How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

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In 2024, it will be easier than ever to start an ecommerce business and open an online store. There are many ecommerce systems to select from, but we will go through two of the best in this article: Ecwid and Square.

If you are new to the world of ecommerce and want to open an online store for free, this article will guide you through the process.

Before you start deciding which of the two free ecommerce platforms you will use, consider the following two points.

SSL certificate for website security Domain name for your online store

Let us start by going over how to sort those before we go into the store builders.

Selecting an appropriate domain name is an important step.

By now, you should have a good notion of what things you will be selling and what your business name will be. If not, do not worry; here are some helpful hints for choosing the right domain name.

1. Customers should be able to grasp what you sell simply by looking at your name.
2. Originality — it may seem self-evident, but type your concept into a search engine to discover if it is already in use.
3. Availability – your e-commerce website domain name concept must be first available. To see what is available, use a checker like a Name.

The https://business-name.square.site / my-ecwid-store format is available with Square and Ecwid’s free plan. If you want your personalized domain, though, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription on either platform.

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Hosting a website

Selecting a dependable web-hosting provider is crucial for the success of your ecommerce website. Hosting guarantees that your site does not crash, that it is safe from hackers, and that it loads swiftly for users.

Web hosting might cost anywhere between $2.49 and $900 per month. This depends on how busy your online store is, and you will only need the lower end of the pricing range at first.

1. If you choose Square Online’s free plan and accept the above-mentioned URL syntax, hosting is free. You will, however, require web hosting if you connect a custom domain. Ecwid is not exempt from this requirement.
2. We recommend Site Ground’s VPS hosting since it gives you your dedicated server and eliminates the need to share your server with other websites.

A secure socket layer (SSL) certificate

Finally, there is the question of security. This is critical in ensuring that your clients feel safe and secure when they use your website to make a purchase.

It is worth double-checking whether this is already included in the pricing plan when you choose your online store. This is included in the free plan with Square, but not with Ecwid.

What does this appear to be? In essence, it appears like a basic lock next to your name. A small description appears in Google Chrome to reassure customers that their information is safe. This is critical since clients may be concerned about using their credit cards online.

A secure website might also help with SEO. When shoppers use a search engine to find your products, Google favors websites that have an SSL certificate.

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We will look at two different ways to build a business for free in this article:

1. Method 1: Using Ecwid, create an e-commerce store free of cost.
2. Method 2: Using Square Online to create an online store

Here is the demonstration.

Method 1: Using Ecwid to create a free online store

Ecwid is an excellent choice for your online store.

The functionality, on the other hand, differs from that of common ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, and WordPress. You are simply adding your online store to an already existing internet presence with Ecwid. They do, however, provide a platform, which we will address later.

Their main product is a widget that you can place on your website. It is how they got their name: “Ec” stands for “ecommerce,” and “Wid” stands for “widget.”

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Starting at the beginning

When you join up with Ecwid, you are automatically enrolled in their free plan for life. You may sign up using your computer or the Ecwid app, which is available for Apple and Android.

Before you go to the dashboard and start creating product categories, you should think about the following procedures.

Company Address – this is necessary to receive payments and to set up your delivery. Store Name – what is the name of your store and what currency will you be dealing in?

Experience with ecommerce – Ecwid wants to know how long you have been selling online and what you sell. Fill out this form and check the box to receive eCommerce suggestions from them; they are quite useful.

Ecwid is essentially a plugin, as previously stated. Therefore, they want to know if you have a website already. If you do not, you can use Ecwid’s platform instead.

After you have completed these steps, you will be directed to the dashboard, where you’ll find a How To Become a Seller On Daraz Pk helpful setup guide for the next steps.

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1. Products or services can be added.
2. Examine your regional options.
3. Payment alternatives for delivery/shipping

It is vital to note that whether or not you acknowledged having a website previously will affect whether or not you complete step 2. You can skip the following section and go straight to the product section if you do not have a website.

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Integrating Ecwid with an existing store

“Add your store to a website or social network” is the second step. If you have your online store, you can choose to interface with Google, Amazon, eBay, and a variety of other services.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

 

Simply click “learn more” to be directed to the appropriate marketplace where you may add your Ecwid. This step is quite simple to complete.

Consider the following example of connecting your Wix account to Ecwid. Click on “Main” from the dashboard, and you will see an option to “Connect an Account.”

You will be prompted to give the app permission to work with Wix; simply select “Accept” and the graphic below will appear to show that it is now linked.

Product Additions

You can now start adding products to your website, regardless of whether you already have one. If you have decided to use Ecwid’s platform, this will be done through product pages.

You can add products individually, import through CSV, or start altering Ecwid’s example data from the product’s dashboard. If you want to start over, click “Bulk update” and then “Delete Selected.”

