Shopify alternatives for UK businesses

Over 180,000 UK businesses use Shopify for their ecommerce platform. However, there are alternatives to Shopify out there which are cheaper or even free

Shopify is the gorilla in the room when it comes to ecommerce website builders. Shopify controls 32 per cent of the global ecommerce platform market with over 180,000 UK ecommerce stores. But it may not be the best option for UK small business owners, who may be looking for something more specialised or cheaper or even free. But what are the best Shopify alternatives for UK businesses?

In this piece we will make suggestions for best Shopify alternatives for UK businesses based whether you are a dropshipper, looking for something UK based or a free Shopify alternative.

Is Shopify the best ecommerce platform?


Shopify is touted as the crown jewel of e-commerce website builders, with many agreeing the title is well deserved. Shopify is well-known for its extensive range of solutions to help you run an online business from anywhere.

Shopify is one of the leading platforms when it comes to ecommerce. It’s not surprising that Shopify is loaded with features, which are all available in the Basic package and you can add more features when you move onto the standard Shopify or Advanced packages.


The Shopify Customizer is one of the best customizers on the market to help you build your website. This means you can go far beyond just product information on your home page. This will also benefit your SEO as your homepage will have more content, which Google likes.

However, the theme customizer is only available for the home page and not other pages, which is disappointing.


When it comes to marketing, Shopify is really strong when it comes to promoting your business, including its own email marketing system, so you don’t have to use a separate email service such as Mailchimp.

Reporting and analytics

Again, Shopify scores highly when it comes to reporting and analytics, offering product reports, traffic flows, as well as integrating with Google Analytics.

App store

The store is stocked with over 3,000 apps that cover a variety of ecommerce, marketing and SEO. But not all these apps are free to use, which can make Shopify expensive to use on a monthly basis.


The Shopify dashboard is really easy to use and is almost minimalistic in its layout. If even if you are new to ecommerce, it won’t take you long to get to grips with its logical workflows.

How much does Shopify cost?

To begin, Shopify offers a free trial for three days and then costs just £1 a month for three months.

Beyond that, Shopify has three main pricing plans: Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. You’ve probably heard of the headline rate of £25 per month.

A monthly fee under £30 sure sounds reasonable but when you add in other fees, need paid-for assistance from a Shopify expert or incur fees from Shopify Payments, that £25 price can quickly spiral.

Here’s a look at the three primary pricing Shopify UK pricing plans:

Shopify Basic – £25 p/mo

  • Basic reports
  • Up to 1,000 SKUs
  • 2 staff accounts

Credit card rates:

  • Online credit card rate: 2% + 25p online
  • In-person credit card rate: 1.7% + 0p
  • Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 2%

Shopify – £65 p/mo

  • Professional reports
  • Up to 1,000 SKUs
  • 5 staff accounts

Credit card rates:

  • Online credit card rate: 1.7% + 25p
  • In-person credit card rate: 1.6% + 0p in person
  • Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 1%

Advanced – £344 p/mo

  • Custom report builder
  • Up to 1,000 SKUs
  • 15 staff accounts

Credit card rates

  • Online credit card rate: 1.5% + 25p online
  • In-person credit card rate: 1.5% + 0p in person
  • Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 0.5%

Transaction fees

Each of Shopify’s plans means that you have to pay an additional transaction fee to Shopify (in addition to the fee you pay to your payment gateway) if you’re not using Shopify Payments.

This can tot up.

For example, if you use PayPal instead of Shopify Payments, a customer spending £100, Shopify would cost you £5.60 to process the transaction.

If you use Shopify’s own payment gateway, you don’t pay this transaction fee.

Shopify is unique among major ecommerce platforms in charging payment transaction fees to its users – no matter which payment method is used. The concept of an additional transaction fee on top of the processing fee that a merchant pays to their payment gateway was developed by Shopify to “push” its clients towards Shopify Payments.

What is Shopify Payments?

Shopify Payments is Shopify’s own payment gateway that allows Shopify users to process credit and debit card payments. Instead of Shopify merchants using a payment gateway such as PayPal, they can instead open a Shopify Payments account (from within their main Shopify account), meaning they don’t have to deal with any third-party merchant account or payment gateway provider (such as Stripe or Opayo).

