Shopify Alternatives: Which Free and Paid Website Builders are Able to Replace Shopify?

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author avatar Written by Lesley Haught

If you have been wandering the web for the best ecommerce platform, you will always observe Shopify as a market leader in such lists. Maybe you are thinking of beginning your online business journey and want to get a critical analysis on Shopify. Or maybe you have used Shopify in the past and are looking for the best Shopify alternatives; then you are indeed in the right place.

What are Free Shopify Alternatives?

Shopify platform doesn’t offer any free plans for their users; however, there is a 14-day free trial period with limited access that you can use to get familiar with the structure of Shopify. You can use a few free alternatives to Shopify, but let’s be honest; no free ecommerce website builder platform or free plans of paid platforms can even begin to compete with Shopify. Find out more about Shopify pricing in my detailed Shopify review.

Platforms such as WooCommerce, PrestaShop, and OpenCart try to compete with Shopify in monetary value, but they stay short of reaching their true potential. In addition, any of these eCommerce CMS require a separate purchase of web hosting and a domain name. Therefore, calling them free alternative for Shopify is a stretch.

NOTE: Freemium open source eCommerce CMS are not as easy to use as ecommerce website builders. Even Shopify, which can be confusing for beginners, is still much easier to learn and use than any of the free eCommerce CMS.

Why are Users Looking for an Alternative to Shopify?

Shopify marketplace has many features that make it a powerful tool for exhibiting your e-commerce business. Still, if you critically observe this platform staying in the shoes of an entrepreneur or a startup, things get shaky. Some of the objectionable aspects of Shopify are:

Shopify is expensive

Shopify is more expensive than any other ecommerce website builders (almost). This is the main reason why some users would like to find an alternative to Shopify. Even its basic plan has a higher cost than other platforms – $29 per month.

Apart from this, for the website to run smoothly, various add-ons must be installed, and these add-ons have monthly subscription fees that amount to a significant running expense. It seems that shortly, Shopify will become more expensive as the number of features and options increases.

Shopify charges commision on the sold items

Whether you are selling a physical or digital product, Shopify charges commissions on the sales. There are different categories on the basis of which a percentage plus a fixed amount is charged depending on the type of transaction.

SEO issues

With Shopify, there are some issues with the SEO of your e-commerce website such as replication of page titles and content, forced URLs, limited ability to edit page titles and meta-descriptions, and some other SEO shortcomings.

Not for a beginner

Shopify positions itself as an easy-to-use website builder. But it’s not so. That huge number of features and functional options it provides makes Shopify more difficult to use than we would like. Despite the many explanatory materials, novice webmasters may find it difficult to master Shopify.

6 Best Alternatives to Shopify

After you have all the drawbacks of Shopify, you must now move on to gathering information regarding alternatives to Shopify. Below are some of the options we think will suit you:

Squarespace – Has More Beautiful Templates

Squarespace is an American website builder known for its stylish templates and beautiful designs. Squarespace was created for blogs on fashion, clothing, portfolio-building and all the industries that could use a little style.

Squarespace website builder

However, Squarespace has incorporated e-commerce tools and features as well. Ranging from food to clothing, from wedding services to law services, Squarespace has been used creatively by many users.

There are many salient features of Squarespace, but we will only note down those which make this platform a good alternative to Shopify:

Many users of Squarespace suggest it to friends and family due to its ease of use. With a drag-and-drop interface, this platform can be used by a beginner.

Squarespace has the best template library compared to other Shopify alternatives, with over 140 bundled templates

It has been deduced that this platform has unlimited bandwidth and storage space for its users.

The wizards of Squarespace help you import products from any other platform with relative ease.

If you are looking for a freebie then Squarespace is offering free domain name for 1 year and connects your store to a custom domain.

Squarespace lets you handle PayPal payments with relative ease.

Squarespace basic ecommerce plan cost is $23/month, which is $6 cheaper than Shopify. You save $72 per year. But it’s not the cheapest Shopify alternative – read on to find out which is even more affordable.

BigCommerce – No Transaction Fees

BigCommerce has gained the attention of many top online retailers globally. Some major players in US and Europe have opted for BigCommerce as their preferred tool for an online store. It’s like Shopify in many ways but its major advantage over Shopify is that it has zero transaction fees which makes it cheaper.

