Ecwid Review: Add E-commerce To Any Website
While creating a website is fairly easy these days, you can’t really say the same thing when it comes to e-commerce.
Then there are e-commerce tools like Shopify that are extremely powerful but their cheapest plan with unlimited items starts at $29 per month, and what’s even more: they charge a transaction fee.
See it in action here
Ecwid in Detail
Store plug-in with a freemium option
Chances are that you are looking for something in between: an e-commerce store that will be less than $20 per month and doesn’t take a cut of your sales.
Ecwid seems to be able to do just that. They have created a store ‘plug-in’ that you can use with any type of existing website. Most importantly you can use their basic plan free of charge (freemium model). If you don’t have a website yet you can also use the Yola Online Store package for $20 per month, which already includes the Ecwid e-commerce plugin. We’ve reviewed Yola’s Online Store here.
So let’s take a look at Ecwid’s features and see if it’s worth our time and money.
Installing Ecwid couldn’t be easier. You simply create a new page on your website and paste the HTML code they provide.
This video shows you how to set it up on a Weebly website:
Ecwid stores look very clean and simple. With this design they fit into almost any kind of website. See an example here. But it’s also possible to customize the layout using custom CSS codes if you need a special look.
Ecwid features direct integrations with more than 25 payment systems like Authorize.net, HSBC, 2Checkout and, of course, Paypal. You have to be aware that many of these payment gateways will incur extra monthly charges. But it’s always possible to start using Paypal, which can be used on a per-transaction basis. Once your business takes off, simply add more payment methods.
Ecwid added even more payment gateways:
- American Express Payment Gateway
- First Data E4 Hosted Payment Pages
- ClickAndBuy (for Germany and EU),
- BBVA Bancomer / eGlobal (Mexico)
Furthermore, there is a range of offline payment methods such as phone order, check and purchase order.
There are three different options to handle shipping charges. You can:
● use a flat rate fee
● set up a customizable calculator that uses factors like weight or number of items
● receive shipping charges directly from the carrier thanks to direct integrations with UPS, FedEx, U.S.P.S. and others.
Regional settings (for taxes and shipping charges)
Using Ecwid’s zone setting you can create your own sets of countries or states. For those sets you can specify shipping charges as well as the VAT rate. Basically this enables you to specify shipping rates and tax rates very granularly and is particularly interesting if you want to ship internationally or if you are from the US and need to specify different tax rates for different states.
You can sell both physical and downloadable products. Ecwid will handle the file delivery automatically. A paid subscription is not even needed to sell digital products, which is great. The download link for your customer will work indefinitely – if you want to limit its lifetime you will have to upgrade to the Silver package.
In the Silver plan your customers can even attach files to their orders – this is a great feature if you plan to sell a customizable product like a coffee mug with a personal photo on it.
To make repeated shopping easier it’s possible for your customers to sign up for an account (you can leave this optional or make it required). Ecwid protects sensitive data using an SSL encryption. All outgoing emails to your customers can be customized (e.g. ‘Password Reminder’ or ‘Order Shipped’ emails).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
On a positive note, it is possible to create deep links to your products. By doing so you can send your visitors directly to the item (e.g. when posting a new product to Facebook).
Facebook Commerce and Social Media
Shoppers already talk a lot about their product experiences on Facebook. Particularly for smaller retailers with a loyal fan base, it’s now also increasingly becoming a point of sale. Ecwid makes it very easy to integrate the same store you use on your website into your Facebook page in just a few steps. Your Ecwid shop will be located in a new tab on your fan page. Here’s a demo store.
Other than selling, you can also get your products liked, recommended and shared through social media. Ecwid also integrates with Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
Basic vs. Silver plan – reasons to upgrade
Generally speaking, the Basic plan is already pretty powerful and enough for most small stores to get started. You can add up to 100 items and you have access to all payment gateways and shipping companies.
There is tiny link that says “Powered by Ecwid” in the Basic plan, but it is not very visible at all. A definite advantage of the Silver plan (which is $17 per month) is the ability to use discount codes. Doing this, you can run promotions for a limited time, which works particularly well if you have an email list to target.
There is also faster support with the upgrade, and you can sign up affiliates for your store to get more traffic. However, for this to work you need set up a software like Post Affiliate Pro or Affiliate Pro for WordPress as well.
As far as the negatives, we could mention the interface looks a bit dated and not everything is quite as intuitive as it could be. That said, technically it is actually state of the art as it is AJAX-based, which makes it lightning fast. Plus, none of your customers will even notice any of it – all they get to see is your clean and modern-looking storefront.
|Overall rating||All in all, we think Ecwid is a great add-on if you want to get involved with e-commerce on your existing website. The fact that it is quite difficult to get your product pages indexed by search engines is a disadvantage.|
Ecwid E-Commerce Example Sites
Alternatives to Ecwid
FAQ about Ecwid
What would be the advantage of adding Ecwid to a Jimdo website?
Ecwid offers a lot more features than Jimdo’s online store such as coupon codes and customer accounts. But if it’s only a few products that you want to sell Jimdo might be enough for it as well. The advantage of Jimdo is that search engines can index your online store — this is not possible (or at least not in an easy fashion) with Ecwid.
Does selling on Facebook work?
Ultimately it depends on your kind of business and your customers. But in general Facebook-Commerce show a strong upward trend.
09 Dec 2013 – More payment options available
09 May 2013 – Facebook Commerce and social media options added
08 Oct 2012 – Paragraph on SEO added. We removed one star as Ecwid has some weaknesses in this area (thanks to Shopintegrator for making us aware of it).
05 Oct 2012 – Setup video added
24 Sep 2012 – Initial tests
Last updated: 08 Jan 2014 | Robert Brandl