An In-depth Comparison of Shopify and Its Alternatives Including Features, Pros & Cons. Select the Best Shopify Alternative Based on This Comparison:
According to Globe Newswire’s meticulous research, the market sales of global e-commerce are expected to grow at a CAGR of 11% from 2018 to 2025 reaching approximately $24 trillion.
In the race of e-commerce platforms, internet usage has been maximized to do cost-cutting of products and services to stay ahead in the competitive market.
Furthermore, 1.3 billion people have joined the community of online buyers i.e. one-quarter of the world’s population is purchasing online.
In today’s digital world, the Internet has rapidly changed our perspective on online shopping. Where, once we never trusted it, now we completely rely on it.
Country-Wise E-Commerce Growth
The drastic increase in the e-commerce market has been powered by e-commerce platforms providing all types of cart solutions for an individual business. In recent times, you might have heard of dropshipping and online stores, that have emerged as the source of increasing e-commerce sales.
Creating an online store and selling your products is now easier than ever. In the cold war of e-commerce platforms, Shopify has emerged as one of the best e-commerce solutions for creating and managing an online store.
What You Will Learn:
Shopify – Why Is It Considered The Best?
Shopify is an absolute market leader and there are several reasons for its popularity among entrepreneurs. If you are a newbie for creating an online store and you don’t have resources to hire a web developer then it would work out the best for you.
Shopify is user-friendly, interactive, and comprehensive to use. Moreover, its core features are worth using for increasing sales and targeting a potential audience.
Here are some of the features of using Shopify:
Shopify includes more than 70 professional themes for branding and customizing an online store. Besides, each template comes with intuitive settings, hence you can easily customize your store facet.
Features including mobile commerce ready, blogging platform, personal domain name, web-based website builder, etc. are available.
The best part of Shopify is its shopping cart. It provides a free SSL certificate and cart functionalities to manage your payment gateway.
The cart automatically receives shipping rates and charges applicable taxes for different regions. No worries, your store can also check out in more than 50 languages.
Shopify has a dedicated team of experts for addressing customer grievances 24/7 by email, calls, or live chat. Moreover, they offer community discussion forums for solving any queries related to marketing, accounting, etc.
They also provide third party consultants for getting new customers started.
Shopify automatically manages your inventory by tracking stock counts and offering different variations of products including color, sizes, etc.
It also organizes products by category, type, price, and stock availability. Hosts multiple images of your store products and allows you to import and export your products using CSV files.
Shopify helps you to manage your store more easily by analyzing your customer behavior and their shopping habits.
If you want to set up your own dropshipping business it also integrates with apps like Oberlo, Ordoro, and Inventory source, etc. Besides, it also helps in managing customer accounts, refunds, and order fulfillment.
However, all these features come at a price but Shopify is not a single size and fits all solutions. Thanks to the alternatives that are available for all different needs.
Although Shopify offers great and advanced features for managing an online store, it’s pricing could be considered as one of the drawbacks for starting with Shopify. It offers a free trial for accessing the features for 14 days.
But keep in mind, that this free trial of Shopify remains password protected and your access gets denied after the completion of 14 days.
Shopify’s paid pricing plans include:
- Basic Shopify: For all the basics to start a new business ($29 per month).
- Shopify: For growing businesses ($79 per month).
- Advanced Shopify: For higher scaling of your business($299 per month).
Limitations Of Shopify
#1) Shopify is Expensive
If you start with the basic plan of Shopify then eventually you will feel that the basic plan is not worth it. As a result, you will be switching to higher plans for premium features and third-party apps integration which will cost you more.
If you are paying for the premium plan and you also have to pay for paid app integrations, then, at last, you will get annoyed.
#2) Transaction Fee
Shopify’s payment processing cost is too high. Their heavy transaction fee affects your profit margin.
For Example: If you are using any third-party processor or your credentials for payment processing, its basic plan will charge 2% transaction free. Ultimately, they will force you to use their own Shopify payments or switch to a higher plan for lesser transaction fees.
#3) Complicated URL Structure
Setting up a new product in Shopify is quite irritating for SEO. You are not allowed to optimize the URL of any product page of your store instead it will unnecessarily include extraneous words in the URL structure.
