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What Are the Best Free Ecommerce Platforms?
This is not a simple answer. The answer to this question is as much about what you are trying to accomplish with your ecommerce platform as it is about choosing one that offers the most value for its related features.
Some questions that you should ask yourself when considering which ecommerce platform is right for you:
- How much creative control do you want?
- How much web development experience do you have?
- Would you rather pay a fee to have convenient features available to you?
- Are you interested in self-hosting?
Paid options will usually have stronger offerings than open-source ones, and you will lose some simplicity, maintenance and security, and dedicated support in exchange for the flexibility of choosing an open-source option.
Overall, you will save money with a paid option rather than a free one, 9 times out of 10.
You know that you need to change something about the way that you are doing business, but what? Your quality product should be selling itself, and yet that isn’t what is happening. What is going wrong?
If you run an ecommerce business, you know that being able to capture sales quickly and readily is the difference between being profitable and losing money. The platform that you are utilizing for your ecommerce sales can make or break your business. Picking the right best ecommerce platforms for small businesses matters!
It is estimated that in 2022 the web will surpass 2.14 billion global digital buyers. This is a huge number of the 7.87 billion people in the global population. This number is rapidly rising, and it is expected to continue to do so in the future. That is a ton of potential customers and a ton of potential sales that you need to figure out how to nab for your company and your products.
Many people who start an ecommerce business want to think of this kind of business as a brick-and-mortar entity. This is not the correct way of thinking about ecommerce sales, and such an outlook will completely block your ability to make sales and scale your company. To break you out of this mindset, we need to discuss the kinds of ecommerce sites and then we can get into the nitty-gritty of which are the best ecommerce platforms in 2022.
The Best Ecommerce Platforms of 2022
The best Ecommerce platforms for 2022 offer a mix of benefits and features, making it easy to scale your business and net those sales that you have been missing. Make a list of all of the features that you must have for your ecommerce business to grow and become profitable, and then check out this list of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses in 2022.
Best Drag-and-Drop Ecommerce Website Builder
Squarespace is a great all-around platform. It is as no-nonsense as its log-in page and it offers some of the most intuitive drag-and-drop platform designs out there. This is a great choice if you are not tech-savvy in this space.
- Drag-and-Drop Templates
- Free Designs and templates
- Great for simple Ecommerce related to bloggers
- Shipping rates are good
- Links with 3PLS well
This is not a rockstar platform if you do most of your business through ecommerce, but it can be a really great fit for the first-time ecommerce business owner or a blogger who is looking to increase their ease of sales.
The templates are really second-to-none and the ease of customization that is offered within each template is really great. If you are wanting to build a totally custom site, this is not the platform for you, but it can be a great fit for casual users.
This is an affordable platform and you can scale up some if you need to. There is less bang for your buck here, but the real value with Squarespace is in the ease of use and the beginner safety net that it offers.
Best for Simple Small Business
Weebly is a great option for those who want to start out free and then progress to a paid monthly service. Just like Squarespace, this is a drag-and-drop design platform and it can be a great bridge for a small business owner who wants more flexibility than with Squarespace but not too much techy stuff to deal with.
- Drag-and-Drop templates
- Huge Market Share
- Marketing Automation built-in
- Lots of product options
Weebly is not a huge presence like Shopify, but it can pair really well with your small business without being a huge time-suck for you to have to learn to use. It is intuitive and offers up really great inventory tracking and buying behavior features that are very useful to small business owners.
You can also manage email services here, which will save you time and money. Track hundreds of products in your inventory and work on custom stock features to help you stay on track. This is a great free-to-paid platform that will work well for many small business needs.
Weebly is an affordable option for a new business to use and even the Performance level plan is very affordable.
Best for Bloggers and Creators
This is one of the simpler platforms on our list, but it is a great and robust option for those who have been finding buyers through blogging or creative sales sites. You can sell digital products, physical items, and even subscriptions through Sellfy.
- Great for Digital Sales
- Uses Zapier to connect to 1,000 third party apps
- User-friendly dashboard and great buy buttons
- Even links well to YouTube
Sellfy is really a great option if you don’t want to install multiple apps into your ecommerce site. You can use Sellfy to offer discount codes, upsell features, advertise sales, and for email marketing.
This is a really great option if you want a cloud-based solution to your needs, making it easy for you to access Sellfy from various devices such as PCs, laptops, and devices like tablets.
For those selling on social media or blog sites, it would be inconvenient to have to manage an entirely different ecommerce site, and Sellfy lets you roll everything into one neat package. Insert physical goods, buy buttons, and social media links with ease.
Sellfy is affordable and offers no-nonsense pricing that doesn’t come with any surprises. This is nice if you are not interested in adding each feature to your site by hand. They are also a great value at all three tiers, making them perfect for scaling.
Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Business Sites
3dcart is a surprisingly nimble and authoritative platform for small businesses. You can start out with the lower price plan and still get really good 24/7 tech support and lots of robust features. Their 50 free themes are actually really good as well and you will like the built-in blog feature.
