Best Shopify Alternatives: 7 Hosted Platforms To Consider

Until recently I was a huge fan of Shopify but they seem to have stalled in their quest to dominate the eCommerce market. There are new features available in other platforms that you won't find on Shopify, without a paid app upgrade that can turn a low monthly fee of $29 into something far more costly. 

There's too many platforms out there that claim to be the best Shopify alternatives, when in fact most of them are actually just basic eCommerce platforms that lock you into outrageous pricing plans. 

However I've found and used 7 different platforms over the last year that could easily be classified as best Shopify alternatives or Shopify killers, depending on what you're looking for. Below you'll see the main features, pricing and more information.

Shopify started off as a team of 5 people in a coffee shop with the aim of making an online store to sell their products. When they couldn’t find any to suit their needs, they decided to create their own.

With over 1,000,000 businesses using their platform all over the world, Shopify is now one of the leading web based eCommerce platforms to start, run and grow a business.

More than just a website like Amazon or eBay with limited independence and freedom, Shopify allows business owners to take control throughout the whole process. Integrated storefront features allow users to create, customize and manage their whole business to build unique and professional brands.

Shopify also provides an updated shopping cart and store management features; so that not only are buyers provided with a variety of secure payment options (supporting most major credit cards and payment gateways), but sellers can also manage their store - from pricing, shipping to customer service - all from the comfort of their computer or Shopify app.

Another handy feature to note is that Shopify also has additional integrated online marketing tools that allow their users to analyze site traffic and quantify their shop data, combined with supported POS (Point of Sale) software. This means that sellers can sell their wares both in the online and physical market, giving them a flexibility and ease to conduct their business however they see fit.

Shopify offers a free 14 day trial for new users before they upgrade to paid accounts.

The ‘Basic Shopify’ plan costs $29USD per month and offers all the basic features required for new entrepreneurs to play around with.

The ‘Shopify’ plan at $79USD per month has upgraded features perfect for growing businesses, while the ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan at $299USD per month is targeted to heavy users with bigger businesses, allowing them a full range of Shopify’s resources and support.

All in all, Shopify aims to simplify the entrepreneurial process for its users from start to finish - without the need for big budgets or fancy software yet maintaining the same quality of larger, traditional business practices. 

Best Shopify Alternatives

1. PinnacleCart

PinnacleCart is an all-in-one solution for online merchants to create an informative and supportive webstore, built with integrated solutions to increase visitors and conversions while growing sales and presence.

Built with their users’ needs in mind, PinnacleCart can be accessed on mobile and desktop, presenting their merchants with a unified storefront with all the bells and whistles of a professionally made website without the professional price tag.

By putting the creative and management power into the individual’s hands, PinnacleCart ensures that entrepreneurs of any size can easily manage their products, learn and utilize the CRM and eCommerce tools available to grow their online presence as much as they want.

Some of PinnacleCart’s features include conversion-focused design, omni-channel and multi-platform exposure facilitation, cutting edge marketing tools, an advanced store management that allows users to integrate all their favourite marketing tools in a unified platform, as well as a long-standing relationship with major business apps such as Google Analytics, Paypal and QuickBooks.

By doing all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, PinnacleCart takes the pressure off merchants and lets them focus on their content and enterprise.

Users get a choice to host on PinnacleCart’s domain or their own, and with a free trial available, users can truly experience what this service has to offer without commitment. And when users choose to upgrade to the paid memberships; they can choose between 3 options.

The ‘standard’ plan comes in at $79.95 per month and offers a limited, but still decent amount of features any new entrepreneur can need to start an online business.

The Ádvanced’ plan comes in at $199.95 per month for growing businesses, and those with unique brands can choose the ‘Enterprise’ plan can work closely with PinnacleCart to customize a strategy that works best for them.

The price of PinnacleCart reflects the quality of work they produce and promised results, without detracting from their users needs. 

PinnacleCart Benefits:

  • Host with them or by yourself
  • No transaction fees
  • Over 400 features
  • One click checkout/upsells
  • Real time shipping quotes
  • Customer remarketing.

Editor Says:

PinnacleCart takes a standard shopify plan and 400 apps you'd otherwise have to buy and combines it into one package for $79 per month.

