The sales figures in the pandemic period have been confirming for quite a while. Although most of the shops were closed for most of the time, and despite the fact that the movements were limited to those of indifferent necessity, sales have certainly not dropped.
More and more companies, professionals but also enthusiasts have been trying in recent years to make their business known, and sell their products, instead of through a physical store with the consequent bureaucracy and expensive system, through an online store, that is an e-commerce.
In short, in the pendemic period, online sales have almost doubled.
If a deterrent of opening an online shop can derive from expenses, certainly this article will bring light on many aspects, and will allow to understand how to build an e-commerce for free.
Why should you create your free e-commerce
Nowadays, the opportunity to emerge is more or less granted. The world is much more democratic and allows anyone armed with creativity, a smartphone and an internet connection, to be able to create their own virtual space where they can sell their goods or services.
You don't necessarily need to have great skills in programming to make your ecommerce site soar, much less you need large investments: sometimes, you can create a free ecommerce site, without any financial investment.
In short, with a little research, initiative and a few clicks, you can start your own store without having to rent any physical store and letting it work for H24, 7 days a week.
Depending on the method we are going to choose, in fact, there will be advantages, which will allow you to start your e-commerce with very little effort.
Everything will depend on how much time do we want to dedicate ourselves to it and how many skills we have. Of course, not always, and not for everyone, creating a free e-commerce is the winning solution.
Now that we've talked about the benefits, why do not continue deepening on how to create a free e-commerce from scratch?
How to create a free e-commerce
We already have anticipated something. An ecommerce, although it may seem more simple than a physical store, requires a lot of work. What seems apparently easy like a click and a delivery in 24 hours, as Amazon Prime has accustomed us to, in reality this is the result of long painstaking and capillary work.
There are platforms that can help us to manage our e-commerce for free and limiting, as much as possible, our expenditure of energy, making many of the processes automated.
Magento is certainly one of the solutions chosen by thousands of users around the world. Free and intuitive, is an opensource platform that can make our ecommerce tailored to our specific needs.
Of course not all freedom of expression is for free: here the price to pay, if we want to find one is, being an open source platform, that the user must also be familiar with the world of programming.
For people with less programming skills, osCommerce can be an interesting alternative.
It is an open source and equally customizable environment that guarantees ample support from the already existing community registered. Being also open source, however, it might require some intervention in which a programming expert would surely be more benefited. The alternative to osCommerce, would definitely be Shopify.
Shopify is not completely free even if the rates vary according to your turnover. It is a platform which, with a minimum economic investment, guarantees high quality of service, an extremely easy use, an excellent performance overall, and an excellent protection of personal data and methods of payment. Inside, there is a wide choice of free themes and templates, as well as a large choice of ancillary services.
Then we have WooCommerce which more than a platform, it is a free plugin based on WordPress.
The plugin is free but, observing the CMS on which it is based, it invests in the purchase of the domain for your website and subsequently (or simultaneously) of your hosting service. The process is very easy and domains can often be purchased for a few euros. The initial investment will be really low.
We would also like to mention Weebly, which allows you to manage your website and ecommerce for free.
It counts more than of 50 million sites, making it known as a very advantageous place for all those who want to manage a free e-commerce. There are more of 40 themes which are catchy and mobile friendly in order to customize your e-commerce according to your needs. Some features advanced are of course paid, but basically it's an easy and free service.
How to create a free e-commerce with CMS
Choosing a free CMS to manage your e-commerce brings some immediate benefits. First of all, of course, the fact that the economic investment is minimal, if not zero. In addition to this, the fact that these CMSs are often open source platforms. With even minimal programming knowledge, you can experiment and customize every aspect of your e-commerce.
There are some CMSs that allow you to manage your ecommerce in complete autonomy and completely free of charge. Shall we cover some of them?
Square Online is a CMS that is functional, simple and intuitive. It is available as a free URL and hosts a mobile friendly and responsive design, not to mention that it allows you to manage every phase of online shopping very quickly. The free plan allows you to pay only for payment processing fees - there are no additional hidden fees or subscriptions.
We have then Ecwid. It is another open source platform with a large network of features, and completely free. Being used all over the world, assistance shouldn't be a problem, as there are people in almost every time zone. It is well integrable with WordPress.
We also mention in this guide the free CMS WIX for ecommerce. WIX is a very simple platform thanks to which you can set up a free website in a few minutes. If you want to create an e-commerce on WIX you will have to take into account that the service is in subscription.
Finally, we mention again WooCommerce, a plugin for the WordPress CMS, a real life saver for millions of small businesses with an online shop.
How to create an ecommerce with PHP
PHP is also another viable solution if you want to create your own free e-commerce.
This is the best method but more complex among those described so far. In this case the knowledge of PHP and MySQL must be perfect.
From the main page to the moment of finalizing the purchase by credit card, everything will have to be meticulously written using the PHP code (Hypertext Preprocessor), which is a programming language designed for dynamic web pages.
Obviously the customization will be at the highest levels, as it should be the competence of the e-commerce manager.
After seeing these 3 ways to create a free ecommerce, we ask ourselves: is it really worth it?
Is it really worth creating a free e-commerce?
From a purely economic point of view, obviously yes. In a few clicks (if you don't choose the last method) your shop will be online and fully functional.
If it was really so simple as it sounds, we'd probably all have our own online e-commerce.
If the goal of your digital store is the sale of products, whether they are many or few, in a rather artisanal way, probably creating a free ecommerce is the right solution, if not the only one that can be pursued.
If, on the other hand, the target is larger, and wants to make sure that your business online also becomes the prevalent one, perhaps a free ecommerce is not always the ideal solution.
First, your ecommerce will be a guest on a third platform. For free, or with the payment of a small fee, your e-commerce will never be entirely of the owner. The source code will not be entirely in your hands.
In addition to this, a site, whether it's ecommerce or not, even if it's free, requires a lot of maintenance. Even if it is free, you will have to take into account the enormous expenditure of time and energy that it will require constantly. To the disadvantage of the margin that will be given to your product or service.
Not to mention, that the website manager cannot have skills in all areas of relevance of a website. We are not just talking about programming, but also about SEO, Search Engine Optimization. Of course, we want to be present online but, even more, we want to be found!
Here's how to manage a website, as much as you can do it yourself. In reality, the figures that would serve to manage it in a professional manner are much more complicated.
Everything always starts with a question: what is your strategy and goal?