With businesses craving for a digital space, a massive surge in eCommerce building platforms has been witnessed. Each business must choose the best platform that suits the business style and has the features that correspond to the type of business in question. Hence, it is imperative to look at the various options available and which could be best for a particular business model.
Not only us, but the entire world is discussing only one word today, Coronavirus. Yes, the pandemic has left us all vulnerable. The global economy is in the doldrums and businesses are gasping for a space in which they can carry business activities.
As a result of the pandemic, small and medium enterprises were forced to create their online identity. There’s another reason why SMEs have been allowed to shift their business online. The e-commerce business has crossed past 3 trillion dollars by 2020 and is growing at a rapid pace of 18 percent. A combined force of pandemic and e-commerce growth influences the decision of enterprises significantly towards online stores to sell their products.
However, the key question is which web design platform that businesses must choose and which eCommerce resources should be applied to enhance the potential of the website.
The Website Builders:
There are two ways a business can build an online presence. Either the business chooses to engage the customers with social media only or builds a strong online presence with a website.
Mostly, to have a strong presence, businesses go for the website as well as social media accounts. But building a website isn’t as easy as signing up on Facebook or LinkedIn. One requires a specific website building platform that caters to all the needs with futuristic tools keeping in mind the long haul of the business.
Among Duda, Wix, Godaddy, Squarespace, and others WordPress wins the race with a 39.5% market share as a website builder and a whopping 64% as a Content Management System. It is obvious when a large number of businesses choose WordPress, they are bound to use the WordPress eCommerce tool to build their online store. Therefore, WooCommerce dominates the eCommerce store building landscape completely.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that is specifically built on WordPress with eminent tools, a large number of templates, immense flexibility, and build-in suits to help small to medium entrepreneurs build their online presence through an online eCommerce store.
Popularity of WooCommerce
- WooCommerce is open source
- WooCommerce is a regular person friendly
- WooCommerce is extensible
- WooCommerce works on all devices
- WooCommerce looks how you want it to
- WooCommerce is secure
There is no competition for WooCommerce when a small or medium enterprise decides to build its online store. Basing the website on predesigned templates offered by WordPress for free and building an eCommerce store for free using the open-source WooCommerce looks predominantly the most obvious option.
That being said, what if an enterprise wishes to build a multi-vendor online store or wants to sell the subscriptions? Well, to meet the unique needs of the business of having an online store, a business needs an online store builder with specific features. This is where the search for a WooCommerce alternative begins from.
Besides fulfilling the unique needs of the eCommerce store, we can’t ignore the fact that the majority of 61% of entrepreneurs are not enamored by WordPress and its plugin, WooCommerce.
Moreover, the WooCommerce competitors are continuously enhancing their capabilities with new features to offer uniqueness to your brand and store. Therefore, 2021 provides businesses with an opportunity to look into other, more specific alternatives of WooCommerce.
If you can imagine building anything on your online eCommerce store, you can do that with Wix. Wix is synonymous with flexibility and customization in the eCommerce store building. Another reason why Wix is the best alternative to WooCommerce is its drag-and-drop interface, which is designed to offer complete freedom of creating anything.
With Wix, coding is a matter of the past. The visual building tools of Wix enable you to design a store the way you want. Wix is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable and flexible eCommerce platform. It’s famous for its drag-and-drop interface with complete design freedom to create anything you can imagine.
Instead of having to write code, you can use the visual building tools to get your site looking just the way you want it.
Innumerable template options on Wiz make it easy to quickly establish a store. It allows you to create a professional look in a few minutes to give competitors a run for their money. Wix allows you to manage your store from anywhere with a mobile app. Top of all, it has all the marketing tools such as email plugin, Facebook plugin, and more to reduce your efforts.
