e-Commerce software: Free / low-cost options | BDC.ca
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Free and low-cost e-commerce software for your business



If you are interested in expanding your sales, using a virtual store to attract online shoppers may be the answer you have been looking for. Whether you are selling directly to consumers (B2C) or to other businesses (B2B), e-commerce is a great way to grow your customer base beyond your region. Fortunately, with e-commerce storefront software, setting up your own online store has never been easier.

How does e-commerce software help?

E-commerce software allows you to:

  • sell products and services online with minimal upfront investment
  • sell more easily and quickly
  • reach customers 24/7
  • expand your company’s geographic reach
  • improve your firm’s online visibility
  • lower customer service costs
  • automate some functions and allow customers to serve themselves
  • increase customer retention and loyalty, and
  • sell your products without maintaining a physical inventory.

What does e-commerce software do?

A basic e-commerce storefront is a web-based system that allows customers to shop for products and helps streamline the order fulfillment process. Regardless of the software you choose, you should be able to:

  • set up an online store with a shopping cart
  • accept payments online with PayPal and/or major credit cards
  • build an online product catalogue
  • optimize your webpages for online searches
  • automate inventory control
  • implement a tracking system
  • analyze your performance with reports and statistics, and
  • use online marketing techniques, such as interactive advertising, email marketing, social media or mobile marketing.

Free and low-cost e-commerce solutions

E-commerce solutions range from basic storefronts that simply manage e-mail orders to complex systems integrated with multiple aspects of your business. If you are looking for low-cost or free tools, you may want to consider the following. (SaaS refers to “software as a service.”)

Revised November 2014

  Free English French English support French support Data stored in Canada Cloud or SaaS Social integration
3dcart is offered in English 3dcart is partly offered in French 3dcart offers support in English 3dcart uses the cloud or SaaS 3dcart allows social integration

3dcart is a simple, affordable e-commerce platform. It offers fully customizable website templates, as well as UPS and FedEx label printing. The storefront can be in French, but the administrative interface is in English. There are no transaction fees and the company has recently added mCommerce functionalities to help iPhone and Android users shop directly from their mobile device.

Acomba e-commerce
Acomba e-commerce is offered in English Acomba e-commerce is offered in French Acomba e-commerce offers support in English Acomba e-commerce offers support in French Acomba e-commerce has data stored in Canada Acomba e-commerce uses the cloud or SaaS Acomba e-commerce allows social integration

Acomba e-commerce is an affordable, secure, multilingual, turnkey online commerce solution that is fully compatible with Acomba’s accounting software. The service has four price tiers, depending on the number of products, bandwidth and storage space you require.

AgoraCart is free AgoraCart is offered in English AgoraCart offers support in English AgoraCart uses the cloud or SaaS

AgoraCart is an open-source e-commerce solution that offers unlimited products and categories, and lots of flexibility to control your storefront’s design through cascading style sheets (CSS). The community edition is available for free, but the gold version provides additional benefits for a small one-time fee. However, you will need some degree of HTML and Perl programming knowledge to take full advantage of it.

AmeriCommerce is offered in English AmeriCommerce offers support in English AmeriCommerce uses the cloud or SaaS AmeriCommerce allows social integration

AmeriCommerce is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that allows you to run multiple stores using a single backend. All templates are fully customizable, using a drag-and-drop interface, and they integrate tightly with social media. AmeriCommerce even provides a Facebook login button to accelerate authentication when shoppers want to sign in from their Facebook accounts.

Ashop Commerce
Ashop Commerce is offered in English Ashop Commerce offers support in English Ashop Commerce uses the cloud or SaaS Ashop Commerce allows social integration

Ashop Commerce allows you to build a complete online store with an extensive list of features, including more than 60 editable design templates, a Facebook store and mobile storefront, a built-in marketing newsletter, the possibility of sending conditional emails, a search-engine optimized infrastructure, integrated metrics, and 24-hour customer support.

Bigcommerce is offered in English Bigcommerce offers support in English Bigcommerce uses the cloud or SaaS Bigcommerce allows social integration

Bigcommerce is a search engine-friendly e-commerce platform that allows you to promote your products on Facebook, eBay and shopping comparison websites such as Shopzilla, as well as through mobile devices. It is also eBay’s preferred migration platform for Magento Go and ProStores merchants. If you already run a bricks-and-mortar store, Bigcommerce supports omni-channel retailing with its in-store pickup option. Last, but not least, you can sync your orders, products and inventory with QuickBooks accounting software.

CoreCommerce is offered in English CoreCommerce offers support in English CoreCommerce uses the cloud or SaaS CoreCommerce allows social integration

CoreCommerce is an e-commerce solution that is very similar to Pinnacle Cart. Some of the features that set it apart from other solutions include excellent social media integration and responsive design themes. It works with Canada Post and also lets you create bilingual sites where the customer decides which language he or she prefers.

Highwire is offered in English Highwire offers support in English Highwire uses the cloud or SaaS Highwire allows social integration

Highwire started as a platform for managing your listings on eBay and now offers a full e-commerce solution. It is a good option for beginners, but it may lack some features for long-term scalability.

