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5 of the Best Shopify Alternatives (Cheaper and More Functional)

Looking for Shopify alternatives to run your online store?

No doubt, Shopify is a great platform to set up a store quickly. However, there are many reasons one might look for Shopify alternatives.

For instance, Shopify doesn’t offer any free plans, and many useful features / apps are locked behind another paywall. Not to forget, you don’t have full control over everything (you don’t really own your website, per se).

We’ll make your search for Shopify alternatives easier by sifting through the options and listing some of the better ones here.

Shopify alternatives you should look into

WordPress & WooCommerce

WooCommerce powers around 30% of all online stores, and there’s a reason why it’s popular. It’s free, highly customizable and runs on top of WordPress – the best website management system in existence.

Where it differs from Shopify:

WooCommerce is a standalone piece of web software. What this means is that, in order to use it, you first have to find a web host, pay for the host, then install WordPress on that host, and then install WooCommerce on top of that. Depending on the specific web host you choose, parts of this process can be handled for you. Speaking of differences, Shopify is more geared to the beginner user who doesn’t want to work too much tweaking things. WooCommerce, on the other hand, gives you endless customizations and full control over your website. Feature-wise, WooCommerce offers much of the same stuff you’ll find in Shopify. Though some of these features come as add-ons.

Pricing:

WooCommerce is free to set up and manage, but you’ll need to find a suitable host and pay for it separately. The prices start at around $5 / month. Extensions can cost up to $300 as well, if you need them.

Features:

  • Base plugin is lean, modular and flexible
  • Built-in blogging functionality thanks to WordPress
  • Categories, tags and attributes for easier product search
  • Localization by way of currency, measurement units, language
  • Unlimited products and product variations
  • Mobile friendly
  • There are thousands of themes available to change the way your online store looks
  • Built-in payment processing from leading providers
  • Customer accounts, guest checkout and one-click refunds from the dashboard

Should you use WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a great tool if you’re not afraid to administer your website by yourself. The fact that it runs as open-source software means that there’s no one to call when facing issues. On the other hand, you also get endless customization possibilities, and the running costs overall are lower.

BigCommerce

Whether you’re a scrappy startup or a large corporation, BigCommerce helps you create a store the way you like. It’s secure and scalable, and if you can get past a small learning curve, it’ll count among the best Shopify alternatives.

Where it differs from Shopify:

Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce comes with most functions built-in, minimizing the need for apps. It lets you sell physical, digital and service products, while Shopify needs an app to sell digital goods. Both Shopify and BigCommerce are hosted solutions. While Shopify’s user friendly editor allows you to edit your storefront easily, that’s not the case with BigCommerce. However, the new Store Design tool is a welcome improvement.

Pricing:

Choose between plans pegged at $29.95, $79.95 and $299.95 / month. The Basic plan allows sales up to $50K per year. The higher plans offer better product filtering, customer segmentation, review and cumulative online sales per year. There’s a 15 day free trial and no transaction fees.

Features:

  • Intuitive interface
  • Launch services to ensure minimum downtime
  • Fully customizable themes with built-in CSS, HTML and JS, all mobile responsive
  • Integration with marketplaces like Amazon and social platforms (Facebook, and others)
  • Complete checkout customization
  • 70+ discount and promotions, all without scripting
  • Dozens of digital wallets
  • Customizable SEO friendly URLs
  • B2B selling by customer grouping, price lists, bulk pricing and more
  • International selling with cross-border fulfillment, multiple currencies and languages

Should you use BigCommerce?

BigCommerce can be a great option if you don’t like the Shopify interface for whatever reason. BigCommerce delivers basically the same features but they come in a different package.

Ecwid

Ecwid is a simple eCommerce tool that plays well with any existing website but also allows you to build a separate online store. With Ecwid, you can sell in other places as well – places like social media, third-party marketplaces, in-store via POS, and more.

Where it differs from Shopify:

Shopify is an eCommerce website platform. Ecwid is very much the same thing, but simplified. Both allow you to sell on marketplaces and social platforms. Ecwid plugs into any existing site, so you can sell on WordPress, Wix or Weebly. Also, most features are built-in, minimizing the need for apps. Plus, there’s a free plan.

Pricing:

A forever free plan allows you to sell up to 10 products in two categories, with no transaction fees. However, some features like promo codes, digital products and staff accounts require you to choose a premium plan. These plans range from $15 to $99 / month.

Features:

  • Intuitive, automatic setup process
  • Sell simultaneously on multiple sites
  • Built-in support for Google Analytics, SSL certification, server configuration and hosting
  • Mobile responsive online store and shopping cart
  • Unlimited bandwidth, products and product options, order creation
  • 40+ payment methods in multiple currencies
  • Store management app
  • Multilingual, even letting you translate emails to customers

Should you use Ecwid?

