everything that you can think of… in its app market. Is it bad? No, not really. Does it get expensive? Oh, yes it does.
Of course, it’s not like Shopify got popular just because of its paid integrations and extensions. It is easy-to-use, designed for beginners, and offers a lot of plug-and-play features. Being designed specifically for eCommerce, Shopify also offers comprehensive analytics and visitor statistics.
However, since nothing is perfect, Shopify doesn’t magically dodge the bullet. For example, Shopify doesn’t offer great SEO tools. This can make it hard to achieve high search engine rankings, all but eliminating an important traffic source for many stores.
Its advanced features are also very limited unless you’re willing to pay for one of the high-end plans – which are quite expensive compared to some of the Shopify competitors listed below.
So whether you got a bad experience with this eCommerce giant, are looking for something cheaper, or just widening the scope of your possibilities when building an online store – I welcome you to the world of Shopify alternatives.
The alternatives below won’t suit everyone, but as I found out, Shopify doesn’t either. The choice depends on your needs only, and having more to choose from never came to me as a bad thing.
So go ahead, pick your favorite!
There are several great choices to pick from if you’re looking for an equal or even a better platform than Shopify.
The top five Shopify alternatives, in no particular order, include:
BigCommerce is one of the major Shopify alternatives. It claims to offer everything you need to “build, run, and scale an online store”. This is quite an honest statement because BigCommerce really offers all of the essential features to run a successful online store.
It is not as easy as it seems to compare Shopify and BigCommerce. Yeah, both of these platforms look quite similar at the first glance, however, when you get a closer look they do a lot of things differently.
That’s why BigCommerce works out as a great Shopify alternative because it does something different.
For example, it’s a lot easier to add additional content to your store when you use BigCommerce. This, in turn, makes it easier to optimize your site for search engines, driving more organic traffic to your website. So, large stores and brands that have the time and resources to invest in content marketing will benefit from this.
BigCommerce also offers a much more flexible website and store editor than Shopify. Claiming to be the “best eCommerce website design platform”, BigCommerce offers a range of advanced customization features.
On the other hand, Shopify tends to be more limited on the customization front with its rigid site editor unless you’re a coding wiz – then you can take advantage of code access offered in both platforms.
Ultimately, a well-designed website is one of the key things when it comes to driving more sales from your online store and I really feel that BigCommerce is better than Shopify in this section.
The BigCommerce template library offers a great selection of both free and premium design templates.
Grouped by industry and store type, these are a great way to start building your store. But, Shopify doesn’t dawdle in the template department as well.
Shopify and BigCommerce are actually very similar on the pricing front. BigCommerce offers subscriptions starting from $29.95/month for their Standard plan.
This price jumps to $79.95/month for the Plus plan and increases to a massive $249.95/month for the Pro plan. Enterprise solutions are also available for larger clients, and BigCommerce claims to offer “custom pricing lower than Magento and Shopify Plus”.
On the other hand, Shopify’s prices start at $29/month and jump to $79/month and $299/month for the higher end plans.
Shopify does offer a $9/month Shopify Lite plan, which isn’t matched by BigCommerce, but this plan doesn’t include an online storefront. Instead, it lets you use Shopify buttons on your existing website and sell on Facebook, among other things.
Both providers offer free trials, and I’d recommend giving them both a go if you really can’t decide which one to use.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a large range of apps and plugins in their dedicated stores. Some of these are free, some are premium, and some are “freemium” – you will be able to access the basics with a free version, but will need to upgrade to access more advanced features.
BigCommerce offers fewer apps than Shopify does (a few hundred compared to, well… over a thousand), but this doesn’t really impress me so much. Ultimately, this is probably because BigCommerce offers a lot more built-in features, which means that there is less need for third-party integrations.
To be honest, I found everything I needed in the BigCommerce app store, and it was a lot easier to navigate than Shopify’s. I’d probably choose BigCommerce over Shopify when it comes to the quality of apps, although Shopify obviously offers a wider spectrum of those.
