Reading Time: 10 min read

As time passes, Ecommerce is increasingly relevant.

Regardless of how you feel about Shopify, it’s pretty undeniable it’s the reigning ecommerce software. It’s an earned title, as Shopify packs in a very powerful set of services with its platform.

However, just because it’s the most popular doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Maybe Breitbart’s ties to Shopify are turning you off, or maybe Shopify just isn’t doing one thing you really need well enough. Maybe the feel isn’t right.

Well, don’t worry, there is a diversity of alternatives to Shopify. Their pricing varies and you can look it up easily, so I won’t be too detailed here, but they can all be worth it depending on what you want.

Each of these provides all the basics you need to have a good experience running your shop, but provide some benefits that may be far more suited to you, things that Shopify just doesn’t do as well. And of course, some of them may just click with you more.

Alternatives to Shopify

Shopify alternatives comparison at glance

Details
Shopify
Volusion
BigCommerce
LemonStand
3dcart
Staff accounts2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited2
Trans. fees2.0%No FeesNo FeesNo FeesNo Fees
StorageUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
FeaturesBAA+BA
Price$29/mo.$15/mo.$29.95/mo.$19/mo.$29.00/mo.
Move now Move now Move now Move now

Now take a thorough look at the Top 4 Shopify Alternatives:

take-a-look-shopify-alternatives

Alternative No 1: Volusion

volusion banner 2

Another good alternative for Shopify is Volusion. Something worth noting is that Volusion has a price that’s perfect for everyone. The lowest plan starts at $15/month.

This supports up to 100 products. A good deal for a smaller scale e-commerce store. While on the other hand, Shopify starts at $29/month. So if you feel Shopify is expensive, then here is a much cheaper option – Volusion.

The highest plan in Volusion- Premium which supports unlimited products costs $135/ month.

Volusion does not charge a transaction fee but limits your bandwidth.

Which means in case you run out of bandwidth, you will have to purchase a higher plan or pay for additional bandwidth. So to put this precisely; the choice between Shopify and Volusion is based on bandwidth and pricing tradeoff.

Next looking at Volusion themes, it has a good mix of paid and free themes. The paid themes are around $180, which is almost the same price as Shopify.

Both of these platforms provide extremely professional themes. The only problem with Volusion is the limited theme collection as compared to Shopify. In case you are not looking for a very heavy design e-commerce store, then Volusion does the same; effectively.

Looking at Volusion’s onboarding service, it has several relevant videos, guides, and blogs.

Volusion_Resources This is especially helpful for starters and pretty easy to browse and search for contents much similar to what Shopify offers.

Shopify offers expert services where you can outsource your e-commerce store development, however; with Volusion you can get dedicated experts work for your website building. So with Volusion, you get in-house services, which let you carry on-premise development.

Volusion has an equally good customer support as Shopify, which is again 24/7. You can reach them over email, chat or phone.

Volusion_SupportShopify has a discussion forum, something that is missing in Volusion.

However, with Volusion’s efficient customer service, not having a discussion forum hardly makes a difference.

Shopify supports more than 1500 apps, while Volusion currently has support for about 60 apps. This is a lot lesser than Shopify. Though Volusion has lesser apps, they have integrated several features into their e-commerce platform.

Which means you don’t need so many additional apps support. Volusion has supported inbuilt features for several functionalities which also includes marketing services, email newsletter, customer support and many more. By and large, I found, Volusion provides equivalent services as Shopify.

Finally taking a glance at both of these platforms customer base. Shopify supports over 5,00,000 and Volusion supports over 1,80,000 stores. Volusion has a significant track record to prove its credibility.

Feature wise comparison: Volusion vs. Shopify
Volusion
Shopify
PlanMINBASIC
Price / mo.$15 / mo.$29 / mo.
Staff accountsUnlimited2
Number of products100Unlimited
File storageUnlimitedUnlimited
Transaction feesNo Fees2.0%
Website and blogYesYes
Free Trial14 days14 Days

(Free for 14 days. No credit card. No Risk.)

 

Alternative No 2: BigCommerce

alternative-Bigcommerce

 

Ah, BigCommerce. You may have recently heard the news that the CEO has said the company will go public. It’s definitely a fine service that has grown in popularity over the years to be probably Shopify’s top contender.

