how to shop on ebay safely

We will be discussing purchasing on ebay, buying on ebay without an account, how to buy on ebay for beginners and how To Shop On Ebay Safely. eBay is one of the best places to buy some amazing stuff at very affordable prices, but you need to be very careful with it.

When it comes to buying on eBay, most of the times you are not dealing with a big business or brand instead you are dealing with some individual seller selling the stuff.

There’s nothing wrong with individuals selling on the platform, but that means you need to be extra careful in order to avoid getting ripped off.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind to avoid getting ripped off on eBay.

how to buy on ebay for beginners

How To Shop On Ebay Safely

If it’s too good to be true, it really is.

If you see an offer that sounds like one of the best deals on the planet then you are probably looking at a scam. A PS4 for $50? The latest iPhone for only $100? Yeah, that’s definitely a scam.

Now, not all offers are going to be a scam, but if there is an offer with such an unbelievable price tag then you need to do your research to understand what’s going on. Maybe, try to find the seller’s ratings to understand whether the offer is real or just a scam.

Researching the seller on eBay

When you land on the perfect deal, don’t just immediately press the bid button. You need to do our proper research otherwise you might run head first into a bad deal.

Researching the seller on eBay

Make sure that you read up everything about the seller before you commit to a purchase.

Check the seller information which is on the right side of the current bid.

eBay Feedback Profile

Click on the number next to the seller’s username. It will take you to the seller’s feedback page.

Buying from sellers who have 100% positive feedback rating for the last 12-months is a great way of ensuring almost perfect odds to never run into any scams.

However, there are many sellers with slightly lower ratings that are completely genuine and honest in their dealings.

Is eBay Safe? How to Stay Safe on eBay - For Buyers and Sellers

Read the complete item description

This is one major issue that leads to people falling into obvious scams. Most buyers just look at the pictures of the item and hit the buy button. However, some scammers just put up pictures of a complete item (for example, an Xbox), but in the description, they clearly state that it’s only a Box of the Xbox console.

It’s not an outright scam since they are mentioning what they are selling, but it’s still deceptive tactics. It often misleads impulse buyers into buying a box instead of the real thing.

Read the complete item description

So, always check the complete item description to see if you are getting exactly what you want.

Never accept offers to deal outside of eBay

This one should be common sense. If you are on eBay to buy an item then all your dealings should be on eBay using the tools provided by the platform. If the seller asks you to send them money directly outside of eBay for a cheaper deal then you steer clear of that because, in case of a scam, eBay will not be able to help you recover your money. Never deal outside of eBay with an eBay seller. Ask them to carry out all their proceedings on the platform to ensure both your safety.

How to Safely Sell on eBay

If you are a seller, then eBay is definitely not so safe for you. For this, I recommend that you do your due diligence before selling any items on eBay. First of all, you need to research all the common scams running on eBay.

Research about the scams that are related to whatever you are selling. If you want to sell gift-cards then it’s better you choose some other place to do so because it’s one of the easiest ways to get scammed.

A potential scammer will buy the gift card from you, use it, and then claim that it didn’t work and eBay will always side with them in almost 99% of the cases.

The sole reason why it’s so difficult and risky to sell on eBay is that eBay wants to make their platform safe and straightforward for the buyers with their Money-back guarantee.

Here’s how you can stay safe when selling on eBay.

Keep all the delivery and shipment details handy

If a buyer claims they didn’t receive an item, it’s the seller’s responsibility to prove that they actually shipped the items and they were successfully delivered. Seller has to upload the tracking number that that clearly shows the delivery was successful to the buyer’s address, and if the order total was over $150 then it also has to show a sign of confirmation.

If the signature of confirmation is not available because the delivery man forgot it or whatnot then you are out of luck because eBay will side with the buyer. However, if the signature is there or if the delivery shows delivered (under $150) then eBay will mostly side with the seller.

