Shopify has almost become synonymous with ecommerce today. When you think of ecommerce, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Shopify. Powering more than one million ecommerce businesses across the world, Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce markets around.
However, the fact that something is popular doesn’t mean it is for everyone. Hence, the question is Shopify good for you? This article will look to answer this important question. At the end of this article, you will be better equipped to decide whether or not Grammarly is for you based on your goals and business model.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce software-as-as-service platform that allows you to own an online store. Through this platform, you can build a website (even without coding experience), manage your products, calculate shipping rates, accept payments online and process them, and many more. What’s more interesting is that you do not get to worry about the maintenance of this structure, so you can focus on scaling your business.
Also, Shopify can be a fit for you whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise. There are two different plans to this effect, they are;
For beginners, small, and growing businesses, there are three sub-level plans in the Shopify plan. These are the Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. Each of these plans has its advantages and grants you access to varying features, depending on the price.
For larger companies, the Shopify Plus plan allows large volume sellers to operate their ecommerce business and offers a set of more advanced features than in the Shopify plan. In this plan, each customer gets a custom pricing offer. Pricing in this plan is custom but based on a percentage of revenue with a minimum of $2,000 per month.
Pros and Cons Of Shopify
Here we’ve provided a breakdown of the pros and cons to Shopify, including:
- Shopify is a very user-friendly platform
- it offers tons of good-looking themes
- Easy integration with dropshipping platforms
- Shopify offers a lot of certified partners that can help you.
- Extra Fees
- Shopify will charge you up to 2% for every transaction you make unless you choose to process your payments through their in-house services.
We stated earlier that Shopify is customizable. Unfortunately, this feature has some limitations. Unlike other platforms that use PHP for customizing themes, Shopify uses its Liquid setup.
No Email Hosting
Shopify does not support email hosting. Therefore, you can only use the web hosting option to launch your online store. The good news is, there is a way around it.
Limited Design Freedom
I stated earlier that Shopify is customizable. Unfortunately, this feature has some limitations. Unlike other platforms that use PHP for customizing themes, Shopify uses its Liquid setup.
Despite the cons I’ve mentioned, Shopify sounds like a no-brainer, right? Think of it this way, Shopify is an absolute winner when your tech skills are basic, and you don’t have the resources to hire a web developer. It’s a comprehensive, plug-and-play, feature-rich, and scalable platform with a variety of sleek templates.
Why Should You Consider Using Shopify Alternatives?
So why would you need an alternative to Shopify? Read on to find out.
Shopify Is Too Expensive For You
Regardless of which plan you are on Shopify, you will still have to pay extra transaction fees if you use other payment providers other than Shopify payments. It is noteworthy that Shopify payments are yet to be available in many countries.
Also, you’ll have to pay credit card processing fees on Shopify. Although the fees reduce slightly when you switch to a more expensive plan – Note that you’re on a more expensive plan, which is also an extra cost anyway.
Finally, you’ll most likely need extra apps on Shopify that provide additional features to run your online store seamlessly. Important features like advanced order tracking, marketing features, and others are added using Shopify applications. The majority of these apps come with extra fees thereby increasing the cost of running your online store.
If these fees are too much for you, or if you think they’ll affect your business adversely, you might want to look at Shopify alternatives.
You Want A Larger Catalog
Assuming you have a clothing store and you’re looking to be very inclusive. Hence, you offer:
- A variety of sizes, ranging from extra small up to 6XL
- Different color options for each item
- Multiple designs, such as tank tops and long sleeves
- Alternatives for men, women, children, and babies
Your product catalog will quickly become very complex — and Shopify might not be able to keep up since you’re limited to 100 SKUs per product and only three options per product.
You Want More Control Over Site SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of the marketing features offered with an ecommerce solution. And while Shopify does a decent job of handling basic ecommerce SEO tasks, you might want more control over your website — especially if you rely heavily on SEO.
For example, Shopify doesn’t allow users to access and edit robot.txt files. For those unfamiliar, this is the file you use to tell Google how to index your site so that only the web pages you want show up in the search engine results.
While in the beginning, this may not be a problem for you, eventually as your site grows, you’ll probably want more say in how Google crawls and indexes your website.
If SEO and its control are very important to you, you might want to look for alternatives to Shopify.
Shopify Alternatives for Small And Medium Businesses.
We have the alternatives to consider if you’re a small or medium business with:
Founded in 2006, Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder that makes it easy for anyone to build a website — it also has business plans ideal for ecommerce businesses.
If your website development experience is only basic and you want a very user-friendly web builder, Wix could be a better option over Shopify for you.
- Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder, therefore making it easy to get your store operational in no time.