You won't need to buy any apps, ensuring you have one monthly price. There's also no transaction fees either, although you need your own payment processor. 

2. 3dcart

3dcart is an all-in-one platform built for online entrepreneurs to build a live store for their business. Filled with modern features for both front of house as well as integrated backend programming, 3dcart streamlines the traditional process of a shop into an easy-to-understand format for its users, allowing independent businesses of all kinds to achieve an SEO-ready online store.

3dcart offers a wide plethora of features to help grow online businesses with one of the best website builders in the business with fully customizable themes and templates for that perfect storefront as well as secure and safe payment options that support over 100 payment processors to ensure customer inclusivity. And that’s just for the visitors.

For the entrepreneurs themselves, they can expect fully integrated CRM software, synchronized online advertising for multichannel eCommerce, the choice to connect to their preferred retail management platforms and specific marketing tools and more. 3dcart helps users create the best sales and management experience to suit all types of businesses’ needs.

New users can try out a 15 day free trial before committing to a paid membership. At the low end; the ‘Start-up store’ plan comes in at $19/month which offers all the introductory features one needs to build a small enterprise.

Next is the ‘Basic Store’ at $29/month which is best suited for those who want to grow their business more. The most popular plan is the ‘Plus Store’ at $79/month which suits more experienced online businesses. The most expensive is the ‘Pro Store’ plan at $229/month and is targeted towards heavy users and their business needs.

All plans include access to what 3dcart has to offer; such as domain registrations to API access and unlimited tech support. At the moment, 3dcart is offering a special Thanksgiving Sale offering a massive 50% discount for the first year of membership. This promotion ends in December 2019.

3dcart believes that anyone and everyone deserves to be their own boss, and their services and resources reflect that fact. From home-based startups to large enterprises, 3dcart grow and support their users by connecting them to the tools they need on both computer and mobile. 

3dCart Benefits:

  • 100+ Payment Gateways
  • No transaction fees
  • 50+ free mobile/desktop themes
  • 200+ included features
  • API Access

Editor Says:

Offering a range of pricing from only $19 per month it's a cheaper Shopify alternative with lots more features. They offer free gifts such as Snapchat or Bing credit, as well as domain names. You can even get an email address!

They have a large collection of free templates but finding 3rd party premium ones are non existent with this platform. 

3. Volusion

What started as a small idea in 1999 has now grown into a massive global enterprise that supports over 30,000 merchants and $28 billion in sales. Volusion is an online platform for independent business owners to follow in the same footsteps.

By providing an inclusive platform to create custom websites that not only draw in customers and revenue from all around the world, but does it in a way that those with little to no programming, web development or marketing experience can still create a strong presence for their brand.

Supporting a variety of in-house and integrated features, Volusion helps their users achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Storefront appearances are customized with beautiful themes, templates and sales software that make online navigation a breeze, while back of house programs such as state-of-the-art SEO tools, social integrations and reporting features assist businesses in all the day-to-day marketing and analytics.

This encompassing platform allow merchants to directly control the growth of their business without the additional need for web developers or marketing agencies; Volusion’s website provides in-depth information and a simple interface that echo their authenticity and ethos.

As an established brand, Volusion supports many major payment processors, international shipping companies and even allows for merchants to choose their own independent marketing tools and software. Like many other eCommerce platforms out there, Volusion invites new users to a 14 day free trial to explore what it has to offer.

The range of paid memberships suit a variety of entrepreneurs; from at-home startups at $29/month to large enterprises at $299/month. Each plan differ in the amount of services offered; but all merchants can be assured that their experience is not limited by their budget. Unique brands also have the option to create a prime, custom plan that best suits their business’s needs by simply talking to customer support.

Volusion also offers their in-house expert services to do anything from graphic design and code creation to marketing strategies and eCommerce training, affordably and professionally for peace of mind.

Those with lower budgets and prior knowledge can also browse Volusion’s free blog, guides and information to enhance their business and build their ideas. 

Volusion Benefits:

  • 0% transaction fees
  • Plans based on revenue and products
  • Drag drop website builder
  • 11 free and 34 premium themes
  • Built-in marketing tools.

