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14 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms in 2021 | Start and Sell Online


Use these free ecommerce platforms and online store builders to start selling online. Launch your ecommerce business today (no coding required).

Best Free Ecommerce Platforms(1)

Launching and operating an online business is challenging and expensive. Another way to save money is to use a free eCommerce platform

The best free plans from online store builders are highly efficient and offer an extensive range of features, including marketing tools, advanced inventory analytics, and shipping tools. The good news is that you can use these tools without any coding

Finding a subscription that meets your needs is challenging due to the profusion of eCommerce plans on the market. Some free plans have limited tools offered and a restricted number of items placed on the web store.

After assessing every plan available, we made a list of the best ones with  valuable feature bundles to launch an online store. 

Here are the best 14 free eCommerce platforms you can use to get your online store up and running.

Let's begin!

Best Free Ecommerce Platforms for Selling Online

1. Square Online (Free Plan)

Easy-to-use eCommerce platform with advanced tools

Square Online is an easy to use eCommerce platform with advanced tools

Square Online offers a free plan that provides automatic inventory tools using Square POS, delivery and shipping services, and the addition of unlimited products to the website. With a 2.9% commission fee + 30 cents per transaction, Square Online tops all other eCommerce platforms in terms of value for money. 

This easy-to-use eCommerce platform analyzes your industry’s websites to provide a site embodying only your competitors’ best features. Despite the limited customization options for your online store, the auto-generated website meets all the best eCommerce practices required to obtain the best online store website. 

With the integrated Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI), business owners do not need prior technical knowledge to navigate the online store builder. Users can also create customized business logos with desired colors and fonts.  

Square online provides options that facilitate adding products or variations of products to your website. There are even modifier options where customers can customize their products which can be very useful for gifts and personalized notes. 

Organizing and managing your inventory is made easy due to the centralized dashboard containing all stock levels in different locations. Inventory options include stock received, inventory recount (updates stock total with the new number entered), restock return (adds the number entered to existing stock total), damage, theft, and loss

Square Online also offers a managing tool where online stores can input the calculation method for shipping services. The options are flat rate, free shipping, order weight, order total, and item quantity. The Premium account also provides a real-time rate feature where delivery charges are automatically calculated based on the destination, weight, and shipping costs. 

The innovative website builder also uses the ‘Shipping from’ address to verify the products’ carriers and availability. Business owners can also manually classify pending orders as shipped to know all the products and orders’ locations. 

Tax Calculations for US online stores and cross-state transactions are automatically accounted for by Square Online. Shipping from the US to Canada has a 5% tax rate and is automatically adjusted by the eCommerce website builder.

However, when it comes to international shipping, business owners must add tax rates manually. The online store builder provided a disclaimer saying that users should double check the tax rates to prevent any mishap. 

Square Online provides pop-ups to collect emails, offer a coupon, make an announcement, or verify users’ age. The pop-up templates available are all customer-friendly to increase traffic and sales of the products. 

Automatically configured emails are integrated into the website to send order confirmations, items shipped, items refunded, and items canceled to customers. Users can personalize these emails with the online store theme aesthetic to fit the brand. 

24/7/365 customer support is available through phone calls, live chats, and emails. Square Online has a knowledge center where business owners are encouraged 

The free plan is valuable in terms of tools available. But, there is a trade-off here: a domain name that ends in ‘.square.site‘ and Square Online advertisement in the footer of the website.

to search for their answers first through the 180 articles before contacting customer service. 

Pricing

Square Pricing Plan

The best choice is the Professional plan for its reasonable plan. It includes the abandoned cart and customer email notifications. Businesses can also print shipping labels and use PayPal as a payment method.

Benefits 

  • Sell unlimited products in all plans
  • User-friendly dashboard for inventory, sales and shipping services
  • Customer support 24/7/365
  • No coding required

2. Weebly (Free Plan)

Low-cost eCommerce platform with powerful features

Weebly’s free plan is perfect for simple and basic eCommerce websites

Weebly’s free plan is perfect for simple and basic eCommerce websites that do not need additional features. The free plan includes a free SSL certificate, 500MB of storage, advanced site statistics of website traffic and demographics, an option to add a third-party code, SEO tools, Instagram shop, and 24/7 customer support through emails, phone calls, and live chats. 

However, users cannot remove restrictions such as Weebly’s domain and integrated advertisements on the free plan’s online store website. 

The eCommerce website builder has a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy for users with no coding experience. Standalone and dedicated product pages can be inserted on the online store, including various images and sub-images. 

The integrated hover effect allows customers to view a zoomed-in version of the image when the cursor is on the main picture. Builders can view the details of the product without compromising the smooth transitions and efficiency of the website. 

Using Weebly editor, business owners control product variations that enable increases in customers’ same product choices.

A sales option also displays the product description and the discounted price next to the crossed-out original price. The feature allows customers to share the product page on their social media accounts. 

Weebly provides a storefront page highlighting the best sellers, seasonal items, or discounted products to buyers. By clicking on the selected products, the shoppers are immediately directed to the product pages. 

Items can also be classified into different category pages to facilitate the search for products. By manually organizing them, business owners have control over the sales performance of their items. 

The powerful online store builder has a shopping cart feature that displays all the products that buyers have added to their shopping cart. Their order summary will be shown on the same page as shoppers add their details. This reminds them of the items they wanted to purchase. 

An SSL certificate is provided to guarantee the security of the private information of your customers. 

Weebly has a built-in mobile shopping cart that enables customers to checkout on their mobile phones. The eCommerce website builder also has apps that business owners can use on IOS or Android to monitor and update the online shop at any time. The apps can also notify business owners about any orders that were made on the website. 

The online store website builder also has Weebly Promote, an email campaign tool that enables online shops to send their newsletters or sales announcements to the customers on their database. Weebly Promote gives up to two email campaigns for free to any Weebly plans.

However, the free plan does not provide a custom domain name and does not allow external domains to be connected to the website. The different names may confuse buyers as to what website they are visiting. 

