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8 Best Shopify Alternatives: E-Commerce Platforms for Online Business

Shopify is one of the western world’s best-known e-commerce platforms. The Ottawa-based company’s 2019 annual report showed more than $640 million in subscription revenue from hundreds of thousands of merchants in 2019, an increase of more than 20% over the previous year.

Shopify is the go-to e-commerce solution for hundreds of thousands of small and midsize businesses. But it’s not the only option — far from it. And, as any merchant who’s used its tools knows, Shopify is definitely not the cheapest e-commerce provider on the block. Satisfied customers would argue that you get what you pay for, but budget-conscious small-business owners can’t afford to ignore lower-cost competitors.

Before you throw in your lot with Shopify, check out this list of  Shopify’s most legit competitors.

Top E-Commerce Alternatives to Shopify

In no particular order, these are the top alternatives to Shopify. Most require merchants to sign up for paid subscriptions, but some stick to the “freemium” model and allow smaller shops to get by without a recurring monthly charge.

1. Volusion

  • Payment Options: All major U.S. credit card networks, PayPal, Stripe, and others;  contact Volusion for a complete list
  • Transaction Fees: None, but credit card processing fees still apply
  • Additional Fees: Various fees for optional one-off services (Quick Wins), such as Google Analytics training ($200) and image ad asset creation ($100)
  • Hosting: Hosted
  • Coding Required: No
  • Ideal For: Smaller businesses looking for a professional, customized look and third-party integrations

Plans and Pricing

Volusion has four paid plans, plus a customized Prime solution for enterprise customers. All begin with a 14-day free trial and offer unlimited products and storage capacity. A 10% discount applies to plans paid quarterly.

  • Personal Plan: $29 per month. Personal supports phone and manual orders and integrates with drop-shipping solutions (direct shipments from the warehouse to the customer).
  • Professional Plan: $79 per month. Professional supports bulk ordering and orders processed through fulfillment centers.
  • Startup Plan: $179 per month. Startup supports everything in the lower-priced plans, plus eBay and Amazon integrations and $50 in monthly Quick Wins credits.
  • Business Plan: $299 per month. Business customers get a dedicated customer success team, traffic growth consultation, and $150 in monthly Quick Wins credits.
  • Prime: Prime pricing is customized. Users enjoy real-time support via Slack and can add multiple administrators to their accounts.

Although Volusion doesn’t have a free plan, its entry level Personal plan costs about as much as Shopify’s basic plan. The shop design process is pretty hands-on and requires no coding, so even the most tech-averse, design-blind shop owners have little trouble putting together professional-looking stores. However, anecdotal feedback from Volusion users suggests that the platform isn’t super user-friendly once shops are up and running.

Like Shopify, Volusion doesn’t charge transaction fees, which is a big advantage over the competition. And there are no required or hidden fees other than the monthly membership fee, although Volusion pushes its paid Quick Wins services, offering monthly credits against them to merchants in higher-cost plans.


2. SquareSpace

  • Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards, Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and others; contact SquareSpace for a complete list
  • Transaction Fees: 3% for Business plan users; none for Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plan users. Credit card processing fees still apply.
  • Additional Fees: Additional fees for domains and email accounts purchased through SquareSpace (not required as part of any membership plan)
  • Hosting: Hosted
  • Coding Required: No
  • Ideal For: Businesses of all sizes seeking all-in-one website builder and e-commerce solutions

Plans and Pricing

SquareSpace has three online store plans. All come with annual payment discounts — 30% for Business and 13% for Basic and Advanced Commerce.

  • Business: $18 per month when paid annually. Includes unlimited products and bandwidth and integrates with specialized third-party apps such as OpenTable.
  • Basic: $26 per month when paid annually. Includes unlimited products and bandwidth and a checkout portal on your own domain (rather than SquareSpace’s).
  • Advanced: $40 per month when paid annually. Includes everything in the basic plan, plus abandoned cart auto-recovery, a subscription sales feature, and more.

SquareSpace isn’t just an e-commerce platform — it’s a full-service website builder that caters to small and midsize business owners. Many businesses use it to design professional-looking websites at low cost, without assistance from pricey developers or designers.

