Ecommerce software like WooCommerce makes it easy to start an online shop. Don't get me wrong, WooCommerce is a great choice because it's free, open-source and highly extensible, but there are excellent WooCommerce alternatives ⇣ out there you should consider using instead.
Ever since Amazon started selling more than just books, the world of ecommerce has exploded – and the majority of buying and selling that happens in the world will happen through online platforms and ecommerce software, like WooCommerce.
- Best overall: Shopify ⇣ is the best all-in-one web-based ecommerce platform that comes packed with all the essential features you need to launch a successful online shop.
- Runner-up, Best overall: Bigcommerce ⇣ is a hosted ecommerce software like Shopify. What I love about Bigcommerce is the WordPress integration, where you can have WordPress be the frontend, and Bigcommerce the backend.
- Best free alternative to WooCommerce: Ecwid ⇣ is an ecommerce shopping cart that integrates with WordPress. The forever-free plan is great for merchants selling a limited number of products.
Ecommerce software allows anyone to set up a store and start selling: Thousands of businesses have had their start this way, and many successful and established brands have increased their success rate by embracing ecommerce alongside (or even instead of) brick-and-mortar business ventures.
WooCommerce is used by hundreds of thousands of sellers daily. It's the most popular ecommerce software platform out there right now. According to Builtwith.com WooCommerce powers a whopping 26% of all online stores on the entire Internet.
But the truth about WooCommerce is that while a lot of people continue to use it, many users find the features lacking – and find that WooCommerce takes too big of a cut of the cash for what they offer.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that easily integrates ecommerce capabilities with your existing WordPress site, it's free, open-source and extensible.
It's been in business since the year 2011, and it's offered as an easy-to-use website plugin for websites that allows you to set up a store in just a few minutes. For an idea of just how popular WooCommerce is, statistics from 2020 say that as much as 26% of all ecommerce sites on the Internet were run by WooCommerce.
Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
The pros of WooCommerce are that it's easy to sign up to, it's easy to use and it's cheap to start off with – but once you've used WooCommerce for a few weeks, it's likely that you are going to start looking for alternatives to the WooCommerce ecosystem.
WooCommerce pros include:
- WooCommerce itself is a free plugin (but you need to pay for a web hosting service, usually also a premium theme and extensions).
- It's open-source which means the customization possibilities are limitless. It's no wonder that WooCommerce calls itself “the world’s most customizable ecommerce platform”.
- Thousands of great looking, ecommerce-ready and mobile-responsive WordPress themes exist for WooCommerce.
- WooCommerce is a great option for technically-skilled store owners that want a hands-on approach.
The cons of WooCommerce are:
- A lack of customer support for clients and customers who are in need of immediate or urgent help.
- WooCommerce gets expensive with paid options, and free options have proved to be far too limiting for users.
- The WooCommerce system is easy to use and set up but becomes harder to navigate the larger your commerce venture or shop becomes.
- Security concerns have prompted even more users to make the switch to other platforms.
- Is self-hosted meaning you have to look after the “code”, as opposed to Shopify that takes care of the technical maintenance of running a store for you.
- Shipping costs range on average between $0 – $108 per year. Payment gateway costs on average are 2.9% + 0.30 cents per sale plus a monthly fee of $0 – $30 per month.
Best WooCommerce Alternatives?
If you've been using WooCommerce for a few weeks or months (or you've just signed up), you might have already found that most of the cons mentioned above are true.
The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives and competitor sites like WooCommerce out there.
Shopify makes one of the best alternatives to WooCommerce that you can find. It's both easier and cheaper to use than many other ecommerce software (including WooCommerce itself).
Other alternatives include Wix, Bigcommerce, and Ecwid.
What is Shopify?
Shopify was launched in 2004. It's one of the leading ecommerce platforms right now, and one of the first viable alternatives that users consider when they switch over from WooCommerce. If you want ease-of-use for both you and your customers, Shopify is a great choice.
Did you know that over 1 Million businesses in 175 countries have made more than $155 Billion USD in sales on Shopify
Shopify allows you to build an ecommerce site without writing a single line of code. They help manage everything for you including payment processing, generating invoices, managing your catalog and everything else you need to run a successful online store
- Acceptance of 70 payment gateways, including credit card and PayPal.
- A professional point-of-sale system that functions entirely online.
- Automatic fraud analysis.
- Shopify is one of the easiest ways to build an online store for your business.
- Shopify takes care of the backend technical maintenance of running a store for you.
- Automatic fraud analysis for transactions that get flagged.
- 100+ professional themes (both free and paid).
- The ability to list an unlimited amount of products, and unlimited bandwidth.
- The plans aren't free, but they are worth paying for.
- Shopify Lite (for mobile) can be lacking in features as opposed to the full version.
Why use Shopify instead of WooCommerce?
Simply, Shopify is cheaper than WooCommerce in the long run – but this shouldn't be your only reason for switching platforms. Shopify is also easier to use and offers better customer support that's available when you need it – and offers more payment solutions than its ecommerce competitors in order to make selling online an easier process.
What is Wix?
