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5 Shopify Alternatives for Ecommerce and Dropshipping [2019 UPDATE]

Ari Esmond
Ari Esmond
29
September 08, 2019

It’s been said Shopify is the king of all e-commerce platforms, but it’s hard to ignore its downsides.

For example, if you don’t use “Shopify Payments,” which is its own payment gateway, Shopify will charge you up to 2% on top of your payment processing fees. But what if you don’t want to use Shopify Payments, or you live in a country where it’s not supported?

Or what if you don’t want to have to upgrade to one of the higher-priced plans to get features like gift vouchers or advanced reports?

And what if you don’t like Shopify’s free themes, and you don’t want to pay over $100 for a premium one?

There are plenty of Shopify alternatives to choose from, but it’s no easy decision. You need a platform that can provide all the features you need and not hold you back as your business grows.

To save you the headache, I’ve done all the research for you. Let’s take a look at some of the best Shopify alternatives out there, so you can make an educated decision and choose the best one for your needs. 

Our Top Shopify Alternative Picks

  • Wix A robust website builder with everything you need to get your store up and running in no time
  • Squarespace – An easy-to-use platform with professionally-designed templates and a great range of mid-level e-commerce tools
  • WooCommerce The most flexible and customizable e-commerce solution, with absolutely no limits
  • Weebly A straightforward drag-and-drop website builder offering beginner-friendly e-commerce tools at low prices
  • BigCommerce A powerful e-commerce platform with advanced selling tools and 24/7 dedicated support

What We Look For in the Best Alternatives to Shopify

I’ve personally tested all the major e-commerce platforms out there. The best ones give you the following:

  • Value for money. One of the biggest issues with Shopify is its price tag. All the platforms on this list have much more to offer for the price you pay. 
  • Flexibility. You need to be able to easily customize your store and add product variants.
  • Robust e-commerce tools. Powerful tools to display, market, and manage your inventory are essential to your store’s success.
  • Excellent SEO tools. Shopify is known for having some SEO issues. For example, it won’t give you full control over the structure of your URLs. You want an e-commerce tool that can help you rank really well on search engines.

Wix – Hundreds of Templates for Small E-Commerce Stores

Wix is one of the most popular website builders around, and it offers a decent range of e-commerce features. If you’re looking for a simple drag-and-drop editor for your online store, Wix is a great choice.

Unlike Shopify, Wix won’t charge you additional transaction fees. (You’ll still have to pay your payment gateway’s processing fees, though.) Compared with Shopify, there are fewer payment gateways to choose from, but popular options like PayPal and Stripe are available.

Just keep in mind that while you can set up your shop on the free plan, you won’t be able to sell any products unless you upgrade.

While Wix can’t match Shopify in terms of the number of apps available (Shopify boasts over 2,800), Wix does offer a great selection of e-commerce-focused apps, such as:

  • Wix Chat, to let customers quickly ask you questions via instant messaging 
  • SellDownloads, to help you manage your sales of digital downloads
  • Wix Bookings, to allow your customers to make bookings via your website

There’s also a decent collection of marketing apps, including:

  • GiveCoupons, to offer vouchers to first-time website visitors
  • Social Testimonials, to add social media reviews to your website

And finally, there are powerful analytics apps, like:

  • Store Metrics, to generate advanced sales reports
  • Visitor Analytics, to understand your web traffic without having to use Google Analytics

Unfortunately, Wix does have some downsides. For example, unlike Shopify, Wix won’t let you sell on other channels, such as Instagram. There’s also no native dropshipping support (although you can use the “Online Store” app by Ecwid for dropshipping by using the print-on-demand Printful integration.) 

You may also find it difficult to sell a lot of digital products with large file sizes due to Wix’s storage limits (20GB-50GB, depending on your e-commerce plan).