One advantage of using Shopify’s payments system is that all aspects of your payment gateway account are accessible from within the Shopify account in real time, meaning that you don’t have to login to a separate Stripe account.

Shopify pros

  • Ease of functionality
  • Huge app marketplace
  • Ability to issue refunds within Shopify
  • Built-in fraud analysis tools

Shopify cons

  • Pricy transaction fees
  • Not all apps are free
  • Basic order management
  • Collections system complicated
  • Support can be difficult to locate

Shopify clients: Emma Bridgewater, Gymshark, Decathlon, Pasta Evangelists, Cult Pens

Is Shopify right for your small business?

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms available. It is easy to use and has loads of features, a great theme customizer and an easy-to-use dashboard.

Five tips to get started taking card paymentsAndy Macauley, chief operating officer of Handepay, gives some concise pointers to taking card payments

Are there any cheaper Shopify alternatives?

Shopify alternatives payment transaction fees compared

Shopify2% + 25p1.7% + 25p1.5% + 25p
EKM1.4% + 20p
Square1.4% + 25p per UK card / 2.5% + 25p per non-UK card
Source: company websites

Best UK Shopify alternative


ShopWired is a UK-focused ecommerce platform, built and developed from a UK perspective.

ShopWired includes a range of features and also features that you can include in the form of apps, ranging from ecommerce to marketing, SEO, reports and analytics. It also offers a strong range of solutions for B2B businesses. Some of these aps however need to be coded into your site as opposed to 1-click installation.

According to ShopWired, increasing numbers of UK businesses are moving their Shopify e-commerce websites across to ShopWired. Customers joining from Shopify complain that they are tired of all the different apps you need to pay for to achieve basic functionality, as opposed to ShopWired, where they are included in its core platform. Almost all of ShopWired’s apps store apps have been built and developed inhouse.

ShopWired offers easy migration from other platforms too, including BigCommerce and EKM.

If you are a UK-focused small business, ShopWired has the advantage of being a UK-centric platform with local support team.

Payment processors

ShopWired works with a good range of payment gateways including Stripe, Amazon Pay, Klarna, Worldpay and SagePay.


There are 20 ecommerce website themes to choose from. ShopWired introduced its version 5 framework in the summer of 2022 and is still porting some of its older version 4 themes across.

Theme customisation used to be poor, but it is now one of the best ecommerce sites available, enabling you to create custom pages for your site.

Website builder

The ShopWired website builder is excellent with a nice selection of themes, even though the selection of themes is a little on the small side.

Other features

Out of the box, ShopWired comes with a good selection of built-in features and over 70 apps that add a range of different features and integrations to your store including:

  • Multichannel selling with Ebay, Etsy and Google
  • Shipping with Shipstation and Royal Mail Click & Go
  • Content marketing tools such as a blog and custom SEO tools
  • Dropshipping with DropWired (AliExpress integration), Printful and Prinitfy
  • Email marketing with MailChimp, Klaviyo and Mailerlite integrations
  • Onsite marketing tools such as abandoned cart recovery and reward Points
  • Accounting software integrations with Sage, Xero and Clearbooks
  • B2B features including trade accounts, bulk discounts and min/max order quantity

How much does ShopWired cost?

In terms of monthly pricing, ShopWired is competitive compared to the competition.

And if you sign up for more than one year, you get a 10 per cent discount for year one, 20 per cent for a two-year agreement and 30 per cent for three years.

ShopWired Pro -£34.95pm

For turnover of up to £75,000 per year

  • 0% Transaction Fees
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Up to 750 Products
  • Unlimited 5* ShopWired Support
  • 2 Admin Accounts
  • ShopWired Accounting Apps £5 Per Month
  • Trade Accounts £10 Per Month
  • Royal Mail Click & Drop
  • eBay App/Integration

ShopWired Advanced – £69.95pm

For turnover of up to £200,000 per year

  • 0% Transaction Fees
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited 5* ShopWired Support
  • 5 Admin Accounts
  • ShopWired Accounting Apps Free of Charge
  • Trade Accounts Free of Charge
  • Royal Mail Click & Drop
  • eBay App/Integration
  • Advanced Reports
  • Use Zapier

