eCommerce Tech

Find the best free online store builder: 8 Options & 5 Tips

Aug 7, 2023 7 min read 18 views
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best free online store builder

Creating an online store may seem like a challenge, especially if you have limited technical knowledge or a tight budget. However, the good news is that there are numerous free online store builders available that can help you bring your eCommerce vision to life without breaking the bank.

These platforms offer a wide range of features and functionalities, allowing you to customize your online store to match your brand identity and showcase your products or services with ease.

Upon reading our article, you’ll be able to choose the best free online store builder that will cater to your unique business needs. Join us as we explore available solutions.

Pros & Cons of using free online store builders

Before making your final choice, it’s essential to weigh their advantages and limitations of using free online store builders carefully.

Pros of using free online store builders

  • Cost-effectiveness

Perhaps the most significant advantage of using a free online store builder is that it eliminates the need for upfront investments. Aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses can get started without incurring substantial costs, making it an attractive option for those on a tight budget.

  • User-friendly interface

Free online store builders often come with intuitive, drag-and-drop interfaces that require little to no coding knowledge. This ease of use allows even non-technical users to create and manage their eCommerce websites efficiently.

  • Quick setup

With pre-designed templates and streamlined processes, setting up an online store can be done in a matter of hours or days. This speed is advantageous for businesses looking to get their products or services online promptly.

  • Community support

Popular free online store builders often have large user communities. This means that you can find support, advice, and resources from other users or forums, helping you overcome challenges and learn from others’ experiences.

  • Basic features

Free plans usually come with essential eCommerce features such as product listings, payment gateways, and order management systems. While not as comprehensive as premium plans, these basic features are often sufficient for starting and running a small-scale online store.

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Cons of using free online store builders

  • Limited customization

Free plans may restrict your ability to customize your online store fully. Design options and branding might be limited, which can hinder creating a unique and distinctive brand identity.

  • Transaction fees

Some free online store builders impose transaction fees on each sale you make. These fees can eat into your profits and become a significant drawback as your business grows.

  • Storage and bandwidth limitations

Free plans often come with restrictions on storage space and monthly bandwidth. This limitation can affect the number of products you can display and the volume of traffic your store can handle.

  • Lack of advanced features

Advanced functionalities like abandoned cart recovery, detailed analytics, or integration with third-party apps may be absent in free plans, which could limit your store’s capabilities.

  • Branding and advertisements

Free plans might display the platform’s branding or advertisements on your online store, which can distract your customers and dilute your brand image.

  • Limited customer support

Free plans may offer minimal customer support compared to paid options. This can be challenging if you encounter technical issues or need prompt assistance with any aspect of your store.

 

Ultimately, the decision to use a free online store builder depends on your specific business needs and long-term goals. For small businesses or those starting out, a free plan can provide a cost-effective way to test the waters of eCommerce. However, as your business grows, you might need to consider upgrading to a premium plan or a dedicated eCommerce platform to access more advanced features and remove limitations.

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And now, let’s have a look at these 8 best free online store builders. We’ll overview the following solutions:

  • WooCommerce
  • Square Online
  • Ecwid
  • Big Cartel
  • Wix
  • Strikingly
  • Mozello
  • Freewebstore

#1 WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a versatile plugin designed to integrate an online shopping cart seamlessly into your WordPress website, offering an array of features and extensive customization options. It allows you to select themes, modify shopping cart and checkout pages, provide customers with coupons and rewards, and enhance functionality with various extensions.

 

While WooCommerce itself is open-source and free, it requires WordPress’ Business or Commerce plan, priced at $25 or $45 per month, respectively.

 

This powerful plugin supports a wide range of payment options, enables social media and online marketplace sales, and provides convenient shipping support through its built-in dashboard. Businesses already operating on WordPress and equipped with web developers can maximize the benefits of WooCommerce, making it an appealing choice compared to other leading eCommerce platforms like Shopify.

#2 Square Online

Square Online offers a cost-effective and straightforward solution for businesses utilizing a Square point-of-sale system in their physical stores or accepting online payments through Square. Its user-friendly interface and no limit on the number of products make it an appealing choice for swift online setup.

 

Additionally, Square Online allows businesses to customize their plans by adding specific features on a subscription basis, avoiding unnecessary expenses. Ideal for brick-and-mortar establishments seeking a seamless transition to the digital realm, Square Online empowers businesses to effortlessly expand their reach and tap into the world of eCommerce.

#3 Ecwid

Ecwid presents an alluring option for businesses seeking to integrate eCommerce capabilities into their existing websites effortlessly. With its user-friendly plug-in, incorporating individual store elements like product search and shopping bags becomes a breeze, even for those familiar with HTML. Additionally, Ecwid allows for the creation of a standalone website with seamless product listings and checkout functionalities.

