You’ve heard of Shopify. You may have even taken it for a test drive with their 14-day free trial.
But I’m here to tell you…
Shopify isn’t an ecommerce platform for everyone.
- Received the highest score for features and customer satisfaction
- Brilliant inventory system to help you manage your store
- Sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay
- The only platform to enforce its own transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments
- Content doesn’t automatically reformat when you switch themes
- Apps can quickly add up as you add extra features to your store
Although it’s true that Shopify is among the best, it may not be best for YOUR business.
Whether you’re simply exploring your options (and there are many to explore)
You’ve tried Shopify and know it isn’t right for your business
This guide will help you make a decision.
Let’s look at 10 of the top Shopify competitors to see if any are a good fit.
Maybe you’ll find the perfect Shopify alternative.
Or maybe you’ll realize that your perfect solution was Shopify all along (just like a cheesy RomCom).
There’s a reason why Bigcommerce stands at the number one spot on this list of Shopify alternatives. (Click to Tweet)
Bigcommerce is the next best thing.
This powerful ecommerce platform offers 99.% uptime (just like Shopify), and it’s affordably priced.
- Speed and security
- Integrated education
- Intuitive interface
- Helpful customer service
- Limited apps and addons
- More complex terms
- Not user's friendly
Bigcommerce offers more templates than Shopify (about 100), so if that was a sticking point for you, consider this platform instead.
Aside from the extra templates, Bigcommerce Essentials offers many of the same features as Shopify, and at similar pricing.
At all levels, you’ll get unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, live support and no transaction fees.
But you should know..
You’re here to find Shopify alternatives, so there might be something you’re missing in the Shopify Plan. So I’m going to break it down for you.
If you’re comparing the Shopify Basic plan with the BigCommerce Standard plan (29/mo. vs.29.95/mo.), you may choose Bigcommerce for the following features.
These are things you can do with the BigCommerce Standard Plan that you can’t do with Shopify Basic:
- Sell and receive gift cards
- Browse 1,000 templates
- Accept product ratings and reviews (you’d need an app with Shopify)
But there’s a flipside…
With Shopify Basic, you can send abandoned cart emails. You can’t do that with BigCommerce Standard.
Here’s a quick view of BigCommerce’s pricing:
If you’re wondering about popularity between the two platforms, check this out…
The following Google trends graph compares the popularity of BigCommerce vs. Shopify from the past 5 years. Shopify is blue and BigCommerce is red.
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Volusion is next on the list because it’s very similar to Shopify. And frankly, if you like all the features of Shopify, but you want something with more instruction and tutorials, you may really enjoy Volusion. (I have covered both Shopify and Volusion in more detail in a separate post here).
- Built-in instruction
- Great support
- User-friendly interface
- Lack of responsive design
- Lack of blog element
There are a lot of similarities in these two platforms, and even the pricing is spot-on:
Both ecommerce platforms offer the following:
- Load and manage unlimited products
- Complete online transactions
- Robust shipping options
- Abandoned cart tool
- Advanced reporting
But you may choose Volusion over Shopify, if the following features are important to you:
- Instant storefront search
- Ability to offer gift cards on all plans
Volusion isn’t nearly as popular today as Shopify, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice. This platform has been around since 1999, so it has definitely done something right.
To drive home the differences in popularity…
The following Google trends graph compares the popularity of Volusion vs. Shopify from 2006 through today. Shopify is blue and Volusion is red.
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Next on the list breaks away from the same ecommerce platform mold we’re used to seeing these days.
- Advanced features
- Great design and template library
- Not as easy to use as others
- Minimal support
How, you ask?
Well, great question! Woocommerce actually is not a hosted solution.
This may present a problem for people who are new to ecommerce and have no prior web development experience.
But for others…
The fact that Woocommerce isn’t a hosted solution may well be their favorite thing.
You see, Woocommerce is a plugin that works along with WordPress.
And if you’re already using WordPress, it’s a super-easy transition.
On the other hand…
If you have to purchase your domain, setup WordPress, install an SSL and add the Woocommerce plugin, it’s a bit more legwork.
But let’s be real…
Most hosting companies automate the process of setting up WordPress and installing a plugin is a push-button solution. Don’t let the extra work scare you. You don’t need any sort of web development degree to get this job done.
But since Shoipfy and WooCommerce are quite different in the way they work, I wanted to simplify things for you with a chart:
If you want more control over your website and data – and get access to an almost endless array of WordPress themes – Woocommerce may be a great fit.
