The title gives it away, but I really believe Shopify is the best online store platform in most cases. Still, it may not be for everyone. Yes, it’s growing in popularity and yes, it’s now home to more than 600,000 ecommerce. But maybe it shouldn’t be yours. Time to look for good Shopify alternatives.
But before we do, let’s go over the platform’s pros and cons. If you want a more thorough report, don’t forget to check out our complete review of Shopify here.
|Shopify Pros||Shopify Cons|
And now that we’ve recapped these points. Let’s start with the main Shopify competitors.
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The Best Shopify Alternatives for Big Online Stores
They say things are bigger in Texas (where BigCommerce is from) and this is certainly the case when it comes to the amount of features. Many more possible product variants than Shopify, abandoned carts, tons of payment options… There isn’t much missing for creating massive online stores, or so it seems.
But could it be overkill for your needs? Or is it too complicated to get started? Find out in the video below, or skip to the pros and cons of BigCommerce below.
- Standard: $29.95/month, sell unlimited products.
- Plus: $79.95/month, comes with abandoned cart saver.
- Pro: $249.95/month, with Google reviews integration and product filtering.
- Enterprise: Custom quote. A BigCommerce marketer will help you with your store.
One important note: BigCommerce plans come with a yearly sales threshold. You’ll be moved to a higher plan if your yearly sales reach a certain number. More information in our pricing guide.
Why choose BigCommerce over Shopify?
As you’ve seen, there are a couple of similar cons to both. But the main reason to choose BigCommerce over Shopify, in my opinion, would be the way it handles product management, especially for very large stores. Also no extra transaction fees. Worth giving it a try to get a feel for the way they do variants and product listings.
Another Texan company, Volusion is close to 20 years old, and the number of sales they claim to have processed would put them ahead of the competition – a whopping $28 Billion.
You’d think this impressive number comes from the platform’s ease of use. But as you’ll see in the pros and cons below (or the embedded video) it’s not exactly a strong suit of Volusion. Still, let’ see what they get better than the rest.
- Personal: $29 for up to 50k in sales (and up to 100 products)
- Professional: $79, for up to 100k in sales (and up to 5,000 products)
- Business: $299, for up to 500k in sales
- Custom: All features and VIP support
Why choose Volusion over Shopify?
Volusion’s exhaustive list of features is probably a good way to increase sales. You’ll need a little longer to set up your store than with Shopify, but all in all, it’s an OK alternative for those who know exactly what they want to achieve.
Not exactly an all-in-one platform, because you’ll need to install (and know quite a bit about) WordPress. But WooCommerce, as a simple plugin, packs a surprising amount of features.
And craziest of all, you could be using it as a serious ecommerce solution without forking out a huge amount per month. Although it’s a bit more complicated than that, as you’ll see in the video and list of pros and cons below.
WooCommerce is basically free. But because it’s not a platform, you’ll still need a budget to host your store (more information). On average, it would look something like this:
- Hosting: between $5 – 25 / month
- Domain: around $10 a year
- Premium theme: one off fee of $59
- Extra plugins: $40 – 80 / year per plugin
And most costly of all: a lot of time to get it all to work smoothly.
Why choose Volusion over Shopify?
If you already know, understand and love WordPress, then WooCommerce is a very strong contender. The price point could also be attractive if you want something simple and have the time to work on your site, but not the budget.
This Arizonan ecommerce solution has been around for over 15 years, and powers over 30,000 online stores. You can host your online store with them, but you also can purchase a Perpetual License and host it with your favorite hosting service – provided they match their technical requirements.
They come with around 12 free ecommerce templates that you can use. They are responsive so they’ll look good on every device. Using their backend (e.g. adding products) is easy and intuitive, no hiccups there.
Although they have integrations with some external apps (e.g. Avalara, Facebook or Mailchimp), their app center isn’t as varied as Shopify’s – check the available integrations to make sure they support what you need.
The amount of payment gateways they offer is also impressive: PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, Skrill, Authorize, etc.
- Start Up: $44.95 a month for 1GB of space and 2GB bandwidth.
- Started: $94.95 a month for 10GB of space and 20GB bandwidth plus Quickbooks integration.
- Advanced: $199.95 a month for unlimited storage and bandwidth. You also get priority support.
Note: All Pinnacle Plans offer unlimited products and admin accounts. PinnacleCart doesn’t charge transaction fees with any of their plans either.
Why choose PinnacleCart over Shopify?
Shopify is overall a more advanced tool than PinnacleCart – especially when looking at the available integrations. However, if you are looking for an alternative that allows you to have unlimited admin accounts, won’t charge extra transaction fees, or want to host your store externally, PinnacleCart could be the right platform for you.
