Free eCommerce

Last updated: August 2022

Compare different eCommerce solutions, explore our in-depth reviews & informative articles, and choose the best solution for you.

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DISCLAIMER: The “free eCommerce platform” options are recommendations designed to get you off the ground. While these programs are indeed “free” on the most basic levels or for limited times, it’s important to note that once the free trial period concludes, you will be required to pay for continued use. Additionally, if you use “Freemium” eCommerce solutions, you must pay for more advanced eCommerce features and functionality.

Pros and Cons of Free eCommerce Platforms

Ecommerce solutions allow individuals and companies to sell their services, digital products, or physical goods online. The most basic free e-commerce solutions enable online consumers to checkout in real-time with a popular payment method (i.e., debit card, credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.) when they are ready to buy.

While there are many advantages to using free or freemium eCommerce website builders, you should consider a few drawbacks before starting an eCommerce store. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the best free eCommerce solutions below. 

Advantages of Free eCommerce Platforms

Open-source and free eCommerce WordPress plugins, website builders, and apps can be a life-saver for solo or small business owners, dropshipping companies, and start-ups.

A few notable advantages of free eCommerce business solutions include:

  • Most free eCommerce platforms are user-friendly for beginners (i.e., drag-and-drop website builders, templates, tutorials, etc.)
  • There are plenty of free eCommerce features, add-ons, and some customization options
  • There are countless e-commerce features like social media sharing, multi-site management, automatic tax calculators (depending on currency), and more
  • Limited inventory management solutions
  • Low transaction fees
  • Access to popular payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal, Squarespace, etc.

It’s essential to note that free eCommerce platforms like Squarespace, Site123,  Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce are similar but offer vastly different pros and cons. In many cases, you’ll need to try multiple solutions before deciding on the best free eCommerce platform for your needs.

Disadvantages of  Free eCommerce Platforms

While there are many advantages of free eCommerce plans, there are also quite a few disadvantages. Some of the most notable cons to using free eCommerce platforms include:

  • Limited eCommerce functionality and customization options
  • Typically not SEO-friendly compared to a paid plan
  • The cost of a custom domain name, web hosting, and other monthly fees
  • May lack an SSL certificate
  • Sub-par customer support, API integrations, and potentially steep learning curve for unpaid plans
  • Lack of adequate marketing tools (i.e., email marketing, social media tools, mobile app development, etc.)
  • Scalability can be challenging to achieve when starting on a free eCommerce website builder

Generally, if you’re just starting in the eCommerce world, it can be helpful to take advantage of free open source eCommerce platforms, free trials, and freemium plans.

However, if you already have inventory and need to start building your website ASAP, upgrading to a paid business plan on a site like Wix, Squarespace, etc., might be a good idea. If you’re not keen on building your own eCommerce WordPress site (or similar), then solutions like eBay or Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, etc., may be worth exploring.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Free Ecommerce Platform

We understand the benefits that free eCommerce platforms offer freelancers, startups, and small businesses. Listed below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions to help you determine the best free or open-source eCommerce platforms for your needs.

What Are the Best Free Ecommerce Platforms?

There are countless free eCommerce solutions available for use on the internet. Some of the best free-trial, freemium, and completely free eCommerce platforms include:

  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • Prestashop
  • Opencart
  • Weebly
  • Site123

The best eCommerce site for you depends on your business, eye for scalability, ability, and overall needs. For example, if you need an easy drag-and-drop website builder, a free plan on a site like Wix may be best.

However, a paid plan may be better if you desire more options, API integrations, shopping cart customization, etc. Test out as many free trials and open-source eCommerce sites as possible, then make your decision based on what you’ve experienced.

What is the Best Open-Source eCommerce Platform?

Many open-source eCommerce solutions offer robust free eCommerce features and more inclusive paid plans. Some of the best open-source platforms for your eCommerce business include but are not limited to:

  • WooCommerce
  • X Cart
  • Ecwid
  • nopCommerce
  • BranchBob
  • Magento
  • Prestashop
  • Opencart
  • Joomla
  • Zen cart

Open-source eCommerce solutions are built by volunteer software developers and engineers. In most cases, this is an advantage. However, some eCommerce experts warn about the safety risks of using open-source platforms without understanding and counteracting possible security risks.

Can I Make a Free eCommerce Website?

Depending on your skill, you can make a free eCommerce website in a matter of hours. However, before you choose your eCommerce platform and start building your website, you should consider the following:

  • Website hosting
  • Security and available payment options
  • Site design and domain name
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy
  • Social sharing and social media marketing strategy
  • The types of physical or digital products you will sell
  • Where your customers are – this will help you decide on the payment gateways you’ll need to work with
  • Your website’s need for customization and scalability

How Do I Start An Online Store For Free?

Every online business is different. Therefore, your process for setting up an online store may be different than another person’s process. With that in mind, the general steps of starting an online store for free include:

  1. Pick your niche
  2. Choose the best free eCommerce platform for your needs
  3. Build out your online storefront
  4. Customize as much as allowed
  5. Start marketing your eCommerce site

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you could accomplish right now. Start building your online eCommerce business for free today!