How to use Medusa as a Shopify alternative

Medusa is a headless commerce platform that allows you to build your own e-commerce solution. It is built with Node.js and TypeScript and uses MongoDB as a database. It is a fully open-source project and is available on GitHub.

This article discusses the three components of Medusa, which are the headless server, storefront, and admin dashboard. You have the freedom to choose your preferred tech stack for the storefront and admin dashboard, but you can use the create-medusa-app command to install all three components at once if needed.

When you use the create-medusa-app command, you'll be able to install three things at once: a Medusa server, a Medusa admin, and if you want, a storefront as well.

See below for a brief overview of each component:

  1. Headless commerce: Medusa's repository exposes APIs that allow developers to build custom storefronts and integrations with other applications.
  2. Admin panel: Medusa's admin panel provides a user-friendly interface for managing store functionalities. Developers can use this panel to customize products, orders, payments, and other aspects of their store.
  3. Frontend development: With Medusa, you have the flexibility to develop your storefront using different frameworks, such as Next.js, Gatsby, or any other frontend technology that suits your needs. Whether you prefer a static site generator or a more dynamic framework, Medusa can accommodate your preferences.

Benefits of using Medusa as a Shopify alternative

When comparing the cost of using Shopify versus Medusa, there are a few key factors to consider.

Firstly, Shopify offers various pricing options ranging from $29 to $299 per month depending on the package selected, which includes a range of features from basic to advanced. In contrast, Medusa is an open-source e-commerce platform that is free to use, which means that users can benefit from the contributions of the wider community.

While Shopify offers a comprehensive set of features and support options, the cost of these packages may not be feasible for all businesses, especially for those just starting out. Medusa, on the other hand, provides an accessible and flexible platform that can be customized to meet the needs of any business, regardless of its size or budget. Additionally, as an open-source platform, Medusa offers a level of transparency and community involvement that may be appealing to some users.


One of the major differences between Medusa and Shopify is the level of customization options available to merchants. Medusa provides a high degree of flexibility and personalization, while Shopify has more limitations in this regard.

For instance, developers can customize the data layer and backend of a Medusa store based on business preferences to better serve their customers. Medusa allows users to integrate with a range of CMS services, such as Strapi or Contentful, as well as local payment providers. These options enable businesses to tailor their storefronts to their specific needs.

In contrast, making custom modifications to a Shopify store can be challenging, and it may not be the best choice for businesses that require significant personalization. Shopify is better suited for businesses that don't need extensive modifications and prefer a streamlined, out-of-the-box solution.

Overall, Medusa's personalization and flexibility make it a powerful choice for businesses that need more control over their storefronts and want to integrate with a range of services. Meanwhile, Shopify is a solid option for businesses looking for a more standardized and user-friendly solution.

Framework and extensions

Medusa and Shopify differ in terms of their approach to headless commerce. Medusa is a headless commerce engine, which means that the backend is separated from the presentation layer or frontend, providing flexibility for any e-commerce store developed with Medusa. Customers can use a range of frontend frameworks, such as Next.js, Gatsby, or any other preferred technology.

When building an e-commerce store, maintainability and scalability are essential factors to consider. Shopify addresses these concerns by providing a wide range of support, integrations, applications, and developer resources. In contrast, Medusa has a built-in customizable feature that allows customers to tailor their e-commerce store to meet specific business requirements.

While both platforms offer various apps, plugins, and extensions to extend the functionality of an e-commerce store, Medusa's open-source nature means that users can leverage community contributions to enhance their store's capabilities further.

Overall, Medusa's headless commerce approach provides greater flexibility and customization options, making it an attractive choice for businesses with specific requirements. Shopify, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive out-of-the-box solution with strong support and integrations, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking for a more streamlined approach to e-commerce.


Offering local currency pricing on an ecommerce store can be a game-changer, providing payment authenticity and accuracy for buyers. However, achieving this feature can be challenging with certain e-commerce platforms. For instance, Shopify's multi-currency support is only available if the merchant enables Shopify Market and Shopify Payments, which are limited to just 17 countries. Even with both enabled, merchants still need to establish a plan to build the price format for different currencies or exchange rates. Another approach is to create separate Shopify stores for different regions, providing users with guidance regarding product costs in specific currencies.

In contrast, Medusa provides a more flexible solution. With Medusa, merchants can create different regions and select their local currencies within the same store, accessing everything through a single admin dashboard. This approach allows merchants to set product costs independently for each currency, streamlining the process of offering local currency pricing for their customers.

Overall, while both platforms offer solutions for offering local currency pricing, Medusa's approach provides greater flexibility and convenience, making it a compelling choice for businesses with international customers.

Building a storefront with Medusa

In this section, we will demonstrate how to build a basic storefront using Medusa and Remix. To get started, you will need to have Node.js installed on your local machine. If you haven't installed Node.js yet, you can download it from the official website and follow the installation instructions. Once you have Node.js set up, you're ready to start building your storefront with Medusa and Remix.