The cheapest ecommerce platform in 2018

The long (and I guess, real) version of the title of this post would be "the cheapest e-commerce platform in 2018, that I feel comfortable with recommending to our readers who are looking for a high quality e-commerce solution". But because that would take up half of the page, a small compromise has been made in the headline. In reality it is possible to find some solutions that offer free e-commerce store templates, but frankly most of the time those lack some really key features or will "overcharge" you in some way once you actually start generating revenue with your store - the way they will make you actually pay more over the long term is often related to the fact that the company offering the "free" ecommerce solution charges high transaction fees on every sale that you make through your online store. So with that mind I'm going to recommend you a platform that costs $9 per month. And let's be real, if you are going to sell online, does it really make that much of a difference if you pay $9 or $0/month for the service?

Cheap ecommerce platform for $9/month

Out of the all big e-commerce platforms, Shopify offers the cheapest service in 2018. For only $9/month you can use Shopify to sell easily via Facebook. If you want to build a dedicated site (strongly recommended, more of that at the endof this page) with their service, the lowest per month price they offer is $29/month - which is pretty much in line with the other platforms. However, the price of building your own online store with Shopify actually gets even cheaper if you pay in advance for a year or two years. For one year the discount is 10% and for two years 20%. So in other words if you opt for the $29 package and pay fir 12 months in advance, the price per month is actually only $26.1 and in the case of two years the price is only $23.2/month. The Shopify discount for the two year package makes the solution cheaper than its main competitors' prices for comparable plans. It is worth mentioning that there is no extra starting fee or anything like that, so you can truly get started very cheaply with your online business when you choose Shopify.

Sell online for only $9/month

If you are looking for an easy and cheap way to sell online, it is hard to go wrong with Shopify. In addition to being cheap, they are also one of the best, if not the best, eCommerce service in 2018

Great, inexpensive, solution for small shops

This part has been added in February 2018: 3dcart recently added a new addition to their e-commerce plans, and the new plan is a great choice for those who want to build a small standalone site for selling a small amount of products (at least in the beginning). The 3dcart's new plan is called the "Startup plan" and it costs just $19 per month. That catch is that for that price you can only sell for up to $10,000 in a year. If you believe that you are not going to sell over this limit, 3dcart's the startup-plan could be a great alternative to Shopify.

Naturally you can upgrade your plan at any time at 3dcart, so it entirely possible to start with the $19 plan and then switch to a bit more expensive plan once you start having considerable success with your store. Go to 3dCart now or read the 3dcart review

What other e-commerce solutions cost

Some of the other big e-commerce platforms include for an example Bigcommerce and Americommerce. The cheapest solution offered by Bigcommerce costs $29.95/month and the cheapest solution offered by Americommerce costs $24.95/month. If you were to go the route of having a custom built webstore the costs could easily run to thousands of dollars and in addition to that the time it would take to launch your store could be weeks if not even months - when on the other with the ready made e-commerce softwares you can start selling the same day you sign up for the service.

Can you trust a cheap ecommerce platform?

While it obviously depends on the specific service provider in each case, it can be said that generally speaking the companies offering cheap solutions are also very trustworthy. Shopify, for instance, is currently listed in the New York stock exchange and has a market valuation of around $10 billion, so it is not some tiny startup company run from a garage. The fact that the company is listed in the stock exchange also means that you can always get pretty good up-to-date information on how well the company is doing financially. It is also good to note that because the e-commerce software providers are selling intangible products that can be extremely easily replicated, "producing" more of the same product costs them basically nothing and as such cheap price doesn't equal bad quality. 

Free trials are common

While it is a very difficult, if not impossible, to find a high quality e-commerce builder that you could use for completely free, it is good to know that basically all the big platforms offer free trials. For an example in the case of Shopify, they actually offer a nice 14 day free trial during which you can test the platform, and only after that you have to decide if you want to build an actual store using their service, or if you would rather go with some other solution. And best of all, you don't even need to give your credit cards to get the free trial.

Start cheaply - upgrade later

When starting with an inexpensive solution it is nice to know that all the major e-commerce solution providers have made it very easy to upgrade to more premium options. So in other words, you can use the inexpensive plans as a way to get to know the features that the software has, and if you get a good feeling you can easily upgrade to a slightly more expensive system that provides even more features.

Why you should build an actual online store, instead of just selling through Facebook

Selling through Facebook can be a nice way to get started in selling items online or a good addition to your ecommerce website, but you really should consider having a dedicated website for your store, in case you don't have one yet. Having a dedicated store helps with branding, makes it easier for customers to remember your store, makes it easier to customize your offering and also makes your website a more attractive acquisition target to potential buyers, which is important in case you are hoping to sell the business one day. It is also worth mentioning that it is bit weird to link to your Facebook store, for example, from Twitter or Pinterest as those are in a way competitors of Facebook. Running a store on a dedicated domain name also adds a certain type of level of security as you are not at the mercy of the social media platform and don't have to worry about the potential changes they might make to their system, or the fact that consumers' might start spending their time online somewhere else - as we know, for example, from the case of MySpace the popularity of platforms can change drastically.

In case you are afraid that you might not have the technical skills to build a dedicated ecommerce website, I would like to simply encourage you to try one of the more popular e-commerce solutions - the odds are that even if you have absolute no experience with building websites or coding or anything like that, you will notice in couple of hours that it is actually extremely easy to build your own online store.

The cheapest way to do dropshipping

If you are looking to get started cheaply in running an e-commerce business, the best way do to it is probably by trying dropshipping. Dropshipping is a concept in which you are basically just the middle man between the end consumer and the producer of the product. The way it works in practice is that you list products on your store without buying the inventory to yourself and once someone buys something from your store, you simply forward the order to the producer who then ships the product to the consumer. 

So in other words, when you are running a e-commerce business in this manner, you don't have to invest any money into inventory - having to buy inventory can obviously be extremely expensive and also carries significant financial risk, if your store doesn't start producing income rather quickly.

If you plan to use the dropshipping-model for your e-commerce store, Shopify is probably by far the cheapest way to do it. This is thanks to the platform's strong integration with Oberlo, which allows you to do 50 drophipping orders for free per month. Oberlo also has a great catalog of products listed on their software, so you don't have to spend any time and money on trying to find the vendors who are willing to do dropsipping.

About the Author Atte

Moi! Mun nimi on Atte. Olen kiinnostunut verkkokaupan pyörittämisestä ja lainoihin liittyvistä asioista. Näiltä sivuilta löydätkin siis esimerkiksi tietoa verkkokaupan perustamisesta sekä pikalainoista.