Having a powerful online store today is a matter of surviving in a highly competitive environment of sales, where everyone is trying to commercialize own actions and products through shop, blog, showing advertising and so on. In order to equip you with a few powerful solutions, which are ready to boost you up, we’re observing 6 free site builders filled with the most strengths from all available on the market. They all support PayPal and Stripe (a gateway to allow accept payments by bank cards – debit and credit ones). Some go further and offer Amazon and ApplePay gateways.
Despite that Big Cartel is trying to look the same powerfully as Shopify (and so it thinks this circumstance authorizes it to set similar e-commerce plans’ pricing), it largely lags behind Shopify in everything: free e-commerce store features, support and help quality (it’s simply awful here), flexibility of designs of its templates, and the general ease of use. This tool is for tiny small businesses, which are totally happy to stay where they are, without thoughts of evolution.
On our list, it is the only free e-commerce web builder, which allows the free usage of its powers (even though they are too scarce compared to the rest of free web makers).
Its pricing is relatively low compared to the others starting with $9.99 a month, continuing through $19.99 and ending with $29.99 a month.
It is easy to build a free site thanks to tips in the free visual builder, which improves and speeds up the working process.
From the list of convenient payments, which can be freely used in (almost) all countries of the world, it only has Stripe.
In every plan, it limits the number of products one can set up and sell and the number of images per 1 product.
It won’t allow you to sell digital products (thus, cutting you off from the billionth market).
It does not have Amazon, ApplePay or Google Pay.
Its features are truly poor when you compare them to market leaders – Shopify, BigCommerce or Squarespace.
It’s the hardest platform on our list to make a free site.
Its themes could have been significantly better – in this case, users wouldn’t have to dig into the HTML and CSS code of it (a possibility of which this free e-commerce website builder advertises as an advantage).
It’s in the top 5 of the most popular free e-commerce sites builders. It has an excellent support service, great help and FAQ, nice flexibility of template designs, versatility, and high ease of use. But it is very demanding to the speed of your Internet and the power of your PC you’re creating e-commerce websites at. Sales features are advertised as powerful ones but their power, in fact, is so-so. In e-commerce, it has three subscription plans: for €17, €25, and €35 a month.
A powerful PC and mobile editor, which enables you to change aspects of your free site on the go.
Add videos to your products (however, in every other free site builder, it is possible to add a free link to YouTube’s video of your product), so this is not a powerful advantage.
You can attach sales of supplementary products to the main one (but you will have to make those connections manually first).
Though it is possible to connect to social media, you can’t actually sell through them unless you’re giving the direct link to your shop in the social network from the site.
Multiple channels of sales are closed for you, like the connection to Amazon or eBay.
Even in the most powerful subscription plan, you can’t manage an abandoned cart.
Inventory managing is hard and can’t be done as super simple yet effective as in Shopify free site builder.
Currently, it is an undeniable leader on the marker of free e-commerce website builders. It offers relatively high pricing for its three existing subscription plans: 29, 79, and 299 dollars a month. It won’t limit you in the number of products or the gained yearly income, which shoots it automatically to the pedestal of shining number-one place in the area of e-commerce.
Extremely powerful online store with a significant number of features, apps, services, and payment channels to be tied.
No silly limitations as it may be in other free site builders.
It is mobile-friendly by default.
POS and PINs functions, including third-party ones.
A large number of sales channels.
Support will last for you every minute of every day (24/7).
Great templates with significant power of changes to personify them to your needs and sales strategies.
The best inventory system we’ve ever seen and touched.
It is possible to integrate your sales into every popular available sales channel (social media, for instance).
Rather high commissions for handling financial transactions: starting with 2.4% from the amount to 2.9% + ¢30. But if you don’t want to use the Shopify’s inner payment processing center and opt for a third party payment provider, then your commission rises even further and adds from +0.5% to +2% for each transaction, making it in total from 2.9% to 4.9% + ¢30. So it is up to your consideration whether you’re willing to give around 5% to Shopify just to process your payments or maybe you will opt to some web making studio to make you a website (for tens of thousands of dollars as a single payment) but you will never pay any commissions.
You will pay for usage of the paid integrated apps – a powerful online store needs powerful apps to be integrated, not all of which are free of charge.
You better don’t switch themes after you will have adjusted everything – as you will have to start from disappointing zero in your personification.
This free e-commerce website builder gives you okay ease of use, customer support & help, as well as adjustability of the designs. It possesses over-the-average features to offer you and is a generally good value for money if you don’t plan to grow and its yearly sales amount limitations aren’t frightening you.
Facebook and Instagram can be connected to your sales process.
SEO is beyond the average.
It is powerful in features almost the same as Shopify.
The same as Shopify, it takes commissions for sales of your products.
This free e-commerce website builder greatly limits you in a number of money you can sell at through your e-commerce website (from 50 to 400 thousand dollars a year).
You’re too limited and bound unless you’re opting for the highest-cost plan but even then, you won’t get some exceptional features unless you’re getting into the ‘Custom’ plan, which this free e-commerce website builder can elaborate specifically under your needs.
When you’re subscribing for a year, their ‘Standard’ plan won’t be discounted in price, staying for you the same high as 30 bucks a month.
Editing is hard – you will definitely have to spend more time mastering it than other free e-commerce website builders from our list. The same you will have to get used to its way-too-hard terminology.
