The 5 Best Shopify Alternatives in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 February 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.£22 – £219/month
BigCommerce4.£22 – £220/month
Wix4.£13 – £22/month
Squarespace4.£20 – £30/month
Square3.£0 – £54/month

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.£22 – £21914 days
BigCommerce4.£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.


  • 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.£22 – £21914 days
Wix4.£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.


  • 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.£22 – £21914 days
Squarespace4.£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.

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.


  • 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.£22 – £21914 days
Square3.£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.


  • 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
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.£22 -– £21914 days
GoDaddy3.£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.


  • 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.

The 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Large Companies

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 25 February 2021

We’ve carried out in-depth research into the best ecommerce platforms for large companies, and the results are in…

In this chaotic COVID era, you don’t have time to search for and test different software yourself. That’s why we’ve conducted extensive research into the best ecommerce platforms for large companies, rigorously testing them and creating unique overall ratings out of five for each one.

We finalised our ratings by hand-testing each platform’s sales tools and website functions, and examining their inventory management and marketing features, paying particular attention to their multi-channel integrations. For large companies, these are the most important areas of ecommerce.

Below, you’ll find a quick overview of the five platforms that topped our research results, followed by individual reviews and real life examples of large companies using that platform.

The best ecommerce platforms for large companies:

Ecommerce platformBest forLarge business price plan Bespoke plan?Overall rating /5
BigCommerceBest for international growth£220/monthBigCommerce Enterprise4.4
ShopifyBest for inventory management£219/monthShopify Plus4.3
WixBest value for money£22/month4.2
WooCommerceBest for building a store from scratch Custom pricingAlready bespoke4.1
SquareBest for simplicity£54/month4.0

BigCommerce (4.4/5)

Best for international growth

toyota bigcommerce example
Toyota – BigCommerce customer

BigCommerce review

Used by household names like Ben and Jerry’s and Toyota, BigCommerce is clearly one of the best ecommerce platforms for large companies.

In our testing, we were impressed by its seamless integration with all the main social media channels, plus Amazon and eBay, which could help your store reach enormous audiences across the globe.

BigCommerce also provides lots of SEO (search engine optimisation) guidance while you’re uploading products, so you can improve your site’s visibility on Google’s results pages. Your business can scale even further by signing up to the bespoke ‘Enterprise’ plan, with pricing based on your annual sales figures.

Don’t forget, these are all in-built features that are being continually updated, so there are no unexpected costs to worry about – unlike with Shopify, which relies on third party apps for some ecommerce functions. Another plus for BigCommerce is that, in contrast to Shopify, BigCommerce waives its own transaction fees. 

Though it dropped points due to our research participants finding it difficult to use, and restrictive in terms of design flexibility, BigCommerce’s significant advantages mean it’s still the best ecommerce platform for large companies.


  • Offers a wider choice of in-built features than any other platform, helping your business grow without unexpected costs
  • Brilliant SEO prompts and tips when you’re adding products
  • Superb multi-channel integration, exposing your business to billions of active users worldwide

X Cons:

  • Editing interface could be much easier to navigate, and there is no ‘undo’ button for anything other than text updates
  • The only platform that doesn’t provide a mobile app to help you grow on the go
  • Relatively restrictive design control

BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial period and three price plans, with the ‘Pro’ plan aimed at large companies. It also offers an ‘Enterprise’ plan for businesses earning over £300k per year, with custom pricing.

It’s worth noting that BigCommerce is the only platform that requires certain revenue brackets for your business to qualify for each plan.

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll getRequired revenue (past 12 months)
Pro£220/monthFilter products with colour and size variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google review on your site

0% transaction fees

£130k – £300k
EnterpriseCustom pricingPriority customer support

API support

Price lists

0% transaction fees

99.99% web hosting uptime

BigCommerce is designed to help large companies like yours grow across the globe Start Selling on BigCommerce

Shopify (4.3/5)

Best for inventory management

heinz shoify example
Heinz – Shopify customer

Shopify review

Currently supporting the websites for Heinz and The Economist, Shopify is another heavy-hitting platform.

That’s no surprise when you consider Shopify’s powerful and user-friendly inventory management features. We particularly liked how you can upload multiple products at once, generate daily revenue reports, and view all your multi-channel sales in one place.

Shopify’s multi-channel selling is excellent – enabling you to sell via Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, and more – but you will have to install additional apps to do so (in contrast to BigCommerce). You’ll also need to install an app if you want to sell subscription-based products.

While Shopify supports an impressive 100+ payment processors, making it easier for your business to make sales across the globe, you’ll need to pay transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments (again, unlike BigCommerce).


  • Powerful and customisable inventory management features to make your company’s growth even easier
  • Offers the best sales-specific features of any platform we tested
  • Far more user-friendly than BigCommerce

X Cons:

  • Transaction fees imposed unless you use Shopify Payments (unlike BigCommerce)
  • Required to reformat your entire site should you change templates after going live
  • Costs of installing apps can quickly soar

Shopify pricing

Similar to BigCommerce, one of Shopify’s three price plans is aimed at large companies, while it also offers a bespoke plan, ‘Shopify Plus’, for businesses generating £1,500 or more per month in revenue:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Advanced Shopify£219/month

0.5% transaction fees (unless using Shopify Payments)

Advanced reports

Third-party calculated shipping rates

Shopify PlusCustom pricing

Support 10,000 transactions per minute

Manage up to 10 stores at once

Shopify Plus Academy training guides and customer support

Shopify has incredible inventory management tools to help your large business scale Start selling on Shopify

Wix (4.2/5)

Best value for money

logmein wix example
LogMeIn – Wix customer

Wix review

Ensuring the success of your large business means cutting costs where you can, which is where Wix comes in. Its value for money also makes it an excellent alternative to Shopify.

Wix is far cheaper than BigCommerce and Shopify, and provides SEO guides, intuitive design tools, and access to the Ecwid app (costing £0–£99 per month, on top of your Wix subscription, depending on the size of your store), which gives your site powerful ecommerce tools to rival the more expensive platforms – all on a £22 per month price plan, which is actually Wix’s most expensive.

Like Shopify, Wix relies on third party apps for most of its multi-channel integration, which will increase your monthly costs. It’s also worth remembering that you’ll be unable to switch templates after you’ve gone live, but you are able to preview your site before publishing.


  • Offers more creative freedom than Shopify and BigCommerce, allowing you to build and convey your brand message with ease
  • Add product videos to help improve the customer’s experience
  • More affordable than BigCommerce and Shopify

X Cons:

  • The amount of creative freedom can become a hindrance when trying to adhere to ecommerce best practice
  • Relies on apps for most of its multi-channel integration
  • Syncing your physical inventory is harder than on Shopify or BigCommerce

Wix pricing

Wix offers a 14-day free trial period and three ecommerce-specific plans. The most suitable plan for large companies is the Business VIP plan (remember you can install the ECWID app for extra ecommerce functionality):

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Business VIP£22/month

50GB storage

Unlimited video footage hours

Priority response on Wix Answers

VIP support

Collect 3,000 customer reviews

Wix is brilliant value for money and can help your large business cut costs Start selling on Wix

WooCommerce (4.1/5)

Best for building a store from scratch

all blacks shop woocommerce example
All Blacks Shop – WooCommerce customer

WooCommerce review

WooCommerce is the ecommerce plugin that turns your WordPress site into a powerful online store.  As an open-source platform, it’s free to install and you can build a totally unique website from scratch, as long as you know how to code, or hire a web developer to help you.

Unlike using website builders (that’s every other platform on this article), you’ll need to source and pay for your own web hosting (we recommend Bluehost), security, and domain name.  You’ll also need to handle all your site’s updates and maintenance, but that should be simple work for your IT department.

That said, WooCommerce is not for tech beginners, but it does offer limitless customisation, which can help you create a truly bespoke website without relying on templates.


  • Limitless customisation, allowing you to create a truly unique online store
  • Free to install (but you’ll have recurring costs to consider like web hosting, security, and other apps)

X Cons:

  • By far the least beginner-friendly platform we tested
  • Self-hosted platform which means you’ll need to handle all the updates and maintenance yourself

WooCommerce pricing

As an open-source platform, WooCommerce offers no set price plans. It’s free to install, but you’ll need to pay for different services in order to build a successful online store:

  • Web hosting (we recommend Bluehost at £14 per month)
  • Domain name (£10 per year)
  • Security (£8 per year)
  • Themes (£0 to £100+)
  • Other plugins (£0 to £300+per year)
  • Web developer fees (£70+ per hour)
WooCommerce enables you to create a truly unique online store for your large business start selling on woocommerce

Square (4.0/5)

Best for simplicity

the salon square example
The Salon – Square customer

Square review

In stark contrast to WooCommerce is Square, the all-in-one package that’s ideal for time-conscious users.

It's the best ecommerce platform for large companies that need a new website built within an hour, and don’t mind using one brand (Square) to provide both the online store and payment processor. Square packs a punch for such a simple platform, offering multi-channel integration, abandoned cart recovery emails, and excellent revenue and traffic reports. 

However, it does appear quite restrictive when you consider its limited design options, and its single available payment processor (you can install PayPal on the most expensive price plans, though), which isn’t ideal for large companies.


  • Easiest platform to use when you don’t stray far from the site’s generated design
  • In-built insight dashboard providing data on sales, customer journeys, and recovered sales via abandoned cart emails
  • Excellent marketing features for such a simple platform

X Cons:

  • Lacks prompts and tips to help you get started
  • There are no templates so you are restricted to the site’s generic design
  • Expensive transaction fees if you don’t use Square’s payment processor

Square pricing

While it’s one of the best free ecommerce platforms, we recommend that you sign up to at least the ‘Premium’ plan, which is aimed at large companies:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get



Customer reviews

Instagram and Pinterest integration

Abandoned cart recovery emails

1.75% transaction fee for European cards

2.9% transaction fee for non-European cards

Square is the ideal solution for your large business if you're stuck for time start selling on square

Expert verdict

Following an extensive period of research and testing, we’ve selected and reviewed the best ecommerce platforms for large companies available in the UK. You may already know which platform is right for you, but let’s recap the top three…

BigCommerce is our top recommendation, and is the best option for international growth, providing everything you need to scale your business as an in-built feature.

In close second is Shopify and its superb inventory management tools, followed by Wix and its combination of affordable price plans and impressive ecommerce features.

The main reason these are the best ecommerce platforms for large companies is because they provide multi-channel integration. This feature is crucial for your business in reaching new audiences across the world and boosting sales, which is what running a large company is all about.

Dan Barraclough

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

The 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Subscriptions

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 25 February 2021

Read on for everything you need to know about the best ecommerce platforms for subscriptionsno subscription required…

Finding the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions requires a little research – you can’t just select any old software and expect it to offer what you need. Thankfully, we’ve done all that research for you.

We thoroughly tested a wide range of ecommerce platforms to see which of them deliver the best features for businesses selling subscriptions online. Thanks to our in-depth research, not only will we recommend the best platforms, but we’ll advise on the different price plans you should choose, and the apps or features you should use.

The 5 best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions

Ecommerce platformRequired price planExtra app/feature needed?
SquarespaceCommerce Advanced  (£30/month)No
WixBusiness Unlimited (£16/month)

Business VIP (£22/month)

SquareAny (£0 – £54/month)Recurring Invoices feature
ShopifyAny (£22 – £219/month)Yes – we recommend PayWhirl 
BigCommerceAny (£22 – £220/month)Yes – we recommend Rebillia Platform

Ready to subscribe to more info? Great. Let’s look at each platform in more detail…

1.  Squarespace – Commerce Advanced plan (£30 per month)

Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions because it offers the best value for money. 

It has the best ecommerce features of any ‘non-ecommerce-specific’ website builder, offering everything you need to start selling subscriptions, already in-built, at just £30 per month.

During our testing, we particularly liked the order automation feature – once a customer purchases their first subscription, Squarespace then handles all the subsequent orders, meaning you don’t need to worry about follow up emails or rebilling issues.

Squarespace might not be quite as simple to use as Wix or Square, but it also offers the sleekest templates of any platform we tested, enabling your subscription boxes, packages, or membership deals to truly stand out from the competition.

Read Full Squarespace Review

squarespace subscriptions


  • Excellent multi-channel integration – sell your subscriptions via Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and more
  • No extra app costs to worry about, unlike with Shopify or BigCommerce
  • Order automation feature means you don’t need to worry about rebilling or sending follow up emails

X Cons:

  • You cannot create free subscription products
  • Wix has more affordable price plans
  • Supports just two payment processors, compared to Shopify’s 100+ options

How to offer subscriptions on Squarespace:

  1. Sign up to the Commerce Advanced plan.
  2. Enable the customer accounts feature, so visitors can save their details on your website.
  3. Sell only physical or service-based products (you can’t sell digital subscriptions).
  4. Use Stripe as your payment processor (it’s not possible through, PayPal, Squarespace’s only other supported payment processor).
Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions that we tested Start Selling on Squarespace

2. Wix – Business Unlimited (£16 per month) or VIP plan (£22 per month)

The (close) second-best ecommerce platform for subscriptions is Wix, the user-friendly option that offers two suitable, affordable price plans to choose from.