The last thing I want to look at is multi-channel selling. Both BigCommerce and Shopify let you sell and manage inventory in shops on Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, and eBay. However, BigCommerce offers few drop shipping options and really isn’t suited to drop shipping entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, BigCommerce is quite similar to Shopify in many aspects. However, not the similarities but the differences are the reason why BigCommerce works as a great Shopify alternative. Better SEO Tools, wider selection of in-house features, and an intuitive drag-and-drop site editor – all add up to be a great Shopify substitute for powerful online campaigns.
Similar to BigCommerce, Volusion offers much the same features and functionality as Shopify. However, it bills itself as easier to use and more beginner-friendly, which means that it’s a preferred among non-tech-savvy eCommerce entrepreneurs.
Although they seem very similar on the surface, a deeper analysis shows that Shopify offers more in-depth sales features.
On the other hand, Volusion prides itself on its strong data analytics, designed to help store owners make informed business decisions.
Volusion should appeal to people who love data and data analysis in general. The wide range of analytics tools on offer includes search term analysis and strong traffic reporting methods.
These tools will help you identify the most appropriate target audience for your store, adjust your marketing methods, and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
On the other hand, Shopify offers quite limited analytics. It’s not like this would worry a lot of users, but if you want a data-focused eCommerce provider then Volusion is a great option.
Also, it seems to be easier to market your store with Volusion rather than Shopify. Shopify is known for its weak SEO, while Volusion excels here.
It lets you add custom metadata, search-friendly URLs, sitemap indexing, and robots.txt files. I know that Shopify appears to offer similar at first glance, but my experience with the two has shown me that Volusion outperforms the eCommerce building giant here.
However, Shopify certainly takes the points when it comes to ease of use and design flexibility. Volusion is notoriously famous for its hard to navigate website builder and user interface.
Volusion is billed as a great option for non-tech-savvy operators due to the lack of coding or web development skills needed to open a store, but I personally got frustrated when trying to navigate the builder for the first time.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box store functionality with a basic design – Volusion does offer a range of templates and attractive themes.
Some people argue that stores built with Volusion can look a bit outdated and archaic, but I’d counter this argument by saying that it all depends on how you fine-tune your storefront. With 11 free themes and 34 premium ones, I found plenty of options for stores of all sizes and styles.
Volusion also gives you the ability to create custom themes. If you don’t have the skills or experience to build your own theme you can use one of their custom design packages that would be created by professionals.
Starting from $4000, these packages pair you with a dedicated designer, project manager, and developer who will help you build the storefront of your dreams.
Like BigCommerce, Volusion is very similar to Shopify when it comes to pricing. Their Personal ($29.00/month), Professional ($79.00/month), Business ($299/month), and Prime subscriptions essentially line up with Shopify’s Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced Shopify, and Shopify Plus plans.
However, Volusion does offer discounts if you purchase more than one store or if you purchase annual plans. On the other hand, you could easily find yourself spending a lot on apps and add-ons, and spend even more than while using Shopify.
Volusion is good for people who are happy with a stock storefront without too many extras — otherwise the cost can add up quickly.
When it comes to apps Volusion offers a decent selection, however, it’s far from the Shopify app store. The Volusion Marketplace lists 73 different apps that you can add to your store. Of these, 64 are paid and only 9 are free.
On this front Shopify certainly comes out ahead. Since free options are limited, I’ve found it super easy to spend a fortune on apps with Volusion.
If you think you’re going to need a lot of features that Volusion’s stock plans don’t offer then it’s probably not going to be the most suitable eCommerce provider for your needs.
All things considered, I found Volusion to be a decent alternative to Shopify. It’s a great choice for small businesses who want a simple, out-of-the-box solution. Performing well on the SEO and data fronts, Volusion is a good option for people who want to drive organic traffic to their store.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular free Shopify alternatives. And unlike most of the other alternatives to Shopify, this one has some very different aces up its sleeve. It’s completely open-source – making it one of the more exciting Shopify competitors here.
With a wide selection of free and premium extensions, easy WordPress integration, and extreme customizability, WooCommerce is perfect for people who are already familiar with WordPress Content Management System (CMS) or already have a WP website hosted.
Unlike Shopify, which acts as both a host and a store builder, WooCommerce is simply a plugin that you can add to your WordPress website.
