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- Date Established
- San Diego, CA Ulyanovsk, Russia Krasnoarmeyskaya, Russia
- Suited for startups
- Cheap monthly cost
- Free plan available
- Easy to use
- Free instant website
- Add shop to any existing site
- Unsuited for large businesses
- Basic design tools
First things first: What is Ecwid, and how on Earth do you pronounce it?
Ecwid is short for “eCommerce widgets.” This sort of describes what Ecwid does but provides no help with pronunciation. It turns out the “E” in Ecwid has a soft “eh” sound, as in “elephant” or “echo.” In other words, not like in the word “eCommerce” at all. Such is the crazy, mixed-up world of software naming.
Ecwid (pronounced “ehk-wid”) is basically a shopping cart widget that incorporates into any website with just a few lines of code. Using Ecwid, you can sell across multiple websites, social networks, and marketplaces, all while managing your expanding eCommerce empire from one easy-to-use admin.
Ecwid’s beginnings reach back to 2000 when CEO Ruslan Fazlyev developed the very first PHP eCommerce platform, X-Cart. But when Fazlyev realized that many merchants already had websites they wanted to monetize, he took a new approach and created the Ecwid plugin.
Over the past decade, Ecwid has grown to serve over 1 million merchants across 175 countries. With new features released every month, it’s clear Ecwid is still growing. If you’re considering adding a store to your thriving website or even starting up an online presence for the first time, Ecwid may be the “eh-commerce” solution that fits your needs.
Read on for a full review of Ecwid, including an analysis of pricing, features, reputation, and design.
Table of Contents
There is no “free trial” available with Ecwid; instead, there’s a free plan which allows you to list 10 products and get your store up and running. If you decide to explore Ecwid with the free plan, be warned that it’s essentially an advertisement for the other plans — several relatively basic features are only unlocked with a paid subscription. This freemium model for software sales is not uncommon. Ecwid is also no stranger to the tried-and-true eCommerce strategy of upselling, so don’t be surprised by reminders to upgrade your plan at every turn. While functional in many respects for selling a very small number of products, I doubt most serious sellers stay on the free plan for long.
If you’ve already shopped around a bit for hosted eCommerce platforms, you may have noticed that Ecwid’s pricing is lower than many of its high-profile competitors. That is partly because most Ecwid users integrate their Ecwid stores into websites for which they likely already pay monthly subscription fees. This is in contrast to some higher-priced eCommerce platforms that function as complete website builders as well.
Here’s a breakdown of Ecwid’s pricing:
Ecwid’s free plan costs $0/month and includes:
- 10 products
- Online store to “plugin” to any website
- A one-page website with your store built-in (Instant Site)
- Sell on multiple sites
- Facebook pixel
- One-tap checkout with Apple Pay
- Social media advertising
- Mobile responsive design
- Unlimited bandwidth
- No transaction fees (besides payment processing)
- Email support
Ecwid’s Venture plan costs $15/month and includes everything in the Free plan, plus:
- 100 products
- Digital goods (25GB per file)
- Mobile store management apps
- Facebook shop
- Instagram shop
- Mobile POS (with PayPal Here)
- Sell on Etsy
- Access to app market for integrations
- Discount coupons
- Gift cards
- Automated tax calculator
- Facebook Messenger live chat
- Inventory management
- SEO tools
- Connect your domain name
- Scheduled order pickup
- POS integrations with Square, Clover, Vend, and Alice
- Live chat support
Ecwid’s Business plan costs $35/month and includes everything in the Venture plan, plus:
- 2,500 products
- Digital goods (25GB per file)
- Sell on Amazon and eBay
- Automated marketing emails
- Abandoned cart emails
- Wholesale pricing groups
- Product filters
- Product variations
- Create orders
- Dimensional shipping rates
- Two staff accounts
- Multi-lingual storefront
- Phone support
- Two hours of custom development (annual plan)
Ecwid’s Unlimited plan costs $99/month and includes everything in the Business plan, plus:
- Unlimited products
- Digital goods (25GB per file)
- Point of sale
- Branded shopping app for your store (annual plan)
- Unlimited staff accounts
- Priority support
- 12 hours of custom development (annual plan)
Plans are billed monthly, and there are no contracts to sign. If you decide to make a long-term commitment to Ecwid and pay for a whole year in advance, you can save around 17% on your payments (two months free per year):
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Or, better yet, you can probably find a premade integration module for Ecwid if you use a popular site builder or Content Management System (CMS). Existing options include:
- WordPress (requires a “Business” WordPress plan to add plugins)
I easily integrated my free Ecwid shop into a paid WordPress site without downloading anything, nor touching a line of code. Check the Ecwid website or your existing site’s platform to see if a module is available.
