Best ecommerce platforms for your niche

Shopify alternatives 2019: Is there anything better than Shopify?

Looking for Shopify alternatives for your store? Check our overview of the best Shopify alternatives: Volusion, Wix, SquareSpace and Woocommerce.

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms for a reason. It just works.

Yet sometimes you’re left wondering: “what can I use instead of Shopify?”. To help you answer this question, we compiled a list of companies who are Shopify competitors. And compared them based on key features that most stores are going to need. 

Shopify

Shopify is the king of online shopping platforms. Today, Shopify powers over 1,000,000 online stores. It’s one of the best options for selling physical goods online through your own shop online. More than a decade of consistent and successful platform development with a big support for independent developers on the app store, makes Shopify a popular choice today. 

What we love

Possibility to create an online store from scratch within a few hour’s time. Plenty of free mobile-friendly website themes available right away with robust customization possibilities. Ability to use tags for more sophisticated product classification. Easy inventory tracking with advanced automation. Thousands of apps available in the Shopify app store to add functionality and even automate business processes.

The downside

Unless you choose to process payments through “Shopify Payments”, you’re going to be charged extra 2% for every transaction. Shopify has a custom template markup language, Liquid, that isn’t the most easy to start using. Apps may result in extra costs since many useful features are available only as part of a paid app.

Try it for free for 14 days, and then opt for the Basic Shopify plan which will provide you with everything you need to get started for $29 per month. Learn more about Shopify’s pricing plans here.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that turns any WordPress site into an online shop. A great choice for those who are familiar with WordPress or are using it already.

What we love

Both WordPress and WooCommerce are free to use. Since WooCommerce is open-source it can be customized to satisfy any business needs. Also, as your business develops and your requirements grow, you are not risking hitting a wall in terms of platform software limitations. Easily scalable applications. Huge developers community you can hire in the future.

The downside

Not all WordPress themes are compatible with the WooCommerce plugin. Also, it is necessary to use a premium theme to get up to date security standards. Some free themes require programming skills to adopt them for your requirements. Hard for eCommerce beginners since there’s a lot of features that should be learned before you can start selling.

WooCommerce is a free plugin that only works with WordPress, but there are additional yearly hosting and domain fees.

Wix

Wix is known for its drag-and-drop website builder. Good for creative people and businesses who want to establish an online presence with a beautifully designed website. 

What we love

Easy to create an amazing and unique looking website. Good for one-page websites featuring your business info, location, contact information, photos. Huge library of website templates available to design a website that speaks for your business. Wix also has an app market where you’ll find apps to add useful features to your site. It is possible to create an online store and add an unlimited number of products to your store in the free plan. Even though you can not make actual sales with a free plan, it is possible to create a store with all the details and products before investing your money. Another useful feature that is available for free is the automatic tax and VAT calculation that works worldwide. Also, Wix eCommerce allows your customers to use multiple payment options including credit cards and Paypal with no sales commission on the Wix side. May be used for selling both physical and digital products. 

The downside

May get expensive through third-party apps, especially when you want to scale your website. Limited back-end possibilities, which extends to limited SEO options. Real-time shipping is available only for US merchants.

The eCommerce plan starts from $23 per month.

Squarespace

Squarespace is another popular website builder, suitable for one page websites, blogs and online shops. You can choose from over 100 mobile-friendly templates.

What we love

Great style customization editor allows you to create unique looking pages. Possibility to upgrade to Basic plan ($26) and avoid transaction fees, lower subscription plan – Business ($17) has a 3% transaction fee. The Squarespace editor allows you to switch templates without losing the content, that way you can play with website design even when your website is live. Easy shopping cart integration allows you to sell physical and digital products. The built-in SEO tools allow you to customize page meta description, URL slag, title tags. Also, you get full access to page customization through CSS and JavaScript. With a Business plan, you get a professional email from Google and a $100 Google Adwords Credits.

The downside

Squarespace pages are relatively slow, this affects their SEO in a negative way and may ruin user-experience through long page loading time. Some visual editor features are clunky, for example, updates are live as soon as you click save button, this is really inconvenient for larger website updates.

The cheapest plan that allows you to sell products online will set you back $17 per month.

Volusion

A grandfather of eCommerce website builders created in 1999. Today it is used by just over 30,000 online stores.

What we love

Volusion has a great backend providing a powerful inventory system. Also, it is integrated with many payment processing services and has useful eCommerce processing and analytics tools. They do not charge any additional transaction fees on their side. Also, they have developed a mobile app that you can use to check and manage your shop on the go.

The downside

There is no blogging option available. Some industry standards including SSL certificate,  that are expected to be free, are paid extras with Volusion. Also, it is not possible to sell digital products. The website design is also Volution’s weak side. Moreover, there is a limited bandwidth allocated with each plan and exceeding it will set you back another $7 for each extra GB.

The Personal plan starts from $29 per month.

Conclusion

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is always about making a trade-off between functionality, price and design features. Each company in this list tries to achieve their own unique balance of features, that they consider being the most important for your success. Depending on what is your business, what products you want to sell, who your target audience is and what scale you plan to achieve – you can justify choosing one or another platform for your online shop. However, as of today, no Shopify alternative maintains such a near-perfect balance between functionality, price and available features, as Shopify does.

Founder of Profit Industry. Also CEO & Co-Founder of GetFound XL. Catch up with Justas on Twitter.
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