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5 Best Shopify Alternatives in South Africa

Today, we are looking at Shopify alternatives in South Africa. If you own an online shop, chances are you have heard of Shopify. It is a well-known e-commerce solution that caters to both small businesses and large enterprises alike. 

But is it the right fit for your business? 

Shopify may have impressive features, but it isn’t the only game in town. 

There are other platforms out there that can work just as well. Let’s take a look at how these alternatives compare and why you might want to consider switching if you run your business using Shopify.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that provides you with a variety of tools to help you sell your products online. 

These include payment processing, order tracking, and analytics. It’s ideal for both small businesses and large enterprises alike with its robust features and flexible pricing structure.

  • Shopify: Choose from three Shopify plan levels — Basic, Shopify, and Advanced — to get enhanced functionality from your small business plan. 
  • Shopify Plus: Shopify Plus is for high-volume businesses. You can configure a custom percentage of revenue ($2,000 or more per month) to get more advanced features on Shopify.

It is a platform you can use to create an online store in South Africa.

Do people use Shopify in South Africa?

Yes, people use Shopify in South Africa. In fact, Shopify has become popular enough in South Africa that there are plenty of agencies and freelancers to support it, and local payment and shipping providers have also created enough integrations to ensure that users are well looked after.

As of November 2023, there are over 14,000 live Shopify stores in South Africa. \

However, it is worth noting that South Africans do not have access to Shopify Payments or Shopify Markets, so they would need to use a third-party app or open a new, secondary webshop for international customers.

Shopify pricing in South Africa

Shopify pricing in South Africa

The pricing for Shopify in South Africa starts at R468 per month for the Basic Shopify plan, R1217 per month for the middle-tier Shopify plan, and R7473.63 per month for the Advanced Shopify plan.

Additionally, there are transaction fees for using the platform, and it’s important to note that Shopify Payments is not available to South African e-commerce store owners, so they need to integrate a different payment processor to accept payments on their Shopify store.

The Shopify Plus plan starts at US$2,000 a month for standard setups and integrations, with variable fees for more complex, higher volume business structures.

Why You Should Switch from Shopify

Shopify is a great platform for setting up an online store. But it has some limitations and can be restrictive in the long run.

The Shopify platform’s restrictions can be a deal breaker for entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses. This is because they don’t have the freedom to customize their site or integrate with other third-party apps. 

For example, if you want to use Google analytics, or if you want to use a different payment gateway, then you’re out of luck with Shopify.

Additionally, Shopify has limited resources when it comes to customer service and support. 

If you are running into any issues with your site then you’ll have to wait up to 24 hours for them to get back to you – which could mean that your sales are taking a hit.

If you want an easier way to handle customer support requests and integrate with other platforms like Facebook or Instagram, Shopify isn’t the best option for your business. 

You can get around this by implementing their on-site apps or third party apps that offer similar features. 

Finally, switching from Shopify could be beneficial because it may cost less than what you have been paying currently. 

This is because the average monthly cost of managing a shop on Shopify is $26/month while the average monthly cost at GVO is $95/month

Features You Should Consider on Your Next eCommerce Platform

If you’ve decided to look for Shopify alternatives in South Africa, here are some of the features to keep in mind:

1). Multiple payment options. 

Your next eCommerce platform in South Africa should allow you to have multiple payment options. 

This can give your visitors a variety of payment options to choose from and help make your site more profitable. 

If your eCommerce site only has one payment option, then that option likely has a higher conversion rate.

For example, if you only have credit cards on your eCommerce site, then there is a high likelihood that most of your visitors will use a credit card to make purchases. 

These are the exact type of statistics that you want to avoid. You want to have multiple payment options on your eCommerce site to give your visitors multiple choice factors.

2). Customization opportunities.

Your next eCommerce platform should allow you to customize your store as much as you want. 

If you want to run a certain type of online business, for example, a tailor-made suit shop, or a car-rental agency, then you should be able to customize your eCommerce platform to run that type of business.

Software like Shopify or Bigcommerce that can run native apps will give you the most control over your eCommerce platform. 