Ensure your product listings are accurate

If the buyers receive the item but feel unhappy with it, then they have 30-days to return the items. However, they can not just return the item for being unhappy with it; they need a legit reason for return which can be anything like broken items, mismatched description, wrong images, etc.

If they can prove that you mislead them with false images or deceptive description, then they will win the dispute. So, you need to make sure that all the details on your product page are original. You need to show the images if the actual product in its original state.

How long does eBay hold seller funds?

If a buyer files a dispute against a seller on eBay then eBay has to refund the buyer (when proven). So, in order to successfully reimburse the buyer, eBay needs to get reimbursed from the seller. For this purpose, they hold the money for new sellers for a certain period.

This way, eBay has the seller’s funds in their account so they can refund the buyer when an issue arises. They put a hold on new sellers’ account until the sellers accumulate a decent number of positive ratings and have a proven track record of positive selling feedback.

Payment holds on eBay occur mostly because:

  1. You are a seller on eBay for less than 90 days
  2. Your feedback score on eBay is lower than 100
  3. Your rate of customer disputes is quite high
  4. You are selling in a high-risk category like tickets, travel, gift cards, computers, electronics, phones, etc.

purchasing on ebay

So, as you can clearly guess, if you are a buyer then you are pretty much safe when buying on eBay, but you still need to do your due diligence when making a purchase.

However, if you are a seller on eBay then you need to carefully monitor all your dealing to avoid any unwanted surprises. If you want to stay safe on the platform then you need to carry out proper research whenever dealing on eBay.

Here are a few tips to help consumers safely buy on eBay, even for the newest buyers. 

Item Description

Read the entire item description carefully before making a purchase. Everything you need to know is in this section. If you don’t see the information you need to make a buying decision, click the “Contact Seller” button and ask. The item description should contain vital information including:

  • Condition, new or used
  • Color
  • Size and measurements
  • Country of manufacture
  • Defects, damage, or issues with the item
  • Accessories included with the item
  • Payment options
  • Return policy and details

When bidding, making an offer or buying an item, you are agreeing to purchase the item based on what is stated in the listing. Always make sure you understand what you are buying before making the purchase. The seller cannot change the item description after the item has sold.

Seller Feedback

Review seller feedback before buying an item. Feedback on eBay shows the member’s trading history with other members, both buying, and selling. Click on the “Feedback as a Seller” tab to see what previous buyers have said about the seller. Study the total number of feedback comments, as well as the percentage of positive feedback to total feedback.

Also look at the type and number of items sold and compare the information to what the seller offers. For example, if the seller’s history shows only $10 items sold, and you are considering purchasing a $500 item, make sure you are comfortable with the seller’s ability to accurately represent the item. 

Read through the comments and see what other buyers have said about the seller. For example, you want to determine customer satisfaction with the timing of shipments, the way items are packaged, and the overall buyer experience. Also look at comments left by the seller for their buyers. Is he polite, thankful, and appreciative of buyers? If other buyers have had positive experiences with the seller, you will likely have the same experience.

A good feedback score is 98 percent or higher. You can still buy safely on eBay from sellers with lower scores, just be sure to do your homework and check them out. Sometimes legitimate circumstances occur, and sellers work hard to overcome bad feedback and improve their standing on eBay.

Offers Outside eBay

Never accept offers to buy outside of eBay. Some unscrupulous sellers will try to get buyers to purchase items off of eBay. Sellers can bypass eBay fees by moving the transaction from the site. This is a big violation and can result in suspension from eBay. Always complete the transaction on eBay, through Paypal. There will be a record of the transaction, and the item may be available for buyer protection if there is a problem later. Never send cash or use instant cash transfer services.

When buying on eBay, buyers receive the benefits of buyer protection coverage, access to seller contact information, and eBay and Paypal as third-party watchdogs to step in if problems arise. You can buy safely on eBay. In fact, eBay is safer than someone’s personal website because of the third-party involvement of eBay and Paypal. Always report any offers to buy or sell an item outside of eBay.

