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Shopify Competitors: The Top 5 Best Shopify Alternatives (Free and Paid)

Updated August 27th 2021

Shopify launched in 2006 as an ecommerce software solution. It wasn't the first ecommerce platform but it grew quickly and hit 8,854 new stores per month within its first decade. Today, Shopify adds over 20,000 new active stores every week.

Today, Shopify is a dominant ecommerce platform with over 1.5m active online stores.

Over the years, existing ecommerce platforms have continued to evolve and many new players have entered the market trying to establish themselves as the best alternative to Shopify.

Two questions bring everything into perspective:

  • Which are the best platforms to run an ecommerce store other than Shopify?
  • How do each compare with Shopify?

How to Choose from Shopify Competitors

Shopify is diverse. To make an easy comparison to its competitors in the ecommerce industry, we’ll break it down into:

  • Best Shopify alternatives for small businesses
  • Best Shopify competitors for large businesses

Best Shopify Alternatives for Small Business

There are many ecommerce platforms to choose from for an online store. However, if you’re looking for a solution for a less established online business—some best options you’ll find include:

#1. WooCommerce—the Top Shopify Competitor in Numbers

WooCommerce is the only rival that’s close to Shopify when it comes to the number of stores. It has around 2.4m stores compared to Shopify’s 1.5m.

WooCommerce store count.

Statistics from the Store Leads database for WooCommerce state that:

  • Today, WooCommerce has more stores than Shopify and has increased by 3.9% quarter-over-quarter in 2021.
  • The platform is the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin and is available for free—though you’ll still pay fees for transactions and integrations.
  • Over the past 90 days, WooCommerce has taken almost 15,000 merchants from competitive platforms.
  • The Shopify competitor is one of the fiercest, taking about 9,000 stores from Shopify alone, over 1,500 from Wix, and almost 1,500 from custom ecommerce implementations.
  • WooCommerce lost almost 6,000 ecommerce businesses over the past 90 days. Shopify has taken nearly 2,500 stores and just over 2,000 have switched to a custom ecommerce implementation.
  • Many stores on the WooCommerce platform sell home & gardening products. The table below shows the top seven store categories on WooCommerce.

Store Category

Number of Stores

‘000s

Percentage

Home & Garden

158

6.4%

Apparel

157

6.4%

Food & Drink

126

5.1%

Beauty & Fitness

109

4.4%

People & Society

96

3.9%

Business & Industrial

86

3.5%

Health

78

3.2%

How WooCommerce Compares with Shopify

WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce solution for WordPress websites. However, it isn’t as feature-rich as Shopify. If you compare WooCommerce and Shopify side-by-side for features alone, Shopify will come out as a better alternative.

And, while there are many large ecommerce stores using WooCommerce, you'll also find that many WooCommerce are smaller stores: often a blog that sells a tshirt on the side. As a result, the average Shopify merchant is larger than the average WooCommerce merchant.

#2. Wix—the Top Affordable Shopify Alternative

The world knows Wix as a drag-and-drop website builder with ecommerce capability. It powers millions of websites though only a tiny portion of them are ecommerce merchants.

Today, Wix offers ecommerce solutions to over 1 million active stores.

Here are some interesting Wix’s statistics from the Store Leads database.

  • You require no coding when using Wix—its drag-and-drop nature makes it excellent to create the best custom store.
  • You’ll incur a 2.9% plus 0.3 cent fee on every US purchase on Wix’s ecommerce platform.
  • Over the last 90 days, Wix took almost 1000 merchants from competitive platforms—70% coming from Shopify, 5% each from Square Online, and Ecwid.
  • On the flip side, Wix lost around 8,000 merchants—Custom Cart and Ecwid taking about 2,000 each, and WooCommerce just over 1,500 over the past 90 days.
  • Many stores on Wix sell apparel. The table below shows the top seven categories of stores on WIX.

Store Category

Number of Stores

000’s

Percentage

Apparel

31.0

15.0%

Beauty & Fitness

18.6

9.0%

Home & Garden

17.0

8.2%

Arts & Entertainment

12.5

6.1%

Food & Drink

12.1

5.8%

People & Society

10.3

5.0%

Sports

7.2

3.5%

How Wix Compares With Shopify

At first, Wix and Shopify appear like similar products:

  • They target people with no coding skills
  • Allows creation and update of websites
  • Provide a platform for an ecommerce site

Wix has an entirely free plan, while Shopify only offers a two-week free trial. However, Wix’s free plan has limited functionalities and includes ads.

Like WooCommerce, many Wix stores are often small merchants that are looking for a cheaper option for their online store.