The free plan also enables Weebly to advertise on your online shop. The ads are the trade-off for the free website that the online store builder provides. Businesses cannot control the layout of intrusive ads. 

Pricing

Weebly’s Pricing Plan

The free plan has the most limited features for simple websites. It also includes advertisements and Weebly’s domain. 

The Personal plan is targeted to personal blogs and portfolio websites. Despite the custom domain, Weebly’s adverts are still included. 

Small businesses benefit most from the Professional plan. Unlimited storage, free domain name and eCommerce features are provided in this subscription. 

The Performance plan targets bigger businesses with its advanced set of eCommerce tools, namely, abandoned carts tool and payments through PayPal.

Benefits

  • Intuitive eCommerce platform
  • No coding knowledge needed
  • Wide range of eCommerce tools
  • Free SSL certificate

3. Big Cartel (Free Plan)

Free eCommerce website builder for small businesses

Big Cartel is a free eCommerce website builder for small businesses

Big Cartel is a perfect eCommerce website builder for starting small online businesses. The free plan offers a user-friendly onboarding process with integrated prompts and guidance to launch an online store. 

The website builder has 16 fully mobile-friendly themes. These simple and basic themes allow the product display to automatically reformat and adapt to any size screens that customers are using. There are previews of the themes that are re-formatted to fit the online shop website. 

However, to optimize the tools of the online store builder, technical knowledge of coding is required. The layout and design of the website are heavily based on the theme and may limit customization. Big Cartel does not include an image editor that restricts the creative freedom of business owners. If more customization is needed, coding is required to boost the visuals of the website. 

Big Cartel has three accepted payment methods using services from Stripe, Paypal, and Square. Along with selling five products online using its free plan, there are no transaction fees for any product sold. The eCommerce builder does not automatically follow the Payment Card Industry (PCI) guidelines on processing and accepting shoppers’ cards. 

The unconventional website builder has a mobile app that enables business owners to manage their online store using their phones. The app features selling digital products, creating discounts and sales pop-ups, advanced finance and analytic tools, and confirming drop-shipping of client’s orders. 

Despite those apps’ sales functions, Big Cartel does not include some options like product reviews on their free plan. Customers cannot log in on Big Cartel sites, meaning that there are only guest checkouts. Also, business owners cannot upload many products at a time, making the inventory process time-consuming. The eCommerce website builder is most suitable for artists and makers selling one-off products. 

Yet, abandoned shopping carts cannot be recovered using the free plan. Shoppers cannot find previous products that they added to their digital basket on your website. The free version does not provide a discount option which may be frustrating for some business owners. 

Businesses can set up other channels like Facebook and tag products on Instagram using the free plan. This increases the reach of your brand to different social media platforms. The only challenge is the ability to do some coding to integrate these platforms into your online shop. 

Big Cartel provides customer support from 9 am to 6 pm, on Mondays to Fridays. A knowledge base service is also available and may contain answers to your questions. It is carefully laid out to improve the navigation of the various articles. A live chat is also open, but it may result in using email support. 

The free plan does not include a free custom domain, resulting in your website URL containing ‘BigCartel.com.’ However, for all the other excellent tools provided on the free plan, it is worth signing up to start building your website. 

Pricing

Big Cartel Pricing Plan

Big Cartel has four plans: Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Titanium. The pricing will depend on the number of products businesses upload.

The Gold (free) plan may not be enough with its 5 product policy. Also a custom domain name is not provided in the free plan.

The Platinum plan offers 50 products along with businesses’ own domain name. Advanced eCommerce tools such as inventory tracking are included.

The only difference between the Platinum, Diamond and Titanium plan is the number of products allowed. Businesses can upload 250 products with Diamond plan and 500 products with Titanium plan

Benefits

  • Suitable for starting businesses
  • Low monthly costs
  • User-friendly 
  • Free plan available

4. Constant Contact Website Builder (Free Plan)

Design-assisted eCommerce platform for email marketing 

Constant Contact is a Design assisted eCommerce Platform for email marketing

Constant Contact is a design-assisted website builder. Instead of choosing a template from its library of themes, the online store builder creates a site-specific for you using its artificial intelligence software. There are a few questions that collect the data in your answers to design your online dream shop.

The ADI setup process is straightforward and fast but leaves little to customization. Fortunately, most users are happy with the site builder’s website and do not feel overwhelmed by the available options. 

The websites created are designed to improve mobile responsiveness. There are three to five formats for each section of a page, allowing personalization of default content using the brand’s images and information. 

One of the most vital points of Constant Contact is their highly efficient email marketing feature that sends newsletters and promotional sales to their customers. The customers’ details are stored on a database that allows business owners to send regular emails. 

Constant Contact has a blog section that is only available in the RSS feed format. This format cannot fully support Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which could be a challenge if the brand is interested in blogging.

The eCommerce website builder also includes complex tasks features such as tax calculations and integrated shipping and tracking services. Not all free plans from other eCommerce builders provide these tools. 

There is an analytic dashboard that gives a snapshot comparing the yearly sales on your website. Inventory management is also found on the dashboard, where business owners can add, categorize and remove products from their website. 

Business owners can sell up to three digital or physical products on their website using the free plan. There is a 3% transaction fee demanded on all sales, which is higher than BigCartel’s 2%.  

Despite having the helpful tools for tricky tasks, there is no custom domain name provided in the free plan. Integrated ads are also included in the online store website, and business owners cannot control the layout and design of the ads on their product pages. 

Another issue is the lack of language diversity on the Constant Contact website builder. The only language available is English which may impede the accessibility of the eCommerce platform to various users worldwide. 

Constant Contact provides 24/7 customer service and a knowledge base that includes guidance on navigating some of the website builder’s demanding tasks. When using the knowledge base, the only challenge is that articles are not grouped in categories. This may be time-consuming to find your answer. 

Phone service is not available for free plan users, but business owners can reach out through emails. Before sending your questions, Constant Contact asks users to clear their browser Cache & Cookies, try on a different computer with another network, and reset your internet router.