Hardware & Software Requirements
There are no additional software or hardware requirements to run your online store.
Ecwid does offer mobile apps that you can use to manage your store on smartphones and tablets. These apps are compatible with Android 6.0 and up and iOS 10.0 and later.
Ecwid also offers its Ecwid Mobile app for selling in-person. If you choose to use Ecwid Mobile to sell on the go, you’ll need an iPad or iPhone (we’re still on the edge of our seats for the Android version). Ecwid partners with Paypal Here to provide this service, and you may qualify for a free PayPal swipe-only card reader. No doubt you can also pay to upgrade to a reader with chip and/or contactless payment capability. I’d recommend this since swiping is, like, so 2015.
Specific Size Of Business
Ecwid is best for small- to medium-sized online businesses. The pricing system and overall ease of use of the software are particularly attractive for businesses just starting to dabble in online selling. By the same token, Ecwid is reasonably scalable with higher subscription packages and more integrations. I’d suggest browsing the client “Showcase” page over at Ecwid to get a good feel for the types and sizes of businesses that are well-suited to the platform.
Ease Of Use
Ecwid scores major points on ease of use. The control panel was redesigned in 2018, and the result is simple to navigate and implement. If you have experience with WordPress or any other CMS, you should be able to pick it up quickly.
When you sign up for the free plan, you’ll be directed to your admin. A setup wizard takes you through the first few steps of getting your store up and running. Here’s what you’ll see:
Adding products is straightforward. Tabs across the top let you list attributes and options (also known as variants), upload additional images, adjust tax and shipping information, and write meta descriptions for advanced SEO (with paid plans only).
I like how you can pop out a quick preview of each product without visiting the full storefront preview:
As I already mentioned, it was also super easy to plug my store into a WordPress site. Once I installed the Ecwid plugin from my WordPress account, my full Ecwid dashboard popped itself right inside the WordPress dashboard. Voila!
Overall, the control panel is streamlined and self-explanatory, and I was able to locate resources if I ever became stuck.
Ecwid comes with a surprisingly expansive feature set straight out of the box, especially considering a lot of folks simply add Ecwid to a site that already exists. More features are always in development, and all are added to your admin automatically.
Below are some of the key features Ecwid currently offers. As always with this type of software platform, check your plan level to verify which features it includes, and don’t forget that you can’t add integrations without a paid subscription to Ecwid.
- Dashboard: Ecwid’s dashboard displays a snapshot of your site’s performance. The admin panel is easy to navigate, even within another program, such as WordPress.
- Products: Ecwid lets you list both physical and digital products. Just make sure to specify that your digital products don’t require shipping. You can also list multiple product options. Create variants for your products, such as sizes and colors.
- Multi-Channel Selling: With Ecwid, you can sell across multiple websites and manage everything from one admin. Sell on Facebook, Instagram, and more. There are also marketplace integrations available for paying users. Current options include Amazon and eBay. Finally, use Ecwid to sell in person by pairing with Square POS, Clover, and Vend to accept in-person payments.
- Sell Internationally: Ecwid has robust language capabilities. Your store automatically translates to 50+ different languages based on your customers’ browser settings, and your control panel is available in 20+ languages. Ecwid outshines most of its competitors on the translation front.
- Checkout: Let your customers check out as guests or create an account. Ecwid also comes with an automatic tax calculator and a real-time shipping calculator built-in. Ecwid uses your customers’ IP addresses to calculate shipping expenses with major mail carriers, including UPS, USPS, FedEx, Australia Post, and Canada Post. Additionally, create personalized shipping tables, flat-rate shipping, and local pickup options.
- Inventory Management: Track stock levels in your admin.
- Marketing: Motivate customers to buy with promotions and discounts. Set up promotional pricing, discount codes, and volume discounts. Some discounts (e.g., Buy X, Get Y) require extensions. Ecwid’s abandoned cart recovery tools also allow you to contact customers after they leave products in their cart to boost sales. Keep in mind this feature is not available on all plans.
