Starting an online business can be an exciting venture. However, if you have a tight budget, you may feel a little restricted in terms of options. You’re probably looking at cheap ecommerce platforms, but you’re not sure which one to use.
To help you out, we’ve picked the best ecommerce platforms for sites with small budgets. By reviewing the main features and pricing structures of each option, you should be able to identify the most suitable platform for your business.
👉 In this post, we’ll look at a few factors to consider when looking at cheap ecommerce platforms. Then, we’ll discuss the best and most affordable options on the market. Let’s get started!
What to look for in a cheap ecommerce platform
Launching your business on a cheap ecommerce platform may feel a little risky. After all, you wouldn’t want to compromise on performance.
However, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality. While you may get fewer features, a budget-friendly tool should be enough to help you take your ecommerce business off the ground.
Having said that, there are some things to consider when looking at cheap ecommerce platforms for your site. These include:
- Customization. 🎨 While many ecommerce platforms will let you build a basic website for your business, you’ll still want some control over the design. At the very least, you should be able to use your logo and brand colors, and customize essential elements like contact forms.
- Transaction fees. 💳 Some ecommerce tools are free, whereas others have low subscription fees. However, they may charge a substantial fee on each transaction. You need to take all of these costs into account when making your decision.
- Scalability. 📈 At the moment, you may be looking for beginner-friendly plans to get started, but your website might grow over the next few years. It’s a good idea to ensure that your chosen platform offers upgrade options so you can scale your business accordingly.
Additionally, you’ll want to check if there’s a limit on the number of products you can upload to your website. Some platforms may also require you to upgrade to more expensive plans once you reach a certain number of traffic or purchases.
Best cheap ecommerce platforms in 2023
Now, let’s look at five cheap ecommerce platforms that you can use to launch your business. We’ll analyze the features and pricing of each option to help you choose the right one for your site.
WooCommerce isn’t a platform per se, but rather a plugin for the open-source WordPress software. If you already have a WordPress site, you can install WooCommerce for free and start selling products straight away.
Or, you can use the Woo Express service from the WooCommerce team, which includes built-in hosting and offers one of the easiest ways to get started with your store.
⚙️ Key features
- Sell an unlimited number of products, including both physical and digital items
- Set up different tax rates and shipping options
- Use the WordPress Site Editor to customize the design of your store
- Accept payments through PayPal, Stripe, and other popular gateways
- Add WooCommerce extensions like product variation swatches, wishlists, and lots more
WordPress and WooCommerce are both free – you’ll just need to pay for hosting and a domain name. Most web hosts offer cheap entry plans. For example, shared hosting with Bluehost starts at just $2.95 per month.
Meanwhile, a .com domain from Namecheap will cost around $10 – $15 per year. Or, you can get a free domain name for your first year if you use Bluehost.
Ecwid is an ecommerce tool that you can plug into your existing site or social media accounts and start selling online. It’s compatible with websites built with WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Joomla, Squarespace, and more.
If you don’t have a website, you can build one through Ecwid, using a ready-made ecommerce template. You’ll also get access to over 50 content blocks, plus automatic maintenance and security updates.
Ecwid has a free plan, but it only lets you upload five products on your site. With the cheapest plan (Venture), you can add up to 100 products, including digital goods.
⚙️ Key features
- A user-friendly site builder
- Automated tax calculations
- Ability to sell on multiple sites and social media pages at the same time
- One-tap checkout with Apple Pay (via Stripe)
- Search engine optimization (SEO) tools
- Access to extensions on the App Market
- Discount coupons
The Venture plan starts at $15 per month and lets you sell products on Instagram and Facebook as well. There are no transaction fees.
For very small stores, you might even be okay to start with the free plan.
Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that’s ideal for those with little to no technical knowledge. Its Starter Plan helps you set up an online store in minutes and without breaking the bank.
Plus, you can sell products through social media, email, SMS, WhatsApp, and any other platform that lets you share product links. Once your business starts to grow and you require more features, you can simply upgrade to another Shopify plan.
⚙️ Key features
- A simple online store that includes product pages, a contact page, and a secure checkout
- A user-friendly dashboard where you can manage and fulfill orders
- Access to Shopify apps
- Performance metrics about your products and customers
The Shopify Starter plan costs just $5 per month, and transaction fees are only 5% if you use Shopify Payments.
BigCartel is one of the best cheap ecommerce platforms for artists and creatives. It helps you set up a beautiful online store with a free customizable theme and start selling your work.
BigCartel has a free plan available, but you’ll only be able to sell five products on your store. Additionally, it will allow you to use only one image per product.
The cheapest plan is called Platinum and lets you sell up to 50 products. Plus, you can use five images per product, track and bulk edit your inventory, and more.
⚙️ Key features
- Real-time stats
- Automated sales tax
- Shipment tracking
- Discounts & promos
The Platinum plan starts at $9.99 per month. There are no listing or transaction fees.
Gumroad is primarily designed for selling digital products, including memberships. It’s an all-in-one solution, though you can also link it to an existing website.
If you want to sell software, Gumroad will create the license keys for you. It also lets you make your files available in different formats, including PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.
When it comes to pricing, Gumroad is a bit different from the other cheap ecommerce platforms on this list. There are no monthly fees – instead, Gumroad takes a 10% cut of each sale.
⚙️ Key features
- Create memberships and paywalled content
- Generate discount codes
- Use automated workflows to connect with your audience
- Improve your online store with in-depth analytics
Gumroad collects 10% of each sale, and there are no subscription fees.
Create your ecommerce store today ⏰
If you have a tight budget for your business, you’ll need an affordable platform to launch your website. Ideally, this should still allow you to customize your online store and scale up as your business grows.
If you want full control over your ecommerce site, WooCommerce may be the best option. You can set up a fully customized WordPress site and shop around for the cheapest hosting. To get started, you can follow our guide on how to set up WooCommerce.
If you prefer an all-in-one solution, Shopify is probably a better choice. You can follow our detailed Shopify tutorial to get started.
And if even these cheap ecommerce platforms are outside your budget, you might want to check out our collection of free ecommerce solutions.
Do you have any questions about the cheap ecommerce platforms featured in this post? Let us know in the comments section below!