On Wix, you can add product videos to help visitors better understand your subscription products, customise your template to your heart’s content, and make use of its SEO Wiz tool, which provides prompts to help your website rank higher on the search engine results pages.

However, Wix has weaker multi-channel integration than Squarepsace. You’re only able to sell via Instagram, but you can install apps to help you sell through other channels.

Overall, Wix is an affordable and easy-to-use option for you to start selling physical and service-based subscriptions.

Read Full Wix Review

wix subscriptions


  • Add product videos to improve the buyer’s experience
  • Excellent SEO tools to help search engine users find your business more easily
  • More affordable price plans than Squarespace, Shopify, and BigCommerce

X Cons:

  • Multi-channel integration could be stronger
  • Cannot switch templates after you go live unlike on Squarespace, Shopify or BigCommerce
  • Amount of creative freedom can feel daunting at first to tech beginners

How to offer subscriptions on Wix:

  1. Sign up to the Business Unlimited or Business VIP plan.
  2. Connect to a payment processor that supports recurring payments (Wix Payments, IsraCard, Stripe, or PayPal).
  3. In the dashboard, visit Products > Create a Subscription.
  4. Sell physical or service-based products (you can’t sell digital subscriptions).
Wix is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world sell subscriptions on wix

3. Square – using the Recurring Invoices feature on any plan

Square price plans from from £0 per month to £54 per month

Short on time and watching your budget? Then Square might be for you.

It offers a totally free plan that comes with multi-channel integration to help you sell via Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and you can have your site created within an hour. On this plan, you simply pay 1.9% per transaction instead of a monthly fee, making Square one of the best free ecommerce platforms we tested.

Square is excellent value for money, but you should know that there’s very little design flexibility and there aren’t any templates, so you should use Wix or Squarespace if you want to spend time designing a unique storefront. What’s more, Square’s process for setting up subscriptions isn’t nearly as seamless as it is on the other platforms (we explain how to do it below).

Having said that, we found that Square also offers excellent in-built email marketing features, which can really help you promote new subscription services and gain more sales. 

square subscriptions


  • Generous free plan with multi-channel integration, making it excellent value for money
  • Offers useful in-built dashboard to help you keep track of your subscription sales
  • Quicker and easier to build a site than any other platform on this article

X Cons:

  • Limited design and customisation because there are no templates
  • Only supports one payment processor on the free plan (PayPal is available on the other plans)
  • Enabling subscriptions isn’t as seamless as on the other platforms

How to offer subscriptions on Square:

With Square, there’s no ready-out-the-box ‘subscription’ option, like there is on Wix and Squarespace. Instead, you need to set up a recurring invoice series, which is still simple to do, but it does require some extra steps:

  1. Go to Invoices on your dashboard.
  2. Click Recurring > Create Recurring Series.
  3. Select a customer from your directory, or enter new details (you can only enter up to nine customers at once).
  4. Choose the customer’s card you’d like to charge from the Invoice Method drop-down.
  5. Toggle Allow Automatic Payments.
  6. Select start date, recurrence frequency, and the end date.
Watching your budget? You can start selling subscriptions for free on Square Start selling on square

4. Shopify – using the PayWhirl app on any plan

Shopify price plans range from £22 per month to £219 per month

Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce website builders on the market, so why isn’t it the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions?

First things first – Shopify came top in our ‘sales features’ research, offering the best sales-specific features of any platform.  You can sell your subscriptions via social media platforms and online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Plus, you’ll get an online invoice generator to help you take payments more easily.

On the downside, you’ll need to install a third-party app to start selling subscriptions on Shopify.

Installing an app is an extra cost to consider on top of Shopify’s price plans, and it’s another set of your own subscriptions to juggle. However, using apps can enable you to sell digital products, unlike on the other platforms.

Read Full Shopify Review

shopify paywhirl app


  • Superb multi-channel integration with all the main social media platforms including Facebook Messenger, plus Amazon and eBay
  • Best inventory management features of any platform we tested, helping you upload products and ship orders with ease
  • Access to app market makes it more customisable than Squarespace or BigCommerce

X Cons:

  • Relies on apps for subscription capabilities, which can get expensive on top of its price plans
  • Transaction fees imposed unless you use Shopify Payments
  • Price plans aren’t as affordable as Squarespace, Wix, or Square

How to offer subscriptions on Shopify:

  1. Visit the Shopify app store.
  2. Search for ‘subscriptions’ in the search bar.
  3. Select an app (we recommend PayWhirl, scoring 4.8/5 in the Shopify app store thanks to its generous fee plan and a 14-day free trial on its premium plans).
  4. Click Add app.
Shopify has brilliant sales-specific tools to help you sell more subscriptions start selling on Shopify

▶ Read more: What are the best Shopify alternatives?

5. BigCommerce – using the Rebillia Platform app

Another powerful platform, BigCommerce is designed to help your business scale into an ecommerce empire. 

It offers the widest range of in-built features of any platform we tested, with unrivalled data reports and zero transaction fees to boot (unlike Shopify, which imposes its own fees unless you use Shopify Payments). Yet, it’s still not the very best ecommerce platform for subscriptions.

For all its in-built features, you’ll still need to install an app to start selling subscriptions. Again, this is another cost to consider on top of BigCommerce’s price plans, which are already the most expensive in this article. However, that’s simply because it’s the best platform for large companies.

bigcommerce rebillia platform app


  • Has widest choice of in-built sales features of any platform we tested, helping you scale your subscription business with ease
  • Zero transaction fees on all price plans, unlike with Shopify
  • Multi-channel integration across all the main social media platforms

X Cons:

  • Requires an app to start selling subscriptions, which can add to your monthly costs
  • The most difficult-to-use platform in this article
  • No mobile app to help you sell on the go, unlike every other platform here

How to offer subscriptions on BigCommerce:

  1. Visit the BigCommerce app store.
  2. Search for ‘subscriptions’ in the search bar.
  3. Select an app (we recommend Rebillia Platform – it was designed specifically for BigCommerce stores, and is the highest-rated ‘recurring payments’ app by users, starting from £15 per month).
  4. Click Get This App.
BigCommerce can help turn your subscription-based business into an ecommerce empire Start selling on BigCommerce

Expert verdict

We’ve shown you the best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions, backed up by our independent research and user testing. Now, you should have a clearer idea of  which one your business should subscribe to. Let’s just recap what we covered.

The best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions are:

  1. Squarespace (on the Advanced Commerce plan).
  2. Wix (on the Business Unlimited or VIP plan).
  3. Square (using the Recurring Payments feature).
  4. Shopify (by installing an app).
  5. BigCommerce (by installing an app).

Out of them all, we recommend Wix or Squarespace. These platforms provide everything you need to start selling subscriptions already in-built, while also offering superb marketing tools to help you start reaching more subscribers more easily.

Dan Barraclough

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

Business Recycling: How to Manage Your Commercial Waste Responsibly

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 22 January 2021

Get acquainted with the who, what, and how of commercial recycling in 2021

Recycling: the data’s in, and it doesn’t reflect well on UK businesses.

Recent studies suggest that not only does a whole quarter of England’s entire waste output come from enterprise organisations, but as many as nine in ten businesses don’t have a green policy in place.

Yet it's difficult to see why UK companies are dragging their heels here. Commercial recycling has so many benefits, ranging all the way from the noble (the planet, boosting employee morale) to the downright self-serving (saving you lots of money, and improving public perceptions of your business).

So read on to find out how to handle your business’s recycling, and learn more about the types of waste you can recycle in the UK.

We’ll also shine the spotlight on one of the country’s leading providers of affordable waste management services, and you’ll be able to compare commercial recycling quotes that are tailored to your business, too.

How to handle my business’s recycling

Did You Know?

It’s over 30% cheaper to recycle than it is to create general waste.

The business case for recycling is obvious – with landfill taxes rising year on year, straight up waste disposal isn’t all that cheap anymore. Plus, the cultural, environmental, and hygiene advantages of commercial recycling all speak for themselves.

So just how do you handle your business’s recycling?

Basically, your options boil down to either doing it yourself, or outsourcing it to a third party company. If you’re keen on the latter, we’d recommend exploring our guide to the best waste management companies in the UK. Or, you can skip to our top business recycling company recommendation below.

But more on that soon.

If the DIY route is more your thing, stay put – because it’s time to talk about waste transfer licences.

1. Get a waste transfer licence

Firstly, any form of commercial waste disposal – whether that’s recyclables, confidential documents, or general rubbish – doesn’t come free.

If you:

  • Transport waste (a carrier)
  • Buy, sell, or dispose of waste (a dealer)
  • Arrange for someone else to buy, sell, or dispose of waste (a broker)

… then you need a waste transfer licence. This applies to not just regular waste, but recycling, too.

Failure to register as either a waste carrier, dealer, or broker can result in fines of up to £5,000. Plus, disposing of your business’s rubbish without this licence constitutes fly tipping – an act which can land you with a fine of up to £50,000, or an unwanted shoutout in the local paper.

If you plan on keeping your business’s recycling in-house, you’ll need to register as a waste carrier. This costs £154 to do.

Licences are also divided into upper and lower tiers. If your business’s recycling responsibilities fall into the former category, you’ll need to renew your registration every three years, at the cost of £105.

You’d better make sure all the details on your application are correct before you submit them, too – updating them after the fact will cost you an extra £40!

2. Separate your recycling from your general waste

Now your licence is sorted, it’s time to start recycling. But to do that, you’ll need to make it as easy as possible for you and your staff to segregate recyclable materials from the regular old rubbish.

By far the most straightforward way of doing this is to use colour-coded bins.

Colour-coded business recycling containers

Colour-coded bins help you keep rubbish out of the recycling (and vice versa), and make it simple for your staff to get on board with.

They’ll also help you separate out the different types of recyclable materials, allowing you to keep your dry mixed recycling away from the glass.

We’d also recommend removing personal employee bins, and placing recycling containers in strategic points around your building. Locating the paper box next to the printer, for instance, is a match made in sustainability heaven.

You can also implement a mini recycling rewards scheme, to incentivise your staff to cut out old, lazy habits.

3. Reduce and reuse

Okay, so recycling gets most of the plaudits. But what about the other two ‘R’s’? Don’t they deserve a little love?

As a matter of fact, they do. Reducing and reusing are really the foundations for any successful recycling policy, and are even baked into the Environment Protection Act’s waste management hierarchy.

Infographic visualising waste hierarchy

A couple of ways you can apply these principles at work are:

  • Reducing the amount of rubbish you produce. This includes getting rid of cheap, single-use plastic (straws, we’re looking at you!), and, if necessary, modifying some of your existing admin processes. Laminated paper, for instance, can’t be recycled – can your business do without?
  • Reusing items you no longer need in fun, creative ways. Whether that’s keeping misprints to use as scrap paper, or re-employing an empty glass jar as a plant pot, try to regularly engage your staff in your sustainability efforts.

For more tips on how to achieve this, check out our guide to reducing plastic pollution at work.

What type of waste can I recycle?

The type of waste you can recycle at your business is divided into two main categories; dry mixed recycling, and glass.

You can also secure special arrangements to recycle textiles, wood, inert waste (such as bricks), and WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).

Dry mixed recycling

This includes:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Tins
  • Plastic bottles
  • Cans

This does not include:

  • Glass
  • Black refuse bags
  • Wood
  • Waxed paper cups
  • Liquids
  • Textiles
  • Polystyrene
  • Food waste


Glass bottles aren’t only good for holding refreshing beverages. They’re great for the economy, too – if you recycle, that is. Research estimates that, for every 100,000 tonnes of glass recycled, 500 jobs are created.

Moral of the story: recycle your glass!

These are the types of recycling available to UK businesses. For the types of waste removal, see our separate article.

The best companies for business recycling

Chosen to outsource the handling of your business’s recycling? You’ve made a good choice… a really good choice.

Firstly, you won’t have to deal with the expense – or the hassle – of acquiring a waste transfer licence. Secondly, when you sign up with a waste management provider, they’ll provide your bins for you. Thirdly? Well, you’ll get not only your business’s recycling sorted, but your rubbish, too.

This allows you to satisfy your business’s Duty of Care (as described in Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990), as well as fulfil your moral and spiritual obligations to the planet.

Plus, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to outsourcing your business’s recycling and waste management. You’ve probably already heard of the ‘Big Five’, after all – a kind of cabal of the industry’s biggest suppliers, which includes names such as Biffa and Veolia.

But, while these huge, transnational service providers have a monopoly over recycling collection services in the UK, our top pick is a company with a more homegrown flavour. Introducing…


Newcastle-based CheaperWaste provides glass collection and dry mixed recycling services to UK businesses. On top of that, its rubbish disposal services are also pretty fab, with food waste, skip hire, and confidential waste disposal all available. The company is also going strong throughout COVID-19, too, supporting its customers by continuing to operate throughout the pandemic. CheaperWaste has even added PPE and COVID-19 test kit disposal to its litany of services, to complement its existing hazardous and clinical waste collection offerings.

To find out more, head to our dedicated CheaperWaste review – updated for 2021, and boosted with videos and case studies for your reading pleasure.

Compare quotes from commercial recycling providers

There’s no easier way to say it. Outsourcing to a waste management company just makes things easier.

