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Best Shopify Alternatives in 2021
Updated: Jul 03, 2021 / Article by: Timothy Shim
There is no doubt that eCommerce has grown to become an unstoppable force. Global eCommerce sales hit a high of $4.2 trillion in 2020. With more people going online to shop, have you considered if your eCommerce platform is helping keep you sufficiently competitive?
Shopify is an excellent eCommerce solution, but it isn’t by any means perfect. Despite a fantastic outlook, factors including price, features, or even suitability have some users shopping for a Shopify alternative.
Don’t just grab the first you see though, take a look at our list of top eCommerce platform options to get a better idea of what’s available.
Wix is a great all-in-one platform for newbies as it comes with a flexible and easy-to-use website builder. You can quickly create a website using drag and drop without needing to work with code. It's a hosted solution, so there's nothing to install, and you won’t need to worry about things like back-end management and security.
How is Wix Better Than Shopify?
Although Wix lacks some of the premium features that Shopify has, and it comes with limited access to various WordPress plugins and support, it is one of the cheaper options in the market, making Wix ideal for smaller businesses and people a budget.
Wix is free to use if you’re happy with the offered basic features. However, if you require an online payment feature, you’ll need to upgrade to their Business Plans, starting from as low as $17/month. The more functionality you need, the more you’ll have to pay.
Take note that there’s a processing fee for every payment you receive through Wix Payments. Moving money around costs, well, money, and Wix needs to recover its expenses from you. It also, unfortunately, doesn't work with many different payment methods.
That said, Wix is an excellent alternative to Shopify if you’re looking for an easy and straightforward way to start building a web store with minimal technical knowledge.
Squarespace is known as a leading website builder that offers a full-fledged eCommerce service. There’s a dashboard that allows you to update and manage your product or services easily. Also, Squarespace Analytics, a built-in reporting tool that helps furnish you with advanced reporting information, is a true winner.
What Makes Squarespace Ticks?
This all-in-one platform offers a robust website builder and a variety of templates and themes. You can also access a cover-page builder, G-Suite integration, and Getty image installation. Additionally, there’s a great blogging tool. It’s also a hosted platform, so you won’t need to worry about all the back-end stuff.
You’ll need at least the Business Plan to have any eCommerce features, but this comes with a 3% transaction fee and has no eCommerce analytics tool. You can choose to upgrade to the Basic Commerce plan so that there's no transaction fee, though.
Like Wix, Squarespace is easy to use, but it’s also limited in some functionalities compared to Shopify; Squarespace is limited to PayPal and Stripe. Take note that for the upper two plans, although there are no additional transaction fees, these payment processors will charge you their respective transaction fees.
If you lack the technical skills and budget and want to keep your web store relatively small, Squarespace could be the right one. After all, it’s still somewhat cheaper than Shopify, and it does give you a clean, minimalist eCommerce approach.
Weebly is free to use, but that tier of the plan comes stripped of many essential functions. The platform is another easy-to-use, all-in-one service that includes web hosting, ready for you to use. The core of Weebly is its free website builder – helpful in creating and managing your online store.
Weebly – A Cheaper Alternative to Shopify
It is an excellent option for anyone wanting a simple and user-friendly solution straight out of the box. The eCommerce part is pretty intuitive. However, Weebly is more suited for smaller online stores as its features for a bigger and dedicated eCommerce store can be pretty lacking.
Acquired by Square in May 2018, Weebly is now part of the Square suite of business tools. Together, they have launched Square Online, a payment platform that allows online and in-person payments.
The pricing plans for Weebly start at $5/month, with a free option available for you to use. This free plan gives you only the basic features. If you want to run an online store, you need to opt for at least the Pro Plan at $12/month.
You won’t get the same features as Shopify, but their highest plan is still somewhat cheaper than the Shopify Basic Plan. So if you’re a beginner and are tight on budget, Weebly could be another solid choice for you.
Zyro is another all-in-one eCommerce solution platform that comes with web hosting and a nifty website builder. Based in Lithuania, admittedly, Zyro is not the most popular alternative to Shopify. However, if you were to look into its functionalities and templates, you’d be pleasantly surprised.
How is Zyro Better Than Shopify?
Overall, Zyro has a clean backend design, and the templates, though not many, are gorgeous. If you need the functions of an online store, you’ll need to go for the eCommerce plan at a minimum. But go for the next upgraded eCommerce Plus plan.
