Shopify – is a powerful and advanced eCommerce software that needs no introduction in the contemporary web design and eCommerce markets. The system has always been and now remains one of the undeniable industry leaders, providing a variety of features and tools needed to cover a broad range of customers’ web development needs (see the real Shopify website examples).
However, let’s face the truth: regardless of hundreds of undeniable advantages of the platform, it is still quite complicated, especially for users, who have never been involved in website development before. What’s more, there are users, who suddenly face the need to cut down their eCommerce expenses and create a smaller web store. There are also users, who consider Shopify transaction fees, paid templates or add-ons too expensive. This is one of the major concerns of beginners, who are just starting their eCommerce businesses and are not ready to invest much into the process.
Whatever reason to look for a better Shopify alternative you have, you are bound to be aware of the best substitutes to the system that won’t leave you indifferent. The development of the website building niche does not remain the same and Shopify competitors start offering solutions that are simpler, more affordable, much better in quality and convenience of use.
Shopify Alternatives: Wix
Wix – is the best Shopify alternative, which deserves to be called the leader of the niche. Even though, this is not the specialized service, it still works great for the development of small and medium online stores, which will simultaneously feature excellent eCommerce performance. It comes with drag-and-drop editor, making it possible to create and customize the design of your eCommerce website in less than no time. This is a perfect web building solution for users with little or no web design experience at all. Here is a brief overview of the major Wix highlights:
- Design Editing Options. With Wix, users can choose between two website editing options depending upon their skills and coding awareness level. Wix ADI works great for users, who cannot boast rich web design expertise, yet have the desire to create and customize an effective small-to-mid-sized web store. The Artificial Design Intelligence tool literally does all the work for you, filling out the most suitable eCommerce template in the automatic mode.
- eCommerce Engine. The system comes with a powerful eCommerce platform that lets you launch and manage an online store even an easier way than with Shopify. What you can do here is to adjust payment and shipping options, create exclusive show window design, issue discount coupons and gift certificates, set tax management parameters, import/export products, upload and manage product lists etc.
- Easy Management. All online stores created with Wix are easy to manage. All the orders are added to the Store Manager to enable you to track their status and details. You can also manage your inventory list here by setting product size and color options, indicating the number of available products etc. It’s also possible to keep in touch with the customers by sending ShoutOut newsletters to keep them notified about the current product offers, sales, plans, events and what not.
- Variety of Professional eCommerce Templates. The website builder offers a pretty large selection of eCommerce templates. All of them are mobile-responsive by default and fit any screen resolutions and sizes. Take a look at real Wix online stores made by its users
- Secure Payment Options. Wix is concerned with the security of each payment. It allows receiving different types of payments, including credit cards, PayPal etc. As an online store owner, you can set tax and shipping rules, modify the prices and perform other actions to ensure safe shopping experience to your customers.
- Multilingual Support. Wix makes it possible to create several language versions of your website to target customers and partners from abroad. This notably boosts the efficacy of the website builder and its eCommerce focus.
- eCommerce Widgets and Apps. The website builder offers a rich selection of eCommerce-specific widgets and applications available in its App Market. Some of the widgets that can add to your web store performance include Wix Stores, Etsy Shop, Simpl-e-Commerce, Google Ads & Shopping, Get Google Ads, Fetchy Shipping, Shippo, Multiorders, ShipStation and more.
- Ascend by Wix. This is the all-in-one business solution that encompasses 20 products for effective business marketing and promotion all in one place. The tool lets you effectively get in touch with your customers via online forms, live chat, inbox access and integrated contact manager. To optimize the quality of interaction with clients, it is also possible to use such features as Invoices, Automations, Workflows, Price Quotes, Tasks & Reminders. These and other Ascend features are available in the Customer Manager or Marketing tools sections for quick and easy access and integration.
