shopify alternatives

Today, eStore owners just cannot let themselves being an ignoramus, having at their disposal dozens of web resources, tons of useful information and so many tips and tricks publicly available.

Unluckily, the path to success cannot be regarded as constant. It’s a variable, fragile, multi-component and unstable system, which may be wholly modified even by a little detail. There is no only one right approach, the winning strategy is changing on a case-by-case basis. Why does something that works with your counterpart doesn’t work with you like that? What makes various decisions affect several cases differently? How could you predict the result of measures, you’re going to take? And in what way should you develop the business strategy for increasing revenue and achieving goals? What we’re trying to tell everyone is: have the power to do what you’re doing and remember: demands of YOUR business need to come first. What does it mean? In simple terms, the system and mode of development should be prepared and based on your strategic framework mainly. Stop trying to pick up unique methods of web promotion and implement them everywhere you can. That’s not how it works! Nobody cures pneumonia with aspirin.

That’s why you have to be profoundly aware of your business requirements and tools, which can boost it as much as possible. And we will give you a hint which aspects have to be considered primarily. Compare Shopify with other Top Brands and choose your favourites. Let's find out: whether or not Shopify alternatives can try and outbid their multifunctional, powerful counterpart? Stay tuned, it’s supposed to be hot.   

Something To Brag About

To start with, let’s find out what’s the fuss about? Cart2Cart conducted the in-depth research to know exactly how much better Shopify is in comparison with other well-known online eCommerce platforms out there. Bearing in mind customer voice,  we’ve gone away and analysed the best website builders on the market to provide you with timely and accurate information, that facilitates decision-making and helps to understand correctly how good each one really is.

But before we get stuck into Shopify alternatives, let the numbers speak for themselves. On average people consider Shopify:

  1. 14% easier to use than BigCommerce;
  2. 12% easier to use than Squarespace eCommerce;
  3. 9% easier to use than Wix eCommerce.

Since its foundation in 2006, by now Shopify has been used to power 600,000 stores, over 1,000,000 active users, generated over $82bn in sales. Kind of impressive, right? But those guys seem to be peeking up steam. And a large crowd of loyal fans is the most convincing proof of the highest-quality service. 88% of merchants would recommend Shopify to a friend who’s looking to start selling online. And bling! No matter if you’re just starting out (and have no website or eCommerce experience and knowledge at all), or if you’re looking for a way to take your business to the next level, Shopify promises to have something to suit you! It is used by all types of people, from budding entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar businesses.

So what can compare to this best all-around eCommerce platform? In contrast, we’ll match Shopify to other all-inclusive, well-known website builders: WooCommerce, Magento, Squarespace, PrestaShop, BigCommerce, Volusion and Ecwid. Which of them is the leading one? Be attentive, we’ll find it out.

WooCommerce

Thanks to the overwhelming popularity, WooCoomerce creates a sort of superstar effect in the eBusiness fields. In terms of notoriety, any other sales panel can hardly be compared with the frontrunner. Today this cost-free WordPress plugin empowers millions of eStores worldwide, according to WooCommerce.com homepage, that publishes the exact number of WooCommerce downloads. Honestly, we cannot be sure how often this statistic is refreshed and it may include plugin updates as well as new installs. The current figure is 59,468,727. Probably, the counterparts got something to look forward to, right? But that’s not the end of the magic trick. No wonder WooCommerce is number one among the famous shopping carts in eCommerce usage distribution in the top 1 million sites. At present, this web site builder covers 30% of all online shops on the web, so you can rest assured you're in right hands.

