It’s no secret that the business world has changed dramatically in the last decade.
The increasing availability of emergent technologies, remote work, and virtual transactions have provoked many brick-and-mortar businesses to shift to e-commerce platforms.
In fact, from 2020 to 2021, e-commerce sales in the United States increased by $218.53 billion.
With over 1.75 million merchants on its platform, Shopify remains one of the most popular e-commerce websites—despite several drawbacks.
If you are ready to dive into the world of e-commerce but are apprehensive about the many costs of using Shopify, this guide to Shopify alternatives is for you!
We’ve reviewed the best e-commerce platforms—from the all-around best, BigCommerce, to lesser-known alternatives like Sellfy—so you can get started today.
An Overview of Shopify
Shopify is a full-service e-commerce platform that allows users to create websites, enable sales, and develop communities around their products.
While Shopify boasts several strengths, its drawbacks discourage many business owners from investing in the platform.
What is Shopify?
As an all-in-one e-commerce platform, Shopify is a popular choice for many virtual vendors.
Like most e-commerce facilitators, Shopify allows users to create websites, market their products, and make sales—all in the same place.
The company aims to provide an easy-to-use e-commerce option for businesses of all types and sizes.
Where Does Shopify Excel?
Shopify offers a user-friendly dashboard and a vast selection of layouts and themes to enable easy website design.
Users can accept payments, track orders within the app, and sell across multiple channels.
Where Does Shopify Fall Short?
Shopify reviews reveal the platform’s several drawbacks.
The platform’s cost is relatively high, and users feel pushed to buy more costly plans.
Transaction fees are also exceptionally high.
Additionally, Shopify’s email marketing tools and customization options are limited.
Best Shopify Alternatives: Our Top 3 Options [Ranked and Reviewed]
Shopify is not your only option.
Your time is precious when you are an experienced business owner or an emergent entrepreneur.
We’ve assembled the best Shopify alternatives to guide you through the process of launching your e-commerce website.
1. BigCommerce: Our Pick
BigCommerce represents the best of what e-commerce platforms have to offer.
What is BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider that allows businesses to sell and market products.
Key Features of BigCommerce
BigCommerce combines SaaS with Application Programming Interface (API) to allow users to exercise flexibility and agility in web design and function.
The platform allows for cloud-based app integration that you can use to customize your site and facilitate scalability.
BigCommerce does not charge fees or commissions, and the dashboard is relatively easy to use.
Best for: Ambitious Businessowners and Multi-Channel Sellers
For its flexibility, ease of use, and scalability, BigCommerce is best for new and established businesses seeking to grow revenue.
Additionally, BigCommerce easily enables multi-channel selling for those who use third-party websites.
You can also sell on Etsy through BigCommerce.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce: How They Compare
BigCommerce resolves many of the challenges of Shopify.
While Shopify includes hidden costs and high commission fees, BigCommerce uses revenue-led billing.
BigCommerce also has robust Search Engine Optimization (SEO support), unlike Shopify, which performs weakly on SEO.
In other words, a BigCommerce site is easier for customers to find.
BigCommerce offers more design options than Shopify, making the interface more user-friendly.
Why is BigCommerce a Great Alternative to Shopify?
BigCommerce is an excellent alternative to Shopify for those who want more flexible, scalable e-commerce solutions.
BigCommerce is also much easier to use than Shopify, with built-in payment and more intuitive design features.
Use BigCommerce if you intend to sell primarily online and wish to continue scaling your business and boosting your revenue.
Pros of BigCommerce
- With its built-in features and intuitive design system, BigCommerce allows users to create and manage websites seamlessly.
- Additionally, users can accommodate over 600 variations on products, and with no transaction fees, the platform is generally more affordable.
Cons of BigCommerce
- Though easy to use, BigCommerce offers advanced features that require some adjustment.
- Additionally, revenue-led billing can pose a challenge for small and new businesses.
- Lastly, BigCommerce does not have as strong a customer support network as Shopify.
BigCommers offer several pricing plans depending on the size of your business. You receive a 10% discount for paying annually.
- Standard ($29.95/mo): Sell up to $50k annually
- Plus ($79.95/mo): Sell up to $180k annually and enjoy special credit card rates, stored cards, and customer groups.
