ecommerce: Advantages and disadvantages of choosing a free solution for your online store. From creating an online store and setting up product page. Finding the right ways to reach key customers and selling products to them, there are a number of moving parts to take care of with the ecommerce site. Therefore, it is important to choose a set of tools that will do the hard work of building an online store in the exact way you find it.
With so many tools for creating an ecommerce site on the web. And new solutions coming out at unprecedented speeds, starting an online store is easier than ever. However, with so many options around the world, making the right choice is the most complicated. You will want to check the ease of use, functionality, customization, security, support, marketing, and analytics tools, but also the total cost.
There are all kinds of tools to build an ecommerce store. But only a small number of them come at almost no cost at all. So, if you are working on a short-term budget but still wish to sell online there are a few ways you can do it. Using free ecommerce software (such as WooCommerce), a professional free trial builder (like Squarespace), or an online store builder that provides the program free (like Weebly).
Also, some so-called free site builders will allow you to set up your online store completely free. Of charge but will start charging when the first sale comes in. That is why there is so much to consider when choosing one solution over another.
As there is no easy answer, we have compiled a list of the five most important things you should know about free e-commerce creators before choosing one of them.
You will still need to purchase certain services
As with everything in life, if an ecommerce website builder comes for free, should there be some kind of hosting? The fact is, though, that most free site building tools come with some built-in cords.
First of all, the term ecommerce site builder should not be confused with a related ecommerce platform (like BigCommerce). Which is the ultimate solution that comes with everything needed to create and operate a professional online store. Thus, the ecommerce platform is a hosted solution also known as the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. This means that web hosting services come with the same package as all other important ecommerce site features.
ecommerce site builder is similar to any other website developer
In contrast, an ecommerce site builder is similar to any other website developer (only enabled for ecommerce) which means that the obligation to set up a server or choose a suitable web hosting provider is yours, and yours alone. Additionally, a free site builder will be expected to have a domain name. While the ecommerce forum will take care of that task. In simple terms, an ecommerce site builder can be part of the ecommerce platform, but it will not be the other way around.
Therefore, by choosing a site builder (whether free or paid), you will also spend a few dollars a month (at least) on a web hosting service and twelve dollars a year (and at least) domain registration. .
When it comes to domains, we should be aware that with most free programs you will not have the opportunity to use a custom domain name, which means you will be forced to create a subdomain linked to a company domain. This can make your web address (URL) look like a myth and cast doubt on the credibility of your ecommerce business as a whole.
To link your domain to a new site builder and ensure that your online store’s web address instills confidence in your upcoming customers, you will probably need to upgrade your free system to a paid one. It’s the same if you wish to connect multiple domains, buy new ones, or get a custom domain name.
Small domain is okay with a personal site
While using a small domain is okay with a personal site, when you set up an online store it is worth having your own domain name. While you are there, you can get creative with domain extensions (for example, .shop, .store, or .shopping), or, you can go with one of the best top-level domains (like .com,. Org, and .net).
You will end up being brutally attacked by advertisements
When you think of ads, the first thing that comes to your mind is to sell the ad space with the intention of making a few extra dollars. However, these ads (mostly) are annoying and, in many cases, come packed with the creators of a free ecommerce site.
For example, with free programs, your site can be accompanied by an ad at the top of each page, which may not be a big deal on a personal blog or a non-profit business. However, if you are using a professional ecommerce site this could be a distraction.
Let’s take Wix as an example.
With their free program, you can create an excellent ecommerce site, but if you do not upgrade to a paid system immediately Wix ads will appear on each page as favicon in your URL.
Annoying ads are equivalent to annoying hackers, lack of a “About” page, or failure to update your blog. They are among the most controversial decisions that can make your site look like a professional, so evaluate your options carefully.
However, the downside of allowing ads on your ecommerce site is that sometimes your subtle competitors can buy advertising space on your site from your free provider and steal your customers as if they were nothing. Therefore, by trying to save money you may be accidentally destroying your ecommerce business and that is a warning sign that you will not be able to take lightly when you start.
