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Should You Create An Online Store For Free? What’s The Better Option?

Is it a good idea to create an online store without paying or should you opt for a paid plan from a store builder instead? To make this easy for you, let’s take a quick look at the different plans offered by three of the largest and most popular online store builders – Shopify, Wix, and Weebly.

Plans

Shopify comes with a 14-day free trial and three plans – Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. There’s not a plan at no cost on Shopify. The Basic Shopify plan costs $29/month, Shopify plan costs $79/month and Advanced Shopify costs $299/month. You can opt for yearly plans from Shopify. When you purchase a plan for one year, you’re able to save 10% while when you opt for a two-year plan you get to save 20%.

Shopify has a range of plans available.

Wix has a plan that you can choose and create online store free at Shopify. But remember that you won’t be able to accept payments from your customers when you opt for the free plan from Wix. Apart from the free plan, Wix comes with three other plans. The Business Basic costs $20/month, Business Unlimited costs $25/month, and Business VIP costs $35/month. While you can build your store for free with Wix, you won’t be able to do anything substantial unless you upgrade to a paid plan.

Weebly comes with a free plan as well just like Wix. Apart from the free plan, you get four different plans. The Connect plan costs $5/month, the Pro plan costs $12/month, the Business plan costs $25/month and Performance plan costs $38 when you opt for yearly plans. If you want to opt for the monthly plans then the cost is higher for all the plans.

Sales Features

Shopify comes with an extensive range of sales features that help you connect and do well. All Shopify plans enable you to sell on social media and various marketplaces as well. Shopify enables multi-channel integration whereby you can connect to Amazon, Instagram shop, and sell via Facebook as well. There are more than 100 integrations available by Shopify. The abandoned cart recovery is available in the basic plan too which is a major bonus in Shopify.

Wix and Weebly are not that strong when it comes to extensive sales features. Wix’s free plan comes with free apps that you can use for integration. Your website is going to be hosted on a Wix domain. However, Wix does enable you to use the marketing solutions to build your business and there’s SEO assistance available in the free plan where you can create online store free. In Weebly, the biggest drawback is that you don’t have multi-channel integration even in the paid plans. The free plan just provides you with the basics since some apps are available to you for marketing free of cost.

Weebly’s free plan does not come with marketing essentials.

Themes

When it comes to themes, you get 10 free themes from Shopify. You get over 50 unique paid themes that range from $140 to $180. The advantage of opting for Shopify’s themes is that they’re all automatically responsive in nature, i.e., the website automatically adapts to the device screen size or resolution. Shopify themes can be effortlessly customized to suit your needs through the dashboard and the editing interface. Shopify comes with an image editor that enables you to edit all your images and you get to select from a range of royalty-free stock images too.

Wix has more than 500 themes for you to choose from. You can start with a blank theme too if you want to create online store free. You don’t need to pay for any of the themes and templates. However, there is a catch. You cannot use all the features that you find in the templates unless you have a paid plan. Another issue is you can’t change the template once your website has launched. If you want to change the theme, you’re required to build the website again. You can easily customize with or without coding and the themes are mobile responsive which is a plus.

Wix has a wide range of themes.

Earlier, Weebly used to have average looking themes but now it has shown improvement in the theme quality. However, not all themes are mobile responsive. There are themes that you can find according to the categories which makes it easy for you to look for particular themes just like in Shopify and Wix. There are over 40 themes available for you to choose from and all of them are available for free.

Which Is Better?

While it can be tempting to start out with a free plan it might not be worth it in the end. As you see with Wix and Weebly, they do offer the basic features that you require to create online store free but you will not be able to scale your store with these features. There are lots of hidden costs involved with Wix and Weebly since many of the essential features aren’t part of the free plan. Shopify, on the other hand, comes without a free plan. However, their basic plan provides you with scope to grow since a lot of features are available for a competitive price. These include recovery of an abandoned cart, selling on various platforms and so on.

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