There is no arguing with the fact that Shopify is the world’s biggest and most well known hosted ecommerce platform but does the UK have any platforms to compete with them?
In the UK, there is a great selection of ecommerce platforms that are a great alternative to Shopify. Whether you are a small start up or a large ecommerce enterprise, there are a variety of platforms that are more than capable of catering to your ecommerce needs.
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Option 1: EKM
EKM, formerly EKMPowershop is the UK’s largest hosted ecommerce platforms and have helped over 80,000 businesses start selling online since they were established in 2002. With a team of over 80 people, they have a wide breadth of knowledge from technical support to marketing to help you get your business up and running.
One of the big stand out factors for EKM is the support that they give their customers. The UK based support team is excellent and on anything other than the basic package, you get your own dedicated account manager who is on hand to help guide you through building your ecommerce business.
Even with the basic package you still get a 30 minute welcome call to help you get your site up and running and ask any questions about the platform.
It doesn’t matter whether you are small independent retailer or a large multinational seller, the EKM platform has something for everyone.
• Up to 500 Products
• Up to £50k Annual Turnover
• Free SSL Certificate
• No Transaction Fees
• Basic Evolution Mode
• Standard UK Support
• Unlimited Products
• Up to £150k Annual Turnover
• Free SSL Certificate
• No Transaction Fees
• Standard Evolution Mode
• Priority UK Support
• Unlimited Products
• Up to £1 Million Annual Turnover
• Free SSL Certificate
• No Transaction Fees
• Monthly Evolution Mode
• 24/7 Emergency Support
The core EKM product is a very capable ecommerce platform and offers you all the functionality that you could require for an ecommerce business. But EKM offer you a good selection of features that you can install on your site with a single click and they are all free to us but some are only available on larger plans.
- Ecommerce Grade Servers
- Unlimited Bandwidth & Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- 99.9% Uptime
- 1.3 Second Average Load Time
- Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Stripe, Klarna, Worldpay and SagePay
- Abandoned Cart Statistics
- Discount Manager & Loyalty Points
- Customer Reviews
Marketing & SEO
- WordPress Blog
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Facebook Messenger for Live Chat
- Social Plugins
- 69 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
- Live Customiser
- Input Custom CSS & HTML
- Bespoke Design Service
EKM Evolution Mode
EKM offer a very unique feature to all their customer and this is called Evolution Mode. It is run by the Evolution Team, who are specialists in all things ecommerce from designers to digital marketers and they will review your online store on an annual or monthly basis (depending on the package) and make recommendations on how you can improve your store.
If you want to know more about the platform, then check out my Full EKM Review.
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Option 2: Create.net
The second option on my list and incidentally the second biggest in terms of customer base is Create.net. Since launching in 2001, they have helped over 30,000 individuals and business create a website. If you are a small ecommerce business or a boutique retailer, then Create are one of my top recommendations.
If you are completely new to selling online, then Create are their to help you get up and running. From the minute you sign up, you get your own account manager as well as informative videos and guides to show you not only what you need to do but also how to do it.
On the flip side, if you know what you are doing when it comes to running a website, there are enough features and control over the aesthetics to help you build a very nice ecommerce store.
Create offer the cheapest ecommerce package of all platforms on this list at £9.99 for their personal package. This package gives you all the basic tools to help you start an online store.
They also offer two larger packages the Professional (£19.99) and Business (£39.99) if you need more than just the basic.
Unlike EKM, Create offer all of their features pre-installed on the platform, so no need to go around installing apps. Create.net doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles when it comes to ecommerce features that are more likely to be required by larger ecommerce businesses, instead they offer a very capable shopping cart that is perfect for smaller businesses.
Some of the features the best features of the Create platform are:
- Drag and drop page builder
- Discount tools
- Create and schedule sales
- Personalised options for products
- Social share widgets.
Create.net Theme Selection
With Create you get a really nice selection of 35 free mobile responsive themes but when you add in the drag and drop page builder, the amount of customisation options increases massively.
If you want a custom theme then you can pay the Create team to make one for you or you can employ a web designer to build one using the Web Developers Kit.
