Ecwid VS Shopify: Compare Pros & Cons
|Ease Of Use||Excellent||Excellent|
|Reviews & Complaints||Good||Good|
|Best For||Small to mid-size eCommerce vendors looking for a robust platform||eCommerce merchants with big sales goals and complex product catalogs|
|Next Steps||Visit Site
If you’re searching for a new platform for your online store, you’ve probably considered signing up with one of the industry’s biggest names: Shopify. Before you start to build your eCommerce business on that top-rated platform, check out another leading player, Ecwid. An Ecwid VS Shopify comparison highlights two very different but very good eCommerce options. But which is better?
Shopify and Ecwid each have a lot of good features, and while they share some things in common, there are some important differences. Let’s dig into the features, pricing, and more, so you can learn enough to make the right decision for your online store.
Table of Contents
Ecwid VS Shopify
When deciding between Ecwid VS Shopify, you essentially have a choice between two top online sales platforms with slightly different approaches to your business’s eCommerce needs.
Both platforms offer plenty of features and have the integrations you need to build and manage a fully functional store. Each platform prides itself on being easy to use, too. Although a direct Shopify VS Ecwid comparison reveals key similarities, it also spotlights some important differences, too. And those differences may help you in your quest for the best online sales platform.
Nearly every Ecwid review you’ll read starts with the answer to an important question: Where the heck did that name come from, and what does it mean? Understanding the name helps you understand the platform, because Ecwid stands for “eCommerce widget,” and that’s exactly what Ecwid started as — a few lines of code that could be added to any website to enable online sales.
Ecwid has evolved quite a bit since those early days. Today, you can incorporate Ecwid into an existing website, or you can use it to build a simple standalone store. And you can do all that with a free plan, although if you like what you see and want to upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll find reasonably priced options. It’s cloud-based software, so you won’t need to download or install anything to use Ecwid, whether you build a standalone store or not. It can be a good option for merchants who already manage successful stores on popular platforms like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Drupal, and others, because you can find an premade integration module for Ecwid.
Ecwid can be a good choice for small to medium-sized businesses. There’s even a free plan that may appeal to startups or very small businesses that don’t need a full standalone website. If you’re interested mainly in selling on social media or through an existing website, you may find Ecwid to be a very economical and practical choice. There are four pricing plans that range from $0 to a max of $99/month for a full online store with unlimited products and 12 hours of custom development.
- Easy to use
- Plentiful features
- Forever free plan
- No transaction fees
- Limited templates
- eCommerce features limited on free plan
Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce platform, and though it’s not the ideal solution for every vendor, almost every Shopify review reaches the conclusion that the platform deserves its place near the top of the list. Shopify is reasonably priced and very easy to use, even for those making their first venture into online sales. With a solid feature set, responsive customer service, and some of the most stylish and functional templates available, it’s more than capable of supporting merchants of all sizes.
In fact, one of the first major differences between Shopify and Ecwid is Shopify’s ability to support merchants of all sizes. Though Shopify doesn’t offer a free plan, it does have a basic plan that enables users to add an eCommerce element to existing websites, for a budget-friendly fee of just $9 per month. Shopify pricing plans priced from $29 to $299 will fit most merchants, and there’s an enterprise-level plan called Shopify Plus that offers everything even the very largest online sellers could need to build and sustain eCommerce success.
In addition to a full range of eCommerce tools, ease of use is one of Shopify’s most attractive selling points. You can test Shopify’s capabilities (and your own comfort level with the platform) by signing up for a free 14-day trial — and you won’t have to pull out your credit card or offer a lot of personal information to do so.
So why doesn’t everyone choose Shopify? Two of the most frequent criticisms involve the transaction fees Shopify charges users who don’t use the in-house payment processor, and while most users can set up and run a successful store with the built-in features Shopify offers, advanced functionality nearly always requires add-on applications. Those expenses are factors you’ll need to consider as you look at what Shopify has to offer and what you can expect to pay for it.
