Discover The Best Free Ecommerce Website Builder For Your Business
Online shopping has grown from being a novel concept to an industry segment worth trillions of dollars. Compared to where it stood in 2014, online sales have tripled to $4.2 trillion in 2020 and are forecast to rise to $6.5 trillion annually by 2023.
If you consider the sudden surge in online orders due to COVID-19, this milestone will likely be realized sooner than anticipated. According to a Salesforce study, almost 63% of customers clarified that they have adopted shopping online ever since the pandemic started. More than 58% of consumers indicated that they’d continue to purchase online even after the epidemic ends in the same survey.
Digital commerce has become a part of day-to-day lives, creating significant opportunities for retailers to advertise their products to larger audiences. With more and more people buying digitally, this is the right time to get on board.
While starting an online business might sound like a costly affair, you can get started with minimal investment, especially when constructing and customizing your shop. Thanks to the widespread availability of free online store builders, you can launch an ecommerce business affordably.
Top Recommended Online Store Creators For Free
We examined multiple platforms and evaluated each to build this comprehensive list of free ecommerce website builders.
If you’re seeking a simple and intuitive online store creator with a free version, your search ends with Wix. Here are some of the standout features that contribute to the platform’s outstanding outcomes:
- A simple drag-drop option provides you complete freedom in designing your website
- Wide range of template designs to select from as per your business needs
- Press CTRL+Z and instantly undo the option for any design or activity
- Simple process for changing texts, backgrounds, and images
- Quick selection and movement with the help of personalized image library
- Advanced customization with endless options for your site
For more insights, read our detailed Wix review.
Site123 is a straightforward website builder that offers a range of high-quality templates. It has almost 16 design categories covering niches like online stores, blogging, and portfolios. Notable features of this platform include:
- Hassle-free design is suitable for users with no technical or design skills
- 24/7 live chat assistance is available when designing your website
- Automatic site creation facility once you’re ready with the domain name and preferred industry
- Quick website development with a list of selective fonts and pre-paired colors
- Complete access to SEO Optimization settings
Check out our comprehensive review of Site123 for more details.
With many modern-looking and highly customizable templates, Webnode is another highly effective free online store website builder that you can use to create a fully-featured online shop. The platform’s built-in SEO functionality and value-added tools complement efficient site management. Here are the other useful characteristics that help this website provider stand out:
- Get access to a built-in website editor for straightforward development
- Site backup and recovery options available
- A domain name for one year without charge
- Fast loading, laidback restoring, and reliable hosting of previous templates or versions
- Personal email accounts available within your domain
Explore our detailed review of Webnode for more about its valuable attributes
You’ll be able to create personalized online stores within a few minutes using this platform. The interface is simple, and user guides are in place to help you design your website without the need for coding. It has a library of pre-designed templates covering various niches. Primary features of the platform include:
- Various customizable and trendy templates to design a quick and easy website
- Add multiple images, adjust colors, style the texts, and work on the size of the template easily
- Work on the information expediently through sections instead of pages
- Free payment gateways and product variations
Read the detailed review of Strikingly for more details.
WordPress is a hit among small and medium-sized businesses. It’s straightforward to create an online shop with full ecommerce functionality using the WooCommerce plugin. The drag-and-drop features and a library of feeless themes, plugins, and add-ons are other excellent benefits of this free website building platform. Primary features include:
- Integrate sharing options for delivering new posts on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook automatically
- Provides detailed statistics of the posts that are visited and read
- SEO tools and sitemaps that make blog publishing fun to do a thing
- Quick update of blogs and sites through iOS, desktops, Mac, Linux systems, Android, and Windows
- Drag and drop features for quick usage of videos, images, embedded audio files, pages, and posts
With WordPress, you’ll be able to benefit from built-in SEO plugins and blog pages.
Square offers a great selection of free and fully-customizable templates alongside a simple drag-drop editor that allows you to quickly change the position of logos, images, and other elements. If you need more themes, you can easily integrate them from 3dcart and BigCommerce.
Highlights of this platform are:
- Quick and easy-to-use set up for online websites
- Add buttons, charts, images, text, galleries, and even spacers with ease to your website
- Various third-party apps to upgrade your site
- Fully compatible with various social sites like Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
- Fantastic SEO and reporting tools
- Multiple third-party add-ons including Wufoo, AdSense, Etsy, and Zocdoc
For a detailed review of the platform, read our Square review.
With a focus on unique design styles and themes, Big Cartel allows you to seamlessly integrate third-party apps, social pages, and sales channels. Here are some features that make the platform the best for small businesses.
- A perfect platform for designing a free website for artistic products
- Zero platform transaction fees
- Exceptional sales and site features that add value to your money invested
- Flexibility in designing with a wide range of easy to use templates
- Best platform with advanced marketing tools for small stores handling a limited product inventory
Dive into our full review of Big Cartel for more details.
Ucraft comes with a wide range of exciting templates, free domain names, and SSL certificates. The platform is the best for business owners who need a brilliant site with outstanding images. You can find out how to build a landing page with free tools with this solution as well. Here are the other features that make this advanced builder a preferred choice:
- Best for businesses that need professional yet stylish websites
- Wide range of designs and themes with over 100 customizable layouts
- Advanced social integration, sales channels, SEO tools, and reporting tools for quick and effective marketing
- Complimentary built-in security and analytics suites
- Best ecommerce platform for business owners seeking mobile-responsive templates
- Easy language translation and analytics management makes the platform incredibly straightforward
Check out our review of Ucraft for more information.