Features

  • E-commerce templates. One reason Wix gets such great reviews is its huge selection of free templates. Over 80 are specially designed for e-commerce, but you can customize any template to suit an online store. The main drawback is that once you’ve chosen your template, you can’t change it without having to rebuild your website. You also have to edit the mobile version of your website separately.
Wix-picture
  • SEO. Wix’s built-in SEO Wiz provides many tools that can boost your store’s search engine ranking. The wizard gives you SEO recommendations and even provides you with a personalized SEO plan. If you’re new to the world of SEO, you’ll love this tool.

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  • Marketing. Promoting your products is easy with Wix’s marketing suite, Ascend. You do have to pay an additional fee (on top of your Wix subscription plan) to use it, but Ascend is affordable, and it’s easy to upgrade your Ascend plan as your store grows. With Ascend, you can:
    • Use email marketing and social posts for promotion
    • Offer coupons and discounts to your customers
    • Interact with your customers with live chat
    • Have a personal message pop up to welcome visitors to your website
    • Manage invoices and quotes
    • Build and manage a mailing list quickly and easily
  • Product tools. To help your products stand out, you can show product videos and up to 15 images for each product. Wix supports up to 6 options and 30 variants, and you can have different prices for each variant. One of my favorite time-saving features is that once you’ve used a particular variant (like a color or size), Wix automatically makes that variant available for other products, too.
  • Value. Wix is one of the best value e-commerce platforms on this list. For example, the Business Unlimited plan — which comes with 35GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, up to $300 in ad vouchers, and free professional apps (e.g., Site Booster and Visitor Analytics) — is cheaper than Shopify’s cheapest plan. 
Free TrialNo, but there is a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Templates500+ free themes (80+ designed for e-commerce).
Transaction FeesNone.

Squarespace – Straightforward E-Commerce with Stunning Designs

If you’ve read any Squarespace reviews, you’ve probably noticed that most users rave about its fabulous templates. But what many people might not know is that Squarespace has a solid array of e-commerce features, too. This website builder is very beginner-friendly, and you should be able to get your online store up and running pretty fast.

You can sell unlimited products on most plans, and if you sign up for one of the “Online Store” plans, you won’t have to pay any transaction fees.

Squarespace offers a fully functional 14-day free trial, so you can test out all the features before you commit to a long-term plan.

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Squarespace offers an impressive range of tools. There is Instagram integration, so you can increase your reach and give customers the chance to buy from you directly in the Instagram app. 

In addition, you can use pop-ups and banners to offer discounts to new visitors in exchange for their email address. You also have access to advanced analytics features, and you can easily manage SEO from your dashboard.

One of Squarespace’s downsides is that you can’t have a section for user reviews. You can, however, use Disqus to let users add comments to your products, but this lacks the finesse of an actual user reviews section. Plus, you have to add Disqus using code blocks, which makes it complicated. 

Features

  • Product display tools. You can enhance your store with product videos and image galleries. You can even enable image zoom to allow customers to get a closer look at your products.
  • Subscriptions. If you want to take advantage of the huge popularity of subscription boxes, Squarespace makes this easy. You can create subscription products that will automatically bill your customers every month or every other week (there’s no option for weekly subscriptions yet).
  • Sales tools. Squarespace offers a decent range of tools that can help you sell and promote your products. You can create discount codes and gift cards, and also send abandoned cart recovery emails. Additionally, there’s a time-saving “Content Manager” that allows you to manage your entire inventory all in one place.

Squarespace Commerce App. Manage your e-commerce website on the go! With this app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, you can manage your inventory, add more product images, offer flash discounts, and use the integrated barcode scanner to automatically mark orders as fulfilled when you scan the barcode on the shipping label.

Free Trial14 days, no credit card required.
Templates100+ templates (2 designed for e-commerce).
Transaction FeesNone on the two “Online Store” plans; 3% on the Business plan.

WooCommerce – Flexible and Unlimited E-Commerce for WordPress

Unlike the all-in-one site builder solutions on our list, WooCommerce is available exclusively to WordPress. You must have the Business or eCommerce plan on WordPress.com, or a self-hosted WordPress account.

