You’ve Got Three Options
We ’ ll try to keep this short and dessert : There are three different ways to start an on-line storehouse for free. In this post, we ’ ll blanket :
Option 1: The best free ecommerce platforms – these builders let you sell with absolutely no costs, but will come with rigid limits and/or cathexis commission fees. We ’ vitamin d only very recommend these for people selling “ on the side. ” The best builder in this category is Square Online. Option 2: The best ecommerce platforms with free trials – these are builders that offer more potent paid plans, which you can try out for exempt. free trials normally last for approximately two weeks, so these platforms are perfect for testing out a design and deciding if it ’ randomness worth paying for. Our clear recommended detached test builder is Wix. Option 3: The best free ecommerce software – Software tools are different from web site builders because they ’ re more powerful, more complicate platforms that are spare to install, but will require some extra costs to get up and running. Our act one best loose ecommerce software is WooCommerce. We ’ ve split this page into three sections, so you can compare the best free ecommerce platforms in each of these categories. In each section, you ’ ll find a side-by-side comparison chart of each builder, plus person reviews where we get into more detail. These are the platforms you ’ ll see on this page :
The 8 Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders
- Square Online – ( release plan ) – Most generous free ecommerce design.
- Big Cartel – ( rid plan ) – Best for freelancer artists.
- Wix – ( free to build, not sell ) – Best for small on-line stores.
- Shopify – ( spare trial ) – Best for larger businesses.
- Squarespace – ( free trial ) – Best value for money.
- BigCommerce – ( free test ) – Best for a strictly on-line clientele.
- WooCommerce – ( free to install ) – Best WordPress ecommerce plugin.
- Magento – ( free to install ) – Best for enterprise-level businesses.
Let ’ s get started !
Option 1: Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders
|overall rat||dislodge plan||Number of products on bum plan|
Best in Test
|Square Online||big trust|
|Visit Square||Visit BigCartel|
|See our Square Online review||See our BigCartel review|
In this section:
- Jump to Square Online
- Jump to Big Cartel
1. Square Online
Most generous free ecommerce plan
Most generous release ecommerce plan very good 4.2 out of 5
- Quick setup
- Easy to use
- Not very scalable
detached plan available Paid Plans : $ 16 – $ 79 / month
- Easy to track sales and abandoned carts
- Responsive help and support
- Seamless payments system
- Limited design freedom
- Few payment processing options
- Not great for large volume selling
Overview of Square Online
angstrom army for the liberation of rwanda as free on-line stores go, you can ’ thyroxine beat Square. It ’ randomness easy to manage armory and design a professional site. Square templates aren ’ triiodothyronine ace customizable – in fact, there are alone two template options – but that means you can get on-line cursorily with a template that ’ s guaranteed to look good. Plus, Square offers a remarkable total of features on its detached plan. We recommend Square if you want to grow your business as much as possible before you start paying for a website. automatically create a site for you based on your answers to a few questions (it’s more convenient than creepy, we promise!).Setting up a Square Online store is very quick and easy. Square uses Artificial Design Intelligence, or ADI, which is basically technology that canbased on your answers to a few questions (it’s more convenient than creepy, we promise!). other web site builders, like Wix and Weebly, offer ADI as an choice. But with Square, it ’ s the main route. ADI means you’re guaranteed to end up with an ecommerce-optimized design, with minimal work on your end ! overall, we scored Square 3.9 out of 5 for ease of use. This is because although it ’ south easy to get set up, navigating the editor program international relations and security network ’ metric ton as square. Some of the speech can be a little unfamiliar, therefore finding what you ’ re after international relations and security network ’ t always aboveboard. Because Square is therefore easy to use, its web site plan process can be completely hands-off if you want it to be – but the tradeoff is that you won ’ thyroxine get a long ton of blueprint freedom, which is why we only awarded Square 2.7 out of 5 in this category. Square only offers two layout choices : Shop All and Order Online. The Shop All layout is for ecommerce retail brands that want to set up an on-line store to sell their products, whereas the Order Online layout is geared more towards restaurants and food businesses. Despite the specify number of themes, you can distillery customize Square templates in all of the most significant ways, like :
- Changing color schemes
- Picking fonts
- Repositioning page elements
- Importing your brand logo
- Uploading photos
We merely mean that if you ’ re in truth looking to get your hands dirty and make something unique, then you ’ re better off with Wix or Squarespace ( both of which offer free trials for ecommerce ). Square templates are master, just not wholly unique. If you already have a brick-and-mortar storehouse, and fair want to test the ecommerce waters, Square is a great option – specially if you ’ re already processing your payments through Square ’ s POS system. You can integrate it with your website indeed that on-line and in-person orders are always in synchronize. And even if you ’ rhenium not already using Square products, its free plan comes with some great sales features :
- Sell unlimited products (rare for a free plan!)