LemonStand is offered in English LemonStand offers support in English LemonStand has data stored in Canada LemonStand uses the cloud or SaaS LemonStand partly allows social integration

LemonStand has recently become a fully hosted SaaS e-commerce platform available via subscription. It is scalable and highly customizable, and does not charge transaction fees. All paid plans include a 14-day fee trial.

Liki is offered in English Liki is offered in French Liki offers support in English Liki offers support in French Liki has data stored in Canada Liki uses the cloud or SaaS Liki allows social integration

Liki is an e-commerce platform developed by a Montreal company that can help you create an online store, manage your inventory, process transactions and expedite shipping, all within the same system.

OpenCart is free OpenCart is offered in English OpenCart is offered in French* OpenCart offers support in English OpenCart partly offers support in French* OpenCart uses the cloud or SaaS OpenCart allows social integration

OpenCart an open-source e-commerce platform, is very popular because of its intuitive interface and scalability. The software supports multiple languages, currencies, shipping methods and payment options. While there is a French version, support in French is provided from France.

Panierdachat.com is offered in English Panierdachat.com is offered in French Panierdachat.com offers support in English Panierdachat.com offers support in French Panierdachat.com has data stored in Canada Panierdachat.com uses the cloud or SaaS Panierdachat.com allows social integration

Panierdachat.com offers a robust and scalable e-commerce shopping cart. With a comprehensive range of features including a secure solution that is PCI compliant to protect you against credit card fraud, Facebook and mobile commerce storefront, web-design tools, inventory management tools, and seamless integration with Intuit Quickbooks, it makes selling on the Internet almost easy.

Pinnacle Cart
Pinnacle Cart is offered in English Pinnacle Cart offers support in English Pinnacle Cart uses the cloud or SaaS Pinnacle Cart allows social integration

Pinnacle Cart offers a robust and scalable e-commerce shopping cart, especially if you’re looking for a solution that supports multiple languages and multiple currencies. Additional features include PCI compliancy (to protect you against credit card fraud), mobile templates, inventory management tools, and direct integration with Facebook and QuickBooks.

PrestaShop is free PrestaShop is offered in English PrestaShop is offered in French PrestaShop offers support in English PrestaShop offers support in French PrestaShop has data stored in Canada PrestaShop uses the cloud or SaaS PrestaShop partly allows social integration

PrestaShop claims to be the world’s leading open-source e-commerce solution, powering more than 185,000 stores worldwide. It is very easy to install and customize, especially for merchants with multiple stores. If you don’t want to download PrestaShop, you can still work with their hosting partner. The base product is free, although you’ll have to pay for hosting, additional modules and plug-ins. It also comes with Facebook, Pinterest and Google + social media buttons.

Shopify is offered in English Shopify offers support in English Shopify uses the cloud or SaaS Shopify allows social integration

Shopify is Canada’s leading e-commerce platform. Unlike solutions that force you to go through a third-party payment gateway, Shopify’s cart accepts credit card, PayPal and Bitcoin payments. Shopify’s point-of-sale system makes it easy to use your iPad to pick and scan the products your customers are buying and process payment with a simple card reader. Shopify charges a small transaction fee for every sale you make. The administrative interface is in English, but the shop itself can be in the language of your choice. The company is based in Ottawa.

Volusion is offered in English Volusion offers support in English Volusion uses the cloud or SaaS Volusion allows social integration

Volusion offers an all-in-one solution. Highlights include the ability to set up shop on Facebook, responsive templates, eBay and Amazon integration, flexible options to process tax charges, inventory management features, a built-in e-mail marketing and newsletter system, powerful affiliate tools, and outstanding security tools.

Yahoo! Small Business
Yahoo! Small Business is offered in English Yahoo! Small Business offers support in English Yahoo! Small Business uses the cloud or SaaS Yahoo! Small Business allows social integration

Yahoo! Small Business offers web hosting, domain names and e-commerce services. The e-commerce option includes features such as store design, a quick shopping cart that allows shoppers to pay by credit card or PayPal, and shipping services. Just like Shopify, Yahoo! charges a small transaction fee in addition to the monthly flat rate, whereas many other solution providers have a fixed monthly subscription model. There is also a setup fee.

Zen Cart
Zen Cart is always free Zen Cart is offered in English Zen Cart is offered in French Zen Cart partly offers support in English Zen Cart partly offers support in French Zen Cart uses the cloud or SaaS

Zen Cart is a free-open source shopping cart software application that you can either host on your own server or delegate to an affiliate hosting company. It is highly customizable and offers a wide array of features that can be extended by hundreds of custom, downloadable plugins and integrations. It may, however, be a little intimidating for people with no PHP/My SQL programming skills.

This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them.

Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications that are neither low cost nor free. We have also focused on turnkey solutions rather than on solutions that you can integrate into an existing website. When assessing e-commerce software for your organization, you will probably consider many other factors. It is important to shop around and compare different e-commerce platforms to choose the one that meets your specific business needs and budget, including hidden costs.

BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you are an e-commerce software vendor and would like us to consider adding your solution, please contact us.