Shopify is a great eCommerce platform for online retailers with a small range of products. However, once your stock expands beyond ten or so items you may find it becomes too small for your needs.
That’s not a major problem for you though, because there are plenty of other options to suit bigger stores. So today we’ve got three of the best Shopify alternatives for stores with a larger range of products.
Shopify alternatives for large stocks
At this point I should say there’s a Shopify Plus option for larger stores but that’s designed for major retailers with hundreds or thousands of products. Prices also start at around $2,000 per month, which puts it a few leagues above standard Shopify and the alternatives we’re looking at today.
That said, if you are a serious retailer with large stock then you’ll want something along the lines of Shopify Plus – and I’ll cover some alternatives for that in a future article.
Anyway, back to our standard Shopify alternatives, let’s start by looking at Shopify prices:
That doesn’t tell you much about features, of course, but we’ll look at the key points as we compare the options. So let’s take a look at our first Shopify alternative.
BigCommerce hit the scene in 2009 and it certainly lives up to its name. It comes with far more product options than Shopify, which is important for retailers with a lot of stock. While Shopify limits you to three variations per product (eg: three sizes or three colours) BigCommerce gives you a lot more freedom.
As for pricing, there’s nothing between the two. You have three BigCommerce plans to choose from and an enterprise option.
You get more features for your money with BigCommerce, though. Aside from additional product options you also get more selling features on each plan, compared to the Shopify equivalent.There are no transaction fees either, regardless of which payment gateway is used.
There are no transaction fees either, regardless of which payment gateway is used. If you go with Shopify, only transactions through Shopify Payments are processed without a fee.
The main downside with BigCommerce is you get less themes and they can be more expensive. You get 76 themes ranging from $145 to $235 while Shopify has more than 130 themes between $100 and $180. Shopify also has 24 free themes compared to BigCommerce’s seven.
Unlike BigCommerce, which is a like-for-like alternative to Shopify, WooComerce is different in nature. Essentially, it’s a WordPress plugin and that brings a number of unique benefits to the table.
First of all, it’s free – which is a pretty good start. Although you do have to pay for your own hosting with a WordPress site – something you don’t need to worry about with Shopify. Those prices will depend entirely on your hosting provider and choosing one can be a bit of pain.
The big benefit of using WordPress is it comes with one of the best platforms for content marketing. That’s a big deal for any eCommerce firm and one of the biggest strengths of WordPress.
As for WooCommerce, the plugin is developed by WooThemes, who also publish themes specifically for eCommerce. Prices start at around $39 and you can get your hands on all of them for $399 (ideal for developers). You also have 11 free templates to choose from and hundreds of paid options.
In terms of eCommernce features, WooCommerce supports an unlimited number of products and comes with integrated payment options. So it’s definitely easier to sell a wider range of products right out of the box.
Where WooCommerce can come up short is on the more specialist features. You get reports, product reviews and discount options as standard and you can add features with plugins. However, the more advanced Shopify packages offer more features the free WooCommerce plugin simply can’t reach – and that’s fair enough.
So the bottom line is WooCommerce makes it easier to sell larger product ranges and gives you the best content marketing platform. It’s also free but you have to pay for your hosting – so that doesn’t really compare to Shopify.
Our final Shopify alternative is Magneto – another eCommerce giant. Once again, this is an entirely different option, unique to Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce.
Magneto Community Edition is an open source platform, which makes it entirely free. Like WooCommerce, you’ll have to pay for your own hosting so that cost comes into the equation once again. The good news is there are no transaction fees of any kind with Magneto – you’ll only pay the gateway charges set out by your payment providers.
The key with Magneto is the features available are basically limitless. You can sell as many products as you like, use just about every selling option available and customise your store with complete freedom.
The downside here is you have to do most of this yourself or hire a developer. It takes a certain level of technical skill to get the best out of Magneto. Shopify, on the other hand, comes with a lot of features built in (based on each plan) and you’re basically ready to go.
Another issue with customisability is you need to be sure your hosting provider will cater for everything you set up. Be careful you get a plan with enough traffic, data and other allowance to match the features you integrate.
Test out your options
One thing about the options we’ve looked at today is you can try them all out for free. It is an investment of time and resources to do so but it’s worth being confident about your decision. The last thing you want is to build an eCommerce store that can’t meet your needs further down the line. We’ve covered a pretty good variety in just three Shopify alternatives here and some of the biggest names in eCommerce while we’re at it. So, between these options, you should be well covered for your clients’ needs, as well as your own.