This means that you will have to pay for some sort of hosting and custom domain if you’re setting up a new website, but it should be relatively cheap compared to most other Shopify alternatives.
Personally, I love WooCommerce. I’ve built a few custom eCommerce stores and added storefronts to existing websites. When combined with a plugin like AliDropship, WooCommerce provides a great dropshipping interface.
Since it acts as a plugin rather than a storefront on its own, WooCommerce is best for people who want to build a strong, content-based store. In reality, it works best when you plan on building a website and adding a store, rather than building your website around your store.
I love the SEO freedom that WooCommerce gives you. Ultimately, your search engine ranking won’t be at all dictated by WooCommerce, but by the way you set up your website.
If you have decent coding knowledge and good SEO skills there’s no reason why you shouldn’t rank highly for any keywords you target.
A large part of this SEO freedom comes with the fact that WooCommerce is completely open-source. This means that you can edit anything you want – literally. However, the downside of this is that you will need at least some coding and development skills to fine-tune your website.
For those who prioritize security, WooCommerce is also a great option. Platforms like Shopify essentially control your data, but since WooCommerce is self-hosted, you will retain ownership of every single aspect of your store.
When it comes to extensions and add-ons, WooCommerce really does excel — but in a different way to Shopify. Yes, it also offers hundreds of different free and premium extensions that are comparable to Shopify’s apps.
However, the difference is that while most of Shopify’s paid apps require monthly subscriptions, WooCommerce extensions are usually available for a one-time fee.
Since WooCommerce is open-source, anyone can create their own extensions to integrate with the software. In theory, you could pay to get a new extension developed if you can’t find what you need.
However, the WooCommerce extension library is so extensive that there’s little chance that you will run into this problem.
Unfortunately, WooCommerce falls down on the customer support front. I guess this is expected on some level from a free, open-source eCommerce solution, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.
They do claim to have support teams across the world, and this isn’t a lie, but the problem is that the WooCommerce team will often blame problems on something else.
For example, if your store is lagging or you’re having trouble with your WooCommerce interface, the support team might blame the problem on your hosting provider.
They may be right, but you won’t be any closer to solving the problem. On the other hand, Shopify offers comprehensive support including live chat.
WooCommerce is, without a doubt, the best alternative to Shopify for people who are comfortable using WordPress – or those looking for some top free Shopify alternatives.
Wix offers great eCommerce solutions for people with little to no website building experience. With a great ADI (artificial design intelligence) tool and top-class editor, Wix makes it easy for you to build a simple store regardless of your web development skillset.
Compared to Shopify, Wix really stands out as a premium builder and editor. This makes sense because Wix has built a reputation as an industry leader on the customization and drag-and-drop flexibility front.
This means that you can place content in any position on your website with the click of a button – meanwhile doing that with Shopify – requires strong coding skills.
Wix strongly outperforms Shopify on the template and theme front as well. Although Shopify offers a few free themes and some good premium ones, Wix gives you the choice of over 500 designer themes. Moreover, it doesn’t stop there – you can customize every theme to the point that it’s barely recognizable and create your own designs.
Since online stores aren’t the primary focus of Wix, it doesn’t quite live up to the same standards as Shopify if we compare on eCommerce features alone. However, it still offers a suite of great tools that small business and online store owners will find very useful.
As you can see, Wix offers all of the main features that you need to build a simple online store. It lets you build an attractive storefront – with a lot of customizability I might add – and offers a user-friendly store manager. Coupons and discount codes are available and most popular payment providers are accepted.
However, Wix does lack some features that some people will think are essential. Upselling and cross-selling are limited, it’s difficult to integrate reviews, and subscription functions are hard to add.
But, all Wix stores are automatically mobile-optimized – a necessity in the modern world. 24/7 support is also available.
Wix sits in the middle when it comes to pricing. Some major Shopify competitors – such as WooCommerce and Weebly – are more affordable, while more traditional eCommerce solutions like BigCommerce and Volusion are a lot more expensive.
The most basic Wix eCommerce plan is the Business Basic plan, which will still cost you $18.00/month. The Business Limited plan comes in at $28.00/month, while the Business VIP plan is $38.00/month.