BigCommerce website builder

As another ecommerce SaaS platform, BigCommerce has similar features and tools as Shopify. BigCommerce is one of the best Shopify alternatives for dropshipping and creating an online store with large product inventory.

If you search the web, you will find out that BigCommerce has a couple of downsides, like it is not very easy to use and has a learning curve.

However, the plus points are:

Similar to Shopify in many aspects such as interface, pricing, and in-built sales features.

BigCommerce is widely known as a platform with no transaction fees than Shopify.

It gives its users unlimited bandwidth and storage space, which is an added benefit for larger online stores.

BigCommerce Enterprise is more out-of-the-box and instils a lot more in-built options than Shopify plus, which leads a large online store to save up a good amount of money.

As an alternative to the Shopify marketplace, BigCommerce offers advanced e-commerce analytics to the users, which help make cost-effective decisions.

Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce has a single page checkout option which enhances customers’ shopping experience.

Finally, BigCommerce lets you accept payments from multiple platforms such as PayPal.

BigCommerce basic plan cost is $29.95/month, which is even $0.95 more than Shopify. So, it’s even a little more expensive than Shopify. But unlimited Bandwidth and Storage space and the absence of any transaction fees will allow you to save much more.

WIX – Simpler Than Shopify

If you know how to use MS PowerPoint, you can surely use Wix. This is not an overstatement but a single fact that makes Wix an unstoppable and powerful market leader. Wix was created for small businesses and individuals who like to create their websites without any technical knowledge, without much hassle, and without any initial payment. Wix hardly can be dubbed as one of the free Shopify alternatives as the basic plan is free to use.

WIX website builder

Wix focused its promotions on being a freemium website builder platform, but the ecommerce plans come with a price tag. This platform has the following features as an alternative to Shopify:

Wix has the ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) interface and the most advanced drag-and-drop editor so that you can create your website with ease.

It creates your online store with a custom domain that is free to use for one year.

Unlike Shopify, Wix offers Backup and Recovery options so that your work is constantly saved automatically.

Advanced Ecommerce Analytics has been instilled in Wix for more professional decision making.

With Wix, you can accept payments through PayPal and other similar payment systems.

Wix is a cheap alternative to Shopify, because it does not have transaction fees and its ecommerce plan is also more affordable.

It lets you install a variety of ecommerce widgets from the Wix App M arket to make your online tore even more successful.

Wix basic ecommerce plan cost is $27/month, which is only $2 cheaper than Shopify. But Wix has no transaction fees and is very easy even for beginners, making it an attractive Shopify alternative.

Webnode – The Best Cheap Alternative to Shopify

Webnode is a versatile website builder which takes great pride in the ability to create websites in other languages. Not only can you build a website in 20 different languages but you can receive support in them as well.

Webnode website builder

Webnode offers a unique feature of a professional email address that will act as a support for your online store.

Webnode is amongst the best alternatives to Shopify due to the subsequent reasons:

It is very easy to use with a drag-and-drop editor. The design flexibility in comparison to Shopify is much greater with 3 levels of navigation.

Shopify is more than twice the price of Webnode which offers no transaction fees as well.

Recently Webnode has decided to launch a new version of their platform and replace the good old editor that you like a lot.

It’s an affordable website builder that allows you to create a multilingual website for a variance in your target market.

Webnode also has a backup and restore feature that Shopify has missing.

Webnode gives you a professional email address on your domain with the mini-plan and also gives a free domain for 1 year.

Users have multiple options for payment transactions especially since they can pay their payments via PayPal.

Webnode basic ecommerce plan cost – $12.90/month, which is $16.1 cheaper than Shopify. The savings for the year is impressive – $ 193.2. And of course – without any Transaction fees. Webnode is definitely the best cheap alternative to Shjopify, but there are cheaper ones out there – just keep reading.

Square Online – Available with Free Domain for 1 Year

Square Online is dubbed as from the era of technology. It is one of the cheap alternatives to Shopify and is dedicated to e-commerce. It is a more intelligent alternative as you can create an online store, promote products, manage inventory, and ship your products.

Square Online offers productive and dedicated customer services. Square online is much easier to handle even beginners can build a store without tech experience, and managing your store is truly simple.

