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.
[Spoiler] Here’s a List of the Best Shopify Alternatives:
- Wix – all-in-one commerce solution
- WooCommerce – ecommerce for WordPress
- Squarespace – the best ecommerce-ready website builder
- Weebly – Shopify alternative powered by Square
- Ecwid – free eCommerce plugin for any website
- BigCommerce – alternative eCommerce software
- SITE123 – absolutely free alternative to Shopify
- OpenCart – open source CMS alternative
How to Choose The Best Shopify Alternative For You
There are multiple factors to consider to pick the service, which works best for your eCommerce project. To start with, you should define the type of platform you’d like to work with. There are all-in-one web design platforms that allow starting different types of websites, including online stores. Likewise, there are specialized eCommerce systems, the area of specialization of which goes down exclusive to web store creation. Pick the system that corresponds to your current business requirements and goals most. It also makes sense to compare pros, cons and special parameters of the services you’re interested in to define the best solution.
Web design expertise has notable importance as well. If you are a non-coder, there is no sense in choosing a complex platform oversaturated with features. You just won’t be able to get the most out of it, even if you wish to. Simple web design systems work best for beginners, coming up to their special requirements and coding skills. Professionals, however, can use their programming knowledge to design feature-rich web stores with complex systems created with the needs of industry pros in mind.
Another aspect worth consideration is pricing policy. Web design systems differ not only in their integrated functionality, but also in their cost. Some systems offer affordable subscriptions to fit any budget, while others are more expensive, providing deeper functionality. Define your budget in advance to invest into the system that encompasses affordability and distinctive performance.
The Different Types of Shopify Alternatives
Prior to picking the right web design platform, you should find out more about the most popular solutions available in the modern market. This will help you figure out what system exactly complies with your needs most and which of them will be easier to work with, considering your web design background. Currently, you may choose from the following options:
- All-in-one website builders – systems, which make it possible to build different types of web projects (including eCommerce websites), offering extensive integrated functionality;
- Specialized eCommerce website builders – services, which specialize in web store creation only and come with tools/features used for this very purpose;
- CMS (Content Management Systems) – platforms, which ensure deep flexibility and encompass advanced features to start complex web projects.
As soon as you are done with the choice of the preferable software type, you’ll have to proceed to picking the most suitable system to work with. There are many representatives of each group out there. Get ready to browse the reviews of the most popular platforms now.
1. Wix – All-In-One Commerce Solution
Wix – is the best all-in-one commerce solution and a worthy Shopify alternative, which deserves to be called the leader of the niche. Even though, this is not a specialized service, it still works great for the development of small and medium online stores, which will simultaneously feature excellent eCommerce performance.
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.
Wix comes with a 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 for automated website editing and Standard Wix Editor for deeper website customization.
- Easy Management. All online stores created with Wix are easy to manage – the orders are added to the Store Manager, where you can work with inventory list, track order/product status and details, interact with customers etc.
- Professional eCommerce Templates. The website builder offers a pretty large selection of eCommerce templates, which are mobile-responsive, free and customizable by default.
- Secure Payment Options. Wix allows receiving different types of payments, including credit cards, PayPal etc., letting you set tax and shipping rules, modify the prices and perform other actions to ensure safe shopping experience.
- Multilingual Support. Wix makes it possible to create several language versions of your website to target customers and partners from abroad.
- eCommerce Widgets and Apps. The website builder offers a rich selection of eCommerce-specific widgets and applications (Wix Stores, Etsy Shop, Simpl-e-Commerce, Google Ads & Shopping, Get Google Ads, Fetchy Shipping, Shippo, Multiorders, ShipStation and more) available in its App Market.
- 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.
Wix has 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. Their cost starts from $23/mo.
2. WooCommerce – eCommerce for WordPress
WooCommerce – is the best eCommerce for WordPress plugin and a great 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.
The plugin 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.
WooCommerce also 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.
Listed below are the main advantages of the plugin:
- 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.
- Complete Set of Out-of-the-Box Features. 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.
