If you know anything about the eCommerce space, you’ve probably heard of Shopify. As one of the most popular eCommerce platforms available, many budding entrepreneurs and startup owners automatically head straight to Shopify to sell their goods and services. In some ways, it’s easy to see why. Shopify is secure, easy to use, mobile-friendly, relatively affordable, and comes with a range of marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) tools.
However, for all its perks, Shopify is by no means the only eCommerce platform available. There are tons of platforms out there to help smart business owners sell their wares. If you’re planning to launch an online store and are wondering how to get started, we’ve put together a list of eCommerce Shopify alternatives below, including their main pros and cons.
WooCommerce is a plugin designed to integrate with an existing WordPress site – great news if you already have a site set up for your business. It’s open-source, meaning it’s completely free to install and fully customizable. If you’re comfortable with building websites using services such as WordPress, this could be a highly cost-effective option that drives traffic, leads, and those all-important sales.
- It comes with heaps of excellent extensions
- You won’t face any design limitations and can build your eCommerce site around existing webpages
- It’s relatively simple to configure if you know your way around WordPress
- You’ll still need to factor in costs for hosting and plugins
- It may be too technically challenging for beginners
- You won’t receive any direct technical support
BigCommerce is designed with website rookies in mind, offering comprehensive SEO and marketing solutions that could supercharge your loyal audience base. The platform offers a range of plans, some of which are rather pricey. However, unlike Shopify, BigCommerce is tailored to promote your goods and services and push conversion rates – something which could boost your return on investment in the long term.
- Built-in SEO and marketing features
- Access to an unlimited number of staff accounts
- No need for coding experience
- Some of the store themes look very similar
- It can be expensive, particularly if you want premium themes
- It can take a while to set up
Specially designed for artists and creators, BigCartel is perfect if you’re looking to sell niche products to a targeted audience. BigCartel offers a free service with basic features, as well as paid plans for people hoping to boost sales. It’s worth noting, however, that BigCartel isn’t designed for businesses looking to significantly expand.
- It’s easy to use
- You won’t need to pay transaction fees
- It’s perfect for small businesses and side hustles
- Limited number of themes
- Little customer support
- It won’t work for larger stores
If you’re on the hunt for the best Shopify alternative for big businesses, Magento could represent an excellent solution. Offering tons of brilliant features, Magento can be used to fulfil almost any vision. However, it’s one of the more technically advanced Shopify alternatives and may not work for smaller businesses. Unless you’ve got the resources to hire an in-house or freelance web developer, Magento will probably be too complex and time-consuming to work for you.
- It’s open-source and free of charge
- It boasts a large community of users offering helpful hints and tips
- It’s very flexible and customizable
- It doesn’t contain any built-in payment processing or email marketing features
- Although Magento is free, you’ll need to pay for hosting, labor, and add-ons
- It doesn’t come with any live technical support
Formerly known as 3dcart, Shift4Shop is an affordable Shopify alternative offering tons of helpful features. As well as connecting users with shipping partners and over 300 payment providers, Shift4Shop offers a range of built-in features such as SEO tools. However, the platform may not suit those with limited website experience, as it doesn’t provide the drag-and-drop functionality of more intuitive sites like Shopify.
- Built-in tools to help you reach new audiences
- You won’t need to pay transaction fees
- No coding involved
- Technically challenging for the average user
- Its customer service is rather limited
- Paid plans come with revenue limits
PrestaShop is another free, open-source alternative to Shopify. If you’re willing to spend time building a unique online store and feel comfortable building websites, this could be a very cost-effective option. However, you’ll need to pay for customer support or hire a professional developer if your technical skills aren’t up to scratch.
- No coding involved
- A range of marketing tools available to drive leads and sales
- It’s highly customizable and can support many currencies and languages
- You’ll need developer skills, or you’ll need to invest in a web professional
- It’s not suited to large eCommerce stores
- It doesn’t contain many features compared to other open-source options
PinnacleCart is specially designed for small and medium-sized businesses looking to enhance their marketing strategies. You’ll have access to a range of high-quality SEO features, as well as a range of customizable add-ons. On the downside, PinnacleCart’s various payment plans include caps on storage and bandwidth, so you’ll need to pay more if you want to expand your business.
- A variety of SEO-tailored features, including custom URLs
- Unlimited products and product categories across every payment plan
- You can choose to host your site using PinnacleCart or via another provider
- PinnacleCart only integrates with 64 apps – a very low number compared to other Shopify alternatives
- PinnacleCart only offer 12 themes, limiting your creative freedom
- PinnacleCart publishes upgrades on a regular basis, requiring that you keep up to date with new releases
Start your eCommerce journey today
As you can see, there are heaps of excellent eCommerce platforms available for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses. If you’re looking for the best Shopify alternative, it’s worth doing your research before committing to a new platform. While free options may seem tempting, they often come with hidden costs and technical challenges. Remember to weigh up your options and adapt to your audience’s needs!