Cost: There is a free plan that lets you build, control and manage a ready-made website (or even create several websites) with ease for the unlimited time interval. However, when it comes to eCommerce website development, this plan doesn’t work at all as it comes with multiple limitations and functionality restrictions. Fortunately, Wix has a separate group of plans applicable for the creation of business and eCommerce websites. These include:
- Business Basic ($23/mo) – integrated eCommerce engine, acception of online payments, versatile shipping/payment options;
- Business Unlimited ($27/mo) – advanced business development tools, business apps for entrepreneurs, eCommerce platform;
- Business VIP ($49/mo) – complete Wix Suite, unlimited bandwidth, unmetered video storage space;
- Enterprise ($500/mo) – end-to-end business solution that provides the highest functionality and maximum amount of tools.
A Trick: you can create an online store using Wix even on a free plan. To do that, just add PayPal button to the page and set up your payment settings. However this works if you sell one or two products. And of course, there wouldn’t be any customer relations management system or orders tracking. In this case all manipulations are providing in a manual way.
Irrespective of the eCommerce premium plan you will go for, Wix offers the 14-day money back guarantee. This is a crucial advantage for users, who would like to test the eCommerce functionality of the website builder before proceeding to the web store development.
Shopify Alternatives: WooCommerce
WooCommerce – is the best CMS alternative to Shopify. It is an open-source WordPress shopping cart plugin, which lets you create and manage a perfect CMS-based web store, not worse than with Shopify. The plugin is absolutely free to download and install, yet it still has a set of paid features to contribute to the efficacy of the web design process. Listed below are the main advantages of the plugin:
- Easy-to-Integrate. WooCommerce works great for building small and mid-sized online stores. It’s easy to integrate it into any WordPress website to give it eCommerce functionality, our WordPress vs Shopify comparison proves that.
- Detailed Application Wizard. As soon as you download and install the system, you’ll be offered a detailed wizard on how to get started with your web store creation and further management successfully. This is what makes the system a good choice even for less experienced users.
- Complete Set of Out-of-the-Box Features. WooCommerce comes with a complete set of eCommerce features provided out-of-the-box. The plugin offers mobile-optimized design, discounts and special deals, geolocation support, opportunity to upload and sell physical and digital products, coupon code creation option, product reviews, secure and simple inventory management, convenient product organization, multiple checkout alternatives and more.
- Marketing Options. When using the plugin, you can control the process of user registration, create product catalogues, keep track of your sales statistics and target audience behaviour, set up categories and search filter options, set up payment, tax and shipping details, accept orders and online payments, organize mailouts to boost user engagement and awareness rate.
- eCommerce Designs. WooCommerce grants access to multiple integrated eCommerce templates. They feature high quality, absolute customizability and mobile-optimization. This is what makes WooCommerce-based web stores display great on all types of desktop and mobile devices.
- Advanced Product Shipping. The plugin offers handy and versatile product shipping functionality. It includes such options as flat rate shipping, local pickup, overseas and local delivery etc. Additionally, the system grants access to the integrated automatic shipping calculator that makes it possible to find out the cost of your order, diversity of rates for various shipping areas etc.
Cost: WooCommerce is an absolutely free plugin. However, to make use of it to the advantage, you won’t go without purchasing hosting and domain name for your website. The most reasonable choice in this case is to use Bluehost – the officially-recommended WordPress hosting provider. The hosting is easy-to-use and understandable and it also offers a set of merits and features you can make use of, including security, decent customer support, flawless performance, rich marketplace, multiple scripts, unique WordPress-focused features, SEO tools, IP blacklist, DDOS protection, Site Access Blockage tool and more. Bluehost plans are quite affordable as well. Their cost ranges between $2.95/mo and $13.95 based on the terms and services implied.
