Ecwid Review: A Free & Versatile Ecommerce Solution
Ecwid is a versatile eCommerce solution that has a free forever plan and allows you to build a store on a variety of different platforms and sell products through a variety of different sales channels.
This essentially means you can choose to use it to sell exclusively on platforms like WordPress, Facebook and Tumblr or use it to sell exclusively on your very own website built with Ecwid’s all-in-one platform.
Ecwid’s founder and current CEO Ruslan Fazlyev co-founded X-Cart in the year 2000. X-Cart was the world’s first PHP eCommerce platform, but over time, Fazlyev realized the number of small business owners who wanted a simpler way to build their own online stores without needing the help of developers. In came Ecwid, founded in 2009.
Since then, Ecwid has grown to become one of the industry’s leading eCommerce solutions. It powers the stores of over 1 million merchants and has become the number one eCommerce app on Facebook. It even serves customers from over 170 countries in 50 different languages.
Let’s get into the specifics of what this platform offers.
The Pros of Selling with Ecwid
Ecwid is a lightweight eCommerce solution. Let’s break down a few of its pros to see what you have to look forward to if you choose to sell with this platform.
1. Ability to Be an All-in-One Solution
We’ll get to the various ways you can use Ecwid in a bit. For now, let’s talk about the way most of you are probably interested in using this platform for, and that’s its ability to be used as an all-in-one solution.
Ecwid handles most of everything you need for your store for you, and what they don’t handle you can add through apps from their App Market. Things they handle include hosting, the design of your website, the entire shopping cart system, security, server configuration, and more.
2. Ecwid Pricing
Pricing is something that makes Ecwid unique from the rest. This is because they offer a “free forever” plan, which allows you to build an entire online shop and maintain it forever. You can only add 10 products and it lacks a lot of key features, but it’s still a great option for new store owners working with small budgets.
Here are a few additional features the free plan offers:
- Facebook Store
- Two Payment Gateways
- Pay with Ecwid Payments (optional)
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited File Storage*
- The ability to add your store to any website.
- The ability to sell simultaneously on multiple platforms.
- Email Support
The other plans are as follows:
- Venture – $15/month
- Business – $35/month
- Unlimited – $99/month
Venture allows your store to have as many as 100 products as well as the ability to sell digital products. You can also start to add additional payment gateways, such as Stripe, with this plan. You’ll also have access to the App Market, allowing you to add a number of different functionalities to your website for free and premium prices.
Upgrading to Venture also allows you to use things like the abandoned cart saver, discount coupons, automated tax calculators, advanced SEO tools, social media tools, and inventory management tools. You’ll also have access to the support team via live chat.
Upgrading to the Business plan allows you to add up to 2,500 products to your store as well as the ability to integrate marketplaces, such as eBay and Google Shopping, the ability to use wholesale pricing for groups as well as the ability to create orders. This plan also gives you access to support via phone.
The Unlimited plan is named after the number of products you can create with it, which is, well, unlimited. It allows you to sell in person through integration with Square POS and gives you access to priority support as well as 12 hours of custom development when you pay annually.
*It should be noted that although Ecwid allows you to have unlimited file storage on all plans, there is a limit on how large file sizes for digital products can be for each plan. They are 100MB per file for the Venture plan, 1GB per file for the Business plan and 10GB per file for the Unlimited plan.
You’ll also save around 16% if you pay annually. Nonprofit organizations are also eligible to receive 6 months free of Venture.
3. No Fees
Ecwid charges no transaction fees on any plan unless you use Ecwid Payments, which charges the standard 2.9% + $0.30 fee for credit card transactions. This percentage lowers depending on what plan you use, dropping to as low as 2.75% for the Unlimited plan.
You also won’t pay storage or bandwidth fees.
4. Use Any Platform
Ecwid gives you the ability to sell on a variety of different platforms, as mentioned before. We’ve already mentioned the native, all-in-one store that comes with every Ecwid plan as well as the Facebook store, but you can integrate your account with a variety of different platforms.
This includes self-hosted WordPress sites, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Joomla, Tumblr, Blogger, Adobe Muse, and more.