- 90+ languages and currencies
- Add extra functions with 250+ apps
- No additional fees
- Customized pages for products
- Global shipping options
- Discount coupons & freebies
There are 4 subscription plans you can choose from on Wix:
- Basic — $23/month
- Unlimited — $27/month
- VIP — $49/month
- Enterprise — custom pricing
There’s no alternative to Wix if you are running a category-specific small store with unique offerings.
Primarily promoted as a website builder, Squarespace offers an eCommerce store building mechanism with higher subscription plans. The Squarespace is designed for creative people who wish to develop a highly creative eCommerce store.
There’s no dearth of customizable templates on Squarespace. Moreover, shifting your store from one creative template to another is just a matter of a few clicks. For those who are offering digital products based on subscriptions or mathematical services, Squarespace is the best option as its eCommerce tools are featured with a lot many build-in options.
- Discounts, coupons, and gift cards
- Cart recovery for abandoned products
- Check out through Mobiles
- Numerous product listing options
- Inventory management
- Real-time shipping estimates
Like others, Squarespace has strong built-in tools for marketing. And above all, Squarespace is known for its 24*7 support. With one personal plan, Squarespace offers 3 commercial plans:
- Personal – $12 pm + no eCom feature
- Business – $18 pm + 3% transaction fees
- Basic Commerce – $26 pm
- Advanced Commerce – $40 pm
Squarespace has a plan for large businesses with a dedicated account manager and SEO.
Many swear by WordPress and its functionalities. However, some people find WordPress plugins irritable or unfamiliar to work with. Those who don’t want to self-manage their store but want an eCommerce platform to do that for them would go with Bluehost.
Bluehost is a turnkey eCommerce tool that enables businesses to manage their online store on autopilot mode. Bluehost, although is powered by WooCommerce, creates guided online stores and is laced with multiple features.
- Built-in SSL and Jetpack for security
- Limitless product listings
- Easy & secure payment processing
- Order creation manual mode
- CodeGuard Backup Basic for free
- Advanced product customization
The best part with Bluehost is it takes the headache away from searching plugins and installing with predesigned plugins already available to manage the store on its own.
The Standard plan stands at $12.95/month for a three-year subscription, while the Premium plan stands at $24.95/month. Building a WooCommerce store becomes hassle-free and automated with Bluehost features.
If you already have a big brand name and a wide range of products and want to build a mega eCommerce store, don’t look any further than BigCommerce. As its name suggests, BigCommerce is an all-rounder of eCommerce store building games with all-inclusive and advanced features.
The prized feature that medium or large enterprises rely on is industry-specific tools and features that include accounts of customers, 65+ national and international payments gateways, and built-in shipping management.
- Mobile-optimized checkout
- Google AMP and Akamai
- Coupons and discount codes
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Inventory management
- Advanced Customer groups for personalized shopping
There are 12 cost-free and mobile responsive designs. You can choose from a diverse range of paid templates. BigCommerce plans are four:
- Standard — $29.95/month
- Plus — $79.95/month
- Pro — $299.95/month
- Enterprise — custom pricing
For startups, eCommerce store BigCommerce is overkill but if you are an already established business, there is no looking back for you once BigCommerce sets you up for an online business with a big eCom online store.
Over one million businesses rely on Shopify because Shopify offers all-in-one website building tools as well as eCom store building tools for small to medium business enterprises.
Well, if something is so inclusive and offers umbrella solutions, it’s going to take time to offer all the features. Shopify has lots of templates but customization is the major issue.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce website builder, similar to Bigcommerce, that powers more than one million online stores, making it one of the most popular choices on this list.
Shopify is designed to offer a wide range of eCommerce tools in one suite:
- Customer accounts and profiles
- PoS for brick and mortar shops
- Real-time carrier shipping rates
- Abandoned checkout recovery
- 100 different payment gateways
- Automatic tax calculations
With 70+ pre-designed templates and 4000+ apps, you are assured to design a store that understands all your needs and fulfills them in a quick time with Shopify. Shopify, to cater to all types of businesses, has 5 plans:
- Lite – $9 per month
- Basic – $29 per month
- Shopify – $79 per month
- Advanced – $299 per month
- Plus – custom pricing
Another backdrop with Shopify is its additional fees for everything from payment processing to additional charges for 3rd parties.
Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce are platforms that help you sell physical products. OpenCart is one such efficient eCom building platform that offers you amazing and productive features to set up the store for selling digital products and subscription-based products.
OpenCart can be utilized on WordPress as well as in stand-alone mode to deliver the eCommerce store that brings you all the features a digital online platform requires. The best part with OpenCart is free and easy installation.
OpenCart is free forever and is an excellent option for those already selling digital products. OpenCart offers a simple and centralized admin dashboard with advanced user accounts and access control. The other features are:
- Unlimited product variations
- affiliate management system
- 36 built-in payment methods
- One-click digital downloads
- Product reviews and ratings
- Recurring payments
Think of adding any functionality and OpenCart makes it possible for you. It also has integrated marketing tools to help you promote your products through email or social media.
The platform is free. However, if you need any specific feature and you can’t find it. You’ll end up paying $99 per website per month for dedicated support.
There is a great chance that you are an early bird who has developed a business website almost a decade ago. But nowadays, static websites are already proven white elephants. Those have websites already but wish to integrate with a new platform to have more advanced features and a dedicated online store, Ecwid offers amazing features, tools, and templates.
Ecwid has multi-channel selling tools as well as integrated marketing and advertising tools.
- Centralized inventory and order management
- No transaction fees
- Fully responsive designs
- Built-in POS integrations
- Customer accounts for checkouts
- Digital product capabilities
There’s a major bottleneck though. One requires to log in to Ecwid to manage the store instead of from the website backend itself.
That being said, Ecwid offers a limited free plan forever for small businesses and startups. The free plan allows 10 products to be showcased. Ecwid also has paid plans.
- Venture — $15/month (up to 100 products)
- Business — $35/month (up to 2,500 products)
- Unlimited — $99/month (unlimited products)
If you are building a fresh store, you may want to go with WooCommerce or Wix, but if you wish to integrate your existing store, Ecwid is the best and efficient option.
Sometimes, platforms like WooCommerce prove to be very complex and clumsy for businesses and therefore they look forward to easy-to-use online store building platforms. Magento clears that challenge easily with easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate features that design a store for your unique needs.
You can find lots of plugins in Magento and a great number of templates to choose from. Besides, you have Magento Community Edition that is free. While Magento Enterprise Edition is developed for big enterprises with all-in-one eCommerce features. However, the enterprise edition is not a very cost-effective option.
Sometimes, your business is already there and online inquiries are coming in bulk. In that situation, you’d want to build a store fairly quickly. Prestashop must be your option for quick store building and integrating all primary eCommerce features. Moreover, if you wish to develop a store that has a catalog style, Prestashop offers a lot of tools to quickly build an eShop.
Trusted by over 300 thousand businesses, this is one of the most viable alternatives that are easy and smooth. Usually free for startups and small businesses, Prestashop charges $50 to $150 for add-on features.
Weebly is one of the most potent alternatives of WooCommerce because of tons of features, plugins, and templates that allow businesses to build small to large online stores with a wide range of features, community support, and phone support.
Customization is also easy on Weebly with hundreds of apps that are easy to download and install. However, their Pro Plan – developed for big organizations and a group of companies – offers an arena of features that are not available in the free plan. The Pro Plan has must-have features like free web domain and Google Ads credit and a wide array of payment options.
No one can claim WooCommerce has any deficiency and it lacks on X parameter or Y, but sometimes businesses choose alternatives to have easy-to-use admin or t build online stores quickly or sometimes for industry-specific features.
In nutshell, the online presence for businesses is an inevitable reality, and having an online presence has proven to be extremely productive. No matter which online shop builder you choose, it must, at the end of the day, serve your purpose and help you grow your business.