Open online shop for free
If you do not have great skills in programming and / or Web design, you can rely on services that allow you to open an online store and manage it in a handful of clicks, directly via browser or app.
They are inclusive of hosting (i.e. of space on which to host the site), domain (i.e. the address associated with the site) and provide trial periods or free plans: here are some of the most interesting.
Shopify is one of the best solutions you can rely on if you need to open an online store but do not have advanced skills in Web programming and / or Web design. It is, in fact, a service with already active over 1.000.000 stores around the world that allows you to create professional e-commerce in a few clicks, or taps (it is also available as an app for Android and iOS / iPadOS).
It offers tons of customizable themes to choose from, unlimited secure hosting, free unlimited bandwidth, SSL certificate, blogging function and a free shopify.com domain name, with the option to purchase a custom one or use an existing one. It then allows you to launch marketing campaigns on Google, Facebook, email or SMS, view advanced sales statistics and easily manage orders, inventory, customer lists, sales, discount codes and more.
You can try it for free for a limited period of time (without entering payment data or renewal obligation), after which you can choose from various plans available, suitable for all budgets and all needs: the basic one starts at $ 29 / month and includes unlimited products; 2 staff accounts; 24/7 assistance in English; manual creation of orders; the possibility of using sales channels such as marketplaces and social media; recovery of abandoned carts and much more.
To create your e-commerce with Shopify, connected to the official website of the service, type yours email address in the appropriate field and click on the button Start your free trial, then type the Password you want to use for your account, the name you want to assign to the store and press the button Create your shop.
On the next page, specify if you have already started selling, what your current income is e if you are creating a store for a customer, provide the other requested information, click on the button NEXT (or on that Salta, if you want to skip the step) and fill in the prospectus relating toaddress to receive payments.
At this point, you should be in front of the Shopify management panel with, on the left, the menu that allows you to quickly access all the sections of the service: by clicking on Home you can access the main e-commerce dashboard; by clicking on Order Process, Products, Clients e Analysis you can manage orders, products, customers and view sales data; pressing on Marketing you can set up marketing campaigns; by clicking on discounts you can set up discount codes, while in App e Online shop you can customize the functions and appearance of the store.
To find out more, I invite you to consult my tutorial on how to create an e-commerce with Shopify, in which I explained how the service works in even more detail.
One Minute Site
One Minute Site is another well-known name in the creation of websites for e-commerce (and not only). Allows you to open a free online store with three products and a third level domain oneminutesite.com using ready-to-use themes also optimized for mobile.
To place more than three products in the store, you need to switch to one of the paid plans, such as One Minute Site Professional which allows you to sell 20 products at 8 euros / month + VAT, or Try&Buy which provides a 3-month free trial of the plan Business (16 euros / month + VAT) and allows you to insert unlimited products in the shop.
The plans also include HTTPS security certificate, Custom domain, 3 email boxes that can be activated, 200MB of Web space, Pro assistance within 24 / 48h, no advertising, HTML and CSS that can be changed, telephone number with voicemail that can be activated for free, Google Analytics Code, Google Maps Key, Google Search Console, Price Finder Integration, Coupon Codes and more. There are no sales commissions. More info here.
To open your e-commerce on One Minute Site, connected to the home page of the service, click on the button CREATE E-COMMERCE and choose a theme among those available. Then fill out the form that is proposed to you with store name, email address e Password, check the box for general contact e captcha and his bottone award Create your online store.
At this point, decide whether to start the guided creation of the site (to be guided in the personalization of the same) or that DIY (if you prefer to build your site manually), click on Select and continue and proceed following the on-screen instructions. In the case of the wizard, you will need to answer a series of questions related to your site.
At the end of the initial setup, you can take advantage of the One Minute Site editor to build your e-commerce. The elements displayed on the screen can be customized with a simple click on them. To manage the store catalog, on the other hand, you can press on the tab eCommerce (top) and then on the button Activate e-commerce.
Once you have performed the initial store configuration (by entering general settings, payment methods, shipping costs, documents, etc.), you can easily manage your products, as also explained in the official One Minute Site guide.
Other solutions to open an online store
The services for opening an online store mentioned above are among the best, but they are not the only ones. So here are some other interesting alternatives you might want to consider.
