Without a doubt, Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms. This makes it easy for beginners to build an online store. Without the need to write any code. In short, Shopify is a ready-made solution for those who want to start selling online, but don’t have much experience.

But, what’s the main issue with Shopify?

Depending on the nature of your business. Shopify shouldn’t be considered your only option. Shopify may look like you’re standard eCommerce solution, but isn’t the only platform in town.

First, what’s Shopify?

Shopify is a Software as a Service (SaaS) for online stores. Simply put, it’s a hosted eCommerce platform for people with little coding experience to build an store from “scratch”.

For example, you can:

  • Create a website
  • Manage products and orders
  • Process payments
  • Calculate shipping

The main advantage of choosing a SaaS e-commerce platform is that you are not responsible for maintaining the software itself is. Focus on scaling your business.

Shopify is suited for small and large businesses, and they have three pricing plans: Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. Each one has its own benefits and gives you access to different features (depending on the price/plan, of course).

Shopify Plus for existing businesses and large enterprises. The Shopify Plus plan helps high-volume sellers run ecommerce businesses and offers a specific set of features. Each Shopify Plus customer receives an individual price quote

Let’s explore some reasons why you should look for Shopify alternatives.

Now that I’ve covered some the basics. Let’s take a look at some of Shopify’s drawbacks that might start you looking for Shopify alternatives.

Pricing

No matter which rate plan you choose, you will have to pay additional transaction fees if you use a payment provider other than Shopify Payments. Take note that the Shopify Payments system is not yet available in many countries.

In addition, Shopify requires you to pay a credit card processing fee. The price drops slightly when you switch to a more expensive plan. But you still incur additional charges.

Finally, most apps on Shopify’s marketplace require you to pay an additional fee. And if you want additional features like advanced order tracking, marketing features, etc., you need them.This leads directly to the next point.

Third Party Apps

There are many great stores built on top of Shopify. But most (if not all) of them work not because of the platform itself. But because of the ecosystem of apps that store owners have chosen.

Why is this a problem?

As already discussed the cost factor. The cheapest Shopify plans start at $29 per month, but the Basic plan is nearly unusable.

Of course, Shopify’s marketplace has hundreds of great apps. However, when you add up the monthly charges for all your apps (even the required apps), the final numbers might surprise you. For example, Shopify’s paid store themes range from $140 to $180, while app monthly fees vary from just a few dollars to $100 per month.

Another thing is that some apps can cause problems or slow down the store.For example, some of them conflict with certain store themes or other apps. There are cases.

Shopify monitors its app stores very closely, but there is always the risk of encountering rogue apps or apps that cause serious problems with your website. So there is always the risk of installing something that will harm your business and your customers.

Steep Learning Curve

They claims to be an easy-to-use platform, but there’s some truth to that. However, while you don’t have to be a professional web developer to create an online store with Shopify, it does take time to learn.

There are plenty of Shopify tutorials, guides, and Shopify experts online to help you build your online store, even if you have no experience. However, the fact that the demand for it is so great proves that it’s not as easy to use as Shopify claims. If you’re just looking for an easy way to get started, Shopify may not be the best solution for you.

So lets’ take a look at 10 Best Shopify Alternatives

Once you’ve got a better idea of ​​what features your next ecommerce platform should have, it’s time to evaluate your Shopify competitors.

Of course, I haven’t included all possible eCommerce solutions. However, the below list should give you a complete overview of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market today.

1. Prestashop

Prestashop

PrestaShop is an open source self-hosted platform for building online stores. It means you can download it for free. You can set and change as much as you like.

As it’s an open source solutions it is the most convenient option, when creating your own online store. In the competitive world of eCommerce, building a unforgettable brand is key to long-term success.

But, like any other open source solution. This platform allows access to the code which makes PrestaShop’s store configuration more flexible than Shopify’s.

There are two things you should know before downloading PrestaShop.

  • PrestaShop requires its own hosting to build an online store.
  • Technical experience is a must, flexibility comes at a price. So if you are new to coding. You’ll need to find a developer to help you set it up. Also you may need help to handle the technical aspects if you run into problems or need to make changes.

Price: Free, and PrestaShop doesn’t take any percentage of your product sales.

2. WooCommerce

Woocommerce

If you are searching for the best eCommerce platform. You have noticed that WooCommerce and Shopify are participating in a popularity “contest”. And choosing between them isn’t easy. So let’s look at the main differences between these two.

WooCommerce is a plugin that provides a WordPress-based an eCommerce store. Which means more flexibility when creating store fronts. However, advanced knowledge of hosting, domain names, and basic web design/development is required.

But WooCommerce’s strength is its versatility. You have complete freedom when it comes to customising your store. As WooCommerce is an open source platform, custom plugins are also being added to the market all the time.

But your main problem is the setup and the learning curve for those new to WordPress.

Price: WordPress and WooCommerce plugins are free. Be aware the cost of domain, hosting, plugins (Paid/Premium) and possibly web development/design services.

3. PinnacleCart

Pinnaclecart

PinnacleCart is a self-hosted eCommerce platform which are specifically for sellers that are planning to grow to their business in an enterprise level.