Ecwid is a great choice if you need a way to sell products via your online store for free. It has all the basic features, and they’re quite easy to use. Also a great fit for businesses that already have a website.

Gumroad

Gumroad is a super-simple eCommerce platform for creators. While setting up your store is absolutely free, you’ll need to pay commission on every sale you make.

Where it differs from Shopify:

Gumroad is more of its own marketplace. It’s common for people to just go to Gumroad and look for products to buy. Gumroad is also free to start with, as long as you have less than 1000 customers. Shopify offers far more powerful customer management and invoicing modules, but Gumroad makes up by offering specific site-builder integrations for WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace and Tumblr.

Pricing:

You’ll be able to create and customize your storefront, and sell any number of products for free. However, the free plan attracts a higher transaction fee at 5% + charge fee (3.5% + 30¢) per sale. That comes down to 3.5% + 30¢ if you’re a premium user, which costs $10 / month.

Features:

  • No limit on the number of products you sell
  • Discount codes, license keys and multiple versions help to sell digital products
  • Product variants, inventory tracking and country-wide restrictions
  • Built-in abuse prevention with PDF stamping or turning off downloads
  • Schedule under-production goods against future payment receipt
  • Recurring subscriptions and membership plans
  • Multiple payment options and easy checkout

Should you use Gumroad?

Gumroad’s feature list supports any creative or digital products seller with a free website setup. It’s a specially good platform to sell one-off products right from your blog. Gumroad is also its own community/marketplace where users stroll casually looking for things to buy – this can help with exposure.

Wix

At its core, Wix is a website builder that helps you craft and customize any type of website – even for free. But the free plan won’t cut it if you want to sell products and receive payments. To be able to do that, you need an upgrade to the Wix eCommerce platform.

Where it differs from Shopify:

Wix is a more universal website builder than Shopify since it was designed to let you craft any type of website, not just eCommerce stores. Shopify is more specialized and designed to run an online store first and foremost. You should look into Wix if you want your website builder platform to give you a better and more versatile overall environment for managing your site, and not just have everything built around the eCommerce component. Also, Wix can be considered a tad easier to use.

Pricing:

Premium plans for stores start at $29 / month and allow you to have a custom domain, without any Wix branding. Three Business and eCommerce plans (Basic, Unlimited and VIP) are available, and they entitle you to use the Wix Business apps. While all plans offer unlimited bandwidth, they differ in the storage available, video upload time, support level and apps.

Features:

  • Mobile optimized websites with hundreds of fully customizable templates
  • Free hosting, custom domain
  • Wix Artificial Design Intelligence module to help you build your website
  • Easy-to-use tools in a drag-and-drop editor
  • Custom storefront and cart
  • Attractive product presentation with product videos and product zoom
  • Inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, dropshipping with Modalyst
  • Custom shipping rules, international shipping and real-time shipping estimates
  • Extensive collection of icons, clip art, free apps and images
  • Easy coding for advanced functionality
  • Multiple sales channels, including Facebook and Instagram
  • 25+ secure payment options including Wix payments, PayPal, credit cards and in-person
  • End-to-end fulfillment
  • Google Analytics included

Should you use Wix?

With a choice of stunning ready-to-go templates and good prices, Wix is a great option for business owners who want to make not only the eCommerce component of their website shine, but the entire site as a whole. Wix can also be a good answer if you don’t like the Shopify interface.

Final words

There are many Shopify alternatives and eCommerce platforms you can use to launch your online store. The final choice really comes down to picking what’s right for you, depending on your technical chops, budget and business plans.

That being said, here are our favorites:

Use Wix or BigCommerce if you’re frustrated with the different elements of the Shopify interface or various features that the platform offers. Overall, both Wix and BigCommerce work on a similar idea and provide a similar range of features. The price is also in the same ballpark. This makes them the closest and probably the best Shopify alternatives.

Use WordPress + WooCommerce if you want to build your store using a platform that gives you complete control over the final product while also keeping the cost low. Going this route also gives you exceptional extension and customization possibilities. A good way to start with WordPress and WooCommerce is to sign up to web hosting with SiteGround and have them install both platforms for you.

Use Ecwid if you just want to get started for free. There are some limitations that come with that, however.

Use Gumroad if you want to benefit from a pre-existing community and marketplace. This can help you find customers and get your business off the ground. That being said, the platform does have a lot of limitations compared to the other Shopify alternatives from this list.

Which is your favorite Shopify alternative among the ones featured here?

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

Layout, presentation and editing by Karol K.

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