Ecwid provides the cleanest UI of any ecommerce platform when it comes to adding products. You can include the product name, price, SKU, description, and weight, just like Square.

Throughout the book, Ecwid provides helpful hints. Highlighting all of the different angles, you should take of your photograph to ensure your product is purchased, especially when it comes to product imagery.

If you want to sell digital products, you can uncheck the option below, which prevents the item from being shipped.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

A few more tabs at the top are optional but should be filled out to provide as much information as possible.

1. Attributes – you can insert a universal product code or a brand name here if you have one.
2. Options – you may use this to create a dropdown menu for different sizes.
3. Files — to access this feature, you must upgrade to the VENTURE plan, which allows you to upload e-books, videos, and music. If you are selling digital goods, this is especially useful.
4. Enter the weight and dimensions of your purchase for tax and shipping. Set up the product’s shipping option and the way your purchases are taxed.
5. Unfortunately, the free plan does not provide the ability to change meta descriptions and titles.
6. Linked Products – if you have products that are related to your item, you may highlight them on the page to make it easier for the user to click on the “Buy Now” button. Button – if you are selling via email, social media, or multiple marketplaces, you can include this product button.

With Ecwid’s free plan, you can only display a maximum of ten products.

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Geographical Locations

Ecwid gives you an estimate of how long each step will take to set up your store. This is the quickest step, taking only one minute.

The majority of your regional settings would have been completed during the initial rapid setup.

You can change the currency you deal in and add any new languages to your site from this menu, which will cost extra. It is worth mentioning that the date and time will be set to New York time by default. So, if that is not the case for you, change it.

Shipping / Delivery

Ecwid’s free price plan offers excellent shipping alternatives. You can choose to include all or any of the options listed below.

Choose between domestic and international shipping. Enable automated shipping costs with couriers or make adjustments based on whether your products require special shipping.

Local Delivery – Are you able to deliver items locally yourself? If this is the case, you provide free delivery to customers in your postcode region.

Add a pickup location and hours of operation. Customers can also be asked to specify when they will pick up the merchandise.

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When you choose “Shipping,” you’ll see the most popular alternatives for your nation, but you can also manually add other carriers.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

When you put up a courier option in Ecwid and use the option to automatically calculate rates, all of the different delivery options offered by that courier will be pulled through.

Royal Mail provides 18 distinct possibilities in this situation. You can choose which ones you wish to be enabled because they may not all be relevant to your business.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

You will need the VENTURE plan if you wish to charge a handling fee on top of your product to cover order fulfillment or any additional packing charges. If you do decide to do this, be warned that it may be undesired and result in cart abandonment.

 

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Optional Payments

Ecwid features a lot of great payment choices, and unlike Square, they also have PayPal on their free plan. If “pay by cash” is selected by default, you may wish to change it if it is not applicable.

Ecwid integrates with Stripe, a payment processor that takes a variety of bank cards and debit, as well as Apple payment services. However, Google Pay is not available through their Stripe and Square interfaces.

If you want to add cash on delivery, phone orders, invoices, or purchase orders manually, you can do so.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

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Putting your website online

Any modifications you make to your store after the initial setup will update in real time, unlike Square Online. This implies you must double-check everything you have entered.

It is worth looking over the various website options before sharing your site. You may change the layout, company information, and any client testimonials you have here.

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Ecwid’s collection of free themes is unrivaled by any other platform. They are organized into several categories based on your industry, and all of the themes can be customized.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Ecwid supports drop shipping.

Before we go any further, it is worth mentioning the Ecwid drop shipping features. If you want to build an internet store for free, dropshipping is a terrific way to cut costs even more.

Dropshipping, concisely, allows you to sell your products without having to have them in stock. The order is placed with you, and then a supplier handles the fulfillment.

Printful, Syncee, and Wholesale2B are just a few of the Dropshipping apps that Ecwid can interact with.

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Method 2: Using Square Online to create a free online store

Square Online is a fantastic way to get started with your online store.

Square Online’s brilliance is that it is simple to set up, even for a non-techie. The free version of Square lets you sell an infinite number of products for pickup or delivery and includes a point-of-sale system. It features some amazing social network integrations, like Pinterest and Instagram, and, most significantly, an online shopping cart.

So, what is Square’s revenue model? You are billed for each credit card transaction.

Starting at the beginning

To get started, go to Square’s price page and sign up for a free account.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

After that, you will be asked whether you want a rapid setup or a more complete one. This is entirely up to you, however, keep in mind that you may always add more features and personalize your configuration later.

If you are an individual seller or a business, Square Online has numerous choices for you. You can enter your company name and personal information here.

