Finding the best cheap ecommerce platforms is essential for small businesses, individual sellers, and creative minds who want to showcase and sell their products online without spending a fortune.
These platforms provide an entry point for those who are new to the online selling world or those operating on a tight budget. Whether you’re an artist, a designer, or simply looking to turn a hobby into a profitable venture, the best cheap ecommerce platforms can offer you the tools and features needed to grow and succeed.
In a market saturated with options, identifying the right platform that fits your needs and budget can be challenging. From customizable storefronts to powerful analytics, different platforms offer various capabilities. This guide will explore the five best cheap ecommerce platforms that combine functionality, ease of use, and affordability.
Our selection caters to a wide range of needs, whether you’re building your first online store or looking to expand an existing one. Let’s dive into these cost-effective solutions that can help you launch your online business without breaking the bank:
Shopify Starter, our first and most affordable pick, is designed for business owners who sell products on social media platforms or those who don’t need a standalone online store on Shopify.
This plan was introduced by Shopify to target those who want to transform their existing sites and social media profiles and have the ability to sell products directly from them.
With Shopify Starter, you’ll get a “buy button” that can be added to your existing sites, along with a Start theme that can be used immediately, though the theme can’t be edited. This makes it great for anyone who has an idea of what to sell but isn’t sure how to go about it, or those planning to build a customer base from their social media followers. It’s a great place to start if you want to leverage your existing online presence.
Some of Shopify’s core services, such as order management, allow you to receive, manage, and fulfill orders efficiently. Fast and secure checkout, complete reporting tools, and Shopify Inbox are some other useful features you can access. Additionally, Shopify Starter supports the Shopify Markets feature, a borderless management tool that helps you sell to an international audience.
Overall, the setup process with Shopify Starter is simple and does not require extensive technical knowledge in ecommerce website building. The learning curve is shortened, enabling even those with limited experience to create a decent online store.
Online stores are built on social media apps or personal websites, instead of a Shopify-hosted domain
If you need your ecommerce store to be hosted on Shopify, you’ll need to upgrade from Shopify Starter to the Basic Shopify plan as the Starter plan only allows you to sell your products on social media platforms, messaging apps, or on your own website.
Offers shipping, storage, and packing
Using the Shopify Fulfillment Network, you can store, pack, and offer a two-day shipping delivery to your customers anywhere in the world.
Has support for an unlimited number of products
You can list and sell as many products as you want using the Shopify Starter plan.
Monetize bio links on social media websites
Sell in minutes by creating a Linkpop page that channels your social media followers to your products through your profile’s bio link.
Track business performance using reports
The Shopify Starter plan allows you to track all analytics as it has an analytics page, customer behavior reports, product analytics, live view, marketing reports, acquisition reports, and finances reports.
Provides inventory reports
The inventory report shows you the inventory for a month and allows you to monitor the percentage of products sold per day.
Shopify Starter starts at $5 a month with a 5% transaction fee cost when you use Shopify Payments. While it’s a good plan for anyone planning to start, it does come with its limitations.
For example, unlike with options such as the Basic plan, you won’t have an online store where you can build a brand around your product. Nonetheless, this is still a great option for anyone who simply wants to sell their products through platforms they are already comfortable using.
In fact, given that you get Shopify’s functionality for a very small fee, this is overall our no.1 selection for the best cheap ecommerce platforms available in 2023. 🏆
When it comes to all sorts of websites, it’s hard to overlook WordPress, the leading website platform of them all. No surprise that WordPress offers a powerful ecommerce solution as well. WooCommerce – it’s what it’s called – enables you to convert your website into a fully fledged online store. Furthermore, if you also host this setup on Bluehost, the combination is reputed as one of the best cheap ecommerce platforms available today.
Here’s more context: WooCommerce is a fully customizable plugin that turns your WordPress website into an ecommerce store, offering extensive tools and functionality to build, customize, and scale your business. You can manage orders directly from your WordPress dashboard and enjoy other features like automated tax calculations and live shipping rates.
Together, WordPress and WooCommerce provide an extensive infrastructure and numerous capabilities, including convenient payment options for both you and your customers. You can integrate secure payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and others into your WooCommerce store. WordPress also offers SEO tools to market your products, making it a powerful combination with WooCommerce’s offerings.