Zyro will entertain with more exciting features, such as supporting more products, abandoned cart recovery, support in multiple languages, and more. Overall, Zyro is quite a solid eCommerce solution platform that you can use to start building your online store.
BigCommerce, based in Texas, is a dedicated eCommerce platform that stands out among the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market as an industry leader with a comprehensive set of eCommerce features and others. It also comes with many advanced marketing features that include shopping cart abandonment emails built into its core.
BigCommerce – The Best Alternative to Shopify?
The user experience is as straightforward as Shopify’s, with clear navigation and a simple flat design. Considered to be a strong competitor against Shopify, BigCommerce provides the same convenience in many forms, including hosting and software updates.
If you’re all about building a scalable online store, the Standard Plan is a good start at $29.95/ month. This figure may seem a little expensive at first glance, but it’s worth it, especially when you consider all the features you get. Take note that all their plans come with unlimited products, storage, and bandwidth.
If you’re a massive conglomerate with the goal to have all the perks for your substantial online store, then you can consider the Enterprise Plan that’s got you all covered. You’ll need to contact their sales for more info on this.
Users have complained that BigCommerce bumps up their plans to the higher and more expensive tiers when profits start rolling in, something to take note of. Because there are more features than Shopify, there could be a steeper learning curve for BigCommerce. That said, it is still a Shopify alternative worthy of your consideration.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin meant to bring eCommerce features to the core application. The stack of features included has made it highly popular, capturing a solid share of this market. That said, you’ll need to source for web hosting and payment options separately.
Why WooCommerce as an Alternative to Shopify?
Still, the platform is free to use and supports a vast number of third-party applications and extensions. This extensibility gives you the flexibility to build in extra features with CSS, HTML, and plugins. WooCommerce’s dashboard is built straight into WordPress for greater convenience.
Despite its popularity, WooCommerce isn’t ideal if you don’t have some familiarity with web technology. It’s just an app, so you need to find web hosting and deploy it by yourself. Well, unless you’re willing to pay to get it done.
Volusion has been in the market for 20 years. It is an all-in-one eCommerce platform with a simple interface. Equipped with step-by-step tutorials, you’ll find it easy to create your online store. Volusion shines in the number of payment gateway and checkout options it has to offer; accept payments virtually in any way you choose (Stripe, Paypal, and more).
Why Volusion Over Shopify?
That said, Volusion can be considered restrictive because it limits the control of more advanced users. Also, its features are somewhat lacking. However, like Shopify, Volusion is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform, which means everything is taken care of for you. There's no need to download or install anything, so you can create an account and start building.
Their pricing plans are similar to Shopify’s, with $29/month at the lowest. There’s a free trial that you can use to have a feel of this tool. Take note that their pricing plans are tiered, as the more you earn, the more you’ll have to pay them.
Although some have attested that Shopify is easier to grip on, others have confirmed that Volusion has more to offer in analytics and insights, which many find very useful. Bear in mind that Volusion requires some coding skills.
Volusion is designed more for small and medium businesses, with unlimited bandwidth, real-time support, and multiple payment gateway options.
Magento was initially bought over by eBay in 2011 but then was acquired by Adobe in 2018. It is both an online store builder and an eCommerce platform for managing from front-end to back-end operations. It is based on PHP and is an open-source platform.
Although it’s free, it is also available in several paid options for more advanced options. Bear in mind that this is not a simple plug-and-play solution that newbies who are not tech-savvy can attempt. But if you do, Magento can shine in terms of flexibility, optimization, scalability to cater to various amounts of traffic and sales.
Although Magento comes with tons of features, it is known that the software can get laggy at times, especially when dealing with large numbers of products. Bear in mind that you need to source for the Magento hosting solution, and accordingly, Magento is heavy when it comes to server requirements.
As such, Magento is best suited more for mid-sized to large businesses that have in-house programmers and the resources to tweak the platform to their needs. That said, it is still a good enough eCommerce platform for most.
Don’t get me wrong; Shopify is an obvious choice for eCommerce and an excellent tool as it is, but again, when it comes to selling online, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At some point in time, you may outgrow Shopify or simply get fed up with them.
As you can see above, these are great alternatives to Shopify that can fit a wide range of needs. It isn’t all about picking only the best but having a realistic understanding of your business needs (or wants), priorities, skills, and budget.
With these in mind, you’ll be able to choose the one that hits all the right spots.
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.