Ah, Shopify. The market leader in e-commerce platforms. It’s been the go-to choice for many online businesses and for good reason.
It’s user-friendly, offers a wide range of features, and has thousands of apps and integrations to extend its functionality. But, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end.
In Jan 2023 Shopify announced a price increase of more than 30% across all price plans, and for some small businesses, that may be a deal breaker.
But fear not, there are plenty of other e-commerce platforms out there that are worth considering.
In this blog post, I’ll provide my views on a number of Shopify alternatives that might just be the perfect fit for your business.
Why Shopify Is The Market Leader.
1. Easy to Use: Shopify is easy to use and set up, even for people with no technical knowledge. With a drag-and-drop editor, you can quickly create beautiful stores with ease.
2. Comprehensive Platform: Shopify provides a comprehensive platform that gives you everything you need to run a successful online store, from payment processing and marketing tools to customer support and inventory management.
3. Reliable Hosting & Security: Shopify hosts your store on its own servers, so you don’t have to worry about managing hosting or security issues yourself. Plus, their servers are highly secure, so your customers’ data is safe.
4. Scalability: As your business grows, Shopify can easily scale up with it and provide the resources needed for success.
5. Multiple Payment Options: Shopify accepts payments via credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay and other payment gateways so customers can purchase in their preferred way.
6. Mobile Optimization: All of Shopify’s themes are mobile optimized so they look great on all devices – ensuring that your customers have a great experience no matter what device they’re using when they visit your store.
7. SEO Friendly: Shopify sites come preloaded with SEO features such as customizable page titles and meta descriptions. This makes it easier for search engines like Google to find and rank your website in search results pages (SERPs).
8. Support & Resources: With 24/7 customer support via phone or chat plus an extensive library of training materials and resources, you can always get help when you need it from the Shopify team.
9. POD Integrations: Shopify integrates with pretty much every POD supplier out there.
If that sells you on Shopify, sign up for a free trial today.
Why Use A Shopify Alternative?
- Expensive Plans: Shopify plans are costly and do not offer any truly free trial options.
- Limited Functionality: Without paying for additional apps, Shopify’s core functionality is quite limited.
- Too Many Options: With so many apps and themes available it is very easy for one to get distracted and delayed when creating a store.
Things You Should Consider
- Cost: Choose an ecommerce provider that fits your budget. There are many options out there, and some may be more expensive than others. Consider the cost of setting up and maintaining the platform, as well as any additional fees associated with using it.
- Scalability: Your ecommerce store should be able to grow with your business. Make sure the platform you choose has features that can accommodate increasing sales volumes and customer bases.
- Ease of Use: Is there a steep learning curve for you as a store owner? Is it easy to build a store and maintain it or does it require significant technical expertise?
- User Experience: Ensure that your customers have a positive experience when visiting or purchasing from your website. Look for an ecommerce platform with an intuitive and user-friendly interface, as well as features that make transactions easy and enjoyable for customers.
- Security: Security is essential when it comes to online transactions, so look for an ecommerce platform with secure payment processing capabilities and robust data protection measures in place.
- Customization Options: Look for an ecommerce platform that allows you to customize its design, features, and functionality to suit your needs. This will enable you to create a unique shopping experience for customers that can help set you apart from competitors. Often this is provided via an app store.
- Print On Demand Integrations: Does the platform integrate with the print on demand suppliers you plan to use?
Best Shopify Alternatives
BigCommerce is a popular alternative to Shopify for larger businesses looking for a flexible, open SaaS ecommerce platform. The company offers enterprise plans for big businesses and includes plans aimed at smaller businesses too.
Founded in 2009, BigCommerce enables businesses of all sizes to build and scale their online stores. It offers plenty of features like product customization and options, easy to use interface, powerful marketing tools, and more.
With BigCommerce, businesses can quickly set up their stores, customize them to their liking, and start selling online. Moreover, the platform provides excellent customer support to ensure that users get the help they need with any issues that may arise. With BigCommerce’s reliable services, businesses can rest assured that they are in good hands when it comes to running their online store.
