Ecwid – is an eCommerce plugin, which is allows creating small online stores for those users, who already have their own websites and wish to give them eCommerce functionality. Unlike standard eCommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, for example, which are used to create full-featured small-to-large online stores from scratch, Ecwid is mainly used as a widget to be integrated into the existing website.
Created in 2000, Ecwid has been used by over 1.5 millions of entrepreneurs from 175 countries of the world by now and it still keeps developing. The plugin allows creating product catalogues, uploading product photos and their detailed descriptions, tracking web store statistics, managing orders as well as shipping and payment options.
It seems that Ecwid has all the functionality required to develop a decent eCommerce website, but is it really as convenient and easy-to-use? Can it be used as a worthy substitute to standard eCommerce website builders or it is still better to opt for a specialized service to start and manage a standalone web store? Let’s review the plugin to provide answers to these and other questions users might be interested in, when choosing an eCommerce solution?
1. Ease of Use
Usability and ease-of-use are frequently the major criteria of choice for those users, who lack web design experience yet intend to connect web stores to their existing websites. Fortunately, Ecwid offers impressive simplicity, intuitive navigation and easy implementation of eCommerce features.
The registration procedure is quick, simple and takes a few minutes only. Right after that, you get access to the control panel of the system, which comes with a detailed menu that has several sections and categories. Even if you don’t know what to start with, a set up wizard available in the dashboard will take you through the major steps of web store connection and management process. The progress bar will give you the understanding of how effective your web store development procedure is and when your project will be ready for publication.
There are six must-have steps to get started, including account registration, web store creation, product uploading, geo settings verification, adjustment of shipping and pick up options as well as payment set up. Each of these steps takes up to 5 minutes to be completed.
As soon as you are done with your web store creation, you can proceed to its management. To get the details, explore all the sections available in the menu. You can also browse the available online and mobile sales channels as well as configurations. All in all, it’s not difficult to master the control panel of the system as it is streamlined and easy-to-use, if not even self-explanatory.
2. Feature Set and Flexibility
Ecwid comes with out-of-the-box features that are worth the attention of newbies, who have never worked with the plugin yet wish to find out more about it before the integration. Web stores created with the system are responsive, which means that they will display well on desktop, mobile and tablet screens. The widget is also known for its Point of Sale (POS) functionality, which allows selling your products both in online and offline modes, namely in local stores and retail storefronts.
Just like the majority of standard eCommerce systems, Ecwid makes it possible to export/import products in the CSV format to transfer your product info, orders and customer data when migrating to/from another eCommerce platform.
The plugin also comes with multilanguage support feature, which allows translating the storefront into one of 50 languages. This means that your customers will be able to view your online store in the languages they prefer based on the location preferences.
When it comes to integration options, Ecwid doesn’t have much to offer. There is quite a limited choice of apps you can integrate into eCommerce website – as of today, you can use the following third-party extensions and add-ons: Xero, Mailchimp, Zapier, 71lbs, Printful, AfterShip, Lucky Orange, LiveChat, ShippingEasy, ShipStation, Freshbooks and a few other add-ons, but this is definitely not enough for a full-featured web store. It should also be mentioned that paid subscription is needed to use these integrations.
Even though, Ecwid is considered a plugin that lets you connect a web store to an existing website, it also makes it possible to create a standalone online store. However, such project won’t, probably, live up to your expectations as this will be a basic one-page website only. You can just use it as a show window to display and advertise your products. Not more.
The plugin provides an opportunity to use multiple sales channels options. Thus, you can sell your products across different websites, managing the process from a single admin panel of the service. There is also a decent choice of social media integrations, allowing you to sell via Facebook, Instagram as well as on popular marketplaces like Amazon, Google Shopping, eBay, Nextag, Shopzilla etc.
The service also uses multiple payment gateways. You can combine the use of Ecwid with Square, PayPal, Vend, Clover, Stripe, WorldPay, NCR Silver and other payment systems.
When it comes to web store management, Ecwid offers a broad range of options as well. These include an opportunity to sell both physical and digital products, create several product lists and assign attributes to them (colors, sizes, shapes and other parameters), make use of multiple inventory management tools, abandoned checkout recovery option as well as create, edit and track order statuses.
You can also introduce promotions and discounts for customers, look through reports and web store analytics and use SEO tools the system offers. To simplify your online store management, you can download a mobile application to manage it from any location you are in.
