If you are looking to build an ecommerce website then you may be aware of one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, Shopify, but you might wonder if there are any Shopify alternatives. While shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce sites in the world, it is most definitely not the only option to build a successful ecommerce store.
There are a variety of ecommerce Shopify alternatives that in some cases can be a better fit for your brand than Shopify itself. Whether you are running a small business or building the next multi-million dollar corporation, this guide will show you five of the most popular shopify alternatives for 2020.
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Our top 5 Alternatives to shopify:
The first and arguably most powerful alternative to Shopify is BigCommerce. While BigCommerce may not be as popular as its counterpart, this ecommerce platform is one of the most powerful on the market. BigCommerce
If you couldn’t tell by the name, BigCommerce is ecommerce centric, meaning that it was designed to help companies build and operate ecommerce businesses. At first glance, BigCommerce may appear to be very similar to Shopify, and that’s because it is.
- BigCommerce has the most built-in features of any ecommerce platform on the market. All of the tools come built-in, which means that you do not have to rely on apps to build your store.
- Superb SEO capabilities: If you plan on ranking your online store on Google, you’ll want to ensure you have quality SEO tools to help you achieve your goal. BigCommerce offers a variety of search engine optimization (SEO) tools to attract organic traffic.
- Great for Big business: Some of the largest brands in the world use BigCommerce. Ben & Jerry’s (yum), Skullcandy, and Woolrich use BigCommerce to operate their online stores. If this doesn’t show the legitimacy of the platform then we are not sure what does!
- BigCommerce can be slightly more complex than its alternative, Shopify. Although you do NOT need to understand how to code, it certainly does help to be tech savvy when using BigCommerce.
- Pricing: If you are looking for an ecommerce builder other than Shopify, there’s a chance you are doing so because of the steep price of the platform. If you thought Shopify was too expensive, you may be bummed to notice that BigCommerce has a similar pricing structure with the base plan clocking in at $29.95 per month.
All-in-all, BigCommerce takes the cake as the best alternative to Shopify. The features of BigCommerce make it arguably the most similar ecommerce to Shopify.
Woocommerce vs Shopify. Which is better?
Many people are surprised to learn that Woocommerce is the MOST popular ecommerce platform in the world, with nearly 30% of all online stores using Woocommerce. There are a few reasons why Woocommerce may be a better alternative than using an ecommerce builder like Shopify.
- Price: Woocommerce is… get ready… FREE. Now, let’s not jump the gun entirely. While Woocommerce may be a free wordpress plugin, you’ll still need to host your website somewhere. We recommend using SIteground (link) to host your Woocommerce store with wordpress.
- Customization and Features: As an open source software, you will be able to customize your website to your precise needs for the perfect functionality. For total control, Woocommerce may be your best option
- Extensions: With hundreds of plugins and extensions, Woocommerce allows you to connect your site with various useful tools, offering a better range of options as compared to Shopify.
- Learning Curve: This is arguably the most prominent downside to Woocommerce. An open-source platform can be both a blessing and a curse. If you have no coding knowledge, you may run into a handful of issues or roadblocks as you attempt to scale your wordpress website with Woocommerce. For some, this is not an issue as they decide to hire a web developer.
- Customer service: As mentioned earlier, Woocommerce is free. What happens when something is free? Well, there tends to be little to no customer service. Unlike Shopify, Woocommerce does not offer the level of customer service that is offered by companies like Shopify and BigCommerce.
- Maintenance: Not only do ecommerce platforms such as Shopify offer superb levels of customer service, they also offer added levels of security, fast web hosting and automatic updates. Woocommerce on the other hand uses WordPress which may require more upkeep on a weekly basis.
Overall: Woocommerce can be an excellent alternative to Shopify, especially if you are looking for an inexpensive option.
In recent years, Squarespace has consistently proven itself to be a fierce competitor to Shopify. Although Squarespace is not ecommerce centric, the platform offers a wide variety of website building tools and features that make building a website easy. When thinking about Shopify vs. Squarespace, there are a few factors that we should consider:
- Ease of use: Out of the dozens of website builders and platforms that we have tried over the years, we find Squarespace to be the easiest to use. This could be a terrific website builder for those who are looking for a simple drag-and-drop format to create their online store with ease
- Beyond Ecommerce: Squarespace offers a number of ecommerce features, however, it also offers tools to help you build a complete site, whether you are building a blog or creating the next news conglomerate, Squarespace can help you accomplish your goals.
- Features: Being that Squarespace is not solely focused on ecommerce, you may find that the platform is lacking in some features that other sites like Shopify may offer.
- Page Speed: From the tests that we have run in the past, we noticed the page speed for some websites can be slower than what we would like to see. I’ll admit that the differences in page speed were small and possibly anecdotal, but still something to note.
4. Square Online Store
Square Ecommerce, not to be confused with Squarespace
If you have purchased something at a farmers market or roadside stand in the past five years, there’s a decent chance you have used Square’s products. Traditionally, Square has primarily focused its business efforts on payment processors, however, recently Square has ventured into the ecommerce market. There are a few reasons why Square ecommerce may be a better option than Shopify for your online store:
- Ease of Use: Many people do not know this but Square purchased the popular website builder Weebly back in 2018, allowing them to adopt many of the features from the already widely popular site builder.
- In-house marketing features: Square online store has a slew of marketing features that allow a brand to optimize their site for top rankings in Google search results.
- Pricing: Square is one of the few shopify alternatives to offer a totally free option. The catch, however, is that a free Square site will have a “.squaresite” as part of the domain as well as a Square advertisement banner at the bottom of the site. The professional version of Square can cost as little as $12 per month, making it one of the most affordable ecommerce builders on this list.
5. Wix Ecommerce
Ah yes, Wix. Whether you have seen their Superbowl commercials or countless Instagram ads, Wix has a tight grasp on the website builder market. Building an online store with Wix has never been easier. Based on our experience, we find Wix best suited for beginner or medium sized online stores.
- Pricing: The business basic plan on Wix runs for as low as $23 per month which we would deem to be considered middle of the road pricing. Having said that, Wix offers a free version of their website builder, allowing users to experiment with their templates before opening their wallets. Although the free version of Wix may not get you very far, it’s certainly helpful to have, especially for those on a tight budget.
- Payment options: Wix supports a wide variety of payment and credit card processors. The ability to choose from an array of payment processors can be quite useful for many businesses. The platform even offers offline payment options including cash, wire, and check).
- Limited scalability: While Wix can be a great Shopify alternative for beginners or small businesses, it tends to fall behind in a few key areas. Shopify is ecommerce centric while Wix aims at helping small businesses get online. From our experience, it is more rare to see online stores selling $10+ million of products on Wix as compared to the ecommerce giant, Shopify.
The Bottom Line
There are dozens of Shopify alternatives, all of which have different features and pricing models.
- Most similar to shopify: BigCommerce
- Lowest cost: Woocommerce hosted by Siteground
- Easiest to use: Squarespace
- Best for physical and online hybrid businesses: Square Onlinestore
- Best For Small Business: Wix Ecommerce