With so many different free ecommerce platforms available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want something that provides businesses, especially small startups and individual entrepreneurs, with a cost-effective way to set up and run online stores—but now need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post, I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of ecommerce platforms with small teams and companies, with my picks of the best free ecommerce platforms overall.
What Is A Free Ecommerce Platform?
A free ecommerce platform is a software solution that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage an online store without any initial cost. These platforms typically offer basic features for setting up a website, listing products, processing orders, and handling basic customer interactions.
While they may have limitations in terms of customization, scalability, and advanced functionalities compared to paid versions, free ecommerce platforms are ideal for small businesses, startups, or individuals looking to venture into online retail with minimal financial investment.
Ecwid is a super easy to use, free ecommerce platform with instant site-building boasting over 70 different website templates to choose from. On the free plan, you have the ability to add a store to any website as well as to sell simultaneously on multiple sites.
Why I Picked Ecwid: You can connect directly to popular social media advertising suites for promotions and marketing; although actual selling through Instagram and Facebook is limited to paid plan subscribers only. For website hosting options, Ecwid works on WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Blogger, and Tumblr. You can also connect it to Facebook Pixel and/or Apple Pay (via Stripe) for additional functionality. Additional integrations unlock with a paid plan. It comes with a mobile responsive shopping cart so customers can shop from their phones.
Ecwid Standout Features and Integrations
Features that make them worthy of a place on this list include omnichannel selling across every platform you can imagine (Facebook, Google, Amazon, ShopApp) and 50+ marketing app integrations like Google Tag Manager, Intercom, and HelpfulCrowd. One thing to be mindful of is that many of their integrations cost extra. However, you may save those costs in shipping fees, as Ecwid offers group Discount Shipping Labels for USPS.
Integrations are extensive and include Intercom, Pinterest, Printful, SUP Dropshipping, Google Shopping, Affiliately, EasyAds, Outfy, Popconverts, and TaxJar. Many others are available by connecting a paid Zapier account.
What's Free: Ecwid is free to use for 10 products and a website store (no social media).
- Multichannel selling support
- Supports 130 currencies
- 50+ marketing app integrations
- Lean SEO and marketing features
- Limited analytics tools
Square Online is the product of the payment processing giant Square, which also offers a (paid!) mobile-ready POS service. The product’s free version lets you do a lot of things you need to get your feet off the ground as an ecommerce business. It lets you sync inventory from all other channels and accept payment using the Square POS solution (for a cost) or other payment processing methods.
Why I Picked Square: The product dashboard is clear and precise with no unnecessary clutter. It lets you track product sales, customer journeys, and abandoned cart recovery. In terms of customization, the product feels limited. Square Online integrates with WooCommerce, Magento, WordPress, BigCommerce, and Shopify. Support is available via phone, email, and live chat. The knowledge base also covers a vast aspect of problems with over 180 articles.
Square Standout Features and Integrations
Features worth noting include a suite of marketing and analytics tools, such as email marketing campaigns and sales reports, that can help businesses drive traffic and sales to their online store. Square Online also offers a range of shipping and fulfillment options, including integrations with popular carriers like USPS and FedEx. This allows businesses to easily manage their shipping processes and provide real-time shipping rates to their customers.
Integrations include Acuity Scheduling, Craftable, Deliverect, Endear, GoDaddy, LinkTree, MailChimp, Prizeout, Thrive Inventory, Wix, WooCommerce, and others.
What's Free: Square Online’s free forever plan lets you start your project with an option to upgrade to the paid plan at $16/month for additional features. Square POS will charge you per transaction but you are not obligated to use their system for payment processing.
- Responsive customer suppor
- Omnichannel sales capabilities
- Integrates with other Square tools
- Transaction fees per sale
- Limited design customization
NopCommerce is a beginner-friendly, open-source ecommerce platform that is based on ASP.NET. The product can be hosted with the user’s web hosting service or a product partner of NopCommerce. In terms of inventory management, the product has abandoned cart recovery, product catalog, and listings.
Why I Picked NopCommerce: NopCommerce is a feature-rich and customizable ecommerce platform that stands out for its robust functionality and flexibility. It offers a comprehensive set of tools for managing products, inventory, and customer data, along with powerful marketing and promotional capabilities. The platform also supports multiple payment gateways and shipping providers, ensuring smooth transactions and efficient order fulfillment. NopCommerce is an open-source solution, which means it benefits from an active community of developers who contribute plugins, themes, and extensions to enhance its functionality.
NopCommerce Standout Features & Integrations
Features include multi-store capabilities, allowing businesses to manage multiple online stores from a single admin panel. This is particularly beneficial for businesses operating multiple brands or catering to different markets, as it streamlines the management process and reduces complexity. NopCommerce also has a built-in blogging engine, enabling businesses to create and manage a content-rich blog alongside their ecommerce store.