The process of obtaining accurate quotes for your business, though – and comparing multiple suppliers accordingly – isn’t so simple. Trawling the net for opaque pricing info, wading through a sea of open tabs, braving the brain-numbing, repetitive drone of on hold ‘music’… who’s got the patience for that?

Not us. That’s why we came up with a better way to get quick quotes from leading companies. Keen to try it out?

Simply provide us with a few details about your business by answering the first question of our quote-finding quiz below. It’ll only take about 30 seconds, and it’s designed to give us a better idea of your requirements.

Understanding exactly what you’re looking for in terms of a business recycling solution helps us to help you. Our algorithm will only match you with the waste and recycling collection suppliers that are the right fit for your business, to save our time – and yours.

These suppliers will then be in touch to provide quotes and advice that are all completely tailored to your requirements.

And the best part? It’s free – you just have to be based in the UK to be eligible.

Happy researching!

Compare Quotes From Leading Commercial Recycling Providers and Save
It takes just 30 seconds...
1. Have you outsourced your business's recycling before? YES NO
Dan Barraclough

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

How Much Does a Website Really Cost?

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 6 January 2021

Having a website that you’re proud of and which accurately reflects your brand is one of the most important aspects of any business. That's how important well-thought-out web design has become it can give your business that boost it needs to overtake the competition.

In the UK, 71% of survey participants said they had been visiting shops less frequently due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. So, with fewer consumers visiting the high street, it's more important than ever that your business builds an online presence to cater to this consumer shift.

Did You Know?

Ecommerce will make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023.

There is still a lot of confusion over how much a website does, and should cost – do you need to spend thousands, or could you get away with building it yourself? And if you do pay to have a website designed, what are the ongoing costs? We get it. It’s hard to know where to start, and your research gives conflicting results.

We’ve explored all the costs involved in setting up and maintaining websites of all different sizes to give you a clearer idea.

website designer
Designing a sleek website for your business is crucial for success online

Website designers prices

You can expect your website to cost between £200 and £10,000 in total, depending on the type of website you want to create. There are several different types of website, but for the purpose of this article we've broken them down into four different categories; basic, small business, ecommerce and bespoke.

How much does a website cost?

The cost of your website will depend on the type of site you need, and the number of features you require. However, to give you an idea of how much you'll need to spend, we've provided the average costs of using a web designer for different websites below…

Web designer prices accurate as of October 2020.

Type of website


Designer cost


  • 1-5 mobile responsive pages
  • Contact page
  • Landing page

£200 – £500

Small business

  • Several pages
  • Social media integration
  • ‘Google my Business’ page
  • Google Analytics and Maps

£500 – £1,000


  • Ecommerce tools
  • Order management system
  • Delivery tracking functionality
  • Live chat

£1,000 – £2,500


(banking, architecture sites etc) 

  • Advanced functionality
  • Unlimited sub pages
  • Bespoke design
  • Database population

£2,500 – £10,000

Get Free Quotes and Save Money on Your Next Website
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Do you currently have a website live? YES NO

Of course, the cheapest option for building and maintaining a website is the DIY option. There are several website builders on the market which allow you to create a website from scratch, for free, with no technical experience. Website builders are great for creating a simple site that can fit into a pre-designed template (e.g. restaurant, online shop). However, for a more sophisticated and unique website we would always recommend using an experienced web developer.

So, how much does a website cost?

Website builder costs

If you are keen to avoid the expense of hiring a professional web designer, consider using a website builder to create your site. Website builders are tools that allow you to quickly and efficiently create an attractive looking website. With website builders, all the technicalities are taken care of. Web hosting is provided by the website builder provider, and you can simply drag and drop elements around your page, without knowing how to code.

Another key benefit to using website builders is their low cost. Nearly all our recommended website builders offer a free version of their product, which will allow you to create very basic websites. However, in order to build a professional-looking website, we'd recommend upgrading to a premium plan which typically costs between £10 and £20 a month, offering greater customisation and more features.

Note that creating a website this way means you will be kept within the constraints of the web builder itself. For more powerful, complex or unique websites, we recommend hiring a web designer.

Website BuilderBest ForStarting PriceStar Rating
WixAll-roundFree plan
SquarespaceExcellent Templates£10/month
WeeblyEase of UseFree plan
1&1 IONOSChoice of Templates£5/month
Sitebuilder.comKeeping it SimpleFree plan
Site123Speedy Set-upFree plan

basic website prices icon

How much does each type of website cost?

In this section, we'll explain the costs you can expect to pay for a basic, business, ecommerce, and bespoke websites when using a web designer or website builder platform.

Cost of a basic website

A basic website is made up of one to five pages, and requires only very simple functionality. They are ‘brochure style’ websites. In addition to the core pages, they will have a contact and landing page. They should also be mobile responsive, but it’s always worth checking that this is included in the design price.

Basic websites are great if you’re after a very simple, stripped back online presence. It is a place to showcase your business, and receive enquiries. Think of it kind of like a modern day business card.

You can go down several routes when creating your basic website. Each option has its own pros and cons:

Build your own

Website builders have become more prevalent and sophisticated in recent years. They are now a legitimate option for businesses and individuals alike. Other than a clear cost benefit, website builders also allow you to get a website up and running in just a few hours, with no prior design experience required. Check out our round-up of the best website builders for small businesses.

Web design agency

Design agencies are typically very reliable and experienced. Creating websites is their bread and butter, and they have it down to a fine art. They are the perfect option if you want a basic website but lack the time or skills to make one yourself. Agencies provide a quote for the project as a whole, making it really easy to compare offers.

You Could Save by Comparing Web Design Quotes
Do you currently have a website live? YES NO

Freelance developer

Using a freelance developer is another option for creating your basic website. Finding a freelancer may take a little more research, but you can typically enjoy a more personalised service. You will find, however, that a freelancer won’t have the broad range of experience that an agency does. They will also typically charge per hour (£15 – £75). This can make it hard to predict the total cost.

Offshore web company

Using an offshore web company is definitely one of the cheapest options (£5 – £20 per hour). However, they are often a lot less reliable than the other options. Always be wary of offers that sound too good, or cheap, to be true.

When creating your website, bear in mind how your needs will change over the next few years. If you are planning to expand your company, or predict future surges in the number of visitors, mention this when requesting quotes to ensure you get a website that is future-proof.

The cost of a basic website will roughly be:

Cost of a Basic Website
Upfront costs
Design£200 to £500
Domain£2.99 to £100 / year
Total Upfront Cost£202.99 to £600
Ongoing costs
Hosting£3 to £45 / month
Content Updates£0 to £10 / month
Total Ongoing Costs£3 to £55 / month

Of course, these prices depend very much on both the size and the complexity of your site. When requesting a quote, try to be as specific as possible and ensure that you get the total cost. Transparency in the early stages of the web design process between both you and your designer ensures everyone is on the same page, and will help prevent costly amendments further down the line.

cost of a small business website icon

Cost of a small business website

A small business website is the perfect size for a business that requires a little more than just a very basic website, or one which is looking to upgrade from their existing basic website. ‘Small Business Websites’ are also brochure style, but are far more feature-rich.

Such features may include: integrating social media, responsive design, a content management system, google analytics and google maps, ‘google my business’ capability. They will also have more pages than a basic website, and again will be designed to be mobile responsive.

Small business websites are perfect for businesses that are likely to update their content regularly. This makes them the perfect choice for startups, freelancers or any growing organisation.

The cost of a small business website will roughly be:

Cost of a Small Business Website
Upfront costs
Design£500 to £1,000
Domain£2.99 to £100 / year
Total Upfront Cost£502.99 to £1,100
Ongoing costs
Hosting£3 to £45 / month
Content Updates£0 to £30 / month
Total Ongoing Costs£3 to £75 / month

Paying for a well-designed website isn’t a guaranteed formula for internet success. Once you have your completed website, we recommend that you reinforce your presence with regular marketing and content updates, in order to keep visitors coming back to your site. Allotting a monthly budget of time and money can be a great way to ensure that this doesn’t get forgotten.

When choosing a web design company for your small business website, select one with experience in working with other small businesses. Otherwise, you may find yourself lumbered with fancy features that won’t actually offer you any real benefit.

Again, website builders are a great option for creating your small business website. Wix categorises its templates by industry, making it really easy to find the one that’s right for you.

cost of an ecommerce website icon

Cost of an ecommerce website

The cost of ecommerce websites can vary massively. The price is impacted by the number of items you want to stock, and the number of varieties of each item that are available. It will also, of course, depend on the number of additional features that you want to incorporate. You can expect an ecommerce web design to include an order management system, delivery tracking functionality and a live chat facility, in addition to the features included in a small business website.

When commissioning your ecommerce website, really think about what you want from your new site. Will this website make up most of your brand’s presence – do you want people to hang around, to read blog posts, to engage with your social media? Do you expect people to return to your site? Or will it be more of a stripped back ‘one-stop shop’? Do you expect a lot of your customers to shop on mobile, or mostly on desktop?

Cost of an ecommerce website
Upfront costs
Design£1,000 to £2,500
Domain£2.99 to £100 / year
SSL certificate£15 to £250 / year
Total Upfront Cost£1,017.99 to £2,850
Ongoing costs
Hosting£10 to £350 / month
Content Updates£0 to £60 / month
Total Ongoing Costs£10 to £410 / month

In addition to the usual maintenance, hosting, domain and design costs, we suggest you also factor in the cost of an SSL certificate. This will add another layer of security to your website, and help to reassure customers.

Having a SSL certificate gives your site a ‘https’ prefix, instead of the usual ‘http’. The ‘s’ stands for secure, and it’s something we’re increasingly seeing sites move towards. An SSL certificate also means you have a padlock icon in the address bar. It means your customers will take your website seriously, and so will Google. You should check that your web designer will include this as part of the package.

Again, being as specific as you can about your requirements will help you arrive at an accurate quote early on. It can be hard to guess at the price of an ecommerce website due to the many variables involved.

The easiest way to get the right price for your website is by comparing free quotes. We can help you there. Simply fill in this short form and tell us what you'd like from your website, and we'll match your business with trusted web designers that suit your requirements. They'll then be in touch with non-obligation quotes for you to compare. It's simple!

bespoke website costs icon

Cost of a bespoke website

Bespoke websites are great for larger companies requiring more functionality, with a higher number of visitors or with more information to share. I know what you’re thinking – surely all websites are bespoke? Well, that’s not necessarily true.

For smaller websites without any complex requirements, a web designer can normally repurpose an existing web template for your business. In this case, the website is tailored, but not bespoke. A truly bespoke website is built from scratch to an original and unique set of requirements. Need a bespoke website with ecommerce functionality? Take a look at the section above for a breakdown of ecommerce website costs.

Bespoke websites are database driven. They have advanced functionality and unlimited subpages (pages created within the subcategories of your site). They will almost always be required by businesses in certain industries, including financial services, recruitment or property companies, health and fitness businesses, and architects. This list is by no means exhaustive – any business requiring complex functionality may well find that they fall into the bespoke price bracket.

Bespoke websites will also take mobile responsiveness to the next level, creating a ‘fluid’ design that may look completely different on mobile. As over 50% of searches are conducted on mobile, making this experience as great as possible for your customers should definitely be a priority.

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When requesting a bespoke website, it is highly beneficial to work with a dedicated partner. Unless you have a strong relationship with a talented freelancer, we would definitely recommend looking for an agency to work with. This ensures you are getting the best possible service and that they understand your business and what you are trying to achieve. It’s even more vital that you get a quote for the project as a whole, rather than a ‘per hour’ rate. This is because larger projects have the potential to produce time consuming problems that are out of your control as a customer.

Cost of a Bespoke Website
Upfront costs
Design£2,500 to £10,000
Domain£2.99 to £100 / year
Total Upfront Cost£2,507.99 to £10,100
Ongoing costs
Hosting£10 to £350 / month
Content Updates£0 to £60 / month
Total Ongoing Costs£10 to £410 / month

In terms of price, a bespoke website is certainly a step up from a small business website that has been built with a template. If you’re unsure whether you need a small business website or a bespoke website, think not only of the functionality and number of visitors which you are working with at the moment, but what your needs are likely to be in the coming years. Having a website that is primed and ready to grow as you grow is imperative.

If you’re not sure what kind of website you need, then this short form and we can get in touch to talk through your requirements and match you up with suitable agencies.

Domain Name

Other than design costs, the main upfront cost you will encounter is purchasing a domain name (if you don’t already have one).

A domain name is the unique ‘address’ of a website. For example, the Expert Market domain name is ‘’.

Domain typeMinimum cost£4.99/year

Once you’ve found a domain name which doesn’t already have an associated website, you can pay for it on a website such as 123 Reg or GoDaddy. Prices vary depending on how popular your chosen domain name is: domains cost as little as £4.99 per year, and .com domains will be around £9.99 upwards per year. The most desirable site names cost tens of thousands of pounds per year, so check out a few combinations before settling on one. For this article, we’ve set the upper limit for a domain name at £100 per year.

