With typical site builder tools, you often have to rely on that standalone platform to power your entire site. However, the Ecwid e-commerce platform integrates instantly with content management systems like Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress. This saves an incredible amount of time for website owners who want to add a simple online store to a thriving blog or business website. If you use Ecwid, you’ll also receive a native app for your stores, making it easy for mobile customers to tap and buy from you again. Ecwid also makes it easy start selling on social media platforms like Facebook and Tumblr.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes Ecwid stand out from the sea of website builders. After that, you should be able to make an educated guess as to whether or not it’s the right platform for you.
A Quick Introduction to Ecwid
In 2009, a man by the name of Ruslan Fazlyev started Ecwid with that idea that more people could use an e-commerce system that merges with previously built websites. Fazlyev was also the creator of X-Cart, so it makes sense that he remained in the e-commerce arena after experiencing first-hand the concerns that customers had in the past.
The interesting part about Ecwid is how rapidly it grew. In 2016, Ecwid reported that it had more than 1 million users, and these people were scattered around the globe in more than 175 countries. This rapid expansion was partly because the company decided to translate its website into over 45 different languages.
Ecwid opened a U.S. office in 2001, primarily because it received a large Series A funding round of $1.5 million. In 2014, a $5 million Series B funding round came in, putting the company in a far more comfortable position. Ecwid plans on investing in development and expanding its partner programs.
Fazlyev is still the CEO of the company, but dozens of other people have come on board to help the company grow. As of 2017, Ecwid has become the #1 Facebook e-commerce app, most likely due to the seamless integration between the two platforms.
Ecwid’s Standout Features
There are a number of reasons to appreciate Ecwid’s e-commerce solution. Here are the standouts:
We mentioned that Ecwid supports integrations with a wide variety of website platforms. This means you can have an existing website, yet still combine the shopping cart with your current site to make money with the store.
Some of the supported platforms include:
- Adobe Muse
Compared to other e-commerce solutions on the market, Ecwid is fairly affordable. Ecwid has always had a free plan as its main selling point, so you don’t have to worry about punching in your credit card information for a free trial.
As can be expected, the biggest draw of a free plan is that it gives you the opportunity to play around with the platform to determine whether or not it’s right for you before paying. Sure, the free plan is rather limited, but it at least gives you a taste of what to expect.
In addition, the starter plan doesn’t take transaction fees, so you keep most of your money when making a sale. We say “most” since this doesn’t include whatever processing fees the credit card companies and gateways take.
All in all, the basic plan supports small businesses and bloggers that might be looking to venture into e-commerce. Here are some of the main features that come with it:
- A full online store
- A Facebook store
- A mobile responsive shopping cart
- Unlimited bandwidth
- A free starter site if you don’t already have one.
In addition, Ecwid offers paid plans for customers who need expanded options for their online store. These all range in price, but they’ve remained competitive over the years and the transaction fees always remain at zero. This way, you keep more of your money instead of giving it to Ecwid.
For those of you who opt for the paid plans with Ecwid, you’ll find that you now have access to a large app market with extensions for your store. These tools will enable you to do some truly awesome things to expand your sales and marketing capabilities.
Let’s start with the sales channels provided:
- Every plan starts with a full online store
- Then there’s the Facebook store and integration
- A point-of-sale (POS) system comes with some of the plans, in case you want to combine brick-and-mortar retail with your online sales
- A mobile POS is also an option if you want to process sales for your business in various locations, such as at events
- There is an Android and iOS store management app for keeping an eye on your sales and customer support at all times
- Some of the plans enable customers to create their own branded iOS and Android apps for their stores, giving you another channel through which to make sales.
Then there are the tools that enhance the sales experience:
- Automated tax calculations ensure you store collects the right amount of tax by the end of the year
- The inventory management tool keeps you in the know at all times: how many items you have of each product, delivering products to customers on time, etc.
- You can even create wholesale pricing groups in case you’re planning on selling big batches of items at wholesale.
