The 5 Best Shopify Alternatives in 2021

phone on table next to a computer

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 May 2021

You’re shopping around for alternatives we’ve got the solutions you need.


Whether you’ve tried and disliked Shopify, or simply fancy an alternative, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve carried out extensive research into a whole scope of Shopify alternatives, whittling them down to just five.

In our research, we hand-tested each platform – including Shopify – and invited everyday users to try them too. We used those findings to score each platform out of five in key areas such as sales tools, design functions, value for money, and help and support. We also developed a customer score, which indicates how likely our participants are to recommend that platform.

Below, check out our colour-coded comparison table to see all of these scores – and which of the platforms outperformed or fell below Shopify, and in which areas. Then, read on for detailed reviews of one, informed by our research and testing, including real life examples of businesses using that platform.

The top Shopify alternatives comparison 2021

Ecommerce platformSales features /5Design functions /5Value for money /5Help & support /5Customer score /5Overall rating /5Price plans
Shopify4.73.83.83.84.64.2£22 – £219/month
BigCommerce4.43.64.03.23.04.3£22 – £220/month
Wix4.33.54.24.84.54.3£13 – £22/month
Squarespace4.04.44.93.34.14.1£20 – £30/month
Square3.82.23.52.64.13.7£0 – £54/month
GoDaddy3.74.03.33.84.33.6£19.99/month

Key

Green – better than Shopify

Amber – close enough

Red – you're better off with Shopify

Why choose a Shopify alternative?

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms out there, but it’s not for everyone. As you can see from our comparison table above, it doesn’t offer the best value for money, and it could provide stronger design tools and help and support. Shopify’s multitude of features and relatively expensive price plans could also be overkill for building small online stores – to counter this, we’d recommend using Wix or Squarespace.

Unlike most of its rivals, Shopify imposes its own transaction fees on top of the regular credit card company fees, unless you use its payment processor, Shopify Payments. Shopify also relies on third-party apps for lots of its functionality (unlike BigCommerce), which can add unnecessary costs to your monthly bill. These are just a few reasons, but read on below as we examine each of the Shopify alternatives in more detail…


1. BigCommerce

Best Shopify alternative for medium-to-large businesses

PlatformSales featuresDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer score /5Overall ratingPrice range /monthFree trial?
Shopify4.73.83.83.84.64.2£22 – £21914 days
BigCommerce4.43.64.03.23.04.3£22 – £22015 days

bigcommerce logo

BigCommerce is the most natural Shopify alternative, suitable for small, medium, and large businesses alike. However, it betters Shopify in two key areas: transaction fees and in-built features.

Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce waives its own transaction fees on all of its supported payment processors (of which there are over 65, including Stripe, PayPal, WorldPay, and digital wallets like Apple Pay). Instead, you only pay the regular credit card company fees.

BigCommerce also offers everything you need to sell, ship, and advertise as an in-built feature. In contrast, Shopify charges an extra 2% per transaction on its Basic plan (£22 per month), going down to 1% on the Shopify plan (£58 per month).

With Shopify, you might need to install third-party apps to get some extra functionality, whether it’s in areas like email marketing or customer reviews. This can see your monthly costs quickly add up.

In summary, BigCommerce is slightly better value for money than Shopify and is arguably the best platform for large companies in general.

Pros:

  • Provides far more in-built features than Shopify, which relies on apps
  • Imposes zero transaction fees on all payment processors, unlike Shopify
  • Offers fantastic multi-channel integration, helping you sell to multiple audiences

X Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer a mobile app to help you manage your store on the go, unlike Shopify
  • Interface isn’t as user-friendly as Shopify’s
skullcandy bigcommerce example
Skullcandy - BigCommerce customer

BigCommerce pricing

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Standard£22/monthStarting a small or medium-sized online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

Multichannel selling

Coupon creation

Reporting tools

Plus£59/monthGrowing your online store

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Customer loyalty programmes

Store credit card payment details

Pro£220/monthScaling your business to new heights

Filter products through size and colour variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google reviews

BigCommerce is the best Shopify alternative for fast-growing businesses looking to scale start selling on bigcommerce

2. Wix

Best Shopify alternative for small businesses

PlatformSales featuresDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer score /5Overall ratingPrice range /monthFree trial?
Shopify4.73.83.83.84.64.2£22 – £21914 days
Wix4.33.54.24.84.54.3£13 – £2214 days

Wix logo

Given its creative freedom and drag-and-drop design, Wix is the Shopify alternative for you if you know exactly how you want your storefront to look.

