Online shopping is quickly becoming one of the most popular online activities. Currently there are almost 800,000 websites using Shopify as their chosen eCommerce platform. 590,000 of those websites are based in the U.S.A., followed by the U.K. and Australia. There’s no denying that Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms when creating an online store.
When it comes to creating and managing online stores, there are quite a few options available. Although I find it hard to outline many faults with Shopify, some users may prefer an alternative.
Whether you’re looking for a cheaper option, different set of features, or are simply curious, I’ve reviewed 10 Shopify competitors (so you don’t have to)!
There are 49,000 live sites currently on the internet using BigCommerce. This Shopify alternative offers many features, and a pricing plan to suit many users. Their essentials plan starts at $29.95 per month and boasts 0% transaction fees, unlimited products, a responsive website, blog, and up to $50k per year on sales.
Store Templates – Of course, when it comes to online stores, you may be interested in the features they have to offer. BigCommerce has a wealth of features that you don’t have to pay extra for. Their eCommerce website templates are a great starting point (they’re all responsive). As well as looking modern and professional, you also have the option of choosing a template that’s fast. When I say fast, I mean fast in terms of loading speeds. BigCommerce have optimised templates to ensure that your online store loads within an acceptable time frame. This is perfect for your customers as well as your SEO if you want to generate more traffic and visitors to your site.
Server Speed – It’s often easy to forget that when you use a eCommerce builder or website builder that they are your web host. BigCommerce guarantee a 99.99% uptime, as well as ensuring your site is PCI compliant. These little details allow you to focus on the content of your store, rather than having to worry about the back end.
Site Migration – If you do decide to move your online store from another competitor to BigCommerce, it’s super easy. BigCommerce claim they have migrated over 20,000 stores to their platform. There’s an easy to use tool to make this happen, or you can contact BigCommerce’s expert team for help.
- No transaction fees, even with third party gateways
- Extensive feature set even on lowest pricing plan
- Plenty of SEO tools
- Built-in blog
- Ability to sell with companies like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook
- Limits on annual online sales
- Pricing is high compared to competitors
- No mobile app to manage online store
SquareSpace not only provides eCommerce solutions, you can build websites for many professions. Whether you’re a budding artist, musician, or setting up a new shop, SquareSpace can provide the right tools. SquareSpace currently hosts over 1 million live sites, which gives an indication of it’s popularity.
Product Catalog – SquareSpace doesn’t put any limits on the number of products you can sell. As well as items, you can sell services, making it very versatile. When you list your products or services, you can do so with different variations, SKUs, etc. SquareSpace makes it really easy to setup an online store, regardless of your size. If you own a small business or large scale corporation, you can display all your items in one place.
Subscriptions – It’s becoming a lot more common for online stores to offer subscriptions. Products like food boxes, postal services, etc. all require a subscription. SquareSpace allow you to create monthly subscriptions, annual product deliveries, or seasonal and one-time subscriptions. Users will find it easy to setup recurring subscriptions via your online store, and may even entice more traffic to your site.
Abandoned Checkout – The average abandoned checkout rate is almost 80%, which is a shockingly high figure. With SquareSpace, you can automatically setup rules so that your business will send out reminders to customers. When reminded, customers may revisit their cart on your online store and complete their purchase. This is a must have feature for any online business.
- Beautiful templates in terms of design
- Plenty of eCommerce focused features
- Easy to use
- Customisable without the need to code
- Expensive compared to other competitors
- Although easy to use, may not be very beginner friendly
- Could do with more payment gateways
If you have a WordPress site, you may want to consider WooCommerce. It’s an open-source eCommerce platform for WordPress customers (with over 61 million downloads). The plugin is free and easy to install to any WordPress account. WooCommerce, like other online stores, doesn’t charge card transaction fees, and offers multiple payment gateways. In addition to the fresh install of WooCommerce, there’s plenty of add-ons available to customise the plugin to your liking.
Sell anything – You can pretty much sell anything using WooCommerce. Whether it’s digital or physical (or even both), it’s all possible to fill your online store with. If your business is affiliated with another site, you can provide affiliation links too, keeping everything in one place. When you put a product or item up for sale, you can offer an unlimited amount of variations, e.g. colours, sizes, etc.
Shipping Options – WooCommerce gives you the ability to offer a multitude of shipping options for your online store. You can choose local pickup, delivery, or worldwide shipping. Or, if you only want to ship to certain locations, you can do this too. As well as location-based options, you can also set your own shipping rates. Whether you want a flat rate, variable depending on size, location, etc. WooCommerce can calculate your preferences and provide the output to your customers.