The online store builder has a mobile app that helps business owners stay in contact with their customers and members. Through the app, they are notified about any incoming orders and other activity on the website. 

Pricing

Constant Contact Pricing Plan

Constant Contact plan's pricing is dependent on the number of contacts you choose to monitor. Any email address that you add to your list is considered a new contact. 

Two payment plans: email at minimum of $20 or email at a minimum of $45 a month. Apart from the contacts number, the other difference is the email marketing features. Email Plus has a dynamic automatic advanced email campaign tool that includes online donations and event marketing. 

Benefits

  • Drag-and-Drop editor
  • Excellent value for money
  • Specific templates for various industries
  • Real-time campaign tracking

5. Wix (Free Trial)

Versatile eCommerce website with efficient building tools

Wix is a Versatile eCommerce website with efficient building tools

Wix eCommerce website builder is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) builder. It uses a drag-and-drop editor that enables drag elements such as videos and text boxes to be placed in different layouts. 

Using the live version, business owners know exactly where the drag elements will appear on the published website. All the designs can be created using Wix ADI that makes the online dream store without any coding required. Personalization of the storefront and product pages is available when using the Wix Editor tool. 

Wix Multilingual feature enables website owners to create different versions of their product pages in multiple languages. This increases their reach to a broader international audience. 

The eCommerce options are one of the most user-friendly features on the market. Wix offers a wide range of eCommerce tools that facilitates the startup and management of an online business. Users recommend Wix online store builders for small companies to establish healthy and attractive brands. However, the free plan is not sufficient for big empires to manage their website. 

The flexible and straightforward website user provides templates for any physical and digital products. The themes offer an attractive design to inspire you for your online store layout. Using the built-in product zoom option, customers can hover their cursor over the product images to view its details.

Wix enables site owners to add up to 15 product images for every product uploaded on the website. Users can also integrate embedded videos to show off the items. 

All websites come with an SSL certificate that protects your customer’s privacy and information from internet hackers. The websites are also optimized for mobile use and come with customizable features ranging from alt text to setting keywords on your online store. 

The versatile website builder offers more than 15 payment methods that suit all the preferences of users. 

Wix offers an advanced inventory tool that provides options to bulk upload their products on the website. Products can also be classified into categories such as stock received, inventory recount, and damage. 

The partnered ShipStation app provides a seamless shipping experience to customers and allows business owners to track the orders delivered. Personalized brand shipping labels can also be created and printed to boost the brand’s image. 

Businesses can manually add shipping and tax rules for an automatic calculation of shipping and tax fees. However, business owners must always double-check to see if there are no mistakes. 

The abandoned cart feature informs business owners about customers that added products to their basket but did not check out. Businesses can send automated emails to prompt shoppers to remind them of their unfinished purchase. 

Online stores can sell their products across various social media channels. Businesses can sell products on the Instagram shop, and marketing on Facebook and Pinterest is available through the third-party app called Ecwid. 

Users have access to 24/7 customer service via emails, phone calls, and video tutorials. The online store website builder also has an on-page editor that helps in editing product pages. 

Wix free trial does not allow business owners to sell their products and does not provide a custom domain name. Yet, you can take your time to build your online shop before upgrading to an eCommerce plan. Wix also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee if ever you are not happy with the tools provided. 

Pricing

Wix Website Pricing Plan

Wix provides a free plan that gives access to all of its website building features. Yet, there are multiple drawbacks including using only its free Wix subdomain and integrated advertisements. 

The Wix premium plans are Connect Domain, Combo, Unlimited and VIP. Connect Domain is the simplest plan while Combo is mostly for personal websites. 

The Unlimited plan is targeted to online stores while the VIP plan includes all features and priority for customer support. 

Wix Business & eCommerce Plans

Wix also offers eCommerce plans that contain specific eCommerce tools. Even the VIP plan does not provide enough features that are targeted for maintaining an online store. 

Benefits

  • 24/7 customer support
  • User-friendly
  • Wix Ascend Marketing Tool
  • No coding required

6. Shopify (Free Trial)

 Ideal eCommerce platform with a robust online store editor

Shopify is an Ideal eCommerce Platform with a robust online store editor

Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce website builder that enables people to launch their online store. The clear and easy-to-navigate interface helps the setting up process for any sized businesses. Shopify has a robust backend and a smooth editor that helps clients build a website in a few hours.

During the design, the online store builder sends prompts and questions to guide users in making their dream shop. The free themes are all optimized for mobile responsiveness. They automatically reformat the shop’s display to fit any screen size. 

All the themes have different styles to choose from to suit your brand entirely. They are full of unique tools that allow the personalization of content sections and built-in color palettes. 

The free open-source website builder provides information on how to improve your website’s SEO. Through the drop-down navigation support, business owners can easily create and design their websites. Businesses can also add social media icons to increase the online store’s channels, including Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. 

Customization of the website is available in two sections. The editing interface allows personalized visuals to be integrated on product pages, and businesses can also edit the product images by using the dashboard.  Products can also be automatically categorized into several groups by adding product names or tags next to them. 

Since Shopify is a specialized eCommerce builder, all the themes available revolve around products. This differs from the versatility of Wix and Squarespace website builders. The designing process can be complicated if there are no products yet to display. It is recommended that users start with adding their products and then style and personalize the storefront. 

An in-house analytics tool provides an overview of the online store’s performance by analyzing the sales earned, returning customer rate, and real-time insights. Google Analytics can also be helpful to obtain detailed information and is also free. 

Shopify does not have specialized blogging tools since it is firstly an eCommerce platform. However, users can find essential tools such as display categories, comments, RSS feed, and blog-specific SEO on the online store builder.

The website builder also provides email shout-outs, but it requires some coding. If coding is too complicated, there are third-party apps like Segundo and Campaign Monitor that enable email marketing campaigns, and obviously, they come at a fee. 

Themes have now integrated multiple languages to make building multilingual websites easier. Along with an international brand reach, Shopify also offers international shipping options and automated tax amendments by each country. The online store builder asks business owners to check each country's taxes despite the automated calculations.