A quick note: Wix dropped points in the design functions category because it’s impossible to change templates once you go live, unlike with Shopify. Still, Wix offers a larger selection of templates than Shopify, with 71 of its 500+ templates coming with in-built ecommerce capabilities such as check out buttons.

Outscoring Shopify in our value for money research, Wix has far cheaper price plans and offers more comprehensive customer support, making it one of the very best ecommerce platforms for small businesses.

However, Wix doesn’t have the sales-specific tools to match Shopify. For instance, it only supports multi-channel selling via Instagram as an in-built feature.  To remedy this, you can install the Ecwid app (£0 to £99 per month, depending on the size of your store) onto your Wix store to gain access to ecommerce features that rival the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce. 

Pros:

  • Much easier than Shopify to design your brand image the way you want
  • Far cheaper price plans than Shopify
  • Offers more comprehensive help and support than Shopify, to ensure you’re never stuck for long

X Cons:

  • Not ideal for building medium to large online stores, unlike Shopify
  • The amount of creative freedom can feel daunting
  • Relies on the Ecwid app in order to match Shopify in the sales tools department
celebs on sandwiches wix example
Celebs on Sandwiches - Wix customer

Wix pricing

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Business Basic£13/monthSmall businesses looking to sell online

Unlimited bandwidth

20GB storage

Free domain for one year

Upload up to 5 hours of video

Site Booster app (to help improve your site’s visibility on search engines)

Visitor Analytics app

£75 Google Ads voucher

Sales analytics and reports

Business Unlimited£16/monthGrowing businesses

35GB storage

Upload up to 10 hours of video

Professional logo

Pro ecommerce features such as automated tax sales

Business VIP£22/monthMedium to large businesses

50GB storage

Upload unlimited video hours

Priority response on the Wix Answers page

VIP support

Wix is ideal for building beautiful, small online stores without costing the earth Start selling on Wix

▶ Read more: Full Wix Review


3. Squarespace

Best Shopify alternative for creating a beautiful website

PlatformSales featuresDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer score /5Overall ratingPrice range /monthFree trial?
Shopify4.73.83.83.84.64.2£22 – £21914 days
Squarespace4.04.44.93.34.14.1£20 – £3014 days

Squarespace logo

Squarespace is one of the finest Shopify alternatives for creative and cost- conscious users, offering the most professional-looking templates we’ve ever tested, with affordable price plans to boot.

In fact, Squarespace is the best value for money platform we tested, offering price plans ranging from £20 to £30 per month, with the ability to sell digital and service-based products, while offering multi-channel integration via Instagram. This is one of the many reasons why we rate Squarespace as the best platform for selling subscriptions.

In contrast to Shopify, though, you may find your business outgrowing Squarespace if you plan to scale quickly. In that case, we’d recommend opting for BigCommerce instead, or installing third-party services onto your Squarespace store, such as Zapier – which connects your apps to automate your repetitive tasks – to help bolster your ecommerce and finance capabilities.

Pros:

  • Enables you to design an ecommerce store that really stands out
  • The best value for money platform we tested
  • Offers much sleeker templates than Shopify

X Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve than on Shopify
  • Supports only two payment processors (Stripe and PayPal) compared to Shopify’s 100+ options
Fiele Fragrances squarespace example site
Fiele Fragrances - Squarespace customer

Squarespace pricing

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Basic Commerce£20/monthSMBs looking to sell online

Point of Sale app to help you sell in person

Selling via Instagram

‘Limited availability’ labels

0% transaction fees

Advanced Commerce£30/monthMedium-sized ecommerce businesses

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Sell subscription products

Advanced shipping features (including a real-time cost calculator)

Squarespace is the best Shopify alternative for designing stunning online stores start selling on squarespace

▶ Read more: Full Squarespace Review


4. Square

Best free Shopify alternative

PlatformSales featuresDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer score /5Overall ratingPrice range /monthFree trial?
Shopify4.73.83.83.84.64.2£22 – £21914 days
Square3.82.23.52.64.13.7£0 – £54Free plan

Square logo

Offering a generous free plan, which comes with multi-channel integration and the ability to sell unlimited products, Square is one of the best free Shopify alternatives.

