Today I’m going to run you through the top shopify alternatives you have available to you.
“But why Nick you love Shopify!”
I know, i know…
I’m not selling out i just understand that not everyone is going to feel the way i do.
My name is Nick (Hello, that’s me above) and I’ve been selling online, full time for over two years now.
In my opinion Shopify is an outstanding platform, it’s without a doubt the website builder i recommend the most…
With that being said i still think it’s important for you to consider all of your options.
Today i’m going to give you the big six alternatives you should be looking at IF you don’t want to use Shopify.
Why You Should Look At Shopify Alternatives
Look… this is the only way you are going to know if Shopify can work for you and your business.
How can you possibly know without looking at all of your options first?!
This is exactly why i wanted to write this article… i want to give you ALL of the options.
Shopify won’t be right for everyone… there are just some requirements they can’t accommodate…
For example if you’ve already got a wordpress site, you don’t really need to be paying for another platform.
You could simply choose shopify alternative number 2. and save yourself A LOT of work
Don’t worry i’ll explain this in more detail shortly.
Let’s jump straight in.
1. BigCommerce – The Pros and Cons
This platform is a strong choice for anyone look for an alternative to shopify…
A number of well know brands use this platform, i’m sure you’ve heard of the example below.
Their site is actually a very good example of what’s possible, click the above image to check it out.
There is no doubt about it Bigcommerce is a strong option…
But i don’t think it would be the best fit for the small to medium sized businesses out there.
To me it looks to be a better fit for the business with a higher volume of sales.
According to BigCommerce, more than 90,000 businesses use the platform…
Not that many people can be wrong.
Here are some of the features i like:
- All plans offer unlimited products and storage
- There are no transaction fees to worry about (Not the case with Shopify)
- The dashboard is easy to use but in my opinion Shopify has a better all around design
- Strong SEO capabilities
Let’s look at some of the things i don’t like when comparing it to Shopify.
To me Shopify just feels more flexible, it feels like you get A LOT more choice when it comes to design, themes etc.
According to a lot of the forums and Facebook groups i’m in the customer service and support isn’t as good when you compare it to shopify.
Shopify feels easier to use and navigate through, you don’t have to have much technical knowledge at all.
Anyway let’s move onto the next shopify alternative.
2. WooCommerce – The Pros and Cons
This is a great option for anyone looking to start selling on their existing WordPress website.
I actually feel like it’s a fantastic option for anyone in this position.
In simple terms WooCommerce is a wordpress shopping cart plugin.
Woocommerce integrates with a lot of different payment gateways and you won’t be charged transaction fees from their side.
With this option you do of course have to pay for your own hosting, you’ll need a hosted wordpress website for this to work.
Here are some of the features i like:
- Easily integrates with WordPress to provide a ready made eCommerce solution
- You won’t have to pay a monthly service charge (other than your website hosting)
- Optimized for mobile users
- Not complicated to set up
- WordPress offers much more in SEO capabilities when comparing it to Shopify
You can also download a lot of different plugins for increased functionality but most of these aren’t free…
As mentioned i feel that WordPress is much more SEO friendly compared to Shopify…
I’ve found it much easier to rank sites and find organic traffic.
Firstly you’ll need to have an existing wordpress website, or you will have to go and set up one – Shopify on the other hand is ready made option.
You’ll need to sort the hosting yourself…
I really like that i don’t have to worry about this when it comes to Shopify.
With WooCommerce you might find the basic functionality to be limited…
You may well require a fair few adds on and these will usually cost you in the form of one time purchases.
Anyway, onto the next.
3. Wix – The Pros and Cons
This was actually the first platform we tried out…
Luckily the website doesn’t exist anymore so i don’t have to show you what my first ever website looked like.
It’s easy to use interface is good for beginners, the pricing is also very reasonable (cheaper than Shopify).
You are given access to more than 100 website templates…
There really is a lot to choose from.
The app store includes more than 270 Apps and plugins, this makes it easy to integrate with other bits of software you may well need.
Like i say it’s perfect for beginners but as you scale you could well feel limited with certain aspects.
Here are some of the features that i like:
- More than 100 templates making it easy to design your site
- They include free plans for complete website newbies (You’ll have Wix branding though)
- The drag and drop editor is easy to use
- Lots of tutorials for all of those self-learners out there
- It’s easy to integrate with payment gateways
There is a lot of things i like about Wix BUT i have to be honest for me personally there are better options out there.
That’s not to say it won’t work for you of course…
In comparison to Shopify you really do have limited Apps…
Shopify offers much more in terms of applications and integrations.
I found the search engine optimization side of things to be fairly difficult.
If you are looking for a basic site for a local company it could well work, but i just felt the functionality was too limited.
If you ask most SEO Experts Wix won’t be the first recommendation on their list.
Shopify offer much more flexibility across the board.
4. Squarespace – The Pros and Cons
This is a shopify alternative that has grown in popularity over the last year or so.
It’s a solid website builder with a variety of different templates and themes.
You really don’t need to be tech saavy to use this…
The platform suits anyone that wants a simple store with a small number of products.
The basic plan is $26 per month and with that you get the following:
- Unlimited pages
- A free domain
- SSL Security
The list goes on…
When you sign up you’ll benefit from a $100 google adswords credit as well as a few other useful things.
If you opt for the $40 per month account you get that all important auto abandoned cart recovery tool…
I use this tool within my Shopify store and it has turned out to be a very profitable tool.
Both of these cart recovery tools work in the same way…
The Software will simply email the customer and remind them to finish their purchase.
Along with this you also get the ability to sell subscriptions this is key for some business Models.
You also benefit from integrated accounting software via Xero (Although i’m fairly sure there is an additional cost to consider here).
