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Best Free eCommerce Platforms to Start Selling in 2022

Building a free ecommerce website can be difficult. You want an online store that looks professional and includes essential features like inventory management and marketing integrations. However, you don’t want to spend hours setting up your store, only to realize your free ecommerce website will have pesky ads unless you pay for a $15-per-month “upgrade.”

We took a close look at all the free ecommerce website builders on the market and picked out seven that genuinely offer a great set of tools for free, and by that, we mean free forever.

Based on our evaluations, the best free ecommerce website builders for 2022 are:

  • Best overall: Square Online
  • Best for WordPress users: WooCommerce
  • Best free Shopify alternative: Shift4Shop
  • Best for developers: PrestaShop
  • Best for Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace users: Ecwid
  • Best for artists and creatives: Big Cartel
  • Best for international sellers: Mozello

While all of the above are free to use, you will have to pay a credit card processing fee, typically 2.9% plus 30 cents, when you make a sale. Besides that, none of these charge commission or have any hidden fees. There are optional paid upgrades, and we’ll cover those in more detail below.

Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders Compared

 

Product Limit
Connect a Custom Domain
Free Shipping Calculator
Developer Skills Required
Payment Gateways
Square Online logo
Square Online
Unlimited
Built-in (Square Payments)
Woocommerce logo.
WooCommerce
Unlimited
✓ USPS
Stripe, PayPal, and 100 others
Shift4Shop logo.
Shft4Shop
Unlimited
✓ USPS, UPS, and FedEx
Built-in (Shift4Payments)
PrestaShop logo.
PrestaShop
Unlimited
Stripe, PayPal, and 50 others
Ecwid logo.
Ecwid
10
✓ USPS, UPS, and FedEx
Stripe, PayPal, and 60 others
Big Cartel logo.
Big Cartel
5
Stripe or PayPal
Mozello logo
Mozello
5
PayPal

 

Square Online

With Square, you can build your website without any coding skill when it is user-friendly for small businesses.

Square Online Features for eCommerce

With Free Plan, merchants can sell unlimited products online. What is charged is 2.9% + 30¢ for each transaction. And you will get is 500MB bandwidth and storage.

Other eCommerce features you can get:

  • Selling on social media channels
  • Multiple sites management
  • In-house delivery; On-demand delivery
  • Curbside pickup
  • Automatic tax calculator (US only)

Square also offers its own Payment Platform, which is designed to save you time and money. This payment platform offers at-any-scale payment solutions, PCI compliance, AML and KYC checks, battle-tested security data and payment risk, and more, all customized to your business needs. Moreover, you can also get access to major payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Cash App Pay and BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later).

If you want to have custom domain with no Square Online branding & ads on your site, you can upgrade to premium plans:

Square Online Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • It’s simple to sign up and get started
  • No payments needed when registering for free online stores
  • Connected to its own payment processing
  • It offers viewable design on desktop and mobile screens
  • Multiple payment methods

Cons:

  • Limited basic store designs
  • Lack of quality templates as compared to Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify

Ecwid

Ecwid (eCommerce widget) is a SaaS solution geared toward small businesses. Beginning the journey in 2009, currently, there’s over 900,000 live websites using Ecwid. This platform is a top choice for small company merchants looking to easily set up a store and start selling. Specifically, Ecwid lets you create a free account and keep it forever.

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Ecwid Features for eCommerce

This platform is easy to use with its user-friendly interfaces. Thus, getting started with Ecwid and developing your own store is a piece of cake with very thorough instructions from the Ecwid team.

Ecwid has a lot of quality eCommerce management features. For example, you can add unlimited product options together with their various attributes such as weight, price, size, and so on.

With Ecwid free plan, you can create a free online store that can be promoted in major websites like Facebook, Google, Pinterest and Snapchat. You can add up to 10 products to your store that can be displayed in mobile optimization.

What sets Ecwid apart from other eCommerce sites is that this platform charges you no transaction fees on any plan (even with the free one!).

Other eCommerce features you can get:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • You can add your store to any website
  • You can sell simultaneously on multiple sites
  • One-tap checkout with Apple Pay (via Stripe)
  • Chat support

You can also integrate your Ecwid store to other platforms such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Joomla,…. If you want to sell on other places such as Amazon, Facebook and Instagram, you can consider updating to a higher plan.