Communication

Always communicate through the eBay messaging system. If there is a problem, disagreement, or an open case, the first step eBay will take when reviewing the case is to read all correspondence between the buyer and seller. Therefore, it is important to keep all communication with your seller on eBay through the eBay messaging system. There will be a trail of correspondence, and everything will be in writing. The seller can’t backpedal or change their mind about what they told you. Many cases are resolved simply by eBay looking at the message history between buyer and seller. And remember, when corresponding with your seller, that eBay may read those messages one day. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it.

Best Paid eCommerce Platforms

The following platforms are best for beginners with little experience setting up or managing a webshop. These five providers offer solutions for small businesses and individuals for setting up their online stores fast. Almost everything is taken care of for you, so you won’t have to set up payment processors, deal with transactions, or even manually send out invoices.

1. Wix – The Best eCommerce Platform

wix homepage
Visit Wix.com

Wix Pros

+ No transaction fees
+ 500+ free eCommerce templates
+ Unlimited products and accounts
+ USPS shipping discounts
+ In-house payment platform
+ 24/7 support (phone/ticket)
+ Free domain for 1st year
+ 14-day money-back guarantee

Wix Cons

 No live chat
 Very limited features in the cheapest plan


Wix’s main direction is giving its customers a straightforward way of building a website or an online store. In fact, their platform powers over 500,000 businesses worldwide. Wix also provides hosting for your online store and their plans are quite cost-effective starting from $23/month with an annual subscription.

You get to choose from 500+ free mobile-optimized eCommerce themes and create your store in 90+ languages for a global reach. Starting from the cheapest plan, you can add unlimited physical products and accounts. However, subscription selling comes with a higher tier plan (starting from $27/month).

Wix’s eCommerce platform’s main features are abandoned cart recovery, customizable checkout page, instant purchase buttons, add to cart from a gallery, wishlists, loyalty programs, discount codes, and customer accounts. Furthermore, you get $300 worth of online ad credit and some useful online marketing tools. Wix also supports multi-channel sales through Facebook, Instagram, and eBay.

However, you can only access some features with higher-level plans, so make sure to double-check if the essential store elements you’re looking for are coming with the plan you choose.

Payment Options

Wix offers payment integrations with 40+ providers, including PayPal, Stripe, and Square. They also have an in-house developed payment platform, Wix Payments, which you can use to accept credit/debit card payments and integrate with other payment providers. Starting from the Unlimited plan, you also get a multi-currency converter feature that lets you accept foreign currency and sell your products worldwide.

Wix also comes with an automated sales tax calculator, which is pretty handy. However, this feature has transaction count restrictions based on the plan you choose.

Online Store Management and Reports

Wix has a straightforward website and an online store builder. Furthermore, you can do all the store management, refunding, and tracking from the Wix’s dashboard. Wix also has a mobile app, where you can add products, fulfill orders, track your inventory, get notifications, and more.

Wix supports both direct and drop shipping, which you can also manage through the dashboard. You can set up shipping rules, add custom shipping rates, and print shipping labels. A great perk is Wix’s partnership with USPS, which gives you discounted rates on shipping costs.

The analytics side is also packed with useful reports. You get access to Google analytics, customizable reports, top products’ reports, and business insights. The availability of different statistics depends again on the subscription plan you choose.

Customer Support

Wix has 24/7 customer support through a ticketing system and a callback function. Unfortunately, they don’t offer support over live chat, which is questionable in today’s standards. They do have an extensive knowledge base where you should find answers to most of your questions.

Also, when you first sign up with Wix, their Launch Experts help you get your store online quickly. That’s a great feature, especially if you’re new to online stores.

Wix Help Center

Pricing

Wix’s eCommerce viable plans start from $23/month with yearly payments. You also get a free domain for one year when going with the annual payments.

Wix doesn’t charge for transactions when integrating with third-party payment processors or Wix Payments. The standard credit card processing fees still apply to the latter.

