Article | October 16, 2020
In 2004, Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Luke established an online website to sell snowboards. They tried a bunch of online store builders but were not satisfied with the status quo. So, they decided to build a tool that could operate their website. Soon, they realized that the tool was more powerful than the website's business. And hence, Shopify was born.
Eventually, Shopify became one of the largest eCommerce store builders in the world. By 2009, the company had $100 million in sales and decided to launch its own API as well as an app store. More than a decade later, Shopify is now supporting over 800,000 stores globally and is a $125 billion company.
While the company has shown remarkable growth in its business, it would be ignorant to say the market's needs have been fulfilled by the Shopify platform. Shopify's eCommerce platform works for a lot of businesses, but that does not mean it will work for every business.
Here is why Shopify is Not the Right Fit for Every Business:
Shopify's growth over the years shows that the company has taken several steps to address the market's inherent needs. However, the presence of several other companies and the issues still faced by merchants show some significant gaps in Shopify's offerings:
1. Cost of Setting Up: Each price-point offers a fixed set of features and functionalities. If you want anything over and above that, you will have to buy the subsequent package. For instance – something as conventional as a Gift Card is not available in the $29 per month package; to get it activated, pay as much as $299 per month.
2. Cost of Operations: The additional functionalities and features cost extra in your package. Even basic features like transaction or credit card processing attract an additional fee. To add to that, you have to purchase the app to activate the feature from the Shopify app store. Even though some apps are free, the apps that offer maximum value tend to cost north of $39.99 per month.
3. Limited and Expensive Themes: The entire Shopify store has a total of 73 themes, with the prices going as high as $180 a theme. This means that as a merchant, even after paying the high price, you may end up with an eCommerce platform that hardly stands out from the crowd.
In short, while Shopify was started with great intentions, the cost of using it has started outweighing the probable value it has to offer. This issue gets further highlighted when one starts looking at the Shopify alternatives.
Best Alternatives of Shopify
While Shopify suits the needs of a certain set of merchants, here are the alternatives that can suit the merchants looking for more tailored, affordable, or customizable solutions:
1. Quick eSelling
Quick eSelling is one of the most affordable and easy to deploy ecommerce store builder among the Shopify alternatives. It can be deployed in under 10 minutes for the basic variant. Its free variant has some prolific features like a native Android app, responsive website, and a catalog that can support up to 1000 products.
The free package requires a 5% transaction fee, which gets eliminated the moment you upgrade to a paid plan. All the paid plans have a fixed monthly fee and no setup costs. The list of standard features includes a wide set of functionalities like customizable web-store themes, SMS & Email marketing, comprehensive payment gateway integrations, detailed analytics reports, inventory management systems, social media plugins, discount coupon codes, and even live chat.
The premium package which costs around 50% the price of the $299 Shopify package, comes with a dedicated account manager and enterprise-level integrations.
Ideal for: Merchants who are seeking an affordable, easily usable, and quickly deployable solution.
WooCommerce is popularly considered one of the most preferred alternatives for Shopify. It is quite convenient for website owners as it is a plugin for WordPress.
Unlike other tools in the list, WooCommerce is designed to make WordPress sites work as functional eCommerce platforms. And in that particular aspect, it does a great job.
However, if you are not already using an established WordPress site with high traffic, running WooCommerce can become quite expensive. On average, a website owner has to spend as much as $1000 in setting up a WooCommerce store with a moderate degree of customization.
Even if you are not customizing a lot, running a WooCommerce store can cost you as much as $150 in a month. This would cover your hosting, themes, shipping plugins, security, and SEO. You will pay additional 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Ideal for: Someone who has a successful WordPress website and now wants to convert it into an eCommerce store.
Yo!Kart is a popular self-hosted multi-vendor platform for building online marketplaces. Unlike Shopify, it is a standalone platform that comes with a lifetime license and rich ecommerce features. The platform is fully customizable and scalable.
Yo!Kart packages start from $999 and every package comes with a 1-year free technical support, free installation, and full source code. There are no monthly or yearly recurring fees.
Considering it is a comprehensive platform, you may need some technical training to understand the system.
Ideal for: Business owners who want to start ecommerce websites like Amazon or ebay where multiple sellers are selling under the same roof.
PrestaShop runs on the basic premise that creating an online eCommerce store should be an affordable exercise for any merchant. That is the reason why it is available for free and comes without any additional monthly fees.
Its features include eCommerce functionalities like CRM & Email Marketing, Inventory Management, Multi-Store Management, and SEO Management. You can get a basic eCommerce store running by paying the registration fee for the domain and the hosting fee dues.
While this may seem like a great alternative, given the fact that it is practically free, there is one major caveat – you cannot deploy or personalize your PrestaShop eCommerce store unless you know how to code. The entire platform has been designed, keeping in mind people who can code at professional levels of proficiency. The cost of hiring a developer who can add features to your store or modify the theme can be very costly.