- You get support for 6 options per product and a total of 300 variants SKUs which is more than what you have on Shopify
- Wix has a robust, well-organized Help Center that’s easy to search.
- Each of their premium plans for ecommerce sites offers a free domain for one year.
- Limited Storage: Unless you’re on an enterprise plan with custom storage space, you’re capped at 50 GB maximum.
- Wix doesn’t offer Apple Pay or Amazon Payments as payment providers, although there are other options available.
- Limited Support Options: At the moment, there’s no support via chat, hence you’d need to call or submit a ticket.
- US-only features: the real-time shipping option isn’t available anywhere else in the world
Sellfy comes with a simple ecommerce website builder, basic email marketing with abandoned cart recovery, decent analytics, and SEO options. Interestingly, you can get started for free. But does it provide enough functionality to be a strong Shopify alternative? Let’s find out!
- Really easy to use: partly due to fewer features, Sellfy is better than Shopify in this respect.
- Free plan: Sellfy may be regarded as one of the top free ecommerce website builders owing to its generous plans.
- Sell both physical and digital products: Sellfy allows you to “Buy Now” Buttons and widgets to any existing website or blog.
- Has 24/7 email support
- Includes basic email marketing with abandoned cart automation
- Allows you to add a “pay what you want” option.
- Includes no transaction fees by Sellfy (though charges will be applied by PayPal or Stripe).
- Limited themes: Sellfy just offers 5 themes. Shopify wins this category with 170 professionally designed templates
- No CRM
- No blogging tool: This means that SEO is even more limited than on Shopify
- Limited integrations: You can only add 5 integrations.
Ecwid should not be mistaken for an ecommerce platform, It is actually a great plugin you can add to any website to add a shopping cart. Like WooCommerce, there is a free option (not open source), but the main advantage is that you don’t need a WordPress site. Basically, anything will work.
More importantly, Ecwid is super easy to use. I also like the fact that Ecwid can turn any website into a fully-functioning online store and the price is certainly competitive. Do you already have a website, and are just looking to get it online to sell, Ecwid might just be for you.
- Designed to integrate well with social networks
- Easy to integrate Ecwid storefront on your existing website
- Ecwid is capable of adapting to your site’s theme
- Ecwid can automatically detect and translate more than 51 languages
- Ecwid has a free plan
- The platform has a rich support function, including phone support, online chat support, and email support
- No transaction fees
- The visual editor has limited settings
- Only 10 products can be sold with the free plan
- No SEO editing is included in the free plan
- No possibility to edit your products’ URLs for SEO purposes
- You can’t build a complete storefront just with Ecwid
- Requires an app for adding Ecwid’s shopping cart to your website
Squarespace is another SaaS-based platform that was initially created as a website builder. Unlike Wix, it targets people who want a page with a unique designer look.
Squarespace is popularly known as a “king of design”. They offer a set of beautiful and responsive store templates that can be easily customized.
- No coding
- The annual plan comes with a free domain name
- Possibility to sell an unlimited number of products
- Great support
- Great selection of designer themes
- Squarespace is more difficult to navigate.
- It offers no marketing tools
- Third-party app limitation
- It has limited payment options
- Not an integrated add-on marketplace
Weebly is another hosted all-in-one platform. It has earned a reputation for being affordable, and user-friendly while offering a nice set of features.
Weebly sticks to drag-and-drop web-building, which makes it quite easy and pleasant.
- No-code selling solutions
- More than 70 store templates
- Easy to navigate
- Diverse and useful features
- Great selection of apps and add-ons
- Mobile app
- The possibility to sell digital products comes only with the Business and Business Plus plans which is a minus for small businesses
- The 3 GB file size limit for digital products is very small.
- The drag-and-drop feature for building your store is far from perfect and not as user-friendly as it should be.
- It offers no free trial period
- Technical support level depends on the plan you use, you’ll have to pay more to enjoy a premium level of technical support
Made in Lithuania, this website builder may not be the most popular alternative to Shopify. But positive reviews about its functionality have been overwhelming and shocking. There aren’t many (ecommerce-focused) templates available, but the ones you can use look gorgeous. It has a clean backend design, making it very pleasant too.
- Easy to use: Zyro is an intuitive tool, looking very similar to Wix while being less complex
- Advanced features: It includes advanced features like abandoned cart recovery or Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon integration
- No transaction fees: They won’t charge fees for each product you sell
- Multilingual: It allows you to create ecommerce stores in multiple languages.
- Email accounts: Not only can your domain name be managed via Zyro, they also offer affordable email accounts.