Through Shopify Payments, people can buy products in multiple currencies. This is especially helpful if owners want an international website.  

The security of online stores is also vital for Shopify. The stores are automatically secure and are protected against cyber threats, and run updates by SSL certificate. The security is also compliant with the requirements for online transactions. 

24/7 customer service is available with the free plan. Shopify also has a dedicated Help Center available to users with specific problems. Users can access support through live chat, emails, social media, and video tutorials. Those with the Shopify Plus plan can get advanced specialist help from an agent. 

Pricing

Shopify Pricing Plan

A 14-day free trial is available on all three plans to understand how to navigate its software. 

Basic Shopify is ideal for startup businesses as it provides all the essential support needed. 

Advanced shopify is more suitable for a growing business. Advanced tools are included to scale up the online store. 

Shopify also features two unique plans that cater for small stores and high-volume sellers. Shopify Lite, $9/month, comes with only essential tools to launch a small store while Shopify Plus, $2,000/month, is for large-scale businesses. Big businesses can get a quote on the website for their monthly subscriptions. 

Benefits

  • Selling on multiple channels
  • Excellent in-built inventory and marketing features
  • Straightforward website editor
  • Customer service 24/7

7. BigCommerce (Free Trial)

eCommerce platform with vigorous eCommerce tools for both small-scale and large scale-sellers

BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform with vigorous eCommerce tools for both small scale and large scale sellers

BigCommerce is a ‘hosted’ eCommerce solution that allows small businesses to launch their online store. The term ‘hosted’ means that BigCommerce has its servers, so business owners do not have to buy additional web hosting. 

The online store builder follows the ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) product. Therefore, after the 15 days free trial, business owners pay a monthly fee to use the features. The software is aimed at beginners in website creation and allows more tech-savvy users to play with their website’s HTML and CSS.

Along with the 15-day free trial, BigCommerce has four monthly pricing plans, which are the BigCommerce standard ($29.95), BigCommerce Plus ($79.95),  BigCommerce Pro ($299.95), and BigCommerce Enterprise (price varies according to the business requirements). A 10% discount is also available for the Plus and Pro plans for annual payments. 

BigCommerce has 12 free templates that are all designed for online shops. Out of the 12 themes, there are five themes that have different color palettes to offer. 150 paid themes range from $150 to $300, from which some are available at a discounted rate.

All of the themes available, including the free ones, are fully mobile responsive and have Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a Google-backed project that delivers the online shop at a high-speed rate to mobile users. This is achieved by creating streamlined pages that include scripts and features. 

The websites are also SEO features that enable the online shops to appear first on the search results pages. Business owners can achieve this by editing BigCommerce page titles, meta descriptions, and headers. 

The online store builder also has a straightforward and user-friendly interface that is similar to a WordPress dashboard. Users familiar with Content Management System (CMS) will find the interface easy to navigate. BigCommerce has also added a drag-and-drop page builder that helps beginners to design their online dream store. 

BigCommerce also offers product variants that allow online shops to create up to 250 product options. Through the product variant feature, business owners can design up to 600 versions of the same item. This enables online stores to sell products in multiple formats. 

Users can also create categories manually to classify the products into different groups. The Bulk Editor tool may speed up the process, making it more straightforward. 

BigCommerce’s abandoned cart saver is one of its best features compared to other eCommerce platforms. Business owners can create up to three automated emails to visitors who have not finished their checkout process. This feature can significantly increase an online store’s revenue. 

If the online store is focused on an international customer demographic, BigCommerce has a perfect tool for you. Users can sell items in the currency the customers use. This feature comes with free themes with a multi-currency solution through the currency’s automatic conversion based on the shopper’s IP address. 

Dropshipping feature is also available with BigCommerce , but it requires a third-party app, Ali-Express Dropshipping, to facilitate the process. There are other apps available, namely, Modalyst and Printful, that can enable this feature too. Yet, the prices will vary according to the apps used, and some even have free trials to test the apps’ tools.

BigCommerce also makes the Point Of Sale (POS) easier for an online store. With multiple integrated POS providers such as Hike and Clover, a physical shop’s payment and inventory can be synced with the online shop. 

Customizable fields such as a capture text box that allows shoppers to write a special note for a gift or an engraving can be included in the online store. BigCommerce makes the process easy by selecting the product, creating the custom field, and labeling it so that users can enter data. 

Automatic Tax Calculations are a beneficial tool for any online business. For US and Canada taxes, BigCommerce has its list of the different tax rules applicable for each state and province. However, a third-party app like Avalara and Vertex is required, which may come with additional costs. 

Pricing

BigCommerce Pricing Plan

BigCommerce offers three fixed prices ranging from $29.95 to $299.95 a month, and a custom-priced Enterprise package. A full 15-day trial to test BigCommerce risk-free is also available. 

The Standard plan is ideal for small-scale businesses launching their online store.

Growing businesses would benefit from the Plus plan to expand their business with the marketing tools. 

The Pro plan is suited for driven businesses who aim at maximizing their potential. They obtain priority service from the BigCommerce support team. 

Benefits

  • Advanced eCommerce features
  • No transaction fees from eCommerce
  • SEO tool
  • Low cost compared to other eCommerce platforms

8. Squarespace (Free Trial)

Best eCommerce website builder for stunning and interactive online store designs

Squarespace is the best eCommerce website builder for stunning and interactive online store designs

Squarespace Commerce is a platform that enables small businesses to launch their online shop in no time through its drag-and-drop features. Coding and finding a website host are not required when using this store builder. 

With more than 100 templates and multiple powerful creative tools, the sky's the limit regarding the layout and design of the online store. However, it is best to keep the website’s functionality not to overwhelm users with outgoing effects. Throughout the process, Squarespace provides visual cues to guide users in their design. 

All templates are sleek and modern while being mobile responsive. The online shop’s display and format will not be impacted when customers use their phones or tablets to visit the website. Users can add HTML  using a code block or CSS to use the CSS editor for even more personalization. 

