If you are looking for alternatives to Shopify – good news, there are definitely a few competitors to Shopify that you should consider.
Even though Shopify is one of the best ecommerce website builders available in the market today if you want to build an online store, that doesn’t always mean that they are the best platform for you.
If you are in the initial research phase and haven’t actually tried out Shopify yet, I’d highly recommend you give them a test drive as they do offer you a 14-day free trial (You can see our detailed review on Shopify here).
However, if you have already given Shopify a test drive, and you’re not sure or you know they are not a good fit for you, we’ll go over a few alternatives in this discussion article.
Some Shopify alternatives will have roughly similar or equivalent tools for you to build and grow your business, and some will have less (if you are looking for a simpler, less advanced / complex platform).
I’ll cover a bit more about the differences in our list of Shopify competitors below.
Here is a summary of our recommended alternatives:
|Shopify Alternatives||eCommerce Platforms|
|Advanced eCommerce Platforms||
|Less Advanced Platforms||Much easier to use than advanced platforms:
Now that you know who they are, let’s keep moving so we can explain the differences between them, what that means to you, and which one you should test out.
FOR STORES THAT REQUIRE MORE ADVANCED ECOMMERCE TOOLS
If you need an ecommerce platform that is a bit more advanced, have a lot of tools and flexibility (just like Shopify), here are a few alternatives for you to consider.
These are ideal for you if you want to build larger stores (very roughly speaking, more than 10 products), if you have a high sales volume business, or if you need the ability and flexibility to customize your ecommerce store.
If you want a Shopify alternative that is simpler, easier to use, then skip ahead to the next section.
BigCommerce is a very reputable ecommerce platform that you can help you build your online store without you having to be tech savvy or know how to code (although it definitely helps if you have some coding skills, but not a necessary skill).
They are a hosted ecommerce builder, meaning that it’s a “one shop stop” for you to build your online store.
You don’t have to get your own hosting services, so you don’t have to worry about security upgrades and configurations. Just like Shopify, BigCommerce takes care of all the back-end technical aspect of operating an ecommerce store for you.
This allows you to get your store up and running, and start selling very quickly. Insert your content / products, connect to a payment processor and you’re off to the races.
Sure there is an initial set up time, but after you’re done that, you can focus on growing your business (sales & marketing, fulfillment of products, optimizing your store), and not have to spend too much time (or if at all) worrying about troubleshooting tech issues.
Not to mention, BigCommerce has a 24/7 dedicated support team (phone, live chat, email support) so you always have someone to reach out to if you need any help.
BigCommerce Review – see our comprehensive review here
Shopify vs BigCommerce – see our detailed comparison between the two ecommerce platform
2. Magento Community Edition
Magento is one of the more powerful ecommerce platform available to you and is a worthy Shopify alternative.
However, as powerful as it is, know that it is an open source platform, meaning that it is not a “full service” ecommerce builder like Shopify or BigCommerce.
You can download and use Magento Community Edition for free, but you will have to be pretty tech savvy (know how to code), or hire a developer to help you put it all together.
You will have to manage all the moving pieces yourself, such as getting your own hosting services, configuring the tools, and there is no dedicated 24/7 there to help you if you need to troubleshoot any issues.
So it can be time and management intensive, and you will have to play the role of system administrator a lot of the times.
The upside is that Magento is a very flexible ecommerce builder, and there aren’t that many limitations if you spend a lot of time and energy into building it out (or hire a very capable developer).
At the end of the day, if you are not tech savvy, don’t want to commit time to manage / maintain the technical aspects of your online store, or don’t have the budget to hire a good developer, Magento may not be the best option for you.
In such scenario, a hosted, fully serviced shopping cart software such as BigCommerce or Shopify will be a better option.
3. WooCommerce with WordPress.org
Traditionally, WordPress has been known to be a blogger’s platform. That’s simply not true anymore as WordPress is advanced enough to power some of the biggest websites in the world, including some pretty advanced ecommerce stores.
Leading the charge with providing WordPress sites with ecommerce capability is WooCommerce by WooThemes. This means that your ecommerce website has to be built on the WordPress platform, and use the tools offered by WooCommerce to create your online store.
What’s interesting is that WooThemes was acquired by Automattic, which operates WordPress.com and contributes to WordPress.org. So WooCommerce is definitely highly regarded by WordPress.
WooCommerce indicated on their website that they are currently powering over 29% of all online stores, an impressive feat to say the least.