Business Basic: $23/month with annual payments

  • Free eCommerce templates
  • Unlimited accounts and products
  • 20GB of storage
  • Integration with Google Analytics

Business Unlimited: $27/month with annual payments

  • Everything in the Business Basic plan
  • 35GB of storage
  • Subscription selling
  • Automated sales tax (100 transactions/month)
  • Advanced shipping options
  • Currency converter
  • Facebook, Instagram, and eBay integrations

Business VIP: $49/month with annual payments

  • Everything in the Business Unlimited plan
  • 50GB of storage
  • Automated sales tax (500 transactions/month)
  • Priority support
  • Customized reports
  • Loyalty program

Wix’s cheapest plan is rather basic. You miss many great features that can help your online store grow or make managing your shop more efficient. However, the upside is that the next tier plan isn’t that expensive, with only a $4 difference in the monthly expenses. We recommend going with the Business Unlimited plan for those reasons above.

Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t have a free trial other than building a free website without eCommerce capabilities. Still, you get a 14-day money-back guarantee to test it out.PS! After you sign up, check the pricing page occasionally as we have noticed that Wix has been offering a 50% discount on some business days.

Get started with Wix here.

Read Wix tutorial

2. Shopify – the Most Popular Platform

Shopify ecommerce
Visit Shopify.com

Shopify Pros

+ Same features across plans
+ Additional shipping discounts
+ Unlimited products
+ In-house payment platform
+ 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support
+ 14-day free trial

Shopify Cons

 2 accounts with the cheapest plan
 2% commission outside Shopify Payments
 Only 9 free themes


Shopify is a well-known eCommerce platform provider, with over one million stores, 2.1 million active users, and $155B+ worth of sold goods on its platform. Their plans start from $29/month. They have an in-house payment processing platform and substantial discounts on shipping rates.

You have a choice between 73 mobile-optimized themes from which 9 are free, and 64 are paid, starting from $140. There’s no limit on the number of products you can add. However, you need a plugin app to process subscription services, something you can purchase from the Shopify App Store.

Some of the other notable features are abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, custom discount codes, and integrated marketing tools such as email marketing, and social media distribution (availability based on the country). Yet, with the cheapest plan, you can only add two contributor accounts.

Payment Options

Shopify gives you the option of using their in-house developed Shopify Payments platform. What is great about it is that it’s integrated with most of the major gateways from credit cards to Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.

They also have increased security protocols with Level 1 PCI compliance and a default fraud analysis. You can also track and manage the payments in an integrated back office.

Online Store Management and Reports

Managing your inventory and orders, and setting up product pages are also very straightforward and easy. Their interface allows you to drag-and-drop your products, includes automatic image optimization, and you can purchase additional plugins from Shopify’s App Store.

You can print shipping labels and send customers automatic tracking updates. Also, Shopify has cooperation agreements with DHL Express, UPS, and USPS, which gets you additional discounts on shipping costs.

Shopify allows you to easily integrate your website with Google Analytics to get basic data about your store’s performance. However, the professional eCommerce reports come from the Shopify plan. Building custom reports are only possible from the Advanced Shopify plan.

Customer Support

Shopify has 24/7 customer support over email, live chat, and phone for paying store owners. Otherwise, you can find answers to your questions through forums or Shopify Help Center.

Shopify customer support help center

Pricing

The plans start from $29/month and include all the main features, but the significant difference comes from the transaction fees. You also get access to more detailed reports with the higher-tier plans.

The transaction fees for online credit card rates start from 2.9% + 30¢, and the additional charge for using any other payment provider begins at 2%.

Basic Shopify plan: $29/month

  • 2 accounts
  • Shipping discount up to 64%
  • Online credit card fee 2.9% + 30¢ or 2% using other providers

Shopify plan: $79/month

  • 5 accounts
  • eCommerce reports
  • Shipping discount up to 72%
  • Online credit card fees 2.6% + 30¢ or 1% using other providers.