The selling of physical and digital products is available using Squarespace, and all sales tools are provided to business owners. In each product page, users can add a zoom feature, embedded videos, and even a 360 view to display the products. Multiple variants of the same product can also be added by using only one product entry. This makes uploading products time-effective. 

Squarespace has only three payment gateways that are supported, Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay. Shipping orders can also be tracked down due to the partnership with UPS carrier shipping service. Business owners can also amend the shipping costs according to the destination and the weight of the package. 

The inventory tools enable users to add unlimited products to their website through single or bulk uploading. In-house revenue reports are also provided in snapshots for each year to analyze the sales and traffic of the website. Direct emails are also sent to business owners when the stocks are low as a reminder to update the website. 

Squarespace also enables business owners to sell offline through Square Payment processor. By downloading the Squarespace Commerce app and a Square card reader, users can buy items even face to face. The POS system however, comes with higher transaction fees of 2.6-3.5% per transaction and a processing fee of $0.10 – $0.15. 

Marketing is also a significant advantage when using Squarespace. The eCommerce builder offers extensions to a selection of social media platforms to sell there. A new add-on feature called Email Campaigns was enabled to send newsletters and promotional sales to all shoppers found on the store’s database. A free trial is available where owners can send up to 50,000 emails per month. Afterward, it charges a fee of $8/month. 

Blogging can also be added to an online store to attract more traffic. Squarespace has powerful blogging tools, including built-in analytics, archives, and a search feature. There are also specific SEO features for both the blogging section and online store. Owners can edit meta titles and descriptions to improve the SEO of their website. 

The analytics software helps small businesses to track their revenue, total orders, and the behavior of their customers. Google Analytics can also be integrated into the website to obtain a more detailed report of the online store’s performance. 

A knowledgeable forum is available for users to find answers to their problems. Live chat customer support is also enabled from 4 am to 8 pm (EST) on Mondays to Fridays if no solution was found on the forum. Basic and Advanced plans also have 24/7 customer support.

Pricing

Squarespace Pricing plan

Any website package comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth, a free custom domain, SSL encryption, and security. Extra features are obtained as the plans are upgraded, such as eCommerce functions.

Personal plan offers minimal website features but no e-commerce capabilities. 

For an online retailer, the monthly Basic Commerce package at $26,includes unlimited items, no purchase fees, no setup or use fees, and no printer costs.

The Advanced Commerce plan at $40/month, provides advanced eCommerce tools such as abandoned cart recovery and sell subscriptions. 

Benefits

  • Stunning templates
  • No coding required
  • Free SSL encryption
  • Outstanding customer support

9. Sellfy (Free Trial)

Cloud-based eCommerce platform for secure storage

Sellfy is a Cloud based eCommerce Platform for secure storage

Sellfy is an eCommerce platform specialized in the selling of digital products such as ebooks, music, and videos. Most of its users are creatives like designers, filmmakers, and writers. The website claims that an online store can be created in 5 minutes using its software.

There are three pre-built templates in which users can directly upload and embed their products through the Store View, Product Card, or Buy Button found on the dashboard. The Buy button provides a shopping cart that buyers can conveniently use to check out. 

The online store builder has essential and straightforward software tools. Business owners can launch a storefront on third-party platforms like social media. Sellfy allows an embedded buy button that turns the social media page into an online store.

A 7-part checklist is provided to guide users in creating and customizing their online shop and managing the selling of digital products. Sellfy provides a dashboard that is reasonably intuitive and simple to help users manage their shop. 

To personalize the online shop, the color scheme, header, buttons, logo, and page style can be tweaked to suit the brand’s image. Standard web pages such as Contact, Terms, and About can also be customized by providing corresponding layouts and content or can also be removed. 

The tax variables can also be set manually on Sellfy to input the tax rules of the various states and countries where the customers are from. Items can also be categorized into groups of similar products to facilitate the customers’ search. Consider using SEO tags when organizing the products to increase traffic to the online store. 

Sellfy has a dynamic selling framework that has various holistically-connected channels. Business owners can sell from their blogs, SoundCloud page, YouTube channel, and any other third-party platform. 

There is no limit on the number of products that can be sold using Sellfy, even with the free trial. Sellfy has a ‘Pay What You Want’ feature that gives customers the privilege to choose their purchase price on products. This tool is especially useful in bidding for artworks or digital prints. 

Creating and selling subscriptions is also a useful marketing tool to bring in loyal customers. Online stores can choose between the annual, monthly, and daily subscription billing systems that are automatically renewed on a recurrent basis. 

Email marketing tools can also be integrated into the online store to automatically target the customers with product discounts and promo coupons. There are parameters like product categories and subscription status that are useful in having a more precise email campaign. 

Discounts can be added to online shops in the form of codes. These can be set up at any time after selecting the products, expiry date, and the corresponding discount amount. Complementary product suggestions, known as upsells, can also be featured on the website using the discount tool. 

There are only two payment services, Stripe and Paypal, which can be limited to some online businesses. However, these two gateways are the most commonly used network payment services in numerous countries. 

Along with the secure payment services, Sellfy provides SSL encryption with PDI DSS compliance to maximize the security of the online shop. File download tracking feature can be enabled to prevent unauthorized distribution of digital products. The control to file access happens through a particular download link that the original buyer will have. This allows the shopper to download the digital product in five tries. 

There are no transactional fees or hidden costs when using Sellfy. The only prices are the standard charges that come with Paypal and Stripe, which amount to 2.9% + 3 cents for every transaction. 

Pricing

Sellfy Pricing Plan

The monthly cost is $19 for the Starter plan. Its features include limitless options, allowing for customization, codes that can be used during the process, and, and code discounts.

For Business plan, pay $39 a month for all standard features and upsell sales are up to 10,000 credits

Pay $89 a month for all Premium features, with 50,000 credits, plus priority service.

Customers have a free 14-day trial for any package. Users can also get a 34% recurring monthly package discount on yearly subscriptions.