You should choose Square over Shopify if you want to use one of the best free ecommerce platforms, you don’t mind having a simple website, and you want to be able to build your online store within a couple of hours. 

Other than that, Square is underwhelming compared to Shopify, especially when you look at the available payment processors. Square only supports one (Square) on the free plan, with PayPal available on the other plans, while Shopify supports over 100 on all plans.

Pros:

  • Enables you to sell online for free (you only pay 1.9% per transaction)
  • Quicker to build a website than on Shopify
  • Represents good value for money with its combination of strong features and affordable plans

X Cons:

  • Very limited customisation compared to Shopify
  • Large transactions when you don’t use Square’s payment processor
  • Lacks the prompts and supports found on Shopify when designing your store
Square website screenshot
Sheek Studio - Square customer

Square pricing

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll getTransaction fees
Free£0/monthSmall stores selling for freeSell unlimited products

Instagram and Pinterest integration

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Professional£9/monthElevating your brand with a custom domainUse your own domain name

No Square branding or ads

Free custom domain for one year

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Performance£19/monthGrowing your businessHave customer reviews on your site

Recover lost sales with abandoned cart emails

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Premium£54/monthScaling your business with lower transaction feesSave with lower card transaction fees

1.75% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Square is the best free Shopify alternative by a long way start selling on square

5. GoDaddy

Best Shopify alternative for quick and easy design

PlatformSales featuresDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer score /5Overall ratingPrice range /monthFree trial?
Shopify4.73.83.83.84.64.2£22 -– £21914 days
GoDaddy3.74.03.33.84.33.6£19.99One month

godaddy logo

GoDaddy is one of those Shopify alternatives that uses speed and agility to paper over its creative cracks.

With GoDaddy’s ADI (artificial design intelligence) feature, you can have a website that’s ready to go live within minutes, once you’ve answered a few questions about how you want your site to look. Yes, it’s lightning quick, but you won’t be able to customise your site as much as you can on Wix or Squarespace.

GoDaddy does provide all the basics you need to start selling online, though, including multi-channel selling via eBay and Amazon.

Pros:

  • No surprise fees, unlike Shopify’s transaction fees and third-party app costs
  • Quickest and easiest ecommerce platform we tested
  • Allows you to create up to five backups of your website

X Cons:

  • Very limited creative control due to the ADI feature
  • Lacks the quality in its ecommerce features offered by Shopify
  • Cannot sell digital products, unlike on Shopify
coco river godaddy example
Coco River - GoDaddy customer

GoDaddy pricing

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Ecommerce£19.99/monthSelling online

Send up to 25,000 marketing emails per month

Flexible shipping options

Add discounts and promos

24/7 support

Stuck for time? GoDaddy is the quickest and easiest Shopify alternative out there start selling on godaddy

How to choose a Shopify alternative

As you can see from our research results and comparison tables, there are some important areas to think about when choosing an alternative to Shopify.

You need to consider:

  • The quality of sales tools
  • Template and design flexibility
  • Value for money
  • The help and support options
  • Ease of use

The right Shopify alternative for you depends on your budget and skill level, and the amount of time you have spare to build your website. For instance, Wix, Square, and GoDaddy are quick and easy to use, offering affordable price plans as well.

At the steeper end of the learning curve are BigCommerce and Squarespace. The former can help you create an ecommerce empire, while the latter gives you the tools and templates to create a web-designer-worthy website.


Expert verdict

We’ve shown you the best Shopify alternatives, backed up by our independent research and participant testing. You might already know which one you should pick, but let’s quickly recap what we’ve discussed.

The 5 best Shopify alternatives are:

  1. BigCommerce – best for medium-to-large businesses.
  2. Wix – best for small businesses.
  3. Squarespace – best for creating a beautiful website.
  4. Square – best free Shopify alternative.
  5. GoDaddy – best for quick and easy design.

BigCommerce is the best Shopify alternative for building medium or large online stores, while Wix is the better option for small businesses. Squarespace has the tools you need to create a stunning website, Square is the best free Shopify alternative, and GoDaddy is the quickest and easiest solution, thanks to its ADI tools.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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