So, definitely it’s an platform to consider if you want to start an online store. First of all, it has a lot of built-in features. The dashboard offers fair usability for all users. Plus, it supports multiple languages ​​and currencies.

It seems like a good choice, but more suitable for sellers with at least some experience selling online. No professional skills are required, but absolute beginners may find setting up a shop a bit difficult and time consuming.

One thing that seems a bit odd on this platform i in order to add product descriptions it requires you to follow strict attribution guidelines.

Price: There have two pricing structure, if you want PinnacleCart to host your store it’s starts at $79.95/month or if you want to host it yourself it’s just your hosting plan price.

4. BigCommerce

Bigcommerce

BigCommerce is probably one of the most best alternatives for Shopify today. It provide an all-in-one hosted solution which allows you to build an online store without any coding knowledge or advanced technical know how. As it is a user-friendly for beginners, but while having the ability to build massive online stores. At the same time, it offers an extensive list of built-in features, so you spend less money adding on additional apps and extensions.

Inside BigCommerce, there’s 7 free themes to choose from when you start customising your BigCommerce store. So if you want more than the bare minimum BigCommerce has to offer. Be prepared to pay for a premium theme. However, the phone and live chat are not very helpful.

There’s limitations and setup take time, so if you plan to sell digital products online using PayPal for example, this platform may not be the best choice.

Price: Plan from $29.95/month to $299.95/month. Costs can be high for their Enterprise.

5. Shift4Shop (formerly 3DCart)

Shift4shop

Previously know as 3DCart, Shift4Shop is similar to Shopify. As it’s a comprehensive hosted eCommerce platform. So you can start by creating your own online store from scratch. You can access features such as shipping. The platform has a powerful inventory system and various useful features. SEO features that help you rank higher in search engines. It’s also cheaper than Shopify.

However, you should be aware that building a business with Shift4Shop may not be the easiest task. First. There’s no drag-and-drop website building functionality for all pages only the home page, blog, and content pages, so it can be very difficult for people with no web experience. Also, the product page looks more intimidating as they should. Also if you need some help to overcome occasional technical challenges, their technical support is reportedly not always very helpful.

Price: They has reimagined the eCommerce pricing model, Shift4Shop is free for life, so there’s an up.

6. Opencart

Open Cart

OpenCart does a great job by offering a huge list of extensions and themes. Contrasted WordPress, almost all extensions are designed specifically for ecommerce. However, not everything is free.

Another advantage of Opencart is that it has an easy-to-use dashboard for managing existing stores, but requires development skills if you want to create a storefront.

If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for building your online store, don’t go with Opencart. But aside from requiring development experience, it’s a great online store builder if you’re on a tight budget or ready to start the customisation game.

Price: Free

7. Volusion

Volusion

Volusion is another eCommerce platform to consider. Especially if you decide to minimise costs and don’t plan to sell hundreds of products. The dashboard already has many useful features built in. There’s no transaction fees and also offers email marketing tools, affiliate programs, gift cards, newsletters and more, depending on the plan.

However, Volusion did not initially support selling digital products, so it can be difficult to set up. Another notable drawback is the limited selection of free customizable themes.

Price: The starting plan for Volusion cheapest plan starts at $35.00 per month.

8. Weebly

Weebly

Weebly is an all-in-one hosted platform. It’s noted for being affordable, easy to use, and rich in features.

As it’s affordable which means a very beginner-friendly pricing policy starting with a $6 per month plan that offers basic e-commerce features and ending with a $26.00 business plan for small businesses.

The platform sticks to a drag-n-drop we-building, which makes it super easy to use. However, when it comes to storefront design, there are many themes to choose from, but customisation is very limited. So you can’t really change the colour palette. It goes without saying that some of the themes on offer look very basic.

Price: Plans starting at $6.00 per month

9. BigCartel

Bigcartel

BigCartel is another eCommerce solution which stands out from other platforms. For this case, you get a solution dedicated to artists who want to sell their art online.

With this platform it makes marketing as easy as possible, but while providing the features you need to run a store. However, the list of available features looks basic.

But one big advantage with Big Cartel is that you can start your business without paying anything. While you can only sell a maximum of 5 products. If you’re just looking for a way to sell a few products online and you’re not looking for something progressive, Big Cartel could be the right choice.

Price: Big Cartel offers a free plan (only five products), or $9.99 per month for 50 to a 500 products plan at $19.99 per month.

10. Ecwid

Ecwid

As we already know, there’s two types of platforms for building an online store, first is a web hosted platform that allows you to build a entire eCommerce site and the second is a self hosted solution which gives you more flexibility when designing your own store but it’s requires some technical/coding know how.

But, Ecwid doesn’t fit into either category. It’s actually in between. Ecwid is a platform which can turn your regular website into an online store.

For those who know the hassle of migrating their online storefront to their existing website, Ecwid may be the perfect solution.

Basically, Ecwid is very different from the competitors such as Shopify and it caters to the business owner who is looking for a simple and effective solution to add online selling functionality to your website.

Price: Free to $82.50 per month

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10 Best Shopify Alternatives