Ecwid Review 2022 – How Does This Ecommerce Platform Compare?
Most transactions take place online, making e-commerce one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Fortunately, there are many platforms out there that provide support for businesses looking to sell online. One such provider is Ecwid.
Easy to use
Free version available
No transaction fees
Limited design options
Free Up to 10 Items
In this Ecwid Review, we’ll explore all aspects of the Ecwid platform, including the advantages, disadvantages, and overall value for money. By the end of this article, readers will have a clearer idea of whether this e-commerce platform is the right online store builder for them.
What Is Ecwid?
Ecwid was created to enable small to medium-sized businesses the chance to grow by adding online stores to their existing sites.
Ecwid, which originally stands for “E-commerce Widget”, works by giving users a “widget” (HTML code) that can be placed on various existing sites or social media pages. Wherever a widget is placed, your website will be displayed.
Ecwid acts as a “software as a service” (SaaS) tool that helps users build their online stores. As a cloud-based platform, no installation is required – everything is done from a browser. Ecwid lets customers set up “catalogs” for each of their products. They can add images, pricing, shipping details, and more. Essentially, all the essential features one would expect from an e-commerce platform are on offer.
However, unlike other ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce, Ecwid isn’t designed to create a single e-commerce website. Instead, it’s aimed at users with existing websites who wish to add an online store to their portfolio. Ecwid is currently available in 175 countries.
How Ecwid Pricing Works
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of Ecwid ecommerce features, we’d like to walk you through the pricing plans on offer.
Ecwid offers its customers four potential plans:
- Free Plan – $0
- Venture – $15 per month
- Business – $35 per month
- Unlimited – $99 per month
As can be expected, the more a user is willing to pay, the more features they can access.
Let’s take a closer look at each option.
One thing that makes Ecwid stand out from other e-commerce solutions is that it offers a free plan.
This option is a stripped-back version of Ecwid. Significant features such as discount codes and the ability to sell on sites like Facebook are not included. However, you will be able to set up shipping options, payment methods and start designing your store.
When signing up for Ecwid on the website, users will immediately be given access to the free plan, with the option to upgrade to more advanced plans if desired.
It’s also worth noting that the free plan does not offer a strong SEO (search engine optimization) experience. Instead, users must opt for a paid plan to have their store pages communicate effectively with search engines.
The free option only lets you sell up to 10 products, ideal for smaller, start-up businesses. It’s also a good way for potential customers to test the platform before committing to a payment plan.
This option is a great starting point for new customers. At $15 per month, this plan is aimed at those with 100 products or less in their store catalogs. All paid features also allow users to sell digital products such as e-books, audio, and more.
Along with all that’s offered in the free plan, here are some key features included with the “Venture” plan:
- Product promotion is available via Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest. Having your store’s products promoted on these sites allows millions of potential customers to access your site.
- The ability to sell on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
- Access to discount codes, coupons, and gift cards.
- Use advanced SEO tools.
- Advance your store through the Ecwid App Market.
- Live chat support.
At $35 per month, the “Business” plan includes all the features in the “Venture” plan, plus some extra tools to elevate your products. This option is aimed at stores with 2,500 products in their store.
Here are some features available using this plan:
- Recurring subscriptions to your products are available.
- Access to a multilingual catalog. By providing this option, more potential customers from around the world can access your products.
- Product filters, allowing customers to easily access your store by searching for specific criteria (e.g., color, price, etc.)
- Scheduled order pickup.
- The ability to send automated emails to customers who don’t complete a purchase.
- Product variations.
- Add up to two additional staff accounts. This way, any business employees or partners the customers may have can help manage the store directly. The only page not accessible to them will be the billing page.
As the name suggests, this Ecwid plan offers no limit to the number of products users can sell on their site. It provides all the features included in previous plans, plus some additional ones. For $99 per month, users can enjoy the following perks:
- An unlimited number of additional staff accounts. This is ideal for larger businesses that have many employees to help manage stores.
- Priority support.
- Access to the ShopApp for customers to install (note that this option is only available when customers subscribe to the annual unlimited plan.)
- 12 hours of free customization service when subscribed to the annual unlimited plan.
How Do I Know Which Option Is Best for Me?
Ecwid’s free plan option is an excellent way for potential customers to get a feel of how the site works before making a commitment. The great part is that there is no time limit on how long the free plan can be used.
Additionally, the plan you opt for depends on the size of your business and your overall business plan and budget. Ecwid also offers customers annual subscriptions with up to 17% in discounts.
A payment gateway is a piece of software that allows payment through credit cards. For example, Ecwid lets users process credit card payments through PayPal, with no additional transaction fees besides PayPal’s own commission.
