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Are you looking for the best free eCommerce platform to build your eCommerce website?
In the early days, eCommerce platforms used to cost thousands which kept many small businesses from creating an online store. Luckily now there are several popular eCommerce platforms that offer free or low cost options.
In this article, we will compare the best and most popular free eCommerce platforms that you can use to start an online store. We have a detailed pros and cons analysis for each, so you can choose the best eCommerce website builder for your needs.
Let’s be honest, there is no such thing as a 100% free eCommerce platform.
Even when the eCommerce platform itself is free, you will have to pay for domain, web hosting, payment processing fees, and other extension costs.
We have a detailed guide on the real cost of building eCommerce websites.
With that said, your goal should be to find an eCommerce platform that helps you get started at the lowest to no cost, without putting severe limitations on how you run or grow your business.
You would also want the platform to be easy to use, full-featured, with the ability to accept payments using your preferred payment methods.
Keeping these things in mind, let’s take a look at the best free eCommerce platforms that you can use to make money online and grow your business.
WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform. It’s a completely free software that you can download and run on any web hosting provider.
Since WooCommerce doesn’t provide hosting for you, you’ll need to buy web hosting and a domain name to make sure your website can be accessed by users worldwide.
We recommend using either Bluehost or SiteGround. They are both among the largest hosting companies in the world and are officially recommended by WooCommerce.
Bluehost is even offering WPBeginner users a free domain name + SSL certificate, and a generous 60% discount on hosting. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 per month.
To help beginners get started, we have the most detailed WooCommerce tutorial on the web that helps you build an eCommerce website with WooCommerce.
Constant Contact’s website builder has a free plan that allows you to create an online store without spending anything at all. Constant Contact will host the store and even provide you with a free subdomain.
You’ll only be able to have up to 3 products in your store, but if you’re just starting out, this might be enough. If you want to add more products, you can upgrade to a paid plan.
It’s worth noting that Constant Contact does charge a 3% transaction fee if you’re on the Free or the Starter plans.
You can use Constant Contact online store along with your WordPress website and easily link to the store from the menu. This is a good option for small businesses who want to sell few products without the overhead of managing a self-hosted eCommerce platform like WooCommerce.
BuyNow Plus is not a full eCommerce platform. Instead, it lets you create “buy now” buttons that you can put on any website.
You’ll need to create a free Stripe account in order to use BuyNow Plus.
BigCommerce is a fully hosted (or all-in-one) eCommerce platform that you can use to create your eCommerce store. There’s also a WordPress plugin available, if you have an existing site that you want to use with BigCommerce.
While they don’t have a free plan available, there is a free trial which lets you set up your shop and get started without paying anything.
Related: See our comparison of WooCommerce vs BigCommerce for more details.
Shopify is another fully hosted eCommerce platform. Shopify also offers a 14 day free trial and, like BigCommerce’s free trial, this doesn’t require a credit card.
Related: For more details see our comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce.
Weebly isn’t quite so well known as some other eCommerce platforms, like Shopify and WooCommerce, but they offer a free trial where you can test out the platform.
Big Cartel is a hosted eCommerce platform that’s designed especially for artists and creatives. If you want to have a store selling handmade products or similar, it could be a great option for you.
So which is the best free eCommerce platform for you? That depends on what you’re looking for.
If you want to start cheap and have full freedom to grow your business, then WooCommerce is the best option.
Using our exclusive Bluehost deal, you can get started for $2.75 per month. That’s less than a cup of coffee.
If you want to use a totally free eCommerce platform, then Constant Contact website builder is easier and free. However, it is limited in terms of features and flexibility that you get with other platforms.
If you want to try out an online store for free, but you’re happy to pay for something that’s a good fit for your business, then BigCommerce and Shopify are great full-featured options.
We hope this article helped you learn about the best free eCommerce platforms to get started with. You may also want to see our guide on the best email marketing services and best live chat software for eCommerce, so you can increase your store sales.
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