But just like Magento Community Edition, WordPress.org is an open source platform. This means that if you want to use WooCommerce to power your ecommerce store, you will have to have some technical skills, or have the capacity to hire a good developer to help you build and maintain the technical aspects of the website (such as getting your own hosting services set up).
The basic WooCommerce framework is free for you to download, and they also offer you a lot of free extensions / tools. But if you want more advanced features, you can also purchase premium extensions.
Similar to Magento, if you don’t have the technical appetite to do a lot of system admin work yourself, or someone to help you build or maintain your store, then WordPress / WooCommerce may not be the right choice for you.
At the end of the day, you can build a very advanced and capable ecommerce store with WooCommerce, but you’ll need to commit to the technical aspects of operating your store.
WooCommerce / WordPress is not as easy to use as Shopify, and unlike Shopify, you will be responsible for all the backend technical work.
By the way, if you are looking for a premium WordPress hosting service, we also recommend WP Engine. They’re a bit pricier than some other traditional hosting services, but they are a dedicated WordPress hosting service, and their services / support are quite good.
FOR STORES THAT REQUIRE LESS ADVANCED ECOMMERCE TOOLS (AND MUCH EASIER TO USE)
If you don’t need a very advanced or flexible platform like Shopify, and prefer to use something simpler, more user-friendly, cheaper and offers 24/7 support, then here are a few recommendations.
1. Wix eCommerce
Wix is a pure drag and drop website builder, meaning that you can literally place any content anywhere on your website.
They’re very easy to use (no coding or technical skills required whatsoever), has an excellent dedicated support team (phone or email), and has a team of developers to manage all the technical details for you, so you don’t have to worry about anything but building and running your ecommerce store.
Although Wix’s selection of ecommerce features are not as advanced or comprehensive as the website builders we discussed above (including Shopify), they’re easy to use and have all the basics for you to build a functional store to sell products.
So if you want to build a more basic store, and not want to mess around with techie stuff, Wix is a good option for you to test out, as they give you a lot of flexibility from a design perspective with their drag and drop tools.
Wix is free to use and has premium plans if you want to access more advanced tools.
2. Weebly eCommerce
Weebly is currently one of the easiest drag and drop website builders available in the market today.
Compared to Wix, Weebly has fewer tools but as mentioned they are very user-friendly.
Their ecommerce features are fairly comprehensive and simple to use (but nowhere as comprehensive as Shopify), allowing you to build an online store very quickly without having any technical skills, or worrying about any technical aspects of website building.
Although Weebly’s ecommerce tools are not as comprehensive as pure online store builders such as Shopify and BigCommerce, they do have enough features for you to build a successful online store.
Again, they are very user-friendly and intuitive website builder, so the learning curve is very low. It’s a great ecommerce software for beginners.
Weebly is free to use, and you have options to upgrade to their premium plans if you want to unlock more features.
CONCLUSION – SHOPIFY ALTERNATIVES & COMPETITORS
If you have tested Shopify and didn’t find that they are a good fit for you, or if you are still in the initial research stage, there are a few other Shopify alternatives for you to consider.
If you want an ecommerce platform that is more advanced (just like Shopify), then consider taking a look at:
The advantage of BigCommerce is that they are a fully hosted platform for you, so you get both flexibility and technical support if you are building a larger ecommerce store.
With Magento and WooCommerce, you will need to be a bit more hands-on with managing and maintaining the technical aspects of your website. Or, you can hire a developer to help you out with those tasks. These two ecommerce platforms are very flexible and can be heavily customized (but as mentioned, will take a lot of heavy technical work).
If you are looking for a Shopify alternative that is easier to use, require almost no technical skills, but you are fine with less advanced tools and flexibility, then take a look at:
These are drag and drop website builders and enables you to build a good website without having to write a line of code. It’s ideal for simpler stores and is something you can completely manage and build on your own without having any technical skills.
So at the end of the day, there is no absolute right or wrong choice for you, and you will have to do a bit of testing to find out which platform is best for your needs.
The good thing about BigCommerce, Wix and Weebly is that you can take their platforms on a free test drive without committing too much time to determining if they are a good fit for you. You can actually build a basic store really quickly to get a good sense of how they work (since you don’t need any technical skills to build a store with them).
With Magento and WordPress, even though they are both free, you’ll have to commit more time and resources to build a basic store to know if they are a good fit for you. If you are deathly afraid of all things technical, then I think Magento and WordPress are probably non-starters for you.
So there are definitely alternatives to Shopify available for you. Give the ones I suggested above a try and see which one you like!
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