However, the setup process for WordPress and WooCommerce can be less intuitive and may require a slight learning curve. Before installing both platforms, you have to set up and pay for domain and hosting from Bluehost, a step that some might find inconvenient.
While this setup may not be as simple as Shopify Starter, the advantages of using WordPress, WooCommerce, and Bluehost far outweigh the disadvantages. With a plethora of extensions and capabilities, it’s an ideal option for many looking to create a robust and customizable online store.
Ecommerce store hosted on a custom domain
A WooCommerce store is built on a WordPress website that’s powered by any hosting company like Bluehost.
Provides shipping labels and international shipping
Print domestic and international shipping labels for all your deliveries and ship internationally using carrier partners all over the world.
Display an unlimited number of products
WooCommerce currently has no limit on the number of products you can list on your store.
Use secure payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe
Receiving payment doesn’t have to be an issue as you can integrate mainstream payment platforms into your WooCommerce store.
Offers website analytics to monitor performance
WooCommerce is integrated with Google Analytics, allowing you to understand your audience better like learning what channels drive the most traffic.
Uses multi-channel inventory management
Take advantage of the multi-channel inventory management from Google, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart extensions to manage your products.
- WooCommerce: Free
- WordPress: Free
- Bluehost for online store: $9.95 a month. Complete online store, website analytics, and shipping labels, but no multi-channel inventory management.
- Bluehost for online store + marketplace: Online store website, website analytics, shipping labels, and multi-channel inventory management.
Overall, WordPress + WooCommerce + Bluehost steals the spot as the most powerful among our best cheap ecommerce platforms. 💪
Ecwid is a Software as a Service (SAAS) product that also doubles as a cloud-based ecommerce platform, designed to help you sell your products online without the need to build an entire ecommerce site. It can seamlessly integrate with your already existing platforms such as WordPress, Wix, social media platforms, and marketplaces.
With Ecwid, you can set up a catalog of products for sale, list prices, sort products into appropriate categories, and add appealing photos of your items. The platform design also ensures that it integrates well with your store’s theme and design, maintaining a cohesive look and feel.
Beyond the standard ecommerce features, Ecwid goes further by offering custom development options, such as adding more features to your store using Ecwid’s API or configuring a custom payment gateway. For paid users, additional perks are available, such as ShopApp, a feature that allows you to turn your store into a downloadable mobile app.
As one of the best cheap ecommerce platforms, Ecwid stands as a great starting point for those looking to grow their business. Its combination of simplicity, functionality, and customization options ensures that you can stay focused on your business while enjoying a versatile and user-friendly ecommerce experience.
Allows you to create a free website with the Instant Site feature
The Instant Site feature allows you to create a free website loaded with ecommerce features on Ecwid. You can always connect a custom domain to your free website later on.
Offers shipping services and dropshipping
Ecwid offers shipping with its international carriers such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx along with dropshipping services.
Add an unlimited number of products
You can add products and product images into categories, and also highlight specific products as you deem fit.
Sell products across social media platforms
Ecwid allows you to sell and integrate your store on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Sales statistics and reports to monitor online store metrics
Ecwid not only provides reports and sales statistics for you, but it also integrates with Google Analytics to show you the exact number of traffic your online store is getting.
Offers inventory tracking and management
You can track the inventory of all products and connect your account with Katana, an inventory management software.
Ecwid’s cheapest paid plan starts at $12.50 per month paid annually, and $15 per month paid monthly. This plan comes with great features but it also limits the number of products you can sell in a month to 100.
This limitation means that the plan might not be an ideal plan for a large store. Also, you won’t get their POS service which is only available for their unlimited plan.
If you are looking for something free, there’s a free-for-life plan for all users. However, it limits the number of products you can sell in a month to 10.
Square Online is another one on our list of the best cheap ecommerce platforms. It’s a clever website builder that serves as a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to build online stores quickly. It’s especially suitable for small businesses such as retail stores, services, nonprofits, and restaurants, combining elements from platforms like Shopify Starter and WordPress.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or integrating with an existing website, Square Online has you covered. For beginners, the platform offers a complete experience of setting up an ecommerce store, including domain services, email addresses for your website, and no-code customization features that are perfect if web development isn’t your strong suit.