- Limited apps: It only has about 15 apps to integrate
- Limited Payment gateways: limited to Stripe and PayPal
- Few Template variety: There could be more ecommerce-focused templates
Shopify Alternatives For Bigger Businesses
If you’re a bigger business, here’s the alternatives to consider with:
BigCommerce is probably one of the most popular Shopify alternatives at the moment. It provides an all-in-one solution that allows you to design an online store without prior coding experience or advanced technical experience. While being very user-friendly, it possesses the capability of powering a massive online store. In comparison to Shopify, BigCommerce provides more advanced content-marketing features that allow you to push your product and increase conversion rates. Because Bigcommerce offers a wide list of built-in features, you can spend less.
- No coding
- Effective store management tools
- Built-in SEO and marketing tools
- It has no transactions fees
- It provides an unlimited amount of staff accounts on any plan
- It comes with a built-in product review functionality
- Premium themes are very expensive.
- It is nearly impossible to manage VAT MOSS rates when selling digital products
- Limit to annual sales
- All store themes look too similar
If you’re looking for the best eCommerce platform, you’ve probably noticed that WooCommerce and Shopify are in a popularity competition. It is a very difficult task to pick one of them, so we will start by looking at the major differences between them.
WooCommerce is a plugin that gives you an eCommerce store built on WordPress. This means that it offers more flexibility in building your storefront. It means that you get more flexibility in building your storefront. However, it requires some extended knowledge about hosting, domain names, and basic web design.
One strength of WooCommerce is its versatility. It gives you total freedom when it comes to customizing your store. Because WooCommerce is an open-source platform, there are also custom-built plug-ins being constantly added to the marketplace.
- Tons of add-ons and useful extensions
- 100% customizable if you have coding experience
- There is a community of WordPress and Woocommerce users out there who can help you out when you’re stuck.
- Quite a simple WordPress configuration on WordPress
- The WooCommerce plugin is free
- It is your sole responsibility to handle all the technical aspects of your site and keep it safe
- You need to have a website built on WordPress to start an online shop with the WooCommerce plugin, all of which require extended knowledge or getting paid help.
- WooCommerce seems to be a cheaper solution but actually may end up being more expensive than others due to plugins, themes, and hosting
- Not the best option for beginners
- No direct technical support
Are you in the market for a robust ecommerce solution? Magento might be your guy. Many large and fast-growing businesses have preferred Magento to build their online stores. This is owing to the fact that Magento has the widest feature lists you can find among the eCommerce software.
The list includes various features ranging from marketing to client analysis. What makes Magento more endearing to large companies is the fact that you can add almost any type of feature to your store.
One thing you must watch out for is that Magento is as complex as these ecommerce platforms get. Unless you’re a professional web developer, you’ll need to hire help. This is in fact why Magento is popular among large companies — they can afford professional web designers and support.
Magento/Adobe Commerce Pros
- Flexibility and one of the most extensive feature list
- It offers plenty of marketing tools
- It has a large community of users
- It offers a free plan
- Rich inventory
- You need to have professional web development experience to set up a store
- It ranks very low on the scale of simplicity
- It requires hosting, a theme, and add-ons
- It has no built-in payment processing
- It has no live technical support
- No built-in email marketing
As a Shopify alternative, Pinnaclecart is a great choice if you’re looking for more control over your storefront, as well as additional SEO features.
- You can either choose to host on PinnacleCart or you can choose to manage your hosting on your own.
- It offers SEO-friendly features, such as schema.org tags and custom URLs.
- It has unlimited products and categories on every plan.
- If you decide to host on PinnacleCart, there are caps on bandwidth and storage for their lowest plan is $79.95. This means that, as your online store gets more traffic, you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan that offers unlimited bandwidth.
- Because PinnacleCart has different versions, you’ll need to manage updates.
- There’s a very limited partner network, as it only integrates with 64 apps.
- PinnacleCart only has 12 themes available.
Shift4Shop offers ecommerce software with a focus on SEO.
So if you’re an SEO junkie and you rely heavily on organic search, you might prefer Shift4Shop to Shopify.
- It has a wide variety of SEO tools, like Google AMP for products and 301 redirects.
- It has a built-in blogging platform included with every plan.
- It offers a cheaper basic plan for small businesses than Shopify.
- Over 100 online payment solutions, including international processors.
- It has a limited number of staff users, costing an additional $10 a month per user.
- There’s a steep learning curve, making it sometimes difficult to navigate the store builder and find the tools you need.
- The free themes all have a very similar design that’s not as modern as the themes offered by Shopify or BigCommerce.
If you’re based in Europe, you may have heard of PrestaShop. They are pretty popular in Italy and Spain, where more than 250000 stores rely on its PHP-based open-source platform.