While WooCommerce is easy to use, you do need to know a bit about how WordPress works. WooCommerce probably isn’t the most beginner-friendly option on this list, but it still has plenty to offer. Best of all, you can install it for free.

With WooCommerce, you can create pop-ups that offer discounts to new visitors, and you can display related products at the bottom of product pages. And by using WordPress plugins or WooCommerce extensions, it’s easy to add more features to WooCommerce.

WooCommerce is also great for dropshipping. You can add products manually if you’re selling only a small number of products. If you have a lot of products you want to be able to dropship, you can also install the WooCommerce DropShipping extension or the WooDropship plugin to automate the process. With these tools, you can automatically connect to dropshipping providers like AliExpress.

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The biggest drawback of WooCommerce is that unless you opt for managed WordPress hosting, you have to manage things like security and backups yourself. Fortunately, there are plugins that can help you automate these processes. 

To learn more about WooCommerce, check out our expert review.

Features

  • Flexibility. By far, WooCommerce is the most customizable and flexible e-commerce solution out there. You have complete control over the look and feel of your website, and WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with thousands of WordPress plugins. The flexibility, of course, means that there are no limits on the products you can offer and the sales you can make. As your business grows, it’s really easy to scale your WooCommerce setup.
  • Extensions. WooCommerce doesn’t integrate only with WordPress plugins. There’s also a massive number of extensions (free and premium) available directly from WooCommerce. You can take bookings, offer premium memberships, and even offer subscription boxes (which are hugely popular these days).

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  • Cost savings. Avoid getting hit with expensive subscription renewal prices. The beauty of having an e-commerce system built on WordPress is that it’s easy to transfer your entire setup to another web hosting provider that can give you a better deal.
  • Product tools. WooCommerce has an impressive array of tools to make your products stand out and increase your sales, such as image galleries and videos. There are no limits on the number of options and variants you can offer.
  • Sales features. One area where WooCommerce stands out is in its WordPress foundations. Content creation is easy with WordPress, plus you can use plugins to design landing pages to boost your conversion rates. You can also embed your products directly into blog posts and pages to increase your sales potential.
Free TrialNo, but the platform itself is 100% free; you just have to pay for hosting.
ThemesThousands, with 1,100+ free e-commerce themes in the WordPress repository.
Transaction FeesNone.

Weebly – Super-Simple E-Commerce Solution for Beginners

If you’re looking for the easiest possible way to sell online, Weebly is a perfect choice. You’ll love the sign-up wizard, which will guide you through the process of creating your store step by step. Most Weebly reviews say it is 100% beginner-friendly, and I couldn’t agree more.

While Weebly does offer a free plan, you’ll need to upgrade if you want to sell products. However, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out all the features risk-free.

If you want to avoid paying transaction fees on top of the payment processing fees, you’ll have to upgrade to the Business plan. And as a bonus, this plan lets you sell unlimited products. It’s best if you want to run a larger store with Weebly. 

Weebly isn’t the most advanced e-commerce solution, but it gives you all the tools you need if you’re just getting started with selling online. It’s scalable, but not to the same degree as some of the more advanced options on this list, like BigCommerce and WooCommerce.

Features

  • Product types. Weebly offers six different product types: physical, digital, donation, membership, events, and services. That’s more than what Shopify offers.

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  • Intuitive editor. Weebly requires zero technical skills. A setup guide will walk you through building your online store and adding your products. The editor’s navigation system is also very intuitive. Settings and features are grouped into categories (Website, Store, Marketing and Insights), and there’s not an overwhelming number of options. So, you won’t have to click through too many menus to find the settings you need.
  • Filtered product search. Weebly’s integrated filtered product search makes it easy for your customers to find the products they’re looking for. They can filter by attributes like color, size, price, and type. This is a great way to simplify the shopping experience and increase sales.
  • Product presentation. To help you make your products look their absolute best, Weebly offers a decent range of tools, like product videos and slideshows.
Free TrialNo, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Themes80+ free themes (around 15 designed for e-commerce).
Transaction Fees3% on all plans except Business and Business Plus.

