Shopify alternatives

Shopify Alternatives: Which Ecommerce Platform Is Right for You?

Shopify is an ecommerce giant, capturing 28% of the United States market and 10% of the worldwide market and powering over one million online stores spanning 175 countries.

While it’s clear that the ubiquitous platform has a whole lot to offer to businesses of all sizes, Shopify isn’t an ideal fit for everyone. Of course, the same can be said about other ecommerce sites like Shopify, too. What works for one brand isn’t necessarily right for the next. Variety is life’s finest seasoning, and it never hurts to explore your options. 

At Coalition Technologies, we take a multifaceted approach—we know that one size doesn’t fit all in this complex field. We’re going to introduce you to some Shopify alternatives so you can make an informed decision, whether you’re launching your first online store or thinking about migrating. Let’s dive in!

Why Shopify?

Before we start highlighting the pros and cons of other platforms, let’s talk about why Shopify is so popular in the first place. We’re not here to knock it! In fact, we’re huge fans—just check our Shopify case studies

Our goal is to provide unbiased guidance, so it’s only fair that we kick things off with an overview of the star of the show. First, let’s talk about why Shopify is a solid choice. From there, we’ll explain why Shopify alternatives might better serve your needs and suggest some sites like Shopify to aid you in your quest to achieve ecommerce nirvana.

Shopify is an all-in-one hub that’s incredibly powerful, yet also super user-friendly, thanks to its drag-and-drop system, as well as over 100 SEO-friendly Shopify themes that ensure a polished look. Professional Shopify web design is required to fully utilize the platform to its full potential, but putting a starter site together is a more straightforward affair.

Shopify comes fully loaded with a comprehensive set of highly adaptable tools that cater to every single aspect of running a digital storefront. And, Shopify is scalable, so it can grow with your business. With an organized structure and clean coding, Shopify is an excellent blank canvas for ecommerce search engine optimization (SEO).

Why Bother With Shopify Alternatives?

We’ve hardly scratched the surface as far as Shopify’s features go, but it’s clear that Shopify ticks the vast majority of boxes on a typical digital store’s checklist. That said, one unchecked box can make a difference! Let’s take a look at the common reasons why web shops make the move.

1. Noindex Category & Tagged Pages

SEO is complicated. For some businesses, Shopify does the job flawlessly. For others, there are Shopify alternatives that are a bit more organized, in some regards.

For example, on Shopify, you need to noindex category/tagged pages that are automatically generated by Shopify. Tagged pages make it hard to optimize pages for keywords and unique content—leading to duplicate content issues.

Take StayLit Design, for instance. These two URLs below are identical and can be accessed by anyone. Any collection that the product appears in will create a URL that includes the category in that string (i.e., /collections/accessories/), in addition to a version that goes directly to /products/ after the ‘.com.’

To avoid duplicate content issues that cause pages to compete with themselves in the SERPs—which dilutes ranking power—you’ll have to noindex one of them and/or set the canonical to the preferred version of that page. This workaround might be a bit too advanced for some merchants.

2. Payment Gateways

Some businesses seek out other sites like Shopify because they prefer other payment gateways over Shopify’s proprietary one, Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe. Although you can use other payment gateways, you could end up paying up to 2% per sale in transaction fees.

Additionally, Shopify Payments is only available in certain supported countries, and payouts are only available in your local currency. And, some industries aren’t supported by Shopify Payments. For instance, if you sell cannabis products such as CBD, you’ll need to use a third-party payment gateway, so Shopify alternatives with your preferred processor may be a better fit.

3. Catalog Complexity

Shopify can accommodate 100,000 products, which is more than enough for the vast majority of online stores. But if you do have more, you might need to choose a different platform. 

Similarly, Shopify only allows up to 100 SKUs per product, though at the time of writing will soon allow for up to 2,000 variants. Again, this meets the needs of most businesses, but it can be limiting for those who sell products with a huge amount of options. 

Say you sell customizable necklaces with many unique options, such as sizes, colors, jewels, charms, materials, and so on. If each variant needs its own SKU, you could easily hit that max limit.

Shopify Alternatives: 6 Solid Options

Now that you understand why some businesses migrate to other sites like Shopify, let’s look at some of the best solutions, their major differentiating features, and their pros and cons.

1. WooCommerce

The home page for Eighty Six (built on WooCommerce)

WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress plugin that’s fast, flexible, and full-featured. Naturally, it’s a very popular choice among businesses that are already using WordPress. However, those who enjoy the no-code side of Shopify may find that WooCommerce is difficult to use, as the platform does require knowledge of PHP, JavaScript, CSS and HTML to unlock its full potential.

WooCommerce may also have plugins that better fit your brand’s needs. For example, WooCommerce is one of the more common Shopify alternatives used by cannabis companies because there are cannabis-centric plugins available, as well as cannabis-friendly payment gateways that don’t redirect customers away from the checkout page, which can reduce conversion rates.


  • WordPress integration
  • Access to niche plugins
  • Open-source infrastructure for endless customization
  • Free subscription


  • Not all-inclusive—you’re responsible for domain hosting, email services, SSL certificates, and other necessities
  • Requires knowledge of CSS or HTML to reach full potential
  • Using plugins may diminish performance and make the site overly complex

2. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is extremely robust and a great choice for businesses that are rapidly ramping up their growth. Shopify is scalable, but there are Shopify alternatives that may be a better fit, depending on your needs. BigCommerce is called BigCommerce for a reason! 