Ongoing costs

Hosting: at a glance

Every website needs to be hosted on a web server. Hosting a website makes it accessible via the web. It basically means renting or buying some ‘space’ on the internet, ie. some bandwidth. Fully understanding what hosting means is not necessary, but you should know that your website will need it in some form and you have a few options for this:

Type of hostingTypical cost
Shared hosting£3 – £10/month
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting£10 – £45/month
Cloud based web hosting£10 – £350/month
Dedicated hosting£65 – £200/month
Expert Market Recommends: HostGator for websites of all shapes and sizes. They're the best overall web hosting provider, with great customer service to match. Prices start at just £2.15/month.

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the cheapest form of web hosting. You share your hosting platform with a number of other sites, therefore sharing the cost too. The downside is that you also share the bandwidth. So, in effect, you fight for server space with other sites. Shared hosting can be a great low-cost option for basic or new sites which don’t yet get many visitors.

Prices range from £3 – £10 a month.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting

A VPS server is a good middle ground between shared hosting and having your own dedicated server. A VPS is one physical server but allocates multiple, separate servers to its sites. This way you avoid the problems associated with shared hosting.

Prices range from £10 – £45 a month.

Cloud Based Web Hosting

With cloud based web hosting, your website is hosted on a virtual server. This is a popular option for a number of reasons. Firstly, cloud hosting plans can accommodate unusually large surges in traffic. Secondly, it’s easy to adapt cloud based hosting to your changing needs. And thirdly, with cloud based web hosting plans, you pay only for what you have used. This is a logical next step for a website that might have started on a shared hosting plan but has started see a large volume of traffic.

Prices range from £10 – £350 a month.

Dedicated hosting

With this option, you have your own server dedicated to hosting only your website. Websites that are particularly large or complex, or that require exceptionally high levels of data security will benefit from dedicated hosting. It is also the best option for websites with a high and steady amount of traffic. Not sharing a server with other websites has its advantages, namely that you do not have to compete for bandwidth. This is reflected in the higher price.

Prices range from £65 – £200 a month.

Top Tip: Websites such as 1and1,123reg and GoDaddy regularly offer package deals for domain names and web hosting.

Expert Market Recommends: Bluehost specifically for sites built using WordPress. Choose from shared, cloud-based, VPS and dedicated hosting packages. Prices start at £2.30/month.

Content Updates

In addition to hosting costs, you will need to factor in the cost of content updates. Costs will vary depending on the size of your website, any updates you want to make, and how much you pay the people tasked with making these changes. Remember that your website is never really ‘finished’, even when you are happy with how it looks and works. Make sure that you update it in some form or another on a regular basis, in order to keep your audience interested and to appear on google searches. We’ve allowed up to £60 a month for content updates.

Additional costs

Aside from the costs we have already mentioned, there are some additional services that you should consider:

1. Content production

Producing written content is something that you can do yourself to keep costs down. However, it can be worth getting a freelancer or agency to help. Expect to pay between £10 and £50 per hour for content generation.

2. Imagery

Hiring a photographer to collect a bank of images for your brand or product is always advisable for creating a strong brand image. You can also buy stock images and graphics from sites like depositphotos, or download free images for commercial use on unsplash.

3. SEO / marketing

Let’s say you own a cupcake shop in Manchester. Googling ‘cupcake Manchester’ produces around four million results. So how do you make sure that your business appears near the top? Well, a lot of it has to do with how relevant your business is, how up-to-date the content on your site is, and how many visitors you get coming in from other areas, eg. social media. However there are also some additional steps you can take to make sure you’re securing the best position possible.

That’s where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the process of making a site the best that it can be in terms of search engines. Search engines give preference to sites that load fast and offer the information that people are searching for, amongst other things. It’s a good idea to ask your web design company if they offer SEO services as part of the package. For websites with a lot of content, consider getting a freelancer or agency that specialises in SEO to take a look through your site once every couple of months to ensure that it remains well-optimised.

You Could Save by Comparing Web Design Quotes
Do you currently have a website live? YES NO

How long does it take to build a website?

So now you have a rough idea of how much your site might cost, and it’s on to question number two: How long will it take?

It should come as no surprise that the answer will again depend on the size and complexity of your desired site as well as the agency you’re working with.

Website builders are likely to be the quickest option – you could build yourself a basic website in only a few hours. Working with an agency may take anything from a couple of weeks to a few months.

To get a clearer idea of how your project will progress, it helps to have an idea of the steps involved. You can watch this video for more information:

Kieron Woodhouse, head of UX for a major UK tech company, breaks down the web design process.

web designer

10 Questions to ask your web designer

Communication is the key to making the web design process as streamlined as possible. You need to know exactly what you’re getting from your web designer, and they in turn should know exactly what you expect of them. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few questions to ask your designer:

  1. Do you arrange buying the domain name and hosting for the site, and is this included in your quote?
  2. How easy will it be for me to report on and update my website? If it requires specialist knowledge, will you provide training for myself and my staff?
  3. Will there be any ongoing costs for general site maintenance?
  4. Will you optimise the website for search engines?
  5. Will the site be mobile responsive?
  6. If I am unhappy with the finished design of my site, can it be amended and is there a cost associated with this?
  7. Will you provide content and imagery for the site, or should I provide it?
  8. What is the scope for future development of the website? Is it built to grow quickly?
  9. How much will future amendments to the site cost?
  10. How is my website protected if something goes wrong?

Other things to bear in mind

Web design is a service, not a product

Thinking of web design as a service rather than a product will help you to understand why it can be difficult to put an exact price on it.

Quotes are subjective

You could be quoted £1,000 and £50,000 for the same project. This goes back to web design being a service rather than a product. Different agencies will have different ways of doing things, and prioritise different aspects of the site. Being as clear as possible about what is important to you, and what is less so, will help make your quotes more accurate.

Standards vary from agency to agency

As with any industry, the quality of work will vary from one agency to another. It’s a good idea to have a look at customer reviews and examples of previous work when deciding which agency to go with. And remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best one – anything that looks too good to be true probably is!

A Word on WordPress

People often ask how much it costs to build a website using WordPress. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, powering over 26% of the entire web.

Although WordPress is free to download and install, there are some costs involved which can be broken down as follows:

  • Hosting
  • Domain
  • Themes / Custom design
  • Plugins
Expert Market Recommends: Bluehost is a hosting platform designed with WordPress websites in mind. There are shared, cloud-based, VPS and dedicated Prices start at £2.30/month.

At the cheapest end of the scale, it’s possible to build a beginner WordPress site using only the 4,000 free templates and plugins, and pay around £3 per month for the domain name and hosting.

As the size and complexity of your WordPress site increases, so does the price. Expect to pay around £1,000 a year for a mid-range WordPress site, with a paid theme and useful plugins.

A unique and custom-built WordPress site will require extensive work from a developer. Costs for this can be in the region of £4,000 – £10,000 depending on the design.

Next steps

Even with a guide to help, trying to work out the exact cost of a website without a background in design is really tricky. We can match you up with web designers that suit your exact website needs, and all you need to do is fill in this short form  and tell us what you need. You'll then receive bespoke quotes for your business from our approved web designers.

Or, now that you have a better idea of how much your website might cost, familiarise yourself with the people who will build it in our guide to web developers, software engineers and computer programmers.

Dan Barraclough

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

The Best Ricoh Photocopiers 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 31 December 2020

Can you recall a better Ricoh review than this one? We certainly can’t…

Ricoh has been rocking the photocopier world since 1955, producing powerful machines that deliver high-quality prints. In recent years, Ricoh printers have become even greener, making them a sound investment for almost any modern business.

However, with so many options out there, pinpointing the right Ricoh photocopy machine price, model, or even series for your business can be tricky. That’s why we’ve done our research and selected the very best of Ricoh’s bunch.

In this article, we’ll discuss three series of Ricoh printers – the IM Series, MP Series, and SP Series – with detailed information on pricing, features, and benefits. By the end, you’ll know exactly which one to choose for your business.

Ricoh IM Series

The IM, or ‘Intelligent Multifunction’, Series does exactly what it says on the tin – serve different photocopying functions to suit busy working environments.

Known as MFDs (multifunction devices), these Ricoh printers have been designed with what the company describes as scalable intelligence, security, sustainability, and simplicity in mind. In short, the IM Series is a solid choice for almost any business.

Models within the IM Series typically cost between £1,000 and £4,500, depending on their size, PPM (prints per minute), and multifunction capabilities. Below, we examine the three best Ricoh IM Series photocopiers: the IM C4500, the IM C2000, and the 430F.

Ricoh IM C4500

Cost: £4,195

PPM: 45

Colour printing? Yes

The A3-compatible C4500 model can handle even the highest of printing volumes, making it a useful addition to medium and large businesses, particularly with its 10.1” smart touch screen.

You can connect the copier up to your mobile to control its multiple functions remotely, which include double sided printing, folding, stapling, scanning, and advanced finishing settings – including ‘finger-friendly’, which crimps the paper’s sides to reduce the risk of dreaded paper cuts.

Ricoh IM C2000

Cost: £2,195

PPM: 20

Colour printing? Yes

The C2000 is another powerful A3 colour photocopier featuring a 10.1” touch screen, suitable for busy businesses looking to print full colour brochures and banners with ease.

While it can’t match the C4500 for printing speed, it does offer equally impressive features such as eco-friendly staple-less finishing, and double-sided printing and scanning.

Get free quotes and save money on your next photocopier Get Free Quotes

Ricoh IM 430F

Cost: £1,695

PPM: 43

Colour printing? No

Smaller in size but delivering a higher volume of PPM than the C2000 (43 compared to 20), the 430F is a compact multifunction photocopier that ticks most boxes

This model can print, scan, fax, and produce a single print in just six seconds. On top of that, it automatically switches between paper trays, meaning it doesn’t ever need to run out of paper.

It’s slightly cheaper than the other two IM Ricoh models, given that it only prints in black and white, but it’s a great choice if you need a quick, reliable, high-quality photocopier.

As far as Ricoh photocopy machine prices go, this one’s a steal.

Ricoh MP Series

High-speed printing with A3 capabilities, the MP series is one of Ricoh’s finest. These models are ideal for busy working environments that need fast and regular printing, scanning, copying, and faxing options.

This considered, the MP series models come at a higher cost on average than the IM series models, with prices ranging from £1,200 to £9,000.

We understand that photocopier costs can be confusing sometimes, with so many different models, versions, and functions out there. The easiest way to find the best Ricoh photocopy machine price is by comparing free quotes. We can sort this for you.

All you need to do is tell us what you need from your next printer on our quick webform (it only takes a minute), and we’ll match your business with the best photocopier suppliers for your unique requirements.

They’ll then be in touch with more details and no-obligation quotes for you to compare before spending a penny. It’s quick, easy, and free to get started.

Ricoh MP 6055SP

Cost: £6,495

PPM: 60

Colour printing? No

This model is everything a multifunction Ricoh printer should be – easy to use, with a high paper capacity (4,700 sheets to be exact), and a quick PPM.

It doesn’t sacrifice printing clarity, either, with an impressive 1200 x 1200 dpi max print resolution, even on A3 prints.

In typical Ricoh style, the MP 6055SP comes with various eco-friendly features such as a low-power sleep mode and a staple-less printing option.

Ricoh MP 9003SP

Cost: £8,850

PPM: 90

Colour printing? No

The MP 9003SP is one speedy character, with an almighty 90 PPM. However, with Ricoh photocopiers, it’s not all about pace. It’s about paper.

This machine can hold 4,300 sheets and includes a 2,000-sheet booklet maker, and a 100-sheet bypass tray for thicker paper types.

Our favourite feature? Of course, it’s the Human Detection Sensor which warms up the printer as you approach, helping to reduce your office’s environmental impact.

Ricoh MP C307SPF

Cost: £1,365

PPM: 30

Colour printing? Yes

Cost-effective and capable of colour printing, the C307SPF makes an excellent addition to any small to medium-sized business.

This compact, green machine has a low consumption energy rate, while enabling you to efficiently send documents directly from your smartphone, and share files with address book contacts from its 10.1” touchscreen.

Compare free quotes today and save on your next photocopier Get Free Quotes

Ricoh SP Series

At the more affordable end of the Ricoh scale is the SP Series, with costs typically ranging from £300 to £500. These models print A4, fax, scan, and copy at reasonable prices. While it can’t match the MP or IM Series for printing speed, the SP Series offers reliable options for small businesses that require low volume printing.

Ricoh SP C261SFNw

Cost: £370

PPM: 20

Colour printing? Yes

Small and sturdy, the SP C261SFNw can fit inside the smallest offices while producing big and beautiful A4 prints.

Its standout feature is the two-sided Single Pass Document Feeder which allows you to scan both sides of your document in a single pass, speeding up your copying, faxing and scanning duties.

It also comes with a 4.3” touchscreen and a colour output of 2,400 x 600 dpi. This is the most affordable Ricoh photocopy machine price you’re likely to find, so we highly recommend this model for businesses on a tight budget.

Ricoh SP 330SFN

Cost: £433

PPM: 32

Colour printing? No

This no-frills model requires low maintenance, but delivers high-quality prints – with a 1,200 x 1,200 black and white dpi and a 35-sheet automatic reverse document feeder, which enables multi-page faxing, copying and scanning.

We also like the optional 5GHz Wi-Fi, which means less congestion on your broadband and a sturdier wireless connection, helping the SP 330SFN run smoothly.