Shopify Alternatives: Squarespace
Squarespace – is a feature-laden cloud website builder, which works well for beginners and web design experts due to its extensive integrated feature set. The platform comes with distinctive eCommerce functionality that makes it possible to start and effectively manage different types of online stores. Squarespace doesn’t require coding proficiency yet it allows customizing HTML/CSS template code to let you create high end and completely personalized eCommerce projects. Listed below are the main advantages of the website builder associated with web store development:
- Powerful eCommerce Engine. Just like Shopify, Squarespace stands out from the crowd due to its integrated eCommerce platform that grants access to the variety of web store development features. The system lets you connect a free SSL Certificate, integrate a shopping cart into any page, create visually-appealing product show windows, adjust product management settings, embed Google Maps (if needed), enable email marketing and commenting features, add versatile product variations/SKUs, integrate social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Dropbox, Tumblr, Instagram, Dribbble, Linkedin, Pinterest, SoundCloud, Behance, Twitch, Yelp and more). Likewise, it is possible to create web store logo, add online calendar, adjust payment/shipping settings and make use of multiple beneficial loyalty options for higher customer engagement rates.
- Add-ons and Widgets. The website builder allows choosing and integrating specific eCommerce add-ons and widgets. These include extensions for image galleries, eCommerce tools for cafes and restaurants, social media buttons and more.
- Web Store Statistics Tracking Tools. The platform lets you use integrated tools to track web store statistics along with customers’ data. There is an opportunity to integrate Squarespace Metrics App or Google Analytics to detect the aspects that require improvement.
- Acuity Scheduling. Squarespace now makes it possible to integrate with its advanced Acuity Scheduling platform. This is a professional online appointment scheduling system that may come in handy to the owners of web stores, who have also established local business presence. The tool lets them complete their sales deals and stay connected with clients in a variety of ways. You can make and manage appointments online and use a rich set of integrated small business tools to schedule your eCommerce-related tasks.
- Multiple Contributors. With Squarespace, you can work on your web store development with a team of web designers, assigning special website access rights to each of them.
- eCommerce Designs. Squarespace template collection also includes a set of quality themes for digital stores, which are professional, customizable and responsive. When working on your template customization, you can set visibility settings before going live. It’s also possible to use the Cover Page Builder to design an appealing cover page for your project. Finally, there is an advanced Checkout Page Editor for digital stores here that lets you customize the way your web store looks (see Squarespace eCommerce examples).
Cost: Squarespace is a moderately-priced website builder. There is no completely free plan here, but it’s possible to pick one of premium subscriptions and test it for 14 days at zero cost to see what it has to offer. Here is the list of plans you can currently choose from:
- Personal ($12/mo) – 3% transaction fee, free custom domain connection, 20 website pages;
- Business ($18/mo) – 2% sales transaction fee, AdWords credit, unlimited number of web pages;
- Basic ($26/mo) – unlimited bandwidth and disk storage space, unlimited product number, integrated accounting feature;
- Advanced ($40/mo) – label printing, abandoned checkout autorecovery, real time carrier shipping etc.
Whatever paid plan you will go for, the website builder will let you use free hosting and domain name. If you have the one already, go ahead to appoint it to your Squarespace account to keep working with it.
Shopify Alternatives: Volusion
Volusion – is one of the most affordable niche-specific eCommerce website builders, which makes it possible to build decent web stores at moderate cost. The system is not as popular as the renowned niche leaders reviewed above but it’s still worth the attention due to the impressive feature set provided. The eCommerce software ensures live 24/7 customer support, trusted anti-scam protection options, secure payment transactions and other features users value a lot. These include:
- Impressive eCommerce tools. The software comes with a set of important tools, many of which are even better than those from Shopify. These are: extensive inventory list, Barcode Generator, advanced inventory management system and more.
- CSV File Product Import/Export. Whether you are going to sell physical or digital products, you won’t face problems when making up the catalogue and uploading products there. The CSV file product export/import feature will help simplify the task.
- Enhanced Web Store Performance Tools. With Volusion, you can improve your web store performance by making use of niche-specific features and tools. Among the elements you can integrate into your ecommerce website, it make sense to mention the following: shipping and tax rate calculator, advanced recovery tools, customer-account management, special vendor codes, simple order processing, drop shipping integration, warehouses set up, bot captcha feature, professional currency tools etc.