You can get a free program by many ecommerce site builders but don’t expect much other than empty bones
If you dream of setting up an amazing online store that will stand out. From the crowd with a unique charm to attract customers from all over the world. That dream is far from a reality than you might think of a free ecommerce builder. Although you have many ecommerce domain builders.
Free Wix program you will get access to their site editors
For example, with the free Wix program you will get access to their site editors. But you will find the program lacks customization tools. Which means your online store can end up looking like any other store built with the same builder. Also, you probably will not be able to add any advanced features. To your store such as apps and integrations that will severely compromise its functionality.
Another potential problem for many free e-commerce site builders is the lack of clarity. When it comes to the free features that are truly available. You may be in the middle of running your store before you realize you can’t access certain key functions.
For example, with some site builders with ecommerce functionality (like Wix). You will find everything you need to build an online store. But you will not be able to add products or accept payments, which makes everything very good.
Conversely, with paid site builders you can expect to find all the important
ecommerce features (such as product pages, shopping cart, and payment options), but also smart site-building jobs with which you will create most of your site design. automatically. This is made easier by using ready-made templates and tailoring to your needs.
Paid ecommerce site builders
While most paid ecommerce site builders come with many easy-to-use themes. And templates suitable for all types of stores, your free site builder is at risk of looking like other stores.
With ecommerce open source software (such as WooCommerce, Magento, and PrestaShop). Your customization level is huge and if you dig deeper you will find thousands of fully functional themes and templates spread across the web. To understand it, however, you will need to have some technical knowledge.
Another area of your ecommerce site that will suffer from the free program. Is about site resources and ultimately, its functionality. With many free programs you can expect to get something between 500MB and 1GB of storage space. Which is not too bad for a small first site. However, large sites with a lot of traffic cannot do less than 5GB as. They can reduce loading time and cause poor performance overall.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing tools
Lastly, we need to talk about search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing tools. If you have a deep knowledge of SEO and have a solid SEO strategy. You may be able to escape without having the SEO tools you have. If not, you will probably want to turn your free program into a premium. As almost all free site builders (or free programs) will not get any SEO tools.
The same goes for marketing tools and analytics tools, both of which are often not available with free programs. Yet are required if you wish to upgrade your online store for success.
It’s a way to do it yourself, so get ready to roll up your sleeves
If you are serious about running an ecommerce business, providing solid support should be at the top of your list of priorities. At the same time, you need to make sure you have strong support for your ecommerce site, as many things can go wrong while creating, launching, and using an online store.
If a site builder provider provides customer support only during working days. By email only, and waits a few days. Before providing any kind of response, then it is not the provider you want to choose. While providing customer support day and night by phone, live chat. And ticket system is not something we usually see in a free program. Finding a provider who does at least part of this can be considered a winner.
The problem is, if you use a free program you will probably. However, when it comes to useful resources such as the source of information, video guides. And the FAQ section there should be as many options as paid. So, if you don’t mind rolling your sleeves and looking for a solution on your own. Then a free ecommerce site builder might be on your way.
Highly restricted to ecommerce website
In addition to providing a basic set of tools only, free ecommerce site builders will also set strict limits on your site: the number of pages you can build, not allow you to add a domain name, and limit your site resources (such as RAM, bandwidth, and disk space).
So, even if your ecommerce business starts out successfully. It has such limitations and all the advanced features locked. Behind a paid plan will not take long before it starts to get into big trouble. One solution seems to be to upgrade the free system to a premium or, better yet. Avoid the free option in the first place.
However, if you only plan to use the site as a personal blog, portfolio, or other nonprofit. Then a free ecommerce site builder may be the right choice. Also, if you are a newcomer to ecommerce you have a burning desire. To try any kind of ecommerce site builder. Without having a clear idea of what you really want to achieve, then donate.