Ricoh SP 3710SF

Cost: £387

PPM: 32

Colour printing? No

Tired of repurchasing ink cartridges? The SP 3710SF comes with an Ultra High Yield Toner which enables you to print for up to a year (if you’re printing around 500 pages per month).

It also comes with a 35-sheet automatic reverse document feeder that allows quick, multi-page faxing, copying, and scanning.

Overall, this model would suit small offices with low-volume printing requirements.

Compare free quotes today and save money on your next photocopier Get Free Quotes

Expert verdict

We’ve shown you the best Ricoh printers from three of its most popular ranges. The IM Series is the most recent, boasting environmentally-friendly and cost-cutting features, the MP Series has the fastest models, while the SP Series represents the most affordable option for small businesses.

We love each of these multifunction printers, but balancing the right Ricoh photocopy machine price with suitable photocopy functions and speeds can prove tricky, especially with so many different models out there. That’s where our service can help.

Simply tell us what you need from your next photocopier on our short webform, and we’ll match you up with trusted suppliers that best cater to your printing needs. They’ll then be in touch with more information and no-obligation quotes for you to compare. Best of all, it’s free to get started.

Dan Barraclough

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

Common CRM Problems and Solutions

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 1 October 2020

We break down seven of the top issues businesses face when implementing, securing, and utilising CRM – and what your business can do to solve them

Since you’re here, we’ll assume you’re already fairly well acquainted with the benefits a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can offer your business – that is, the problems it solves.

But what about those it creates?

Like us humans, no CRM system is perfect. And, before you reach the golden lands of souped-up sales, juiced-up marketing campaigns, and faster customer service that CRM offers, chances are you’ll encounter a few potholes along the way.

But don’t go hitting the panic button just yet – these common CRM problems can all be solved, and your business’ system (and approach to customer relationships) will be all the stronger for it.

So what are these common CRM problems we speak of, you ask?

We’ve broken down seven of the problems most frequently cited by business owners as being the major early pitfalls of CRM software – and how you can tackle them. Whether you’re still thinking about a CRM system or have installed one recently, this guide will help you sidestep the most common issues.

Let’s explore.

#1: Under-utilisation of the system

So you’ve installed your CRM, and your staff are using it… but are you getting the most out of your software’s features and capabilities? 


There’s a good chance you’re not. Statistics tell us that almost half (43%) of CRM users take advantage of less than half of the features their software has to offer. But why?

Is it laziness? A lack of employee engagement, or resistance to using the system?

In some cases, yes – but for many teams under-utilising their CRM systems, it’s simply a lack of awareness of what the software can do

CRM is often mistakenly used interchangeably with CMS (contact management software), or seen as just a database for storing customer records. While CRM does do this, it’s really so much more.

The power of CRM lies in how it allows you to manipulate key data – identifying trends, analysing buyer habits, and generating accurate sales forecasts. CRM isn’t just a place to store information, but an intelligent set of tools to empower smarter, savvier sales, marketing, and customer service CRM efforts.

Chances are, your team just aren’t aware of all that yet.


Thankfully, there are a couple of ways around this one.

The most obvious is to explore the full functionality of what your CRM software can do. You can do this by getting in touch with your CRM supplier’s support team via phone or live chat.

You can also tap into your CRM provider’s online knowledge base for tutorials, videos, and articles to get you started. Many CRM suppliers also have platforms for dedicated customer communities: where you can ask questions, participate in threads, and learn more about the nuances and intricacies of your CRM software.

It’s then up to you to relay these benefits to your team – though if that’s too much, you can always arrange a live demo with your CRM supplier, who’ll do it for you.

Of course, it may be the case that you don’t need all the features offered by the CRM. This is important to understand, as you may be able to downgrade to a more modest plan that’s better-suited to your current needs – and save some cash in the process.

Jump to #5: the system is too expensive

#2: Security issues

So your CRM system has a lot of features – way more, in fact, than you first suspected. But how secure is it?


This common CRM problem can be expressed in a single question…

“How do I keep my data safe?”

The answer? Well, that depends…


How you keep a handle on your CRM system’s cyber security will depend on the mode of deployment you’ve selected: on-premise or cloud-based.

On-premise software is deployed on servers physically located at your business’ premises. Cloud-based software’s servers are managed and operated by the company you choose to provide your CRM system.

If you’ve selected an on-premise solution, you’ll have more control over your system’s security, data, user rights, and setup. As such, you’ll need to take a more hands-on approach to securing your servers. This includes:

  • Installing firewalls and antivirus technology
  • Ensuring physical access to your servers is limited and controlled
  • Regulating employee behaviour in and around the location of your servers
  • Securing your local internet connection with strong passwords
  • Regularly updating your operating system

If you’ve selected a cloud-based system, your chosen CRM supplier should relieve you of most of the duties of CRM cybersecurity. 

We should note – because cloud-based CRM is operated over the internet, many business owners worry that it’s not as safe. But don’t fret – cloud-based systems these days are as secure (if not more so!) than their on-premise counterparts.

#3: Choosing the wrong software

It may seem an obvious error, but this common CRM problem is a particularly insidious one. Because by the time you realise the software you’ve deployed is the wrong one, the damage may already have been done…


So, you’ve picked the wrong system. Why fret? It happens. 

Whether it’s getting sucked in by the siren song of a good deal, or caving to high-pressure sales tactics, many business owners end up saddled with a CRM that’s simply not right for them.

As for the system, there are many reasons a particular CRM might not gel with your business or industry. Maybe you’ve picked software that specialises in marketing automation (such as HubSpot), when actually your priority is selling – and what you really need is something like Salesforce or Maximizer

You might even be going down a blind alley with CRM, when what you really need is project management software, such as

Perhaps you’ve selected a plan with too many (or too few) features. It could even be that the system’s interface just doesn’t resonate with you – it may be hard to use, or unpleasant to look at.

So what can you do about it?


Well, you’ve started by exploring our CRM content… so you’re already on the right track. But why not go one step further, and compare quotes with us?

It’s free, takes about 30 seconds, and is undeniably the quickest, most hassle-free route to your dream CRM system. Here’s how it works.

Simply provide us with some details about your current CRM setup. Do you currently use a CRM or a CMS? Which features are you most interested in? How many users will the system need to support?

Once that’s done, we’ll match you up with one or more CRM suppliers. Not just any suppliers, though – exclusively ones that will be a good fit for the specific needs of your business. They’ll then get in touch with you directly to explain more, and provide quotes tailored to your requirements. Problem solved!

4: Out-of-date information

People change, and so does their data. So how do you ensure that your business is always working with the freshest, most accurate information?


CRM does a lot. Capturing leads via your websites and social media channels, feeding these to your sales team, and managing all that customer data from a central location? Yep, it’s a lot.

Naturally, though, CRM doesn’t do everything. And, if you’re expecting it to update your client information for you, you can think again.

It’s a common CRM problem. After a while, CRM systems get bogged down with outdated client data. Old phone numbers, switched companies, new job titles –  things are constantly changing, and you need to keep up.

Here’s how.


First of all, give your CRM database a spring clean. Remove contacts whose emails are bouncing, or have been consistently unresponsive to your calls. Get rid of (or re-engage!) any unclosed leads or prospects overstaying their welcome in the system.

You should also think about deleting any email templates you no longer use, along with any old reports. This will serve the dual purpose of refreshing your CRM system, while freeing up storage space – though if the latter’s an issue, you can always purchase more.

You can also ensure your customer data is accurate by re-engaging lapsed customers with fresh deals and discounts. Run an email marketing campaign that offers benefits in exchange for a customer’s details. Your CRM database will rejuvenate before your very eyes!

#5: The system is too expensive

CRM breaking the bank? Let’s take a look at how you can trim costs…


CRM software is profitable. So profitable, the stats suggest, that it can increase revenue by over 40% per sales representative.

That said, there are many reasons why you’re not seeing the ROI you expected from your CRM just yet. Implementation issues, privacy hurdles, poor staff engagement with the system… any or all of these common CRM problems may make you feel like you’re not getting enough for your money.

Here’s what to do if your CRM is proving too expensive right now.


Simple… downgrade!

CRM is almost always priced in tiers. A basic version will be cheap, while a more feature-rich version (which you’ve probably ended up with) requires considerably more investment. So, by downgrading, you can free up cash flow.

That said, you don’t have to sacrifice features to save money. CRM is priced per user, per month – so you can cut down on costs by reducing the amount of your staff who have access to the system.

And if times are hard and neither of the above options are feasible, you can lump for a free plan. Free CRM software is severely limited, and we tend not to recommend it for ambitious businesses. But it might be just what you need to take a breather, recalibrate your CRM strategy, and save some money to boot.

For more information, head to our page on CRM software costs.

#6: Privacy and ethical issues in CRM

According to the statistics, 74% of CRM users believe that the software has enhanced their access to customer data. But at what cost?


G, D, P, R. By themselves, four harmless letters. But when combined, they stand for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – game-changing legislation introduced only a couple of years ago.

The GDPR ushered in a strict set of rules about how businesses are allowed to collect, manage, and utilise customer data. Since collecting, managing, and utilising customer data is sort of a CRM system’s raison d’etre, you can start to see the kind of roadblocks this legislation throws up for your team.

But it’s not just about striving to stay compliant (and avoid the hefty fines for those who get it wrong). There are obviously some distinct ethical issues floating around the storage and usage of customer data, and you owe it to your customers to protect their privacy.

So how do you juggle compliance and customer care, while striking a balance between profit and principle?


Ask The Experts
Question symbol

How do you navigate the privacy and ethical issues in CRM?

To find out, we got in touch with Alex MacLachlan, CRM Marketing Manager at a prominent London-based lead generation outfit.

Alex, how would you describe the privacy and ethical issues involved with CRM? Are there any?

“The main CRM privacy issue is that people give you their personally identifiable information, and you are then responsible for its security and, for a lack of a better word, its “use”.

“As someone with access to effectively every piece of customer data we have, I need to be really careful with how I analyse it and how I can share it (note – I generally can’t).

“I think even in a world without GDPR, I would always make sure that these customers have consented to what we are sending them. One, because otherwise they are going to get upset and complain, as you are effectively breaking their trust. Two, if I was in their shoes (being signed up to so many emails as I often am), would I deem this as acceptable?

“This speaks more about ethics than privacy. People have trusted you with their personal data, and it’s your responsibility as a CRM/data controller to only send them what they have permitted you to – anything outside of that and, in my view, it’s unethical.”

What tips do you have for small email marketing teams, to ensure they remain GDPR-compliant?

Here are my top three tips.

1. Make sure everything is logged 

“Consent statements, opt-in/out messages, and other data processes all need to be logged – ideally on a monthly basis. You need to be able to state where you’ve got the customer data from, what they’ve consented to (and when), and what you’ve been sending them.”

2. Limit the number of controllers

“The more people you have that are able to change opt-in/out statements, consent pathways, and data fields, the more potential mistakes there are to be made – and the harder they are to trace. If you keep a tight list of who can change things and stay on top of your CRM system’s user permissions, you’ll stay on the right side of the legislation.”

3. Remember that GDPR doesn’t just apply to marketing

“Make sure your processes for all other aspects of your business are GDPR compliant. A big one is hiring; how do you share CVs? Where do you dispose of them once the candidate has been interviewed? You can very easily land on the wrong side of GDPR with this sort of thing.”

#7: Low employee engagement

Who is Fred, and how you can bring him into the 21st century?


No matter how hard you try to implement a new way of doing things, there’ll always be resistance. 

Think of Fred, that grumpy, belligerent salesman who was chewing the fat by the water cooler when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. This relic is set in his ways, opposed to change – both technological and social – and has no interest in any of this ‘new-fangled’ CRM software you’ve put in front of him.

Fred is of course an archetype, but there are plenty like him – employees who, for whatever reason, refuse to engage with new ways of doing things

Data tells us that six in ten salespeople are unwilling to change the processes that work for them, and – according to – more than one in five businesses cite ‘embracing technology’ as the biggest challenge facing their company.

So how do you get your employees using your CRM, and engaging with the myriad features and possibilities it offers?


Well, you do it by showing them just how powerful your CRM system can be.

After all, CRM shouldn’t be seen as something to be forced upon your salespeople. It makes their jobs easier! 

Likewise, the carrot almost always works better than the stick. Offer juicy incentives for your top earners, while rewarding the most creative marketing campaigns.

Once the Freds in your office catch on to how much time and effort a CRM can save them – and that it’s a shortcut to that bonus you’ve offered – they won’t be complaining.

Next steps

You’re pretty well-equipped. Not only do you know what CRM does – and how it can benefit your business – but you have a comprehensive understanding of the pitfalls involved with implementation and uptake, too.

Armed with knowledge of these early CRM perils (and their solutions, of course) you’re in a position to seize control of your business’ destiny; forging more meaningful, enduring relationships with your customers.

If you already have a CRM, that is. 