One nice thing to note is that unlike other open source services like WooCommerce, PrestaShop does offer personal paid support along with their Community forums and resources (which are pretty good too).
100% free. On paper, at least, because like with WooCommerce or Magento, you’ll need to fork out, at least, web hosting, themes, and plugins.
Why choose PrestaShop over Shopify?
Worth browsing their forum and resources to see how easy it is to find information. Open source platforms can be a bit hard to manage by yourself as you’ll need technical knowledge, so if you enjoy their community, it’s a good bedrock to build upon.
BigCartel is another ecommerce solution that is different from other ecommerce platforms. Bigcartel offers a solution that strictly targets artists selling their art online.
The platform markets itself to be as easy as possible while offering the necessary features for operating an online store. The list of available features, however, looks very basic.
- No coding
- Easy to set up and navigate
- Free plans are available and the most expensive plan costs only $29.99
- It is perfect for small business
- No transaction fees
- Not good for larger stores
- Poor feature list
- Tiny choice of themes
- No inventory management with the free plan
- Weak customer support
- An add-on is required for selling digital products
Volusion is another interesting platform to consider. Especially if you’re a small business not planning to sell hundreds of products and looking to cut costs.
The major advantage of Volusion is that you do not have to spend a lot of money on expensive add-ons and extensions. There are a lot of useful features that are already built-in into the dashboard. They do not charge transaction fees and depending on the plan, they also offer email marketing tools, affiliate programs, newsletters, etc.
- It has a mobile app, which means that you can manage your store from your mobile device.
- Possibility of processing phone orders
- No coding
- A lot of built-in features
- Video tutorials on setting up a store
- More than 30 payment gateways
- Tricky setup for selling digital products
- Poor selection of templates
- The poor marketing feature set
- Limited design features
- No add-on store is available
Founded in 2016, Simvoly claims to already have 20,000 active users. This number is no comparison to Shopify, but this is not bad for a young start-up.
Their editor still has some room for improvement, as some features are not yet implemented (e.g. not many integrations). On top of that, some of their ecommerce options are a bit too simple (e.g. shipping and taxes).
Nevertheless, they have a unique approach, as they are focused on conversion rate optimization. They integrate funnel optimization options and A/B testing:
- Their funnel builder and analytics allow you to set goals and customize your funnel steps (landing pages, pop-ups, checkout & thank you page). With the built-in analytics, you can see what step of the funnel is working and which one isn’t.
- Includes A/B testing features for the funnels. So for each step, you could test a couple of variations and see which one converts best.
Why Choose Simvoly Over Shopify?
Simvoly provides a bit more flexibility over your design and layouts, but their ecommerce features are a bit more limited (e.g. shipping, taxes, and payment methods).
Their biggest pro, of course, is in the funnel optimization options. They are especially useful when creating landing pages.
What You Should Look For In Shopify Alternatives
Alternatives are always great when researching what’s the best for your business. Below we’ve provided some.
Check The Price of Its Fees
The price of fees should be thoroughly checked if cutting costs is of importance to you. You should also check for transactional fees, and support fees if applicable.
Should Be Easy To Use
Shopify is fairly easy to use, therefore any platform that must be considered as an alternative to Shopify must be very easy to use.
It Should Have Multiple Paying Options
We touched on payment gateways under our pricing and fees section, but it’s worth mentioning again. You’ll want to make sure that the platform you choose offers a wide range of payment processing options. This includes credit and debit cards, as well as popular payment providers such as PayPal, Stripe, or Apple Pay.
It Comes With SEO Features
If you want your store to be successful, you need to make sure it’s visible to potential customers. That means optimizing your site for search engines such as Google. To evaluate a platform’s SEO features, look for features such as a built-in blog, customizable URLs, meta tags, and social sharing buttons. These features will help you to optimize your site for search engines and drive traffic to your store.
Security Is Important
When you’re operating an online store, security is always of utmost concern. You want to be sure that your customers’ data is safe and secure, protecting them from hackers. To ensure security, look for a platform that offers features such as SSL encryption and PCI compliance.
It Has Good Customer Support
You should also consider customer support when choosing an ecommerce platform. Things will inevitably go wrong from time to time, and you’ll need to be able to rely on your platform’s customer support team to help you resolve any issues.
To evaluate customer support, look for features such as 24/7 support, live chat, community support group, email support, and a knowledge base.
Final Verdict: Choose According To Your Most Important Need
It is obvious that there’s no shortage of Shopify alternatives in the market. The question is, which one should you choose? It’s important that you first lay out your requirements and then compare them with the features provided by any shopping cart platform.
If it doesn’t meet your needs, you don’t have to invest in it. Always choose the platform that’s right for your unique needs!