 

While the free plan permits five product listings and a combined dashboard for order management, certain restrictions apply, such as the inability to sell digital goods or directly link to social media accounts and online marketplaces. Regardless, Ecwid offers the flexibility to choose from various payment processors without imposing additional fees, making it a viable choice for businesses aiming to sell a limited range of products with ease.

#4 Big Cartel

Big Cartel, a straightforward online store builder, is an excellent choice for small businesses or those with a limited range of products. Offering a custom domain and the ability to list five items, this platform accommodates small-scale operations. For just $9.99 per month, users can upgrade to expand their store’s capacity to include up to 50 product listings.

 

Accepting payments through Stripe or PayPal, Big Cartel empowers businesses to process transactions efficiently, despite the small fee charged by these payment processors. Notable features such as discount codes, automated sales tax calculation through TaxJar, and shipment tracking make it a practical option for artists, solopreneurs, and others who manage revolving merchandise with ease.

#5 Wix

Wix offers a user-friendly website builder, providing two effortless ways to create a website: through simple drag-and-drop tools or Wix’s AI designer. Even without coding knowledge, you can easily customize your site. While Wix allows you to build an eCommerce website for free, enabling full functionality and accepting payments will require upgrading to a paid plan.

 

Despite these limitations, Wix’s free plan offers an array of features, including secure web hosting, customizable templates, and marketing tools. However, it’s important to note that under the free plan, your site will display Wix ads, and custom domains are not available. For those seeking an all-in-one solution and regular website features, Wix stands out as a top-notch free eCommerce platform.

#6 Strikingly

Strikingly stands out as an excellent choice for those seeking a diverse selection of free eCommerce website templates. Geared towards beginners, Strikingly prioritizes simplicity and quick editing over extensive customization options when it comes to setup and design. While this might disappoint some users, it proves to be a key advantage for those who wish to create a website swiftly without prior experience. Though not the most visually stunning, Strikingly’s templates boast a sleek and trendy appearance while remaining user-friendly.

 

The website templates provided by Strikingly are mobile-responsive and feature a social feed section, facilitating integration with users’ social network accounts. Additionally, the Pro Plan allows connection to Facebook Messenger for receiving live messages.

#7 Mozello

Mozello offers a unique feature that bigger companies lack: free multilingual websites. They also provide a free online store option with multilingual capabilities, allowing you to sell up to 5 products. However, compared to other providers, their website editor lacks flexibility, making it less enjoyable to work with. On the positive side, they offer 500MB of storage, support for multiple languages, inventory tracking, and product variant options. Additionally, SSL is included.

 

On the downside, the platform’s system is basic, limiting the sophistication of your eCommerce website. They only support the sale of physical goods and don’t offer credit card payments with the free plan. Furthermore, the number of products you can sell for free is limited to 5.

#8 Freewebstore

Freewebstore aims to provide an accessible and straightforward solution for individuals and small businesses looking to establish an online presence and start selling products online. One of the significant advantages of Freewebstore is that it allows users to sell an unlimited number of products for free, and it includes SSL security. The designs are acceptable, though somewhat outdated, but they are mobile-responsive.

 

Positives include free SSL, support for various online payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, Skrill, and 2Checkout without any transaction fees. Moreover, users can add an unlimited number of products and access advanced features like product import/export via CSV and abandoned cart management (some of which may require a paid plan).

 

However, there are some drawbacks to consider. The backend of Freewebstore is dated and complex, making it less intuitive and enjoyable for creating an online store. Additionally, the platform only supports the sale of physical goods; digital products cannot be sold online using this service.

5 Tips for choosing the best free online store builder

Selecting the right solution depends completely on your specific business requirements and expectations. Once you’re ready with them, you can rely on the following guidelines to choose your best free online store builder:

  1. Ensure the platform offers integrated SSL encryption for secure payment options, safeguarding sensitive customer information from potential intruders.
  2. Choose a mobile-ready platform to tap into the growing trend of m-commerce, enhancing customer satisfaction and Google search rankings.
  3. Look for online store builders that provide easy navigation and a seamless checkout process to reduce cart abandonment rates and improve user experience.
  4. Select a builder that includes the facility for customers to leave product reviews and ratings, as positive feedback can significantly influence purchasing decisions.
  5. Opt for a platform that offers customization options, scalability, and flexibility to adapt to changing trends and business needs, allowing your online store to evolve and remain competitive in the market.

 

By considering these essential features, you can ensure that the free online store builder you choose aligns with your business goals and paves the way for your eCommerce success.

Final Word

We hope that our article with solutions overview and tips will help you choose the best free online store builder that will perfectly match your needs. In making your decision, remember to assess factors we described above to ensure the chosen solution aligns seamlessly with your business aspirations and growth plans.

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