This type of complicated URL is not considered conducive to SEO rankings.
#4) Ban On Certain Products
Shopify doesn’t allow you to sell all types of products on their platform. Be sure to check whether your niche related products are allowed to sell or not before signing in with Shopify. They have prepared a long list of products that are not permitted to sell.
#5) Limited Variants Of Product
Shopify doesn’t allow multiple variants of a single product of more than 3 types. If you want to sell a product with more than 3 variants, then you are allegedly not permitted to do so. Not only this, they even don’t allow a product multiplication of variants exceeding 100.
Suppose, you are selling a product if it’s total color variants, size variants, and type variants multiplication exceeds 100, you cannot sell that product.
These were the limitations of Shopify that can make you dimed while using the platform. We have prepared a list of some top alternatives to Shopify because we consider that Shopify is not a single size that fits all solution.
List Of The Top Shopify Alternatives
Enlisted below are some of the best competitors to Shopify that may suit your needs. Check out the list and start creating an online hassle-free store of your own.
Comparison Table Of Shopify & Its Competitors
|Basis||Suitable For||Free Plan/Trial||Deployment||Open-Source||Transaction Fee||Devices||Pricing|
|Shopify||Small, mid, and large online stores||Free trial for 14-days||Cloud-hosted and on-premise||No||Transaction fee model||Windows, Android, iPhone, Mac, and Web-based.||Starting from $29 per month|
|Volusion||Small, mid, and large online stores||Free trial for 14-days||Cloud-hosted, on-premise, and open API||No||Zero transaction fee model||Windows, Android, iPhone, Mac, and Web-based.||Starting from $29 per month|
|Wix||Passionists, small businesses, restaurants, online stores, etc.||Free plan available.|
Free trial available for 14 days.
|Cloud-based||No||Processing Fees for Wix payments.||Web-based||$29/month|
|Weebly||Small to medium-sized businesses.||Free plan available.||Cloud-based & On-premise.||No||Transaction fee model||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.||The price starts at $6/month.|
|BigCommerce||Small, mid, and large online stores||Free trial for 15-days||Cloud-hosted||No||Zero transaction fee model.||Windows, Android, iPhone, Mac, and Web-based.||Starting from $29.95 per month|
|WooCommerce||Small and mid online stores||Completely free||Web-based plugin||Yes||Transaction fee model||iPhone/iPad||Free and open source|
|Magento||Small, mid, and large online stores||Free plan available||Cloud-hosted||Yes||Zero transaction fee model.||Windows, Android, iPhone, Mac, and Web-based.||Custom pricing|
Best For generating analytics and insights to improve sales and understand customers.
Volusion is a single stop solution for all types of e-commerce solutions that lets you create, manage, and expand your store. While both Shopify and Volusion are dedicated e-commerce platforms, its easier to get grips on Shopify than Volusion.
On the other hand, Volusion is much more dedicated to analytics and insights which might be the best part for many users.
- Expertly designed themes, custom domains, & responsive themes to build a store.
- More payment processing options than ever and a comprehensive product page.
- SEO tools, social integration, and reporting features to increase sales.
- ROI tracking, product variant pricing, managing inventory, and customer reviews.
Volusion offers a free trial of 14 days for getting started.
It’s paid plans are:
- Personal: For a Single user and basic work ($29 per month).
- Professional: For Multiple users and growing work ($79 per month).
- Business: For several groups of teams to run an entire business ($299 per month).
- Custom: For Unlimited Team Members and Large Organizations (custom pricing).
Pros & Cons
|Reporting & Analytics.||Less intuitive and interactive.|
|Search term analysis tools.||Less integration with 3rd party apps.|
|More payment options.||No blogging feature.|
Best For Passionists and Enthusiasts who want to convert their passion into a profession without any care for future expansion.
Wix is a great platform for newbies who want to start an e-commerce website just as a hobbyist. It has limited advantages to use as an intuitive interface for creating a powerful and attractive website.
Besides, it has no premium features that Shopify and other e-commerce platforms possess. Wix has made up to this list just because of the newbies who want to give their passion way.