Comparison Chart

Let’s start with the strong sides since we’ll always have time for turning to failures:

  1. Unparalleled scalability: going with WooCommerce, you’re never gonna be left behind your competitors. The fast growth of this platform enables users to reach the pick and stay and their best. To put it simply, WooCommerce takes a Core+Extensions approach, thus any advanced features you may need come via extensions (300+ available). Seems too good to be true? Relax, typically these add-ons are a little bit pricey.
  2. Attractive price: everyone knows that free is the best price. That’s it. BUT! You do understand, it’s not gonna work with eCommerce. It comes to business, not to charity, after all. Hidden charges, additional prices, one-time purchases and paid monthly subscriptions...they always have been, they always will be. Do your research.
  3. Large WordPress community: with such a responsive and knowledgeable team you’re bound to find all possible answers if a problem occurs. When you download WooCommerce, you join a large community of shop owners who help each other find solutions to technical issues. Furthermore, because WooCommerce is such a popular open source option, you can expect developers to be constantly adding to the pool of features and extensions. Meanwhile, this self-help form is getting a bit weak when you have a hard time figuring out how to begin. And in this case, you’ll definitely realise how limited is WooCommerce support and documentation. Response to web tickets is reportedly quite slow.
  4. Moreover, it doesn’t go so well with theme flexibility. THEORETICALLY, feel free to use any WordPress template, but you have to know, what “theoretically” means. Actually, read this as “you shouldn’t”. WooThemes work best with WooCommerce since others are pretty tough to be updated.

In this, and other matters, this platform has a room for improvement but can still be competitive with the top shopping carts.

Magento

How are you with imagination? Have you ever experienced the situation, when you bear in mind a brilliant idea, but if that becomes a reality, you’re not satisfied with the result? It’s not what you were expecting and seems to be a total failure. Forget this! Magento can create your eStore brick by brick, and finally, you won’t be able to find any differences between the imaginary and actual online shop. Being highly customizable, this shopping platform is fitted with the broadest range of web tools for creating an all-inclusive online store with a lot of admirers. Magento hosts 260,000 merchants to date. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Comparison Chart

As we’ve already said, users and developers generally love Magento. This is why:

  1. Customisation options: you can modify to personal expectations any aspect of your admin and storefront to meet your specific needs and demands. Magento has one of the most impressive feature lists you have ever seen — even the Community version is jam-packed. Here’s the full list of editions’ features: shopify competitors
  2. Before you go to download the open-source version look through all these built-in features. Sadly, but this checklist isn’t placing Magento Open Source in the limelight. That makes sense if you think about it — Magento would rather have you pay for a Magento Commerce subscription if possible. And that’s where rationality enters the arena. Are you ready to spend an arm and a leg to get the best of the shopping cart features? Maybe. But what if we tell, that you don’t need these huge expenses to achieve the result? The deal has changed, yeh?
  3. A million apps: don’t upset if you somehow can’t find what you’re looking for, chances are good that you’ll come across a solution in the Magento Marketplace. There are hundreds of ways to extend your store’s capabilities and increase sales. More than 2500 extensions are now compatible with Magento 2, but it can take a while for each add-on to catch up with the specific latest release (for instance, 2.3.x and beyond).
  4. The open-source solution with the highly engaged user community.

Honestly, just like with WooCommerce, when you add up web developer costs, web hosting, and any additional integrations, your “free” platform can become quite costly, so don’t be surprised. Besides, if you have limited tech knowledge, you might consider investing in a web developer to help you through the rough spots. It takes a while to get the hang of Magento, and coding experience is required.

Remember, that going with Magento you’ll be left alone to get rid of all bugs and errors (especially in buggy latest releases) since this website builder has no customer support. You’re on your own with Magento Open Source, support-wise.

Squarespace

Since its foundation in 2004, Squarespace has changed a lot. It has achieved enormous success since that time and now has offices in New York, Portland, and Dublin. Which features make this shopping cart so attractive to customers all over the world?

In spite of its humble origins, Squarespace has reached powerhouse status in the CMS and eCommerce industries and has been almost universally acclaimed by critics and customers alike for its highly flexible and style-oriented approach to drag-and-drop web design. Currently, Squarespace hosts millions of websites throughout the world. Some of the software’s most well-known users include Wired Magazine, Cisco, and Fast Company. It’s a golden middle between Shopify’s intuitive simplicity and Magento’s complex powerfulness.  