SquareSpace sets itself apart with crisp, attractive themes and an intuitive design process that requires no coding whatsoever. Its Business plan is significantly cheaper than Shopify’s basic business plan, and higher-priced plans include value-added features — such as integrations with third-party cloud services like the OpenTable reservation platform — that many competitors lack. Its Basic and Advanced Commerce plans also waive transaction fees for customers using third-party payment processors.

If you’re operating on a tight budget, check out SquareSpace’s Personal website builder plan, which starts at $12 per month. SquareSpace doesn’t offer sophisticated e-commerce tools at this price point, but it’s a good starting point for solopreneurs.


3. CoreCommerce

  • Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and others; contact CoreCommerce for a complete list
  • Transaction Fees: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, regardless of plan level. Fees apply to CoreCommerce’s CorePayments Processing solution only — other gateways have different fee structures.
  • Additional Fees: 0.5% plus $0.10 per transaction fee for payments not processed through CorePayments
  • Hosting: Hosted — a semi-dedicated server is available
  • Coding Required: Not essential, but CoreCommerce provides coding support for an additional fee
  • Ideal For: Larger companies and smaller firms looking for a fully customizable solution

Plans and Pricing

CoreCommerce has four plan levels. We can’t include every detail here, so check the company’s pricing page for the full picture. A 10% discount applies to plans paid annually.

  • Basic: $29 per month. Includes 10 products and unlimited storage.
  • Pro: $79 per month. Includes 300 products and 30 minutes of onboarding support.
  • Business: $229 per month. Includes unlimited products, 60 minutes of onboarding support, and 30 minutes of monthly custom programming support.
  • Enterprise: Customized pricing. Includes 90 minutes of onboarding support and 90 minutes of monthly custom programming support.

CoreCommerce is all about scale. While its smallest plan is designed for independent, small-time sellers, its largest plan has the firepower to support enterprise-grade e-commerce platforms. In between, there’s room for just about everyone else.

CoreCommerce has dozens of free custom themes and more than 100 integrations with leading payment gateways, logistics companies, social media platforms, customer relationship management solutions, and more. It’s also customizable to a greater extent than most other e-commerce solutions, which is great if you have in-house developer talent or the budget to upgrade to a plan that offers monthly credit for programming support.

CoreCommerce is pricier than most competitors. Your plan level depends in part on how many different products you sell, so if you’re running a full-time operation, you’ll likely need the $79-per-month Pro plan at least. That said, you get what you pay for — the term “feature rich” doesn’t even begin to describe CoreCommerce.


4. BigCartel

  • Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Square (in-person only), cash (in-person only)
  • Transaction Fees: Varies depending on payment processor
  • Additional Fees: Possible listing fees for Gold plan users
  • Hosting: Hosted
  • Coding Required: No, but theme codes are customizable
  • Ideal For: Lower-volume sellers in creative industries

Plans and Pricing

BigCartel has four reasonably priced plans. Big sellers should take note of the Titanium plan’s 500-product limit.

  • Gold: Free. Limit of five products with one image per product.
  • Platinum: $9.99 per month. Allows 50 products with up to five images per product and additional features like bulk product editing.
  • Diamond: $19.99 per month. Allows 250 products and all the features and capabilities of the Platinum plan.
  • Titanium: $29.99 per month. Allows 500 products and all the features and capabilities of the Diamond plan.

BigCartel is an e-commerce solution by and for creative people. It claims nearly 1 million active makers, designers, musicians, and other artists as customers — an impressive portfolio in a notoriously volatile industry.

BigCartel is explicitly designed for lower-volume sellers — often craftspeople and artists who sell products made by themselves or by people they know. Because you can’t sell more than 500 distinct products on BigCartel, the platform isn’t appropriate for larger enterprises with lots of goods.

On the bright side, BigCartel has lots of capabilities offered by higher-volume, higher-priced competitors. Custom store themes confer a professional, bespoke look. Paid plans come with custom domains, so you don’t have to direct customers to “yourstore.bigcartel.com.” A seamless Facebook integration lets you sell directly through the world’s largest social media network — although always be mindful of the ground rules of good social media etiquette. And a mobile app lets you take orders and process payments in person — a powerful capability for creatives who close lots of sales at trade shows, fairs, festivals, and similar gatherings.