- Advanced Product Shipping. The plugin includes such options as flat rate shipping, local pickup, overseas and local delivery, integrated automatic shipping calculator etc.
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 starts from $2.95/mo.
3. Squarespace – The Best eCommerce-Ready Website Builder
Squarespace – is the best eCommerce-ready 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.
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).
As to web store management and promotion, Squarespace lets you 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 a web store logo, add an online calendar, adjust payment/shipping settings and make use of multiple beneficial loyalty options for higher customer engagement rates.
Listed below are the main advantages of the website builder:
- Add-ons and Widgets. Squarespace allows choosing and integrating specific eCommerce add-ons and widgets, including 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 by integrating Squarespace Metrics App or Google Analytics.
- Acuity Scheduling. 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.
- 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.
- Cover Page Builder. The tool lets you design an appealing cover page for your eCommerce project.
- Unfold Storytelling Tool. The app allows creating and sharing posts and stories in social networks to attract user attention.
- Contact Form Builder. The system grants an opportunity to build and add various contact forms into their web stores for enhanced customer engagement rate.
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. The cost of paid plans starts from $12/mo. 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.
4. Weebly – Shopify Alternative Powered by Square
Weebly – is a free Shopify alternative powered by Square, which was initially created as a blogging platform yet acquired eCommerce focus after the merge with the platform. The website builder can now be used for the development of small and medium online stores with distinctive eCommerce functionality. This is what makes it a worthy substitute to Shopify, especially for non-techies.
Regardless of its eCommerce specialization, the system is quite simple, convenient and intuitive both for beginners and web design experts. Users can choose and customize templates from the extensive collection of the website builder. The range of design customization tools is quite versatile here as well.
The list of other Weebly highlights is as follows:
- Powerful Blogging Engine. An advanced blogging engine lets you connect and manage a feature-rich blog with no special effort and time investment.
- Weebly Promote Tool. The feature provides multiple email marketing options, offering a pack of ready-made designs for various types of emails (bulletins, promo newsletters, event and product presentation etc.).
- Extensive Integration Options. Weebly comes with a niche choice of apps and widgets you can integrate into your eCommerce project (slideshows, media files, maps, image collections, search boxes and what not).
- Business-Targeting Features. The website builder grants access to multiple eCommerce features to boost your web store performance, such as secure payment and shipping options, versatile product management tools, integrated shopping cart, CSV product import/export, exclusive offers and customer support assistance, convenient search filter and more.
Weebly pricing policy is quite affordable as well. The website builder offers multiple subscriptions to come up to any business type and requirements. There is a free plan that never expires and several premium subscriptions. Their cost starts from $4/mo.
5. Ecwid – Free eCommerce Plugin for Any Website
Ecwid – is a free eCommerce plugin for any website. It was created with the only purpose – to launch and customize feature-rich online stores. The system delivers advanced integrated eCommerce functionality, offering an extensive selection of marketing and web store promotion features/tools. These let you offer multiple physical and digital products for sale.
With Ecwid, you get access to high end eCommerce features, integration of which does not imply any coding proficiency. To launch a web store with the plugin, you just need to connect the one to your ready-made website irrespective of the platform it was built on. To customize a project, you’ll be able to create product catalogues and galleries, add shipping/payment options, statistics tracking tools and other required features. Comparing to Shopify, this is easy, fast and convenient.
The most important Ecwid advantages are as follows:
- App Market. Ecwid grants access to a set of extra plugins available in its App Market, namely Google Shopping app, email marketing tools, web customization tools, product widgets, accounting services etc.
- Multilingual Support. The plugin lets you create online stores in several languages to target international customers and partners.
- Marketing Options. With Ecwid, you can promote your eCommerce projects by integrating marketing tools such as Google Ads.
- Multiple Sales Channels. The system makes it possible to offer physical and digital products for sale via multiple sales channels, namely eBay, Amazon and POS software support.
