There’s no doubt about it. If we want to monetize our blogs, one of the best ways to do so is by starting an online store.
Whether we want to sell our services, our digital products, online courses, or even merchandise, an online store is a must-have.
And Shopify is the undisputed king of online commerce.
Yet, the platform often falls short when it comes to certain features. It’s notoriously counter-intuitive when it comes to selling digital downloads, which is how most creative entrepreneurs choose to monetize their audiences these days.
Also, when it comes to selling memberships, subscriptions, or services, it often falls short.
And even though there are a lot of platforms trying to challenge Shopify’s domination of the online world, most notably WooCommerce and BigCommerce, there are some interesting underdogs that might do the trick if you plan on opening an online store soon.
Ecwid is an interesting alternative to Shopify, especially since it offers a free plan.
Limited, indeed, but you can sell up to 10 products and have a decent storefront that looks good on both web and mobile.
At the same time, their paid plans (starting $15 per month) give you as many functionalities as the basic Shopify plan, with the added bonus that selling digital downloads is easier.
Other notable features:
- Mobile app
- WordPress plugin
- Discount coupons
- Mailchimp integration
- The ability to set bulk discounts
- Gift cards
Ecwid also makes it easy to design a decent storefront in less time than it takes to customize a Shopify theme.
The user interface is beginner-friendly and quite intuitive and makes setting up your store (adding a custom domain or setting up payment processors) quite easy.
I’ve used Ecwid in the past and it’s one of the platforms I do recommend, unless you need some plugin or app that you can only find in Shopify’s app ecosystem.
Payhip has two main advantages:
- It’s the easiest way you can sell digital downloads and memberships
- It’s free.
There are, of course, paid plans, but they don’t offer extra features, you just pay less than the standard 5% fee you have to pay them.
Other than that, Payhip is easy to use, integrates both with Paypal and Stripe, and is one an effortless way of selling digital downloads (ebooks, digital files, templates, etc.)
You can also set affiliates and offer them a cut of each sale they bring to you. Cool stuff!
Another ecommerce platform that allows you to effortlessly sell digital downloads and memberships, Sellfy has pretty much all the features and integrations you need from an ecommerce platform.
From print-on-demand fulfillment to video streaming, Sellfy handles it all without the need to pay for other apps.
The pricing? The same as Shopify, starting at $29 per month.
Webflow is a no-code platform that allows you to create stunning websites and blogs, but they also have an e-commerce plan (and features.)
While not as feature rich as other options on this list, Webflow is worth a mention because it could become your all-in-one platform, and with a bit of work, you can sell pretty much everything you want… your way.
Of course, the main selling point of using this platform to power your online business is the fact that it’s faster than just about anything else.
In fact, websites and blogs built in Webflow are considerably faster than WordPress sites, and from my experience, even those powered by Ghost.
Similar in terms of features to Payhip, Gumroad is a platform designed around selling digital content.
After all, they even have a mobile app that allows customers to easily access all they have ever bought from the platform.
The cons? There are obvious limitations to branding your store.
The pros? You get to join a community of over 75,000 creators, and you also get some cool perks if you choose to reach more potential customers with their Gumroad Discover feature.
Pricing wise, there are two options: free and $10 per month. That’s about it.
A word of advice when choosing an e-commerce platform: you must first decide on what you want to sell, and then try to figure out the perfect platform for you.
Even if you don’t sell those products yet, do keep in mind that switching platforms, especially after you’ve made a few sales, is a real hassle.
I learned it the hard way.
Other than that… explore each platform, because that’s what those free trials are for.
For hundreds of more tools and platforms, check out our toolbox here.
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