Additionally, a host of alternate payment gateways can also be connected to Ecwid, including Authorize.net, Stripe, 2Checkout, and more. The exact number of available payment gateways depends on which country you are accessing Ecwid from.
Most users opt for PayPal, as there is no additional monthly charge.
How Easy Is Ecwid to Use?
Navigating Ecwid is a relatively straightforward process. Signing up couldn’t be any simpler. Customers can go to the website and select “Get Started for Free.” From there, enter your full name, email address, and password, and you’re good to go.
After the sign-up process, a free plan account will automatically begin. Aesthetically, Ecwid’s interface resembles that of Shopify and BigCommerce. The vertical menu on the left-hand side gives users access to key functions, while the space on the right is used as editing space.
Advantages of Ecwid
In this section of our Ecwid review, we’ll highlight some key advantages to using this e-commerce platform to advance your online store.
Free for Up to 10 Items
While other e-commerce platforms may offer limited-time free trial options, Ecwid is one of the only solutions in the market allowing customers to sell products for free indefinitely. However, customers need to be aware that this feature only works for those wishing to sell a handful of items on their sites (maximum 10).
As of 2021, 85% of Americans own a smartphone (the most popular options being iOS or Android). Therefore, ensuring that your online store can be accessed through a mobile device is essential for customer and sale growth.
Fortunately, since its release, Ecwid has featured a mobile catalog making it easy for buyers to access. Additionally, Ecwid users can manage their stores from their mobile devices by downloading the Ecwid app via their chosen app store. The app is accessible using both iOS and Android devices.
No Transaction Fees
Many potential users may be wondering what percentage of sales goes towards Ecwid. The answer is zero. Unlike competitors such as Shopify, Ecwid doesn’t charge its customers any transaction fees on any of its plans.
Despite this, Ecwid users will still be required to pay any credit card processing fees to any companies they wish to process their payments through (e.g., PayPal.)
Sell Your Products Anywhere
Ecwid users can sell their products online and in physical spaces like markets, stores, and gigs. This is facilitated by the point-of-sale (POS) functionality. As a result, no matter where a person buys a product (be it physical or online), the records of transactions, inventory, and sales catalog all remain in sync.
The simplest and most cost-effective way of applying this feature is through “PayPal Here.” Customers need only download the Ecwid mobile app and connect to a “PayPal Here” service. Then, physical payments can be made using a mobile card reader.
It’s important to note that the POS function is only available in certain countries and cities – the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong. If you’re located outside of these locations, you may want to consider using a third-party POS system such as Square or Clover. These options allow for greater use of hardware in physical locations and can be accessed across more countries.
Create Multilingual Stores
The option to create multilingual stores is only relevant for users who have opted for the “Business” or “Unlimited” plans. Customers using these plans can translate their stores into 53 different languages using Ecwid, which is generous compared to other e-commerce platforms (Shopify only allows five).
By detecting the buyer’s IP address/browser settings, Ecwid translates to the visitor’s language accordingly. In addition, critical elements of your store are automatically translated, such as social media labels, “Add to Cart” buttons, etc. However, product descriptions will still need to be manually translated.
Most e-commerce platforms rely on third-party translator apps like Google Translate for help. Unfortunately, this can be a time-consuming and inconvenient process.
Disadvantages of Ecwid
In this section of our Ecwid review, we’ll be going over some downsides to using Ecwid.
Limited Design Options
Users who aren’t well versed in HTML or CSS may struggle to refine their page designs. The options on offer are relatively basic and don’t leave much room for development. Ecwid users also aren’t really given the choice of creating a standalone store. The “Instant Site” option uses very basic components.
Limited Access With Free Plan
Although the free plan is a great feature that lets new users test out how Ecwid works, it doesn’t allow access to any SEO features. The free plan also doesn’t provide users with any phone support or the ability to use product variants.
Ecwid vs. Shopify: Which Is Better?
Both Ecwid and Shopify are popular e-commerce platforms that offer many features to help businesses enhance their online presence.
Often, the first thing considered when choosing an e-commerce platform is pricing. Here is a comparison of Ecwid and Shopify price plans on offer:
- Free Plan – $0
- Venture – $15 per month
- Business – $35 per month
- Unlimited – $99 per month.
- Lite – $9 per month
- Basic Shopify – $29 per month
- Shopify – $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify – $299 per month
- Shopify Plus – price may vary but typically comes to around $2,000 per month
Both Ecwid and Shopify offer their customers discounts for paying upfront for annual service. With Ecwid, customers can expect a 17% discount, while Shopify users are given a 10% or 20% discount depending on whether you pay for either one or two years of service straight away.
Are You New to eCommerce?
