In the vast realm of ecommerce, Shopify has undoubtedly earned its reputation as a household name. With a presence in over 175 countries and a staggering one million businesses under its wing, Shopify has become synonymous with online retail success. However, popularity doesn’t always equate to the ideal solution. If you’re on the hunt for alternatives to Shopify, whether you’re already a Shopify user seeking a change or a newcomer exploring the ecommerce landscape, we’ve got your back.
Unveiling Shopify: A Brief Overview
Shopify is your ticket to establishing and operating a thriving online store. This versatile platform empowers you to craft your website, manage your product catalog, calculate shipping fees, and expand your sales across various channels, among other capabilities. One of Shopify’s advantages is that it’s a cloud-based, hosted solution (known as SaaS or software-as-a-service), which means you’re spared the burden of software maintenance.
Shopify caters to both small businesses and large enterprises through its two primary offerings:
- Shopify: Designed for small businesses, it offers three pricing tiers—Basic, Shopify, and Advanced—with varying features depending on your chosen plan.
- Shopify Plus: Tailored for enterprise-level businesses, Shopify Plus comes with custom pricing (usually a percentage of revenue with a minimum monthly fee of $2,000) and provides advanced features designed for high-volume stores.
While Shopify doesn’t offer a free plan, it does provide Shopify Lite as an option for those looking to integrate a buy button into an existing website or blog.
Four Compelling Reasons to Seek Shopify Alternatives
Now, let’s delve into why you might be considering a switch away from Shopify:
- Freedom in Payment Gateways: Some users wish to choose their preferred payment gateway without incurring additional fees. Shopify imposes transaction fees of up to 2% if you opt not to use their proprietary payment gateway, Shopify Payments. Additionally, certain features, such as multicurrency transactions, are accessible only through Shopify Payments.
- Enhanced SEO Control: While Shopify handles basic SEO tasks well, you might desire more control over your website’s SEO, especially if organic search plays a significant role in your marketing strategy. For instance, Shopify doesn’t grant users access to and editing capabilities for robot.txt files, which dictate how Google indexes your site. As your website grows, you’ll likely yearn for more say in this aspect.
- Complex Product Catalogs: If you manage a complex product catalog with diverse attributes like multiple sizes, colors, designs, and categories, Shopify’s limitations might become evident. It caps you at 100 SKUs per product and allows just three options per product, potentially hampering your business’s growth.
- Frustration or Dissatisfaction: You might find yourself frustrated with various aspects of Shopify, whether it’s the design of the Help Center, customer support issues, or hearing about others’ negative experiences. Whatever the source of your dissatisfaction, rest assured that alternatives exist.
Essential Features to Consider in Your Next Ecommerce Platform
When evaluating alternative ecommerce platforms, it’s crucial to ensure they address your specific pain points without introducing new challenges. Here are some key features to keep in mind:
- Multiple Payment Options: Cater to diverse customer preferences by selecting a platform that offers a wide range of payment processing providers. Consider options that support transacting and settling in multiple currencies for future international expansion.
- Customization Opportunities: Your business is unique, and your ecommerce platform should reflect that. Look for platforms that allow easy customization to align with your business model and customer needs, whether you’re a coding expert or not.
- Scalable Product Catalog: Anticipate growth and choose a platform that can accommodate your evolving product catalog. Consider how well the platform integrates with necessary technologies.
Exploring Six Outstanding Shopify Alternatives
Now, let’s dive into six noteworthy alternatives to Shopify that might align better with your ecommerce goals:
- BigCommerce: Launched in 2009, BigCommerce is a flexible, open SaaS ecommerce platform suitable for businesses of all sizes. It excels in providing robust features, extensive payment gateway support, a user-friendly Page Builder, and strong SEO capabilities. While it offers fewer free themes than Shopify, its out-of-the-box features and 24/7 support make it a compelling choice.
- WooCommerce: Introduced in 2011, WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin that can transform your WordPress site into a fully functional online store. While it’s free to use, you’ll incur costs for hosting, SSL certificates, and potentially hiring developers for advanced customization.
- Magento: Founded in 2007 and acquired by Adobe in 2018, Magento offers both enterprise and small business solutions. It’s known for its extensive customization options and support from a vast network of developers. However, it requires significant technical expertise and can be costly to set up and maintain.
- PinnacleCart: Established in 2003, PinnacleCart is geared toward small to mid-sized businesses with a strong focus on marketing. It offers SEO-friendly features and unlimited products and categories, though hosting limitations may become a concern as your traffic grows.
- Shift4Shop: In operation since 1997, Shift4Shop emphasizes SEO tools and blogging capabilities. It’s an attractive option if you rely heavily on organic search traffic. However, it has a learning curve and limited support for staff users.
- Wix: Founded in 2006, Wix simplifies website building and offers ecommerce-friendly business plans. It’s a user-friendly choice, but keep in mind storage limitations and the absence of certain payment providers like Apple Pay and Amazon Payments.
Consider BigCommerce as Your Alternative
As you explore these alternatives, consider what sets BigCommerce apart. Our Agency Partners can provide valuable insights into why BigCommerce might be the perfect fit for your ecommerce venture. We’ve covered the highlights, and now it’s time to delve deeper into why BigCommerce deserves your attention.