9 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms for 2024

The top Ecommerce Platforms you Can Access for Free

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The best free ecommerce platforms may not be as feature rich as their premium alternatives, but they do offer a useful way for business leaders to get started with their online sales strategy.

If you’re on a very limited budget, or just want to test out the features of an ecommerce solution choosing a free service could be an excellent idea.

One point to consider, however, is that free solutions rarely stay free forever. You may need to pay for extra things like hosting or domain names, or you may be asked to eventually upgrade to a premium plan.

Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the tools that allow you to get started with your online sales strategy for free, and exploring the features their unpaid plans can offer.

In this article:

What are the Best Free Ecommerce Platforms?

  1. Shopify (free trial)
  2. Wix (free trial)
  3. Squarespace (free trial)
  4. Square Online (free plan)
  5. Big Cartel (free plan)
  6. Ecwid (free plan)
  7. WooCommerce (free, but with extra costs for hosting, maintenance)
  8. Shift4Shop (free plan US only)
  9. Weebly (free plan

Ecommerce Platforms With a Free Trial

Alongside platforms that have their own free plan, there are a handful of ecommerce solutions which include a “free trial”, or a demo service with a very low initial cost. If you’re planning on upgrading to a more comprehensive service in the future, or you want to leverage a hosted service (with no need to pay for hosting separately), these options could be ideal for you.

1. Shopify

shopify homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

One of the world’s most popular ecommerce solutions, Shopify is a comprehensive online store and website builder, with a host of great features to offer. The software as a service platform includes access to hosting, security, and all of the other tools you might need to access separately using an open platform. Shopify comes with free themes and templates to get you started.

There’s a drag-and-drop builder where you can make changes to your website, and a host of useful plugins and add-ons you can implement into your store from the Shopify app market. Shopify benefits from a fat, reliable checkout, with multiple payment processing options. Plus, you can set up omnichannel selling strategies with point of sale integrations, social media, and more.

The Free Plan

Currently, the free trial for Shopify lasts for 3 days. However, you can extend your trial by paying just $1 per month for the first free months. This service will allow you to set up your website for launch, experiment with all of the Shopify tools, and even create product collections. Plus, you can sell on social media and other channels using the Shopify checkout button.

However, you will need to upgrade to a premium plan if you want to actually launch the store you create on Shopify.

Pros 👍

  • Excellent, easy-to-use backend environment
  • Unlimited products on all plans
  • Wide range of payment processing options
  • SEO and marketing tools included
  • Suitable for omnichannel selling
  • Robust app marketplace

2. Wix

wix homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

Similar to Shopify, Wix doesn’t offer a free plan, but it does allow users to test the functionality of the platform for 14 days without paying anything. Compared to other online builders, I consider Wix to be one of the easiest solutions to use. It’s an omnichannel platform, which allows you to sell through a range of channels, marketplaces, and social media platforms.

The customizable website builder is a breeze to use, and even comes with support from AI, which can help you to build a compelling website in no time if you have no experience. Plus, Wix is excellent for showcasing the credibility of your store. You can collect testimonials from customers for social proof, connect with a range of social media tools for marketing, and more.

The Free Plan

The 14-day free trial from Wix allows you to test the features of the company’s premium plan without paying anything. You’ll be able to create your store, upload products and services, and start building out your online presence with blog posts and more. You can even leverage integrations.

However, you won’t be able to actively launch an online store and start taking payments until you upgrade to a premium plan. For ecommerce, you’ll need at least a basic plan starting at $23 per month to start selling online.

Pros 👍

  • Easy to use environment with AI assistance
  • Lots of flexibility for customizing your store
  • Wide range of apps and add-ons available
  • Built-in tools for omnichannel selling
  • Automatic site backups included

Further reading 📚

3. Squarespace

squarespace homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

One of the most popular tools available for building an online store, Squarespace is an excellent choice for business leaders in search of beautiful, professional templates, and simplicity. Squarespace is wonderfully easy to use, and makes it simple for business leaders to get started with a stunning appearance online. There are even helpful image editing tools built into the platform.

Squarespace is a highly flexible choice for business owners, allowing organizations to sell everything from physical products to digital downloads and services. You can integrate email and social media marketing tools, access abandoned cart recovery capabilities, and experiment with SEO and blogging tools as part of the service. There’s even the option to add extra security solutions to your site.