Editor Says:

Volusion was one of the first eCommerce platforms that major sites used..10 years ago.

Lots has changed and they are now a powerful hosted platform with pricing starting at $29/mo although it's based on revenue instead of features which might be annoying. 

4. BigCartel

Bigcartel has established itself as a dependable, known and global brand for artists and makers to run their creative businesses. As an independent brand born in 2005, Bigcartel has helped creatives do what they love and make money from it.

Bigcartel utilizes a minimal and simple set up that focuses on 3 major aspects; free, customizable themes, easy to manage software, and unlimited customer support.

Merchants can choose from 3 different plans depending on their showcases - the ‘Platinum’ plan is $9.99 per month for 25 products, ‘Diamond’ plan for $19.99 per month and 100 products, and the ‘Titanium’ plan at $29.99 per month.

All plans feature customizable themes, CRM software, code editing options, Google Analytics as well as sales and marketing tools. Bigcartel also offers a free, limited feature ‘Gold’ plan that allows merchants to create a store and showcase up to 5 products, with the option to upgrade to any of the available plans at any time.

Bigcartel breaks down online business strategies into manageable formats for those with limited technological experience - which only serves to highlight how well Bigcartel knows their user base.

Rather than overload the user with online marketing terms and eCommerce lingo, Bigcartel just shows it through its interface. This allows their users to focus on what they do best; making and creating art, while Bigcartel does all the heavy-lifting behind the scenes. Users can find their sales data, manage their store and grow their business all in a simple and intuitive way.

With a team of dedicated professionals and being artists themselves, Bigcartel knows the importance of community and collaboration, and so shares its resources and ideas through Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to create strong interpersonal relationships with their users. 

BigCartel Benefits:

  • Pricing based on product count
  • No listing fees
  • Real-time stats
  • Sell online and in person
  • Automatic tax calculations.

Editor Says:

More of an eBay marketplace for your own store hosted on their platform you can get started for only $10 per month. Large stores can be expensive but with no listing fees it's perfect for beginners starting out. 

Lots of free themes and addon features included such as analytics and tracking. 

5. Site123

Site123 advertises itself as one of the easiest, free website builders around today, and after a quick look at their website, it’s easy to see why.

It offers all the tools you need to build a professional and live website in 3 easy steps. Whether for an independent seller or a corporate entity, Site123 eliminates the need to hire professionals and instead puts direct creative and management direction into the individual’s hands.

Some of Site123’s features include beautiful, ready-made design templates, code-free editing, mobile-friendly capabilities, a wide range of SEO tools for website optimization all combined in a secure and safe web hosting platform.

With a built-in wed editor, users can easily and intuitively manage their online presence from the comfort of their own laptop, allowing them to focus fully on their content. With new features added regularly, Site123 grows alongside their merchants to ensure limitless expansion.

While there is no free trial available, Site123 understands their users and their constraints well. Those with limited budgets can sign up for a ‘Free’ plan which offers a good amount of features any budding entrepreneur needs to start their business.

From then; they can choose to upgrade to the ‘Premium’ plan at a very reasonable price of $10.80 per month, which offers a wider range of features, eCommerce tools and support.

It’s good to note that the ‘Premium’ plan comes with a 14 day money back guarantee if needed, granting a level of flexibility for their users.

No matter the size of business or type of entrepreneur, Site123 makes sure to fully support all those who use their service and ensures that goals are met and satisfaction acquired. 

Site123 Benefits

  • Only $10.80 per month (one plan)
  • Wide range of templates
  • Get paid instantly
  • Fast 24/7 live chat support
  • Manage shipping and tax rates.

Editor Says:

If you want to create an eCommerce store within minutes then this platform is the one for you, using their free themes you can build an eCom store fast.

Limited features may be restricting for growing stores and their platform isn't as modern as Shopify, Volusion and Bigcommerce. 

6. Bigcommerce

This is one company that knows the business of eCommerce well - what began as a 2-person startup is now a global venture with over $17 billion in revenue, teams and users in over 120 countries.

This company was around long before Shopify but was quickly overtaken due to the their lack of vision in providing new features that Shopify was quick to pounce on.  

