Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform used for setting up and selling products through online stores. The Shopify Point-of-Sale (POS) software is also used for in-person sales. Shopify has been around for ten years and has been very successful.
There are many benefits to using Shopify, including ease of use, flexible designs, and solid support staff. However, there are also some issues, like increased transaction fees and higher charges for increased functionality.
Shopify is not the only e-commerce platform available. These ten alternatives are worth a look that might be more suitable for your online shop needs.
Volusion is a cloud-based, e-commerce platform currently supporting over 200,000 small businesses and sole proprietors. Volusion charges no transaction fees and has a simplified, one-page checkout interface. Check out Sharp Commerce for additional details.
Strengths of Volusion include ease of use, extensive template library, no extra transaction fees, free themes, a decent mobile app, and numerous payment processors. Volusion has some drawbacks, though, such as limited features, monthly bandwidth limits, and the need for users to possess coding skills.
2. Big Commerce
BigCommerce has been powering online stores for over eleven years and is very popular. It is flexible and easy-to-use, drag-and-drop-editor provides a user-friendly experience. BigCommerce can track inventory across Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Pinterest so you never double-sell an item.
BigCommerce’s strengths include compatibility with most business models, outstanding theme designs, numerous features, no additional transaction fees, and a decent mobile app.
But, as with all of the e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce has its weaknesses as well. There are only seven free themes, and it can be a little slow at times. Also, if you exceed your limit of sales, BigCommerce will automatically upgrade your plan to a higher tier, resulting in a substantially higher monthly cost.
WooCommerce is ideal for use with WordPress sites. It is free, open-source, and well thought of by users. There are advanced functions that can be purchased, but the basic platform can hold its own with the other, more-expensive tools.
Advantages to WooCommerce include no additional transaction fees, availability of free plans, and it’s easy to set up and use. It is great to use for all types of physical or digital sales.
WooCommerce has some drawbacks as well. It has no hosting feature, tends to be slow, and may require technical skills.
Another great and easily customizable ecommerce platform is LemonStand. It is particularly fitting for medium or large businesses as it offers customizable monthly subscriptions based on the number of orders.
The strengths of LemonStand are no additional transaction fees and that it can accept recurring orders from customers. The biggest weakness is that coding skills, or a web developer, are required. It is also somewhat limited in available templates and third-party apps.
3dcart is hosted in the cloud and offers features such as coupons, subscriptions, and Facebook sync. The cost is variable, depending on which features are required.
The positive aspects of 3dcart are support for multiple payment modes, fast load time and store speed, no additional transaction fee, and a multitude of features. But, for updated themes or strong service and support, 3dcart is not the best choice.
BigCartel is a good fit for small businesses or soles proprietors. Although the features are limited, it is reasonably priced and offers unlimited bandwidth and inventory tracking.
Other advantages of BigCartel are no extra transaction fee, it works well with PayPay, it’s easy to use and, if you sell five products or fewer, it is free.
Due to its limitations, BigCartel is not a useful tool for large companies. It also does not provide support or an inventory search feature.
Magento is a free, open-source e-commerce platform that is well-suited for medium to large-sized businesses or a smaller business with substantial growth potential. Although it does require coding skills or a staff web developer, Magento offers a vast number of features, flexibility, and adaptability.
Other positives about Magento include no monthly service charges, inventory management, multiple payment mode support, and advanced functionality. The only negative other than the need for a coder is that it does not provide hosting.
Wix is one of the premier, free ecommerce website builders that can also include a simple online store. Although limited in functionality and features, this tool is perfect for a beginner with minimal web development skills. Once the website is up and running, it is possible to migrate over to a more robust e-commerce platform, such as BigCommerce or Magento. Or, switch to Wix Editor and take advantage of the advanced features.
The biggest strength of Wix is that anyone can use it to create a nice website and a functional store. It also has over one hundred templates, works with many payment modes, and the price is right. Its weaknesses include limited bandwidth, traffic options, and apps.
Squarespace is another website builder that does not require much technical ability and offers an e-commerce option. Squarespace can compete with the higher-priced platforms in its advanced features and functionality. Other advantages of Squarespace include no additional transaction fees and a wide array of inspiring designs.
The disadvantages of Squarespace include limited compatibility, with only PayPal and Stripe included, and although Squarespace does not charge a transaction fee, both PayPal and Stripe do. Also, there is limited support and add-ons.
Prestashop is considered a free e-commerce platform. However, it is not attached to website development tools such as Wix and Squarespace so there will be costs for a domain and web hosting. Prestashop offers limited themes and templates but it will do fine for a start-up shop with limited funds.
The strengths of Prestashop include its cost (free), no additional transaction fees, and that it supports international sales in 25 languages and many currencies. The weaknesses are that it does require some technical skill and, as we said, it has limited themes, templates, and features.
Shopify is an excellent platform for e-commerce, but it just might not be the right fit for your business. If one of these other alternatives calls out to you, give it a try. Your e-commerce store will be up and running in no time.