Shopify Alternatives? Top 7 Competitors in 2019
Fun fact—approx 75% of the population prefer to buy online rather going to an actual store, comforting isn’t it, but not so much if you don’t own a digital store.
And, even if you are genuinely considering to build one, you’re gonna find yourself in the middle of tech abyss, given the fact, that there is a crazy number of e-commerce platforms available. Now, if that makes you ponder, about your approach, then this article will serve you the right purpose.
While we certainly can’t overlook some obvious contenders — Shopify, WordPress, BigCommerce to name a few, there are plenty more that are equally compatible and are worthy for the consideration.
But, let’s face it, why even use Shopify, and as a matter of fact, any other e-commerce platform? Well, it all comes down to the perks and versatility these platforms proffers.
To do better, let’s take one for an example, and get a clear picture. One of the dominant players, “Shopify.”
Table of Contents
What is Shopify?
Shopify is one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms, powering over 800,000 stores worldwide.
With Shopify, you can build spectacular online stores in a prompt manner. Also, can manage a large number of users, products, payments, shipping along with all the major to minor day to day tasks with efficiency.
Furthermore, it’s a comprehensive cloud-based platform, consequently no need to maintain or upgrade the web servers, which is one of its noteworthy perks.
Why Choose Shopify? Pros & Cons
It’s fair to say that Shopify is a solid pick for all sizes of businesses, owing to its comprehensive, feature-rich editor and scalable tools. However, to give you a fair and unbiased peak into Shopify, the following are some of its pros and cons.
- Ease of Use: Despite having an insane number of elements, It’s one of the easiest tools to create an e-commerce website.
- Apps: One of the significant aspects of having third-party extensions is that they minimize the work to a great extent. So, no need to write extensive codes when pre-built apps can get the work done, without compromising the performance.
- Aesthetic Themes: Shopify is stocked with 180+ professionally composed themes that give the professional touch without actually hiring a dedicated professional.
- Customer Support: 24-hour support, which is more than most of its equivalents, be it WooCommerce, Magento, etc.
- Higher Cost: Features like reports, real-time shipping rate, gift cards, and other analysis doesn’t come with the basic plan. For that, you need to pay extra.
- Fewer Free Themes: Number of free themes are limited, which leads to the additional cost.
- Unique Language: Shopify uses a template language called “Liquid.” Which is independently created by them, therefore if you want to get into the backend, you’ll be dealing with proprietary coding, which is quite complex and needs an expert.
- Costly Apps: There are around 500+ apps, and most of them come with the premium plan.
So if you haven’t actually tested Shopify yet, here is what you can do. Shopify offers 14-days free trial period which you can utilize to find out the itsy-bitsy details about the platform and how it operates. Post that, it’ll be way easier for you to make a smart decision.
In case, you already have, but still, are on the fences. Then let’s go over the top 7 Shopify alternatives to make a perfect swap.
Taking into the account that most of the platforms look identical, with insignificant exceptions, picking one out bunch becomes painful and confusing too.
So we took the matters into our own hand and selected the Top 7 Shopify alternatives, that you can consider for your current or next venture.
Now, before we probe any further into this. One factor that all proprietor needs to take into consideration is that each business proposes different challenges, hence while picking a platform, one needs to be extra prudent.
That being said, let’s move forth and seek out the top Shopify alternatives available in the market today. Starting with the platforms, that are profoundly fitting for midsize to large businesses/vendors.
A comprehensive platform with simplicity, robust performance, and security, makes Bigcommerce an ideal Shopify alternative.
By leveraging the power of Google Cloud, it provides multiple layers of security, outstanding bandwidth with blazing-fast speed. Which leaves you to focus more on the sales rather than on maintaining and monitoring your website.
Plus, if you are an admirer of stunning themes, advanced content-marketing features, powerful drag, and drop editor, then BigCommerce is just about the best tool for your business. However, nothing is perfect, Bigcommerce also disappoints in a few regions, leaves us questioning whether it is a viable Shopify alternative or not.
- Multichannel Selling: BigCommerce comes with multichannel integrations, empowering users to sell through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon and many more.
- Excellent SEO: It is probably one of the best options when it comes to SEO, leads to an increased search engine ranking.
- Payment Options: Unlike some other platforms, it doesn’t limit you to its own payment gateway also doesn’t impose any additional transaction fees.
- Apps: Besides having many impressive in house features, BigCommerce offers 600+ apps which ultimately strengthen the scalability and elevate the overall performance.
- Expensive themes: With only seven free, and the cost of premium ones varying from $170 to $200 makes it highly disappointing.
- Sales Threshold: There is a sales bracket and exceeding it will prompt you to upgrade to an expensive plan.
- Clunky Editor: The platform is very easy to use, once you get a hang of it. Although it would have been way better if they have granted the drag and drop builder to create custom pages.
- No Mobile Applications: One of the best ways to manage your business on the go, is through mobile apps, but you won’t get any with BigCommerce.
In modern times, WordPress (WordPress.org) is possibly one of the easiest and powerful content management system(CMS). On the technical term, it is an open source website builder written in PHP.
Now, here is the best part, wanna try WordPress? Well, you can. Just download and set it up on your localhost without spending a single penny. Post that, you can explore thousands of premium and free themes and plugins.
But when it comes to e-commerce, WordPress is ineffectual without WooCommerce. Now, the question is, can we count on it, or is it really one of the best Shopify alternatives?
Well, the answer would be a big yes, WooCommerce is one of the ideal Shopify alternatives. Radically, it’s a plugin that carries all the major to minor e-commerce features. Furthermore, seamless integration with WordPress, marvelous ability to create a mobile-friendly website with no monthly charges make it, kind of a favorite.