#3. Big Cartel ecommerce Software—Offers Free Plan for Business Selling Less Than 300 Products

Big Cartel is an ecommerce platform for artists and makers. It’s excellent for small stores.

Today, Big Cartel has over 163,000 live stores, growing by 15.2% quarter-over-quarter in 2021

Big Cartel store count.

More Big Cartel statistics from the Store Leads database state that:

  • Over the last 90 days, Big Cartel took almost 400 merchants from competitive ecommerce platforms—the bulk of these from Shopify, 7% from Wix, and 4% from Square Online.
  • Over the last 90 days, Big Cartel has lost over 600 merchants, with Shopify taking 70%, Squarespace 12%, and Square Online 10%.
  • Most of Big Cartel’s stores sell apparel. The table below shows the top seven store categories on Big Cartel.

Store Category

Number of Stores

000’s

Percentage

Beauty & Fitness

103.3

8.8%

Apparel

89.4

7.6%

Home & Garden

89.1

7.6%

People & Society

75.7

6.7%

Arts & Entertainment

60.7

6.0%

Food & Drink

48.5

4.2%

How Big Cartel Compares With Shopify

Big Cartel is the only platform that lets you sell online for free and is suitable for selling individual products. On the other hand, Shopify has all ecommerce features scoring high in every category, but its basic plan starts at $29/month.

What are the Best Shopify Competitors For Large Businesses

Big businesses require specific features and support. Below are the best platforms to consider

#4. Magento

Magento is an open-source platform with ecommerce tools that allow merchants to customize the entire shopping experience.

Today, the platform has almost 155,000 live stores. The number has been increasing by 3.7% quarter-over-quarter in 2021.

Magento store count.

Store Leads found that:

  • Over the past 90 days, Magento took around 600 merchants from other platforms— over 200 from Shopify, nearly 150 from WooCommerce, and almost 100 from Custom Cart.
  • The platform has lost nearly 2,000 stores, with WooCommerce taking 35%, Shopify 26%, and Custom Cart 14% of these figures.
  • 12.2% of Magento’s stores sell apparel. The table below shows the top 7 store categories on Magento.

Store Category

Number of Stores

000’s

Percentage

Apparel

18.9

12.2%

Home & Garden

15.2

9.8%

Business & Industrial

6.3

4.1%

Food & Drink

6

3.8%

Sports

5.5

3.6%

Health

4.9

3.2%

Autos & Vehicles

4.4

2.8%

How Magento Compares to Shopify

The main difference is that Shopify is a hosted platform while Magento is self-hosted. Meaning, Shopify shoulders all the heavy hosting worries for you while Magento requires installation, payment for web hosting, security, extension, and your domain.

#5. BigCommerce — Best Alternative for B2B ecommerce Businesses

The BigCommerce platform has a vast array of built-in features, marketing tools, and a strong emphasis on SEO.

Today, BigCommerce has almost 50,000 live stores.

BigCommerce store count.

Additional statistics of BigCommerce from the Store Lead database suggest that.

  • The platform has had a stable year-over-year growth of 21% over the last few years. Stores on BigCommerce have increased 4.4% quarter-over-quarter in 2021.
  • BigCommerce took around 500 merchants from competitive platforms—half of this from Shopify, 10% from WooCommerce, and 7% from Square Online in the past 90 days.
  • On the other hand, the platform has lost 500 merchants—over 50% of this amount going to Shopify and 25% to WooCommerce.
  • 16.5% of BigCommerce stores sell apparel. Below is a table that shows the top seven store categories on BigCommerce

Store Category

Number of Stores

000’s

Percentage

Apparel

8

16.5%

Home & Garden

7.5

16.0%

Beauty & Fitness

3.4

7.1%

Food & Drink

3.3

7.1%

Sports

3,.3

7.1%

Autos & Vehicles

3.1

6.6%

Health

2.4

5.1%

How BigCommerce Compares to Shopify

Both BigCommerce and Shopify are platforms for big businesses. However, BigCommerce has a B2B edition that’s built for ecommerce. This edition has advanced features for B2B products.

Alternatives to Shopify—Conclusion

No question—Shopify is among the world's most comprehensive ecommerce platforms. However, its alternatives compete well—depending on your type of online store. Here’s a checklist of important conclusions you can draw from the data:

  • WooCommerce appears to be the best alternative for small businesses on the WordPress platform.
  • Wix proves to be the right ecommerce platform for merchants on a budget but wants to customize small businesses using the drag-and-drop utility.
  • Big Cartel seems to appeal most to merchants selling personal products because it offers a free platform for businesses selling under five products.
  • Large ecommerce stores appear to prefer Magento because they can fully customize the shopping experience.
  • Many B2B stores go for BigCommerce because it has an exclusive version for B2B stores.

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