Advanced Shopify plan: $299/month

  • 15 accounts
  • Custom reports
  • Third-party shipping rates calculations
  • Shipping discount up to 74%
  • Online credit card fee 2.4% + 30¢ or 0.5% using other providers

The downsides of the cheapest plans are the higher costs for transactions and the availability of useful reports. However, the plan costs and additional perks scale well with the size of your online store.

Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card information required so you can test out their platform rather easily.

Get started with Shopify here.

Read Shopify tutorial

3. Squarespace – Best Online Store Builder

Squarespace homepage
Visit Squarespace.com

Squarespace Pros

+ Cheap starting plan ($18/mo)
+ Free themes
+ Unlimited accounts
+ Unlimited products
+ Free domain for 1st year
+ 14-day free trial

Squarespace Cons

 3% commission with the cheapest plan
 Weak support experience


Squarespace is a great all-in-one platform for building a successful online store to sell goods. They take care of all the server management and give you easy-to-use tools for building and running your shop. Their pricing is quite cheap, starting from $18/month with annual payments and basic features.

You get access to tons of mobile-optimized and customizable templates, which you can further tweak by using CSS and Javascript. You can upload as many physical products as you need, but the subscription selling option comes only with the Advanced Commerce plan.

Other main features are the customizable promotional pop-ups and banners, abandoned cart recovery, automatic shipping rate calculations (ZIP code level in the US), customizable discount rules, custom integration with APIs, and limited availability labels for promotional use. However, some of these features are only available with higher-tier plans, so take a look at the pricing section for Squarespace below.

Payment Options

Squarespace allows you to accept major credit card payments directly to your bank account. You can also set up a Stripe account to accept more payment methods such as Apple Pay, PayPal, etc. All of this allows your online store to accept major currencies from around the world.

You can also set custom tax rates with support to VAT, HST, and GST. The taxes also reflect automatically on customizable invoices.

Online Store Management and Reports

Squarespace’s interface makes it easy to use. Set up your product pages, manage your inventory, track any outstanding orders, and manage your customer base from one central location. Use a simple drag-and-drop tool, update your customers on email, and print packing slips from one central location.

You get access to website analytics and additional sales and conversion metrics to track your online store’s success. You also get an overview of your customer base with further data on total spend, average basket value, and other benchmarks. Among the reports, you can find the best selling goods, current sales trends, conversion monitoring from a visit to sales, and many more.

Customer Support

Squarespace has 24/7 email-based customer support. Their live chat support is available only from Monday to Thursday. Outside of the live chat hours, you’re greeted by a chatbot, which responds to specific keywords from your written question. It can handle simple requests, but for more specific questions, you might want to get in touch with a support person.

They do claim that all inquiries get answered within an hour.

SquareSpace live chat support example

Pricing

Squarespace is available with both monthly and annual payments, but the latter comes cheaper with every plan. Also, the yearly plans come with a free domain for one year.

The transaction fees only apply to the Business plan (3%). Yet, credit card processor fees still apply to all plans.

Business plan: $18/month annually or $26/month monthly

  • Free templates
  • Unlimited contributors and products
  • Website analytics
  • 3% transaction fees

Basic Commerce: $26/month annually or $30/month monthly

  • Everything in the Business plan
  • No transaction fees
  • Customer accounts
  • On-domain checkout process
  • Additional eCommerce analytics

Advanced Commerce: $40/month annually or $46/month monthly

  • Everything in Basic Commerce plan
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Subscription selling
  • Automatic shipping rate calculation

The downside of the cheapest plan is that it comes with 3% transaction fees, no customer accounts, checkout is redirected from your domain, and no abandoned shopping cart recovery.

However, you can get started with Squarespace for free without adding a credit card to try them out.

Get started with Squarespace here.

Read Squarespace tutorial

4. Zyro – the Cheapest Base Plan

zyro homepage
Visit Zyro.com

Zyro Pros

+ Cheapest starting plan ($8.99/mo)
+ No transaction fees
70+ payment gateways
11 free themes
+ Free domain for 1st year
+ Free Unsplash image library
+ 30-day money-back guarantee

Zyro Cons

 100 product limit with the cheapest plan
 Weak support experience
 No free trial


Zyro was just founded last year, and they came out of the gate fresh and with new ideas for a simplistic eCommerce platform. Their plans are quite cheap, starting from $8.99/month (with a 3-year commitment) and having some state-of-the-art AI integrations to help you build an online store.

