When the budget and resources are just right, you might create your own e-commerce web application and be very content. In most situations, however, you will need to shop around for one that is both affordable within your budget and packed with the features you need to be successful.
Free ecommerce (or e-commerce) software, in this case, is software you do not have to pay to use. It may be open source or freeware, but the common theme is that you do not pay for it. Commercial software may also still be open source but usually comes with some type of support package and premium features.
- It is free. When you are starting any business, it is nice to be able to put a “0” in the expense column for anything.
- If you choose a popular one, especially one that is open source, there will usually be a knowledgeable community that can help you learn it and customize it to fit your needs.
- Because there is no initial cost or renewal costs, it is not a huge loss if you decide to leave it and go to something else.
- If your web host offers ecommerce hosting, it may install the free software for you without any additional cost.
- Inevitably, there will be some technical expertise required to install it and implement it within your business. If you do not already have a tech staff in place, this creates a hidden cost.
- With no technical support, you are on your own when something does not work correctly. You may be able to pay a third party for support, but that again creates a hidden cost.
When it comes to ecommerce applications, you are likely dealing with your livelihood: your business. As with any business decision, you need to weigh the consequences when adopting new technology and also consider the total cost of ownership. Depending on your situation, you may find a free ecommerce solution to be ideal, or you may opt for a commercial product.