- Automatic tax calculator (US only)
- Easily add products with different variations
- Simple inventory management
- Set free or flat rate shipping, or customize by weight, quantity, or order cost
silent, there are a few drawbacks to the free plan. For exercise, although you can accept payments through Square ’ s in-house payment work system vitamin a well as Google and Apple Pay, customers won ’ triiodothyronine be able to use PayPal. additionally, users won ’ t be able to leave product reviews, there ’ s no abandoned cart recovery, and your web site analytics will be basic, to say the least. Square topped our research as the best unblock on-line store builder because it ’ mho fabulously easy to use, and still doesn ’ thyroxine scant on features. As a result, we scored it 4.5 out of 5 for value for money – the best seduce out of all eight builders we tested ! If you start on the dislodge design and find your store mature, then you ’ ll want to consider what the cheapest pay design can offer – including a free custom-made world for your first year, and no Square ads clogging up your storehouse ’ s brand. Square ’ s cheapest give plan costs $ 12/month, which is even cheaper than best-paid ecommerce builders like Wix and Squarespace .
Click the image below to expand
Square’s template designs are simple, but easy to edit.
Small to medium-sized inventories are easy to manage from Square’s dashboard.
The free plan offers excellent value.
Want High Quality at No Cost?
Square offers a rare combination of relief of use and excellent features – we were identical affect ! Yes! I Want to Check Out Square
- Check out our Square Online Review for more info.
2. Big Cartel
Best for independent artists
Best for independent artists Above average 3.1 out of 5
- Good for artistic items
- Useful onboarding process
- Very limited free plan
free plan available Paid Plans : $ 9.99 – $ 29.99 / month
- No platform transaction fees
- Helpful tips throughout design process
- Individual products get the spotlight
- Five product limit on free plan
- Features and designs lack quality
- Difficult to customize your store
Overview of Big Cartel
big Cartel is harder to use than Square, and its templates are still not very compromising. distillery, Square is kind of an outlier when it comes to wholly free ecommerce web site builders – big Cartel is a little less impressive, but it ’ s what you can typically expect for the price ( or lack thence ). Plus, Big Cartel does have some impressive sales features, and its paid plans start from very brassy. We recommend Big Cartel if your store sells less than five products, and you don’t plan to expand in the near future. big Cartel didn ’ thyroxine perform identical well in our ease of practice testing. It has batch of strengths, but getting on-line cursorily and merely is good not one. Big Cartel themes aren’t very customizable, unless you know how to code ( which you can ’ t do much of on the free plan, anyhow ). sol if you ’ re in the majority of us without a computer science academic degree, you may want to stick to Square rather. It ’ s not that you can ’ t do anything without coding cognition, but you can ’ t do much. But something we did like about Big Cartel is its onboarding process when you beginning sign up , which uses pop fly prompts and tips to walk you through your dashboard. You ’ ll be shown all the basics, from adding products to creating discounts – it ’ sulfur more the plan march that we found gawky ! large Cartel ’ randomness template designs aren ’ t identical customizable if you can ’ metric ton code – so at least they ’ re fashionable to begin with, right ? Well… kind of. Big Cartel ’ sulfur themes are exchangeable to Square ’ mho, because they’re simple and professional, but lack originality. The deviation is that Square ’ sulfur templates are easier to set up, and you can customize them a little more without any cognition of code. Plus, if you do know code and want to use it to make your Big Cartel website a bite snazzier, you ’ ll have to upgrade to at least the Platinum plan ( $ 9.99 per calendar month ). annoyingly, those on the free plan can ’ thyroxine make any tease changes ! Big Cartel doesn’t charge any transaction fees, which is a major perk of using this platform. You’ll still have to pay fees to whatever payment processor you use, but unlike many ecommerce builders, Big Cartel won’t take a cut of your sales for itself. which is a major perk up of using this platform. You ’ ll hush have to pay fees to whatever payment processor you use, but unlike many ecommerce builders, Big Cartel won ’ t take a cut of your sales for itself. The drawbacks of Big Cartel ’ s sales features are that :
- You can only sell up to five products on the free plan – any more than this and you’ll have to upgrade
- You can only upload one image per product, so multiple angles are a no-go
- You can’t edit products in bulk, meaning you’ll have to make any changes individually.