Ecwid Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Very easy to navigate and set up
  • Great built-in app store
  • Frequently upgrading the system with new features
  • Selling in multiple languages
  • Top-notch customer service

Cons:

  • Lack of 3rd party tool support
  • Code skills required to further customize the store
  • Lack of integration when compared to other eCommerce platforms

Big Cartel

Compared to other free eCommerce platforms, Big Cartel is an excellent platform for small businesses. The reason for more than 75,000 businesses choosing Big Cartel is that this platform keeps things easy and economical for all merchants, especially for artists and craftsmen.

Let’s see with the free plan, which eCommerce features Big Cartel offers.

Big Cartel Features for eCommerce

If you are new to eCommerce, this Big Cartel free plan can provide you with a plethora of benefits and essential features. You have 5 products with 1 image per each.

What is more, product option groups can be used to establish groupings such as size or color, and then add variations such as small, medium, black or white. Then, each option group will be displayed in a separate list in your storefront, making it easy for your consumers to find their ideal combination.

Furthermore, Big Cartel also generously gives merchants 18 free artistic, aesthetic and mesmerizing themes.

Adding a custom domain on free eCommerce websites is what sets Big Cartel different from other free eCommerce platforms. Thus, if you already have a registered domain somewhere else, you connect yours with Big Cartel and they also have a detailed guide for you to do so.

Other eCommerce features you can get:

  • Free customizable themes
  • Real-time stats; shipment tracking
  • Sales tax autopilot
  • Product option groups
  • Offer discounts & run promos

Same with Ecwid, Big Cartel also charges merchants no transaction fees on any plan (even with the free one!).

If merchants want more robust eCommerce features (Google Analytics, inventory tracking), go for higher plans. You can add more goods, photos, link a custom domain, utilize Google Analytics, enable inventory tracking, offer discounts, and even alter the code of your theme when you upgrade.

Big Cartel Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Ranking in the top easy-to-use website builders
  • It’s supper simple and easy to navigate eCommerce sites
  • No transaction fees
  • Free themes available
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Cons:

  • It costs a lot more to store additional items, and the subscription plan only allows you to list 500 products.
  • After-pay cannot be used
  • Prefab options limit sites customization
  • Selling in person, on your site, Facebook, and Instagram only
  • No 24/7, live chat, and phone support

WooCommerce

Currently, this is now one of the most popular platforms and unlikely to be dethroned in the near future. Being a WordPress plugin, it is free to download and use. But first, you must install WordPress, which requires certain associated fees to construct a website, such as hosting, domain name, and so on.

If you want to manually set up your website, LitExtension has a detailed tutorial video that guides you through the process from start to finish.

WooCommerce Features for eCommerce

Basically, you can get:

  • Great source of both free & paid plugins from WordPress
  • Easy inventory management
  • Various shipping options: Flat Rate Shipping, Free Shipping and Local Pickup
  • Great source of payment processor available
  • Powerful store analysis tool
  • Multi-site selling
  • Dropshipping with reasonable cost, no product restrictions and high customizability
  • Powerful CMS, SEO & Marketing

WooCommerce Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Great flexibility
  • Wide variety of themes and plugins
  • Automating virtual features
  • Strong SEO performance
  • WooCommerce community forum support

Cons:

  • Coding skills required
  • Lots of plugins required
  • Frequency of updates
  • Easy to lose sight of security

OpenCart

This platform is now home to 451,456 business all over the world. OpenCartis a PHP-structured open-source platform specifically tailored for online business. Not only offering website design customization, this platform also being as well as a modern, user-friendly dashboard interface.

Like WooCommerce, OpenCart is free to download and install. However, to be able to create an OpenCart store, you might need to pay for some extras such as hosting plan, domain name, SSL certificate and eye-catching templates. To fully set up OpenCart, you will need to refer to the detailed tutorial on how to install OpenCart.

OpenCart Features for eCommerce

Basically, you can get:

  • Google Analytics (Track the activities of both admin and customers, enable/disable modules at any time,…)
  • POS (Point of Sale)
  • Proper inventory management system
  • 51 payment gateways that are pre-installed
  • Powerful CMS, SEO & Marketing

OpenCart is everything about extension. If you want a fully-fledged eCommerce store, you have to depend on extension. Fortunately, OpenCart brings a vast range of out-of-the-box features and over 13,000+ additional extensions available to download.