Benefits

  • No transaction fees
  • 14-Day trial for all plans
  • Advanced eCommerce features
  • SEO-friendly and mobile-responsive

10. ShopBase (Free Trial)

Flawless eCommerce platform for dropshipping

ShopBase is a Flawless eCommerce platform for dropshipping

ShopBase has a 14-day free trial that enables small businesses to test out this online store builder before getting a subscription. 

ShopBase has a cross-border channel that was built for users to use dropshipping, white labels and print on demand products from just one dashboard. There are designing tools that enable business owners to refine their products' display and build customers’ brand loyalty. 

The eCommerce builder has created 11 templates that are free to use to design the online shop. Each template was primarily designed by a globally respected designer. The roller theme template enables users to add more than 100 languages, but the other templates are only accessible in English. 

Products may be uploaded in bulk via a CSV file or from third-party apps such as Dropship Connector. Users manage the product feeds and may upload the same information in other selling channels such as Google Shopping, Instagram, or Facebook. 

ShopBase has multiple apps that are used to improve the design of the online store. Some examples are AliExpress Review Importer, CrossPanda, and Judge.me. There is also an add-on called Boost Convert that enables the browsers to become buyers.

When using the Judge.me app, clients receive product reviews on their webpage, along with a Q&A. This enables business owners to get feedback on the performance of their website.

ShopBase has a simple analytic tool that provides information on revenue, purchasing, and website traffic through the dashboard. Google Analytics can also be added to get a more detailed version of the website’s performance.

Through the SiteKit app, the email addresses of customers are stored in a database. Email marketing targets buyers from the database with promotional sales, discounts, and even newsletters. 

ShopBase automatically manages the checkout process by giving control to users over conversion signals. The abandoned cart feature identifies any unfinished checkout processes and sends prompt emails to customers to finish the checkout process. Shipping rates can also be manually adjusted based on the products’ weight, tiered pricing, or flat rate shipping.

Pricing

ShopBase Pricing Plan

After the 14-day free trial, ShopBase offers three plans, Basic Base ($19/month), Standard Base ($59/month), and Pro Base ($249/month). Each monthly subscription has a transaction fee of 2%, 1%, and 0.5%, respectively. 

For starting businesses, the Basic plan is a good place to start. Growing business would benefit from the Standard Base, allowing more team members and larger transactions. 

The Pro Base plan is ideal for high-volume sellers needing advanced eCommerce tools.

Benefits

  • Free SSL certificate
  • 14-Day trial
  • Fraud analysis
  • Customer support 24/7

11. Selz (Free Trial)

Efficient free eCommerce platform with fast-working tools

Selz is an efficient eCommerce platform with fast working tools

Site builder lets you design your own eCommerce shop from scratch. Businesses can sell items to customers through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. The online store builder enhances user engagement and effectiveness by integrating purchase buttons into popular websites and blogs.

Selz has an easy-to-use drag and drop tool that can be used to reflect both the aesthetic and personality of small businesses. Users can choose themes from a list of professionally designed templates. All themes available are optimized for mobile responsiveness

Selz enables users to add an online store to their already established website or to set up an e-commerce website. For building a website from scratch, users would be asked to answer a few questions about their shop and the site software will immediately create a storefront. 

The eCommerce builder gives users the flexibility to store inventory and merchandise in various ways. You may sell physical, digital, or non-digital goods. Businesses’ digital goods will be automatically distributed to your customers through any of these delivery methods they choose:  via the direct download, Dropbox, or stream

Users are able to mix and match the items with different sizes, colours, fabrics, and more.

Credit cards of more than 100 currencies are accepted.  To the extent that is possible, small businesses can choose to accept payment in US dollars, Euro, British pound, Canadian dollars, and 15 other major currencies.

Selz Pay is an easy-to-use, built-in credit card processor. With Selz Pay, businesses can accept credit cards or PayPal. Transactions have daily transfers, meaning that small businesses get paid immediately. Features like automated tax measurement and real-time delivery rates significantly enhance the store's inventory management.

Some shopping carts features include lost item recovery and post-purchase redirect. Selz also provides additional payment features, such as EU VAT and US taxes are calculated automatically. Various apps such as MailChimp, Aweber, and Campaign Monitor, help to extend the functionality of the online store.   

Every single page on the online shop website comes with an SSL certificate of its own. Advanced sales analytics tools are also provided by Selz to have a deeper understanding of the website’s performance. The Selz store can also be linked to Google Analytics for additional store data. 

Selz is a user-friendly plugin that enables small businesses, designers, and other creative individuals to get paid for their work. The Selz WordPress plugin works with any WordPress theme, can be set up however users like, and is SSL encrypted.

Businesses cannot directly contact the Selz customer service team, but may follow these steps to find out where they are: The Selz team has various help tools on their support page such as videos, troubleshooting, and how-to guides. They also have a live chat support feature available on their website for specific problems. 

Pricing

Selz Pricing Plan

Selz provides, but does not promote, a free service with simple features and minimal assistance. Lists will have a limit of five products, and a 2% purchase fee would be paid for any order.

The Basic package provides an unrestricted supply of goods, storage bandwidth, plus it comes with two accounts for employees. You will be assessed a 2% fee per transaction as your default charge. 

If you subscribe to the Standard package, you get access to 5 team member accounts, invoice and licence keys. Transaction costs drop to 1%, unless you opt out of them altogether.

At the Advanced plan stage, you can add up to 15 additional workers accounts. Other than the standard features, you have access to the most up-up-to-date pricing as well as third-party mark connection options. The processing costs for this order are now being reduced to 0.5%.

Benefits

  • Suitable for small businesses
  • Easy to use
  • Low monthly cost
  • Advanced eCommerce features

12. WooCommerce (Free to Install)

Powerful free eCommerce platform with a large selection of plugins and add-ons from WordPress

WooCommerce is a Powerful eCommerce Platform with a large selection of plugins and add ons from WordPress

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress that offers various options for an online store design. It is an open-source eCommerce platform that enables online selling of physical and digital products and related products from certain marketplaces.