BigCommerce aims to help business merchants of any size to create a robust online presence through specialized eCommerce and online marketing tools curated directly for the user. The open-platform service also offers flexibility and extensibility without compromising on security or stability.

On the front line are modern features that deliver differentiated commerce experiences - from creative freedom to free stylish themes, multi-tool optimizations for API to dozens of integrated payment providers.

While behind the scenes; cross-channel eCommerce tools and advanced marketing resources combined with a mobile app also mean that users can monitor and manage their business wherever they are, drive real-time business impacts with Analytics software and enjoy direct control over how their business is run.

Users of BigCommerce can also expect a highly developed catalogue of services available without needing to necessarily possess extra programming knowledge or external marketing agencies.

BigCommerce also works in conjunction with other major eCommerce brands and agencies globally to provide extensive app integration for multi-platform sales goals. This allows their users to keep in touch with the current trends while still being easy to manage.

BigCommerce, as a whole, is divided into two sections - the ‘Enterprise’ sector targeted towards larger companies and corporate entities, and the ‘Essentials’ sector which is aimed towards independent and smaller entrepreneurs.

Although there is a free 15 day trial, its features and services are available through paid memberships.

The ‘Standard’ plan is $29.95/month gives new entrepreneurs all the tools they need to set up a beautiful online store. The ‘Plus’ plan at $79.95USD/month is for mid-range users to grow their business and increase conversions.

The ‘Pro’ plan at $249.95/month is perfect for growing businesses, while the ‘Enterprise’ plan is priced based on the company’s needs, but offers full access and support from BigCommerce’s available resources. 

Bigcommerce Benefits:

  • Zero transaction fees
  • Unlimited products, storage and traffic
  • Sell online, eBay, Amazon, social media
  • Abandoned cart saver
  • Real time shipping quotes.

Editor Says:

Another pioneer in eCommerce, overtaken by Shopify but still offering a wide range of features for small businesses from $29/mo with a 10% discount on yearly plans. 

One account and you can sell anywhere on your own store, eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Square, Instagram and with 1 click on Google Shopping.

7. Storenvy

Storenvy sets itself apart from other website builders in the sense that rather than taking the traditional path, it adds an extra level to its services.

When users build a store on Storenvy, they also gain access to an online marketplace where they can showcase their brand. This means that from start to finish, Storenvy provides all the resources and tools needed to start an online presence.

Storenvy combines the modern technology of online shopping with the community and collaboration found in brick and mortar stores. This combination of old and new is perfect for independent brands to come together on one inclusive platform.

With Storenvy’s built-in editor tools; merchants can create and customize their storefront without any prior technical, programming or web development skills.

That being said however, Storenvy also understands the desire of being creative and offers options for HTML and CSS customization too. Behind the scenes; Storenvy includes a plethora of CRM tools, sales management and integrations to make running an online store as easy as possible. Also available on both mobile and desktop, users can do everything they need on the go.

By using this service, users and merchants can rest assured that online payment is a breeze; as Storenvy is fully supported by all major credit cards and Paypal.

As Storenvy focuses on helping small businesses grow, they are also aware of the technical and economical constraints that sometimes come attached.

Those with small budgets or less experience can sign up for free with the ‘Hobbyist’ plan that grants full access to the marketplace and website builder to hit the ground running.

For growing businesses, the ‘Plus’ plan is best suited as it allows for a wider range of tools utilization, and at $14.99 per month, it’s a reasonable price for services offered.

Heavier users and those with more experience will enjoy the ‘Pro’ plan that Storenvy has to offer; with features that cover many aspects of sales management and entrepreneurial growth at only $29.99 per month.

As far as eCommerce platforms go, Storenvy is perfect for merchants, business owners and creatives who appreciate the convenience of this inclusive package without sacrificing quality and style. 

Storenvy Benefits:

  • Your own store, within a marketplace
  • Create store for free
  • Shopper community helps sales
  • Zero technical skills needed
  • Go premium for social addons

Editor Says:

A simple idea similar to Pinterest but with the option to buy products you like. People can follow your store, get notified with new products.

You can also go premium for social media blasts, super discounts and cart abandonment's.

The pro plan goes one better and gives automatic discounts. 

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