As you explore sites like Shopify, consider your needs and preferences. Sometimes too much of a good thing can stand in your way. Although it can be helpful to have access to an incredible variety of tools and features, BigCommerce is a maximalist platform—it can be overwhelming if you’re not a BigCommerce web design expert (or partnered with one).

In general, even the most user-friendly platforms do require expert assistance to stay competitive in the saturated ecommerce arena. Regardless of which one of these Shopify alternatives you use, partnering with professionals is an absolute must! 

We’re the best in the business—our BigCommerce case studies prove it—so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re feeling intimidated by BigCommerce (or any other platform).


  • All plans include a robust array of tools and features
  • Drag-and-drop editing
  • Supports 55 payment gateways (no additional transaction fees from BigCommerce for the integration)
  • SEO-friendly features, including customizable URLs
  • Many paid themes available
  • 24/7 support


  • Difficult learning curve—massive ecosystem and robust tools and features can be overwhelming
  • Only 12 free themes available
  • Forced upgrades to next plan tier if you hit your plan’s sales limit
  • In-depth customization requires coding knowledge

3. Magento

The home page for Search Scuba (built on Magento)

Launched in 2007 and acquired by Adobe in 2018, Magento is an ecommerce platform that offers Shopify alternatives for both small businesses (Magento Open Source) and enterprise businesses (Magento Commerce).

Unlike a lot of other sites like Shopify, Magento requires in-depth technical experience to use. That can be a good thing if you have the skills, as the platform can facilitate some very impressive and complex builds, but the barrier of entry is high. 

And, even when your online store is finished, you will need a professional team to manage and maintain it. For better or worse, depending on your needs and preferences, Magento puts you in full control. If you prefer a hands-on approach, you may want to look into other Shopify alternatives that don’t require as much outsourcing.


  • Open-source infrastructure allows backend access for endless custom design and development
  • Huge, worldwide network of devs (over 260,000) consistently improving functionality
  • Many third-party add-ons and apps available
  • Part of the Adobe ecosystem
  • Magento Commerce offers cloud hosting or self-hosting
  • Great for complex enterprise solutions


  • Completing and maintaining builds can be costly and requires professional personnel
  • User is responsible for installing and managing upgrades, patches, and other updates
  • Magento Open Source requires self-hosting or third-party-hosting

4. Wix

An example of the Wix drag-and-drop website builder

If you’re seeking a simple, straightforward website builder, Wix should be at the top of your list of Shopify alternatives. What Wix lacks in features, it makes up for in ease of use. That said, you might need to consider other sites like Shopify when your business starts growing. Wix can be a fantastic starting point, but it may not be an ideal enterprise solution.


  • User-friendly drag-and-drop builder allows for fast and easy site design and development
  • Premium plans include a free domain for one year
  • Help Center has a large library of searchable resources 
  • Product pages can have six options and 300 variant SKUs
  • More affordable than other website builders


  • Amazon Payments and Apple Pay aren’t supported
  • 50GB limit unless you upgrade to enterprise plan
  • May not be full-featured enough to scale compared to other Shopify alternatives
  • Product options and SKUs may be limiting for complex catalogs

5. PinnacleCart

PinnacleCart caters to small- and medium-sized businesses. The platform is known for its SEO and marketing features, which can be appealing to some, but you can achieve the same (or better) results on the major platforms while enjoying more robust features.


  • Custom URLs, tags, and other features focused on SEO
  • All plans allow for unlimited products and categories
  • In-house or self-hosting options


  • Bandwidth and storage caps can require expensive upgrades as your business grows
  • Only compatible with 64 apps
  • Limited number of themes available
  • Lacks name recognition
  • User must manage their own upgrades

6. Shift4Shop

Shift4Shop is another one of the Shopify alternatives that focuses heavily on SEO. Like PinnacleCart, it can be a good entry point to get your feet wet, but you’ll need a specialist to optimize your site, well, optimally. And, many of the major sites like Shopify work just as well for SEO, while offering other important features and benefits.


  • SEO-friendly tools and features, including 301 redirects and Google AMP
  • Low cost
  • Compatible with 100+ payment processors (including international options)
  • All plans include an integrated blogging platform


  • Difficult to use without technical knowledge and experience
  • Monthly fee for each additional user
  • Themes aren’t as stylish as other platforms
  • Lacks name recognition

Contact Us for a Personalized Recommendation

If you’re not sure which one of these Shopify alternatives is right for you, or if you simply need to give your Shopify store a performance boost, we can help. Get in touch for a free consultation.

Our world-class team can handle everything, including digital marketing, SEO, web design, and more. We work on all of the major ecommerce platforms, catering our approach to each individual organization to ensure exceptional results.

The truth is that if you’re not hitting your goals with your Shopify store, transitioning to other sites like Shopify probably won’t make a big difference. Ecommerce platforms matter, but having a dedicated team of experts on your side is what really puts you ahead of the competition. 

Instead of switching to Shopify alternatives and hoping for the best, let’s form an action plan that targets your problems, fixes them, and puts you on track to success. Partner with us to take your digital shop to the next level!

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