Customers must find a web hosting provider to publish their website. We recommend that you use either Bluehost or Siteground as your web host providers since they are the most trusted web hosts available on the market. We have reviewed Bluehost for its performance and limitations. We also compared both Bluehost and Siteground to help you decide on the best hosting platform for your website.  

There are various free themes that are available through WooCommerce themes if WordPress themes provide too much choice. All the themes are updated to security standards but may require additional plugins. Mobile responsiveness is also enabled for most of the themes. 

Installing WordPress and WooCommerce is a free process. Users can build their website using either WordPress or WooCommerce themes and then use the eCommerce functions from the plugin to refine their online stores. These plugins and add-on come with additional costs. 

Products from different variants and configurations can be sold and offer instant access through downloads for digital items. 

WooCommerce has a dashboard that displays the current plugin and theme controls, submenus, and options that are needed before launching your online shop. Customizable product pages are created by adding the product description, image, and price data. 

An inventory tab is provided to manage the stock quantities of items, display if the product is in stock or out of stock, and if a backorder can be placed. The products can also be categorized as digital or physical and grouped with similar items. 

Upsells and cross-sells are also managed through WooCommerce in the Linked Product tab, while further details can be integrated into the Additional Information tab. Copywriting and SEO features can also be included to increase web traffic. Users can also enable or disable reviews for specific products on the product page. 

WooCommerce also offers a free Storefront theme that is designed to maximize the speed and site performance whilst eliminating plugin conflicts. The Storefront can be personalized to refine the layout of the online store. 

There is no central customer service, but users can access support forums that are packed full with information on how to use the eCommerce plugin. Some themes also come with detailed support to guide users during the setup process. 

Stripe plugin to WooCommerce provides a smooth checkout experience for shoppers since they are not redirected to another payment gateway page. However, this is not possible for other payment services except PayPal. 

After configuring the settings, tax calculations are automated according to the shipping and billing address and the store’s location. Prices can also include the base tax price of the region using the selection provided by WooCommerce.

Pricing

WooCommerce has no processing costs, and doesn't control data transmission or storage. You must buy WordPress.com hosting if you have a WooCommerce website. 

Benefits

  • No installation fees
  • WordPress plugins
  • Advanced eCommerce feature
  • Large selection of templates

13. Magento (Free to Install)

Self-hosted eCommerce platform with zero costs

Magento is a Self hosted eCommerce platform with zero costs

Magento’s software is free to use at the basic level and has an available hosted service. Multiple features are provided along with advanced software engineering tools for creating the best online stores. 

However, the store builder is best suited for users with technical knowledge of coding PHP and website development. Magento is also optimized to work with thousands of products, large amounts of web traffic, and massive revenue. Small businesses may feel overwhelmed in using Magento at the beginning. 

Despite the free software, Magento’s web hosting services, domain names, add-ons, SSL certificate, and payment processing can be costly. 

The visual interface is easy to navigate, but the actual setup and customization may be more complex. Users usually employ developers to design and implement their online shops. There is a demo on Magento Commerce 2 website and on Magento’s marketplace called Mageplaza. 

After the complicated setup, the website is not difficult to manage due to the clean and intuitive dashboard that helps users to locate the features they need. A useful detailed user guide is also provided to help business owners learn the essential functions of the software. 

Adding products on Magento is a piece of cake because of the prompts and drop-down panels that manage the additional aspects of the items. Products can be categorized according to their types, bundled products, virtual products, and downloadable products. 

Magento provides a powerful feature that has the ability to create and manage unlimited product attributes and configurations. These attributes are created in ‘sets’ that can be assigned to various items. 

Customers can also be grouped according to their location and demographics. This makes the marketing more accurate and relatable for each buyer. Most recently viewed product details are also available to users. Setting up related products can inspire shoppers to spend more. 

Shopping carts are saved when customers leave the online shop, along with an estimate on the tax and shipping fees. Advanced pricing rules such as discounts on products bought in bulk and a one-page checkout feature provide an enjoyable shopping experience to customers. 

Invoices, packing slips, and shipping labels can be printed from the admin panel to improve the brand’s image. The split order feature also enables one order to be shipped in multiple directions and split between various invoices. During the shipping process, customers can keep track of their orders on the online store website with the order tracking feature. 

Since Magento is open-source, it is easy for developers to create new applications and extensions for the platform. Some of the popular ones are ShipStation, MailChimp, and ShippingEasy. Many of those integrations are available for free, although the software you integrate may come with monthly costs. 

Business owners are able to use more than 340+ payment extension services, with 158 of them being free. The most common ones are Square, PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree. 

Unfortunately, customer service is not available on Magento since it is open-source. There are various active user communities that can provide answers through forums or paid assistance. Magento provides support through its user guide, knowledgeable articles, community forums, and developer documentation.

Pricing

Magento Pricing Plan

The Magento Commerce Pro is a plan offered for established B2C and B2B sellers. It includes features specialized to expand the online growth of the business. The price of the plan is based on the Business Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and Average Order Value (AOV).

Benefits

  • Flexible in website design
  • Various eCommerce features
  • Large community of users
  • All templates are mobile-friendly

14. PrestaShop (Free to install)

Free open source eCommerce platform

PrestaShop is a Free Open Source eCommerce Platform

The cost of the open-source software is $0 per month to run a business that uses PrestaShop since there are no charges for downloading. Startup costs for PrestaShop expenses are low, but business owners should expect to pay for site hosting expenses. 

For often, the price of additional modules and add-ons, such as Facebook and eBay, can be integrated.

 It can be difficult to implement, and modules interfere with one another, which results in a crummy website. It will be necessary to hire PHP developers and designers if users are not already familiar with coding. Freelancers who would like to provide their services to Presta's business are added to the list.

Once you've downloaded the software, you have free access to the open-source code that gives users the ability to build and host their website. The Open Source Software License (OSSL) version 2.0 is supported in PrestaShop. This is designed to enable end-users to use, modify, and share their content in a standard eCommerce context.