The inclusion of blogging functionality is a great addition and one that I would like more Shopify competitors to include.
BigCommerce offers three pricing options under its Essentials banner. These are the Standard Plan at $39.99, the Plus Plan at $79.99, and the Pro Plan at $299.99 per month. There is a free trial that is offered for a short period of time before you need to upgrade.
All plans offer 0% added transaction fees which is a bonus compared to some platforms.
Where BigCommerce differs from others is that the Standard plan is capped at $50,000 in sales per year. If you exceed this you are automatically upgraded to a higher plan.
BigCommerce POD Integrations
BigCommerce has a good selection of POD suppliers which should more than cover most people’s requirements. These include:
- T-Shirt Gang
- Huge Pod
- 99 Minds Gift Cards
WooCommerce is an excellent alternative to Shopify for those looking for a more customizable, self-hosted ecommerce experience. It’s free, open-source and allows users to add a variety of features and functionality to their online stores.
With a library of thousands of plugins, merchants can easily extend and customize their WooCommerce store to meet their specific needs.
WooCommerce is well loved by many but not renowned for its ease of use for those that are less tech-savvy. However, it is a great choice for beginners or those who are looking to create an ecommerce store without having to hire a web developer.
The cost of a WooCommerce store isn’t easy to state as you need to pay for the following items, all of which can be done cheaply or more expensively depending on your requirements:
- Domain Name
- WordPress Hosting
- WooCommerce Theme
- Additional Conversion Boosting plugins
- Site Optimization Plugins
So depending on your budget you can run a WooCommerce store cheaply or spend a lot of money running it.
WooCommerce POD Integrations
WooCommerce integrates with many of the major POD suppliers including those listed below (and many more)
Squarespace is a popular website builder and blogging platform that offers an incredibly easy-to-use interface, making it an ideal choice for those who are new to ecommerce.
It offers 100 templates, an integrated blog and mobile optimization, as well as a range of features that make it easy to customize your store. Squarespace also has powerful SEO tools and analytics, and a 14-day free trial so that you can test out their services before committing.
It’s the perfect solution for those who want to quickly get their ecommerce business up and running.
It offers four pricing plans that range from $14 to $65 per month when paid either annually or monthly. The cheapest is the ‘Personal’ plan, which costs either $16 or $23 per month, depending on whether you opt for annual or monthly payment.
This plan gives users access to 1 calendar, calendar syncing, online payments, invoicing and automatic tax calculations.
Other plans include ‘Business’, ‘Basic Commerce’ and ‘Advanced Commerce’, which offer more features at higher prices. Whichever plan you choose, Squarespace provides an easy-to-use platform with plenty of features to make your website look professional and attractive.
Squarespace POD Integrations
Squarespace integrates with a number of Pod suppliers including:
- Art Of Where
Square E-Commerce (Formerly Weebly)
Square E-Commerce, formerly known as Weebly, is a great alternative to Shopify for those who are looking for a simple website editor. It provides a hassle-free drag-and-drop system to create beautiful, responsive websites.
It also offers access to over 50 payment gateways, unlimited bandwidth and storage space, and more.
With its integration with Square POS, customers can quickly set up an online store and connect it to their physical store. Square E-Commerce also provides a wide range of marketing and sales tools to help businesses increase their sales and optimize their operations.
Weebly offers three different pricing plans – Connect, Pro, and Business – with prices ranging from $5 to $25 per month. The Connect plan is great for those just starting out and looking to get their feet wet in the ecommerce space.
The Pro plan is for those looking to add more features, such as more payment options, advanced shipping and tax settings, and more.
The Business plan is ideal for larger stores that need a more powerful platform to manage their ecommerce operations. All plans come with unlimited bandwidth and storage, making it easy to scale as your business grows.
Weebly POD Integrations
Weebly only integrates with Printful however through Orderdesk you can connect to more POD suppliers. This does add a level of complexity that you need to be comfortable with.
OpenCart is an open-source eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features and customization options, making it one of the top Shopify alternatives.