- Easy to use
- Attractive templates
- Free trial available
- Numerous integrations
- Add-on necessary
- Transaction fees
|Free Hosting & SSL Certificate||✔︎||✔︎|
|Abandoned Cart Recovery||✔︎||✔︎|
|Enterprise-Level Service Plan||✔︎|
When you compare Ecwid VS Shopify, it’s important to remember that both platforms are designed to deliver out-of-the-box functionality that allows you to build and launch an online store quickly. Still, most users find that they will want to add on a few integrations to customize their eCommerce experience.
Note that if you’re using Ecwid as your platform, you won’t have access to the dozens of apps in the online marketplace unless you’re signed up for a paid plan. Some features are limited to higher level plans on Shopify, too. Keep that in mind as you consider the following list:
Although you can sell digital products on either Shopify or Ecwid, if you use Shopify you’ll need to download a free app first. Ecwid offers that as a built-in feature.
Want a good looking site without shelling out a bunch of money for a paid theme? If you use Ecwid, you can have your choice of dozens of free themes. Don’t see one you like? You can purchase a theme that’s more to your liking. You’ll have a wide choice of free themes with Shopify, too, though fewer of them come with a $0 price tag. You’ll find eight free options created and supported by Shopify, and you can choose from nearly 100 others available for purchase.
You can use Ecwid to add a sales element to your existing blog, but you can’t add a blog to your Ecwid standalone website. If that’s a priority for you, you may prefer Shopify. Blogging is included as a built-in option on the Shopify platform.
Shopify makes it easy to build a dropshipping business. You can integrate your Shopify store with Oberlo or another dropshipping supplier. It’s not hard to set up a dropshipping business on an Ecwid store, but you’ll need to install an app to do so. Integrations are available for Printful and Wholesale2B.
Shopify has an in-house fulfillment option called Shopify Fulfillment Network. It’s available only in the US and is aimed at business that manage fewer than 2,000 SKUs and ship between 10 and 10,000 orders a day. Ecwid does not offer an in-house fulfillment service, but it does partner with top fulfillment services, like Red Stag, Shipwire, ShippyPro, and more.
Ecwid pricing is very straightforward, with four plans offering increasing features and functionality. The free plan, at $0/month, allows 10 products and a one-page website with a built-in online store. The free plan allows users to sell on multiple sites and across social media platforms in addition to in-person sales with your choice of three POS. Additional plans include Venture at $15/month, Business at $35/month, and Unlimited at $99/month. As the name implies, Unlimited allows you to list as many products as you’d like, and you can add any number of staff accounts under the Unlimited plan.
Ecwid pricing compares favorably to Shopify pricing plans. While Shopify does not offer a completely free plan like Ecwid’s, the Shopify Lite plan, at $9/month, is similar in that it allows you to add eCommerce in the form of a “buy button” to existing webpages and social media sites. Shopify’s most popular plans are Basic Shopify at $29/month, Shopify at $79/month, and Advanced Shopify at $299/month. Under the Basic Shopify plan, you can set up a standalone eCommerce site and a blog, add unlimited products, and add two staff accounts. Each plan offers more functionality and features, with the Advanced plan allowing up to 15 staff accounts and up to eight locations.
For larger customers, Shopify offers one additional plan, Shopify Plus, most suited for enterprise-level eCommerce operations. Pricing is customized to each seller’s unique needs and sales level. Shopify offers an additional component that may influence your choice of eCommerce platforms: a financing option called Shopify Capital that can connect users with short-term business funding in the form of short-term loans and cash advances.
Shopify also has an in-house payment processor: Shopify Payments. This is important because Shopify charges transaction fees between 0.5% and 2% on every sale you make through your Shopify site. The rate varies depending on what Shopify plan you use. However, if you choose Shopify Payments as your processor, those transaction fees disappear. You’ll still be on the hook for payment processing fees, because you can’t avoid those no matter what payment processor or platform you work with, and Shopify Payments fees are in line with the industry standard.
Ecwid does not offer an enterprise-level plan, a funding option, or an in-house payment processor. So if you choose Ecwid as your eCommerce platform, you won’t have those options built in. On the plus side, Ecwid does not charge transaction fees, ever. (Again, you won’t be able to avoid paying fees to your payment processor.)