Now, should we focus on the downside? I think we should. Troubleshooting in WP WooCommerce is not easy since the reason for that can be anything, be it an untested plugin or some sleazy add-ons.
- Customization: WordPress not only allows you to install the third party add ons or plugins but also empowers you to customize them, the way you fancy.
- Themes: Unlike others, there is a wide number of free as well as premium themes available, that you can use and customize as you feel necessary.
- Powerful SEO: There are literally hundreds of SEO plugins that can be utilized, in order to improve the SERP (Search engine results page).
- Learning Curve: Not a toy for amateurs, you can start with the pre-installed theme but the later part will throw some serious challenges, particularly during the customization.
- Customer and Support: No central support here, each theme plugins have its own supporting channels.
- Build Time: You need to have a WordPress website in order to integrate WooCommerce. And, even if you have, the time required for the setup is more than the other platforms.
Magento is the only solution, that can outperform any e-commerce platform. Similar to WordPress, it’s also an open source, feature-loaded solution, ideal for well-established businesses.
Since it provides absolute command over the store, makes it one of the preferred e-commerce platform and puts it on the third spot of our list of Top 7 Shopify alternatives.
So, is it a better Shopify alternative, well if you know your way around the codes, then it certainly is. Magento is a free solution, although you have to pay for the hosting, security and extensions.
- User-Friendly: Simple and intuitive backend navigation, well-organized management, makes it one of the most user-friendly solutions.
- An Absolute Control: You can literally customize anything you want to fit your business model. So, if you like to be in control, then this is the platform for you.
- Extensions: Magento comes dripping with a large number of features and extensions. That you can put into use as per the requirements.
- Advanced Solution: Easy to scale, whether your selling 1000 or even 10,000 products, Magento can handle it.
- Not for newbies: Do you know how to code? No, well, then probably it isn’t for you. Since it is a remarkably large system with approx 15,000 files and 250 database tables (varies from business to business) it takes a damn good developer to know what they are doing.
- Time: Being a flexible platform comes with a downside, “Complexity.” Which leads to extra time consumption. The presence of a steep learning curve also, slow down the process.
- Dedicated Hosting: As we already established, Magento comes with huge baggage hence, needs a dedicated hosting that can also be configured later.
- Cost: The community version is free. But, if you want Enterprise version, then It’s gonna take a huge toll on your pocket. Plans starting from 14,420 US dollar a year (at time of writing) and for the premium version, $49,990/year (for large businesses) is extortionate.
Those were the top 3 Shopify alternatives for the midsize to large businesses/vendors. Now, let’s turn our head towards the Shopify alternatives for small to mid-size businesses/vendors.
Prestashop is active in the realm of e-commerce since 2007. It’s an another PHP based, feature-rich open-source platform and, currently powering more than 300k online stores.
In contrast with some other open source platform, viz; WooCommerce — Prestashop comes with paid support, which is a relief point for the amateur users. Besides that, it is enriched with thousands of add-ons, which ease up the overall process.
But does it have, what it takes, to be on this list of best Shopify alternatives? Yep, it certainly does. For better understanding, let’s go through some of its pros and cons.
- Easy to start: The installation, as well as the setup, is amazingly simple. No technical brilliance is required.
- Open Source: Being an Open source platform, it’s free unlike some of its counterparts. Which makes it highly fitting for ventures with diminutive capital.
- User-Friendly: It provides an extremely intuitive, transparent administration panel, which even a neophyte can use.
- Scalability: Viable choice for the small to midsize businesses, not so much, as business started to expand. Also, it misses the multi-store feature.
- Poor Designs: Prestashop designs lacks the professional touch which leaves your store less attractive as compare to others unless you are willing to dig deep.
- Extensions: Prestashop relies too much on the extensions, which increases the cost.
- Limited Functionality: Where Prestashop counterparts come with many pre-built elements, which Prestashop lacks along with the social media selling feature.
Opencart is an optimal Shopify alternative — perfect for the newbies. Amazingly, it delivers all the standard traits which are required to set up a store.
Also, it is decorated with powerful built-in features, a dashboard that provides neat stats along with an excellent overview. That’s not it. With Opencart, you can access a huge marketplace with over 13,000+ extension ready to be used.
However, even for a simple tweak, basic coding knowledge is required.
- Simple to Use: You can quickly build an online store despite having a lot of fields and attribute tabs to fill. Adding, updating products is also feel like a cakewalk.
- Themes: With over 10,000+ professionally build free and premium themes, you can give you store a desirable look.
- Hard Customization: While setting up the store is easy, customization is quite complex. To ease up the process, Opencart does provide a lot of pre-built add-ons, which is a relief, but still, it is a complicated process.
- Less SEO friendly: By default, Opencart isn’t SEO friendly as it should be. Hence this section requires separate attention.
Wix and Squarespace
Furnished with robust editing tools, user-friendly, excellent templates — there are tonnes of other attributes that they both shares. However neither of them specifically build for e-commerce, but still, they are highly suitable for startups and small businesses.
So which one is it? The best Shopify alternative for your business.
Simply put, it all boils down to the priorities and requirements of an individual. So, if Shopify isn’t working out for you there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
Since e-commerce is growing rapidly so does these platforms, hence one need to check all the boxes before jumping to any conclusion.
On that note—These were the top 7 Shopify alternatives that you can go for in 2019. We have covered all the significant points, still, if you didn’t find the explanation that you were looking for, just let us know.