Just like WordPress, Wix is a platform that's best known for helping people to set up free websites and blogs for their brands and businesses. It doesn't just help you to build websites, but it's also a good way of building an ecommerce website too.
Thousands of people choose Wix, and it has become one of the strongest alternatives alongside WooCommerce and Shopify, currently powering millions of websites all over the internet.
- Wix has a free plan and paid alternatives for people who want to set up an ecommerce website.
- The Wix Website Builder is easy to use, although might become limiting for larger websites or more advanced users.
- Wix allows you to build websites according to templates, which is great for users who are still finding their feet around building a website.
- Wix is very easy to use if you've never built a website or ecommerce store before.
- 100s of templates and drag and drop website builder that is made with beginners in mind.Wix websites are easy to put together, but there's a lack of coding ability for more advanced users who already know what they would like to build.
- Buying and selling through the Wix ecommerce platform is easy.
- One of the first cons of the Wix platform is the fact that all websites built on the free plan come are obviously a “Wix site” with the Wix domain – unless paid.
- Paying for Wix is cheap for the first few months, but is likely to get expensive in the long run.
- Wix isn't primarily built with ecommerce in mind, is a bit limited in this space.
Why use Wix instead of WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is the ecommerce partner for WordPress: If your website has been put together with WordPress, then you might want to side with WooCommerce – but if you have a Wix site, then you might want to choose Wix for your ecommerce website instead.
What is Bigcommerce?
Bigcommerce is an ecommerce solution that a lot of users out there might not have heard of yet, but this doesn't make it lacking in either features or functionality. Bigcommerce stands on its own, and it's just as powerful as equivalents such as Shopify – and Bigcommerce is great for ecommerce ventures who don't want their selling platform to have a lot of fuss to it.
- Bigcommerce integrates with WordPress, have the frontend powered by WordPress and the backend by Bigcommerce.
- The option of integrating your ecommerce selling platform with several different site options, whether your main site is based in WordPress, Wix or any other of the options out there.
- Ecommerce software that is scalable and suits large and small business ventures alike.
- Bigcommerce happens to support several payment options, where some ecommerce options are limiting (especially for international customers or clients).
- Bigcommerce offers a training program for anyone who is new to the business of ecommerce and sales.
- The Bigcommerce platform allows you to market your products right from the platform instead of needing any other add-ons.
- Store setup and design are pretty easy, even for novices.
- Expensive, especially for larger stores and long-term users.
- It's been criticized for being hard to use when it comes to specific features such as inventory management.
- Bigcommerce prefers exclusivity: Either use them or switch completely!
Why use Bigcommerce instead of WooCommerce?
If you're using WooCommerce right now, it's likely that you're going to want to switch to Bigcommerce just because it happens to be easier: While Bigcommerce has received criticism for being hard to navigate, the same can be said for WooCommerce.
If you want an easy-to-use platform that isn't a nightmare to navigate, neither might be best: Choose Shopify!
What is Ecwid?
Ecwid is one of the more obscure ecommerce options (and it might not be as famous as Shopify or WooCommerce), but it has become an option that can hold its weight when compared to the rest.
- An automated selling process from start to end with very little need to interfere beyond setting your specifications.
- Mobile-friendliness, which is something that a lot of ecommerce platforms can't say for their selling platform.
- Easy inventory no matter how many items you sell through it.
- You can easily sync and sell across your website, social media, marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon.
- Their “Free Forever” plan is useful for anyone who would like to start an online shop.
- Their selling tools are easy-to-use, but only once you get the hang of things.
- The inventory management is easier through Ecwid than through comparative ecommerce platforms out there such as WooCommerce.
- Even though Ecwid is a strong competitor for the mainstream selling options, it has still received a lot of criticism for being harder to use than platforms like Shopify.
- Ecwid has a “Free Forever” plan, but this is very limiting for advanced users who want to control every aspect of the selling process.
- Signing up with Ecwid is cheap, but once you want to get more out of it, you'll pay more, too.
Why use Ecwid instead of WooCommerce?
If you're using WooCommerce right now, then even the free plan of Ecwid is a better option than the paid options for WooCommerce. In terms of control and functionality, options like Ecwid and Shopify are worlds better than what you're used to if you're a traditional WooCommerce user.
5. WP eCommerce
What is WP eCommerce?
WP eCommerce is one of the best ecommerce options to sign up with if you're new to the business (or want to switch your commerce option over from what you have now). It works well for both advanced users and novices but can get expensive if you want more functionality.
- WP eCommerce is easy-to-use when it comes to setting up your platform and selling.
- Added features of WP eCommerce includes the option to add coupon codes and other useful things for your users.
- Mobile users can find their way around the platform without having the number of features they have access to affected by this.
- One of the best things about WP eCommerce is the fact that it's easy to set up and easy to use, whether you have a small store or a large one.
- The addition of useful features such as coupons for customers makes WP eCommerce great.
- The customer support that WP eCommerce offers is decent, but unfortunately “decent” is all they can say.
- If you're thinking of switching from WooCommerce, then eCommerce is far too similar to be worthwhile.
