WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that can be added to a website created with WordPress. It's an extremely popular option for online entrepreneurs, thanks to its free and open-source license, as well as its flexibility. However, much of that flexibility comes at the cost of needing to install additional plugins yourself to extend its capabilities, and any new WooCommerce user is likely to find themselves surprised by both the complexity and limits of their new platform. The truth is that WooCommerce may not be the best choice for a growing business, and even a brand-new startup might find easier, more effective eCommerce functionality elsewhere. Before you decide to use WooCommerce, you should learn about its 5 best alternatives, which we've gathered here for your review.
Magento is another popular choice for eCommerce, and since it's also free and open source, it's similar in many ways to WooCommerce. You'll need to download Magento and install it onto your web server, support is strongly community-based, and custom development is limited only by what you can afford. The biggest difference is that Magento is not a plugin for WordPress or any other website builder: it's a full suite of software for building an online store.
Magento is also much more difficult to use than WooCommerce, and it's intended for larger businesses. The high scalability leads many business owners to go for Magento right away rather than starting out on a smaller platform, but its steep learning curve is also a drawback. Magento also suffers from slow website speeds once your site starts expanding into a large number of products, and it has pretty hefty server requirements for running well in general.
Magento is renowned for its sheer number of features, although these do come at the cost of complexity.
Magento is made to support businesses of any size, and is much more scalable than WooCommerce.
Since Magento is often associated with enterprise eCommerce stores, developers tend to be much more professional and geared toward growth for your business.
Volusion is different from both WooCommerce and Magento: it's an SaaS platform, which stands for "Software as a Service." This means your web hosting, security, software updates, and other technical details are handled for you by the provider. SaaS eCommerce platforms are much easier to use than open-source eCommerce software, because all you need to do to get started is to create an account, log in, and start building.
Volusion is considered to be one of the easiest SaaS eCommerce platforms to learn how to use. Its interface is clear and streamlined, almost to a fault. Many advanced users feel that the platform is so simplistic that it limits them. Volusion is also somewhat lacking in features, but if ease of use is what you're looking for, it may be a good option — just keep its limits in mind.
Volusion is less technical than WooCommerce and takes very little time to learn to use.
Hosting, software updates, support, and more are included in your monthly fee, which makes budgeting much simpler and removes the technical weight from your shoulders.
Volusion's support staff is more readily available than WooCommerce support, and can help with a larger variety of issues and questions..
Shopify is another SaaS platform and stands as one of the most popular eCommerce solutions in the industry. It has more features than Volusion and is also considered extremely user-friendly, but without the simplistic limits many users feel are imposed by Volusion. It's easy to see why Shopify is the go-to platform for many new entrepreneurs ready to build their online store.
However, Shopify is not without its disadvantages: there are few free themes, and despite having more features than Volusion, a surprising number of important capabilities are missing. You'll need to shore up Shopify's functionality with apps from their app store, which can cause your monthly fee to grow unexpectedly quickly.
Additionally, Shopify charges transaction fees (in addition to the usual fee from your payment provider) unless you use their proprietary processor, Shopify Payments. Shopify Payments is based on Stripe and unavailable in many countries, and cannot be used for heavily regulated ("high-risk") industries like CBD. Shopify has also been known to ban businesses from Shopify Payments without warning or explanation, which essentially closes the store.
Shopify includes hosting, support, software updates, and security in its monthly fee, which simplifies both your budget and your workflow.
Shopify is considered to be one of the easiest eCommerce platforms to use, for both small and medium-sized businesses.
Shopify's support staff is easier to contact than WooCommerce's, with access to support rolled into your monthly payment.
Like Volusion and Shopify, BigCommerce is an SaaS eCommerce solution, but has more features than either. It should be considered a strong competitor to both, and is often chosen when a business finds Volusion too limiting and Shopify too expensive. It's not as easy to use as the others, but this is because of the increased feature count.
There are a few disadvantages to BigCommerce, however, and its learning curve could be considered one of them. Worse, though, are its restrictive revenue tiers. Many SaaS eCommerce platforms require you to upgrade to the next plan once your trailing annual sales volume exceeds a certain amount — this ensures your store has the proper infrastructure to give it room to grow. Unfortunately BigCommerce's revenue tiers are much smaller than some competitors', meaning you'll be boosted to a higher plan earlier. Your budget may not be able to handle this without stifling your growth.
As an SaaS platform, BigCommerce is an all-in-one solution including hosting, security, software, and support for online stores.
While BigCommerce is harder to use than some other SaaS platforms, many users do consider it easier than WooCommerce, especially since you don't need to do the technical work.
While it may not be the best for a large enterprise, BigCommerce is much more scalable and can handle larger businesses than WooCommerce.
Shift4Shop is an all-inclusive SaaS eCommerce platform that brings together all the advantages of other platforms with none of the drawbacks. It's much easier to use and more reliable than Magento, has more features than the other SaaS platforms we've discussed on this page, and has no transaction fees or other hidden costs. Additionally, there's a free End-to-End eCommerce plan available if you use Shift4 Payments for your payment processing.
Scalability isn't an issue with Shift4Shop, either. Even the free plan can support a business of any size, from startup to enterprise, as it has no limits on products, orders, sales, or anything else.
With Shift4Shop, your business with have everything it needs to reach its full potential, including hundreds of features for every task you'll ever need to handle. Inventory management, marketing, cutting-edge SEO, customizable themes, and much more are right at your fingertips. Shift4Shop is the perfect choice for building and growing your online business.
As an SaaS platform, Shift4Shop includes hosting, security, software, updates, and much more all within your monthly plan.
Shift4Shop strikes a balance between being feature-rich and user-friendly, with intuitive tooltips to guide you through every part of your dashboard.
As your business grows, you'll need stronger hosting, but with Shift4Shop this included in your monthly plan. This is a huge savings compared to what you'd pay for separate WooCommerce hosting for a similar-sized business.
Shift4Shop is fully PCI compliant, meaning we've taken on the burden of ensuring you can safely and legally accept credit cards.
Shift4Shop has a built-in integration with Shift4 Payments, which takes only minutes to set up and start taking orders. Accept credit cards and several alternate payment types as well.
You'll never have to wonder whether you've chosen the right plugin, as the bulk of Shift4Shop's features are already built in, and our app store is much more straightforward than WooCommerce plugins.
No need to look for an affordable web host, buy a domain name, download or install software, or anything else. Just sign up for your Shift4Shop account and start building.