For those among you yet to find the right CRM supplier, don’t fret – we can help. You have a couple of options here:

  1. To do more research, head on over to our page on the best CRM systems for small businesses. We’ve researched, rated, and ranked eight leading suppliers to make things simple for you.
  2. Compare quotes right here, right now. Hit one of the buttons below to get started with our quick questionnaire. When you’re done, we’ll match you with hand picked CRM suppliers, who’ll be in touch with tailored quotes.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Compare Quotes from Leading CRM Software Providers and Save
No problems – just solutions. And it takes just 30 seconds...
1. Does your practice already use CRM software? YES NO
Dan Barraclough

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

The Best CRM Systems for Law Firms

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 27 August 2020

Revolutionise your firm with a better way of managing your cases, staff, and client relationships. Contrast suppliers, crunch prices, and compare quotes from top law firm CRM providers with us

SalesforceOsprey ApproachActionstepClioLegallyCRM
 ProWide range of third-party app integrationsVery user-friendlyFlexible, affordable pricing plans24/5 customer supportIdeal for single practice and solo firms
X ConTough to get to grips withExpensiveNot easy to customiseUser experience can be clunkyNo phone-based customer support
Best forAnalytics and reportingData securityWorkflow automationPractice area versatilityShoestring budgets
Price (per user, per month)From £20From £120From £39From £49From £30

No matter what kind of law you practice, people will always be at the heart of what you do. Whether it’s keeping your staff on the same page, winning new clients, or maintaining those important business connections, it’s your relationships that determine your success.

But with so many leads, clients, and cases to keep track of, staying on top of things – and staying compliant – can be a real headache. That’s where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system comes in.

CRM software provides your law firm with a central hub for all your crucial contact and client data. No big ring binders, no spreadsheets – just slick, straightforward software that streamlines your workflow. Sound good? We agree.

That’s why we're taking a look at the best CRM systems for law firms in the UK. Jump to a supplier in the table above, or skip straight to our law firm CRM system FAQs. Alternatively, take 30 seconds to provide us with your firm's specific CRM requirements, via our free quote-finding questionnaire. We'll then match you with leading CRM software suppliers, who'll be in touch with you directly to provide tailored quotes.

Best CRM systems for law firms

How does Salesforce acquit itself as a top CRM provider? Can Actionstep do your firm justice? Is Clio all it’s cracked up to be?

We reviewed the big CRM names in the legal industry, putting each supplier's software on trial. Our top five picks for UK law firms are Salesforce, Osprey Approach, Actionstep, and Clio – but we’ll let you be the judge!

Top five CRM systems for UK law firms:


Best for analytics and reporting

Salesforce comes with some serious pedigree. As the world’s number one CRM, it boosts the business of over 150,000 companies around the world. Its cloud-based software lets your team collaborate on cases and projects – you’ll know exactly who’s dealing with who, and what progress has been made so far. As well as letting you run your firm from your smartphone, Salesforce also offers the most advanced business analytics on the market. It lets you drill down into how people find your services, how they tick, and – crucially – how to turn them into clients.

Overall Rating :

Read more: Top Analytical CRM Software for UK Businesses

Salesforce pricing

Salesforce EssentialsLightning ProfessionalLightning EnterpriseLightning Unlimited
Sales Cloud£20 per user, per month£60 per user, per month£120 per user, per month£240 per user, 

per month

Service Cloud£20 per user, per month£60 per user, per month£120 per user, per month£240 per user, per month
Sales and Service CloudNot available£80 per user, per month£140 per user, per month£260 per user, per month

With additional rates for its various marketing modules and feature-enhancing add-ons, Salesforce's pricing is too complex to unpack here. Plus, we do that much better in our dedicated Salesforce review, where we explore the CRM behemoth's latest rates, features, packages, and user-submitted opinions.

And, for more information about how much you can expect to pay for your CRM system in general, we have you covered. Head on over to our CRM software costs article for everything you need to know.


  • Basic package offers excellent value for money
  • Enormous range of integrations with the software and applications your firm uses every day
  • Coaching and goal-setting features help drive increased performance from your legal team

X Cons:

  • Salesforce's more advanced features can be difficult to get the hang of

Osprey Approach

Best for data security and GDPR compliance

Osprey Approach is high-flying legal software that’s tailor-made for the industry. And you don’t just get CRM – there are several more feathers to the cap of this smart solution. Besides CRM, Osprey Approach also offers practice and case management functions, budget planning, and simple email integration. Better still, it boasts some of the highest levels of data security out there. That means your contact data is safe, and fretting about your GDPR obligations becomes a thing of the past.

Overall Rating :

Osprey Approach pricing

Osprey Approach offers three pricing plans. All include:

  • Case and practice management features
  • Integrated legal accounting
  • Workflow automation
  • Document and form production with inclusive precedents
  • Time recording and reporting capabilities
  • Tools for sales teams, as well as email marketing functionality
From £120 per user, per monthFrom £140 per user, per monthFrom £180 per user, per month

However, Osprey Approach's cheapest plan, ‘Professional' – though it still clocks in at a hefty £120 per user, per month – is only offered as an app for desktop only, compatible solely with Windows. To use the legal CRM software on mobile apps for iOS and Android, you'll need to be on the ‘Enterprise' plan, or above.

Upgrading to Osprey Approach's ‘Quantum' plan adds a host of impressive features, including voice-activated case management, and AI support. Your firm will also benefit from ‘Approach2Quote' – an AI-powered chatbot that allows you to provide conveyancing quotes directly through your website.


  • Extremely user-friendly
  • The team is highly responsive on social media sites such as Twitter
  • Offers a range of bespoke packages to fit the unique needs of your law firm

X Cons:

  • One of the more expensive legal CRM systems out there
  • Can be slow to load and prone to freezes


Best for workflow automation

Built solely for the legal industry, Actionstep offers a complete, cloud-based practice management system. Its intelligent workflow technology breaks your workload down into decision trees and manageable, bite-sized chunks. That keeps you from getting bogged down in the repetitive admin stuff, while freeing you up to get stuck into cases – and to grow your firm! Actionstep's CRM for law firms also offers an easy-to-use ‘Client Portal’ - a secure space where you can chat with your clients, and collaborate on documents in real time.

Overall Rating :

Actionstep pricing

ExpressPractice ProEnterprise
Paid annually£39 per user, per month£69 per user, per monthOn enquiry
Paid monthly£49 per user, per month£79 per user, per monthOn enquiry

Of Actionstep's three pricing tiers, ‘Express' is only for single practice and solo firms. If you've outgrown the small business CRM stage, though, we recommend plumping for ‘Practice Pro'. At a reasonable £69 per user, per month, it's ideal for boutique and multi-practice firms looking to scale. The plan provides everything you get with Actionstep's basic plan, plus:

  • A client portal
  • Customisable workflows
  • Consolidated billing
  • External data reporting
  • Advanced calendar synchronisation

An extra £10 per user, per month buys you Actionstep's ‘Enterprise' plan – ideal for multi-divisional firms. For the additional outlay, you'll score multi-currency, integrated general ledger accounting, plus banking, financial reporting, dashboards, and access to an online knowledge base.


  • Fantastic customer support
  • Presents case notes in a digestible ‘newsfeed’ style
  • Pricing plans offer flexibility, as well as value

X Cons:

  • Can be difficult to set up and customise to your liking

You're just over halfway through our list of the top CRM software for law firms… time to start comparing quotes?

Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick questionnaire. It takes just 30 seconds to do, and by telling us more about your firm's specific requirements, we can help ensure that you receive the best, most personalised rates on legal CRM software.

Compare Quotes from Leading Legal CRM Software Providers and Save
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1. Does your firm already use CRM software? YES NO


Best for lawyers across all practice areas

Already trusted by thousands of law firms worldwide, Clio (which acquired prominent law firm CRM provider Lexicata in 2018, and subsequently rebranded it) is a scalable CRM that’s designed to grow with your practice. Through its colourful, intuitive interface, you’ll get all the insights you need to drive more value for you and your clients – no matter which area of law you ply your trade in.

Overall Rating :

With a CRM service catering to practice areas from criminal law and conveyancing to immigration and intellectual property, you can be confident that the team behind Clio understands the unique pressures and pain points of your practice.

Clio pricing

Atypically for CRM software, Clio comes at a single per user, per month cost, rather than offering several ascending pricing plans. Clio will cost you £49 per user, per month (or £56 per user, per month if you select monthly, rather than annual, billing).

And you get plenty of features for your money, too, including:

  • Matter management
  • Online payments and billing
  • Xero, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Office 365 integration
  • Unlimited data storage
  • Legal calendaring


  • Integrates seamlessly with G Suite, Outlook, Mailchimp and more
  • Highly-rated customer support
  • Tailor-made for law firms

X Cons:

  • Online reviews suggest that elements of the user experience (UX) could be improved


Best for firms on a shoestring budget

Riffing off the title of the 2001 megahit film Legally Blonde, LegallyCRM likely won’t provide as many laughs (or cringes) as the Reese Witherspoon vehicle. But what the up-and-coming Polish-based CRM provider will offer is affordable, no-frills CRM that – as the name suggests – is tailored solely to the requirements of the legal industry.

Overall Rating :

We'll admit – feature-wise, it's much more basic than the other CRM systems for law firms on this list. However, LegallyCRM negates this with generous data storage limits (you'll get a whopping 50GB with its most basic plan), as well as zero limits on the amount of users you can have accessing the system – a rarity when it comes to CRM.

LegallyCRM pricing

When it comes to pricing, only the very smallest of firms should think about opting for ‘LegallyBasic' –as the name implies, it'll be too simplistic for the needs of most lawyers.

That said, most small law firms should be well served by LegallyCRM's mid-range plan, LegallyMLM (£49 per month), which includes invoicing and billing, as well as specific modules for solicitors, consultants, and agents.

LegallyBasicLegallyMLMLegallyMLM and Marketing
$39 (£30) per month$65 (£49) per month$116 (£88) per month


  • Sports a colourful interface reminiscent of's project management software
  • Easy to use

X Cons:

  • Marketing modules are only available with LegallyCRM's most expensive plan (£88 per month)
  • Customer support isn't UK-based (or phone-based)
  • Not as proven or as established in the CRM space as its competitors
Want to learn more about how can help you boss your workload, and take your projects to new heights? Try it free for 14 days.

Next steps

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a partner, an associate, or a paralegal – CRM software will improve the speed and efficiency of your work.

It’ll bring your remote teams closer together, and promote better, more open communication with your clients. And, by automating and simplifying key processes, it’ll free you up for what you’d rather be doing (which, presumably, is winning cases).

So let us help you find the best CRM solution for your law firm. Simply provide us with some details about your firm's requirements via our free quote-finding form. We’ll ask a couple of basic questions about the size of your team and practice, and match you with CRM suppliers that fit your needs. They'll then be in touch with you over the phone to offer their legal CRM expertise, and provide tailored quotes.


What are the benefits of CRM for my law firm?

Prepare for those big meetings

CRM provides intelligent contact management, pulling records of all your client interactions into one place. Whether you last spoke on the phone, in a meeting, or via social media, it’s all there. Tap into your conversation history with ease, and never enter that meeting without everything you need to know (quite literally!) at your fingertips.

Prioritise client interactions

When you’ve got so much on your plate on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to let big portions of your to-do list fall by the wayside.

A CRM system provides automatic reminders to help keep you on track – and lets you sort tasks by their immediate priority. This helps your customer service team handle issues with pace and professionalism, and ensures that you get more of the important stuff done, today.

Work from anywhere

Most CRM systems for law firms are cloud-based. That means that you – or anyone else in your team – can access the software from anywhere with an internet connection. You can log in and start work with ease, from your smartphone, tablet, or Apple Watch. This makes CRM software a great way to improve your team’s collaboration, while working from a beach in Mexico!*

*Or your home office.

Read more: The Best Cloud-Based CRM Software

Build better marketing campaigns

CRM systems enable you to craft good-looking, engaging emails. Using a CRM database, you can construct targeted bulk email marketing campaigns to get more out of your audience. With the right approach, you can re-engage those lapsed clients, bring in a whole new generation of business, and boost your bottom line to boot.

Read more: The Best Marketing CRM Software

Is there free CRM software for law firms?

Free CRM software is available. Freshworks CRM, Zoho, Insightly, and Bitrix24 all offer CRM pricing plans, completely gratis. However, there is a catch – that these plans come largely stripped of their best features.

Plus, you’ll almost always have to pay for any CRM system that comes as an industry-specific solution. And it makes sense, too – time has gone into creating an intelligent product that's designed to understand your business’ needs. Companies aren’t going to be giving it away!

Dan Barraclough

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

The Best Cloud-Based CRMs in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

Find out what cloud-based CRM is, and how it can help you manage your team, tasks, and communication from wherever you are in the world

Since you’re here, you’re probably pretty familiar with what a CRM (customer relationship management) system is – not to mention all the benefits it can bring to your business.

How about the term ‘cloud-based’, though? This term doesn’t have anything to do with the weather. But, when it comes to traversing time zones and facilitating smoother, speedier collaboration across remote teams and locations, cloud-based CRM certainly offers a ray of sunshine – particularly amid the stormy skies of COVID-19.

So what is cloud-based CRM, exactly, and what are its key advantages? Is it right for you, or would your business be better served by an on-premise solution?

We’ll look at all this, as well as reviewing and ranking our top 18 cloud-based CRM providers for small businesses. You can skip to the list here, or – if you’re short on time – cut straight to the chase and start comparing cloud-based CRM providers.

