Free eCommerce Website Builders
Free Online Shop Builders and eCommerce Store Creator
Is there any such thing as a free eCommerce Store Creator?
Of course there is. But they also say there is no such thing as a free lunch.
There are two main variations of free store builder both of which rely on the fact that at some point in time you will (if your eCommerce website is successful) want to upgrade to a paid version that offers you more features and facilities.
Hosted eCommerce Website Builders
There are many fantastic hosted eCommerce or online shop builders such as Volusion and BigCommerce. With basic computer literacy and no need to install any software, you can build yourself a high quality shop with a massive set of features you would normally find in top range website builders or features that would cost you thousands to implement if you had a website developer create your store.
The only issues are that, firstly you need to pay a monthly or yearly fee, whether or not you make any sales or not and secondly, you run the risk that if your host goes bust for any reason, your store will vanish – especially since they use proprietary software which means you cant just download your store and upload it to some other vendor.
However, some of these eCommerce Vendors offer either a free trial (usually a month) to get you started during which time you have the chance to use all the facilities and find out without any risk whether the package is ideal for you.
You can also test your markets viability for free.
In addition, and perhaps more importantly, some of these vendors also offer a free package that you can use for as long as you like without payment. However, the free package is likely to be hindered in some way so you have to determine if the feature it lacks are important to you or not e.g. some online store builders will only let you create a maximum of 100 products – which is useless if you want to build a store on camping with 1000′s of product items but could be great if you rely on selling a small number of high value items.
eCommerce Website Builder Plugins for Open Source CMS
Open source software is basically software created by a large community of expert developers. In most cases it is absolutely free to use.
Content Management Systems are basically software systems designed to let you manage your information flexibly and easily.
They let you have several users with different levels of control through passwords e.g. editor, administrator etc. and the ability to easily plugin modules such as an on-line shop or shopping cart to add more functionality.
Since the open source software is free to use, almost all the plugins are free to use, so not only can you build your website for free, you can easily plugin a shopping cart or full blown shop into your website for free as well.
You will of course need to pay for website hosting (from 5-20 dollars a month) as well as learn how to set up the software (or pay a website builder to install it for you). However, from then on though your costs are minimal and you also have the advantage that you have full control over your site, your site name (domain) and your hosting, so you can change your sites features or even the software as you like.