To boost customer experience and engagement rate, Ecwid provides extensive language capabilities, automatic tax calculation and checkout options, real-time shipping rates, detailed product reviews and an opportunity to use the “Favorite” button to keep track of favorite products afterwards.
Speaking about search engine optimization, Ecwid makes it possible to edit web page titles and meta descriptions. At the same time, it’s impossible to manually change product URLs as they are automatically generated by the system. This may have negative impact upon further website promotion.
Mind that not all features are provided within a free plan. Many of them are available on paid plans only.
|Number of Themes:||No Themes|
|Responsive Design||✔ YES|
|Sort by Industry:||✘ NO|
|CSS Code Editing:||✔ YES|
As far as Ecwid was initially built as a plugin to be integrated into a ready-made website, its design approach somewhat differs from those practiced by standard eCommerce website builders. The latter services generally offer extensive collections of pre-designed templates that may be either free or paid.
As to Ecwid, it has one common theme for those users, who intend to build a standalone one-page website. This design, which is known as a Starter Site, is quite simple and doesn’t provide deep customization options. It can come up to various business needs, types and styles, which makes it a universal solution. The visual editor of the template makes it possible to add text and manage images only. CSS code editing is also available here, which somewhat extends your web design options.
Fortunately, Ecwid allows adding eye-catching enhancements to your web store template or changing its design. Such options as product reviews, customer recommendations etc. will certainly give your web store impressive appeal and enhanced functionality. If you still need unique web store design, you can order ready-made Ecwid themes developed by third-party designers that have partnership relations with the system.
It is also possible to order a custom made design from the partners at extra cost. Thus, Ecwid definitely lags behind the renowned leaders of the eCommerce niche in terms of design.
4. Customer Support
Ecwid customer support options are not quite extensive and they also differ with regard to the plan you will go for. Free plan users may count on email communication with the plugin developers only. However, they have free unlimited access to the blog containing a collection of guides, tips and eCommerce recommendations. There is also a community forum and extensive knowledge base here, which contains answers to all the questions users might have, when working on their web store development. YouTube video tutorials are accessible round-the-clock as well.
More expensive plans offer other means of communication with the customer support team. These include live chat, priority phone support (you can leave the call-back request) and even 12 hours of custom web store development available on the annual plan. The latter service, however, is provided on the paid basis to all users, who are not subscribed to higher plans. The cost of using it starts with $100.
5. Pricing Policy
Ecwid has a free never expiring plan, which makes it possible to add up to 10 products and use such features as mobile shopping cart, zero transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth, free start site creation, opportunity to add a web store to any website and sell simultaneously on multiple websites. These options are not enough to launch and manage a decent web store, which means that you’ll sooner or later will face the necessity to upgrade to one of the paid plans Ecwid offers. These include:
- Venture Plan ($15/mo or $12.50/mo with the annual subscription), which makes it possible to sell 100 products and use professional features like automated tax calculation, discount coupons, CSV file export/import etc.
- Business Plan ($35/mo or $29.17/mo with the annual subscription), which allows selling 2500 products and use extra features like wholesale pricing, custom invoices, marketplace integration etc.
- Unlimited Plan ($99/mo or $82.50/mo with the annual payment), which lets you sell the unlimited number of products and use advanced features like Square POS integration, custom mobile store app, priority support etc.
6. Pros and Cons
Being an eCommerce plugin, Ecwid comes with its positive and negative features, some of which may be decisive factors, when selecting a web store development solution.
| ✔ Ease of use;|
✔ Intuitive dashboard, smart startup wizard;
✔ Affordable cost;
✔ Multiple payment gateways;
✔ Sales channel support.
| ✘ Lack of integration options;|
✘ Limited customer support;
✘ Poor design options;
✘ Insufficient SEO promotion parameters.
|Ease of Use:||8/10|
Ecwid is a decent and cost-effective plugin to add eCommerce functionality to an existing website. It encompasses the features that matter a lot for newbies, who have never been involved in website development before, but need a web store to sell their digital or physical products. These include ease-of-use, intuitive web design wizard, multiple customer engagement, marketing and eCommerce features.
The free plan the system offers is more than enough to get acquainted with the plugin and design or connect a small web store to your website, while paid plans unveils extended functionality.
At the same time, we cannot consider Ecwid a full-featured eCommerce web building solution. Its functionality will be enough to integrate a small web store into a ready-made website, but it will not work for the development of large standalone eCommerce websites. In case you have serious web design aspirations and need a web store to cover a broad range of eCommerce needs, it makes sense to use specialized website builders.