You can choose between 11 free mobile-optimized storefront themes, which you can modify in a handy grid setup with drag and drop functionality. You can add physical and digital products, but they don’t support subscription selling at this point. You’re also limited to 100 products with the cheapest plan, which upgrades to unlimited with the next tier.

The other main features are a live chat plugin that comes as a default, custom discount codes, and gift cards. The abandoned cart recovery feature and integrations with Facebook and Instagram are available with the higher-tier Plus plan. US customers can also benefit from a default integration with Amazon.

Payment Options

Building your online store with Zyro allows you to accept payments from the major credit card companies VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and AMEX. You can also add a variety of 3rd party payment applications such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square, to name a few. In total, you get access to over 70 supported payment gateways, which is quite impressive.

Online Store Management and Reports

Starting from the cheapest plan, you get access to a simplistic interface for all of your inventory, shipping, and tax management. You can set up your product pages with an intuitive drag and drop function, set shipping options, and create custom tax rules for your products.

Your online store with Zyro is easily integrated with Google Analytics to track basic website metrics and has a built-in remarketing application. You also have a complete overview of order tracking and invoicing. Yet, in all that simplicity, when your online store grows, you might want to have more data and analytics options.

Customer Support

Zyro’s customer support is available 24/7 over email and live chat. The live chat option becomes available after you sign up. Even though you can email them 24/7, don’t expect a quick response. Our inquiry received an answer about 16 hours later when we reached out. But, when we got in touch through live chat, we got a reply much faster.

Zyro also has an extensive help center.

zyro help center

Pricing

The cheapest online store compatible plan starts from $8.99/month with a 3-year commitment. You can also choose an annual or a monthly payment plan with higher prices. All plans come with a free domain for the first year. You also get free access to Unsplash’s image library, which is a great addition.

What’s even better is Zyro’s no-commission policy, which means they don’t charge you on transactions. However, credit card processor fees will still apply to every plan.

eCommerce plan: starts at $8.99/month (renews to $19.99/month)

  • 11 free themes
  • 100 product limit
  • Live chat plugin
  • Discount codes and gift cards

eCommerce “+” plan: starts at $13.99/month (renews to $28.99/month)

  • Everything in the eCommerce plan
  • Unlimited products
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Multi-language store option
  • Integration with Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon

The most significant limitation of the cheapest plan is the 100 product cap. You are also missing out on some great features that come with the eCommerce “+” plan. We recommend going with the higher-tier plan straight from the beginning as there isn’t a huge price gap between the two.

Zyro doesn’t offer a free trial option, but you can cancel your subscription within 30 days for a full refund.

Check out Zyro’s platform here.

5. Volusion

volusion homepage
Visit Volusion.com

Volusion Pros

+ No transaction fees
+ Subscription selling by default
+ 11 free themes
+ In-house payment platform
+ 24/7 support
+ 14-day free trial

Volusion Cons

 Expensive starting plan ($26/mo)
 No website hosting included
 1 account with the cheapest plan
 Product limits with cheaper plans


Volusion offers eCommerce store and shopping cart software but doesn’t provide website hosting. They still deliver a decent online store building and managing package for selling goods. Their prices start from $26/month with annual payments. However, if you’re just getting started with your online store, then you might want to look at some other options.

There are 11 free and 34 paid ($180) themes you can pick from for the base of your online shop. The templates are mobile responsive, and you can tweak them further with CSS. You can set up your store for subscription selling by default. Unfortunately, there’s a limit on the added products with cheaper plans.

The other main features are built-in SEO tools and social media integrations, related products feature, customer accounts and reviews, discount codes, and gift cards. Abandoned cart reports start from the Professional plan ($71/mo billed quarterly).