Simply provide us with a few details about your current setup and requirements, and you’ll hear from leading CRM suppliers, who'll be in touch with tailored quotes. Our quote-finding form takes just 30 seconds to complete, and is free for UK-based businesses.

What is cloud-based CRM?

Low (if any) up-front costs, then a monthly fee

Nothing to download or install

Industry-leading security assurances

Ideal for small businesses!

When CRM software is cloud-based, it means that your business’ information is hosted in the cloud – that is, on the servers of the company providing the CRM.

Essentially, it means that you’ll access the CRM through the internet, rather than from a system installed on a set of computers at your office. Rather than hosting all of your data (contact details, quotes, emails, interactions, and more) in-house – on servers owned, operated, and maintained by your business – you’ll essentially outsource this, letting the CRM provider do the grunt work for you.

Cloud-based is just one of three options when it comes to deploying your CRM system. There’s also on-premise (which we discuss below), as well as a hybrid system, which combines the best of both worlds… but at a hefty price.

As far as CRM for small businesses goes, we’ll always recommend cloud-based deployment. Read on to get to grips with our top 18 cloud-based CRM software suppliers.

The best cloud-based CRM for small business

Now you’ve decided that cloud-based CRM is the best avenue for your business, it’s time to pick the right provider. And, because you’re busy running that business, we’ve made it simple to make the right choice. 

We looked at a range of key suppliers in the CRM space; rating, reviewing, and ranking them based on several factors crucial to small businesses. These include task tracking and scheduling, workflow management, a group calendar, and effective external communication features – essentially, anything that can improve the efficiency and ease with which your team collaborates.

Here are the top cloud-based CRM providers, according to our data:


Like its logo, Salesforce is fully cloud-based. It also just happens to be CRM's biggest name, with almost one-fifth of the market share, and a slick app that makes remote work a breeze. Businesses with more demanding reporting requirements should plump for Salesforce's add-on analytical module, Einstein Analytics – as far as CRM systems go, it doesn't get any better.


Excellent email marketing capabilities and an impressive free plan elevate HubSpot's completely cloud-based CRM software above most of the competition.


Zendesk makes up for its lack of an offering for marketing teams with dynamic, cloud-based CRM software designed to help sales and customer service teams smash their targets.

Freshworks CRM

Synergising a stylish, refreshing interface with strong customer support, Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales) boasts an entirely cloud-based CRM solution that also manages to deliver that quality small businesses crave so dearly – affordability! Learn more about how much one of Freshworks CRM's plans can help you save with our complete guide to CRM software costs, updated for 2021.

Dynamics 365

At the other end of the pricing scale sits Microsoft's own foray into the overcrowded (over-clouded?) cloud-based CRM space. For the extra outlay, Dynamics 365 offers granular insights into your business' key sales and service metrics – and its product for marketing teams is simply phenomenal.


With no arbitary usage limits on contacts or users, and a completely bespoke approach to catering to your business, SugarCRM is cloud-based software at its most tailored.


For highly affordable, clean-looking cloud-based CRM that your Grandma could use, make Zoho your top pick. It won't help you stun stakeholders or boardrooms with in-depth analysis or mind-blowing reports, but it has a free version (or a free 15-day trial, if that suits you better) – and small businesses could easily do a lot worse.

Tiptoeing the line between a more basic project management tool and an advanced, fully-fledged CRM,'s cloud-based solution will, nevertheless, get the job done. With a unique, colour-coded layout that’s easy to manipulate and filter (not to mention interpret!), it's a pleasure to use, too.


Like, Insightly's cloud-based CRM software prioritises style over substance, with an engaging set of dashboards that brings your data to life. Yet, predictably, Insightly's vibrant interface comes at the expense of the more developed, well-rounded set of features you see with the likes of Salesforce and HubSpot.


Maximizer offers both on-premise and cloud-based CRM variants, as well as an even more flexible hybrid solution. Though its interface is a little dated (and the user experience could certainly use a scrub up), Maximizer still sports strong sales forecasting and deal management features to give your sales team a boost.


With a suite of business services ranging from accounting software to accepting payments online, Sage's cloud-based CRM software is an equally accomplished entry into the arena. Sage is perfectly capable (if a little clunky) CRM software, though it suffers from a marked lack of transparency when it comes to its pricing plans. On-premise deployment is also available.


The only CRM software made for Google (and highly recommended by them), Copper integrates natively with Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Chrome, and everything else with a big, multi-coloured ‘G' on its branding.


With a clean, stripped-back interface, intuitive mobile app, and high levels of usability, Danish cloud-based CRM software company webCRM serves up a satisfying blend of hygge and productivity.


Offering seamless integration with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 (remember that one?) Nimble's versatility makes up for the somewhat cumbersome nature of its central dashboard.


Powered by the extreme simplicity and visual splendour of a colourful, drag-and-drop pipeline builder, Pipedrive is more than just cloud-based CRM. It's silky, satisfying software that'll help you close deals, turn your site's users into leads, and handle service issues with speed and savviness… and it's downright fun to use, too!

Really Simple Systems

What's in a name? With Really Simple Systems… well, everything. Its cloud-based CRM software is easy to get to grips with, easy to get the most out of, and offers a passable free version, too – though we wouldn't recommend it to anyone other than very small businesses.


With a free version and a range of affordable pricing plans, Sendinblue is your marketing team's ticket to quicker, more effective, and more well-optimised campaigns. Its highly user-friendly (and cloud-based!) interface will have you not only crafting beautiful, persuasive marketing communications, but A/B testing, customising, and targeting like a pro, too.


Another startlingly good entry into the cloud-based CRM canon, Apptivo is also notable for being extremely affordable. You can get your hands on it for just $8 (£6) per user, per month. And, unlike many of its competitors, Apptivo's basic plan doesn't skimp on the necessary functionality – you'll get 1,000 mass email sends per user, per month, generous data storage limits, and 2,000 API (Application Programming Interface) calls, too. Customer support is included.

Eighteen providers... but which one's right for your business?
Compare quotes from leading cloud-based CRM suppliers
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What are the advantages of cloud-based CRM?

It’s simple.

Unlike with on-premise systems, cloud-based software does away with laborious implementation processes. There’s no elaborate software to download or install, and you won’t have to actually host your business’ data on physical servers at your office.

That means no faffing around with routers, cables, storage devices… you get the picture. Plus, the lack of actual equipment you’ll have to store on your premises frees up physical space, allowing you to expand your team… and maybe finally get that coffee machine the sales team have been pining for.

With cloud-based CRM, you just open up your browser, log in, and start working.

It’s collaborative.

That leads us to the next of cloud-based CRM’s key strengths – how seamlessly it facilitates team collaboration across multiple locations and time zones. 

Cloud-based software updates in real-time. If you close a deal at 10am, your boss knows about it by 10:01. Plus, because you can save records of conversations (whether they took place via email, telephone, or social media) directly within the CRM, it’s easy to know who’s dealing with specific clients and requests, and avoid your sales and customer service agents treading on each other’s toes. 

What cloud-based CRM also serves to do is remove the issues that ‘data siloing’ can have on your team’s effectiveness. There’s no information locked away in desk drawers or archaic email threads, and no important contact details buried in old, forgotten stacks of notebooks.

Nope – just everything in a single, centralised location, accessible in a click.

It’s mobile.

Why wait until you get into the office to check on the status of your latest big deal, or survey the health of your pipeline?

Cloud-based CRM is fully mobile. Most providers offer an app, which allows you to view and update information within the CRM in real-time. Again, there’s nothing to download or install, and no expensive or clunky tech to lug around.

It’s not ideal for your work-life balance, sure… but productivity-wise, it’s a dream!

It’s secure.

Ask any business owner why they’re yet to make the jump to the cloud, and they’ll most likely cite data security as the reason. After all, unlike with an on-premise solution, your data isn’t stored on servers located at your own place of business – rather, it’s hosted by your chosen cloud-based CRM provider.

So is there veracity to the claim that cloud-based systems aren’t safe?

In truth, there’s not. Considering how much it actually costs to ensure an on-premise system is secure – a price tag that’s probably beyond the budgets of most small businesses – it’s actually safer to go with a cloud-based service. Why?

Well, CRM providers utilise the finest in data encryption, ensuring that your business’ details are immune from cyber attacks. Cloud-based CRM companies also boast automatic data recovery features, as well as two-factor authentication – helping you stay safe, while remaining completely GDPR-compliant.

It’s affordable.

Cloud-based CRM all but eliminates the costs associated with implementation, installation, data migration, and maintenance. When you choose a cloud-based system, you also won’t pay any significant upfront CRM software costs – rather, you’ll pay only a monthly licence fee to use the service. 

What this licence fee actually comes to will depend on several things – the features you require, the number of users that’ll need access to the software, and, of course, which cloud-based CRM software provider you choose for your business.

And as you already know, picking the right cloud-based CRM provider is easier said than done. So, to get an idea of how much a cloud-based CRM solution that’s tailored to your team will cost, let us help.

Simply tell us your requirements – that is, the amount of people that’ll require access to the system, and the specific features (if any) you’ll need. We’ll then work to match you with leading cloud-based CRM providers, who’ll be in touch with quotes tailored to your company. The form itself takes around 30 seconds to fill in, and it’s free for UK-based businesses.

What is on-premise CRM?

Large initial outlay, then few ongoing costs

Customisable… very customisable

Offers more operational control and visibility, with less reliance on the internet

Ideal for larger businesses

On-premise CRM (also known as ‘self-hosted CRM’) is the main alternative to cloud-based varieties. It’s a form of software deployment that means that, rather than being stored ‘in the cloud’, your company’s data is stored on your own servers.

Our research indicates that the best on-premise CRM software comes from SugarCRM, Maximizer, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Salesforce.

To compare these systems, and explore the more advanced features that they have to offer businesses, head over to our guide to the best analytical CRM software for UK businesses.

What are the advantages of on-premise CRM?

It’s cheaper in the long run.

On-premise systems are usually charged from the get go, in the form of a lump sum. There are other ongoing costs, sure – you’ll still have to pay somebody to maintain the system, and fix any glitches or bugs that might develop over time – but that initial outlay is the most significant.

On-premise systems also aren’t great for cash flow – for most small businesses, it’s more convenient to pay a monthly fee, rather than fork out thousands of pounds in the first instance. As a general rule, however, on-premise systems will usually work out cheaper than their cloud-based counterparts over time.

It’s customisable.

Unlike cloud-based CRM, on-premise versions typically come with source code access. This means that – providing you have the team or the tech know-how to pull it off – you can customise an on-premise CRM to your heart’s content.

It offers more visibility and control

Sure, on-premise systems aren’t necessarily more secure when it comes to data, and setup is a more time-consuming process than with a cloud-based system. 

This notwithstanding, an on-premise option still offers greater visibility and control over the entire implementation process. From security and setup to data and user rights, you’ll enjoy greater ownership over how your CRM looks, as well as how and where it can be used – allowing you to stay compliant with the laws and regulations of different countries.

It’s less reliant on the internet.

While cloud-based CRM software derives much of its flexibility from the internet, the downside is that it’s reliant on it. If your internet goes kaput, you can be confident that your cloud-based CRM is going down with it.

On-premise systems, however, are more robust to fluctuations in your connectivity, leaving you less at the mercy of your internet service provider.

Cloud-based vs on-premise CRM: Which one's right for you?
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Next steps

Cloud-based CRM is an essential tool for managing and engaging your client base, and nurturing those all-important customer relationships. And what’s more, 87% of businesses (and counting!) now use a cloud-based CRM solution. That’s… a lot. 

Can you afford to be part of the 13% getting left behind?

If the answer is no, let us give you a hand. Take a minute to provide us with some details about your team’s requirements. It’s free for UK-based businesses, and when you’re all done, we’ll match you with the cloud-based CRM providers best-poised to help you scale. They'll then be in touch with tailored, no-obligation quotes.

How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

Independent researchers

We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.


  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.


We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at

Dan Barraclough

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

The Best CRMs for Customer Service in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

We’ve researched, ranked, and rated the six best customer service CRM software solutions for UK businesses. Find yours today, and compare tailored quotes from suppliers

Salesforce logo whiteZendesk logo whiteFreshworks logo whiteHubSpot logo white newZoho logo whiteDynamics 365 logo white
Customer service CRM supplierSalesforceZendeskFreshdeskHubSpotZohoDynamics 365
Starting price*£20£5£11£33.60£10£39
Highest price*£240£149£75£990£40£75
Issue management capabilities£
Customer interaction trackingX
Customer loyalty tracking£XXX
Customer history
Compare customer service CRM quotes

* Per user, per month

We’ve all been there. Stuck on hold, getting bounced from one customer service agent to another, trying to resolve an issue. When you finally do get to speak to a real person, they’re clueless to your situation, and you have to explain everything again.

It’s bad customer service, and you don’t want it happening at your business.

Enter customer service CRM (customer relationship management) software. With it, you’ll turn your agents into lean, mean service machines. No more spreadsheets, no more notebooks, and no more data silos – just a system that unifies communication across your email, social media, and phone channels, and helps you prioritise, organise, and handle customer service issues with aplomb.

