What exactly is a free eshop? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Which e-commerce providers offer free versions?
Are you thinking about setting up an e-shop, but you are hesitating whether it would be worth it?
In that case, you should definitely first consider a free e-shop – a free version of an online store, where you can quickly find out whether selling products and services online would be right for you.
What is a free eshop?
A free e-shop is basically any e-commerce solution or platform that offers its users the creation and management of their own online store for free and without any fees.
Free e-shops are fundamentally different from paid ones with limited options for editing the website and limited functions for managing the store.
Free e-shops are usually only available for a certain period of time (e.g. for 30 days) – after this period you will either have to switch to a paid version or the given e-shop will simply be cancelled.
What are the advantages of a free e-shop?
1. Low price (or free)
E-shop solutions are usually expensive, especially at the beginning, when you are just starting your business and have to deal with various fees.
In such a case, a free e-shop may sound like an attractive offer.
In addition, the free versions usually also cover the costs of hosting, domain maintenance or other technical matters – which in the end can only mean extra money saved for you.
2. Prepared platform
Free e-shops are usually built on the so-called “box solution” – the provider of free e-shops simply provides everything your online store needs for its launch.
This includes a number of things such as:
- Secure hosting – instead of searching and choosing a hosting for your website (and paying for it), a free e-shop provider takes care of it for you.
- Prepared CMS – most e-commerce providers have their own editorial system, in which you can already create products and manage your website according to your own ideas – all without any installation on your part.
- Domain – although you will probably only get 3 in the free e-shop. level generated domain, you will still save time (and especially the price)
- Pleasant user interface – as free e-shop providers try to attract as many people as possible to their platform, they provide their system (mostly) in a simple interface that even a complete beginner can understand.
What are the disadvantages of a free e-shop?
1. Limited functions
Free eshops usually only have very limited options for editing or managing web pages.
The most common trend with such free online stores is a limited number of products that you can add to the e-shop, a selected number of free šablón or a small number of options for payment, shipping, currency, etc.
Another rather unpleasant news can be the limitation of the choice of domain and hosting – although you have them for free, they are usually very unpleasant for the user (e.g. slow loading of web pages or generated sub-domains of the type ” 15423.eshop.platforma.sk “).
2. Non-existent customer support
If you decide to set up an e-shop for free, you are on your own – the provider of such free e-commerce solutions will not help or advise you with any problem you might encounter when setting up an e-shop.
On the other hand, however, it is necessary to point out that the majority of such large internet platforms provide their users with web pages with instructions, explanations or the most frequent questions that people ask when creating an e-shop.
3. Limited time of the e-shop
Perhaps one of the biggest minuses of the free e-shop is its limited duration – you can usually set up an e-shop for only a few weeks or months, and after this time you will have to switch to the paid version of the e-shop or set up a new online store (since the last will be blocked or simply removed).
Who is the free e-shop suitable for?
Free e-shops are suitable for a very specific group of people – if you are serious about selling products or services over the Internet, it will probably be more advantageous for you to switch to the paid version of one of the providers, or to set up an e-shop yourself.
On the other hand, a free e-shop could be an interesting solution for you in cases such as:
a) You are a complete beginner
If you have never worked with websites before, or you only have minimal experience with managing an e-shop, a free online store could be the right thing for you.
In the free eshops, you can try everything you need to know about creating and managing products – from setting up the website itself, through editing the appearance, to adding products and setting up payments, shipping, etc.
Free e-shops are also suitable for people who simply cannot decide which e-commerce solution to choose for their store – in that case, you can simply try e-shops on different platforms and find out which provider would suit you best (in case you decide to switch to the paid version).
b) You do not plan to invest in the e-shop
If you want to set up an e-shop and sell products only in your spare time as a hobby, or if you do not plan to sell in bulk, a free e-shop could be the ” right nut ” for you.
If you only want to sell a few products to customers and do not have too much ambition, you can easily set up your e-shop for free in a few seconds and you will have fun.
What can (and can’t) the free eshop offer you?
Free eshops are usually built so that they are ” ready-to-go “, so to speak – you will have hosting , a domain, a platform on which you can work and a ready system for managing the store.
On the other hand, be sure to expect several restrictions such as:
- Limited search engine optimization (SEO) – free online stores usually offer basic SEO functions (such as adding Title tags, Meta descriptions, image optimization, etc.), but definitely do not count on complex functions such as redirect commands, structured data or management hyper links in bulk.
- Product optimization – although adding products and their basic settings will be available to you, definitely do not count on more advanced functions that are usually a matter of course on serious e-shops (such as reviews, links to related products, price comparisons, etc.).
- Languages and currencies – free eshops will be able to provide you with a certain number of languages (or only 1 language mutation), but if you would like to sell to a larger number of countries, you would have to switch to the paid version.
Which eshops are free?
Webnode offers its users a free version of its platform – registration literally only takes a few minutes, and after that you can start creating your e-shop.
Although it is a limited version of the e-shop, you still get several šablón from which you can choose (and subsequently edit), a “custom” domain and an unlimited number of pages where you can add products or manage your content.
The big advantage of this e-commerce solution is its web editor – you can edit the šablóny and elements on the pages quite well according to your own ideas.
💡 Tip: If you would like to learn more about this e-shop platform and its functions, be sure to read my article entitled Review: Is it worth using Webnode to create a website?
Shoptet is another popular platform (especially in Slovakia and the Czech Republic) that also offers a free version of the online store.
Similar to the Webnode platform, Shoptet can also be registered very quickly – you simply fill in a few necessary data during registration and you have your own e-shop at your disposal.
The advantage of this e-commerce solution is its wide range of šablón , which you can also modify to your liking.
Although you will only have a free online store for 30 days, you can at least familiarize yourself with all the functions that Shoptet can offer you.
💡 Tip: If you are interested in all the functions, šablóny or managing products on Shoptet, you might be interested in the article or review: Shoptet – is it really the unit in the market? You will also find a useful ebook here.
Fast-webstore is a Czech e-shop platform that is suitable for both beginners and advanced entrepreneurs.
One of the advantages of this e-shop provider is its large number of tutorials in Fast-webstore Akademy , thanks to which you can quickly familiarize yourself with all the functions and settings of this platform.
Fast-webstore can offer you its free version for 15 days – after this time, you will have to switch to the paid version, which, however, starts at only €7.25 per month for the basic package.
💡 Tip: You can read an overview of the basic functions for products, shipping or orders on this platform in the article: Create a professional e-shop via Fast-webstore (Review) .
As the very name of this provider implies – setting up an e-shop on Eshop-quick really only takes a few minutes.
Although this platform does not offer an e-shop completely free of charge (it is only a test version for 15 days), you still get a large number of interesting functions after registration, which you can try, such as:
- Unlimited number of products
- Choose from dozens of šablón
- Space for hosting
- Custom domain option
- … and many more
💡 Tip: You can read about how quickly you can set up an e-shop on this platform and what functions it can provide in the reviews: Quick start-up of a business with Eshop-rychlo .
In addition to the popular e-commerce solutions mentioned above, which offer e-shops for free, you might also be interested in platforms such as:
- SimpleShop – a very interesting platform where you don’t have to pay anything for creating and managing an e-shop – the only thing you will pay for is the sales commission (5%).
- Wexbo – similar to the platforms mentioned above, this provider also offers new visitors a free 15-day trial version.
- MioWeb – with this e-shop provider, you get a free 14-day version of the e-shop, thanks to which you can try all the functions and settings.
💡 Tip: If you still can’t decide which e-shop provider with a free (or paid) version would be the right one for you, be sure to look and read my list of e-shops for rent .