Comparison Chart

But let’s analyse this sales panel step-by-step, and first things first:

  1. User-friendliness: from the very beginning, we’d like to clarify, Squarespace is here to guide you through the rough spots. When deciding on the template you want to go with, you’ll be asked a series of questions regarding the purpose of your eStore. For example, you’ll have to point out whether your site is for your business, just for yourself, or for a client and answer a few questions about the nature of your site and its content. Lastly, you’ll be prompted to enter your site title. Using that information, Squarespace will tailor your template and steer it toward your stated intentions.
  2. Prominent features which contribute to the overall ease of using Squarespace: Responsive Image Loader, Progressive Image Loading, Automatic Metadata Detection, 58 customizable templates (supposed to be the most visually spectacular themes in the industry), Developer Platform, Style Editor, Blog, Shop (“Add To Cart” button), Dropbox Integration.
  3. But benefits are never the full story, and user-reported problems include low-quality customer support and frequent bugs and glitches. Users claim that once you start paying for your Squarespace website, you’d better be ready to say “bye-bye” to any legitimate customer support provided by the company themselves.

In a nutshell, Squarespace works well when it actually works. Unfortunately, there are all too frequent bugs and glitches in the system. One would hope that these bugs will be ironed out soon; for the time being, they can be fairly annoying.

PrestaShop

The last in our Shopify alternatives list is PrestaShop - a proud owner of “Cutest Logo Ever” award. It’s one more leading international shopping cart on the market now. The company’s headquarters are located in Paris with offices around the world, and PrestaShop’s 100+ employees operate in many different languages. Actually, with over 270,000 stores worldwide on board, they have no choice. PrestaShop takes advantage of a freemium business model which means one main thing - it's free to download and use.  It is worth mentioning that PrestaShop comes with 500+ features already built-in. Let’s look closer.

Comparison Chart

PrestaShop benefits include all the basics that most merchants need to launch an online business:

  1. Quick setup: definitely, PrestaShop is far from being the platform the complexity of which may cause depression. It takes a bit of time to master this platform. You’ll need to download PrestaShop, create a database, upload the software to your server using an FTP client, and then install. You can take a look at Getting Started page for more information. A fully functional demo is available;
  2. Open source (with additional expenses!): you’ve probably realised, how tricky the word “free” may be when it comes to eCommerce shopping platforms;
  3. Not for the technologically illiterate: If you dive in with little understanding of code, you’re going to have a rough time. Of course, if you have enough programming expertise to handle the code of open source solution, it could be quite an advantageous choice, but… Not all of us are born for coding, right?

Shopify

And finally, we have come to the last but not the least competitor. Undoubtedly, Shopify is one of the most intuitive, multi-function and optimised solutions.

First of all, it has on offer more than 1,200 apps.

In other words, if there’s a particular built-in feature you need that Shopify doesn’t have, you can be sure of finding it in the app store, either as a free add-on or an extra monthly charge. The importance and effectiveness of additional applications should not be underestimated. For instance, Care Cart Abandoned Recovery is a simple, robust, multi-function and reliable system that converts your Shopify store’s lost revenue by tracking all abandoned cart orders and retargeting them through automated drip emails.

It may not seem important, but the reality is more than 3 out of 4 online buyers leave a website without completing a purchase. Just think of the money you could be missing out on!

You can set your Shopify store to generate abandoned cart emails so you can rest assured you’re getting the best possible chance of making each and every sale.

This sales panel can provide you with a ton of powerful management tools, world-class apps, scalable built-in features, help people with varying levels of technical competency (so, you don’t need to spend a fortune hiring a web developer).

Going with Shopify, you’ll have complete control over how and what you want to place within your site, with the benefit of being able to change anything as and when you wish.

Bottom Line

Regarding taking the lead in this Shopify alternatives review, well, again, it truly comes down to things like your budget, selling requirements, and whether or not you’re looking for something more robust. Stop struggling to find something, that combines power, loading speed, professional design and ease of use. Each of these platforms has benefits and drawbacks, and all you have to do is realise which features are crucial personally for you. Want to grow from a small-time retailer into eCommerce empire? Give Shopify a go. And Cart2Cart can help you make it happen. Try Free Demo and find out what success really means!