With these types of platforms, your team can build an app that’s completely customized to run an eCommerce business.

3). A flexible platform that grows with you 

You need an eCommerce platform that grows with you. This is essential if you want your business to grow with you. 

You need an eCommerce solution that provides you with the tools you need to scale up your business and grow with it. You need an eCommerce platform that can keep growing with you as your needs change and grow. 

You need an eCommerce solution that can grow with you as your business changes and grows.

The key here is to find the perfect fit for your business so it can grow effectively and reach new heights! 

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the options available on the market today but it does give you a good idea of what’s out there when considering switching from Shopify or starting fresh on another eCommerce platform.

5 Shopify Alternatives in South Africa

Here are the best Shopify alternatives you can try to build your online store in South Africa:

1). BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a cloud-based platform that lets you take care of the marketing, sales, and customer service by itself. 

You can also add third-party apps to increase your business’s capabilities. 

BigCommerce was created in 2009. With this tool, you can easily start and scale your eCommerce business in South Africa. 

The downside? 

The interface isn’t as user-friendly as Shopify.

Additionally, Shopify offers nine free themes versus the five offered by BigCommerce.

2). WooCommerce

WooCommerce is Shopify’s main competitor in South Africa. It has a large number of features that Shopify doesn’t, including various themes and plugins that can help you create your own unique website. 

It also comes with free store creation, which Shopify charges for. 

In addition, WooCommerce is cheaper than Shopify as it can be paid for through monthly subscriptions. 

WooCommerce also offers a wider range of integrations with other platforms like BigCommerce and Magento. 

Finally, it can be easily customized to match your unique brand identity. 

Now the downside of WooCommerce is that it is not as user-friendly as Shopify and requires more technical expertise to build your site from scratch. This could complicate things for newbies who are just starting out in business. 

If you want an e-commerce solution that’s easy to use but offers fewer bells and whistles, then you might want to consider using WooCommerce.

At the same time, despite the plugin being free, you still need to pay for a domain name and hosting.

3). Magento

Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that’s robust and has all the features you need to run your online store. 

It is scalable, customizable, and secure, and it has good search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities built in. 

On the flip side, Magento does not have as many integrations with third-party apps and services as Shopify, but this is changing over time.

Additionally, while Magento provides security updates and patches, you are responsible for installing them. This can be a deal breaker, especially for the non-techy type.

 4). Wix

Wix is another popular Shopify alternative in South Africa. 

This website builder is great for small businesses with limited resources. 

With Wix, you are not locked into contracts, but you do have to pay for your storage space and domain name.

If you want to work with more complex websites, you can upgrade to a paid plan. 

There are different options for different budgets, and you can scale up or down depending on your needs. 

Wix also offers some free plans. You can start a blog, build a landing page, or add a contact form on a free plan. 

If you want your website to be a little more professional, you might want to upgrade to a paid plan. You can do this through a subscription, where you pay a monthly or yearly fee. 

There are also different domain plans available, which you can scale up or down depending on your needs. 

On the downside, Wix does come with a free plan, yes, but it restricts what you can do with it.

For example, you cannot remove ads and worse, you cannot add a payment option.

5). Squarespace

Squarespace is another one of the best Shopify alternatives in South Africa. 

It is easy to set up and maintain. 

In fact, its users can get started with a free trial for 14 days. It also offers a variety of themes and templates, which makes it easy for your site to look professional right out of the gate. 

However, Squarespace doesn’t have a variety of add-ons as Shopify does. If you need to improve how you sell products online, this could be a deal breaker.

It is also very expensive. The basic package will cost you $19 a month and you will have to pay $33 a month if you want to reduce the number of transaction fees. 

Plus, Squarespace support is limited.


OLITT is the perfect Shopify alternative in South Africa. Coming just at the right time, OLITT gives you access to everything you need to start selling online right away.

Just like Shopify, you do not need any coding skills to create an online store on OLITT.

But unlike Shopify, OLITT comes with a free plan. And inside, you can even add a custom domain to your account.

In terms of prices, the OLITT premium plan comes in at R439 per year, which is a steal considering the premium features you get access to.