5. Multiple Sales Channels
You can use a variety of different platforms to host your online store, but you can also have a variety of different sales channels. It starts with the online store you build Ecwid but continues with in-store sales through Square POS, sales through Facebook as well as integration with eBay, Google Shopping, Nextag, Shopzilla, Yahoo! Shopping, PriceGrabber, and Yandex.Market.
Ecwid allows you to use a variety of different shipping rates for your store. This includes the regular fixed and free-shipping rates but also includes real-time shipping rates for such carriers as USPS, UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail, Australia Post, EMS Russian Post, and Brasil Correios.
You can also use the variable shipping rates to set custom rates based on destination, order weight, order subtotal and more. You can also set up destination zones and create custom shipping rules for each zone.
7. Ecwid Support
We talked about the various types of support Ecwid offers in the Pricing section, which are email, live chat and phone to refresh your memory. However, the company offers other forms of support as well, including community forums where you can receive help and tips from other Ecwid merchants as well as a large knowledge base and blog filled with dozens of articles and tutorials.
Ecwid stores have HTTPS enabled to protect your customer’s data and to help them instill trust in you as a merchant. They are also PCI compliant on a Level 1 basis.
9. Store Management
Ecwid allows you to keep an eye on nearly every aspect of the sale process. This is done by breaking up the Sales section into a variety of different screens, including the Orders screen, the Abandoned Carts screen, the Customers screen and the Customer Groups screen.
Customer groups are a neat little feature Ecwid has. It allows you to add customers to different groups based on any factor you choose. They could be family members, frequent shoppers, people who buy particular products regularly and anything else you require.
10. Ease of Use When Creating Products
One of the best things about Ecwid is how easy it is to navigate the dashboard, especially when you create new products. All of the main fields are there, such as name, SKU code, price, images, description and availability.
You’ll also find a section for Attributes, which allows you to add details about the product in an organized fashion, details that include its brand, specifications and any other extra details you feel the customer would appreciate.
You can also add options to products, and this platform has a few unique features for options. This includes allowing you to select an Input Type for each option, which are:
- Radio Buttons
- Drop-Down List
- Text Field
- Text Area
- Date Picker
- Upload Files
These input types allow you to add a variety of different products to your website, including “build your own” or “custom” products. For example, you can use the Checkboxes to have customers build their own tech products or use the Text Field input type to have customers specify what name they’d like to appear on a custom product.
You can even add price modifiers to certain products, which can truly help certain shops give customers the power to “build their own” products.
There’s also a section for SEO when you create new products. This section can only be used by premium users. It allows you to customize the search engine result your product will have and allows you to add a page title and meta description.
It should be noted that Google AJAX crawling and indexing used to be an issue, which Ecwid users experienced first hand. However, Ecwid states this is no longer an issue and Google now indexes its sites automatically. A lot of users reported having better results by building their Ecwid stores through WordPress.
You can also assign related products to display on the product’s individual product page and assign root categories and subcategories to products. Lastly, you can access code for each individual product that allows you to embed that product anywhere on your website.
The Cons of Selling with Ecwid
Ecwid is a powerful ecommerce platform for the price, but it does have a couple cons. They both have to do with a lack of native features.
1. No Native Reports or Analytics
Two key features Ecwid is missing are native sections for reports and analytics. Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have these features built in, allowing you to gain key insight into shoppers’ buying habits and detailed data on how well your shop is performing.
Ecwid, on the other hand, completely leaves these features out and advises you to download apps instead, some of which are only available at premium prices.
2. Poor Method for Handling Design
Ecwid does not offer a drag-and-drop layout builder or even any form of live, frontend editing. They do have a well-designed storefront, but you’ll need to use CSS to edit its styles.
You can also purchase free and premium themes from a variety of different third-party developers, including Ecwid’s e-shop and even ThemeForest. If you use WordPress as your platform, you can use the Chameleon Skin built into the Ecwid WordPress plugin to customize your design.
Developers can also create their own stylesheets inside of the Ecwid editor.
Ecwid is definitely more on the lightweight side of things, but it’s still powerful enough to be given serious consideration when picking out a platform to use for your store, especially if you’re new to this world as the free forever plan provides enough functionality for you to get your feet wet in the world of eCommerce. Click the button below to get started.