And as you can see, Woocommerce (red) isn’t quite as popular as Shopify (blue), but it’s a widely-searched and used platform.
Oh, and I almost forgot the best part…
Woocommerce is free. (I recommend you to read in-depth comparison of shopify vs woocommerce)
Sure, you have to pay for your own hosting, SSL and domain, but the ecommerce platform is free and open source.
If Woocommerce has piqued your interest, and you want to dig deeper, check out this comprehensive comparison between Woocommerce and Shopify.
Just know that you’ll need your own domain with WordPress installed to give Woocommerce a test run.
Sign up Woocommerce for free and build your online store with open source, fully customized and best selling store for eCommerce platform.
If you’ve heard of Shopify, you’ve probably heard of Wix.
But that’s just because these are two massively popular website builders.
- Easy-to-use editor
- Great help features
- Automatic website backups
- Can’t switch templates
- Spend more on third party apps for scalability
Let’s jump straight into the popularity contest.
Again, Shopify is in blue and Wix is red.
Well, it’s not so surprising when you look at the facts.
The reason Wix is about as popular as Shopify today is because it offers more than just ecommerce solutions.
In fact, much of Wix’s popularity comes from its free website offering.
But don’t get too excited…
Wix’s free plan has nothing to do with ecommerce. It’s really just for very basic personal website needs.
If you want the truth about Wix,
I have to tell you that the platform overall isn’t as ecommerce focused as Shopify. And although, it has the best drag-and-drop features in the business, the ecommerce setup can feel a bit clunky on the backend.
Still, Wix may be your hero in the following cases:
- You already have a personal Wix site and want to add the ecommerce element
- You love Wix and your business plan includes just a few (maybe 10 or fewer) products or services. In this case, the things that make Shopify more appealing become less relevant.
As you can see from the chart below, Wix’s entry level plan is also cheaper by $9/mo.
There are some finer details between the two platforms that I can’t spend time on here, but you can read all about them in this Wix vs. Shopify comparison.
If you’re ready to give Wix a shot, you can signup here. Wix doesn’t offer a free trial, but they do extend a 14-day moneyback guarantee. So, you can get your money back if you don’t love it.
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If you’ve been searching for Shopify alternatives, there’s a good chance you’ve come across BigCartel. And while this sounds like a way to describe the Netflix show Narcos, it’s actually a rather well-liked ecommerce platform.
- Easy to use
- Free for a small, basic store
- No search functionality
- Limited payment gateways
But let’s get to it…
Here’s where BigCartel shines above Shopify (and virtually all ecommerce plan): BigCartel offers a free hosted ecommerce plan.
Now, if you’re serious about your business, you’re going to want to pay for the upgrade. But free is a major draw.
Actually, the free plan is BigCartel’s answer to a free trial. You can’t get a free trial with BigCartel, but you can test drive the platform with a limited Gold plan that allows you to sell 5 products.
But as you can see from the chart above, BigCartel really shines with ultra-small businesses. If you only have 25 products or fewer, you can build an online store on your own domain for as little as $9.99.
And as you can see from the Google trends, BigCartel isn’t anywhere near as popular as Shopify.
But let’s remember that they cater to a smaller niche.
If you’re not really sure about scaling your business and want to dip your toes in the water of ecommerce with a few products, BigCartel may be a good solution.
Sign up Bigcartel for free and build a unique store for sell your work, design and run a creative business. Best to sell clothing designers, bands, crafters, jewelry makers and other artists.
Since we’re in this category of small ecommerce stores, it’s fitting to discuss Weebly next.
Weebly also offers the opportunity to open an ecommerce business with a small monthly commitment (with your own hosted domain).
- Fast and secure
- Competitive pricing
- Easy website builder
- Comprehensive app store
- Great customer support
- Clunky content management system
- Difficult to change platforms
But there’s something you should know….
Weebly offers a Pro plan that starts at $12/mo. and allows you to sell up to 100 products. Read my article on Weebly pricing where I have discussed every plan in detail.
And although that sounds great, it also comes with a 3% transaction fee on all orders. So the Pro plan might make sense at first, but you’ll outgrow this one FAST.
And that’ll take you to the Business plan or above. The Business plan is comparable with Shopify’s Basic plan.
But as you can see, the Business plan is about $4 cheaper per month than Shopify basic, so this is a more affordable option.
