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When it comes to e-commerce, the most popular platform is Shopify. However, this is not the only e-commerce platform that is available out there. One strong competitor is Ecwid, an online e-commerce platform where you can also set-up your online shop and then sell. The thing is, Ecwid is going against the flow because it is one of the few platforms where you can set up a store for free.
Before we do our Ecwid review, you are probably one of those online sellers who wished that there is a new platform that is cheaper, more functional, and easier to use. If you are one of them, then you are in luck. Ecwid is a revolutionary platform and it is kind of going against what all of us have been used to.
In the end, you will be armed with enough information to help you decide whether you need to choose this platform or move your store to it if you already have one.
What Is Ecwid?
Ecwid is an online e-commerce platform where you can build a store, upload your products, and charge your customers money for their purchases. It is not a new company, as it has been around since 1999. The company’s goal is to help online sellers to build an affordable store that is easy to use.
Ecwid allows you to customize your online shop fully. Many online platforms do not allow you to do this. With Ecwid, you can even implement the program on any platform, and then you will be ready to sell. It is compatible with CMS and social network platforms.
Here is an example:
- You already have a blog in WordPress
- You decide you want to build a store
- Typically, you have to build a new site.
- With Ecwid, just implement the app in WordPress, and your WordPress blog becomes an e-commerce store.
It is so simple to use, and you do not even need knowledge about computer programming. You can implement Ecwid on your current platform with only a few clicks on your mouse.
How Much Does Ecwid Cost? (Pricing)
Ecwidis free to use. It is free forever, but you will not be able to get the full suite of services. Despite that, you can build a fully functional online store with a free account.
If you no longer want the free account, just click on the Upgrade button at the top right of your dashboard and you will see the different price points of the platform.
Here are the three paid plans of Ecwid:
- Venture – this costs $15 per month, and you will be able to create discount coupons, use the CSV export function, and also automate your tax calculations. With Venture, you can only upload 100 in your store.
- Business – the cost of this plan is $35 per month, and you will get all the benefits of the Venture plan, plus you can now create wholesale pricing, use other marketplaces or sales channels, and upload up to 2,500 products.
- Unlimited – at $99 per month, you will be able to create a mobile store app, a POS integration with Square, and you will receive priority support. You can upload unlimited products with this plan.
The great thing about Ecwid is that no matter what plan you choose, even the free one, you will not pay a transaction fee for the sale that you made. All plans, except the free one, will also allow you to integrate your Ecwid store with Facebook Shop and Instagram Store.
Is Ecwid A Popular Platform?
Since 2009, Ecwid has supported more than 2 billion stores. The company supports more than 175 countries, which means no matter where you are, you will be able to create an online store.
As the years went by, Ecwid management also made sure that they can target more users to sign up. Even if you do not have any existing website, you can still sign-up for an account and then create an online store from scratch.
Today, Ecwid has a certification for PCI DSS Level 1. This sounds a little technical, but this certificate is the gold standard for online security for online businesses. There is a different certification for banks and other financial institutions, but Ecwid is not a bank, so it does not need that.
What Features Does Ecwid Offer?
Ecwid offers a lot of features to the seller. We will take a look at the most important ones, but you need to know that not all these features are available in the free plan.
With Ecwid, you can sell on other channels like Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Mobile Google Shopping, Vend, eBay, and Amazon. To be able to do this, you must upgrade to a Venture plan, which is a paid plan.
To access your sales channels, just click on All Sales Channels, and you can start adding your Ecwid store to the options available to you. Just take note that you must have an account in these third-party marketplaces before you can integrate your Ecwid store with them.
With Ecwid, you can use the top marketing platforms like Google and Facebook. Apart from these two, Ecwid will support you in making sure that your products get out there and that people will know about your store.
The marketing strategies that you can use in Ecwid are:
- Google ads
- Facebook ads
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Discount coupons
- Re-marketing to past site visitors
- Email newsletters
- Google Analytics
Not all of these applications can be used in the free account. But if you do decide to upgrade to be able to use these apps, you do not even have to be an expert. Just click on the Get Started button, and Ecwid will guide you through the process.
Ecwid has partnered with several companies that specialize in reporting and data analytics. If you click on Reports on the left side of your panel, you can download a reporting tool and install it in your Ecwid account.
Once the installation is complete, you can choose from several apps like Google Analytics, Squiz, and more. With powerful free tools like this, you can see how your store is performing, where your traffic is coming from, what products are the bestsellers, and more.
Armed with this information, you can make business decisions that will help you make your store perform better.
Shipping and Pick-up
You can be a local seller or an international seller. Ecwid knows this, and so there is a feature for shipping and pick-up options.
With the shipping option, you can add new shipping methods, prices, and even offer in-store pick-ups where your customer can pick up the item they bought from your home or brick and mortar store.
You can also choose your shipping origin. This is important, as this is how the shipping cost will be calculated from you to your customer’s shipping address.
