There are many different levels of shopping cart software, offering varying degrees of complexity. You may need a simple page for a few products. Others may want inventory management and a full online store as in an eCommerce platform. Free shopping cart software will often have limitations restricting functionality or scope. Another potential option is going for open-source software. Working within criteria that do not harm your use case is the best way to get shopping cart software at no cost to you.
The shopping cart software covered in this piece are:
Which Shopping Cart Software is Right For You?
Below are the 5 best free shopping cart software and eCommerce platforms. Each is very different and will be suited to different types of users.
WooCommerce- eCommerce Solution for WordPress Users
WooCommerce is the perfect, easy-to-use choice for those who use the popular website building platform, WordPress. This extension offers a simple way to create a functional store within your company website.
With this tool, you’ll be able to accept a variety of payment options and quickly set up a store page. The extension supports many integrations for payment acceptance, marketing, and social media. Paypal, Square, and Stripe are all supported, along with WooCommerce Payments, the vendor’s own acceptance software. Marketing tools like MailChimp and Google Ads also integrate well.
The basic storefront themes are included for free and will look clean and professional. Base templates are rather common, so you run the risk of not standing out if this is a concern for your company.
Shipping can be handled directly in the extension. For most users, simple shipping plugins are enough. These plugins support flat rate and local pickup shipping options. Users can manipulate shipping rates directly in the WordPress admin panel.
Payment acceptance can cost, depending on one which method you use. Using PayPal or Stripe would incur their fees. WooCommerce’s own version does charge a 2.9% +30 cent fee for its transactions if you choose to use this feature.
Potential users of this should also be aware that WordPress can come with other costs. Server hosting and additional plugins may cost money, depending on your circumstances. For existing WordPress users, WooCommerce is extremely easy to implement and use to sell products.
Ecwid – Best Shopping Cart System for Smaller Stores
This software is a free version of more advanced software. This no-cost option is limited to just 10 products on your store page. If this is not a problem for you, then this software will likely be a strong option.
Ecwid supports unlimited bandwidth and a site builder with 70+ themes. A major benefit of Ecwid is the ability to add a store to an existing website. . You can also use Ecwid to sell on multiple websites.
Hosting is a strong benefit of this service. Ecwid offers unlimited storage at no additional cost in all of its plans. This includes the free one discussed here.
This storefront can integrate with an extensive number of platforms. You can add the store to a Wix, WordPress, or Weebly website. Tumblr and Blogger are also supported. For payment acceptance, Squarespace is commonly used with this tool. PayPal, Stripe, and more than 40 other payment providers are also supported.
This software is GDPR compliant, an EU data protection standard. You will be able to simplify tax season with the built-in tax invoicing feature. For those whose organizations are registered as nonprofits, Ecwid offers discounts.
Ecwid offers strong mobile responsiveness. The shopping cart will adjust and optimize to almost all mobile devices. Android, iOS, and windows are supported. For those who upgrade to a paid plan, the whole store can be run from mobile devices.
Finally, the tool offers strong advertising support. Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google Ads are all fully supported in the free version. Only MailChimp and other email marketing tools are restricted to their paid versions.
Magento Strong Ecommerce Features for Tech-Savvy Users
Magento is an open-source shopping cart software that offers most of the functionality usually limited to paid software.
Payment gateways, checkout, and shipping are all supported in the open-source license of this product. These features all carry over well to mobile devices. Your buyers will be able to use the instant purchase feature to streamline their checkout process.
For those with pre-built websites, site search allows users to find products more easily and with greater control. On the vendor side, catalog management tools allow you to keep track of your storefront and products.
It is crucial to note that open-source software is more difficult to implement than the previously mentioned options. There is no WYSIWYG website builder included in this option. You will have to install this software into your website or hosting service.
The community support for integrations on this service is strong. Payment acceptance tools are fantastic, and users have created templates to make the implementation process easier. At the time of writing, there were 3,862 premade extensions to this software. This includes accounting and finance tools, marketing, shipping, analytics, and much more. About 550 of these are also open-source.
Your ability to take advantage of the features offered here will come down to your organization’s technical expertise. Those with the knowledge and experience can make Magento a powerful tool. You will be able to get many benefits, usually locked paywalls. If you do not have this skill set, this option will likely not be for you.
Loaded Commerce – Open-Source Software with Inventory Tracking
Loaded Commerce is another shopping cart solution with extensive features for those with the skill to take advantage of them. The major benefits here are the administration tools available to users.
The admin dashboard is extensive and can be segmented to different access levels for users. Catalog and sales information can be stored with MySQL and backed up. Wishlist and sales reporting are incorporated to give managers a better understanding of what is happening with their storefront.
Loaded Commerce allows for extensive shopping options. The software includes free shipping logic enhancements and supports major shipping modules. These include UPS, FedEx, and USPS.
Clients will have a number of convenient options in your store. Featured products, brochures and discounts, coupons and product categories add a level of depth to your store pages. Previous/next item support is included. Store users can create and edit orders, with or without an account. On your side, a content director system (CDS), and WhosOnline information support your site management.
Website creation is supported by a WYSIWYG editor and brand management tools. Payment integrations are supported, and the software offers its own version as well. An FAQ manager will help you answer questions faster.
In summary, it is clear that the feature list for this software is extensive. Like other open-source eCommerce solutions, users will need a level of technical knowledge to implement them. Doing so will take more time than others. WooCommerce or Ecwid will be faster to fully implement, but the customization of Loaded Commerce is impressive.
Square eCommerce – Professional Standard on a Per-Transaction Cost
It is important to note, off the bat, that this will not be a cost-free option. While free to implement, Square will take a cut of each of your transaction fees, usually 2.9% + 30 cents. For some, this will be a deal-breaker. For others, the absence of a set monthly fee is the issue, so this may work.
If you are okay with losing a small section of your payment, the benefits of this software will appeal to you. This is a balance between strong functionality and ease of use. You will be able to sell unlimited products, with full shipping, delivery, or pickup support. You can integrate well with other Square services, as well as dozens of other products.
A benefit of this product also comes from its popularity. Square is a trusted name, which may be important to those with more wary customer bases.
Users will be able to track their inventory and show a live count of what is in stock. This can be made available to customers as well, to save on disappointment. You can generate coupons and rewards programs with ease.
Flexibility in this eCommerce software’s payment acceptance is a major benefit. Almost all major payment methods are accepted. Gift cards are also supported, something rare in shopping cart software of this tier. Visitors to your store can customize their orders.
Contact forms allow you to gather email and survey information from visitors to your websites. Instagram and other social media advertising capabilities will help your brand messaging. Other SEO tools and features help you optimize for google rankings, both on mobile and desktop.
Overall, Square is great for those who want some more features than the simpler options. Those without the time or knowledge to implement the open-source options may also consider the charge at the point of the sale worth it.
More Ecommerce Platform Information
For those still exploring their eCommerce options, check out our category page. There you will find more software, including paid versions, reviews, and ratings. Learn more from users like you and use this in your decision-making process.
Once you have made your decision, consider checking out the video below for some tips to boost ecommerce success.