- Blomming - this is a well-known service for creating e-commerce and selling your products online, including via Facebook. It has a 15-day free plan, after which it costs 9,99 euros / month with 5% commissions or 19,99 euros / month with 3% commissions. Billing is annual. I told you about it in more detail in this tutorial of mine.
- Wix - well-known service for creating websites without programming knowledge. It allows you to create a free site associated with a third level domain .wixsite.com with paid plans for e-commerce starting from 17 euros / month. I told you about it in my guide.
- Jimdo - another well known name in the field of "on the fly" website creation. It allows you to create e-commerce sites starting from 15 euros / month (with annual billing) with domain included, 10GB of space and zero commissions.
CMS to open online stores
If you are familiar with the "manual" creation and management of websites, you might consider installing a CMS (a content management system) on a separately purchased web space (through a service of hosting, to be associated with a domain, also to be purchased separately) and to manage your e-commerce through the latter.
You will lose the convenience of having a solution that does everything in one click, but you will gain both in terms of flexibility and fixed costs. There are several CMSs you can think of contacting: here are some of the best known examples.
- WordPress - it is the most used CMS in the world for the creation of blogs and websites. Free and open source, it has numerous plugins and themes that allow you to expand its functions and shape it according to the user's needs. Among the most interesting plugins, from an e-commerce perspective, there is WooCommerce which allows you to create an online store in a few simple clicks. For more information on how WordPress works, see my tutorial dedicated to the topic.
- Joomla - is one of the best alternatives to WordPress. It is a CMS that can be used for the creation of sites, traditional blogs and even e-commerce, through plugins such as Virtuemart. More info here.
- Magento - Open source CMS widely used for the creation of online shops with medium-high business volumes. Definitely less intuitive than WordPress, it is however very powerful and flexible. Its basic version (Open Source) is free but there are also paid ones (Magento Commerce), with greater potential. More info here.
- Drupal - is a free and open source CMS used in the creation of medium-large e-commerce. It is extremely powerful and flexible but, for this very reason, it requires some technical knowledge to be used profitably. More info here.
- Prestashop - Open source CMS considered as one of the best and simplest alternatives to Magento. You can download it for free or buy it already installed in all-in-one packages that also include hosting and domain. More info here.
If you are looking for solutions for hosting your e-commerce or for purchasing a domain, do not hesitate to consult my tutorials dedicated to these topics.
You must know, then, that there are simplified solutions for CMS that, for a rather low monthly or annual expense, allow you to have ready-to-use CMS installations including hosting and domain. An example above all is theAruba Managed WooCommerce Hosting.
With Aruba's Managed WooCommerce Hosting, you can create an online store based on WordPress and the plugin WooCommerce us unlimited space on SSD, an 2GB database on SSD, certified SSL DV, support for traffic up to 500.000 monthly visitors, automatic backup, staging environment, and much more. Prices start at 124,50 euros + VAT for the 1st year and then 249,00 euros + VAT / year. For more information, see my Aruba Managed WooCommerce Hosting tutorial.
Open an online store on existing platforms
If you do not want to open your own e-commerce but want to take advantage of the viability of platforms already established in this sector, here are some alternatives that might be right for you.
Open online store on Amazon
Amazon is the most famous online store in the world and putting your products for sale on the latter is equivalent to having enormous visibility.
open an online store on Amazon, you can choose whether to opt for a account base (less than 40 items for sale per month) by paying a fixed closing fee of € 0,99 + a referral fee depending on the category of the product sold, or a account Pro which has no limits on the products sold and provides for a recurring cost of 39 euros / month + a commission per referral depending on the product sold.
For more details on how to sell on Amazon, see the tutorial I dedicated to the topic and the official Amazon page.
Open an online shop on eBay
Also eBay, the famous online auction site, offers the possibility of creating a shop for those who need to make high sales volumes. There are three plans available: Base with 300 Buy It Now free adverts at € 19,50 / month; Premium with 10.000 Buy It Now free adverts at € 39,50 / month e Premium Plus with unlimited free Buy It Now adverts at 149,50 euros / month.
For more information on how to open an eBay store, consult the tutorial I dedicated to the topic and the official eBay page.Open online shop