Creating your online store is a daunting task, and having such a wide variety of platforms doesn't make it easier! In this article, we will be diving deeper into Ecwid, a unique and cost-effective e-commerce platform perfect for smaller businesses.
What is Ecwid?
Ecwid is an e-commerce platform that prides itself in letting its users sell in a multitude of online markets. This sets it apart from other e-commerce platforms, as they might have functionalities for multi-channel sales and such, but not to the extent of Ecwid. This platform allows you to develop and design your storefront, and then embed it on almost any platform under the sun using plugins. Ecwid shines when you already have an existing website, but you would like to incorporate e-commerce elements such as buy buttons on your current site.
Should I use Ecwid?
Website builders like Squarespace or GoDaddy are straightforward to use and offer reputable e-commerce features. But they're not precisely practical (or cost-effective) if all you're looking to do is add an online store to your current website. This is where Ecwid comes in handy, as it integrates seamlessly with any current site, starts at less than $20 per month, and does not charge any additional transaction fees when you make a sale, making it one of the more reasonable e-commerce solutions for smaller merchants.
If you do not have an existing site already, Ecwid now offers the option to use it without an existing website using a feature called Instant Site. This allows you to create your online store really easily using a drag-and-drop editor. However, the Instant Site is strictly a one-page website, so it's only really suitable for tiny stores.
Another important note is that you can use start using Ecwid's most basic tier entirely for free (which uses a freemium payment model.)
How to create your Ecwid store
Creating your store on Ecwid is impressively straightforward. First, you create your account, then fill in your store name, address, and the types of products that you're selling. As we mentioned previously, if you have an existing site, Ecwid can function as an add-on service; if you don't, Ecwid provides you with a generic sub-domain name (e.g. your store.ecwid.com) that acts as your Instant Site page.
The Ecwid control panel is where the magic happens and where you manage every aspect of your online store. Upon the first visit, you will be guided by a list of tips that'll help you set up your store, create or import products, tweak your delivery or collection settings, and set up payment gateways. Ecwid lets you add blocks in the website builder for headers, product features, or contact information but, unfortunately, doesn't let you add more images or video blocks. Using Ecwid's Instant Site website builder, you'll quickly publish pages, but you shouldn't expect the deep functionality found in more advanced e-commerce platforms like Shopify.
Under the Catalog section on the dashboard, you can add new products or edit the images, descriptions, and pricing of existing ones. Your products' shipping prices are calculated automatically when utilizing major shipping providers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx. When it comes to payment gateways, Ecwid allows a wide range of payment gateways to be used, including favorites like Stripe, PayPal, and ePay (and even allows you to accept cryptocurrencies via crypto.com). All in all, the ‘backend' of your e-commerce store is a breeze to navigate and edit, and the layout feels quite similar to a WordPress site if you have used it before. If you do get stuck, Ecwid maintains many helpful instructional articles, including tutorials and knowledge base blogs, and bears a very active user forum. If you are a subscriber to one of the higher-tier Ecwid plans, you will also gain access to live chat support.
Ecwid has four pricing tiers. The first tier, “Free,” is their freemium package, starting at $0 per month. This plan limits your store to 10 products. Secondly is “Venture” coming in at $15 per month. This plan allows you to sell up to 100 articles of both physical and digital products. Then we get to the pricey plans. The Business plan starts at $35 per month and allows you to add up to 2,500 items, use even more integrations, and have around-the-clock access to phone support. The highest subscription tier is ‘Unlimited', and as the name entails, this plan has it all: including zero limits on your store items and even custom development support.
Which Ecwid plan should I pick?
For small businesses, the Free plan is great if you're selling less than ten products. If you're planning on selling any more than ten products, the Venture plan is a great budget choice that will be powerful enough for most small businesses, allowing you to add up to 100 products and giving you complete access to all payment gateway options and shipping companies.
Ecwid Pros and Cons
- Easy to pick up
Ecwid is easily one of the more simple eCommerce platforms to navigate. This is thanks to its logically-structured backend and detailed knowledge base + community form. it's super quick to get your store up and running.
- Excellent free plan
Ecwid's approach to the freemium payment model really allows customers to properly test the waters before committing to their platform. And if your store does actually sell less than ten products, then Ecwid is 100% for you!
- Simply integration with other platforms
Functioning as a widget that connects to other eCommerce platforms, Ecwid is a great solution for anyone with an existing website on another platform looking to enhance the eCommerce aspect of their site.
- Design options are limited for non-technical users
Ecwid offers a much appreciated free tier that lets you quickly get your store up and running without even spending a cent, and is equipped with generally lower-costing premium plans than competing services. It serves as an impressive alternative to other major eCommerce platforms and is a great first step for merchants who want to move their businesses to the web.