Ease Of Use
Ecwid and Shopify are neck and neck in terms of ease of use. Both platforms are known for providing an easy entrance to eCommerce activities that almost anyone can master. That’s true even if you have no design or website experience. As long as you’re comfortable using a computer, you probably won’t have much trouble setting up and managing an Ecwid or Shopify store.
In fact, if you’re looking for a sophisticated eCommerce solution, you may find that both platforms are a little too easy. Both prioritize ease of use over advanced functionality, as you’ll discover if you take advantage of the free trial period on Shopify or the free plan on Ecwid to test out the platforms. Although you may be satisfied at first with the look and function of your store, be aware that as your online store becomes more sophisticated and your eCommerce plans and requirements become more complex, you’ll probably want to add on some integrations. From accounting to marketing and everything in between, you can find what you want to customize your eCommerce experience. Of course, adding those integrations will bring new expenses in terms of one-time purchases and ongoing subscription fees, so proceed slowly and cautiously, to avoid paying for more than you need out of the gate.
Customer Service & Support
Both Ecwid and Shopify offer customer support in a variety of ways. Shopify provides phone and email support, live chat, forums, a help center, webinars, a blog, and other free tools for making the most of the platform. Ecwid’s support options include email, live chat, a help center, community forum, guides, videos, and more. Ecwid users on paid plans can access telephone support too, and users on the top-tier plans receive custom development support. Shopify offers full API documentation and other resources for those who are technically inclined and also maintains a roster of experts available for hire.
Some users have expressed frustration that Ecwid does not offer full support on the lower level plans. However, there are numerous self-help options available. Shopify’s customer support garners mixed reviews, too. Some users praise the informed, friendly support they’ve received. Others say that support representatives are not so helpful. Again, a variety of self-help options are available, if you don’t get the help you’re hoping for through other channels.
Reviews & Complaints
Both platforms receive more positive reviews than complaints. Let’s take a look at those complaints first, even if they are less common than the praise these platforms receive. Some Ecwid users decry the lack of personal support on lower level plans, the limited features on the free plan, and the design limitations. None of that is surprising for a platform offering free and competitively priced plans, and in fact, some of those complaints show up in the positive column too, especially the low price and the simplicity of the Ecwid platform. Users also praise Ecwid’s easy-to-implement social media integrations and its multi-lingual capabilities.
As for Shopify, the most common complaints involve limited functionality and the costly add-ons often required to fill in the gaps. And of course no one likes paying the transaction fees Shopify charges. On the other side of the coin, Shopify users praise the platform’s ease of use, its beautiful themes, and the abundance of integrations that let you customize your eCommerce experience.
Finally, an area where the Shopify VS Ecwid matchup provides a clear winner! While Ecwid’s App Market includes dozens of paid and premium applications available for purchase, you cannot access any of them unless you have a paid Ecwid plan. Of course, you can access the API documentation, if you feel the need for a custom-made option.
By contrast, Shopify’s App Store offers a wealth of add-ons and integrations — a whopping 3,500+ of them, in fact. That’s a good thing, because Shopify offers fewer built-in features than Ecwid does. So you may need to add a few more add-ons just to reach the level of functionality that Ecwid offers on all its paid plans.
The Key Differences Between Shopify VS Ecwid
When you’re working with two worthy options like Ecwid VS Shopify, a lot of your choice may come down to personal preference. Because both platforms offer an opportunity to try the software for free before committing to a subscription, it’s smart to take a look at each and see which one seems to fit best with your eCommerce plans. That said, there are a few differences between the software that are worth keeping in mind as you ponder your choice.
Ecwid offers a “forever free” plan that provides the basic tools of eCommerce. By employing a few lines of code, you can add a purchasing option to any existing website, blog, or social media post. You can also use the free plan to create a one-page standalone online store. If your eCommerce plans involve more, Ecwid offers more advanced features in its budget-friendly paid plans ($15-$99/month).
By contrast, Shopify does not offer a free plan At $9 per month, the Shopify Lite plan offers similar functionality as Ecwid’s free plan, allowing you to add a “buy button” to existing sites and posts, but you won’t be able to set up even a one-page store. Setting up a standalone storefront requires signing up for a higher price plan ($29-$299/month).
Of course, Shopify’s higher price point delivers some added features compared to Ecwid’s plans. Whether price or functionality tips the scales for you depends entirely on your plans and goals.