ShopWired Premium – £129.95pm

For turnover of up to £500,000 per year

  • 0% transaction Fees
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Unimited Products
  • Unlimited 5* ShopWired Support
  • 15 Admin Accounts
  • ShopWired Accounting Apps Free of Charge
  • Trade Accounts Free of Charge
  • Royal Mail Click & Drop
  • eBay App/Integration
  • Advanced Reports
  • Use Zapier
  • 3rd Party Support
  • Priority Support
  • All Apps Free of Charge


  • All themes offered free of charge
  • 0% transaction fees
  • Optimised for mobile commerce
  • Works with Royal Mail’s Click & Drop service
  • Syncs with Quickbooks, Clearbooks and Xero
  • Advanced VAT features for selling into EU


  • Some apps need to be coded into your ecommerce site
  • No customer support at weekends
  • Turnover-based pricing
  • Bulk inventory management lacks functionality

ShopWired clients: The Spectator, Superdrug, Marks & Spencer, Lloyds Bank, EDF, Tui

Is ShopWired right for your business?

One of the few ecommerce platforms that has no glaring weaknesses, ShopWired is a good, reasonably priced, all-round option which is easy to use.

Best buy now, pay later platforms for small businessesMore people are now using the buy now, pay later method as a direct result of the rise in cost of living. Here are the best platforms to use for your small business

Best Shopify alternative for UK dropshippers


Touting itself as the best alternative to Shopify for UK businesses, EKM is the largest UK ecommerce platform with over 80,000 businesses selling in the UK.

Back in 2002, founder Antony Chesworth started building an ecommerce platform which would let anyone build an online shop from his student bedroom. Today, Lancashire-based EKM has more than 70 staff servicing 100,000 customers worldwide. EKM says it powers one in five online shops in Britain.


Most features are included as standard in EKM, including a powerful order management system which includes printing off sticky labels for mailing and downloading orders in CSV format.

Some of these features are available out of the box and others can be added by a simple one-click install, giving you the flexibility to configure your store exactly how you want it:

  • Add a free 03 number and Facebook Messenger to your storefront
  • Onsite SEO tools including custom meta information, blog and customer reviews
  • Increase customer retention with abandoned cart tools and loyalty points
  • Print on demand integrations with PitchPrint, Snuggle and Printify
  • Affiliate network creation with Tapfiliate
  • Third-party shipping integrations with ShipStation, Click & Drop and Parcel2Go
  • Integration with Xero and Quickbooks accounting software
  • Integrations with Linnworks and Cloud Commerce Pro for store management


EKM used to be quite restrictive in terms of design but now has a theme customizer, which is a welcome improvement.

Evolution Mode

Evolution Mode is EKM’s own term for its team of ecommerce specialists who audit your ecommerce store, come up with a list of suggestions as how to improve, and implement those changes. This can be as frequent as once a week, depending on which package you’re on. It’s like having your own team of ecommerce experts on hand to optimise your website and comes with the Standard, Advanced and Pro packages.

Payment gateways

EKM has integrations with 19 payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal and WorldPay.


EKM is highly rated when it comes to support, which is available through live chat, email, and phone seven days a week.

How much does EKM cost?

Despite the initial 14-day free trial offer, EKM is one of the more expensive when it comes to launching an ecommerce store.

Lite – £19.99 + VAT pm

For businesses with up to £15,000 in online sales per year.

  • Live chat support
  • Unlimited products
  • All essential features
  • Shop health reports
  • 1 employee account

Credit card cost

1.4% + 20p credit card rate

Basic – £37.49 + VAT pm

For businesses with up to £50,000 in online sales per year.

Everything in Lite plus:

  • Free domain name
  • Blog feature
  • Loyalty points
  • Telephone and live chat support
  • Unlimited products
  • Basic Evolution mode
  • Subscriptions

Credit card cost

1.4% + 20p credit card rate

Standard – £76.99 + VAT pm

For businesses with up to £150,000 in online sales per year

Everything in Basic plus:

  • 6 months account manager
  • Yearly Evolution mode
  • Priority UK support
  • Full analytics
  • 5 employee accounts
  • Loyalty points
  • Product urgency features
  • Gift cards
  • 6-month moneyback guarantee

Credit card cost

1.4% + 20p credit card rate


  • UK-based support team and account managers
  • Evolution Mode feature
  • Large selection of free themes and features
  • Free SSL certificate


  • Admin dashboard clunky to use
  • Theme customisation could be better
  • Transaction fees

EKM clients: Pilot World Shop, Soap Shack, Just Blinds

Is EKM right for your small business?