- SEO Tools: Ecwid offers a few built-in SEO tools, including an automatically generated sitemap, customizable microdata, automatic alt tags, clean links, static copies of pages, and more.
- Reports & Analytics: Ecwid includes reporting tools in your dashboard. You can also integrate Google Analytics for additional stats and insights.
- Advanced Features: Ecwid offers a unique feature called the ShopApp. Using the ShopApp, you can create a self-branded app for your store for both iOS and Android shoppers.
Because Ecwid was originally intended as an add-on store to a prebuilt website that already has an established look and feel, Ecwid’s web design approach differs from most other SaaS eCommerce platforms. While most SaaS solutions offer a wide collection of premade themes (both free and paid) out of the box, Ecwid only offers one theme if you’re just using the standalone store. It’s called the Instant Site.
I wish Ecwid had more free themes to offer, but I do like the Instant Site. It’s basic enough to fit many brands, and the simple visual editor lets you add your content with ease. I easily ditched Mr. Sunglasses Skimboarding Boy from the default cover image and started creating my music instrument shop:
Unfortunately, adding text, changing colors, and swapping out a couple of images is about all the visual editor allows. Here are other ways to adapt your Ecwid store:
- Design Tab: Make very basic tweaks with this control panel feature, such as changing product image sizes or the alignment of elements on your product pages.
- Third-Party Theme Editing App: You’ll need one of these to change things as simple as font colors. A couple of options are available in the Ecwid app store, but note all integrations require a paid Ecwid subscription. No coding is required, but each app has its own learning curve.
- Custom CSS: Edit the CSS style sheets with help from guides on the Ecwid site, or create a CSS theme from scratch. Naturally, this does require coding skills.
Ecwid has also partnered with third-party designers and theme stores such as ThemeForest for WordPress to provide both predesigned themes and custom themes. You’ll have to purchase these themes or pay for a designer. Keep in mind that most merchants with this level of customization have probably moved beyond the Instant Site and are working on styling their stores within an existing website.
Speaking of making your store theme match your existing website, Ecwid shops do have the ability to automatically detect the main colors and fonts you use on your website and apply them to your product catalog, so your store looks like a natural extension of your site in those respects.
Ultimately, the benefits and limitations of Ecwid’s web design approach depend heavily on whether you’re working with the Ecwid Instant Site by itself or your existing site. I’d pay careful attention to those methods of modifying the Instant Site we’ve discussed above to see if they’ll work for you, especially if the standalone site is what you plan to use.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Ecwid hosts a growing app marketplace. The Ecwid App Market now includes around 150 applications. You’ll find several recognizable third-party integrations as well as a plethora of smaller extensions that add minor features or tweak small aspects of your shop. A number of the applications in this marketplace also feature customer reviews, so you can easily compare the quality of different applications.
I promise this is the last time I’ll harp on this point, but remember that adding any integration to your Ecwid shop — including free apps — requires a paid Ecwid subscription. Keeping this in mind will help you figure out which Ecwid subscription level you’ll likely need, both now and as your business grows.
Ecwid supports over 50 payment gateways out of the box, including Square, Stripe, PayPal, 2Checkout, Authorize.Net, and more.
In addition to the main list, you’ll find several additional gateways available as integrations in the app store, most of which are local/country-specific. Whichever gateway(s) you choose, remember that Ecwid itself does not charge transaction fees beyond the processing fees associated with your payment provider.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Ecwid offers varying options for customer support, depending on your payment plan. I have seen a few complaints online that voice frustration at the minimal support options on lower plans, and the limited phone support available on the higher plans. Let’s take a look at Ecwid’s support options:
- Phone: Phone support is only available to users on the Business and Unlimited plans. Before you get too terribly excited about the possibility of phone support, you should know we’re not talking about live operators standing by for your call. Instead, you will need to request a scheduled call-back from within your control panel. Ecwid contends that the team can provide better support when they’ve had the opportunity to investigate your issue before the call. There’s probably some truth to that, but I’m guessing the main reason is that this system helps to keep costs down. You can decide for yourself if the lack of on-the-spot assistance is a deal-breaker.
- Email: Email support is available to all users. Support is available all day Monday-Friday.
- Live Chat: Live chat support is available to all users on paid plans.
- Help Center: The Ecwid Help Center includes articles with both text and images that guide you through using the software. The Help Center is easy to use, and the support articles are up to date.