- Compatibility. Ecwid is equally compatible with SaaS website builders and CMS, which makes the plugin applicable for versatile web store creation purposes.
To start a web store with Ecwid, you’ll have to choose one of its subscriptions. There is a free plan here, which provides standard integrated functionality. The price of paid plans starts from $15/mo.
6. BigCommerce – Alternative eCommerce Software
BigCommerce – is an alternative eCommerce software, 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.
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.).
Likewise, you can access 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.
Let’s have a look at the major BigCommerce features to realise what it has to offer:
- 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,
- Product Management Options. The system lets you create product collections/categories, organize product exchange/return processes, create and manage inventory lists, assign product parameters and specifications, design ad banners, issue gift certificates and discount offers etc.
- CSV Export/Import. The website builder 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 free and paid templates, all of which are responsive in nature and fully-customizable.
BigCommerce is not a free system. However, there is an opportunity to test its features for 14 days at no cost at all. Paid subscriptions include 3 plans, the cheapest of which costs $29.95/mo. It is possible to save 10% of the initial cost by making the annual payment.
7. SITE123 – Absolutely Free Alternative to Shopify
SITE123 – is an absolutely free alternative to Shopify and one of the simplest website builders in the modern web design market. The use of the system does not require web design background. You don’t have to be a coding expert to start a web store with it – SITE123 offers detailed and intuitive guidelines on how to get started with your eCommerce project. This is what makes the platform a great pick for beginners.
The DIY website builder boasts an impressive collection of pre-designed templates, which encompasses free and paid themes. The designs are all free, customizable and niche-specific. There is a separate section of eCommerce templates you can choose from with regard to your business specialization.
Other SITE123 benefits include:
- Multilingual Support. The website builder supports multilingual feature that lets you create online stores in several languages.
- Online Form Builder.The system allows building, customizing and integrating online forms to boost your web store performance.
- Blogging. SITE123 has a powerful built-in blogging engine, which allows connecting a blog to your web store and updating it when required.
- eCommerce Apps. The platform encompasses a set of integrated eCommerce applications and widgets (Live Chat, Booking, Galleries, Social Widgets, Online Forms etc.) to enhance your web store functionality.
- App Market. Along with eCommerce widgets, SITE123 provides access to other free and paid applications for effective web store development and promotion.
- Logo Maker. To make your digital store withstand niche competition and enhance brand recognition, it is possible to design and integrate a brand logo.
SITE123 stands out from the crowd due to its pricing policy. The website builder is one of the most cost-effective DIY systems out there. There is a free plan here that lets you start a web store without any budget investment. The plan, however, has certain restrictions, which prevents users from launching feature-laden digital stores. To go live with your eCommerce project and to generate profit with it, it makes sense to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions. The cost starts from $10.80/mo.
8. OpenCart – Open-Source CMS Alternative
OpenCart – is an open-source CMS alternative to Shopify, which requires download and installation. The powerful system lets you manage small-to-large online stores from a single integrated backend admin panel. The platform is PHP-based and it’s also completely free for everyone. The software requires programming awareness to launch feature-rich eCommerce projects.
The CMS abounds in advanced tools and features required for professional eCommerce development. These include CRM integration, email marketing options, reviews and promotions management, SEO optimization, eCommerce designs, enhanced web store data security, advanced inventory management and more.
Other impressive OpenCart features are listed below:
- Multi-Store Management. With OpenCart, you can launch, customize and manage several online stores from a single control panel
- Powerful Extensions. The platform follows the core+extensions model, which means that it lets integrate add-ons and plugins into a digital store
- Shopping Cart Features. OpenCart includes a list of advanced shopping cart features, such as abandoned shopping cart recovery, credit card processing, coupon/discount implementation, product catalogue creation/management, integration of shipping and tax parameters etc.
The software is free for download and installation. To avail deeper web store functionality, it is possible to integrate third-party extensions specially developed for OpenCart. This requires extra budget investment.
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, Weebly, Ecwid, BigCommerce, SITE123 and OpenCart 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.