Shopify Competitors: A Comparison of Shopify Alternatives

(This post was originally published on February 24, 2015. We have updated it to be more accurate and complete.)

since 2006, shopify has evolved from a startup to become one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms with over 800,000 active stores. however, shopify is not the only platform that has attracted attention in recent years. It’s easier than ever for merchants to set up online storefronts and there are a multitude of shopping cart software options to choose from, whether you can write code or not.

Reading: Shopify competitors 2015

Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your online business can be a bit overwhelming. therefore, we’ve put together this guide for merchants considering shopify for the first time or looking to move elsewhere.

how to choose a shopify alternative

Looking at the list of features for an eCommerce website, it’s often hard to tell what’s important. while some sites display many fancy features, only a few are crucial to your business.

When evaluating shopify’s competitors, it’s important to consider platform type, price, support, transaction fee, storage, free trial availability, ease of access, features, and cost. community size. By examining each of these attributes, you not only get a holistic view of the platform, but you also begin to determine which features are really important to your business and sales process.

  • type: hosted or open source
  • price: the mid-tier price package offered by the organization
  • support: whether or not a platform offers 24/7 support
  • payment processing: the fee each platform charges per transaction
  • ease of access: how difficult it is to get started on the platform
  • features: the breadth of features available through the platform
  • community size: how strong the platform solution and technology community is.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are macro functions that apply to all businesses.

shopify competitors for small and medium businesses

First, let’s compare shopify alternatives for small and medium businesses (to jump to mid-market and enterprise alternatives, click here). These platforms are very easy to use and are fairly priced.

That said, if your store needs enterprise-sized bandwidth, these solutions may not be for you. currently the best smb alternatives are:

  • square space
  • volusion
  • woocommerce
  • prestashop

To start, let’s take a look at shopify’s features so you can see how their competitors stack up against them.

1. buy

website: http://www.shopify.com prices: http://www.shopify.com/prices

shopify grew by simplifying the process of setting up an eCommerce store, even for those without development skills. Their mantra is that merchants should focus on building and selling their products, not managing their eCommerce software. As a cloud-based hosted solution, Shopify maintains its platform, PCI compliance, and website security. Over the years, Shopify has also taken initiatives to add many social selling capabilities with Pinterest, Facebook, and more, as well as offering their own point of sale systems for those with physical stores.

With Shopify, there are no transaction fees, but a 2.6% + 30¢ fee on all online credit card transactions. If you don’t use shopify payments, you will also pay an additional 1% fee. These fees can add up, so keep an eye on them. shopify offers this payment structure as they are operating and maintaining the platform for you. if something goes wrong on the platform, it’s shopify’s responsibility to fix it.

Overall, Shopify’s approach to creating easy-to-use software with the right functionality makes it a go-to platform for many sellers. as you grow they also launched their own business platform called shopify plus which you can learn more about below.

2. square space

website: https://www.squarespace.com pricing: https://www.squarespace.com/pricing

squarespace is similar to shopify in that they focus on creating a platform that is easy for anyone to use, whether they have technical skills or not. they are a hosted solution with a sleek user interface that allows merchants to install themes and quickly create a branded website. In my own experience, the squarespace workspace was as easy as dragging and dropping different elements to create web pages – any novice could create a beautiful website.

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sqaurespace first entered the market as an easy-to-use alternative to website building and over time added eCommerce capabilities such as product catalog management, marketing tools, and analytics. this is why you see many artists, boutiques, bloggers, wedding caterers and restaurants using their software as portfolios and/or online stores. it’s a good combination of content management and shopping cart software.

To get started, sellers can start a free trial. thereafter, annual plans for online stores start at $26/month for basic and $40/month for advanced.

3. volume

volusion ecommerce - shopify alternativeWebsite: https://www.volusion.com/ Pricing: https://www.volusion.com/pricing

volusion has a long history in eCommerce, with its founder starting the online service in 1999. Since then, volusion has always positioned itself as a leading solution for SMEs. their software is easy to use and requires no code knowledge to get your site up and running. volusion doesn’t have as many installs as shopify, nor as large a community, but they still have a solid solution offering. As a hosted solution, volusion takes care of platform maintenance, secure exits, and an overall secure site.

sellers can start with a free trial or start with a personal plan at $29/mo or upgrade to business plans at $299/mo. payment processing fees start at 2.15% with volusion payments.

read this more detailed comparison of volusion and shopify.

4. woo-commerce

woocommerce ecommerce - shopify alternativeWebsite: http://www.woocommerce.com

Even more popular than Shopify, WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform for building an online store, according to BuiltWith. the problem is that woocommerce is an open source ecommerce plugin for content management systems for wordpress. If you’re already running a successful content site or blog with WordPress, then WooCommerce is worth a look. This plugin connects to your WordPress site to give you the commerce features you need to sell products. Sellers can start using WooCommerce for free and there are no transaction fees. (although woocommerce itself is free, you’ll need to pay for hosting services and development work to get started).