, which is very cheap for an ecommerce builder. You’ll get more features (and better templates) with the $12+ builders, but Big Cartel offers great value for the price: it comes with inventory and shipment tracking, and lets you upload five images per product. big Cartel ’ s cheapest pay plan costs $9.99/month for an ecommerce builder. You ’ ll get more features ( and better templates ) with the $ 12+ builders, but Big Cartel offers great value for the price : it comes with armory and dispatch track, and lets you upload five images per intersection .
Big Cartel Gallery
Click the image below to expand
Big Cartel offers chat advice while you edit your site.
Big Cartel doesn’t have the tools to manage large inventories.
You’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan in order to sell more than five products.
Trying to Run a Small Store Successfully?
large Cartel will help you out with small-scale inventory management and no transaction fees. Yes! Show Me Big Cartel
- Read our Big Cartel review. here.
Option 3: Best Free Ecommerce Software
Go to the top
|overall rate||complimentary plan||Number of products on cheap design|
|free to install||free to install|
|View WooCommerce||Visit Magento|
|not yet reviewed||not yet reviewed|
In this section:
- Jump to WooCommerce
- Jump to Magento
Best WordPress ecommerce plugin
Best WordPress ecommerce plugin very good 4.2 out of 5
- Very WordPress-compatible
- Extremely scalable
- Helpful setup wizard
exempt design available Paid Plans : $ 12.95 / calendar month
- Huge variety of plugins
- Lots of payment options
- Tools for selling internationally
- Have to install most features yourself
- Cost of plugins and tools can add up
- Only works with WordPress
Overview of WooCommerce
WooCommerce requires more technical skill than a web site builder, but it ’ second calm reasonably easily to install. You ’ ll have to rely on extensions for most features, but there are apparently endless options to choose from. We recommend WooCommerce for anyone selling on WordPress. WooCommerce naturally can’t compare to the likes of Wix or even BigCommerce. web site builders are the easiest way to start an on-line shop, so when it comes to ease of use, however, if you need the more promote capabilities of a WordPress locate, then WooCommerce is a easy as ecommerce will get. WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, meaning you can add it as an extra sport to any WordPress web site. It comes with a helpful setup ace, so you won ’ thyroxine have to worry about learning the ropes on your own. once you ’ ve successfully installed WooCommerce, adding and managing products is truly straightforward. extremely customizable. You might find customization a bit easier if you have some knowledge of HTML and CSS code, but it’s not completely necessary. There are merely three exempt themes in the WooCommerce marketplace, but they ’ reYou might find customization a bite easier if you have some cognition of HTML and CSS code, but it ’ s not wholly necessary. If you ’ rhenium willing to go for a gainful root, you can expect to pay between $ 39 and $ 79 for one. But the real benefit of this software is the huge amount of additional functions you can add if you want to. WooCommerce comes with a becoming sum of features built-in, like the ability to add unlimited products and users. The WooCommerce Extensions Store covers everything from abandoned cart recovery to multi-channel integrations, so the sky ’ s the limit in terms of features. Just bill that not all of these extensions are free, so be sure to budget for the ones that you in truth want ! No website can get live on the internet without a host, so even with a free software like WooCommerce, you’ll have to pay a separate hosting fee (this is already included in the cost of a website builder). If you ’ rhenium running a WordPress locate, then you ’ ll need to pay for your own world wide web host ( a web horde is a party that manages the server where your web site ’ second content is actually stored ) .so even with a spare software like WooCommerce, you ’ ll have to pay a separate host fee ( this is already included in the cost of a web site builder ). We recommend using Bluehost with WooCommerce, because it ’ s an formally recommended supplier by WooCommerce itself. Bluehost has plenty of WooCommerce-specific plans, starting at $ 15.95/month .