It is a great choice for businesses looking for an easy to use and cost-effective solution for setting up an online store.
OpenCart is highly scalable and can be tailored to fit the needs of any business, from small businesses to large enterprises.
It also offers a wide range of payment options and is compatible with most major payment gateways, as well as other third-party services.
OpenCart also offers great customer support and a wide range of themes and extensions to help you customize your store.
OpenCart is an eCommerce platform that offers powerful custom price-list management capabilities.
Their pricing plans are competitive in comparison to other eCommerce products, with a one-time store backup costing $160 and one-time bug fix services starting at $150.
A monthly subscription for dedicated support is also available for $120/month, or you can opt for a one-time fix for $99. For those looking to guarantee dedicated support, a monthly fee of $99 is available.
Capterra has comprehensive information about OpenCart and its features, so businesses can make an informed decision about which platform best suits them.
OpenCart POD Integrations
None. This would need to be done manually or via a CSV order export import approach.
Volusion is a great alternative to Shopify for small business owners with fewer products to sell. It offers a variety of features and tools specifically designed to help those with fewer products launch and manage their online stores.
It is also relatively easy to use, making it ideal for entrepreneurs with limited tech knowledge. Volusion provides customers with 24/7 customer support and access to a wide range of marketing tools.
All of these features make Volusion a great choice for business owners looking for an easy-to-use eCommerce platform with plenty of features.
Volusion offers a range of pricing plans, ranging from $35-$135 per month. The most basic plan starting at $35/month and allows the user to sell up to 100 products from one store.
If you need more advanced features, such as custom pricing and requirements based on turnover, you can opt for the Volusion Prime package.
The packages get quite expensive and you need a $79 pm plan to get key functionality. There is a 14 day free plan available which is great to get you started and to try out the platform.
Ecwid is another popular alternative to Shopify. It offers a forever free plan which gives users access to Instant Site, a one-page website with a store and shopping cart.
It also comes with built-in tools such as product management and digital downloads, allowing users to manage their store quickly and easily.
Ecwid allows users to integrate their store with social media accounts and accept payments from over 40 international payment gateways.
Ecwid offers four pricing plans, ranging from free to $99 per month. The free plan allows for up to 10 products, while Venture ($19 per month) allows for up to 100 products.
Professional ($39 per month) and Unlimited ($99 per month) offer more advanced features and greater product limits.
A free trial is also available for those looking to test out the platform before committing. Ecwid provides an overview of its product and pricing plans on its website, so customers can quickly compare different packages and find the one that best suits their needs.
EcWid POD Integrations
Ecwid integrates with only two Print On Demand suppliers; Printful and Printy6.
Whilst this is disappointing, Printful have a large product catalog and global fulfilment.
PrestaShop is another option for those looking for Shopify alternatives. This open-source platform comes with a range of features, such as customizable design templates and a drag-and-drop editor. It also has a wide range of payment gateway integrations, including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.
PrestaShop supports multiple languages and currencies, making it easy to do business in different countries. With its vast array of features, PrestaShop is a great option for those seeking an affordable eCommerce solution.
PrestaShop is 100% free to download and use. The open-source software allows customers to access and edit the underlying code and CSS, making it a great value for money. Hosting plans range from $3-60 per month, and themes can cost up to $100K depending on the level of customization desired. The initial setup fee is $99 but afterwards, PrestaShop only costs $25 per month. Order management and shipping can be processed and edited with ease, making PrestaShop an excellent choice for online businesses.
PrestaShop POD Integrations
At present there are no simple POD integrations.
Launch Cart is a fairly new Shopify alternative for sellers that provides an easy-to-use interface, low fees, and a wide range of features.
Premium functionality is available as standard in the paid plans making this a great platform for anyone getting started.
Launch Cart provides seven free themes and a collection of free plugins, video and image reviews, and order bumps. It also includes a WYSIWYG checkout page editor and live streaming capabilities.
A long list of payment processors makes the platform more accessible to those abroad or who don’t want to or cant use Stripe and or paypal.