- It has a powerful editor for designing a website with drag-drop functionality.
- Corvid by Wix, an open development platform for building advanced web apps.
- A custom domain name, personal mailbox, free hosting, and analytics.
- Store manager, multiple payment methods, worldwide shipping, and tax.
- Wix Bookings, Wix blog, Wix photography, Wix music, Wix video, Wix events, etc.
Wix is free to use as long as you want until you feel like you require more professional and advanced features.
It offers only one single premium plan:
- Premium: Free hosting, Domain connection, and Premium support ($29 per month).
Pros & Cons
|Very interactive and user-friendly.||Doesn’t fit for large e-commerce solutions.|
|Cheap Pricing.||Only limited apps are available.|
|More than just a website builder.||Cannot be customized extremely.|
|Free templates & stock images.|
Best For Passionate Artists, Musicians, Photographers, etc., who want to sell their work online and share with others.
Weebly provides free website builder to create and manage an online store. There is nothing out of the box about Weebly except one thing that it allows selling anything from anywhere with Square.
Weebly is now a part of Square suit and it will help you out in a way that you never miss any sale and even allows your customers to pay in any suitable method.
- Intuitive drag-drop interface with an e-commerce solution to grow business online.
- Mobile apps, Powerful design tools, Customized templates, and photo gallery.
- Third-party integrations, SEO tools, Reliable and Free hosting.
- The built-in amazing blogging platform, custom contact form, and branding tools.
- Statistics to track visitors and understand the performance.
Weebly is free to use like Wix until you require any pro feature to access the more advanced tools.
Below are its paid plans:
- Connect: For connecting a domain ($5 per month).
- Pro: For groups and org ($12 per month).
- Business: For small businesses and stores ($25 per month).
Pros & Cons
|Highly intuitive and user-friendly interface.||The free version is limited.|
|Reliable customer support.||Not suitable for a large group of teams.|
|They keep every deleted page of your website restored.|
Best For a group of teams working with higher functionalities as it provides unlimited orders and unlimited bandwidth with CRM tool and more than 100 payment methods.
Unlike Shopify, 3dcart does not charge any transaction fee or hidden fees from you. This will help you a lot to save the maximum amount of extraneous expenses.
Even their integrations are too strong that support your store for unlimited orders, unlimited bandwidth, built-in blogging, and more than 100 payment methods. The best part is that you don’t have to spend any extra or unnecessary amount of money as you will end up doing with Shopify.
- 200+ built-in features, mobile-ready themes, real-time shipping, and marketing tools.
- Secure shopping cart with simple tax setup and conversion-optimized checkout.
- Process orders quickly by handling returns, taking phone orders, and managing customer accounts.
- Dropshipping Support, CRM tool, web-based interface, and user-generated content.
- Marketing and SEO with Google Analytics and advanced SEO tools.
3dcart also offers a free trial with no contracts and you can cancel it anytime. Moreover, there’s also 30 days moneyback guarantee and its paid plans are:
- Startup Store: For single staff user just starting ($19 per month).
- Basic Store: For two staff users with all the essential features ($29 per month).
- Plus Store: For a complete marketing suite with a group of 5 members ($70 per month).
- Pro Store: For up to 15 members and complete e-commerce automation ($229 per month).
Pros & Cons
|Interactive and easy to use.||Email storage space.|
|No transaction or hidden fee.||Less free themes.|
|Smart Integrations & CRM.|
|30 days money-back guarantee.|
Best For small as well as out of the box professionals who have the power of convincing can start with Squarespace carrying low financial resources.
Squarespace is an award-winning website designer and online store creator for those who don’t have enough financial resources, to begin with. With Squarespace, engage your audience using a comprehensive set of marketing tools and create a powerful communication strategy.
The platform is a perfect fit for all types of professionals like small businesses, photographers, bloggers, artists, restaurants, musicians, and wedding planners, etc.
- Modern template designs with customizable layout and style editor.
- Image SEO and metadata reporting with drag-drop management.
- Audio collection, gallery blocks, display effects, and videos in the gallery.
- Integrated services, LayoutEngine 2, and user data collection.
- Site control, multiple contributors, cover pages, blogging, email campaigns, etc.