As an open source platform, woocommerce will offer merchants the ability to edit, modify and customize the platform code. If you have in-house developers, they will gain complete control over the capabilities of your platform, unlike Shopify as a hosted platform. however, this also means that you take responsibility for the hosting, pci compliance, and security of your site.

woocommerce also leverages an extensive developer community that helps create extensions to work with woocommerce to increase functionality for payments, shipping, marketing, accounting, and more.

If you’re a content business running wordpress first, then woocommerce deserves consideration, if you have developers to help you build and maintain your store. If that doesn’t sound like your business, then you’ll want to consider other hosted solutions more similar to Shopify.

read this more detailed article comparing woocommerce and shopify.

5. loanshop

prestashop ecommerce - shopify alternativeWebsite: http://www.prestashop.com

prestashop is another popular open source platform with an active developer community behind it. however, unlike woocommerce, you won’t need to run wordpress to use it. Similar to WooCommerce, sellers will need to set up hosting, PCI compliance, and security. however, you will have unlimited access to the prestashop code to customize the storefront according to your needs and wishes. The platform is free to download, but you will need to purchase hosting and developer services to get your store up and running. prestashop should only be considered if you have the capability and need for an open source platform that is highly customizable for your unique selling needs.

other e-commerce platforms to consider for SMEs:

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This list is not exhaustive of the top SME eCommerce platforms, but it should help you narrow down your options. If these still don’t sound like what you’re looking for, here are some other options to consider:

  • bigcartel: hosted platform built specifically for artists and creators
  • fast e-selling: hosted solution that offers both a mobile e-commerce app and a stand-alone e-commerce platform
  • 3d cart: hosted solution that is more of a one stop shop
  • x-cart: open source platform with native multi-vendor capabilities to create an online marketplace
  • wix: creator of free professional websites with ability to add online storefronts

shopify alternatives for medium businesses

Are you outgrowing shopify and its features? If you’re looking for more advanced features to support your growing online business, this is the next level of eCommerce platform options.

1. shopify plus

shopify plus ecommerce integrationWebsite: http://www.shopify.com/plus

first, shopify users looking for a more comprehensive solution should check out shopify’s business offering, shopify plus. Since 2014, Shopify Plus has made quite a splash in the mid-market and enterprise eCommerce software space. with the same attitude that grew shopify, as well as offering high-growth merchants a more affordable, yet still customizable solution for eCommerce storefronts. As a fully hosted solution, Shopify Plus can handle large amounts of data and more robust features than Shopify. over open source options, they still offer a way to scale your business without investing as much in infrastructure and site builds.

To get you up and running faster, Shopify Plus relies on its growing ecosystem of technology partners and service partners. these partners help build and design sites and offer applications to extend the functionality of plus. While you won’t get all the access to custom code and support out-of-the-box B2B functionality, Shopify Plus is a great place to start your fast-growing business. They boast brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Gymshark, Chubbies, and Kylie Jenner.

Sellers will need to request personalized pricing information.

2. big trade

website: http://www.bigcommerce.com pricing: http://www.bigcommerce.com/pricing/

bigcommerce offers a model similar to shopify and shopify plus. They are a fully hosted saas (software as a service) solution that started in 2009 and has grown into a global brand. while not yet as popular as shopify and shopify plus, they have grown rapidly in recent years and have attracted significant funding.

bigcommerce stands out from the crowd with its breadth of out-of-the-box features, especially for b2b e-commerce. they rely less on apps and other facilities for sellers to build their site functionality, which can make their platform easier to use and more profitable over time.

Recently, BigCommerce also released a WordPress plugin that allows merchants to approach eCommerce with a content-first mindset. Merchants can build and maintain their website using the popular CMS system and then leverage BigCommerce for the checkout experience only. this is an approach known as headless trading (which is worth a read if you’re not already familiar with the concept).

Sellers will need to request personalized pricing information.

3. magento2

While magento, shopify, and bigcommerce are three of the most popular options, here are other ecommerces suitable for mid-market and enterprise needs.

  • salesforce commerce cloud (demandware)
  • oracle commerce cloud
  • sap commerce cloud (hybris)

what to do next

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is no easy task. however, with so many options at your fingertips, you should be able to find the right option for your business. this guide should help you narrow down your options and help you do some high level comparisons.

During your eCommerce platform research, you may also find these articles helpful:

  • build, buy or lease: how to make technology investment decisions.
  • ecommerce migration: how to know when to switch platforms

Do you make the right technology decisions? Click here to download the Multichannel Implementer

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