Optimisation – It’s important once you have your online store up and running that you optimise it. WooCommerce tools ensure you’ll get the most out of your business (and so will your customers). You can add features like coupons to entice customers (and their friends) to purchase more. You can also make recommendations to customers as their shopping, taking them on an extended journey of your online store.
- Plenty of advanced features
- Ideal for small or large online stores
- Customer and admin accounts
- Free and paid designs available
- Can be quite difficult to use
- No direct support
LemonStand provides the usual eCommerce platform features. However, it also provides a large amount of flexibility, customisation, and automation to make your life easier. Their pricing plan makes choosing the best option for you really easy. All of their plans include their main features, with the difference being the amount of orders you can take. LemonStand also offer a free 14 day trial, so it’s worth giving it a go (even just for the trial).
Flexibility – As I mentioned, LemonStand provide lots of flexibility. You can setup and sell your products exactly the way you want to. As well as adding products in the ‘standard’ way, you can add custom fields to ensure that regardless of your needs, your products will still sell. You can sell any number of products with unlimited variants, add group-based pricing, discounts, and more.
Blogging – As with many websites now, you can add a blog to your online store. Customers like businesses who inject a little more personality into their websites, and this gives your the opportunity to reach out even further to them. LemonStand’s CMS allows you to create a professional designed website, online store, and blog. You’ll have full control over your content, posts, announcements, and even link products from your store to your blog.
Management – When businesses create an online store, the last thing they’ll want to do is manage the back-end of their website. LemonStand ensure that they manage support, infrastructure, and maintenance. This means you can focus entirely on your business, without any additional stresses.
- Great support
- Fixed pricing
- Wealth of features
- Highly customisable
- None of the plans offer unlimited products
- Missing features compared to other competitors
3dCart is a cloud based shopping cart, offering plenty of features for most businesses. Their plans all come with standard features including unlimited bandwidth, orders, 24/7 support, and more. eCommerce stores won’t incur any transaction fees and can be linked to existing blogs and social media stores like Facebook. Plans start from $14.25 per month, including unlimited products, which I think is pretty competitive in the market.
Responsive Themes – 3dCart will provide you access to over 60 free themes. All of these are mobile ready, meaning you won’t have to worry about optimising your online store for smart device users. With so many internet users now accessing the world wide web via their smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc. it’s essential your site is optimised. If your eCommerce store isn’t mobile ready, you could be jeopardizing your user base, traffic, and SEO score.
Sales Channels – Selling products solely from your online store is now a thing of the past. Customers want to interact in multiple ways, whether that’s through social media (Facebook Store), Amazon, Google, etc. If you don’t connect with other channels, you could be losing out on a lot of your market. 3dCart connects your online store with the likes of eBay, Facebook, Amazon and Shopzilla with ease.
Secure Payments – eCommerce providers offer multiple payment gateways. 3dCart has over 100 payment options for you to choose from. It’s really easy to accept payments from your customers with a wide range of providers. Popular choices include PayPal, Visa Checkout, Google Pay, etc. The more payment methods available, the more customers you could potentially be gaining. All payment gateways are completely secure, too, so you’ll never need to worry about that.
- Plenty of free (mobile ready) themes
- No setup or transaction fees
- Unlimited products on all pricing plans
- Not as customisable as other shopping carts
- Some user interface issues
BigCartel is my recommended choice for beginners into the eCommerce market. They offer affordable pricing plans, and even provide a free plan if you want to sell a limited amount of products. They may not offer as many features as other eCommerce stores, but they provide the market with an alternative that many users could make use of.
Custom Store – Many website builders and online stores allow you to customise aspects of the themes and templates available. BigCartel allows you to customise your store to exactly how you want it. If you want to use their editor to add products, move content, etc. then it’s really easy to do. But, if you’re feeling experimental, you can access the back-end code of each template and switch and change whatever you like.
Analytical Tools – Once you’ve established a customer base, or even if you’re building one, it’s key to learn where they’re coming from, how they shop, etc. BigCartel’s analytical tools allow you to check stats on your products and run promotions based on data. You can setup marketing, edit your products, and change anything you like. Best of all, you can do all of this from your mobile device!
Niche Market – Although this isn’t necessarily a feature, BigCartel really focus on getting small businesses up and running. Their pricing reflects this, making it easy and accessible for start-ups and individuals to start spreading their wings in the eCommerce market. With BigCartel you can sell anything you like; paintings, music, t-shirts, you name it. BigCartel are 100% independent which means their focus is really on you.
- Free plan available
- Very easy to use
- Ideal for beginners and start-ups
- Basic themes
- Limited features