You can get money the same day whether you accept credit card payments, PayPal payments, or both. The option is free if you are ready to wait up to two working days. Your first setup is complete once you have entered your bank account information.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Choose a design template.

Square Online provides four website builder options to assist you in creating your perfect store; for this example, we have chosen “Retail.” It will next ask you further questions about the goods and how you plan to fulfill your orders.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Square’s initial setup is fantastic because it gives you four alternatives to pick from. Start small with a single shopping page, an Instagram page, or the entire online experience with the options provided below. The checkout links, which we described previously and may be shared on social media, are the fourth option.

If you are not sure what to do, you can use their very helpful Q&A to get some advice. This will next take a few minutes to set up your store, according to my experience.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Before publishing your website, you must complete the following six stages.

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1. Making your website look good
2. Getting your domain set up
3. Adding new items
4. Choosing shipping costs
5. Returns and shipping policies
6. Check-out procedures

Let us go over them one by one.

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Make your website unique.

This is where Square demonstrates its usability as a website builder. It will start your site for you by simply selecting or deselecting features on the left-hand side.

However, you won’t have much control over how your website looks, and there are no themes to select from. Only the font and color of your calls to action are allowed to be changed. Website builders like Wix, Woocommerce, and Shopify allow you to customize your storefront much more.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

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Getting your domain set up

After that, you will be requested to create a domain for your website. You have three possibilities from here.

1. Custom domain – A domain can be purchased straight from Square for $12 per year.
2. I already own a domain — if you already own a domain with GoDaddy, you may link it here. You should be aware that this would enroll you in a premium plan.
3. Square subdomain – this is a free option that includes Square branding in the URL, for example, https://richardsproducts.square.site.
How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

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Product Additions

Now it is time to have some fun! You are going to add some products to your website.

You can upload products individually or in bulk through Square, which is convenient. The products will immediately sync if you have a physical store and are already using Square’s point of sale (POS).

There are several mandatory fields to fill out while uploading your products, including the type of item, title, price, and description. SKU numbers, product variations, SEO titles, and descriptions are just a few of the optional fields you should include.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Finally, you must include a snapshot of your product. This is an important phase because product photography may make or break whether or not an item sells.

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Rates for shipping

To determine your shipping rates, you must first register the address from which you will be shipping. You should also specify where you might ship.

After that, you must choose your shipping prices. The most obvious option is to charge a flat amount, but you can also charge based on the weight of the product. We would also recommend including a free shipping incentive.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Returns and shipping policies

You will find some open text fields under the Checkout option where you can choose your shipping and return policies.

Here is a list of things to consider including in your shipping policy.

1. What services and couriers do you provide?
2. When an order is placed, how long does it take to be shipped?
3. Is there a cut-off time for placing orders for next-day delivery?
4. Are there any exceptions to the regions where you deliver?
5. Regarding your return policy.

What is the time limit for a customer to return an item?

1. What is the procedure for a return? Is it necessary for them to contact you?
2. How long will the entire procedure take?
3. Is it true that all products are refundable? You might wish to leave out any things that are on sale.
4. Are there any other options except returns? Exchanges and in-store credit

Checkout Policies

This is the stage where you select your ecommerce store’s payment gateways.

Google and Apple Pay are immediately enabled, and Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are among the credit card payment possibilities.

If you wish to use PayPal on your site, though, you will need to subscribe to the Professional price plan, which costs $9 per month. Flexibility is important, and customers appreciate having a variety of payment options, so it may be worthwhile to make the switch.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Putting your website online

You are almost there; now it is time to launch your website and start selling merchandise!

It is worth testing your website before publishing to minimize the inconvenience of making continual adjustments. You can acquire a URL to share with your team to get feedback. You should also examine how the site appears on a desktop and mobile device.

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Moreover, These are the finest free apps we identified to start your business after researching over 50 e-commerce platforms for The Ultimate Guide to E-commerce Software:

How to Start an E-Commerce Store for Free in 2024

Final words

In 2024, it will be easier than ever to open your internet store. Most platforms do not require any coding knowledge, and you can be up and running in a matter of hours.

Different strokes for different persons when comparing Square with Ecwid. Square’s checkout links or Ecwid’s plugin are both good solutions if you only want to sell a few products and want your ecommerce site to be a side income.

If you are serious about starting a profitable online store from scratch, Square is a better option than Ecwid. Square’s free account includes SEO and blogging features, whereas Ecwid’s does not. Square’s free plan also allows you to provide an unlimited number of products, whereas Ecwid only allows you to offer ten.

Ecwid, on the other hand, has several advantages over Square. The free PayPal option is fantastic, and the choices for customizing your store on the free plan are even more advanced. Square, on the other hand, is significantly more scalable and has far greater integrations.

Let us take a look at a handful of those connectors, as well as the free marketing tools available for each platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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