Payment Options

Volusion offers a payment integration Volusion Payments. The transactions are PCI certified and secure with additional integrations with Amazon Pay, PayPal, and Stripe. The payment process is done on-domain without any redirects. In the US, Volusion Payments offers a 2.15% transaction rate and low monthly fees for major credit cards.

Online Store Management and Reports

Volusion’s platform has intuitive drag and drop tools for building your online store and managing it. You can set custom shipping types and prices. But, the automatic shipping rates calculator becomes available only from the Business plan. You can still set custom tax rates for your products using the built-in tax rate calculator.

You’re only able to create advanced reports starting from the business package, which includes your standard analytics and in-depth online shop progress insights.

Customer Support

The base plan only includes 24/7 online chat support. However, you are first greeted by a chatbot and a promise to get an answer within an hour. With the Professional plan, you get additional phone support, with the Business plan priority support, and with the Custom plan VIP support.

Volusion live chat support example

Pricing

Volusion’s pricing structure is based on your past 12-month sales. Once you’ve exceeded the threshold turnover for the past year, they automatically upgrade you to the next plan. You can study the thresholds for each plan below.

Volusion doesn’t charge additional fees on transactions, but the standard credit card fees still apply.

Personal plan for sales of $50k a year: $26/month quarterly or $29/month monthly

  • 1 contributor account
  • 100 products
  • Social media integrations
  • Online support

Professional plan for sales of $100k a year: $71/month quarterly or $79/month monthly

  • 5 contributor accounts
  • 5,000 products
  • Abandoned cart reports
  • Online and phone support

Business plan for sales of $500k a year: $269/month quarterly or $299/month monthly

  • 15 contributor accounts
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Amazon & eBay integration
  • Advanced reports
  • 3rd party shipping rates and payment gateways
  • Priority support

The cheapest Personal plan is excellent for starting and building your online store. But, it only comes with one user account, and you can add up to 100 products. You’re also missing abandoned shopping cart recovery and phone support.

However, if you want to try Volusion out, you can do so for 14 days without giving your credit card information. It’s not as long as some other providers are promising but give you enough time to get your bearings.

Try Volusion out here.


4 Best Free eCommerce Platforms

To make these free, open-source eCommerce platforms work, you need to have web hosting and a domain name previously in place. You can then set up these platforms through your web hosting panel, such as cPanel, with 1-click-installation. Or, you can also set them up manually.

1. WooCommerce (Free)

woocommerce homepage
Visit WooCommerce.com

WooCommerce Pros

+ Simple WordPress interface
+ Free themes
+ In-house payment platform
+ Support forum
+ 30-day money-back guarantee

WooCommerce Cons

 Limited freedom


WooCommerce is an open-source plugin for WordPress based websites. WooCommerce itself is entirely free to get started, but you must have website hosting and WordPress already in place. You can also enhance your online store with paid extensions, integrations, and themes for your storefront.

Like WordPress, WooCommerce has several free themes that you can use to build your online store. Another option is to purchase premium themes to set your store apart from free theme users.

You can set up various payment options from major credit cards to integrations with Stripe, PayPal, etc. You can also sign up with WooCommerce Payment with no setup charges or monthly fees. This allows you to accept credit or debit cards with a charge of 2.9% + 30¢ for each transaction with the US-issued cards. An additional 1% fee applies for any other cards issued outside the US.

All of the inventory management, tax calculation, and shipping rates management takes place in the WordPress interface. You can integrate your WooCommerce store with Google Analytics to keep track of data.

There’s an extensive support forum for WooCommerce that can be your first go-to source for information. Since the platform is mostly free, you are expected to handle things on your own or hire an outside programmer.

As a bonus, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee with every purchase from the WooCommerce app store.

