eCommerce software is ideal for business owners that want to set up and manage an online store. If you have a small business with more limited resources, a free plan gives you critical tools that won’t eat away at your margins. Picking the right eCommerce platform is an essential step in any business plan for an online store. For more on these platforms, check out our definitional post below.
Free plans are a great way to test eCommerce features before you commit to a premium package. Choosing the wrong tools can completely disrupt your workflow. Here are some of the best free software options for your eCommerce business heading into 2023.
Best Free eCommerce Platforms in 2022
The software providers below offer some of the best free eCommerce features to set up and manage an online business.
Key features to keep in mind when selecting the best free solution include:
- A website builder with templates
- Web hosting
- Custom themes
- Shopping cart software
- SEO features
- Social media marketing
- Number of free product listings
- Data governance and security
- SSL certificate
- Email marketing
- Campaign management tools
- Landing page creation
- Mobile compatibility
- Payment processing
- Usage and transaction fees
- Customer support
- Integrations with third-party software
Lacks user data
eCommerce website builder
Plugins and add-ons
|Transaction fees for payment
Limited features for the free plan
|Ads on free sites
Limited features for the free plan
Scaling can be expensive
Dependence on integrations
The Big Cartel platform tailors to artists and creators who want to set up an eCommerce store. The Gold Plan is well-suited for small businesses. It allows you to list up to 5 products for free, with one accompanying image for each listing. You can access customizable themes, automated sales tax, a custom domain name, and shipment tracking. The platform also allows you to run promotions with discount codes. Basic analytics include conversions, orders, revenue, and visitors.
Reviewers on TrustRadius highlighted the ease of use and reliability of Big Cartel. Setting up an account was reported to be a straightforward process that enables you to start selling immediately. Third-party integrations to process orders and track inventory or purchases were also appreciated.
There were some complaints about the lack of user data and the lack of customization options for those who know how to code.
If you need more advanced features or your catalog grows, the paid plans run from $9.99 to $19.99 per month. You can see the full feature list and pricing breakdown on the vendor site here.
The Ecwid free plan is ideal for smaller businesses and allows you to build your storefront for up to 10 products. The instant website builder uses customizable templates and a drag-and-drop tool. Once your site is set up, you can sell on multiple websites simultaneously with unlimited bandwidth.
Other features include tax invoices, GDPR compliance, and a mobile-friendly shopping cart. One-click Apple Pay checkout is available through Stripe. You also get access to social media advertising on Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
Reviewers found the platform easy to use, particularly when it comes to setting up an eCommerce site and managing orders. There were high ratings for security features and the mobile storefront. Users also loved the checkout experience and the integrations, especially the WordPress plugin. This is not surprising considering that Ecwid was originally designed to be a checkout tool for other web builders.
Some users wanted to see improvements to content creation, design, and shipping preferences. Custom domain names are not currently available.
Some key features are only available with a paid plan. These include SEO, discounts and promotions, product variations, bulk editing, and inventory tracking. You can check these out on the vendor’s website. Prices vary from $14 to $99 depending on your package and monthly or yearly payments.
PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform that you can use for free. It’s often seen as a free alternative to Shopify. This software also gives you access to a community with over 1 million members and more than 1,000 development contributors. Free themes are available to set up and customize your site.
The platform also lets you manage product catalogs, orders, payment processing, and shipping. You can set up your store to be multilingual and have several currency options. You can launch marketing campaigns using the Mailchimp integration to increase the reach of your store. Integrations are also available for Google, Facebook, and payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe. These payment processors provide digital invoices for each transaction.
PrestaShop also gives you access to a team of experts and partners from over 250 agencies to help leverage your business.
TrustRadius reviewers found the software easy to use, with a host of helpful plugins and add-ons. Catalog updates, inventory reviews, and order processing were also appreciated. Some cons included a lack of support, SEO tools, and personalized recommendations.
Square Online is an eCommerce solution that allows you to build a free eCommerce website. The store builder includes SEO tools and social commerce options for Facebook and Instagram. They also allow you to offer local delivery, pickup, and shipping options. Payment options include Square Pay and Afterpay as well as Google, CashApp, and Apple Pay. While the site is free to set up, you’ll have to pay 2.9% + 30 cents for online sales.
The vendor also offers the Square POS product, a Top Rated Point of Sale (POS) system that accepts various payment methods. This software can help process online orders or in-person payments for physical products. This kind of tool is particularly popular in the restaurant industry.
Reviewers highlighted SEO optimization, efficient credit card sales, and transaction tracking. Negative points for Square Online include the need to pay transaction fees for online payment and delivery. The free plan doesn’t offer analytics, custom domain names, or abandoned cart recovery.
Premium eCommerce plans are available with a more complete feature set that you can access here.
Wix is a Top Rated Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to build a website with free hosting. The drag-and-drop builder allows code-free customization using HTML templates. If you prefer, you can answer a few questions and Wix will generate a free website for you using artificial intelligence for design (Wix ADI). The platform also lets you design free landing pages for your campaigns. If you still don’t have a logo, the Wix Logo Maker can help you design one.
Free sites will have ads and will also be listed under a Wix domain. To get rid of these and unlock the full suite of eCommerce features, you’ll need to switch to a premium plan. Paid plans run from $29 to $69 per month.
A specialized eCommerce plan allows you to sell on several sales channels, including social media. Integrations with over 200 different apps are also available. Other key features that require a paid subscription include:
- Unlimited products
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Custom reports
- Product reviews
- Order management
- Customer accounts
- 24/7 support
Wix received positive feedback on TrustRadius for the website builder, logo creator, and built-in SEO tools. Some reviewers mentioned a learning curve for the large array of products as well as rising costs as you add extra features.
WooCommerce won a Top Rated award for eCommerce in 2022. Like PrestaShop, it’s also an open-source platform designed for online stores. The platform is built on and effectively works as a WordPress plugin. There are many extensions to help meet your analytics, marketing, shipment, and payment needs. A mobile app is also available to enable you to manage your business on the go. The platform has a large library of storefront themes, but only 3 of them are available with the free plan.
The software helps ensure greater scalability for developers through a REST API. This enables more flexibility for those with more programming capabilities. A vast online community also provides resources and know-how when it comes to different marketing tools, management features, etc.
Reviewers had good things to say about the order processing, product listings, and integrations that provide enhanced customization options. The base site was seen as very basic, requiring many plugins and extensions for optimal functionality. Some users also found that configurations could be easier.
Getting the Most out of Free eCommerce Software
If you want to break into the world of eCommerce, a lack of coding expertise or resources to hire a web developer should not get in your way. There are many free website builders on the market that enable you to create and host an eCommerce website. If you’re willing to put in the research time, you can combine several free tools through plugins and integrations.
As your business grows, you’ll likely have to upgrade to a premium plan. If you choose products with the right features for your needs, the extra cost will be more than worth it. Visit TrustRadius today to see what other users are saying about different eCommerce software. If you’ve used any of these tools, please leave a review! Your feedback enables buyers to make the best decisions and vendors to improve their products.
Was this helpful?