You can also take advantage of the handling fee feature, but only if you are in the paid plan. The handling fee is what you charge for the effort of packing and taking the item to the shipping courier. This is an independent cost from the product price and the shipping cost.
This is a feature that you rarely see from other online store platforms. Usually, you cannot control the size of your photos. With Ecwid, you can do this. All you need to do is to go the Design page, and then change the settings.
You can control the image aspect ratio, and you can turn your photos into a square, portrait mode, and landscape mode. You also have the choice to darken your image backgrounds so you can highlight the actual products.
With this design tool, you also have the option to center the content or align them left and right. If there are things on the product page that you do not want to show, you can remove them. For example, maybe you do not want to show the price of your product. You have the option to display this or not on this control panel.
Ecwid has hundreds of apps that you can choose from. If you have no idea where to start, you just have to choose from the categories shown on the left. You can also use the search box if you want, and then search for apps that you already know about.
Not all apps are free. Some are paid, and some are offered free for only a short duration. After the free trial, you will be required to pay a subscription fee on a monthly basis, which will be charged to your credit card.
Ecwid offers 40 payment gateways. A payment gateway is a processor who will charge a customer’s credit card, and then send the money to you. Ecwid is not the one that charges this money, so you will be charged fees by these companies.
With Ecwid, you can choose to charge customers manually. If you have been to a mall and paid the cashier with your credit card, you may have noticed that she swiped your card on a machine.
You can do the same with Ecwid, which means you can charge your customers anywhere you are. To make this happen, you need to integrate POS systems from other applications or use the Ecwid POS system. After the installation, you can use your mobile device to charge money, and then the POS system will have you paid.
If you want this feature, you need a card reader, which means you have to buy separate hardware that you can take with you so you can read the customer’s card, and have Ecwid process the transaction.
How Easy Is Ecwid To Use?
Yes, Ecwid is easy to use. To get started, you just need to click this Ecwid 101 link to be directed to their Getting Started guide. This will open a page where you have to supply your name, email address and other details. Once you have confirmed your email, you will now have access to your dashboard, as shown below.
From here, you just need to click the buttons, starting from Create account, which you already did. After this, everything else is easy since you just have to follow simple instructions. The steps that you need to take are also on that dashboard, and you can explore other features of the site on the left side of the control panel.
How Does The Inventory Management Work?
To add products to your store, you need to click on Add Products if you have just created an account. But if you already have products, you can access this feature if you click on the Catalog link on your control panel.
If you click on Catalog, you will be able to see all your products that you have already uploaded.
If you click on Add Product, the instructions are fairly simple. You can add photos, choose the main image, add a product title and description, price, and update the shipping and tax costs for each one.
Here are some things you need to know about this area of the control panel:
- General – set the price, name, and add photos.
- Attributes – add a brand to your product
- Options – add variants of the product, like sizes and color
- Files – this is where you upload files if you are selling digital goods
- Tax and shipping – enable shipping if required then set the shipping price, add the weight of the package and set up the taxes that you charge
- SEO – improve your search rankings with this feature; it works as an SEO guide
- Related products – choose products from your site that your store will show if a customer is browsing this particular item
How To Import Products To Your Ecwid Store
If you already have a store, like from Shopify or from another platform, you can import those products to your Ecwid shop. You can also export products from Ecwid to another shop through a CSV file.
Once you choose to create a CSV file, the system will let you create up to 25 columns. What this means is that you can import products from other sites with 25 different attributes, which includes images, product descriptions, prices, and many more.
To do this, you have to click on Import Products beside the Add Products button. The Import Products button is white.
Next, choose how you want the products to be imported. If you are using a CSV file, make sure that the columns in the CSV file are labelled in the same way as the ones that have checkboxes in your Ecwid control panel.
Once you are sure, click on Browse and then upload that CSV file. Ecwid will now automatically display all these products on your Ecwid online store.
As you can see, there is no direct way to transport the products from Shopify or another platform to Ecwid. You first need to download your CSV file from Shopify or any platform, and then upload that file to Ecwid.
Can You Do Dropshipping With Ecwid?
Yes, you can do dropshipping with this platform. One of the best things about this platform is that it is flexible. You can use it for your dropshipping business, you can use it for selling digital goods, and you can also use it to sell products that come from your own inventory.
The best thing that you can do to make dropshipping an easy process is to look for an app in the Ecwid app market. It is much easier than copying and pasting photos and product descriptions from another website manually.
To be effective in dropshipping with Ecwid, look for apps that:
- Allow you to add products from the merchant’s site to Ecwid instantly
- Automatically change the price of your product in Ecwid if the merchant changed his product
- Allow you to place the order either from the Ecwid platform or the app instead of you going t the merchant’s site manually
There are apps here that will let you add products not just from one supplier but from hundreds. This is a great option if you are operating a big store, or if you are dropshipping products that need a large inventory, like clothing for women.
Does Ecwid Support SEO And Marketing?