So, Wix isn’t the most affordable eCommerce solution out there, but it is more affordable than Shopify.
Like most of the Shopify Alternatives on this list, Wix offers a range of Apps that you can use to build your eCommerce store. Some of these will help you build your website and attract more visitors, while others are tailored specifically towards eCommerce.
Wix and Shopify seem pretty even on the app front. I’d even argue that Wix is a better choice here because it offers a lot of non-eCommerce apps, to help you build your site and attract more visitors.
A quick look at the facts, that I’ve run through above, should make it obvious that Wix isn’t the best eCommerce platform on the market.
However, if you’re looking for a powerful website builder and editor with decent eCommerce capabilities – then Wix is worth considering.
Weebly is a great Shopify alternative for smaller online stores especially. At first, it started off more like a website builder and less of an eCommerce. Yet recently it got acquired by card payment processor Square.
This change accelerated the growth of variety of eCommerce features in Weebly. It continues to provide extremely high-quality website building services but has also grown to become one of the leading Shopify eCommerce alternatives.
The fact that Weebly offers a superb drag-and-drop editor makes it a logical choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to create an attractive, unique storefront.
Weebly offers an extremely wide range of eCommerce features that I find comparable with Shopify yet manages to come in at a much lower price.
It’s important to note that Shopify is dedicated to eCommerce – it’s what they do, and they do it well – but Weebly is predominantly a website builder with very strong eCommerce features.
If you want to build a simple eCommerce website or add a storefront to your site, Weebly is a great option. Its simplest plans offer enough features to get you started, while its higher-end plans offer a comprehensive suite of tools.
However, Weebly happens to fall down on the analytics front, only offering very basic data and analysis tools.
On the other hand, Weebly makes email marketing simple. Where Shopify requires you to use an external client such as MailChimp, Weebly lets you use their in-house solution, Weebly Promote ($96.00/year, included in Business Plus plan).
Personally, I love Weebly Promote. It’s super easy to integrate with your store and makes email marketing quite straightforward. And the fact that it’s managed by Weebly makes customer support a breeze if you run into any problems.
At first glance, Weebly seems to be a lot more affordable than Shopify. It’s subscriptions range from $12.00/month for the Pro plan to $38.00/month for the Business Plus plan. In between, you’ll find the Business plan for $25.00/month.
The Pro plan is somewhat limited in what it offers, but the Business plan provides most things that a small eCommerce store needs to function. Although Weebly’s prices are a lot less than Shopify’s, it’s important to explore the features that each provider offers before choosing based on the price alone.
Ultimately, Weebly is a great alternative for small businesses and aspiring eCommerce stores who want the freedom of a drag-and-drop website builder coupled with the basic features offered by major players like Shopify.
Both Weebly and Shopify offer app stores. The Weebly App Center contains more than 350 free and premium apps that are designed to add extra features and functionality to your store.
It’s worth noting that a lot of Weebly’s apps aren’t targeted specifically at eCommerce. This means that they won’t always be useful for your online store.
However, there are plenty of free apps on offer that you can use to boost your sales, drive more traffic to your website, and improve your social media marketing results — among other things.
In the end, Weebly works as a great Shopify alternative for smaller online stores that do not require tons of premium features. It’s great for users who want to feel secure and avoid the risk of starting off with such a powerful, yet complicated eCommerce platform like Shopify.
Although Shopify is arguably the most popular eCommerce solution available, there are numerous alternatives that you could and should consider if you want to create an online store.
In this article I’ve covered 5 best alternatives to Shopify, outlining their strong points, their weak points and how their prices shape up.
In the end, the exact eCommerce solution that is right for you will depend on your needs. Some people will prefer a Shopify competitor, like Wix or Weebly, that offers a powerful website builder with eCommerce capabilities.
On the other hand, a developer who likes working with WordPress might decide to go with a free Shopify alternative like WooCommerce.
BigCommerce and Volusion are very similar to Shopify and come with almost identical pricing plans. However, they offer slightly different features which will suit different people with different needs.
Remember, the features that you need will depend on your business model and situation. There is not one “best” eCommerce solution that works for everyone, so make sure that you do your research and choose accurately.