Integrations include Cart Discount, Wish List, Paypal, Venmo, Ecomail, and other options like iOS and Android apps and access to their Web API that charge a one-time fee to use.
What's Free: NopCommerce is free to download either with or without the source code.
- Great customer support
- Active developer support community
- 100% open source solution
- Admin settings hard to navigate
- Few free templates
PrestaShop enables startups to test their MVP with a fully-functional online store for free. The product allows you to edit the software according to your custom needs. It covers all basics like customizing the store, processing payments, managing the store, and more. It is a great fit for small businesses looking to get into ecommerce.
Why I Picked PrestaShop: PrestaShop is a powerful and versatile ecommerce platform. One of its key strengths lies in its flexibility and customization options. PrestaShop provides a modular architecture that allows users to tailor their online store to their specific needs, from product management and catalog customization to shipping and payment options. It also offers a wide range of responsive and visually appealing themes to create a professional-looking storefront. Additionally, it supports multiple languages, currencies, and international shipping, making it ideal for businesses targeting a global audience.
PrestaShop Standout Features and Integrations
Features include a comprehensive multi-store management system, allowing businesses to operate and manage multiple online stores from a single backend interface. This feature is particularly advantageous for enterprises with diverse product lines or international operations. PrestaShop also has a robust and active community of developers and users who contribute to its extensive marketplace of modules and themes.
Integrations include HubSpot, QuickBooks, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Xero, and many more. Additional integrations are also available by connecting a paid Zapier account.
What's Free: PrestaShop is completely free to download and use.
- Wide range of modules and themes
- Open source platform
- Modular architecture
- Lean official documentation
- Technical expertise required
OpenCart is a free, open-source platform for your ecommerce business with a marketplace of 13 000+ additional extensions (some free and some paid). This tool lets you manage multiple store locations through one interface with the ability to customize each site and pricing schema. You can upload product images and tag variants, whether it’s according to size, color, or other differentiating indicators.
Why I Picked OpenCart: OpenCart is a great ecommerce platform to use due to its combination of user-friendly features, scalability, and flexibility. It offers a straightforward setup process and an intuitive admin interface, making it accessible for beginners while still providing advanced customization options for experienced users. OpenCart provides a wide range of extensions and themes to enhance the functionality and design of online stores, allowing businesses to tailor their ecommerce site to their specific needs. Additionally, it supports multi-store functionality, enabling businesses to manage multiple stores from a centralized admin panel.
OpenCart Standout Features and Integrations
Features include a straightforward and lightweight architecture, making it a fast and efficient e-commerce platform. Its streamlined design ensures quick loading times and optimal performance, contributing to a smooth and responsive user experience. Secondly, OpenCart provides a robust multi-store functionality, allowing businesses to manage multiple stores from a single admin interface.
Integrations are available through the extensions marketplace and include WordPress, Mailchimp, Zoho, and Zendesk.
What's Free: OpenCart is free to use and open source.
- Multiple payment gateways
- Easy to add modules
- Mobile/tablet responsive
- Confusing admin interface
- No screening for what's added to the apps marketplace
Magento, now Adobe Commerce, is an open-source ecommerce platform from Adobe. It comes with features like catalog management, integrated checkout, shipping, payment, site search, and other important features needed to take your ecommerce business off the ground. Magento also gives you the ability to create multilingual sites.
Why I Picked Adobe Commerce: The Adobe Commerce open source edition can handle all of your ecommerce basics and you can level up to their (paid) commercial plan if you ever find yourself needing to scale quickly. One downside of the app is that the more customizations/add-ons you implement, the slower your site tends to run. For a free ecommerce platform, that’s not a dealbreaker—just keep your extensions lean!
Adobe Commerce Standout Features & Integrations
Features worth checking out include is its capability to handle multi-brand companies with diverse product catalogs, even when catering to vastly different audiences such as B2B and B2C. This flexibility allows businesses to efficiently manage and showcase their offerings to various target markets. Another standout feature is the built-in PWA Studio, which empowers users to create and launch progressive web apps for their online stores. With PWA Studio, businesses are guided through the process of building selling apps that prioritize performance optimization and responsive design.
Integrations include over 3,700 paid and free options, like EasyShip, eDesk, Facebook Business, Google Shopping, LiveHelp, Stripe, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, SendCloud, and Stripe.
What's Free: Adobe Commerce open source is free to use with some feature limitations compared to their commercial plan.