- Community Forum: All users gain access to Ecwid’s active community forum.
- Guides: Ecwid offers downloadable guides that you can access to an in-depth look at a range of topics.
- Videos: Ecwid has a comprehensive video library. View videos on setting up nearly every aspect of your online store.
- Custom Development: Users on the Business plan (on the annual subscription) get access to two hours of custom development, while users on the Unlimited plan (on the annual subscription) get access to twelve hours of custom development. If you are not on one of these plans or you need more support, you can pay to access additional custom development.
- Blog: The Ecwid blog features product news and articles about the industry.
- Social Media: Ecwid has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You can submit a message on Facebook, and you will eventually get a response back from them.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Ecwid users generally don’t have a lot to complain about, but the negative reviews I’ve found tend to focus on the following:
- Unavailability Of Customer Service: Personal customer support via phone and live chat is only available with paid plans. This is fairly typical of most shopping carts, but it’s still a bummer to not be able to call in for aid with the Venture plan.
- Limited Features On The Free Plan: There’s a reason the free plan is free. You won’t have access to discount creation, inventory management, and other fairly “basic” features. The free plan also limits you to 10 products. Fortunately, Ecwid’s paid plans are very affordable and come with many more features.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Ecwid scores well on overall customer satisfaction on many user review sites. In particular, I noticed on G2 Crowd that Ecwid rates just as high as some of its better-known competitors, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and WordPress’ eCommerce plugin (WooCommerce):
Here’s what customers like about Ecwid:
- Low Price: Compared with other shopping carts, Ecwid is reasonably priced. The fact that you can start selling without investing a cent is a major positive.
- Ease Of Setup: With a startup wizard and an intuitive dashboard, it’s easy to start selling quickly.
- Facebook Integration: Merchants love being able to sell on Facebook; customers never have to leave your Facebook page.
- Multi-Lingual Capabilities: Don’t let a language barrier cost you a sale. Ecwid’s language capabilities (which are available even with the free plan) surpass those of many other shopping carts.
- Continual Improvement: Ecwid regularly releases new features, extensions, and upgrades.
If you’re thinking about adding a cart to an existing website for the first time (with Ecwid or another cart plugin), you may need to up your security game. Websites that incorporate eCommerce require more security than websites that only produce content because you’re now collecting sensitive credit card information from customers.
Keep in mind there are a couple of different ways Ecwid shopping carts work, and this impacts how savvy consumers will view the security of your website as a whole:
- Free Instant Site: Because you’re just using a one-page website from Ecwid that also functions as your shopping cart, your entire website uses HTTPS and is protected by an SSL certificate from Ecwid.
- Integrating Into An Existing Website: While the store portions of your website are covered by Ecwid’s SSL certificate, you’ll likely want an SSL certificate for the rest of your site as well. Check with your specific site builder to find out how to acquire one.
Ecwid is also Level 1 PCI DSS compliant and uses Amazon Web Services for secure hosting.
Although “Ehk-wid” is perhaps not ideal for very large companies, it’s just right for smaller “eh-commerce” businesses. Subscriptions are quite affordable, and overall, the learning curve is small. You can start with the aptly-named “Instant Site” for free if you have 10 or fewer products to sell. Then, if you’re digging it, you always have the option to keep the Instant Site setup forever and simply upgrade Ecwid plans as you require more features and apps.
Meanwhile, even the free Ecwid plan allows you to plug your Ecwid store into as many other websites as you like. Just be aware that when Ecwid says you can plug in to “any site” on the free plan, it means “normal” websites. Dropping your Ecwid cart into social media platforms (such as Facebook) or syncing with marketplaces (such as eBay) requires a paid Ecwid subscription.
At any rate, you can keep your Instant Ecwid store going as long as you want while you develop a full-blown website on the side. The main issue you’ll likely run into is the limited free themes (there’s just one) as well as the need for extra apps or CSS editing to make large-scale changes to your store design.
On the other hand, if you already have a rockin’ website with a large following and simply want to begin selling products, the Ecwid plugin is definitely worth a shot, especially versus starting from scratch with an all-in-one eCommerce website. I’d suggest exploring what your current site builder offers in terms of features and add-ons and look for overlap (or non-overlap) with Ecwid’s offerings. Whether you choose Ecwid or another online shopping cart, I wish you luck on your way to eCommerce/eh-commerce success.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.