To use PrestaShop, users need an FTP client and a third-party hosting account on top of a domain you've registered for your website. Moreover, the system requires a web server, PHP, MySQL, and server RAM. 

Mid-sized to large businesses are typically better at using PrestaShop. Several add-ons are necessary because of the complicated nature of the software. This increases the cost of using the online store builder.  Yet, if users are comfortable with coding websites, PrestaShop is a good option. 

There is no free trial available despite the free download. It will take some time and effort to configure your PrestaShop site. Daily operations are quite simple, but they need to be carefully considered in relation to which software modules are required. Prestashop's Get Started page provides a detailed step-by-step process on how to design the online store.

A product's SEO features can be listed along with the categories and quantities at the same time. These can be added as the product is being uploaded on the website. All of the features are available on the toolbar under the product's title.

PrestaShop comes with a large variety of pre-built features, including the basic ones that merchants need to get started. The dashboard is well-organized and intuitive for users to access the essential eCommerce functions.

An unlimited number of products can be uploaded, whether they are digital or physical. Categories and subcategories can also be set up to classify the items. Bulk upload is available with a CSV file. Tracking of individual products, managing the inventory, and filtering orders are made easy with PrestaShop’s inventory management tool.

Using the same admin panel, multiple stores can be managed at the same time on various channels, mainly social media platforms. The storefront can also be translated into more than 75 languages to increase the brand’s reach. Multiple currencies are also accepted for payment that is compliant with the countries’ regulations. 

Despite the lack of customer support, PrestaShop hosts a diverse user community where problems are solved on forums. Answers can also be found in the FAQ section and online user guides. PrestaShop experts are also ready to solve the problems with prices ranging from $60 to $115.

Pricing

PrestaShop does not charge monthly and commission fees. However, there are Addons that are necessary for advanced eCommerce features that cost $50+. 

Is It Worth Upgrading to a Paid Plan?

Maintaining the website pays off only if the annual revenue from running the online store is higher than the cost of maintaining it. Most enterprise websites cost between $10,000 and $300,000, so it should not be a major expenditure for the company.

1. Better marketing tools

Having multiple payment methods in place usually results in a wider demographic of customers for the online store.

Targeted email campaigns encourage customers to come to the website with sales, bonus coupons, and new stock updates. The price of the Squarespace Email Campaign add-on is $8 per month, but users can send up to 50,000 emails.

To be more targeted, customers can be classified by demographic and geographic regions, which also incurs an extra cost. 

2. Tapping into fast international shipping and automated tax calculations

If the online store is focused on international customers, shipping rules can be added manually or automatically. Depending on the location, different shipping classifications are in effect. 

These are free-shipping, weight-based shipping, fixed-rate shipping, and real-time shipping. In addition, customers are able to keep track of their orders in the online stores.

Some platforms, namely Square Online, WooCommerce, and Constant Contact, calculate shipping taxes as part of their paid subscriptions. The tax rules are also compliant with the countries’ regulations. 

3. Facilitates inventory management

The purpose of paid inventory management tools is to accomplish more complex tasks like managing inventories.

Inventory options allow users to identify items that have been uploaded as purchased, inventory recounts, restocking, stolen item, and item failure, and damaged categories.

These features make it simple to maintain the stock inventory of an online shop. Upload bulk, available as part of paid plans, reduces the time and money needed for inventory.

4. Enhanced product pages and own custom domain

Custom domain names are provided in most paid plans which provide a specific Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to the shop’s website. Buyers are able to recognize the online store’s link more quickly.

No ads are integrated into the store’s site that may distort the layout of the website. The absence of ads also provides a professional feel to the online store. 

Product pages are more interactive with zoom-in features, videos, multiple images, and 360° views. Customers can get a clearer idea of the quality and material of the item. 

5. Reduced transaction fees, better security and number of selling products

With a higher plan, transaction fees are lowered by 1% or more. Since fees can vary between 2% and 3% for each transaction, expenses can rapidly add up. In the long term, lowering transaction fees will boost revenue. 

Some eCommerce platforms that offer free plans or trials do not issue free SSL certificates. By default, online stores using paid subscriptions ensure that their website and users' privacy is protected by using SSL encryption.

Free Ecommerce Platforms FAQ

Can I build an online store for free?

An online store provides consumers with the ability to purchase products from an online retailer over the internet. Shopping at an international online retailer enables customers to interact with a worldwide audience.

Launching an online shop can happen in two ways, using a free plan or being required to pay monthly expenses. Several eCommerce platforms deliver free plans or trials to assist companies in setting up shop on the web. 

However, specific features like custom domain names, email campaigns, selling on multiple channels, and shipping tools are not available. Square online is a good online store builder where you can get most of the eCommerce tools.

How long does it take to build an online store?

The correct answer is it depends on what technical skills you have to develop a website and how user-friendly the eCommerce interface is. Users across the various store builder platforms stated the time taken to design their website ranges from a few hours to several days. 

Yet, eCommerce platforms like Square Online, Weebly, and Big Cartel are the top three builders for their visual prompts and guidance in navigating their software. They provide Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI), drag-and-drop interface, and pre-built themes to facilitate your task.

What is the cheapest eCommerce platform?

The cheapest eCommerce platform in our books is Square Online. The online store builder offers a free plan that includes an Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) design of the website in a few clicks.

To manage and maintain the website, automated inventory tools using Square POS and shipping services are provided to sell an unlimited number of products. The only cost is the 2.9% commission fee + 30 cents per transaction.

Best Free Ecommerce Platforms Comparison: Which One Should I Choose?

You can easily launch your online store with the right software and tools. With the large selection of eCommerce platforms, you will find one that suits your technical skills, the size of your business, your budget and your niche industry. 

With its increasing $3.35 trillion net worth, the eCommerce industry is one of the cornerstone of the economy. You can easily tap and benefit from this industry with eCommerce platforms.

Written by
Martin Luenendonk
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