- Pro ($299.95/mo): Sell up to $400k annually and enjoy faceted search and custom SSL
- Enterprise (varies)
Conclusion: Should You Choose BigCommerce Over Shopify?
You should choose BigCommerce if you intend to grow your e-commerce business, sell across multiple channels and third-party websites, and expand your range of products.
Use BigCommerce if you predict high revenue and Shopify if you do not.
2. WooCommerce: Runner-Up
WooCommerce allows you to design, build, and manage a functional online store to sell your products.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source, WordPress-based e-commerce facilitator.
As an open-source platform, WooCommerce is free to install and easy to use and customize. This e-commerce plugin operates on WordPress and can quickly convert your existing WordPress site into a store. WooCommerce operates under one of the best hosting providers, BlueHost.
Key Features of WooCommerce
WooCommerce boasts many features to allow for customization and flexibility.
The plug-in platform uses the WordPress website builder (great for SEO) to enable website creation and allows for complete customization.
With WooCommerce, you can integrate blogs, reviews, sales tools, and marketing strategies.
Lastly, WooCommerce generates reports to view your sales, performance, and refunds over time.
Best For Large-Scale Stores and Customization
WooCommerce prioritizes customization—at a nominal cost to usability.
Therefore, you should use WooCommerce if you already have technical experience with website building—or if you are willing to put in the time to learn.
WooCommerce lends itself to scalability and allows you to sell across regions (with free shipping!).
Additionally, product review bloggers should use WooCommerce for its easy integration with personal and business blogs.
Shopify vs. WooCommerce: How They Compare?
While Shopify prioritizes ease of use, WooCommerce is all about customization. Therefore, Shopify will guide you through the process, while WooCommerce may require more work on the front end.
WooCommerce also has far more plug-in options than Shopify because it is an open-source platform: 55,000 votes versus Shopify’s 3,200.
Additionally, WooCommerce does not have transaction fees and emphasizes SEO.
Why is WooCommerce a Great Alternative to Shopify?
WooCommerce offers several features that Shopify does not.
First, the former is more affordable than the latter.
Additionally, WooCommerce is far more customizable and offers more plug-in options than Shopify.
WooCommerce does not share Shopify’s hidden costs, and the platform’s emphasis on SEO means customers will easily find your site.
Pros of WooCommerce
- WooCommerce is free to install and affordable to use.
- With 55,000 plug-ins, your options for customization and function are endless.
- WooCommerce also has excellent customer support thanks to its parent hosting site, BlueHost.
Cons of WooCommerce
- WooCommerce is not necessarily beginner-friendly since there are few built-in features and most sales and marketing tools require plug-ins.
- Websites may take longer to build and launch, and you must add sales and marketing features yourself.
WooCommerce is free to install.
You will need a domain name (roughly $12–$13 a year) and a hosting service ($monthly month).
Plug-ins generally cost more—$25–$100 a year for advanced sites, and security ranges between $10 and $150 a year.
Conclusion: Should You Use WooCommerce Over Shopify?
You should use WooCommerce over Shopify if you wish to customize your site and get started for free full.
Use Shopify if you need more technical support and would rather pay more up-front.
3. Easy Digital Downloads: Budget Pick
Easy Digital Downloads is an e-commerce plugin used by over 50,000 online sellers.
Find out why.
What are Easy Digital Downloads?
Easy Digital Downloads is an e-commerce plug-in for digital products.
If you are interested in selling niche products (or already do), Easy Digital Downloads is the best in the market.
Users can also pair the plug-in with WordPress sites.
Key Features of Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads boasts many desirable features for digital product sellers.
Pricing is affordable, and you can integrate payment portals like Stripe and Paypal for free.
You can also manage orders and use advanced refund features on the website.
The API platform allows you to access sales and product information quickly, and you can generate reports to analyze data.
Countless marketing tools—like email integration—will enable you to promote your product and reach customers quickly.
EDD integrates fully with WordPress and is developer-friendly.
Best For Digital Products on Any Budget
Easy Digital Downloads is mainly a digital product manager—so it works best for those who sell PDFs, E-Books, or documents.
For its affordable price, it offers many excellent features and supportive resources.
Shopify vs. Easy Digital Downloads: How They Compare
Shopify enables the sale of physical products but does not lend itself to digital product sales.
Easy Digital Downloads allow for control over all aspects of the deal, from branding to customer experience.