- WP eCommerce is easy to use, but becomes harder to use the more you would like to do with it: Larger stores mean more effort.
- WP eCommerce is an option that becomes expensive if you choose to level it up beyond their free plan.
- The design feel pretty outdated and looks like it hasn't been updated for quite some time.
Why use WP eCommerce instead of WooCommerce?
WP eCommerce might offer an easier-to-navigate alternative to WooCommerce, but the reality is that it's still run and owned by WordPress. This is an unfortunate fact that means you're stuck with the same cons you hated if you were a WooCommerce user!
6. Square Ecommerce
What is Square?
Square is best known for its POS terminal but they also do ecommerce software. Square is a great ecommerce platform for any newcomers to the online selling space. Their easy-to-navigate platform can be integrated into any main website within just a few minutes – and it's easy to sell stuff using the main platform once you get going.
- Free plan that comes with 500MB of storage, and payments exclusively done via Square.
- Free or paid ecommerce plans that are suited to large or small stores.
- Mobile-friendly selling and buying options make this worthwhile.
- Upgraded plans are available for users who want to expand their reach, network and available features.
- Square is easy to use, comes with a free plan and is ideal for low-volume ecommerce stores.
- One of the main pros of using Square is the fact that the platform guides you through the first steps of setup where many other commerce platforms leave you in the dark.
- Plenty of useful features can be added for customers, including discounts, special offers, and coupon codes with just a click.
- Several payment options are supported through Square, including PayPal.
- Simply, Square isn't the cheapest and you're better off with alternatives like Shopify if you're on a budget.
- Sometimes Square can be hard to navigate for newcomers to use.
- Limited features, customizaton and payment options.
- Tech support isn't always as useful as it should be.
Why use Square instead of WooCommerce?
If you're using WooCommerce right now, consider a switch to Square: When compared to the free options, you might still prefer using the functionality of WooCommerce just because you get more out of it – but once you start talking about paid options, Square becomes worlds better for the money.
What is Webflow?
Webflow hasn't been around for as long as other options like WooCommerce and Shopify, but it's grabbed a pretty large chunk of the overall market share already. With Webflow Ecommerce, you can build and design your online store, customize every little detail of your website, shopping cart and checkout experiences.
- Webflow's visual “no-coding” builder lets you customize every little detail of your website, shopping cart and checkout experiences.
- The option to list an unlimited amount of items for sale through the inventory.
- Coupon codes and special offers or discounts for customers, which you can add with just a few clicks.
- Free plans or paid plans depending on what you're looking for.
- Webflow gives you complete design freedom, it's a completely customizable ecommerce platform.
- The selling platform for Webflow is easy-to-use.
- Integration is easy and seamless, whether you know HTML or not – and whether you're used to commerce selling platforms or not.
- Webflow supports a few more payment avenues than other forms of selling platform.
- Webflow is primarily built for web designers launching websites, ecommerce capabilities were added later on.
- You're better off figuring the options out on your own rather than relying on Webflow's customer support or helpline to help you.
- Webflow has a serious lack of features for the money you pay when you move over to their paid options.
- Right now you can only use Stripe or PayPal as your payment provider, and there's no POS.
Why use Webflow instead of WooCommerce?
When comparing Webflow to WooCommerce, you're likely comparing the two as a current WooCommerce user. A simple five-minute trial of Webflow's ecommerce software to test it out should be enough to tell you why Webflow is better and easier to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the pros of WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is free, open-source and extensible. WooCommerce can be extended and customized, meaning the code and content can be changed to suit, modify and customize your ecommerce site entirely.
What are the cons of WooCommerce?
If you find WordPress difficult to use then WooCommerce is not the best ecommerce platform for you. Because with WooCommerce you manage the backend and code, meaning you manage the web hosting, the WordPress theme, and plugins.
What are the best WooCommerce alternatives?
The best alternatives to WooCommerce are Shopify and Bigcommerce. (Shopify is the best and easiest-to-use tool to build your online store with. Bigcommerce is a close second, plus it integrates with WordPress.) The best free alternatives are Ecwid and Square.
Best WooCommerce Alternatives: Summary
WooCommerce is a fantastic ecommerce platform, it's the most popular ecommerce software out there as the WooCommerce powers a whopping 26% of all online shops on the entire Internet.
But there are good WooCommerce alternatives out there. Choosing WooCommerce versus another ecommerce software is really going to depend on two things; if you already have a website, or is yet to launch one, and on how many products you intend to sell.
- If you haven't started your online shop yet, then Shopify is your absolute best option. Shopify is the leading all-in-one web-based ecommerce platform that comes packed with all the essential features you need to launch a successful online shop.
- If you don't have a website and only intend to sell a few products online, then Wix is the smartest option. Wix is an easy-to-use drag and drop website builder that also comes with great ecommerce capabilities.
- If you already have a WordPress site and want to start an online shop, then Bigcommerce is the best WooCommerce alternative as it fully integrates with WordPress (i.e. you can use WordPress as the frontend, as Bigcommerce as the backend).