Click the image below to expand
WooCommerce offers plugins that cover most ecommerce functionalities.
WooCommerce integrates with WordPress. It’s more powerful than website builders, but with less design assistance.
WooCommerce is an open-source software that requires more technical knowledge than a website builder.
Want to Start Selling on WordPress?
WooCommerce and Bluehost are a herculean combination for an on-line memory, and they ’ re surprisingly easy to use. Check Out WooCommerce
- Top 6 WooCommerce Hosting Providers – Find out why Bluehost is our top-rated hosting provider for WooCommerce, and which other providers we’d recommend.
- Bluehost Pricing Review – A full breakdown of all the costs you can expect when you sign up to a Bluehost plan.
Best for enterprise-level businesses
Best for enterprise-level businesses identical good 4 out of 5
- Very customizable
- Very scalable
- Not very easy to use
unblock design available Paid Plans : $ 6.99 / month
- Powerful features to support huge stores
- Can manage thousands of products
- Trusted by brands like Nike and Samsung
- Difficult setup and installation process
- Beginners will need to hire a developer
- No help and support
Overview of Magento
Magento is not for belittled stores, or beginners – it ’ south pretty difficult to use if you don ’ t have some level of technical school skill going in. however, the return is that Magento is the most potent ecommerce platform on this list. We recommend Magento for very large stores who already have a strong base of loyal customers. Magento is not for beginners. It’s a hugely powerful platform, but it’s also complex – so the amount of effort required to use Magento just wouldn’t be worth it for a small store that doesn’t need so many heavy-duty features. We ’ ll be honest : It ’ s a enormously powerful platform, but it ’ s besides complex – so the amount of feat required to use Magento just wouldn ’ metric ton be worth it for a small memory that doesn ’ thymine need so many heavy-duty features. If you can’t code, we don’t recommend Magento. It ’ south aimed at developers and enterprise-level businesses, and it shows. If you can code, Magento offers scalability and customization that’s unrivalled by any other ecommerce solution, open-source or otherwise – but don ’ metric ton expect the frame-up to be easy. In fact, unless you have experience in web development, you won ’ metric ton be able to set it up at all, far less customize it to your wish. lone one of the themes in the Magento Marketplace is loose, and the rest monetary value anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars. once you ’ ve chosen a theme, you can customize it yourself – if you ’ re comfortable with CSS. If you ’ re not super tech-savvy, then the best way to get the most out of your Magento design is to hire a web developer to tweak the composition for you. Just bill that you can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for this option ! for real power and customization, you’ll still need to add extensions from the Magento Marketplace. These can be pretty pricey (its multichannel integrations alone can cost up to $499 each), but there are 1,970 free ones to choose from, so you have plenty of options. Magento comes with some built-in features – more than WooCommerce, in fact – butThese can be pretty costly ( its multichannel integrations alone can cost up to $ 499 each ), but there are 1,970 absolve ones to choose from, so you have batch of options. just like with WooCommerce, you ’ ll need to pay for your own web host in order to get your Magento site up and running. There aren ’ t many hosts that cater for Magento, which is why initiation can be sol unmanageable. We recommend SiteGround’s Magento hosting plans for easy installation – it ’ south one of the few hosts with Magento-specific plans, and prices start at a modest $ 3.99 per calendar month .
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Magento’s “help center” is not as customer-oriented as a website builder’s would be. You’ll want to hire a developer to handle most issues.
Magento has the powerful tools that big companies like Samsung need to power their sites.
Magento is the most powerful and the most complicated platform on this list.
Need an Enterprise Ecommerce Solution?