Squarespace offers a free trial in a way that allows you to set up your store for free and later you can choose any plan.
These are the following paid plans:
- Personal: For 2 users ($12 per month).
- Business: For unlimited users ($18 per month).
- Basic Commerce: For growing business ($26 per month).
- Advanced Commerce: For advanced needs ($ 40 per month).
Pros & Cons
|Affordable and cheap pricing.||Lack of Customization.|
|Professional website builder.|
Best For those who believe in open-source platforms and require higher customization to improve their store sales.
Magento is an online store builder and e-commerce platform for managing both front-end and backend operations. The platform is built in PHP and is an open-source platform for creating customized and tailored user experience.
Magento is available in free as well as paid versions. Being an open-source platform, Magento can perform far better than Shopify and can be highly customized.
- Open-source, customizable and free with meaningful commerce experience.
- Seamless shopping with mobile and B2B commerce, sales and ad channels.
- Business intelligence, inventory and order management for efficiency & automation.
- Progressive web application with cloud deployment, APIs, and ERP integration.
Pricing: Although Magento is open-source and free to use it also offers paid plans for advanced features. Besides they have not revealed their pricing officially on the website and you need to contact their sales team.
Pros & Cons
|Open-source & Free.||Speed is slow.|
|Highly customizable.||Somewhere there is a need for a developer.|
|Works for every size of businesses.|
|Easy to use and allows multiple users.|
Best For WordPress users who already love blogging and content writing can easily sell their products by optimizing SEO for their store. Again this platform is also open-source and free to use.
You will be amazed to know that WooCommerce has a higher market share than Shopify from the recent reports. WooCommerce is the plugin for WordPress which allows the users to create and manage e-commerce stores on the world’s most popular content management system.
The best part is that it is completely free to use and open-source with a large number of third-party applications, extensions, and developers.
- Completely free to use and open-source with no limits.
- Built on WordPress with more than 400 official extensions.
- Countless themes with unrestricted customization for creating a store.
- WordPress is already well known for it’s blogging and content management.
- Unlimited product variations with automatic shipping rates and tax options.
Pricing: WooCommerce is an open-source and free plugin for WordPress. Besides, it offers extensions that are mostly free but some extensions are paid.
Pros & Cons
|Open-source & Free.||Some limitations are still there.|
|Highly customizable.||Some advanced features are available with the paid extensions only.|
|Fully integrated with all WordPress themes.|
|Best blogging source for products.|
Best For Store owners and Large companies who can spend a higher amount of money on generating more leads with proper integrations and analytics tools.
BigCommerce, when compared to Shopify, gives you a full suite of out of the box features than what Shopify does. Although, both the platforms offer almost the same pricing plans still BigCommerce is worth using for even its base plan.
Also, it offers many beautiful and professional themes for free which Shopify doesn’t. Moreover, their customer support is extensively far better than Shopify.
- The store can be migrated to BigCommerce from any platform.
- Very intuitive interface and is easy to use for every non-tech user.
- Manage e-commerce platform with full-featured e-commerce CMS.
- With BigCommerce, you can manage your store on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Pinterest.
- Cheaper integration with third-party apps.
BigCommerce offers a free trial for 15 days to get started.
Following are its paid plans:
- Standard: For a basic start ($29 per month).
- Plus: For growing with the marketing tools ($79 per month).
- Pro: For optimizing online business ($249.95 per month).
- Enterprise: For larger team success (Contact sales).
Pros & Cons
|No transaction fee is charged.||Email hosting is not so good.|
|Multi-channel Selling.||High pricing plans.|
|No limitation on product variants.|
|High customer support.|
The article provided a detailed review and alternatives to Shopify according to different requirements.
Shopify definitely is a great tool but as discussed above it is not one size that fits all solutions. Based on this review, you can select the best solution available in the market.
Open-source is loved by many developers and programmers so for them, tools like Magento and WooCommerce are the best available options that are also free to use. Offbeat professionals like artists, musicians, and photographers with a lack of financial resources may start with Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.
For those who have enough resources to spend and require professional and advanced features BigCommerce, Volusion, and 3dcart are the best alternatives to choose from.