- 100+ payment processors
- Robust SEO
- 50 free themes
- API Access
- Domain Registration
- No transaction fees
This is the perfect platform to get your small business on the way to scaling quickly. The user experience has a small learning curve, but you can access the Pro Store plan for a small added monthly fee as you grow. There is really no downside here, with no transaction fees and unlimited bandwidth.
This platform makes a great case for itself with its built-in blog feature and a Facebook store as well. This makes it a really good fit if you have been selling through Facebook, or a blog, and are ready to take the next step.
Pricing is beyond reasonable, starting at $19/month and scaling only slightly to the higher-level plan. Most of the features of 3dcart are available at the first tier, so you may not even need to pay for the next tier for some time.
New Ecommerce Platform Best for Multi-Channel Sales
Zyro is a new player in the ecommerce platform world but has already shown that it has chops for multi-channel sales. This is a great solution for order and inventory management and Zyro offers really good pricing plans as well.
- Sell across multiple channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon
- Easy to use
- Order and inventory management
- 50+ payment options
- Commission-free sales
- Free hosting
This is an easy-to-use platform that will get you up and running before you know it. They are superior to many other options at their pricing level and the ability to sell across channels is really great. The free hosting is also a nice feature that can really save you some money.
They are still developing themes, but the ones that are already available are quite good. Adding to your free membership gets you the multi-channel sales and multilingual stores options as well as the very helpful abandoned cart recovery feature.
This platform is a great way to move your sales management into a single place and still sell across multiple channels.
Start out with a free plan to be sure they are going to suit your needs and then upgrade if you want. They are affordable at most levels and you will likely get more than you think for your money.
Best Platform For Dropshipping, Including Print on Demand
This is the most familiar and one of the most widely-used ecommerce platforms for good reason. 400,000 merchants worldwide use Shopify and the Canadian company has grown to be one of the biggest SaaS companies in North America.
- Great Dropshipping
- Great Templates
- Tiered pricing
- Unlimited Products, discount codes, and inventory management
- 24/7 Support
- Free SSL
- Great buy buttons
This is a great platform if you intend to use dropshipping and setting up a dropshipping store with Shopify is not at all hard. There are unlimited products included with your membership and you get discount codes and access to free SSL certificates. If you have a wide range of inventory to service, Shopify is a great fit for your needs as well. They are one of the best platforms for the management of a large inventory list.
Memberships start at $29/month, making this a great value for those who are just starting out in the ecommerce world with plans to grow their business. As you can see, Advanced Shopify even lets you run 2+ stores through the platform!
Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses
Being able to optimize your store to get more hits is often the difference between making money and not making money for an ecommerce store. If you are not an SEO expert, Wix SEO Wiz can help you a ton to get your ecommerce site notice.
- Hundreds of Templates
- Dropshipping and Fulfillments
- Gift Cards and Promotions
- Wix SEO Wiz
- Tiered pricing
You can have Wix take care of your dropshipping needs and fulfillment, and there is a great online payment plug-in as well. Wix also customizes your website needs when you first set up your account through the clever use of a questionnaire. This helps get you hooked up with the right plugins and templates from the start.
Choose from hundreds of designer-made templates, and run promotions. You can also offer gift cards on your site. There are so many options here that you would be hard-pressed not to be able to design the site that you have dreamed of.
There are many pricing features to take advantage of, as well as three tiers of payment plans based on your needs. You can start out free and move on to increasingly complex and optimized levels of support. The first payment level is $23/month, which is a great value.
Best Ecommerce Platform for Large Businesses Built to Scale
BigCommerce is the very best option to pick if you are looking to scale a Large Business. They offer best-in-class SEO features, more than 40 payment gateways, advanced product options, and more! There is no better ecommerce platform if you are looking to scale efficiently and without hiccups along the way.
- Amazing SEO features
- 24/7 Support
- Advanced Product Options
- 40+ Payment Gateways
- Can scale up to $100 million a year
Many ecommerce businesses that are a success, quickly outgrow platforms like Shopify. This is where BigCommerce comes in. BigCommerce is the most open SaaS ecommerce platform on the market. Offering open APIs, an open partner ecosystem, and zero transaction fees, they are a leading choice when scalability is of primary importance to you.
You will experience a higher learning curve than with some other platforms, but it is well worth it when you sell at the level that this ecommerce site is designed for. Built-in functionality is second to none here, and you will not regret your move to this platform.
Their pricing begins at 29.99/month but it can be helpful to request a quote to make sure that you are not missing out on some of the various add-ins that might cost a small additional fee.
The Best Ecommerce Platform for WordPress
If you want to use a completely free platform with add ons, WooCommerce has to be your choice. There is no better option in this category and if you are already using WordPress, you can get up and selling faster than you would have thought possible! It’s obvious why this platform has over 74 million downloads.