Magento is the best ecommerce platform for very boost stores – it can help you take your on-line store to the adjacent level ! Visit Magento
- Best Magento Hosting Providers – HostGator came out top for Magento hosting – see who else made the cut!
- Magento vs Shopify – A complete comparison of two very big players in the ecommerce world.
WooCommerce and Magento are the standout ecommerce software providers – they ’ re potent and each desegregate with a assortment of tools. Plus, they ’ re very popular – therefore if you always get stuck, chances are person on an old help forum will have been through the accurate same thing. hush, they ’ re not the only ecommerce software options available. so if you ’ d like to broaden your horizons before making a decision, here are a few software options that are decent, but didn ’ t make our crown two .
If your shop is excessively large for WooCommerce, but besides small for Magento, then OpenCart is worth a look : it ’ s a brawny platform, with a long ton of scope for customization and extra features. In fact, there are over 13,000 OpenCart integrations available. just keep in mind that OpenCart itself is very inner light on built-in features, so you ’ ll need to make use of these add-ons. There ’ randomness a reasonably steep learning swerve though, and unlike WooCommerce, you probably won ’ triiodothyronine be able to ‘ muddle through ’ without any developer know .
PrestaShop is an open-source software that pitches itself as more of a web site builder. As you ’ ve seen with the platforms above, rest of use can be a real adhere point when it comes to using open-source software, so combining open-source power and potential with web site builder simplicity sounds like a winning recipe. Unfortunately, while a good platform, PrestaShop kind of misses the mark on both fronts. If you ’ re stage set on an open-source software, blame from one of the platforms above ( depending on your commercial enterprise size ). And if you ’ re after something that ’ south as easy to use as a web site builder, why not pick… a web site builder ! The ones we featured at the very top of this article will be a condom stake. Go to the top
Is It Worth Upgrading to a Paid Plan?
Unlocking supernumerary features is key for a successful on-line storehouse. And, with the web site builders around today, it ’ s cheaper than ever to do so. Remember – Big Cartel ’ s paid plans start from a bare $ 9.99 per calendar month. So if you’re wondering whether it’s worth upgrading to a paid plan, the answer is almost definitely: yes! In short, upgrading to a paid plan will upgrade your business. How is that sol ? Well, like any subscription, if you pay more, you get more. Below, we ’ ve listed five of the best features you can get on a paid plan…
1. No ads
You may be a in truth little or wholly new clientele, but cipher will actually know that – unless, of naturally, you ’ re using a free plan on an ecommerce builder, and your site is plastered with ads as a leave. There ’ second an element of ‘ fake it till you make it ’ as a newfangled business, and an unprofessional web site international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate going to give off the correct signals .Free website builder ads can really take away from your site’s professional credibility. It can feel daunting to pay for an ecommerce platform before you ’ ve got any undertake of customers and income, but think of this as a belittled but necessary investment. And remember, all these platforms will allow you to pay calendar month by month, so there ’ s no pressure to commit to something long term if you ’ ra not certain it ’ south going to work out .
2. Better sales tools
A paid plan won ’ thymine just make you a web site that looks more master – it will make you a web site that acts more professional, excessively. Ecommerce platforms withhold premium features, like the ability to send abandoned cart recovery emails, for paying members – and with good reason. In fact, 69 % of on-line carts are abandoned ( i.e. the customer leaves the site without paying for the items they have collected in their handcart ). Emails sent to these customers can have an impressive open rate of 45 %, and are enormously effective in re-engaging these customers .Squarespace has its own in-house email marketing package that we were really impressed with. even upgrading to the cheapest ecommerce plan will get you a short ton of better features. For exercise, Wix ’ mho Business Basic plan piles on features like five hours ’ worth of television and a release sphere name for the first year .
3. Sell more products
Most free ecommerce plans put a cap on the number of items you can sell. By opting for a nonrecreational plan, you ’ re giving yourself more exemption, and your customers more option .
4. Get better support
Paying customers tend to be able to access confirm in more ways, such as over the call. even if you get the like help and support options as premium customers, you better believe you ’ re not going to be top of the priority line up when you need help. Don ’ t wait until your locate is down, or until you can ’ t get an answer to something that ’ south driving you nuts, before you upgrade – do it immediately, and your future self ( and web site ) will thank you !