Portmoni vs Shopify

Portmoni and Shopify are both e-commerce platforms, but they have different features and pricing.

Portmoni is a South African e-commerce platform that offers affordable pricing for small businesses, easy mobile use, and integration with local payment gateways.

It starts at R112.39 per month and does not charge transaction fees.

On the other hand, Shopify is a powerful and extensible platform with a large number of functionalities and can be extended using plugins.

However, it is more expensive than most other solutions, charges a commission on sales, and is not the best for SEO.

Shopify’s monthly package cost is quite high, and the extra cost of plugins adds to the monthly fee.

Portmoni has been designed specifically for South Africa, with a focus on local communication methods.

Shopify, on the other hand, offers a free email marketing service, abandoned cart recovery, search engine optimization, and more native tools for business owners.

In summary, Portmoni is a great choice for starting to sell online in South Africa due to its affordability and ease of use, while Shopify is a powerful but more expensive option with extensive features and add-ons.

Starting an online store in South Africa

Starting an online store in South Africa can be a rewarding venture, allowing you to reach a wider audience and sell your products or services to customers across the country. However, it’s important to carefully plan and execute your strategy to ensure the success of your online business.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start an online store in South Africa:

  1. Choose a niche and target audience: Identify a specific market or product category that you want to focus on. This will help you tailor your products, marketing efforts, and overall brand identity to appeal to your target audience.
  2. Conduct market research: Analyze the current market trends, competitor landscape, and customer preferences within your chosen niche. This will provide valuable insights to inform your product development, pricing strategies, and marketing campaigns.
  3. Secure a domain name and business license: Register a domain name that is relevant to your brand and easy to remember. Obtain a business license from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to operate legally in South Africa.
  4. Choose an e-commerce platform: Select a user-friendly e-commerce platform that suits your business needs and budget. Popular options include Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
  5. Design and develop your online store: Create a visually appealing and user-friendly online store that reflects your brand identity. Ensure the store is optimized for mobile devices and provides a seamless shopping experience.
  6. Source and manage inventory: Establish reliable supply chains and inventory management systems to ensure you have sufficient stock to meet customer demand. Consider using dropshipping or outsourcing fulfillment if appropriate.
  7. Choose secure payment gateways: Integrate secure payment gateways like Paygate, PayU, and 2Checkout to process online transactions safely and protect customer data.
  8. Establish shipping and delivery options: Partner with reliable courier services or utilize postal services to offer convenient and cost-effective shipping options for your customers.
  9. Optimize your store for search engines: Implement SEO strategies to improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing organic traffic and visibility.
  10. Market your online store: Utilize various marketing channels, including social media, email marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), and content marketing, to reach your target audience and drive traffic to your store.
  11. Provide excellent customer service: Prioritize customer satisfaction by offering responsive support, handling inquiries promptly, and addressing any issues efficiently.
  12. Monitor and analyze your performance: Regularly track key metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, and customer engagement to identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategies.

Additional tips for starting an online store in South Africa:

  1. Understand local regulations and consumer protection laws: Familiarize yourself with South African e-commerce regulations, consumer protection laws, and data protection requirements to ensure compliance.
  2. Offer localized payment methods: Integrate popular payment methods like PayFast, Instant EFT, and eBucks to cater to the preferences of South African customers.
  3. Consider multilingual support: If targeting multilingual customers, provide translations for your website content, product descriptions, and checkout process to enhance the user experience.
  4. Adapt to local marketing trends: Stay informed about current marketing trends and cultural nuances in South Africa to tailor your marketing campaigns effectively.
  5. Build trust and credibility: Establish brand authenticity and customer trust by emphasizing your brand values, showcasing customer testimonials, and providing transparent communication.


Yes, Shopify is a good solution for small to medium businesses that are looking to develop their online presence. It is one of the most secure and robust e-commerce solutions available today. 

But with these alternatives, it is still possible to build an e-commerce website that looks great and functions well.

A lot of companies are looking to Shopify for their online presence, but there are a lot of other options out there. 

The best thing you can do is take your time and research all the different options available. When you find one that fits your needs perfectly, go for it!

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