Shopify has the ability to grow with your online business that Ecwid simply cannot match. When you compare the features and functionality of each platform’s paid plans, you’ll see that Shopify delivers more advanced capabilities. Do you need them? Will you gain enough online agility and capture more sales, so that the extra cost is worth it? Again, the calculations are yours to make. Keep in mind that if you’re hoping for extreme growth over time, only Shopify offers an enterprise-level plan, Shopify Plus, that will be able to meet your needs no matter how great your success and growth.
As you consider a software solution to a complex opportunity like eCommerce, the initial price tag is only a starting point for most users. Whatever plan you’re considering for your shopping cart platform, you can expect to purchase a few add-ons and integrations to customize your experience to your personal preferences and needs. That’s a standard across the industry.
However, Shopify has one industry-defying added cost that you won’t encounter with Ecwid: transaction fees. To be clear, you can’t escape paying transaction fees to your payment processor. Those fees are fairly standard across the industry. Shopify stands nearly alone in charging additional transaction fees on every sale you make through the platform. These fees decrease from 2% of each sale to 0.5% as you rise in subscription levels with your Shopify service, and accrue on top of the fees you pay to your payment processor, compounding the bite taken out of each sale you make. The only way to avoid the extra fees is to use Shopify Payments exclusively as your payment gateway.
Ecwid does not charge transaction fees.
Ecwid is a solid choice of eCommerce platform, capable of delivering everything most small to medium-sized vendors will need to sell online. Unlike Ecwid, Shopify goes above and beyond the basics, offering an in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments; an in-house fulfillment option, Shopify Fulfillment Network; and even a financing arm, Shopify Capital, that can provide short-term loans and other types of financial assistance to businesses using Shopify for their eCommerce needs.
Of course, not every online seller will have interest in or need of those extra services. If you’re in that camp, their availability probably won’t affect your decision-making.
Which Is Best For My Business Needs: Ecwid Or Shopify?
Our dive into this Shopify VS Ecwid comparison has spotlighted two very good eCommerce solutions. However, it has also shed light on some important differences between the platforms that can help you decide which direction is the right one to take your eCommerce business.
Choose Shopify If …
- You are an online seller anticipating sustained growth.
- You are willing to sign up for and use Shopify Payments as your primary payment gateway.
- You want a variety of stylish and highly functional templates you can use to create a one-of-a-kind look for their online store.
- You plan to take advantage of the library of thousands of integrations and add-ons to create a truly customized eCommerce experience.
Choose Ecwid If …
- You want to boost your online presence without investing a lot of time and money into creating a complicated online store.
- You want a reasonably sophisticated eCommerce solution without paying for a lot of extras you don’t plan to use.
- You want to turn your online presence into an opportunity for sales, using a no-cost eCommerce solution on existing websites.
Ecwid VS Shopify Comparison: The Final Verdict
Shopify is one of the most popular shopping cart platforms available, with more than one million users worldwide, and it’s easy to see why so many people choose to use it. From its stylish templates and easy-to-use dashboard to its plentiful built-in features and loaded app store, nearly anyone can build a successful online store using Shopify software.
Other people will appreciate all that Shopify has to offer and still want something a little different. That’s where smaller but no less valuable solutions like Ecwid come in. With options coming in well below Shopify pricing plans, Ecwid offers a full range of features that you can use out of the box as well as a satisfying array of optional add-ons.
The Shopify VS Ecwid comparison may boil down to this, with the understanding that both are worthwhile solutions, if they deliver what you’re looking for. You definitely will pay more for using Shopify, but it’s clear you’ll receive more for your money when you compare Shopify to a solution like Ecwid. On the other hand, if you like what you see with Ecwid, you may ask yourself why you should consider paying for features and added services that you’re not really interested in using — especially since with Shopify, you’ll be paying extra fees for the privilege of using the platform.
Whichever way you’re leaning, we encourage you to sign up for both platforms and take a look. Read our full reviews of Shopify and Ecwid, test them out for yourself using the free trial or plan, and then go with the platform that feels right to you. No matter which platform you choose, you’ll have made a very good choice and you can confidently launch your eCommerce adventure.