5. Increase payment methods
Paid plans typically allow you to connect more payment methods. This in turn makes for an easier shop feel for your customers, increasing the likelihood that they ’ ll come back .
6. Don’t forget your hosting
If you choose to build your ecommerce store using one of the open-source software we have listed here, you ’ ll know that you need to arrange hosting individually. We recommend Bluehost across the board for this, although SiteGround besides has bright Magento-specific plans .Bluehost is a great hosting provider in general, but its WooCommerce-specific plans set it apart from the pack. Our top tip would be to review your hosting plan on a regular footing, quite than signing up and considering it a job ticked off. As your ecommerce business grows, this can put a deform on your host plan, which in turn can lead to problems such as :
- A slow-loading website, or users being timed out
- Your site crashing when too many people are using it
Providers like Bluehost are great because they cover websites of every size, and offer excellent customer confirm to walk you through the different stages. If you ’ ra concerned in upgrading your free design or free trial, check out our postpone below. We ’ ve listed all of the cheapest start prices for the platforms we ’ ve included in this article.
Best Free Ecommerce Platforms: The Verdict
This post has walked you through the key pros and cons of the best free ecommerce platforms and software on the grocery store. By now, we hope you have a truly clear idea of which will work for your budget and your store. here ’ s a immediate recapitulate :
The 8 Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders
- Square Online – ( detached plan ) – Most generous free ecommerce plan.
- Big Cartel – ( dislodge plan ) – Best for independent artists.
- Wix – ( free to build, not sell ) – Best for little on-line stores.
- Shopify – ( free test ) – Best for larger businesses.
- Squarespace – ( free test ) – Best rate for money.
- BigCommerce – ( release trial ) – Best for a strictly on-line business.
- WooCommerce – ( free to install ) – Best WordPress ecommerce plugin.
- Magento – ( spare to install ) – Best for enterprise-level businesses.
While free plans make perfect sense for money-conscious business owners, they do have their limitations. first, with Wix, you can only build your shop for exempt. In other words, to actually make money, you ’ ll need to spend some. second, on big Cartel ’ s unblock plan, you can entirely sell five products. This international relations and security network ’ thymine in truth feasible for businesses looking to scale ; If this is your aim, you ’ re better off trying Shopify or BigCommerce using their dislodge trials. so why should you think about upgrading ? Because, for just a few excess dollars per month, you ’ ll have access to a wide range of features. The most significant include more sales tools, better customer subscribe, and the ability to actually sell more products. overall, we recommend signing up to a complimentary ecommerce plan today – or testing a free trial – to actually get the most out of selling your products online .
Still unsure about which platform to choose? We’ve done the research for you, and written this quick quiz to help!
Try the Quiz
Best Free Ecommerce Platforms: FAQs
Yes – closely all ecommerce platforms offer a free trial, so you can start building an on-line store for barren. Square Online and Big Cartel lashkar-e-taiba you build and sell for free, while Wix lets you build a memory at no cost – in ordain to sell products, though, you ’ ll have to upgrade.
Read more: How Much Does a Roof Replacement Cost?
According to our research, Square Online, Wix, and Squarespace all offer antic value for money when it comes to building an on-line shop. Square is ideal if you want to keep costs down, with its cheapest ecommerce design costing fair $ 12 per month. however, it does offer fewer sales features than Wix, which, at $ 23 per calendar month, has more scalability potential. Squarespace ’ s ecommerce plans start from $ 18 per month and come with a modest but impressive suite of sales tools, equally well as the best designs on the market. According to our research, Wix is the best all-around ecommerce platform. It has a comprehensive range of sales tools, a huge app market, excellent customer documentation, and offers the most creative operate. however, if you ’ re planning to build a big on-line storehouse, with building complex inventory needs, we ’ vitamin d commend trying Shopify or BigCommerce. It depends on the platform. Creating a Shopify memory takes a couple of hours, thanks to the ocular cues and simple linguistic process, BigCommerce normally takes a day or two, owing to the initial learning curve, while Square Online uses ADI ( Artificial Design Intelligence ) to build your shop in minutes.