To be honest, I would characterize BigCommerce, in this context, by its size. It’s a big service at a larger starting price than some people would like, but it is undeniably comprehensive in what it offers its users.

The main con of BigCommerce is the cost. If you found Shopify too expensive, you’ll probably find BigCommerce too expensive too.

The pricing plans range from $29.95 a month at the lowest (Standard) to $249.95 a month (Pro), with the fourth tier, Enterprise, being custom.

It’s true the prices aren’t different: from Basic Shopify upwards it’s practically identical to BigCommerce’s pricing plan, except the third tier of BigCommerce is actually cheaper than Shopify’s.

In addition, there’s an annual sales revenue ceiling for each price plan—if you make more than $50,000 in online sales on a Standard pricing plan, you’ll have to upgrade to Plus, where your limit will be $150,000.

Questions and Answers on Plans, Accounts, and Store Setup BigCommerce

It’s not the end of the world, but it can feel a bit unnecessary. It’s not uncommon for major ecommerce software services to do this though, to account for your increased bandwidth usage.

Aside from the overall price though, I’d say the other flaws are more minor. There is a limited number of free themes, especially compared to Shopify—only 7, in fact. There are a lot more options, but they’re going to cost you, and the even the free themes feel pretty similar.

Lastly, the customer service is 24/7 but could use more person-to-person communication, and there’s no official mobile app (but there are some third party apps that seem decent).

Customer Support-BIGCOMMERCE

Great, the pleasant stuff! BigCommerce’s pluses are basically…everything else.

If you’re only looking to pay less, BigCommerce may not quite help you out unless you’re looking at its third tier account. But if you’re looking to get more out of the same amount, BigCommerce is good.

In fact, when you upgrade an account, you don’t get many more features—you do get some, but the bulk of them are available from a Standard account onwards—just a higher sales ceiling.

Of the few extra features you do get when you upgrade though, they’re pretty sweet—like Abandoned Cart Saver, which automatically emails users who made it to the checkout page but didn’t complete their purchase, or Google customer reviews.

Abandoned Cart Saver

Other positives: there are no transaction fees, the security is killer, and there are a lot of resources provided not just to help with onboarding but also to help you stay knowledgeable and competitive even when you’re well-oriented.

Importantly, BigCommerce integrates very well with other channels, like Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, etc, even from a Standard account.

It’s easy to use too, with a pretty slick interface that actually resembles Shopify’s—so if you’re transitioning out of Shopify, it’ll be easy to work with BigCommerce.

Look, the main cons BigCommerce has are roughly similar to Shopify’s. The sales caps per pricing plan still exist, and the pricing is very similar. However, BigCommerce doesn’t have transaction fees.

What makes the difference is that BigCommerce is overall more feature-packed, and it provides more resources to its users. If you feel you’re paying too much for Shopify, it’s unlikely you’ll feel that way with BigCommerce.

Read full BigCommerce Review.

Feature wise comparison: BigCommerce vs. Shopify
BigCommerce
Shopify
PlanSTANDARDBASIC
Price / mo.$29.95 / mo.$29 / mo.
Staff accountsUnlimited2
Number of productsUnlimitedUnlimited
File storageUnlimitedUnlimited
Transaction feesNo Fees2.0%
Website and blogYesYes
Free Trial15 days14 Days

(Try it Free, No Credit Card Required)

 

Alternative No 3: LemonStand

alternative-Lemonstand

LemonStand’s big selling point is how customizable its shops are, and that should mostly set the tone for the rest of this section.

One of BigCommerce’s main downsides is also one of LemonStand’s: the sales ceiling that come with each price plan. Except, with BigCommerce, it’s the amount of revenue earned in a year, and with LemonStand, it’s the number of sales per month.

For example, instead of $50,000 a year for BigCommerce’s Standard plan ($29.95 a month) you’re capped at 75 sales a month for LemonStand’s Starter plan ($19 a month) and so on. Luckily, you get a free trial to see how you like it.

Also similarly, each pricing plan comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth, unlimited staff accounts, and unlimited products and variants. And, the core features are available from the Starter plan up.

LemonStand pricing plan

Frankly, I’d say that LemonStand has a fundamental difference from Shopify: Shopify is made to be a lot more accessible to just about every entrepreneur, whereas LemonStand is geared towards a more specific type.

More clearly, LemonStand’s biggest con in ease of use is also its biggest pro in customization—it really depends on your own situation whether this will make LemonStand good for you or not.