Create.net Free Trial
With Create, you get a free 14 day trail so you can test the platform out. If you want to give them a try, just click the button below.
Option 3: ShopWired
The third choice on my list is the youngest out of all the platforms, having been launched in 2013. In the time since launching they have helped over 8500 business start selling online and also have big names such as Wowcher and EDF Energy as part of their ever growing user base.
For me ShopWired is geared more towards businesses where ecommerce is their main focus, rather than having a business that sells online (if that makes sense!?). This just comes from the way that the platform is set up and the features that you get.
Like all of the UK based platforms, the support that you get from ShopWired is top notch. They always get back to you as a soon as they can and are more than happy to help you resolve your problems.
ShopWired have gone with a tiered pricing structure that is similar to that of EKM. You just get a little bit more in terms of turnover limit and resources with the ShopWired plans.
Their basic platforms starts at £29.95 + vat a month and their larger plans are the Advanced and Premium, which are £59.95 and £119.95 + vat respectively. If you have an annual turnover of more than £500k, then you want to take a look at their Enterprise packages that are purposely designed for bigger businesses.
ShopWired has a really good offering out of the box but you can add additional functionality by installing apps or extensions. There is a really good selection of 39 apps and 19 extensions that you can use.
Not all of these are free, unless you are on the Advanced or Enterprise packages. But the most expensive is only an additional £5 a month. Some of these that really stand out to me are:
- Ebay Integration, allowing you to manage your Ebay store from your website dashboard
- Digital downloads, if you want to sell more than just physical products
- Dropshipping integration with AliExpress
There are also a host of b2b options as well, if you want to sell to other business rather than just customers.
ShopWired Theme Selection
ShopWired have the smallest theme selection, with 19 free and 5 paid themes to choose from. But they are all really well designed and mobile responsive, which is great.
If you want to have a custom theme done by the ShopWired team, then you can for £1795 + vat.
ShopWired Free Trial
ShopWired offer a free 14 day free trail so that you can really test the platform out. If you want to give them a go for yourself, then just click the button below.
Option 4: Bluepark
The fourth offering on my list is Bluepark. While the smallest of the platforms here as they power just over 2000 online stores, they do have a wealth of experience when it comes to ecommerce. This is because they have been powering ecommerce sites since 2004.
The Bluepark platform is a very popular choice with users of UK business forums and they have a very loyal following. Rightly so as well as they offer a feature rich platform and back that up with excellent support.
Out of the sites mentioned in this list, Bluepark is the most technical as they give you the most options when it comes to making changes and tweaks to your site. This makes it a great option for businesses that are used to managing websites and selling online.
All three of the Bluepark packages are well priced and range from £24.99 for the basic retail package up to £59.99 for the enterprise package, with the business package falling in the middle at £39.99. All monthly price are + vat.
You will need to factor in buying an SSL certificate as unlike the other platforms in this list, it doesn’t come as standard with any of the packages.
Bluepark operate in a similar fashion to Create in that all of the features come pre-installed and you get more features on the bigger packages. Their offerings are also very feature rich, even on the basic retail package and there are way too many for me to list here, so I will list a couple that stood out to me:
- Affiliate network, the only platform on this list that allows you to build your own affiliate network and manage it directly from your dashboard.
- Multi-language and currency auto detection
- Compatible with Groupon for offering daily deals
Honestly, there are lots more and you will need to check out their site for yourself to see all of them.
Bluepark Theme Selection
You get a really good selection of 42 mobile responsive themes (they are called templates by Bluepark) that are all free to use. If you want a custom theme, then you can contact one of the Bluepark design partners.
Alternatively, you can customise your theme using the very good block editor, that allows you to change the look and feel of your site easily.
Bluepark Free Trial
As with all the other platforms mentioned, you get a free 14 day trial that allows you to put the platform though it paces. If you want to give it a try, then just click the button below.
So there they are, my list of the best UK alternatives to Shopify. As you can see, I have written reviews and tested all of these platforms out for myself (I actually ran an ecommerce store with a couple of these platforms!).
If you are planning on using a platform other than Shopify, then I would recommend taking advantage of all of their free trials, so that you can see which one is best for you and your business.