If you already have a website, Square Online provides seamless integration, enabling you to utilize their platform without leaving your site. It also offers a physical store option in addition to your ecommerce store, thanks to the Square Point of Service (POS) system that allows you to operate both seamlessly.
Other notable benefits include Square Online’s payment processing platform, offering the ability to receive payments through PayPal. An advanced reporting feature and the abandoned cart feature are also available.
Additionally, Square Online offers a Forever Free plan, complete with SEO capabilities and tools to monitor your search engine traffic. This plan follows a self-serve, customer ordering style and comes filled with standard ecommerce features, making it a highly accessible and feature-rich option for businesses of all sizes.
Integrate with a popular payment gateway
Achieve smooth transactions with international and local customers by integrating the PayPal payment gateway into your online store.
Comes with pickup, delivery, shipping, and real-time shipping
Product shipping is done using carriers like USPS and FedEx to deliver products anywhere in the world. Not many of the other best cheap ecommerce platforms have this.
Showcase an unlimited number of products
Square Online has no limit on the number of products you can list on your online store.
Allows you to sell on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook
By default, Square Online integrates with Instagram. There’s a separate integration for Facebook and Pinterest to your online store, allowing you to boost social media sales.
Advanced reporting on ecommerce metrics
The report feature of Square Online gives you detailed insights into the trends and dynamics of your ecommerce store.
Provides basic inventory management software
The basic inventory management system of Square Online allows you to keep a clear count of products that are in stock.
The cheapest paid plan for Square Online starts at $12 per month with a standard 2.9% + 30¢ charge per transaction. It’s a pocket-friendly plan for most business owners looking to start slow and scale their businesses with time.
There is a free plan that allows you to sell unlimited goods online if you are not interested in setting up a website.
BigCartel is an online store builder specially tailored for artists, designers, musicians, and other creative sellers looking to build ecommerce storefronts to showcase their goods. Whether you’re an artist eager to share your creations or a musician selling merchandise, BigCartel offers a platform that’s both lightweight and feature-rich.
Unlike some of the other best cheap ecommerce platforms such as Square Online, BigCartel doesn’t charge commissions. Instead, they operate on different subscription packages that sellers can choose from based on the number of products they sell. Essentially, as your business grows, you’ll pay more, aligning the cost with your needs.
While BigCartel shares similarities with other cheap ecommerce platforms, it stands out with some unique offerings. For instance, it allows you to build your domain, set up hosting, and customize your store. Though it may present a slight learning curve similar to WordPress, the steps required to create a site and start selling are relatively short and straightforward.
Even for a platform known as one of the more affordable options in the market, BigCartel packs a ton of surprising features. These include powerful analytics, inventory management, and the use of custom domains. Overall, BigCartel offers an efficient and focused solution for creative sellers, providing all the essential tools and more without breaking the bank.
Connect a custom domain
All plans allow you to build your ecommerce store on a custom domain of your choice.
Provides payment integration with PayPal and Stripe
Allows you to conduct seamless transactions with your international customers.
Offers shipment tracking
Provides the option of shipping your products worldwide, along with shipment tracking.
Can list up to 500 products
BigCartel has the potential to list up to 500 products in an online store.
Sell on a variety of social media platforms
You have the option of linking your ecommerce stores to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram to make sales.
Real-time stats to track business performance
BigCartel integrates with Google Analytics to show you the in-depth traffic metrics and real-time stats of your ecommerce store.
Offers inventory tracking
Allows you to track all products that are currently in stock.
BigCartel’s cheapest plan is called Platinum and starts at $9.99 per month. The plan allows you to sell up to 50 products in a month with no listing fees. It also comes with the core features needed to run your store.
There’s a free tier that allows you to sell your products. The plan, however, comes with certain limits such as you can only sell 5 products per month and add one image per product.
Conclusion on the best cheap ecommerce platforms
Navigating the world of online selling can be overwhelming, but with the best cheap ecommerce platforms outlined in this guide, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision!
These platforms cater to diverse needs, providing robust features without a hefty price tag. From artists to small business owners, there’s a solution that fits every budget and ambition. Now that you have a clearer understanding of what each platform offers, it’s time to take action.
Choose the one that resonates with your goals and start building your online store today. Embrace the opportunity to expand your reach and grow your business online! Which is your favorite of these best cheap ecommerce platforms?
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