If you’re a new business building an online presence from scratch, you might lean towards Shopify. Although Ecwid offers an “Instant Site” feature, it’s still relatively basic. Shopify’s easy-to-use product, however, allows new users to create standalone sites without any hassle.
On the other hand, if you already own an online store, then Ecwid is the obvious choice. It allows users to add selling capabilities to ecommerce websites that already exist. Ecwid also lets you convert any website into an online store.
Some Advantages of Shopify
- Host an unlimited number of products using any plan
- Abandoned Cart functionality available
- A more extensive gateway payment selection is offered on Shopify
- Stronger SEO tools
Some Disadvantages of Using Shopify
- Doesn’t offer any free-to-use options
- Customization limits
- Associated fees with the addition of apps
Some Advantages of Ecwid
- A free plan
- No charge for third-party gateways
- Unlimited product options
- Easier to sell digital files
Disadvantages of Ecwid
- Doesn’t have the most substantial SEO
- Limited design options
- Unable to build complex standalone site
- Using Multi-Currency in Ecwid
Typically, online sales increase if you have access to more currencies for customers to use. If you’re planning on taking your business international, then it’s wise to have the option of letting your buyers select their currencies.
Implementing a multi-currency system into your Ecwid experience is easy to do but does require additional payment. To automatically convert to local currencies, Ecwid users must download the “Currency Converter” app for a monthly sum of $4.49.
Is Ecwid SEO-Friendly?
The good news is that if you opt for a paid plan option, you will have access to user-friendly SEO features in Ecwid. For example, customers will be able to easily edit title pages and meta descriptions. In addition, relevant tweaks and adjustments can be made to suit individual SEO objectives.
Users should also keep in mind that Ecwid automatically generates URLs for its products based on titles. This means that you won’t be able to manually alter a URL once it has been created. This can be an inconvenience, as some search engines use some keywords to categorize content when indexing. That said, the URLs generated often include the title of your product. Therefore, it’s helpful to include a keyword when making your title so that it’s more likely to appear in your URL.
Another downside to Ecwid’s SEO front is its poor weak AMP (accelerated mobile pages) performance. The use of AMP creates faster loading time on mobile sites, encouraging customers to remain on sites longer. However, unlike BigCommerce or Shopify, Ecwid does not let its customers create AMP versions of products.
Despite there being some room for improvement regarding Ecwid’s SEO function, it’s worth noting that it utilizes features that are just as important – link building, having strong content available on your site, and keyword research.
What About Core Web Vitals?
Google offers a set of SEO targets named Core Web Vitals. These relate to the general speed, stability, and responsiveness of a website. Unfortunately, when operating a site using a cloud-based platform such as Ecwid, it’s significantly more challenging to ensure total compliance with Google’s targets.
Folks over at Ecwid are in the process of developing the platform so that it meets more of Google’s requirements.
We often disclose personal information such as our names, addresses, card details, and more when shopping online. Therefore, ensuring that your and your customers’ online data is safely secured when operating your online store is of utter importance.
Fortunately, Ecwid is PCI DSS certified. This is the highest form of international security available to online storefronts and payment systems. Nevertheless, you should regularly check security options on your site and make them visible to customers so they feel secure buying from your store.
One way of ensuring your site’s security is to make sure your store site runs on HTTPS. These days, Chrome marks all HTTP (minus the S) websites as “Not Secure.” As Chrome is one of the most popular browsers, this feature means you risk losing potential customers. However, encrypting information and changing it shows customers that your site can’t be interfered with.
Customer Service and Support
The amount of support a customer receives all depends on the pay plan they’ve chosen.
Unfortunately, the free plan offers zero customer support. Therefore, users who decide to go for this option will need to rely on online forums and internet searches to solve issues they come across.
With the “Venture” plan, users have access to email and live chat support. In addition, those who use the “Business” plan can expect phone support too. “Unlimited” customers have access to all these features plus “priority” support, which is available in six languages (English, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, and French.)
These days, users are spoilt for choice when selecting a platform to help them with their e-commerce store. If you’re looking to create a standalone site from scratch, then you may want to consider the likes of Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace.
Additionally, both Shopify and BigCommerce allow users to integrate stores into existing sites.
Get Online With Ecwid
Overall, Ecwid is an easy-to-use, cost-effective option for business owners looking to increase their e-commerce functionality. Its key selling points include its generous free plan, affordability compared to other platforms, and the freedom to add ecommerce to any website.
At first sight, Ecwid may appear basic when compared to other e-commerce solutions. However, once you dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that Ecwid gives its users many functions at an affordable price to enhance their online business experience successfully.
If you’re considering joining the world of e-commerce, we hope that this Ecwid review has helped you figure out whether this is the platform for you.