Founded in 2016 in Bulgaria, Simvoly claims to already have 13,000 active users. These numbers can’t be compared to Shopify’s, but this is not bad for a young start-up.
Their editor still has some room for improvement, as some features are not yet implemented (e.g. not many integrations). On top of that, some of their ecommerce options are a bit too simple (e.g. shipping and taxes).
However, they have a unique approach, as they are focused on conversion rate optimization. They integrate funnel optimization options and A/B testing:
- Their funnel builder and analytics allows you to set goals and customize your funnel steps (landing pages, pop-ups, checkout & thank you page). Since it has built-in analytics, you can see what step of the funnel is working and which one isn’t.
- Includes A/B testing features for the funnels. So for each step you could test a couple of variations and see which one converts best.
- Personal: $12 a month for 20 pages, 5 products, 1 funnel and 1 domain connection.
- Business: $24 a month for unlimited pages, 100 products, 5 funnels and 1 domain connection.
- Growth+: $59 a month for unlimited pages, unlimited products and 30 domain connections and funnels.
- Pro: $149 a month for unlimited pages, products, funnels and domain connections.
Why choose Simvoly over Shopify?
Simvoly offers a bit more control over your design and layouts, but their ecommerce features are a bit more limited (e.g. shipping, taxes, and payment methods).
Their biggest pro, of course, is the funnel optimization options. These are especially useful when creating landing pages.
You might have heard the name Magento for a couple of reasons. First, it was purchased by eBay in 2011. Then, it was sold and bought by Adobe mid-2018. All these transfers of ownership might be a bit worrying if you want to keep track of what’s happening with the platform. But as it stands today, they are a CMS platform focused on letting you sell products and designed around an open-source ecosystem.
It’s a bit hard to gauge exactly what to expect from Magento, but it certainly seems to cater to more established stores, as you’ll see below for the pricing, and reasons to choose it over Shopify.
It’s a bit like WooCommerce. The CMS software is free, but you have to pay for hosting, plugins and themes, amongst others. But Magento is hungrier when it comes to server requirements. They also offer a Cloud-based platform but are a bit secretive about their pricing.
Why choose Magento over Shopify?
Again, hard to tell at this stage. Adobe doesn’t have the best history when it comes to sticking with products it acquires. Probably worth asking their consultants directly if you’re an established B2B or B2C. Also, if you live and breathe Adobe cloud, it might make sense to choose them.
Unlike other Shopify competitors, Big Cartel has got their niche audience: artists, artisans and creators. The websites they create could easily be alternative versions of Etsy, favoring displays that promote a certain DIY, artsy aesthetic.
Does it work? It would seem so. Their website claims to have helped people sell around $2.5 billion worth of work since 2005. And they certainly seem passionate about helping the arts community, as all their staff comes from an artistic background.
- Gold (free): $0 a month and sell up to 5 products
- Platinum: $9.99 a month sell up to 25 products
- Diamond: $19.99 a month and sell up to 100 products
- Titanium: $29.99 a month and sell up to 300 products
Why choose Big Cartel over Shopify?
Obviously, worth considering if you sell music, film, photography or art online. But they’re also an independent company with a cool DIY ethos, so maybe that’s what will appeal to you.
Interestingly, 3Dcart was developed for private use before it was released to the public in 2001. During their almost two decades of existence, they haven’t exactly become a household name, but Amazon did give them a nice accolade when they announced it was the preferred ecommerce platform for their fulfillment service.
In terms of features, you get a few nice tools like live chat, the ability to bundle products and gift certificates, not bad considering their price point is lower than competitors if you want to sell unlimited products without any transaction fees.
- Startup: $19 a month sell up to 100 products
- Basic: $29 a month sell unlimited products and 2 staff accounts
- Plus: $79 a month 5 staff accounts
- Pro: $229 a month and API access
Why choose 3Dcart over Shopify?
The price, mainly. Also probably worth checking if you use Amazon fulfillment to deliver your products around the world.
Founded in France in 2007, you’re probably more likely to have heard of PrestaShop if you’re based in Europe. They are pretty popular in Italy and Spain, where more than 250000 stores rely on its PHP-based open source platform.
One nice thing to note is that unlike other open source services like WooCommerce, PrestaShop does offer personal paid support along with their Community forums and resources (which are pretty good too).
100% free. On paper, at least, because like with WooCommerce or Magento, you’ll need to fork out, at least, for hosting, themes and plugins.
Why choose PrestaShop over Shopify?
Worth browsing their forum and resources to see how easy it is to find information. Open source platforms can be a bit hard to manage by yourself as you’ll need technical knowledge, so if you enjoy their community, it’s a good bedrock to build upon.
The Best Shopify Alternatives for Small and Medium Sized Shops
Wix regularly tops the list of our favorite website builders, but is it strong enough in the ecommerce department? Well, yes and no. On the plus side, you get the same ease of use as with the web builder, good design options and access to their fantastic App Market.