5. 3dCart

  • Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards and more than 200 gateway options; contact 3dCart for a full list
  • Transaction Fees: None, but credit card processing and gateway fees may still apply
  • Additional Fees: Nonrequired a la carte services may cost extra, such as dropshipping support ($9.99 per month)
  • Hosting: Hosted
  • Coding Required: No
  • Ideal For: High-volume sellers and smaller sellers looking to scale

Plans and Pricing

3dCart has five plans. All plans allow for unlimited products, bandwidth, and file storage. Plans paid yearly are discounted 10%.

  • Startup: $17.10 per month when paid annually. Allows one staff user and up to $50,000 in annual online sales. Additional benefits include bulk quantity discounts, single-page checkout, and integrations with third-party apps like Quickbooks.
  • Basic: $26.10 per month when paid annually. Allows two staff users and up to $100,000 in annual online sales. Additional features include daily deals, group deals, and an affiliate program.
  • Plus: $71.10 per month when paid annually. Allows five staff users and up to $250,000 in annual online sales. Additional features include an abandoned cart saver, store credit, and a rewards program.
  • Power: $116.10 per month when paid annually. Allows 10 staff users and up to $500,000 in annual online sales. Additional features include a waiting list and back-in-stock notifications.
  • Pro: $206.10 per month when paid annually. Allows 15 staff users and up to $1 million in annual online sales. Additional features include pre-orders and shipment delivery notifications.

3dCart is a feature-rich, premium e-commerce solution built for ambitious sellers. The cheapest plan is $19 per month ($17.10 when paid annually), which is a bit better than Shopify. And you get good value: unlimited products and bandwidth across all plans, professional-grade SEO, dozens of custom themes, comprehensive logistical support, clutch software integrations including eBay and MailChimp, CRM support, customer reviews, tax and accounting support, and much more.

With a dizzying array of payment partners (more than 200) and a slew of useful integrations — not just eBay and MailChimp, but also Facebook, Google Customer Reviews, and others — 3dCart is built for savvy sellers serious about maximizing their market reach.

3dCart isn’t for everyone. There are cheaper, less involved options for smaller-time sellers.


6. Ecwid

  • Payment Options: U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Square, and more; contact Ecwid for a full list
  • Transaction Fees: None, but processing fees may apply
  • Additional Fees: Nonrequired a la carte services may come with additional fees, such as online store setup ($100 and up)
  • Hosting: Hosted or self-hosted, depending on which plan you choose
  • Coding Required: No, but may be necessary to customize shops
  • Ideal For: Smaller businesses looking for a lightweight, turnkey solution

Plans and Pricing

Ecwid has four plans, including a solid free option. All plans, including the free option, include unlimited bandwidth. There’s a roughly 17% discount for plans paid annually:

  • Free: The free plan includes simultaneous selling, integrates with any website, and allows 10 products.
  • Venture: $12.50 per month when paid annually. Includes an abandoned cart saver, mobile point of sale, built-in discount coupons, and other value-added features. Allows 100 products.
  • Business: $29.17 per month when paid annually. Includes staff accounts and other advanced features. Allows 2,500 products.
  • Unlimited: $82.50 per month when paid annually. Comes with all Ecwid features and unlimited products.

Ecwid is a lightweight e-commerce platform designed to integrate seamlessly with popular website builders like WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. You can use Ecwid’s plugin to add a secure cart to an existing website or build a new store with Ecwid’s out-of-the-box Starter Site package, a single-page e-commerce portal with professional themes and a super-intuitive editor. Ecwid also integrates with Facebook. The Business and Unlimited plans integrate with some other popular online marketplaces, including eBay and Google Shopping.

Ecwid isn’t as easily customized as some competitors. If you want to significantly alter the look and feel of your chosen theme, you need to customize the CSS code. That may involve a learning curve or paying a programmer.

On the bright side, Ecwid has a decent free version with unlimited bandwidth, simultaneous selling on multiple sites, and support for up to 10 products. The free plan’s biggest drawback is probably the lack of advanced SEO tools, which is a problem for business owners relying on organic traffic directly to their stores. The Venture plan, which costs less than 50% of Shopify’s base plan when paid annually and does include SEO, is fine for most small businesses.