The Free Plan

Squarespace, like most ecommerce platforms comes with its own free trial, allows you to test the functionality of the website builder for 14 days without paying anything. The free plan is relatively simple, and feature-rich, but it won’t allow you to leverage any ecommerce services. Additionally, if you upgrade to the first paid plan, you still won’t be able to sell online. Read our guide to learn more about Squarespace pricing.

Users need at least a Business plan from Squarespace to start selling, and even this plan comes with a transaction fee to be aware of (similar to Shopify).

Pros 👍

  • Beautiful and responsive templates
  • Access to CSS customization for layout changes
  • Most paid plans include a free domain name
  • Multi-channel and social media selling
  • Marketing integrations and built-in SEO

Ecommerce Platforms With a Free Plan

While ecommerce platforms with a free trial can be a great option if you’re planning on upgrading to a premium package relatively soon, they may not be ideal for long-term use. If you want to consistently access your ecommerce platform without paying a monthly fee, you might need to consider another option. Keep in mind, these plans below can come with some extra costs to consider, in terms of transaction fees and hosting.

1. Square Online

square online homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

Square Online may be the ideal free ecommerce tool for your business if you already have a physical presence. The Square brand is best-known for offering payment processing solutions and point of sale systems to “offline” business.

However, it also has its own free store builder, for those who want to connect their digital store to their brick-and-mortar presence.

Square makes it relatively easy to get started with online and offline selling, with a simple store builder and a convenient backend environment. You can even set up custom pickup and delivery solutions based on your business model. Plus, there are integrations available with social media for omnichannel selling online.

The Free Plan

The free plan from Square Online allows you to set up a store for unlimited products for free online, with automatic syncing to your offline solution. The plan includes selling for Instagram and Facebook, as well as a range of pickup, delivery, and shipping options. You can also access self-service ordering solutions and SEO tools.

Notably, while you don’t have to pay a monthly fee to leverage Square online, you will need to pay transaction fees for each offline and online payment. These fees are relatively consistent with the standard payment processing fees on most platforms.

Pros 👍

  • Easy to synchronize online and offline selling
  • Convenient solution for selling unlimited products
  • Lots of pickup, delivery, and shipping options
  • Self-service ordering included
  • SEO tools for online marketing

2. Big Cartel

big cartel homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

Designed for artists, start-ups, and members of the creator economy, Big Cartel is a robust online website builder with a host of great tools to offer. The convenient solution aims to keep things as simple as possible, with built-in templates and themes to help you start building your digital presence quickly. You can also leverage omnichannel selling tools for connecting with customers both online, and in the brick-and-mortar landscape.

Big Cartel allows customers to use a custom domain, even on the free plan. Plus, you can leverage real-time stats and insights to help you build a stronger online presence. There’s even built-in shipment tracking and a sales tax autopilot solution for managing your finances. Plus, you can offer discounts, run promotions, and even set up various product options.

The Free Plan

The free plan from Big Cartel comes with a lot of great features. You can leverage fully customizable free themes, sell both online and in-person, and access real-time stats to track your store’s performance. Shipment tracking and tax management is included, alongside product option groups, custom domain support, and images for each product.

However, on the free plan, you’ll only be able to sell up to 5 products at any time, which could be a problem if you want to scale and grow your business. There may also be transaction fees to consider, depending on your payment processor.

Pros 👍

  • Automatic tax management on the free plan
  • Access to online and offline selling tools
  • Real-time reporting and statistics
  • Lots of product option groups
  • Shipment tracking on the free plan

3. Ecwid

ecwid homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

Ecwid is an interesting solution for business leaders looking to start selling online. You can either choose to create a basic website directly with the Ecwid builder, or you can add sales functionality to an existing website, using Ecwid as a plugin. The open-source plugin works well with existing platforms like WordPress and Drupal, and supports social selling tool.

Ecwid is a flexible and convenient tool, with support for multiple sales and marketing tools, its own mobile app on Android and iOS, and a range of solutions for online branding. You can even leverage integrations with Snapchat, Google, Facebook, and more, to improve your chances of attracting customers across a variety of digital platforms.

The Free Plan

The free plan from Ecwid is relatively basic. You can only use it set up a standard online store, with no support for any other sales channels. However, you do get access to a range of marketing integrations with social media channels and Google. The plan also includes a mobile responsive shopping cart and tax management tools.

However, the free plan won’t come with access to the Ecwid mobile app, and it doesn’t give you a lot of options for setting up pickup and delivery options. Plus, you can only sell up to 5 products on the free plan before you’ll need to upgrade.