Unlike Shopify, EDD integrates easily with WordPress and is easy to use.
Because it prioritizes digital sales, it offers many select tools like software licensing and front-end submissions.
Why are Easy Digital Downloads a Great Alternative to Shopify?
Easy Digital Downloads is far cheaper than Shopify at $99.50 a year (for the first year).
Additionally, EDD optimizes digital product sales and includes many in-app tools that Shopify does not.
Setup is easy, and you can install EDD’s free app to manage your store from afar.
EDD has more support options than other platforms, including community forums and dedicated support teams.
Pros of Easy Digital Downloads
- Easy Digital Downloads is an excellent e-commerce solution for digital sellers. Its optimized tools make selling digital products more accessible than ever, and it lends itself well to scaling your business.
- Additionally, Easy Digital Downloads are cheaper than many other options on the market, making it great for those on a tight budget.
- You can easily set up recurrent subscriptions and memberships, and the website offers many resources to guide you as you navigate the process.
- Setup is easy, and EDD helps you find suppliers to get started quickly.
- Lastly, Easy Digital Downloads offers excellent and responsive customer service for all your needs.
Cons of Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads are mostly for digital products, and it doesn’t adapt to physical product sales.
Additionally, there aren’t as many customizable features as on other platforms.
Some users report bugs on the website and under-developed extensions that do not consistently adapt to mobile access or alternative devices.
Vendors do not receive notifications when users leave comments, preventing you from tracking customer satisfaction.
Easy Digital Downloads Pricing
Pricing plans start at $0 and go up to $82.50 monthly for big businesses.
You can opt for the Venture plan at $12.50 a month for additional features like tax calculations, Google Shopping, and 25GB of storage, or a Business plan at $29.17 for advanced features.
Conclusion: Should You Use Easy Digital Downloads Over Shopify?
If you are a digital product seller, you should use Easy Digital Downloads over Shopify.
The platform caters explicitly to digital sellers and is more affordable than Shopify.
Notable Mentions: Other Alternatives to Shopify
If you are still looking for the perfect e-commerce website builder for your business, check out our notable mentions below.
MemberPress is a full-service membership plug-in for WordPress.
It works best for small or medium-sized businesses that offer membership and eLearning options to their customers.
Over one million users claim MemberPress as the top membership provider for their businesses.
MemberPress is a cloud-based SaaS membership and eLearning plug-in for WordPress, which works primarily for users seeking to roll out membership packages and access courses.
MemberPress allows you to design a site from hundreds of templates and optimize with data security and email marketing.
It is easy to use and has responsive customer service options.
Additionally, you can restrict viewership and access resources to inform your course creation.
Why is MemberPress a Great Option?
MemberPress is an excellent solution for online educators, course providers, and content creators who want to offer their products virtually.
With an embedded course creator, it is easier to design products in-app than on other platforms.
It is easy to use and offers a one-stop, simple solution for membership sites.
Drawbacks to MemberPress
MemberPress works best for content creators and online education.
It does not offer tools to sell physical products.
Additionally, it has limited functionality, no SEO options, and few customization features.
The website does not integrate well with mobile access and does not offer multi-channel marketing.
PinnacleCart is an excellent alternative to Shopify.
It prioritizes sales and conversions and operates with the customer experience in mind.
PinnacleCart is an all-in-one e-commerce solution that offers many of the same services as Shopify—at a lower price ($29 a month).
With PinnacleCart, you can sell and manage products on a platform that prioritizes conversions and drives engagement and sales.
The platform is easy to use and accessible to most.
Why is PinnacleCart a Great Option?
PinnacleCart is an excellent option for established or large-scale sellers.
With cataloging tools, order and promotions management databases, SEO optimization, and marketing tools, PinnacleCart offers solutions to many persistent problems for online sellers.
Stores are optimized for mobile access, and hundreds of design features allow you to customize your site entirely.
The company creates its templates and tools with conversion, making your website more likely to attract revenue.
Drawbacks to PinnacleCart?
PinnacleCart works best for larger businesses with more significant revenue and is less intuitive than Shopify.
PinnacleCart also doesn’t offer many flexible payment options.
Ultimately, PinnacleCart is an excellent option for those who want to drive their sales.
Wix is an all-in-one website builder that offers e-commerce solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Wix is the most popular website builder for its flexibility and adaptivity to different needs and products.