Launch Cart Pricing
The platform is available in both freemium ( free plan with transaction fees of 6% ) and paid options,
For those needing more advanced features, Launch Cart offers a range of subscription plans starting from $13.97/monthly (usually $27 pm) for its ‘Lift Off’ plan, up to $297/monthly for its ‘Scale’ plan.
Launch Cart’s pricing is designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes and budgets, allowing them to take advantage of the platform’s many features and scalability.
Launch Cart POD Integrations
Launch Cart only integrates with Printful and Printify. These two suppliers do cover a lot of bases though so don’t rule Launch Cart out on that basis.
Big Cartel is a web-based ecommerce platform specifically designed for small, boutique style ecommerce websites such as fashion designers and artists. It powers more than 83,000 online stores and offers features such as visitors’ tracking, orders, conversions, and up-to-date sales revenue.
Big Cartel provides an easy to use dashboard that looks vivid and eye-catching. It allows the seller to create an online store for free with the ability to sell individual pieces such as artworks.
It ensures secure payment options for their customers’ peace of mind. Big Cartel is an efficient solution for those looking for a low-cost ecommerce platform aimed at creative merchants.
BigCartel is an ecommerce platform that offers a range of options to suit every budget. With four different pricing plans available, users can choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget.
The most expensive plan, ‘Diamond’, costs $19.99 per month and increases your product inventory limit to 500 products, while the ‘Personal’ plan is the most affordable paid option at just $9.99 per month and includes up to 50 products in its inventory limit.
There is a free plan but this is limited to 5 products only.
BigCartel POD Integrations
BigCartel integrates with Art of Where and Printful only.
Best Shopify Alternatives – Marketplaces
Starting an e-commerce business can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to building your own website.
But what if I told you there was an alternative to having your own website using Shopify?
Online marketplaces such as eBay, and Etsy provide a platform for you to sell your products without the hassle of building and maintaining your own website.
Online marketplaces have a built-in audience of potential customers meaning that you don’t have to waste money on advertising. The upfront investment is lower too as neither eBay nor Etsy charges monthly fees. Instead, you pay a small listing fee and 10 to 15% fees, but only once you make a sale.
eBay and Etsy also handle many of the technical aspects of running an online store such as payment processing, and elements of customer service.
The customers already trust these platforms which may make it easier to make sales if you aren’t an established brand.
Its worth noting that the Marketplace owns the customer so your marketing options are limited.
So, before you invest time and money into building your own website, consider the benefits of using an online marketplace to sell your products.
Best Shopify Alternatives – Print-On-Demand Sites
Why have your own site at all? There are a number of websites that offer an end-to-end service. You simply create an account, set up a storefront, and upload your designs and the site does the rest.
Key players are:
- Spring (formerly Teespring)
The sites market, print, and ship the item when you receive an order and you receive the margin rate that you set on the products. All customer service including returns and exchanges are handled by the POD Site.
Its far less hassle but you have to sell a lot of products to earn the same amount of money as you would on a Marketplace or your own website.
POD sites offers a free alternative to an ecommerce platforms you don’t even need to worry about which is the best ecommerce platform as you don’t need one.
The POD Site do own the customer though so your marketing options are limited.
In conclusion, there are a wide variety of Shopify alternatives. Some free alternatives that really are viable ecommerce platforms. Some paid platforms that are cheaper than Shopify, especially following their pricing increase.
It is very difficult to say which is the best Shopify alternative for you as each is suited to different types of businesses. If you have deep pockets Shopify might be perfect.
WooCommerce offers a lot of functionality and many POD integrations but it has a steep learning curve. Squarespace and Weebly on the other hand are great for those wanting an all-in-one platform with an easy-to-use interface but have limited POD integrations.
OpenCart, Volusion, Ecwid, and PrestaShop offer more robust and customizable options for businesses that need advanced features.
Finally, Launch Cart, my personal fav, is ideal for those who want a simple platform, with conversion-boosting functionality built in.
Ultimately, the best solution depends on the types of products you sell, the budget you have available, and the level of control you need over your ecommerce store.