But which CRM is the right fit for your business? We’ve researched, rated, and ranked six leading customer service CRM providers in the UK to answer that very question for you. With a team of independent researchers, we assessed each CRM provider across four key metrics, as well as four features crucial to the smooth running of your service team. Which supplier came out on top?

Let’s find out.

The best customer service CRM for UK businesses in 2021

According to our research, the best CRM for customer service teams is Salesforce Service Cloud. Comprising the rest of the top six is Zendesk Support, Freshworks CRM’s Freshdesk, HubSpot Service Hub, Zoho, and Dynamics 365 for Customer Service.

But before you dive into our research and rankings of the best CRM software for UK customer service teams, why not compare CRM software quotes with us? Simply provide us with a few details about your business, and you’ll receive quotes tailored to the size and unique needs of your customer service team, for free.

1. Salesforce Service Cloud

As our top CRM pick for customer service, Salesforce (somewhat predictably) cleans up across the board for customer approval ratings, features, and help and support. And, while it scores slightly lower on price – its expensive premium plans see to that – its basic plan should still be accessible for most small businesses.

As well as topping our list of the best sales CRM software, Salesforce also bosses our rankings for customer service CRM. Built on the pioneering Salesforce Customer Success Platform, Service Cloud is an industry-leading customer engagement tool for businesses of all sizes. From streamlining key processes to creating automated workflows, Salesforce Service Cloud frees your team up to do what they do best – provide world-beating customer service.

Starting price£20 per user, per month
Highest price£240 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone (24/7), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?30-day free trial

Salesforce Service Cloud for customer service: feature analysis

We investigated whether each supplier offers the five following features that are important for customer service CRMs, and how well it can do them.

Issue management capabilities? Salesforce boasts strong case and issue management functionalities across all plans. 

Upgrading to Salesforce’s more expensive tiers (i.e. Enterprise or Unlimited) provides advanced issue management functionality, including case re-routing and case milestone tracking. All plans enable quick, seamless communication between your customer service agents.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes.

Customer loyalty tracking? Yes.

Customer history? Yes. Salesforce Service Cloud’s ‘Field Tracking History’ capability allows you to track any field changes to accounts, cases, and service contracts over the last 18 months. This ensures that you keep your finger on the pulse regarding any changes in your customers’ situations or details, and can react accordingly.

To find out more about what these features do – and how they can benefit your business – jump to our section titled ‘How CRM can improve customer service‘ below.

We rated all six customer service CRM providers on their ability to deliver the four features above. For more information about what these features are – and why they're so essential to the smooth running of your customer service team – head to our section ‘How can CRM improve customer service‘ below.


  • 24/7 phone-based support available
  • Case re-routing and case milestone tracking included as standard
  • No data storage or contact limits

X Cons:

  • Can be complicated to set up and use, and onboarding support is recommended

Curious to find out more about how Salesforce can elevate your business to new heights? Read our Salesforce CRM review now.

2. Zendesk Support

A classy customer service CRM tailored to the needs of small teams, Zendesk Support soars in the metrics of both help and support and price, and boasts a strong weighted customer approval score of 85%.

With seamless social media and channel integration, a slick ticket prioritisation tool, and a multilingual interface that allows agents to work in their own language, Zendesk Support is a top pick for customer service teams. It’s great value, too, with packages starting from a mere £5 per user, per month, and plenty of data storage thrown in.

Starting price£5 per user, per month
Highest price£149 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit30MB to 200MB per agent (data), 500MB to 10GB per agent (files); dependent on plan
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?Free 30-day trial

Zendesk Support for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Included as part of Zendesk’s ticketing system.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes, across all plans.

Customer loyalty tracking? Yes – Zendesk allows you to generate NPS surveys to gauge customer engagement with and loyalty to your brand.

Customer history? Yes.


  • Offers over 500 integrations via Zendesk Marketplace
  • ‘Guided mode’ feature lines up tickets for your staff to work through, helping prevent task ‘cherry-picking’

X Cons:

  • As with most customer service CRM software, you’ll have to shell out more for the premium features

3. Freshdesk

Freshdesk (from Freshworks CRM) is our joint-top customer service CRM pick for price, but its limited features prevent it from reaching the heady heights of our list’s summit. Freshdesk still boasts a strong customer approval score, though, and its help and support is among the best we found.

Though Freshdesk doesn’t boast as many features as Salesforce, it’s much more accessible in terms of pricing (which starts at £11 per user, per month). It’s also one of the most fun customer service CRM systems to use. You can create tickets in a flash, easily prioritise conversations by urgency or date, and organise support requests by the channel they came in from. It’s no wonder its customers love it so much!

Starting price£11 per user, per month (when billed annually – expect to pay 30 to 40% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)
Highest price£75 per user, per month (when billed annually – expect to pay 30 to 40% more on a monthly plan)
Customer supportLive chat (24/5), phone (24/5), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?Free version and 21-day free trial available

Freshdesk for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Freshdesk enables excellent issue management across all plans. Key highlights include its priority setting feature, split ticket functionality, and (for those on the Garden plan up) the ability to create customised satisfaction surveys to monitor progress against your customer service goals.

We particularly love ‘Freddy', Freshdesk's AI-powered solution to managing customer success, and ideal for tackling your ever-growing list of repetitive, mundane tasks. The productivity-boosting bot comes with Freshdesk's ‘Forest' plan (£75 per user, per month), which provides 3,000 ‘Freddy sessions'.

Each session equals one use of the bot (one email send, or 24 hours of chat replies). When you max out, an extra 1,000 sessions will cost you $100 (£77). Not to be confused with ‘Freddo', of the delicious, chocolatey variety – but just as good at keeping people happy!

Customer interaction tracking? Yes, across all plans – even its free one!

Customer loyalty tracking? Freshdesk’s Garden plan and above enable you to integrate your CRM with Survey Monkey – letting you capture overall customer loyalty and track NPS scores.

Customer history? Yes.


  • Sports an excellent free plan, with features spread out across all pricing tiers
  • Solid customer support, with round-the-clock service included as standard

X Cons:

  • You’ll pay up to 40% more to be billed monthly
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4. HubSpot Service Hub

Though HubSpot excels in its CRM offerings for sales and marketing teams, its customer service-focussed software doesn’t quite hit those same lofty heights. Hamstrung by a more limited range of features and a hefty price tag, HubSpot’s Service Hub is redeemed by wonderful help and support, and superlative customer approval ratings.

Many customer service CRM providers do automation well, but HubSpot Service Cloud takes it to a new level entirely. Its conversational bots do the talking for you, while a live chat feature enables you to work out issues in real-time, via your website. What’s more, HubSpot’s a pleasure to use – its stripped-back, modern look and feel makes it easy to get to grips with, and there’s phone-based support if you get stuck.

Starting price£33.60 (when billed annually – expect to pay around 25% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)

Are you a startup? You might be eligible for 90% off, with HubSpot’s ‘HubSpot for Startups’ program.

Highest price£990 (10 user minimum)
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?Free version

HubSpot Service Hub for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Yes – these are included as part of HubSpot’s ticketing system. With this feature, you can record, organise, and track all of your customers' issues from a single dashboard, which is accessible to your entire team via the cloud.

Customer interaction tracking? No.

Customer loyalty tracking? No, but Service Hub’s Professional and Enterprise plans allow you to run NPS surveys to calculate overall customer loyalty.

Customer history? Yes.

What do we mean by ‘the cloud'? Head to our guide to the best cloud-based CRM for small businesses to find out.


  • Offers intelligent in-built reporting tools for measuring performance
  • Laudable customer support

X Cons:

  • Expensive upper pricing tier
  • No customer loyalty or interaction tracking
Did You Know?

HubSpot also ranks highly on our list of the best CRM systems for small businesses. Why not take a look?

5. Zoho

A poor customer score, so-so features, and help and support ratings that lie at the wrong end of the spectrum are offset by Zoho’s biggest selling point – it’s really, really cheap!

As with its products for sales and marketing teams, Zoho’s customer service CRM lacks the same depth of features as the Salesforces and HubSpots of this world. However, Zoho makes up for its shortcomings with a low starting price of just £10 per user, per month, an intuitive interface, and a generous free version. Sure, you won’t get much in the way of customer service analytics here – but for all the basic stuff, Zoho should suffice.

Starting price£10 per user, per month (free version available)
Highest price£40 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage5,000 records (10MB) to 5,000,000 records (10GB)
Contact limitDepends on the type of correspondence
Free trial?Free version available

Zoho for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Yes. Zoho even allows you to create solutions whereby the system tracks issues automatically, and uses the customer’s initial query to populate the relevant fields when replying.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes.

Customer loyalty tracking? No.

Customer history? Yes.


  • Boasts an interface that’s as easy to use as it is on the wallet
  • Purchasing an annual subscription gets you a 20% discount

X Cons:

  • No customer loyalty tracking
  • Too simplistic for the customer service demands of larger teams

6. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

Bringing up the rear is Microsoft’s own answer to the CRM needs of customer service teams. Though much more affordable than its solutions for sales and marketing, this saving is reflected in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service’s scaled back list of features, and indifferent help and support.

Normally renowned for its big data, analytics-focussed approach to CRM, Dynamics 365’s offering for customer service teams is surprisingly light on features. There’s no loyalty tracking capability, while the interface – tough to use and void of visual flair – ails from an ironic lack of dynamism. Still, it’s cheap. And, if you’re a Microsoft lover looking for a way into a system that’s normally beyond the budgets of most businesses, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service might just be the software for you.

Starting price$50 (£39) per user, per month
Highest price$95 (£75) per user, per month
Customer supportPhone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limit100,000 cases per month
Free trial?Free trial available

Dynamics 365 for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Yes, and all basic case management features are included. Among our favourites are case re-routing, and the ability to convert service issues into knowledge articles.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes.

Customer loyalty tracking? No. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service currently offers no way of keeping tabs of individual loyalty to your brand. 

Customer history? Yes.


  • Cloud-based, but with on-premise options available
  • Reasonable pricing range

X Cons:

  • No live chat support
  • No customer loyalty tracking capability

How can CRM improve customer service?

In addition to the basics (customer support, price, contact limit, and whether there’s a free trial), the best customer service CRM providers below are ranked by their ability to perform the following four crucial functions:

Handily, these functions also serve as an excellent example of how CRM can improve your business’ customer service. Let’s take a look.

Issue management capabilities

When customer service issues arise – and no business is perfect, so rest assured they will – you’ve got to respond with speed and professionalism.

And, with customer service CRM, you can. CRM software allows you to create ‘tickets’, with which you can record, organise, and track any issues that have been reported to your team. Using a simple drag-and-drop queue, you can keep tabs on the status of each issue, and easily spot links between different cases.

You can also prioritise issues, and assign team members to specific ones – thus increasing the accountability of your team, and ensuring that cases are resolved with greater efficiency.

Customer interaction tracking

As with CRM for sales and marketing – where tracking customer interactions helps you sell to them – CRM for customer service allows you to monitor how and where your client base is interacting with your brand.

Is that through social media? Do your customers prefer to get in touch via email, or would they rather pick up the phone and give you a call? Tracking your customers’ interactions with your brand helps you understand their preferences, and empowers you to tailor how you deliver your service going forward.

Customer loyalty tracking

Acquiring new customers is all well and good… but the real business is in retaining them.

It’s cheaper, for one. Plus, statistics show that your probability of converting an existing customer is around 60% to 70% – with new customers, that figure is as low as 5%.

Given this, engendering customer loyalty to your brand and services becomes even more crucial – as does being able to accurately track it.

CRM allows you to gain invaluable insights into your business, courtesy of your customers themselves. From directly within the CRM, you can reach out to your client base with surveys and feedback requests, allowing you to better understand your business’ NPS (Net Promoter Score), and how it’s impacting on your bottom line.

Customer history

A key benefit of customer service CRM is being able to build up a rich, detailed history of each interaction you have with your customers. 

Having a comprehensive record of what conversations you’ve had – and whether they took place via phone, email, or social media – allows you to better understand the customer, and where they are in their journey with your business.

Plus, when your team grows beyond a certain size, having a customer history database isn’t just a plus – it’s a necessity. When one service agent picks up the phone, it won’t always be the same one that the caller dealt with last time – so it’s important that they have all the info they need to handle the new enquiry, right at their fingertips.

Next steps

Though we’ve ranked these six customer service CRM suppliers based on their features, help and support, customer approval ratings, and price, there’s still more research to do to find the right system for you. 

And ultimately, the system you choose will be defined by the unique requirements and restrictions of your own business.

Bargain hunter? Go for Zendesk Support, or – at a stretch – Zoho.

Hung up on the aesthetics? HubSpot Service Hub is your best bet, while Freshdesk also provides a high level of usability with fewer costs.

Dynamics 365 is for the hardcore Microsoft fans only, while Salesforce Service Cloud, as our top pick, is recommended for all.

Remember, which customer service CRM is best for you always comes down to the bespoke needs of your team. And that, in turn, is why we always take your needs into account when you use our free quote-finding service.

Simply tell us what CRM features you want, how many people it’s for, and what (if any) contact management software you’re already using. We’ll do the rest, and you’ll be contacted with tailored quotes from leading CRM software suppliers. It’s that easy!

How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

Independent researchers

We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.


  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.


We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at

Dan Barraclough

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