But you can also see that the ecommerce section of Wix came later. Some features are missing (e.g. import and export features), which could make it hard to be a strong competitor for Shopify, as you’ll see below.
- Business Basic: $23 with all the ecommerce features, storage limited to 20 GB – this is a lot
- Business Unlimited: $27 with up to 35 GB storage and up to 10 hours of video upload
- Business VIP: $49 , with up to 50 GB storage and priority support
Why choose Wix over Shopify?
Already have a Wix website? Then you’re probably used to the interface and design philosophy, so creating your store with them should be a no brainer. If you’re looking for the balance of features/value, then Wix is also a great option.
As we wrote in our complete review of the website builder Weebly, using the platform is like “stepping into someone else’s kitchen and immediately finding everything you need to cook.” It’s that intuitive.
This ease of use carries over to the ecommerce section. It’s super simple to add products and edit them, but there’s a good reason we’d only recommend Weebly in the “small” online stores section. Their features can be quite lacking compared to dedicated ecommerce platforms, as you’ll see in the video or pros and cons below.
- Pro: $12, sell 25 items (3% transaction fee)
- Business: $25, sell unlimited products, no fee and and tax and shipping options.
- Business Plus: $38, all Business features and advanced ecommerce features (e.g. automated shipping cost)
Why choose Weebly over Shopify?
When simplicity is your main requirement, Weebly is close to perfection. They also have a great blog and page editor, so if you are planning to create non-ecommerce content and want a bonus online store, it’s a fantastic option.
Squarespace makes cool, sleek, beautiful websites. But is it enough of a reason to choose them for an online store? After all, they didn’t exactly set out to become a leading ecommerce platform, as it took them nearly 10 years to enable the option.
But still, there could be a few advantages in selling your products with Squarespace, as we’ll see in the video below.
- Business: $18 for small stores and a 3% fee per transaction
- Online Store Basic: $26 no transaction fees
- Online Store Advanced: $40 with advanced ecommerce features like real-time carrier shipping
Why choose Squarespace over Shopify?
If you want a good looking site with a solid blog. It’s a bit cheaper than Shopify especially if you need a real-time shipping rate calculator. Really, it’s also about whether Squarespace’s clean, minimalist aesthetic appeals to you in the first place.
200,000 ecommerce owners can’t be wrong, you’d think. While Jimdo is primarily known as a website builder, it would appear they are also popular with online store creators. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s thanks to their free offer, rather than their amazing features.
Still, Jimdo is a good solution for beginners who want something simple, fast and efficient. At least, if you want to sell physical products, as you’ll read in the cons below.
- Free: $0 sell a maximum of 5 products.
- Pro: $10 SEO options enabled and sell upto 15 products.
- Business: $20 sell unlimited products.
Why choose Jimdo over Shopify?
To be fair, they’re not exactly in the same league. The only reason to choose them over Shopify is that they are cheap and maybe even free (with serious limitations). An advantage for users based in the EU is their focus on legal compliance with local rules (Jimdo is a German company).
Not to be mistaken with an ecommerce platform, Ecwid is actually a clever plugin you can add to any website to integrate a store. Like WooCommerce there is a free option (not open source), but the main advantage is that you don’t need a WordPress site. Anything will work.
Best of all, Ecwid is surprisingly easy to use. I like the fact that Ecwid can turn any website into a fully-functioning online store and the price is certainly competitive. Downsides include the lack of design options and flexibility. Still, the rest of the features is pretty strong, as you’ll see in the video below.
- Free: $0 and sell up to 10 items
- Venture: $12.50 sell 100 products both physical or digital
- Business: $29.17 sell up to 2500 items and comes with phone support
- Unlimited: $82.50 unlimited products and get your own iOS and Android shopping app
Find our detailed Ecwid pricing guide here.
Why choose Ecwid over Shopify?
If you already have a website and don’t want to migrate, it’s a good approach as it could be integrated in a day or so.
So what’s the best Shopify alternative for you?
As you can imagine, it really depends on your priorities. A few categories come to mind, and the good news is that you’ll have choice aplenty.
- Bigger online stores: BigCommerce is really the main Shopify competitor there.
- Less technical: the ease of use of website builders with ecommerce option is hard to beat. We’re thinking Weebly and Wix.
- Cheaper options: a plugin is a good compromise, see: WooCommerce, Magento, Wix or Ecwid. Jimdo also has a free plan.
- Focused on content marketing: bloggers who also sell products, or instance, should probably look at Weebly or Squarespace.
So what do you think? Ready to try a Shopify competitor or would you still stick with the established platform? Let me know your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.
-03 Sep 2019: Squarespace improved their SEO features.