OpenCart Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Multi-store support
  • Reporting tools provided
  • 50+ payment gateways supported
  • Great flexibility and customization

Cons:

  • Complicated installation
  • Slow loading page
  • Difficult to import inventory list

Magento Open Source

Magento Open Source (by Adobe) has a well-deserved reputation for its scalability, customizability, and robust built-in features. The download and installation are both free. However, you must still pay for your hosting, domain, and security, as well as any web development assistance if you lack the time or skill level to build your site the way you want.

Magento Open Source Features for eCommerce

After installing, you can get:

  • POS (Point of Sale)
  • Integration with global shipping carriers
  • Powerful inventory management system & sales channels
  • Automated & regularly updated analytics & reports
  • Integration with multiple payment gateways, including PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, CyberSource, and WorldPay
  • CMS, SEO & Marketing tools

Magento Open Source Pros & Cons

Shopify

At the time of writing, Shopify powers 3,747,956 live websites and is one of the best online store platforms in the marketplace. No matter how big your business is, Shopify is always an option worth considering. Shopify offers merchants a 14-day free trial when setting up a store using the platform.

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Discover knitty-gritty Shopify eCommerce features at: Shopify Review – Is Shopify The Crown Jewel of The eCommerce World? Or, You can check out more of Shopify alternatives in this post for more insights!

If you want to grasp basic selling features in each Shopify Pricing plan, check out the table below:

 

Basic Shopify

Shopify

Advanced Shopify

Pricing

$29/month

$79/month

$299/month

FEATURES

Online store

 

Unlimited products

Staff accounts

2

 

5

 

15

 

24/7 support

Sales channels

Inventory locations

up to 4

 

up to 5

 

up to 8

 

Manual order creation

Free SSL certificate

Abandoned cart recovery

Reports

Standard

 

Advanced

 

Third-party calculated shipping rates

SHOPIFY SHIPPING

Shipping discount

up to 77%

 

up to 88%

 

up to 88%

 

Shipping labels

SHOPIFY PAYMENTS

Fraud analysis

In-person credit/debit card rates

2.7% + 0¢ USD

2.5% + 0¢ USD

2.4% + 0¢ USD

Online credit card rates

2.9% + 30¢ USD

 

2.6% + 30¢ USD

 

2.4% + 30¢ USD

 

Transaction fee if not using Shopify Payments

2.0%

1.0%

0.5%

POINT OF SALE

 

Shopify POS Lite

Shopify POS Pro (per location)

+$89 USD/mo

+$89 USD/mo

+$89 USD/mo

INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE

Sell in 133 currencies

Sell in multiple languages

up to 20

up to 20

up to 20

International domains

International pricing

International pricing (per variant pricing)

Wix

Celebrating its 15 years anniversary, Wix is proud to have 200+ million users covering 190 countries worldwide. With 1,664,973 live websites, this platform never leaves the top of the most popular eCommerce web builders.

This cheapest website builder announced a new version named Wix eCommerce on June 30, 2020, for online retailers, companies, and merchants of all sizes all over the world. Wix eCommerce offers 3 pricing plans that range from $17 to $35. Business Basic, Unlimited, and VIP are all ideal for different types of businesses.

 

Business Basic

Accept Online Payments

 

Business Unlimited

 

Grow Your Business

Business VIP

 

Get the Full Suite

Pricing

$17/month

$25/month

$35/month

 

FEATURES

 

Secure online payments

Plans & recurring payments

Customer accounts

Custom domain

Free domain for 1 year

Remove Wix ads

Bandwidth

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Storage space

20 GB

 

35 GB

 

50 GB

 

Video hours

5 hours

 

10 hours

 

Unlimited

 

Customized reports

Customer care

24/7 customer care

24/7 customer care

Priority customer care

Complete eCommerce Platform

Build, manage, and scale your business with Wix

Unlimited products

Abandoned cart recovery

Subscriptions

Multiple currencies

Automated sales tax

100 transactions/month

500 transactions/month

Sell on social channels

Sell on marketplaces

Dropshipping by Modalyst

Up to 250 products

Unlimited products

Product reviews by KudoBuzz

1,000 reviews

3,000 reviews

Loyalty program by Smile.io

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