It’s geared towards those who want to take design into their own hands. It’s highly customizable, but you’ll need to know coding.

customized-lemonstand

Of course, it’s still a great service, don’t get me wrong, you just need a little know-how to really make best use of it. But if you can really use it the way it’s meant to be, you’ll really get your money’s worth.

Having said all that, it’s otherwise mostly straightforward in terms of the UI, and the customer service is pretty solid.

Relative to Shopify, I’d say it offers its users a much greater degree of control. It has a solid package of features bundled in even from the Starter plan (albeit there’s some stuff it could add), and the themes are totally open source, allowing you probably the best customization options of the foremost ecommerce platforms.

Ultimately, it depends on your business needs: if you’re looking for simplicity and a quick shop of smaller scale, Shopify is okay. But if you want outstanding control over your shop, LemonStand is a great platform for minor tradeoffs.

Feature wise comparison: Lemonstand vs. Shopify
Lemonstand
Shopify
PlanSTARTERBASIC
Price / mo.$19 / mo.$29 / mo.
Staff accountsUnlimited2
Number of productsUnlimitedUnlimited
File storageUnlimitedUnlimited
Transaction feesNo Fees2.0%
Website and blogYesYes
Free Trial14 days14 Days

 

Alternative No 4: 3dcart

alternative-3dcart

3dcart may be less known than LemonStand, BigCommerce, and Shopify, but it is by no means worse than any of them. As always, let’s go with the cons first though.

Unfortunately, 3dcart used to have a cheaper entry-level option that packed a lot more into it at nearly the same price as Shopify Lite. Indeed, the overall pricing structure was more complicated, but everything’s been simplified and there are now four tiers that are essentially identical to Shopify and BigCommerce.

Unlike Shopify and BigCommerce, there are limits on the amount of staff accounts, and only the fourth pricing tier, Enterprise, allows unlimited staff accounts (as with BigCommerce, the fourth tier’s price is negotiable, depending on your business needs).

Despite the free templates, supposedly they’re mostly pretty bland and customization is something you’ll have to invest in. Personally, I think the free templates are, if not stellar, still fine.

3dcart's theme

Customer service has been criticized for being slow and sometimes unresponsive, but it seemed decent to me. They will charge you a lot for live onboarding help, though.

Good stuff? You still get a feature-rich package, and there are a lot of free themes. All the good things you want to run your e-store will be there for you. Additionally, 3dcart integrates with far more payment gateways than Shopify or BigCommerce.

Basically every feature is available to every pricing plan, and increased bandwidth is the main reason you’d upgrade your account (it’s a similar to BigCommerce in this sense).

Why am I mentioning 3dcart as a Shopify alternative? 3dcart isn’t notably cheaper anymore, but the first tier packs in far more features than Shopify and possibly even BigCommerce. It’s got a different feel, which might be what you need.

Feature wise comparison: 3dcart vs. Shopify
3DCART
Shopify
PlanBASICBASIC
Price / mo.$29.95 / mo.$29 / mo.
Staff accountsUnlimited2
Number of productsUnlimitedUnlimited
File storageUnlimitedUnlimited
Transaction feesNo Fees2.0%
Website and blogYesYes
Free Trial15 days14 Days

Winner:

#2. BigCommerce

Winner-PNG

(Recommended)

I have used BigCommerce in many of my other projects and have found them to be quite good.

Their servers are quite fast & their customer support is very responsive.

BigCommerce should be your No 1. choice if you are looking for a good “Value for Money”

Conclusion:

Ultimately, all of these services offer something Shopify doesn’t. They all have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and will offer more to some entrepreneurs than others.

BigCommerce as an alternative:

BigCommerce is an alternative that I consider to be overall very strong with few defining weaknesses. Nothing’s perfect, but its main flaws—limited free themes, no official app, sales caps, and the pricing that’s barely cheaper than Shopify’s—are ultimately minor.

In exchange, you get a ton of features for all account plans, good security, no transaction fees, a straightforward UI, and solid customer support, with lots of resources to keep you informed even if you’re an experienced user.

Good luck!

Summary
Review Date
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
The following two tabs change content below.

Chris Wagner

Chris Wagner has 7 years of experience as Network Administrator. His areas of interest includes Servers, Network Management and Cloud Computing.