Pros 👍

  • Suitable for all kinds of business models
  • User-friendly environment for beginners
  • Lots of credit card transaction and payment options
  • No limit on product options
  • Excellent range of multichannel integrations

4. WooCommerce

woocommerce homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

If you’re looking for a lot of flexibility from your online store, WooCommerce could be an ideal choice. This plugin for WordPress allows you to leverage the open source capabilities of WordPress to build an entirely unique store with no monthly fees. The WooCommerce platform is brimming with great capabilities, from a customizable checkout to multiple payment options.

WooCommerce embeds directly into the WordPress ecosystem, so it’s extremely easy to use if you’re already familiar with the WordPress platform. It can also work well with all the other integrations and add-ons available for WordPress in the marketing and sales environment.

The Free Plan

Unlike most free store builders, WooCommerce doesn’t have any restrictions on its free plan. The open-source software is completely free to download and use for anyone. However, there are extra costs to consider. You’ll need to pay for hosting for your WordPress website, and there may be other fees to consider for security, maintenance, and premium plugins.

Additionally, it’s worth remembering most of the payment processors you integrate with WooCommerce will also have transaction fees. However, if you do your research, you should be able to build a WooCommerce store without spending a lot.

Pros 👍

  • Fantastic flexibility for other integrations
  • No fees to download and use the full service
  • Excellent range of add-ons and plugins
  • Easy to use for beginners in the WordPress space
  • Highly customizable and flexible

5. Shift4Shop

shift4shop homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

Previously known as 3DCart, Shift4Shop is a fantastic online ecommerce builder with a wide variety of tools and functionality to offer. It has all the features you might need in an ecommerce platform, including inventory management, email and social media integrations, and a drag-and-drop interface for customizing your online store experience.

Shift4Shop is a powerful tool, with built-in security, comprehensive administrative control, and access to integrations with real-time shipping partners. You can create SEO optimized pages, and market your website online in a variety of different ways. There are also no hidden costs and contracts to worry about if you choose the free plan.

The Free Plan

Currently, the free plan for Shift4Shop is only available to retailers in the United States. It also requires you to make sales of $500 per month using the built-in payment processor offered by the service. If you don’t use Shift4Shop’s own payment methods, you will need to pay for one of the premium packages.

The free plan comes with all the functionality you’ll need from an online store, including the option to sell unlimited products, with unlimited variants. Plus, you can access product reviews, social media selling and more. However, you won’t be able to expand your store very far with this plan.

Pros 👍

  • Included tools for SEO and content marketing
  • Lots of payment processing options
  • Tons of customization options for your site
  • Excellent range of omnichannel sales tools
  • Shipping partners included

6. Weebly

weebly homepage - best fre ecommerce platform

Finally, Weebly is another great online store builder, specially designed for small business sellers. It comes with a host of ecommerce features, as well as tools for building your presence online, such as SEO and blogging capabilities. The tool is relatively straightforward, with a drag-and-drop builder for editing your ecommerce store, and solutions for selling physical and digital products.

The Weebly ecommerce website builder is brimming with custom fonts, video and audio hosting, image editing capabilities, site search and video backgrounds. You can also set up a host of payment gateways and accept transactions through tools like PayPal and Stripe. Web hosting is included, with an SSL certificate to protect the data of business owners.

The Free Plan

Notably, while you can launch your own storefront with unlimited bandwidth, multiple currencies, and built-in customer support with Weebly, you won’t be able to accept any transactions on the free plan. The free service is intended for basic personal use, rather than designing a comprehensive ecommerce site. If you want to leverage ecommerce software, you’ll need to upgrade.

Business owners and startups on the free plan can set up a free website, with access to a range of SEO and marketing tools. Plus, there’s virtually no learning curve thanks to Weebly’s ease-of-use and step-by-step instructions.

Pros 👍

  • Sell digital products and physical products
  • Easy to use for entrepreneurs
  • Email marketing and google analytics available
  • Lots of bandwidth for growing your site
  • Suitable for integration with marketplaces like Amazon

Choosing the Best Ecommerce Platform

As you can see, there are plenty of tools available to help you build a free ecommerce website today. However, it’s worth remembering that most of the solutions on the market will come with limitations to consider. If you choose an open-source ecommerce platform, or a WordPress plugin such as WooCommerce, you’ll need to pay for hosting and other services.

Additionally, while many tools will help you launch your online business, with POS integrations and other services, you may only be able to manage limited transactions if you’re unwilling to pay for a free plan. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing your ideal store builder.

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

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