If you’re looking for Shopify alternatives, then EKM is a platform you should consider. The platform is easy to use and performs well. And, because it is a UK-based business, it understands the local market.

But where EKM stands out as one of the alternatives to Shopify is its functionality when it comes to UK dropshippers.

One of the reasons why people opt for Shopify is because they want to start a dropshipping business but Shopify is not the best for UK dropshippers. EKM outperforms Shopify when it comes to UK dropshipping, offering a range of integrations with UK-based dropshipping suppliers to remove some of the headaches when dealing with suppliers in the Far East.

Best free Shopify alternative


Primarily known for its POS system, Square also offers its own ecommerce website builder aimed squarely (sorry!) at restaurants and retail businesses.

Square launched in 2009 as a card reader on a pay-as-you-go basis but then it acquired website builder Weebly in 2018, giving Square POS users the chance to set up their own online ecommerce websites.

Like Shopify with its Shopify Payments, seamless integration between Square Online and any Square POS means you can manage online and instore sales through a single unified system.

However, getting started with Square Online is a bit of a complicated process. Because Square is primarily a payment system, you have to sign up for the payment gateway before you get through to the Square Online store.


  • Facebook and Instagram integration
  • Full integration with Square POS
  • Selection of shipping options, including local delivery and in-store pick-up
  • Small selection of apps
  • Create discounts and promotions
  • Facebook and Google ad options directly in the dashboard
  • Facebook Messenger for live chat on your storefront


Square Online offers an easy-to-use dashboard to help you create a simple, attractive website. There is just one default theme but with plenty of customisation options with Square’s excellent easy-to-use customizer.

However, Square Online does lack some bulk editors, which is not ideal for businesses with a large number of SKUs.


Square Online accepts all major credit cards, PayPal (not on Free plan), Google Pay, Apple Pay, Clearpay and Square Pay.


Square offers email support with a 24-hour response window. Its telephone support helpline runs from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

How much does Square Online cost?


The Free option is pretty generous when it comes to features.

Pro tip: you cannot use your own domain name on the Free package and the front end of your site will include Square branding. This is not great from an SEO perspective

  • Website builder with SEO tools
  • Sync with Square POS and more
  • Pickup & delivery
  • Sell on social
  • Accept multiple payment types

Credit card cost:

1.4% + 25p per UK card

2.5% + 25p per non-UK card


£20 p/mo billed annually

Everything in Free plus:

  • Expanded site customisation
  • Self-serve (QR code) ordering
  • Personalised ordering
  • Advanced item settings
  • Accept PayPal
  • Subscriptions
  • Free domain for one year

Credit card cost:

  • 1.4% + 25p per UK card
  • 2.5% + 25p per non-UK card


£64 p/mo

Everything in Plus plus:

  • Lower processing rates
  • Real-time delivery rates

Credit card cost:

  • 1.4% + 25p per UK card
  • 2.5% + 25p per non-UK card


  • Unlimited product lines
  • No turnover limit
  • Free SSL certificate
  • No transaction fees


  • Limited payment options
  • No pre-built themes
  • Limited bulk-editor options
  • No priority support

Square clients: Skin Future, Fair Shot, Tender Cow, Wicks Barbershop

Is Square right for your small business?

If you are looking for a free Shopify alternative, Square is your best option. Square Online is a pretty easy-to-use website builder with a great range of features. And its paid versions are ideal for small retailers or independent restaurants. However, its online store is not ideal for businesses with a large product inventory.

And if you already a Square POS customer, migrating to Square Online is a no-brainer.

However, the number of payment gateways other than Square is restricted, which is hardly surprising given Square’s history.

More on Shopify alternatives

Taking payments online for ecommerce businessesThere are countless ways for an ecommerce business to accept online payments. We explain your best options

Avatar photo

Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...