BigCommerce – Powerful Platform with Advanced E-Commerce Tools

If you’re looking for an e-commerce solution that can create sites like Shopify, you should definitely consider BigCommerce. It’s packed with a wide range of powerful, advanced tools for selling online, and it’s easy to use. 

BigCommerce and Shopify have similar pricing structures. However, if you compare both of their cheapest plans, you’ll see that BigCommerce offers more features, like the ability to create gift vouchers, for example. BigCommerce also offers a 14-day free trial.

BigCommerce can also support 600 variants per product, making Shopify’s limit of 100 variants seem small by comparison. This is another factor that adds much more value to BigCommerce’s plans.

If you’re interested in drop-shipping, you’ll be glad to know BigCommerce offers the AliExpress Dropshipping app to automate the process. You can, of course, set up your BigCommerce store for dropshipping yourself, but that can be time-consuming.

BigCommerce also supports multiple currencies, so you can cater to a wide range of customers worldwide. Your website visitors can select their local currency when they’re viewing your store, and BigCommerce even provides automatic currency exchange rates.

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What I dislike about BigCommerce are the annual sales caps. When your annual sales exceed your current subscription plan’s limit, you’re automatically upgraded to the next plan up. This will more than double your monthly fees.

To find out more about BigCommerce, check out our expert review.

Features

  • Multi-channel selling. To extend your market, BigCommerce can seamlessly integrate with multiple sales channels, like eBay and Amazon. It also allows you to tag your products in your Instagram stories and posts, which means that your followers can view and purchase your products without having to leave the Instagram app.

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  • Payment processing. BigCommerce has partnered with Braintree to offer a wide range of payment processing options, including Amazon Pay, Square, Stripe, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Payment processing fees are very competitive, and BigCommerce charges no additional transaction fees no matter which payment processor you use.
  • Coupons and gift cards. If you want to offer gift cards to your customers, it will cost you around $50 per month less on BigCommerce than on Shopify. BigCommerce even gives you templates to design your gift cards, too!
  • SEO. To help your site rank well on search engines, BigCommerce offers dozens of advanced SEO tools, including optimized page architecture, rich snippets, optimized URLs, 301 redirects, and more. BigCommerce also uses a CDN (content delivery network) to improve your website’s speed, which can also boost your ranking.
Free Trial14 days, no credit card required.
Themes130+ e-commerce themes, 10 of which are free.
Transaction FeesNone, and PayPal fees are lowered when you sell more.

Choosing the Best Shopify Alternative for You

So, which e-commerce platform is the right one for you? Here are my recommendations.

If you’re new to website building and/or selling online, and you don’t expect you business to grow rapidly, then go with Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. These website builders are beginner-friendly, and they’ll walk you through the process of setting up your online store.

If you have a technical background or are already comfortable with WordPress, then pick WooCommerce. It’s a free, flexible, and 100%-scalable solution with practically no limits. You can set up your store exactly as you like, and you can easily transfer your hosting to another provider if you find a better deal.

If you want a dedicated e-commerce platform but are put off by Shopify’s prices, and you don’t expect to sell more than $50K in a year, then BigCommerce is undoubtedly the best alternative. It’s a feature-packed solution that offers better value than Shopify.

PriceStandout FeatureBest ForEase of Use
Wix$$Over 500 templatesSmall and medium-sized online stores4/5
WooCommerce0-$$$Unlimited everything (e.g., products, variants, images, videos)Large stores with landing pages to boost sales3/5
Weebly0-$$More product types, including events and membershipsBeginners looking to build a small store5/5
BigCommerce $$$$Exceptional SEO toolsMedium-sized and large online stores 4/5
Squarespace$$Stunning responsive designsSmall stores you can manage on the go4/5
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