Below are the characteristics of Square Online in comparison to Shopify:

Initially, Square online is created like Shopify specifically for e-commerce; it gives Square’s hardware and software more affordability and reliability.

Square Online is over 2.4x cheaper than Shopify ($12 vs $29/month)

You enjoy a free custom domain name for the whole year.

The flexibility is another alluring feature of Square online. You can sync your online stores; add card numbers, location, and team members.

It also handouts an unlimited number of Products, Bandwidth and Storage space.

It is perfect for in-person sellers building an online store who need POS.

The cherry on top is if you are out of range of the Internet you take advantage of offline mode and take care of your payments.

Square Online basic plan cost – $12/month, which is $17 cheaper than Shopify. That’s $204 saved every year (!). But there is a small Transaction fees: 2.9% + 30¢.

Weebly – Affordable and Versatile

Weebly was created in 2006 as a versatile website builder suitable for building any website including online stores.

Weebly website builder

At the moment Weebly is most suitable for small businesses that would like to run a parallel physical outlet and an online store setup. Weebly is based on freemium methodology, but you will get options to build an ecommerce store via Square Online in paid versions only.

Weebly is an alternative to Shopify because:

Has a web architecture suitable for building large multi-page ecommerce stores.

In comparison to Shopify, Weebly is cheaper, as it’s less more than half the price per month and doesn’t have any transaction fees.

You can add an unlimited number of products to your online inventory.

With Weebly, you can enjoy unlimited Storage space and unlimited Bandwidth.

It doesn’t have an ADI interface, but it is easy to use and understand.

Weebly offers Backup and Recovery options for your store so that you can work on your store hassle-free.

Weebly basic ecommerce plan cost – $12/month, which is $17 cheaper than Shopify. That’s $204 saved each year + no transaction fees. This makes Weebly the cheapest reasonable alternative to Shopify among all online website builders.

Comparison Chart Alternatives to Shopify

Here, for clarity, all the alternatives listed above are in the form of a table. Please note that the parameters are specified only for basic ecommerce plans. More advanced plans may have higher prices and different options.

Squarespace logo
BigCommerce logo
WIX logo
Webnode logo
Square Online logo
Weebly logo
Basic ecommerce plan name Business Standard Business Basic Standard Professional Professional
Basic ecommerce plan price* $23/mo $29.95/mo $27/mo $12.90/mo $12/mo $12/mo
Transaction fees ** 3% 0% 0% 0% 2.9% + 30¢ 0%
Ease of Use Very easy Not easy Very easy Very easy Easy Easy
Products max Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited 50GB 10GB Unlimited Unlimited
Storage space Unlimited Unlimited 20GB 3GB Unlimited Unlimited
Connect a custom domain Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free domain for 1 year Yes No Yes Yes Yes No
Backup and Recovery No No Yes Yes No Yes
Advanced Ecommerce Analytics No Yes Yes Yes No No
Accept PayPal Yes Yes Yes Yes No No

So what to choose in the end?

Just a few recommendations from me:

If you need an alternative without transaction fees but with about the same features as Shopify – pay attention to BigCommerce and Wix.

Wix is slightly cheaper and easier to use, and is more suitable for beginners.

BigCommerce will allow you to run a large online store and sync it with marketplaces and selling platforms like eBay, Amazon, ShopZilla, Google Shopping, etc.

NOTE: You can also check out the more powerful Squarespace plan – Advanced Commerce, which has no Transaction fee. Its features will also be as high as possible – since this is the maximum plan for Squarespace. The only downside is the higher price – $39/mo. But for large online stores, this can be a great solution.

If, in addition to the absence of transaction fees, a cheaper alternative is needed – look towards to Webnode and Weebly.

Webnode will give you a free domain name for 1 year and in general it has a very good set of options, including backups and advanced ecommerce analytics.

Weebly will have the same price – $12/mo, without a free domain but with unlimited downloadable products, Storage and Bandwidth.

If simplicity and ease of use are of primary importance – look towards Squarespace, Wix and Webnode.

All three website builders have a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Squarespace and Wix are roughly in the same price range and both are very easy to use.

Webnode is also simple, but somewhat inferior to the first two in terms of its capabilities. But due to this, the price is twice cheaper.

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