In comparison to shopify and others you are limited on the marketing side of things.
Your marketing features are limited to Mailchimp, Adwords and the Social share buttons.
Users have also complained about the limited support you get in comparison to Shopify.
On the whole you really don’t get as many additional add-ons.
You are also limited on the payment gateway side of things… you can only use Paypal or Stripe…
I should mention that you aren’t charged transaction fees from Squarespace, so this is a plus point i should of mentioned above.
5. Volusion – The Pros and Cons
This software is actually a British born alternative!
I’m from the UK so from a selfish point of view that’s nice to see.
Anyway, it’s a popular shopify alternative with over 200,000 customers using the software.
They must be doing something right.
Here are some reasons why you might like building a store with Volusion.
It’s fairly easy to create a site and for a basic eCommerce business it could work quite well.
They have a useful design wizard to help you easily build an attractive looking website, again this option could work for beginners.
You’ll also have access to over 300 eCommerce templates…
With that many templates it’s going to be fairly easy to find one to matches your brand.
Volusion integrates with more than 75 different third party apps, not as many as shopify of course but still not bad.
When it comes to pricing you have four options…
Mini – $15 per month (Very limited)
Plus – $35 per month
Pro – $75 per month
Premium – $135 per month
The pricing bracket you fit into will depend on the amount of products and bandwidth you need.
If you have a fairly simple eCommerce business Volusion could work well without costing you too much.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why i don’t like it.
For me a blog is one of the most important parts of a website, it’s a HUGE marketing tool…
Volusion do not currently give you the option to include a blogging feature on your site, this is a massive downfall for me.
For this reason alone i wouldn’t use the platform…
But that’s because having a blog is an essential part of my marketing strategy.
Instead of the blog volusion have incorporated a “Newsletter” feature to help keep your customers in the loop.
To be honest this doesn’t substitute what a blog can and should do for a business.
All platforms should give you the opportunity to add to your mailing list…
Sorry volusion but that’s a big no in my mind.
6. Magento – The Pros and Cons
When i first read the word “Magento” i couldn’t help but pronounce it as “Mag-Ne-To” you know the guy from the X-Men.
Does anyone get that? I know that’s pretty weird but i thought i’d mention it.
Anyway Magento is probably best suited for medium to large sized business…
You can go pretty advanced with the customization but you will need a fair bit of coding knowledge.
It’s fair to say it probably isn’t best suited to a complete tech newbie.
You should also be aware that Magento isn’t an all in one solution, you will need to host it on another platform (That of course is a cost).
Let’s look at the pros.
First things first, you don’t have a monthly service cost…
The magneto community edition is a completely free platform that anyone can use (Serious coding skills are required)
If you want a done for you solution, the basic Magento website price starts at $20,000 according to reports.
For this exercise we are going to assume you want to go for the community edition.
Here are a few of the specific parts i like:
- Great Design Functionality
- Superb SEO capability
- A lot of different payment gateway options
- Super advanced customization options
What’s not to like, it’s a free download after all.
I’d say it’s a good option for an established developer OR a team with a good level of technical expertise.
The community edition requires you to program and manage your site independently.
Not one for the beginners out there…
These may now sound a little obvious but firstly you really will need some serious coding/ IT skills.
You will also have to sort your own hosting, this of course is a cost.
It really isn’t a great option for website beginners…
Unless of course you have a team of people that can set it up for you.
It definitely shouldn’t be considered as a plug and play solution…
It’s much more involved than that.
So these are the top shopify alternatives in my opinion.
Why Would You Choose Shopify?
It’s only right that i play the other side of this…
If you are still undecided in what scenario would shopify be your best option?
I make no secret of my love for shopify.
In my opinion it’s a superb fit for any eCommerce business.
Especially if you are a complete beginner… (If this is you, you may find the article below useful)
If you have an existing WordPress store you may as well use WooCommerce…
It’s a ready made solution that will make it A LOT easier for anyone that doesn’t want to start and manage a new store from scratch.
If you are looking for an all in one platform i don’t know why you’d choose anything but shopify.
That’s not to say you could outgrow Shopify at some point, i’m a long way off that but it could happen!
The Benefits Of Using Shopify
Here are some of the core benefits from my personal experience:
- Easy to use – Very user friendly, even for complete newbies.
- Quality Support – I’ve always been treated well by Shopify, if their internal team couldn’t help they always had someone to recommend.
- Apps – They integrate with pretty much everyone… the possibilities are endless.
- Great for dropshipping – You can easily start dropshipping by integrating Oberlo & Shopify
- Easily Integrate With Amazon FBA – For us, these two have worked really well together.
These are some of the benefits we have experienced with Shopify.
BUT It’s also important to look at some of the issues.
Common Shopify Issues
Here are some of my main complaints.
- SEO – I feel like the SEO capability could be improved. I’ve experienced their inflexible URL’s structures first hand, I’ve found simple tasks like setting up re-directs pretty difficult.
- Transaction Fees – If you want to use Shopify payments you’ll pay around 2% for every transaction, this can add up as you scale that’s for sure.
- Custom Templates – Their template language isn’t the easiest syntax to follow, I’ve hired a developer on a few occasions to help with things i couldn’t sort myself.
So there we have it, i hope this information has helped you to understand the different options you have available to you.
Picking The Best Option For You
Shopify is an obvious choice for the beginner to intermediate eCommerce business.
If you want to get started, make use of the 14 day free trial by using the button below.
I’ll also mention that in my opinion any of the options I’ve spoken about could work for you, we all will have different wants and needs.
Shopify is just my own personal preference.
It’s all about weighing up the pros and cons of each of the shopify alternatives…
Find the best fit for you and your business!
More from me soon,