Shopify Alternatives 2017

Even though Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms for building an online store, there may be a reason for which you wish to explore other alternatives. The Shopify Alternatives on this page are good candidates for ecommerce.

If you are in the initial phase and have not actually used Shopify yet, I strongly recommend that you sign up for the 14 day free trial and give them a test drive.

However, if you have already used Shopify and you know that they are not a good fit for your business, I will go over a few Shopify competitors that you can use or switch to.

3 problems with Shopify

By now, everyone should now that Shopify is the next big thing in ecommerce. It is one of the most popular online store builders that many users turn to when building an online store.

However, Shopify lacks certain elements that other platforms do not. Even with the continuous updates, there are numerous complaints regarding their limited design features.

Complex stores quickly find that the platform lacks the following:

  • The platform charges transaction fees – up to 2%, if you do not use their in-house credit card payment processing service.
  • The platform uses a custom template markup language called Liquid, which may take some time to learn.
  • The platform limits key ecommerce features on their cheaper-end plans – the ability to use gift cards, real-time shipping rates, and abandoned cart recovery.

Top Shopify Alternatives

After working with multiple online store builders for various ecommerce projects, here are the top Shopify Alternatives for building an ecommerce store:

1. BigCommerce

BigCommerce

If you need a complete, all-in-one ecommerce platform, BigCommerce is an online store builder you need to consider. Out of all of the ecommerce platforms I used and tested, BigCommerce is the best Shopify alternative.

A lot of the design features that are limited on Shopify are available with every BigCommerce package. As of right now, 100,000 stores use BigCommerce for ecommerce.

Price: $29.95 to $199.95 a month
Transaction Fees: None
Bandwidth: Unlimited
Products: Unlimited

BigCommerce Pros:

  • A large number of built-in ecommerce features.
  • User-friendly backend and design tools, which make it easy to build and manage an online store.
  • Strong search engine optimization tools (SEO) to help you rank higher in search engines.
  • No setup fees.
  • A 10% discount for all annual plan prepayments.
  • There is an Enterprise plan for large online stores that need more resources.
  • BigCommerce offers a section geared towards ecommerce education (Ecommerce University, ecommerce forum, and ecommerce blog), which will help you sell online.

BigCommerce Cons:

  • Annual sales volume limitation ($50,000 to $1 million a year based on the plan you choose).
  • Recurring billing is not built in – you need to install a third-party app to use this feature.

Companies using BigCommerce: Toyota, Payless, and Gazelle.

Review: BigCommerce Review

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2. Volusion

Volusion

With 18 years of ecommerce experience, Volusion has built a reputable online store builder. The platform is popular because it does not charge transaction fees, integrates well with eBay, and offers built-in recurring billing.

As of right now, roughly 40,000 stores use Volusion for ecommerce.

Price: $15 to $135 a month
Transaction Fees: None
Bandwidth: 1 GB to 35 GB
Products: 100 to unlimited

Volusion Pros:

  • Unlimited product options (e.g. size, color, and texture).
  • Simplified store management tools.
  • You customers can use the “soft add to cart” option, which gives them the option to add products to cart without leaving the product page.
  • Strong ecommerce education tools – ecommerce blog, SEO guides, and Volusion Experts).
  • Advanced security options to protect your business.
  • There is an Enterprise plan for large stores that need more resources.
  • A 10% discount for all annual plan prepayments.

Volusion Cons:

  • Limited bandwidth on every plan, the current bandwidth overage cost is $7 per GB.
  • Limited number of products that you can add to the store (Premium plan offers unlimited products).
  • Poor design options, the included themes are either basic or need updating.
  • Select number of apps in the “App Store.”

Companies using Volusion: This American Life, Toni & Guy, and Jane Seymour Botanicals.

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3. Ecwid

Ecwid

Out of the online store builders here, Ecwid is different. Unlike BigCommerce and Pinnacle Cart, which allow you to build a store with ecommerce functionality, Ecwid is geared towards adding a store to an existing site. With Ecwid, you can add a fully functional store to any webpage with a few lines of HTML. In other words, Ecwid is an “ecommerce widget.”

As of right now, 1 million stores use Ecwid for ecommerce.

Price: Free to $99.99 a month
Transaction Fees: None
Bandwidth: Unlimited
Products: 10 to unlimited

Ecwid Pros:

  • Ecwid offers a free “forever” plan that you can use with some limitations.
  • You can add Ecwid to WordPress, Wix, Joomla, Facebook, and any other site builder.
  • Ecwid works seamlessly with many Point of Sale (POS) systems – Clover, Square, and Vend. This feature connects your offline store and your online store.
  • Strong multi-lingual capabilities with automatic language detection – supports 50 different languages.
  • Real-time shipping rates from major shipping carriers.
  • Simple inventory management options.
  • Supports over 40 different payment options.
  • You can mirror (copy) your store and sell on multiple sites at the same time.

Ecwid Cons:

  • Ecwid does not provide support on the free “forever” plan.
  • Limited number of apps in the “App Store.”
  • The free “forever” plan is not good from a SEO perspective.

Companies using Ecwid: 28 Black, Taylor Family Farm, and Joe Perry.

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Shopify Alternatives – Conclusion

In conclusion, the 3 Shopify alternatives above are a must try for ecommerce. Now it is time to make a decision and choose the ecommerce platform that you feel is best for your business.

While BigCommerce is by far the alternative to Shopify, both Volusion and Ecwid are worthy Shopify competitors. Every ecommerce platform above offers a free trial period that you can sign up for and give them a test run.

Here are the free trial links to get you started:

Which ecommerce platform do you think is the best Shopify alternative? Let me know by posting a comment below.

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2 Comments

    • Sue:

      Personally, I think Shopify is an excellent (and very popular) ecommerce platform but I am not a big fan of having to use a specific payment processing service in order to avoid having to pay transaction fees. If you want to accept credit cards, Shopify’s payment gateway is simple and similar to other services (in terms of fees). However, problems arise when you want to accept alternative payment methods. For instance, some people may want to accept payments using PayPal and/or Amazon Payments. By using alternative payment methods only, you would incur transaction fees, which I find a big con of using Shopify for ecommerce.

      I hope this helps answer your question.

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