- Completely Free
- Large Community
- Plugs into WordPress
- Good SEO optimization
WooCommerce is the best plug-in for your WordPress site and you will barely need to learn anything new to get up and running once it’s installed. It does lack some scalability, but for many people selling through a blog, this is not a real hindrance.
Advanced functionality is added with paid extensions, making this an easy choice if you like to pick and choose your options. The SEO optimization is really good as well. Since WordPress is already one of the best ways to land at the top of search pages, adding WooCommerce can keep you at the top of the search results with minimal effort.
Free is a very good price, and WooCommerce delivers on this. You will spend less optimizing this plug-in than you would on many of the other plans that are in this article, making this a good choice if budget is a concern for you.
Best Free Ecommerce Platform
Adobe Commerce is robust and feature-rich despite being free. This is the free version, and it’s so good that you might wonder why you should spend money on the other version!
- No transaction fees
- Good SEO optimization
- Good Forums and developer community
- Easy-to-use interface
- Easy to update pages
This is a great free tool that makes sure that you can meet customers where they are at and deliver them catchy templates and discounts and sales promotions. This is one of the best options out there if you are just starting out and don’t have a big budget to invest in your platform.
Shipping options are great on this platform as well, and you can always choose to upgrade to Adobe Commerce as you scale. You will need some technical expertise to use this software, but there are lots of great tutorials out there to watch and learn.
Pricing is always free, so no tiers to discuss here. Do make sure that you consider scaling your business down the road. The move to Adobe Commerce might not be the perfect fit for your future goals, so you may need to plan ahead for a potential platform change when you are ready for more options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Top 3 Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses & Startups?
When it’s all said and done, there are three ecommerce platforms that will work the best for small businesses and startups.
This is an easy-to-use option that will allow you to manage SEO, ads, and other tools all in one place. This can save you a lot of time and make your life so much easier as you manage sales and marketing simultaneously. Their SEO wiz is worth every penny of the amount paid on this plan and puts it head and shoulders above other options.
Shopify is a leader in this space for a reason. This platform does many things and does them all well. Keep track of auto shipping, taxes, and POS systems. Sell in many channels and style your site in any way that you like with unique plugins and features.
This is a great small business choice because you can use the clean URL structure and their easy access to online products to your advantage. Support is great for this platform as well, which makes getting started easy. You also have really good SEO available to you.
What are the types of ecommerce sites?
There are three main types of ecommerce sites that you can pick from:
1. Transactional Sites: These sites are the ones that most people are aware of. They act the most like a brick-and-mortar store and are mostly just a payment portal to buy products. This is the kind of model that a big company like Walmart will use for online orders. There is limited searchability on these platforms and the style and arrangement of the platform is all about making transactions easy.
2. Static Content Site: This is a site that works like a brochure. This kind of site will not offer online transactions but can inform about products, services, and items that are on the way. Car dealers often employ this kind of ecommerce site to create hype about their coming releases and to drive traffic toward physical locations.
3. Online Marketplace/ Auction Site: These sites are hosted to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. This is the kind of thing that eBay and Etsy do really well. This is a simple ecommerce platform but it opens up the chance to net many, many sales for all the parties involved.
These basic ecommerce site styles are the backbone of the ecommerce platform world, but they are not the sum total of what you can expect to find when selecting the right ecommerce platform for your needs. Many of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses combine more than one of these features to help scale a successful ecommerce business with the power of a single platform behind it.
The choice of which ecommerce platform to use for your business can have a lot to do with your unique business needs. Let’s take a look at the best ecommerce platforms for 2022.
What Are the Best Ecommerce Platforms for Dropshipping?
Wix, Shopify, & BigCommerce
These three platforms are your best choices for dropshipping. There is a lot to be said about picking a platform that will allow you to utilize this option. You will be able to ship to more places, more quickly, and for smaller shipping fees.
Dropshipping will save you money as you scale, and the more you grow, the more exponential your savings will be. If you are not selling items that can be delivered through email, this is one of the biggest features that you need to consider when thinking about scaling your ecommerce business.
Dropshipping is linked to your wholesaler, and you will need to be able to sync your inventory reliably. These three platforms will allow you to do this easily, making inventory management a snap.
What Are the Best Multi-Channel Ecommerce Platforms?
Shopify, BigCommerce, & Zyro
If you have already been selling your products across many channels, these are the ecommerce platforms you will want to choose between. There is nothing that is less fun than having to re-tool all of your sales methodologies and you will lose some flexibility if you have to stop selling on some channels to pick an ecommerce platform that does not cater to this sales style.
Multi-channel sales are complicated to manage, but if you have already been doing so, these three ecommerce platforms will help you to do what you have already been doing, only better.
Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business requires that you consider many things, from your sales needs to your dropshipping requirements, to the level of optimization. that you want to be able to control. Make sure that you consider your future needs to scale, and also think about how much inventory you need to manage. Also, picking the platform that offers you the most benefits for the cost is important. You can only maximize your sales if you maximize your ability to go after them!
Still not sure which ecommerce Platform is best for you and your business? Comment below!