- Integration with Adobe's DXP tools
- Extensive customization options
- Can handle extensive catalogs
- Steep learning curve
- Higher cost than many
CubeCart is a free ecommerce script with a full list of features to sell online with ease. Its open-source software license comes with unlimited orders, products, and categories. The ecommerce script also has features like coupons, gift certificates, gift cards, quick shipping, and quotes.
Why I Picked CubeCart: CubeCart comes with bulk product price updates, bulk product category management, catalog search with advanced search, stock control on product options with SKUs, and other nuanced features needed for efficient product management. Cube Cart works out of the box with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, LiveChat, Smarttarget, and other similar apps.
CubeCart Standout Features & Integrations
Features include built-in support for digital product sales, allowing businesses to sell downloadable files or virtual products effortlessly. This feature is particularly beneficial for businesses that offer software, e-books, or other digital goods, as CubeCart handles the delivery and security of these products.
Integrations include PayPal, Stripe, SagePay, 2Checkout, Adyen, BitcoinZ, Epay, Square, Stripe, AddShoppers, Age Verification, Back in Stock Notification, and BPOINT. Some integrations may incur additional costs.
What's Free: CubeCart is free to use and open source, except if you go for its cubecart store product. Professional technical support costs money but you can get around this using their community forums and knowledge base.
- Tons of payment gateway integrations
- Easy to use and intuitive
- Many free out-of-the-box features
- Free templates could be nicer
- Much community support is outdated
WooCommerce is a fully customizable ecommerce platform that’s built-in WordPress. It offers product listing, catalog management, and configurable shipping options. Since it’s completely open-source, there are no limits to your bandwidth. You can add unlimited products and take unlimited users.
Why I Picked WooCommerce: WooCommerce works out of the box with different payment gateways and payment methods like Stripe, PayPal, and ShipStation. This gives customers the option to buy from you using their debit or credit card. Support is available via extensive step guide documentation. One catch is that it does not provide hosting on its own—you will have to choose from a free or paid WordPress plan.
WooCommerce Standout Features and Integrations
Features that make WooCommerce worthy of consideration include event-based marketing, like automatic abandoned cart recovery notifications and customized communications around birthdays, holidays, or membership anniversaries. They also have rewards and incentive programs that you can choose from to build VIP lists or affiliate opportunities. WooCommerce also boasts a large and active community of developers and users, which means there are a lot of resources, plugins, and themes available to enhance the platform's functionality and design.
Integrations include Affirm Payments, Amazon Pay, Facebook, GoCardless, Google Analytics, PayPal, ShipStation, Stamps.com, Stripe, and other tools you already use.
What's Free: WooCommerce is completely free to use with a WordPress.com domain name. A non-WP URL will cost you extra (through WordPress, not WooCommerce).
- Open source and extensibility
- Integrates with existing WordPress
- Vast extension, plug-in library
- Does not provide hosting
- Requires WordPress site
IM Creator offers highly professional and sleek-looking templates supported by a building block-based interface. It offers a seamless process of choosing a design, customizing it according to your brand aesthetics, connecting to a domain, and publishing it. It comes with automatic text resizing (look, mom, no hands!), free custom email solution, and more. The templates provide you with sleek UX which can be great for SEO.
Why I Picked IM Creator: IM Creator has both selling and inventory management options. In terms of inventory management, it has cataloging, data import/export, and order management. In terms of support, there is a knowledge base and documentation to get your queries answered. IM Creator integrates with Mailchimp, Paypal, and other common ecommerce operations software. Overall, this can be a good upgrade from your existing website if you focus on ecommerce operations.
IM Creator Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a strong emphasis on visual design and creative freedom. With its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and customizable templates, users can easily create visually stunning and unique online stores without the need for coding skills. Plus, IM Creator integrates ecommerce functionality seamlessly with its website builder, providing a cohesive experience. Users can add an online store section to their website effortlessly.
Integrations include Mailchimp and Paypal.
What's Free: IM Creator is free to use for students, artists, and nonprofits. Apply on their site to see if you qualify.
- Excellent and easy web design
- Inventory management included
- Offers templates by business type
- Only free for certain entities
- Few integrations available
Zendrop connects online merchants and dropshippers with reliable suppliers. Use this to filter out unreliable suppliers in platforms like AliExpress that burden merchants with long shipping times and nonexistent customer support.
Why I Picked Zendrop: Zendrop promises fast and trackable shipping as well as custom branding on packages based on your brand aesthetics. The product enables auto-fulfillment of orders. The US fulfillment allows ordering in bulk and fulfillment of physical products via US warehouses. This cuts down shipping time by 2-5 days. Ecommerce analytics can be studied via a real-time reporting dashboard. Support is available via live chat and email.