The Best Free Ecommerce Website Templates
Most, but not all, online shop builders offer a good collection of free and editable CSS and HTML templates. You may not be able to customize every element to your exact liking, but these templates are well-designed and usually fit an online shop’s needs. If needed, you can also find creative commons and other open-source themes to use at no additional cost.
Shopify is one of the most-used ecommerce platforms across the globe. You’ll gain access to dozens of professionally designed and free templates, apps, add-ons, themes, and integrations. Some of the templates are paid and come in different variations. That said, both complimentary and paid themes allow for maximum customization options.
From SEO to advanced reporting, extensive ecommerce features, and cost-effective subscription plans, this platform does the heavy lifting while you can concentrate on scaling your online store. Even the basic plan comes with advanced features like imposing sales limits, listing many products with no limits, blogging, 100+ payment gateways, advanced marketing tools, sales channels, SSL encryption technology with HTTPS, 2FA, TLS, and much more.
If you’re looking to build an online store at the lowest possible cost, there isn’t a better option than WordPress. It has thousands of complimentary themes, templates, plugins, and extensions that make it extremely easy to design websites as per your brand needs. The WooCommerce extension also offers hundreds of pre-designed online store templates at no cost to top it all.
One of this platform’s standout features is that it allows you to build your site’s content, design, and functionality individually while allowing you to change any aspect without the need to alter everything else. Compared to template-based website builders like Shopify, WordPress is a better choice if you demand more customization.
WooCommerce is the number one ecommerce website builder that works seamlessly with WordPress. It’s free to use, but advanced themes and features carry extra charges. Since it supports WP themes, there isn’t any shortage of themes and templates to choose from.
Beyond thousands of plugins, apps, and add-ons available without charge, you can also opt for paid plugins that deliver expanded functionality. Although there are no fees associated with using the plugin, you’ll have to bear the domain, SSL certificate, and hosting costs.
Wix is an ideal solution for any business looking for a functional and beautiful site. It includes over 500+ free templates designed by professionals. All you need to do is drag-and-drop the elements and customize the theme as per your brand’s requirement.
Alongside the recent Editor X update, the platform has announced that users will gain access to various advanced tools, thus enhancing flexibility. The paid package from Wix offers additional benefits like personalized domain name, valued customer support, ad-free promotions, Google analytics, complimentary advertising vouchers, increased bandwidth and storage facilities, and shopping carts.
Ruling the website building arena since 2008, Magento claims to be the best ecommerce website builder for start-ups and developing businesses. While the platform doesn’t offer any custom templates, you can easily import them from third-party sites like ThemeForest and Colorlib.
Magento's open-source version makes it easy for developers to build and integrate applications with the platform. Additionally, you'll find thousands of apps in the Marketplace. Upgrading to the affordable paid package brings you attractive features like advanced payment, shipping and checkout facilities, catalog browsing, order management, customer account management, secure customer services, international support, mobile ecommerce, analytics, and reporting.
Free Software Vs. Free Trial - What’s Better To Start With?
Are you confused about whether to opt for free software or a trial version? The primary difference between the options is the time limit that accompanies product use.
A free trial implies that users can access a software platform or service’s features for a limited time. During this period, the business can easily set up the store, test it out, and determine whether the platform can deliver the necessary functionality to be a useful solution over the long-term.
On the other hand, free software means software or services are available with no time limits. Accordingly, users can access the software for the given product at all times without any limitations. The one major exception here is access to advanced features and tools that accompany paid versions.
If you’re looking forward to growth opportunities, choosing free software will help you scale your business without the need to invest a lot of money upfront. On the other hand, if you’re just getting started and evaluating different options, testing trial versions of various services can help you make the right decision based on your experience instead of word-of-mouth referrals.
Shortcomings Of Free Website Builders
Many business owners look for free website builders given their price point. However, these affordable options are generally absent valuable features that help the paid service tiers eclipse the free version’s value. Even if they’re available for no cost, they won’t match-up to their premium counterparts. Here are some of the shortcomings of the costless site solutions every user needs to know.
- Domain names - Most of the unpaid options don’t allow you to use a custom domain name. They’ll usually assign a complimentary URL which includes the name of their business
- A limited number of pages - A website design is generally limited to a certain number of pages, which isn’t suitable for many businesses
- Mobile optimization - Responsive and mobile-first website designs are essential given the increasingly frequent use of mobile-device traffic, and most no-fee ecommerce builders don’t include these feature
- Choice of templates - Many free site builders claim to provide a wide range of templates at no cost, but honestly speaking, the designs are limited. Business owners either need to select a theme from a few design choices or pay upfront for premium versions
- SEO - For higher ranking on Google, you need to have good content on your website and manage the site settings effectively, which is entirely possible with SEO optimization. Unfortunately, you often won’t be able to access these features with feeless website builders
When To Consider Going For A Paid Plan?
During this pandemic situation, when the small businesses are looking for additional expansion of their business and products, one should look for a paid plan. If you need access to more features and advanced customization, choosing a paid plan is the only option.
Upgrading to paid solutions is mandatory when you’re needing the following:
- A responsive website
- A blogging section or content marketing
- Intuitive navigation and easy reorganization of your website’s content
- SEO optimization with the help of breadcrumbs, metadata, and sitemaps that help search algorithms and crawlers to better index your site
- Reviews and testimonials to help attract more customers
- Extra security layers or payment gateways to your store
- More control over your website
- More uptime and bandwidth because your site is growing
Are you interested in a premium website builder? Compare pricing plans of top ecommerce builders.
Building a website these days is relatively easy. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to get your foot into the world of ecommerce, there’s no better way than getting started with feeless site builders.
Start by evaluating the list of free online store creators mentioned in this blog, testing out the features, and ensuring versions meet your business goals before selecting the option matches your needs best.