Of course, no e-commerce business (or any online business, really) would be complete without marketing tools. Here is what Ecwid does for its customers:
- An abandoned cart saver tool to encourage customers to come back to complete abandoned transactions
- Discount coupons that customers punch right into the shopping cart
- Social media tools so customers on your site can like your page or share it with friends and family.
Ecwid also offers built-in search optimization tools so you don’t have to look elsewhere for assistance:
- Google Shopping integration expands your reach online, enabling Google users to find your items in search
- Advanced SEO tools to boost Google rankings for your e-commerce site and product pages.
Additional Add-ons and Upsells
With most e-commerce website builders you’ll find that you don’t get upsold too often. They typically make money through subscriptions, along with possible transaction fees and app sales. Nonetheless, Ecwid needs to make money and one of the ways this e-commerce builder tool does it is through app store extensions; not all of them are free.
The app categories in this store include:
- Store Management
- Storefront Customization
- Accounting Tools
- Social Media
The free apps range in functionality, but you can find options for product reviews, checkout notices, buyable links, sitemap generators, recently viewed products, and more.
As for the premium extensions, here’s a taste of the selection:
- Buy One Get One Free: Sales Promotions
- HelpfulCrowd – Ratings & Reviews | Question & Answer
- Kliken Marketing: Google Campaigns and Retargeting
- Timer Plus – Sale Countdown Timer
- Wholesale2b Dropshipping
- LeadDyno: Easy Affiliate Marketing
- Convead Analytics and Actions
- Increase Sales by Returning Bounced Visitors — Scaler.
The apps range in price, but you typically have to pay for them on a monthly basis. Therefore, it’s essential you consider this pricing into your overall costs before pulling the trigger on Ecwid. After all, you may be able to find another e-commerce platform that’s the same price but with the specific features you’re looking for for free.
That said, Ecwid does provide impressive built-in tools, and most of the time you can boost the functionality of your site by using a free extension from the app store.
Do you have a website right now or are you building one with Ecwid? If you’re trying to integrate Ecwid with a previously built and owned website, you don’t have to worry about a new theme or getting a full website through Ecwid. This is because you’ve already done the work. It’s possible your site runs through WordPress and you already have a beautiful premium theme.
However, some people are looking to launch their sites without running it on a different system. It makes sense. What’s the point of running two dashboards?
If that’s the case, you can buy a theme directly through the Ecwid app store. The basic store designer from Ecwid provides a smooth interface for constructing your store and website from scratch. It also has links for finding custom theme designs, where you work with a designer to make your store and shopping cart branded to your company.
Finally, since Ecwid integrates nicely with WordPress, you could go to ThemeForest to find a theme that’s made specifically for the combination. Who knows? You might even want to replace your old WordPress theme if you’re thinking of adding the Ecwid functionality.
Ecwid Customer Support
Ecwid has some rather impressive customer support, and it all starts with the personal onboarding that comes with every plan. They work with you to get your site online, integrate with whatever website you currently have and get transactions rolling through your site without any problems.
Besides the several social media pages, Ecwid has multiple ways that you can contact them for support. There are options for live chat, phone support, and email.
The priority support goes to users who pay for it, and it bumps you to the front of the line whenever you call. Also, for those of you who may need a little more assistance, one of the highest pricing plans has an option for custom development work. If you want to brand your site or fix some issue that’s bogging the performance down, this add-on could come in handy.
Who Should Use the Ecwid E-commerce Builder?
The main reason Ecwid is so special is that you can combine the shopping cart with existing websites. Most e-commerce systems force you to trash your old site and go all-in with their platform.
Ecwid also has a free plan for launching small stores — great for committing to an e-commerce builder tool without really committing to one.
Finally, Ecwid doesn’t charge transaction fees. You’ll still have to pay fees for the payment gateway, but it’s a huge plus to keep some money in your pocket at the end of the day.
This combination of awesome features and offerings brings us to the conclusion that Ecwid is by far one of the top online store solutions for small to medium-sized stores.