In addition to this, some basic features like promotions & reviews management, data security, and mobile access are not available on the platform.
Ideal for: The merchants who have access to programming talent and don't mind a basic eCommerce store.
Wix became popular as an online website builder. It also offers interesting eCommerce functionalities. For as low as $35 a year, you can have the Business Basic package that comes with a free year of using the domain, analytics reports, and 20 GB of storage.
If you want greater control of your eCommerce platform but are not a professional programmer and are not interested in hiring one, Wix can be a great alternative. Its most expensive package costs about $80 a year. It comes with features like email marketing, SEO management, inventory management, data security, and promotions management.
The challenge is – most of the charges marketed by Wix are very affordable for the first year in operations. After a year, many of these features, like the domain, will become payable elements. This way as soon as the first year of your operations is over, your cost of running the eCommerce platform will dramatically go up.
Ideal for: Merchants who want to have greater control of their website's design without the need for coding skills and those who want the first year of operations to be largely affordable.
Shopify can work for you if you are seeking a limited set of features. However, for lesser price-points, the alternatives for Shopify offer great functionalities. Quick eSelling is good for cost-effective and rapidly deployable eCommerce websites that come loaded with native features. WooCommerce is a viable option if you have a WordPress site and want to convert it into an eCommerce store. Yo!Kart specializes in building multi-vendor marketplaces.
PrestaShop can be handy and very budget-friendly if you have access to coding talent. And Wix is good if you want greater control over what your store looks like, without getting into the programming aspects.
Article | March 17, 2020
In today’s age of digital transformation, retailers have changed the ways in which they interact and engage with consumers — starting with online shopping and e-commerce experience. In order for retail organizations to remain competitive, an omnichannel experience is critical, and with that, retail organizations are relying heavily on websites, mobile apps, online marketplaces, and social media to promote products, sell goods and even provide customer service. As competition to acquire and retain customers continues to increase, many retailers are also expanding their efforts to include social media and digital advertising platforms to enter new markets, generate awareness, and connect with potential customers. However, retailers aren’t the only ones that are targeting the opportunities online and digital platforms offer. Cybercriminals also recognize the opportunities that online platforms represent for retailers, and are seeking to exploit their market share and revenue potential.
Article | March 5, 2020
Consumer has become discerning, ultimately asking more from a brand and ensuring everything from value, quality, convenience and eco-consciousness is catered for. This places a strain on bricks-and-mortar retail to provide a unique experience and a reason for buyers to log-off and leave the house. Julia Redman, founder, Buyers Eye, offers an insight into how to clear market confusion and differentiate brands. “The trend for buying less, but buying better, has the potential to completely change how we shop,” says Julia Redman. “GenZ and millennial consumers are very aware of the impact we are having on our environment and eventually this will signal an end to the era of ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ fast fashion. Price will eventually cease to be the most important part of the value equation, with quality and sustainability becoming more critical factors in the customer decision making process.
Article | February 12, 2021
For every business leader, growth is the key goal. No matter what the size of the business one leads, their strategies revolve around the overall growth of the company. However, the main challenge that they had to face is to gain the lead most cost-effectively and feasibly.
Nowadays, businesses are utilizing technology to integrate, automate or redesign their process operations. It has helped them in acquiring streamlined processes, minimal cost, and enhanced production.
But how technology can help in strategizing for business growth? Here, the digital transformation of the business is the force driving success and growth. So let’s understand what is needed to gain exceptional results.
Cloud Computing & Business
Cloud computing has been around for a long time now. It can not only increase efficiency but also offers better security and fast process operation. To make it highly effective and enjoy its full benefits, it’s important to take help from an experienced team. Also, businesses can choose from the wide range of cloud service providers available in the market according to the requirements.
Honestly, the number of smartphone users has increased in recent years. So to make the product and services reachable to a larger range of customers, organizations need to hire developers and develop web or mobile apps that are responsive and user friendly. It is the best way for gaining success in any business.
Social media like Instagram, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, etc. have changed the way people interact with each other and brands. It makes the social media platform a gold mine for businesses. All that an enterprise needs to do is create a business profile and start targeting the potential customers while connecting and engaging with them. It helps in increasing attracting, offering, and sharing products or services with the audience.
Big Data Analytics
The last and most important factor in any business growth is data. The growth strategy of a business should be supported by relevant and valid data. To use data effectively, business leaders need to learn the way to collect data around the internet and analyze it for achieving valuable insights. With the right data in the pocket, companies can easily adapt powerful strategies, approaches, and plans instantly to give an unbeatable boost to their business.
Undoubtedly, technology gives a high potential for strategizing foremost business plans. But, the entire process of digitizing business will take time. However, by listening to the customer and identifying the right tools, businesses can enjoy digital value. All that organizations need to do is keep themselves updated with new technology tools and trends that can highly impact the business growth.