Wix is a website builder for small businesses and content creators.
With its easy-to-use builder, a large bank of templates and layouts, and extensive choice of plug-ins and apps,
Wix is best for beginners and those who want a flexible website.
Why is Wix a Great Option?
Wix is an excellent option for most businesses—particularly entrepreneurs and small-scale sellers.
Wix is easy to use and offers thousands of support options and resources to guide you through the process.
Wix is cheaper than Spotify and offers flexible payment options, high security, and several outstanding marketing features.
Wix offers more customization than Shopify—at a higher value for your money.
Drawbacks to Wix
Wix has fewer product and inventory features than Shopify, so it’s better for emergent business owners with less revenue.
Wix requires additional plug-ins to enable global shipping and does not offer as many e-commerce-specific apps as Shopify.
Wix is, therefore, better for beginners and new businesses.
Even More Options to Check Out
We have more options for you! Keep reading to learn more about additional alternatives to Shopify.
Like Easy Digital Downloads, Sellfy is an e-commerce platform for digital downloads.
Sellfy offers most of the features that Shopify does—and unlike Shopify, the platform includes tools optimized for digital sales and email marketing.
Starting at $19 a month, Sellfy is more affordable than Shopify and adapts better to the needs of digital product sellers.
There are no transaction fees, and you can sell subscriptions and packages on your site.
Sellfy is the best choice for those who want to sell and market digital products at an affordable cost.
Shift4Shop is a web-based e-commerce platform that allows you to build, launch, and manage an online store.
It is similar to Shopify but is all-inclusive and offers everything you need to set up your store for free.
You can optimize your site for mobile access and fully customize your store with flexible design features and functional sales, inventory, and payment plug-ins.
You can integrate third-party apps and tools to enable email marketing, tax tracking, and more.
Shift4Shop is the most affordable platform, and you receive a free domain name with your account.
Additionally, the company has a strong customer support team, and you can access hundreds of free resources on its website.
Squarespace is the most popular website builder for content creators.
The creators of SquareSpace originally intended it for artists, writers, photographers, and other digital content creators, but recent upgrades allow for e-commerce capabilities and marketing tools.
Squarespace offers more design options than any other platform, high-quality apps, and website and sales features.
The website’s editor is easy to use and prioritizes design—so your website will be high-quality and ready to launch quickly.
Other Alternative Roundups (Similar to Shopify)
If you are still hesitant to start, consider reading another alternative roundup to understand your options.
From WooCommerce to Wix, we’ve reviewed the major website builders and e-commerce providers—and the best alternatives— for your convenience.
- WooCommerce Alternatives: If you are looking for the flexibility and scalability of WooCommerce without the drawbacks, consider exploring WooCommerce alternatives. Many lesser-known alternatives to the big-name e-commerce provider offer unique and affordable features.
- WordPress Alternatives: WordPress is one of the most popular website designers on the market. You may want the benefits of WordPress but wish to enable more robust e-commerce and marketing options or inventory management and tracking tools. Check out WordPress alternatives to find the perfect web creator for your business or personal blog.
- Wix Alternatives: Wix remains the most popular web builder on the market—but many are dissatisfied with the limited range of customization and management options. Read our detailed article on Wix Alternatives to learn more about your other options.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may still want to know more about Shopify and Shopify alternatives.
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions.
Is Shopify the best e-commerce platform?
Shopify may be the best option for certain businesses—but it certainly does not accommodate all online sellers.
Shopify is not the best platform to use if your business is in memberships or digital downloads, and it does not offer the marketing tools and SEO features that other sites do.
Ultimately, the best website for you will be the one that most accommodates your specific needs.
Is Shopify Another Amazon?
Shopify and Amazon are entirely different.
While both allow for the sale of products online, Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows users to build storefronts and sell their products.
In contrast, Amazon is a marketplace that often caters to third-party sellers.
Use this guide to assess your options and select the best e-commerce platform for your business.
Remember that BigCommerce is adaptive to almost every online business—with WooCommerce at a close second.
Both offer similar features to Shopify at a higher value for your money.
BigCommerce is flexible and enables scalability, while WooCommerce is best for those who prioritize customization.
Once you have chosen your platform, you are ready to build your site and start attracting customers.
We wish you the best of luck!