Yes, it does. As mentioned earlier, you can use SEO for every product that you upload. However, this feature only works if you upgrade your account. You cannot use it if you are on the free plan.
The first part of the SEO and marketing strategy is to fix the name of your product and its product description. While you are changing this, you will also see how your product will appear in search results. Ecwid will automatically populate these fields, but you can edit them if you want.
One thing Ecwid can improve on is this feature. It does not really guide you on how to do SEO. If you are really concerned about SEO, you may need to use other SEO apps. The good news is that on Ecwid, you are sure that Google indexes your page.
The only thing that you have to focus on now is to use the right key words, and the right product descriptions to make sure that when someone searches online, your page will show up in the top-ranking search results.
Is Ecwid Secure For Me And My Customers?
Yes, Ecwid has a certificate called PCI DSS Level 1. This stands for The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This is the global standard that online companies are striving hard to achieve. Once you get this certificate, it simply means that your system went through some serious testing, and was proven to be safe.
Ecwid is not the company that charges you and your customers’ credit cards. This is processed by your banking systems. What this means is that even if Ecwid was hacked, your financial information is not there.
Can I Use Apps With Ecwid?
Ecwid has an app market where you can find all sorts of applications that will help you make your website better. There are also apps that can help you manage your business easier. To access these apps, just click Apps at the bottom left side of your control panel.
From this page, you can browse hundreds of apps that you can use on your store. Since there are too many to browse, you can use the search feature to find the particular one that you are looking for. Use the Search apps box on the top left, and then type the keywords for the app you want.
You can also click on the categories on the left. For example, you can click on Dropshipping so you will only see all dropshipping apps.
These apps are not all free. Some will cost you about $29. Although some apps are free, do not be surprised that some of them require that you subscribe to be able to get the full service. These apps are not made by Ecwid, they are made by third-party app developers.
Does Ecwid Support GDPR?
GDPR is a new law that applies to the European Union. It was launched in 2018, and all businesses in the EU are required to comply. Even those that are not in the EU, but sell in the EU online, are expected to comply.
Ecwid is fully compliant with the GDPR law. Basically, GDPR states that:
- All data should be secure
- Consumers must opt-in to email marketing or subscriptions
- All website operators must show site visitors about its cookie and privacy policies
Ecwid has all these covered, so if you use this platform, you will not be in trouble with the law.
What Customer Support Can I expect?
As Ecwid’s customer, you can expect to be serviced through chat, email, and phone. Apart from these, the site has a knowledge base where you can find every information you need to operate your online store. There are tutorials that you can read, and maybe you will no longer need to talk to a representative unless your problem is really technical.
Can I Charge My Customers For Their Purchases?
With Ecwid, you can use several payment gateways so you can process transactions. Examples of these are PayPal and Stripe. Remember, Ecwid does not charge you any fee if a payment is made to you. However, your payment processor will charge you money.
To add a payment gateway, just click on Payment at the left side of your control panel. Once you do that, it should open a page like this:
Choose one that applies to you. There are 40 payment options in Ecwid, but not all of them are available to you. You can only use what is applicable to your country.
Ecwid also offers manual payments. All you need to do is to enable this on the payment dashboard. You can integrate the Ecwid platform with other offline POS systems like Square, PayPal card readers, Vend, Clover, and so much more.
To add a manual payment method, just click on the Add Manual Payment Method button from the Payment page, and then follow the step by step instructions.
Other Great Ecwid Features
Some other great Ecwid features that will enable you to take your store to the next level:
- ShopApp– allows you to build an additional, synchronized mobile companion store to your main website
- Demonstration Site – you can test out what a site will look like before you ever commit to Ecwid
- Site Showcase – see examples of other sites integrated with Ecwid
Ecwid Pros and Cons
While Ecwid has been around for more than ten years, it still has some room to grow. There are many good things about the platform, but the company also has opportunities to improve.
- Has a free plan with a fully functional online store
- Can import and export products
- Has a market for apps
- Has 40 payment gateway options
- Low cost for higher levels of plans
- Compliant to GDPR
- Easy to use
- No editing capabilities for SEO on the free plan
- Phone support is only available to members who pay for a premium plan
While Ecwid is one of the top choices of online sellers, there are still those who have a complaint about how things go on the platform. The most common complaint is that the support is not that good because those who are on the free plan do not get as much support as the paying members.
If you are on the free plan, you can only get support via chat or email. Generally speaking, this should be fine. It is asking the company for too much if you still want high-quality support despite having a free website.
Overall, Ecwid has a lot of positive reviews, especially from reasonable people who understand that anything free has limitations. Those who pay for their plans do not have a lot to complain about.
Ecwid is a software as a service platform that serves three markets of sellers: the beginner, the expert, and those that already have an online website. Anyone should give it a try, considering that it is free to build a website on the platform. If you like it, you have the option to upgrade to a better plan. If you do not like how it works, then you really have nothing to lose.