One of the biggest benefits to Weebly over Shopify is that Weebly caters to ecommerce stores as well as organizations that sell products. So you can setup a membership site and sell digital products with your Weebly account.
There’s a lot more to the Weebly pricing plans an when it makes sense to upgrade. If you’re interested, read this post that explains Weebly pricing in detail.
Sign up Weebly for free and build a free website, makes it easy to create a website, blog, or online store. Find customizable templates, domains, and easy-to-use tools.
Now it’s time to switch gears to review a Shopify alternative that’s geared towards larger stores. But you may still be happy with 3Dcart for your store.
- Fast load times
- No transaction fees
- Lots of features
- Unlimited product listings
- Wide selection of payment gateways
- Limited access to file editing outside FTP
- Complicated interface
- Difficult for anyone without development/ecommerce experience
The standout feature of 3Dcart is that it offers 200 payment gateways, which is really the best anyone could ask for in terms of accepting payments.
The benefit to you?
You have a broader base of payment gateways to choose from, so you’re likely to get a better rate.
But you probably already know that this is a competitive industry. So even the best rates may only be fractions of a percent lower than average.
Still, if you’re selling enough, those pennies can really add up.
And as a plus in the small business column, 3Dcarts introductory plan is only $19/mo. without any transaction fees.
Try 3dcart for free and build a eCommerce website offers a lots of in-built features and fully customized stores.
CoreCommerce’s closest comparison is probably BigCommerce – but since it’s another ecommerce platform – it’s a suitable Shopify alternative.
- Lots of tutorials and step-by-step instruction
- Relatively inexpensive
- Secure hosted solution
- Not as many SEO features as larger ecommerce solutions
- Not quite as user-friendly as other carts
CoreCommerce isn’t the most popular solution around, but it offers may of the same features as the bigger names at an affordable price.
What stands out about CoreCommerce?
You can offer wholesale discounts and special pricing to membership groups, which gives you a lot of versatility.
Check out CoreCommerce’s pricing plans below:
Sign up Corecommerce for free and build businesses, web developers, ISOs/agents and software partners with the tools to seamlessly accept online payments.
PrestaShop is an interesting solution that’s not quite like the others on the list.
- Easy to install/begin
- Open source or hosted solutions
- User-friendly interface
- Limited scalability
- Limited support
First and foremost…
There’s a hosted and a self-hosted version. If you choose to self-host, you’ll need to find a reputable hosting company to host your store, and you’ll need your own domain.
So, you might be thinking it’s like Woocommerce.
And you’d be right… in a way.
The difference is that Woocommerce exists to add a commerce element to content sites. PrestaShop was built as an ecommerce solution for medium to large-sized businesses.
PrestaShop is an open source solution, and there are many themes available on ThemeForest and the PrestaShop website.
But you should also know….
PrestaShop’s hosted plans are 19 Euro per month. Self-hosted PrestaShop is free.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is similar to Shopify?
Bigcommerce, Volusion, WooCommerce, Wix, Magento, Weebly, Lemonstand, 3D Cart, Core Commerce, and PrestaShop.
Is Shopify the best Ecommerce platform?
Is it better to sell on Amazon or Shopify?
Depends on what you are looking for. Shopify has very high ratings overall however.
What companies use Shopify?
Bulletproof, Sir The Label, HASBRO, The Economist, Heinz, Crabtree & Evelyn, Sunday Somewhere, Penguin Books, Lazy Oaf, BBC, Red Bull, Gymshark, Rebecca Minkoff, SKINNY DIP, KKW Beauty, Mavi, Outdoor Voices, Good American, Kylie Cosmetics, BlueBella, MVMT Watches, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Pixi Beauty, ColourPop, Harper Collins, etc.
Conclusion on Shopify Competitors
As you can see from the amazing platforms on this list, there are plenty of Shopify alternatives. However, presently, there are over 500k active stores running on Shopify.
Shopify works for many businesses, but remember that other platforms (Volusion, Wix or Bigcommerce) have features that Shopify doesn’t.
Ecommerce is expected to fuel $4.5 trillion in sales by 2021. Which platform will help you claim your piece of the puzzle? (Click to Tweet)
If you’re still considering Shopify and haven’t taken the free trial, what are you waiting for?
With such a diverse array of platforms, you’re sure to find one that’s right for your business.
Do you have a favorite? Let us know what it is in the comments!