There is no mobile application.
It has two plans for e-commerce and both of them are significantly cheaper than the ones by Shopify and BigCommerce. Its cheapest e-commerce website plan for $26 if paid annually (and $30 if paid monthly) is lower than the one of Shopify and BigCommerce e-commerce website free builders. And the costliest one for $40 ($46) is lower than their middle one, not speaking about 5…7.5 times lower price of the maximal plan of Squarespace when comparing to the most expensive price of the mentioned two.
The annual price becomes even lower when you’re applying a discount code – you can google it on your own.
Bulk processing system.
It gives a high quality in design, no matter if you’re opting for an e-commerce website or any other type of it.
It is frankly easy to use.
It obtains a wonderful inventory system, which is as easy as a piece of art and perfectly comparable to the one of Shopify.
No transaction fees – raise your sales business up to any extent you desire.
There is no limit in the number of products to sell or the annual threshold of possible income.
They should embed more payment options into the interface – only Xero integration is smoothly possible, which is not too popular payment and accounting gateway.
There is no free custom domain given – buy it for the additional cost.
If Squarespace is like Apple then Volusion is like Android. If you love data and its analysis – Volusion free e-commerce website builder is your solution. Things here are rougher than in Squarespace and it’s not as keen on the design as another. It is the poorest choice on our list (taking the last position from 6) because of not understandable limits – with the highest pricing and a limited number of products in 66% of its tariff plans they still limit you to annual sales! Really?
You will be excited by loads of payment methods, which are offered to you in this free e-commerce website builder.
Analytics is at a very high level – if you love numbers, tables, and grids – that’s your choice.
Availability of a mobile app – don’t let yourself get bored when you’re away from the PC, as you can be in touch with an app on your phone.
Limits the number of sold items of merchandise.
Limits amount of money from annual sales.
This free e-commerce website builder does not give you the best type of support in any non-custom plan.
Impossibility of selling digital products.
You can’t create a blog in this free builder – if you really need to do so – do it elsewhere and attach through the code injection.
With the highest pricing on the market (the same as Shopify), they won’t give you a free SSL certificate, so all your sales efforts come in vain if you’re not buying one for the additional money.
Shopify – for its biggest power, specific tuning to sales to make them efficient and effective within each of its plans. This is definitely the best free e-commerce website builder.
Squarespace is number 2 because it does not have transaction fees and offers many apps and features from the Shopify’s list for significantly lower pricing.
BigCommerce – somewhat inferior to Shopify in strengths but has better pricing (but limits you in sales amount per year).
Wix is cheap and solid but limits you in storage (20-50 Gb) and is not that powerful as the previous three.
Big Cartel – from the entire list, it’s the only free e-commerce website builder with a free plan but even its paid subscriptions largely limit you in the number of products one can sell. But hey, what did you want from an e-commerce website for 10-20-30 dollars a month?
The pricing of Volution is the same high as Shopify but it limits you in sales and doesn’t make possible to sell digital products.
All free e-commerce platforms are tuned to make it possible to make a web store – at least ones from our list (as not all website builders grant a possibility to build an e-commerce site for free). But in order to sell, you will have to pay to some of them (with or without a commission for sales – this will depend on your subscription plan) and to buy SSL additionally maybe.
You can safely use all 6 from our list in this article as a platform for your e-commerce. But the best today (from all) is Shopify thanks to the great vastness of templates, marvelous apps, and widgets to integrate, power of sales processes, reporting, inventory, and finances.
We’re not considering here Godaddy with its Artificial Intelligence, which helps you build a store in minutes. Apart from it, you can spend from hours to days, depending on the number of items of merchandise you want to sell and the free e-commerce website builder’s interface strength. Shopify and Wix are simpler, BigCommerce is more tangled.
Don’t count on that too much. In paid subscription plans, free e-commerce website builders don’t tend to give its users nice SEO conditions. Some SEO opportunities may come as a separate tool, which becomes available when paid. Most likely, you will have a possibility to add title and description meta tags in a free plan, not more. Non-custom domains, non-optimized URLs and heavy weight of the page are other restrictors to be Googled well.
You will miss a lot of things you could have in a paid account:
A nice domain name (which is also not good for SEO, not only for the trust of your customers). Are there many people willing to pay money to buy from a store located under the unprofessional name like ‘mywebstore.somefreehostingfornomoney.com’? This name won’t cause the trust to do financial payments, the quality of goods received from it, the support or money back. There’s no guarantee you won’t change the name tomorrow, right? Or the day after tomorrow – leaving your consumers with paid but undelivered goods.
Your site will be interspersed with free e-commerce website builder’s commercials, which won’t advertise you but will only take away your marketing space (and from your image).
In free e-commerce websites, you will have a shrunken list of features to use, a number of goods to sell, apps to integrate, big transaction commissions, and not too well templates.
One of the most essential things for web stores is a secured payment system called SSL. Some free builders won’t provide it to you in free plans (and some free e-commerce website builders will give it only for additional money, no matter how much you pay for the subscription plan, which is a pity for those who loves to economize).
A free site maker will not run as powerfully as paid one. The only exception is the free plan during the trial period – but free one only lasts for 14 days (and there’s a possibility that not all its features will be unearthed during a free try-and-buy term).