7. BigCommerce Essentials

  • Payment Options: U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Square, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Adyen, and more than 200 others; contact BigCommerce for a complete list
  • Transaction Fees: None, but credit card processing fees may apply
  • Additional Fees: PayPal transactions may cost extra — up to 2.9% plus $0.30, depending on the plan
  • Hosting: Hosted
  • Coding Required: No
  • Ideal For: Growing businesses and established enterprises looking for a scalable e-commerce solution

Plans and Pricing

BigCommerce Essentials has four plans. All come with unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts. There’s a 10% discount on Plus and Pro plans paid annually.

  • Standard: $29.95 per month. Includes online marketplace and social media integrations, single-page checkout, coupon and discount features, product ratings and reviews, and more. This plan allows up to $50,000 in gross sales on a trailing-12-month (TTM) basis.
  • Plus: $71.95 per month when paid annually. Allows up to $180,000 in gross sales (TTM).
  • Pro: $269.96 per month when paid annually. Accommodates up to $400,000 in gross sales (TTM).
  • Enterprise: Customized pricing and a negotiable gross sales limit — contact BigCommerce for quotes.

BigCommerce Essentials — distinct from BigCommerce, which serves established companies — is built for growing businesses. With dozens of free themes and an intuitive editor that requires no coding or specialized knowledge, BigCommerce Essentials makes it easy for lean companies to get their e-commerce operations up and running. It also has an unusually large partner app network — you can download hundreds of useful apps, such as MailChimp and ShipStation, with a single click. Robust backend support sets BigCommerce Essentials apart from less feature-rich e-commerce solutions.

BigCommerce Essentials is pricier than many competitors, but the package speaks for itself. If you’re already an established e-commerce player, look into the fully customizable Enterprise plan option, which BigCommerce Essentials claims is always cheaper than comparable Shopify plans.


8. WooCommerce

  • Payment Options: U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Payments, Stripe, and many more; contact WooCommerce for a complete list
  • Transaction Fees: None, but payment processing fees may still apply
  • Additional Fees: Variable fees for premium themes and extensions — for instance, the customizable Powerpack bundle costs a one-time $69 fee
  • Hosting: Self-hosted (requires an existing WordPress website)
  • Coding Required: No, but may be necessary to customize out-of-the-box stores
  • Ideal For: Growing businesses looking for scalable, fully customizable solutions and comfortable with the effort necessary to create bespoke online stores

Plans and Pricing

WooCommerce’s basic Storefront product is free to download, but pretty much everything else you need to run a functional online store carries recurring or one-time fees.

WooCommerce bills itself as “the most customizable e-commerce platform for building your online business.” Although WooCommerce is not markedly easier to customize than some other flexible competitors, the tagline reveals something about WooCommerce’s approach — namely, that it’s trying to carve out a niche among growing sellers looking for bespoke e-commerce solutions.

With more than 30 million downloads, WooCommerce claims to support some 28% of all online stores. Its basic package is free, which is obviously great news for frugal sellers. And the platform is built on WordPress, so it’s intuitive to use and boasts a built-in blogging feature — a nice addition to any content marketing arsenal. All you have to do to get started is download the free plugin.

WooCommerce’s Achilles’ heel is the relative inflexibility of its out-of-the-box Storefront platform. If you want to customize your Storefront, you need to spend a lot of time downloading and purchasing the right extensions.


Final Word

These aren’t the only viable e-commerce platforms for small-business owners. In fact, some of the biggest names in e-commerce aren’t on this list. I’m looking at you, Amazon. You too, eBay.

These are intentional omissions. Selling your products on Amazon and eBay — the so-called “Big Two” of online retail — is fundamentally different from hawking goods on any of the platforms listed here. If you think the Big Two are a good fit for your needs, check out our post on 10 eBay selling tips to maximize your profits.

I also failed to mention Etsy, the Internet’s best-known e-commerce platform for independent makers. If you make and sell your own products, an Etsy store can dramatically increase your visibility and reach — even if you continue to supplement it with a general-purpose e-commerce platform.

Ultimately, you know what your customers want. As you narrow down your e-commerce shortlist, keep the customer’s needs front and center.

Which e-commerce platform does your company use? What has been your experience with the platforms on this list?

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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