Learn how to set up a WooCommerce store (step-by-step guide)

2. Magento Open Source (Free)

magento homepage
Visit Magento.com

Magento Pros

+ Development freedom
+ Widely used
+ Clean marketplace
+ Support forum

Magento Cons

 Requires intermediate experience
 Expensive paid version


Magento’s open-source platform is designed for small businesses and developers. It’s a great online store builder if you’re looking for a platform with the most freedom. However, if you don’t have experience with Magento, you need to hire someone who does.

Magento is fully mobile-optimized, but with the open-source platform, you need to build the store up yourself. This also means that you have a lot of freedom for rich content for products and other features. You can also get additional eCommerce extensions through Magento Marketplace.

The platform is integrated with PCI Compliant Payment Solutions. You are responsible for setting up the payment gateways or getting an extension from the marketplace.

Managing a Magento Open Source store also requires some extensive expertise. The platform has integrated checkout, payment, and shipping modules, but again, you need to set them up yourself. So, no fancy drag and drop tools, default dashboards, or simple input modules in this platform.

There also isn’t any direct technical support with the open-source Magento version. However, there are guides, walkthroughs, and forums dedicated to any questions related to Magento’s platform. There are also developers for hire who specialize in Magento’s online stores.

Magento is also available in a paid version, but the cost can rack up to thousands of dollars.

Learn how to set up a Magento store (step-by-step tutorial)

3. PrestaShop (Free)

prestashop homepage
Visit PrestaShop.com

PrestaShop Pros

+ Strong community
+ Available in 75 languages
+ In-house fraud detection
+ Support forum

PrestaShop Cons

 Hidden free themes


PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform with a strong community. It gets regular updates and bug fixes, and upgraded versions now and then. It’s also available in 75 languages, which is quite impressive.

PrestaShop offers a mobile-optimized platform, and you can choose between various themes. In their official marketplace, the storefront themes start at $69.99. But, you can find community-developed free themes from the forums rather quickly. These free themes don’t appear in the official marketplace.

You can install payment gateways through different integrations. There are also some free integration possibilities such as PayPal, Skrill, or Blockonomics Bitcoin Payments addon. PrestaShop’s platform also comes with in-house developed fraud detection, which you can add free of charge.

PrestaShop’s dashboard is where you can add modules to build your online store and customize it. From their marketplace, you can also get free modules for live chat plugins, shipping options, marketing tools, reporting, and many more. There are 50+ free modules you can choose and add to your online shop.

Technical support is community-based with some of PrestaShop’s step-by-step guides. There’s also a public forum with a strong community to support you.

Learn how to set up a PrestaShop store (step-by-step guide)

4. OpenCart (Free)

OpenvCart homepage
Visit OpenCart.com

OpenCart Pros

+ Lots of free extensions
+ Integrated shipping methods
+ 36 payment gateways
+ Support forum

OpenCart Cons

 Messy marketplace


OpenCart is another easy-to-use, open-source eCommerce platform, which currently supports over 342,000 eCommerce stores. They have many built-in features and an extensive library of free extensions.

Their platform is mobile-responsive, and you can choose from free and paid themes as a base. You can find both options in OpenCart’s marketplace, which features over 13,000 modules and themes. However, the marketplace itself looks a bit messy, so we recommend you to check out the ratings and comments beforehand.

You can add unlimited physical or digital products with both one-time and subscription selling methods. OpenCart provides an option between guest and registered user checkout by default.

OpenCart has 36 integrated payment gateways. You can choose any of these, such as Authorize.Net, Amazon Payments, First Data, Klarna, LiqPay, Skrill, PayPal, SagePay, and many more. They also have integrated shipping methods with Australia Post, Citylink, FedEx, Parcelforce, Royal Mail, UPS, and USPS.

Your online store’s management is also quite straightforward for managing products, customers, orders, tax rules, and promo codes. The admin dashboard comes with an overview of your online store’s performance. Also, you get a default sales report, viewed products, and purchased products already built-in.

OpenCart offers free community support with forums and useful guides for setting up and running your webshop. They also offer a paid dedicated commercial support option with a price starting at $99/month per site.

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