Zendrop Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a range of additional services to support businesses, such as private labeling and customized packaging options. This allows businesses to create a unique and branded experience for their customers, enhancing their brand identity and customer satisfaction. They have features and connections to facilitate dropshipping services, as well. This is unique as not a lot of ecommerce platforms have this baked in from the get-go.
Integrations include Shopify, WooCommerce, and CommerceHQ.
What's Free: Zendrop is free forever. Certain advanced functionality is limited to their paid plan.
- Dropshipping capable
- Quick order processing
- Excellent customer support
- Few integrations available
- Additional cost for express shipping
Best for multi-carrier shipping API
Best ecommerce website builder with free ecommerce design templates
Best free website builder for ecommerce templates
Best ecommerce platform for fast setup
Best for high number of products (up to 1000)
Best multi-channel retail ecommerce software
Smartstore Community Edition
Best .NET open source ecommerce platform for scalability
Best ecommerce shipping platform for European market
Best open source ecommerce platform with cloud hosting services
Best free B2B ecommerce solution
Best open source ecommerce platform for feature updates
Best online store for artists
Best dedicated ecommerce shipping solution
Best PHP & MySQL compatibility
Best cloud shipping software for global shipments
How I Picked The Best Free Ecommerce Platforms
I evaluated and compared the most popular ecommerce platforms and website builders on the market, both for their reviews and user interface. Then I weighed factors that make software a good option as a free tool, such as the ones that follow.
Key features for ecommerce software (free or otherwise) include:
- Product Management: The ability to easily add, edit, and organize products, including details like descriptions, images, pricing, and variations.
- Shopping Cart and Checkout: A user-friendly shopping cart system that allows customers to add items, view cart contents, and proceed to a secure and seamless checkout process, including various payment options and order tracking.
- Payment Integration: Seamless integration with popular payment gateways to accept credit card payments, digital wallets, and other forms of online payments securely.
- Order Management: Tools to efficiently manage and process orders, including order tracking, shipping integration, invoicing, and customer notifications.
- Inventory Management: Features to track and manage inventory levels, monitor stock availability, and receive notifications for low stock or out-of-stock items.
- Security and Data Protection: Built-in security measures to protect customer data, secure transactions, and ensure compliance with privacy regulations.
- Mobile-Friendly and Responsive Design: The ability to create a responsive and mobile-friendly storefront that offers a consistent and optimized shopping experience across devices.
- SEO and Marketing Tools: Built-in SEO features and marketing tools, such as customizable meta tags, search engine optimization tools, promotional campaigns, discount codes, and integration with email marketing services.
- Analytics and Reporting: Comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities to track sales, customer behavior, conversion rates, and other key performance indicators to make informed business decisions.
- Scalability and Customization: The ability to scale the platform to accommodate growing businesses, with options for customization and integration with third-party applications, plugins, and extensions to extend functionality.
User Interface (UI)
Difficult to find in free software, I know. However, the user interface should be friendly enough to access information easily. The last thing you want in this software is a cluttered interface that confuses you and makes tracking your transaction fee details hard.
Is it easy to learn and master? In this criterion, I look for how easy it is to navigate the tool. This is heavily influenced by the available knowledge on the ecommerce store of your choosing. Therefore, I look at available support documentation, knowledge databases, and training videos.
Is it easy to connect with other tools? I look at the ways in which the tool expands its functionality. Therefore, I tell you about pre-built integrations, connecting with other apps through third-party software, and ways in which you can build custom integrations.
What is ecommerce?
How do I create a free ecommerce website?
What's the easiest ecommerce platform to use?
Other Software Reviews
Here are some software review lists that are similar to this one that you might want to check out. I've broken it down into other ecommerce platforms and other free software. Take your time when deciding what you need. This can prevent having to worry about replatforming later.
Other Ecommerce Software
- Headless Ecommerce Platforms
- Easiest Ecommerce Platforms
- Omnichannel Commerce Platforms
- Enterprise Ecommerce Platforms
- Free Ecommerce Platforms
- Open Source Ecommerce Platforms
- B2B Ecommerce Platforms
- Ecommerce Marketplace Platforms
- Cheap Ecommerce Platforms
- SaaS Ecommerce Platforms
- International Ecommerce Platforms
- Ecommerce Platforms In Canada
Other Free Software
These were my top picks for free ecommerce platforms. I would encourage you to continue reading on the topic, as we have many interesting articles in this space. For example, you can learn how a lunch tray can explain headless ecommerce, and what is an ecommerce CRM as opposed to a traditional one.
If you liked the article, I would really appreciate it if you can give it a share on social media. I assure you, your network will see you as the new ecommerce superman (talk about patting myself on the back!)
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