- Quality eCommerce Templates. Being an eCommerce system, Volusion offers a collection of niche templates divided by categories. The choice is not quite extensive (as of today, there are over 40 eCommerce templates here), but the quality of the themes is on the top notch level (see the examples). Whatever template you will go for, it will be responsive, 100% customizable, offering the advanced WYSIWYG and CSS/HTML code editing options for those, who have such skills.
Cost: Volusion pricing policy adheres to various eCommerce requirements, objectives and skills. The system has no free plan, yet it offers four paid subscriptions instead. These include:
- Personal ($29/mo) – opportunity to sell up to 100 products, 1 staff account etc.;
- Professional ($79/mo) – possibility to sell up to 5,000 products;
- Business ($299) – unlimited products, Priority support;
- Prime (the price is negotiated independently) – works great for large international companies that need VIP support and advanced features.
Shopify Alternatives: BigCommerce
BigCommerce – is the best eCommerce-focused Shopify substitute, which lets you launch websites for small, mid-sized and large-scale sales-oriented businesses. The very title of the eCommerce website builder gives you a hint on the niche specialization of the platform, while the range of tools and elements it offers, in comparison with Shopify is above the average. Let’s have a look at the major BigCommerce features to realise what it has to offer:
- Powerful eCommerce Integration Options. The website builder comes with a set of powerful eCommerce integration options that are specially created to enhance the quality of web stores created with the system. Among the available integrations, you can choose and connect multiple marketing and conversion apps (Google AdWords, HubSpot, A/B testing suites like Optimizely etc.), ERP integrations to boost the efficacy of your website performance (Brightpearl, NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics), shipping applications (ShipperHQ, Ordoro, Endicia, ShipStation and ShippingEasy), CRM apps (Salesforce, NetSuite and Zoho), API and accounting tools etc.
- Marketing Opportunities. With BigCommerce, you can set up marketing apps and features like social account integration, selling products via multiple trading platforms, setting up automated email marketing tools, organizing product exchange/return processes, creating and managing the inventory list, assigning product parameters and specifications, designing ad banners, issuing gift certificates and discount offers etc.
- CSV Export/Import. The system makes it possible to easily upload product list by using the advanced CSV export/import feature the system offers by default.
- Responsive eCommerce Templates. With BigCommerce, you can select between more than 100 templates, all of which are responsive in nature and fully-customizable. Mind that the prevailing amount of themes are provided on the paid basis, but the cost is moderate and is definitely worth the quality of each and every template provided.
Cost: BigCommerce is not a free system. However, there is an opportunity to test its features for 14 days at no cost at all. The paid plans include 3 subscriptions, namely:
- Standard Plan ($29.95/mo) – unlimited bandwidth and disk storage space, opportunity to add the required number of products;
- Plus Plan ($79.95/mo) – customer segmentation features, abandoned cart saver;
- Pro Plan ($249.95/mo) – custom SSL, Google Reviews and more;
- Enterprise (the cost depends upon the business type and complexity) – an individually tailored solution for large companies with high sale volumes and revenues.
It is possible to save 10% of the initial cost by making the annual payment. Finally, the system offers a one-of-a-kind Enterprise Plan that does not have a fixed price and the cost of which is discussed in details with the product manager in each individual case.
Are you right about to start an eCommerce website and look for a better Shopify alternative? There are many services out there, which can come up to any taste, capabilities, skills, objectives and budget. Website builders work well for the prevailing amount of eCommerce tasks and you can choose any of them that fits your budget and needs most of all.
There are many sites like Shopify; in our post we’ve only mentioned those that differ from Shopify in the preferred user group (small and mid-sized business), features, pricing and ease-of-use. SaaS website builders are the best solution for small business owners and those entrepreneurs, who are going to sell several dozens of products.
The benefits of Wix, WooCommerce, Squarespace, Volusion and BigCommerce are obvious: simplicity of the web creation process, convenience of the commerce module use and more affordable pricing plans. Anyway, it makes sense to test these alternatives and make your choice prior to launching your own business.