They're both industry leaders, Ecwid first came onto the market back in 2009. Since then it's been used by over one million online merchants. Shopify (as you may already know) is also incredibly popular. It launched in 2006, and to date, its users have sold over $82 billion worth of goods!
So, with those stats in mind, let's dive into the nitty gritty of this review!
Ecwid vs Shopify: What Kind of Ecommerce Solution Suits Your Needs?
If you've done some research, you might already be aware there are two types of solutions available for building online stores:
- Software enabling the creation of an entire e-commerce site.
- A program permitting the design of a store you can ‘plug' into a site that's already up and running.
In a nutshell, these differences are the core distinguishing features between Shopify and Ecwid.
Generally, all Shopify pricing plans are better suited to anyone wanting to create an ecommerce store from the ground up. Whereas, Ecwid is better for entrepreneurs who already have a website or social media following up and running.
So, your choice of solution mostly comes down to whether you've already own a site you're happy with.
Shopify in Greater Detail
Let's explore Shopify in greater depth. It's a fabulous e-commerce solution that offers customers the benefit of both a website and an online store builder. So, not only can you sell your products but you can also create regular web pages. For instance:
- Blog posts
- Contact forms
- Static pages (About us, FAQ's, Testimonials, etc.)
You get the idea!
Shopify users also get access to over 100 payment gateways. So, there's a good chance you'll find one that best suits them. They should be able to easily purchase your products via a credit or debit card transaction. It's worth noting that Shopify has a slight edge over Ecwid in this regard. Ecwid only offers 55 to choose from (which is still pretty good going!)
Plus, if you opt for Shopify Payments, you won't have to waste your profits on transaction fees. However, you'll only be able to access ‘Shopify Payments' if you're running your business from the following countries:
- The U.K.
- The U.S.
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
However, when it comes to calculating your bottom line, you'll still have to factor the cost of credit card processing fees. It doesn't matter which payment gateway you opt for; these fees still apply. The amount varies depending on your chosen Shopify plan and the country you're located in. For example, if you're based in the US, your credit card rates will span between 2.4% to 2.9%.
Shopify's Buy Button vs Ecwid's Functionality
With the rise of Ecwid's popularity (and other similar programs) Shopify added a new feature known as the ‘Buy Button.' This enables Shopify users (on all plans) to embed a button onto their existing websites which allows them to sell lone products or whole collections of merchandise by copying and pasting a few lines of code.
Although this functionality is similar to Ecwid's, it's not as sophisticated. With Ecwid, you can create an entire online store and add it onto your site whereas, the Shopify ‘Buy Button' functions more like a checkout page.
Ecwid in Greater Detail
If you're using WordPress to run your site, you'll be pleased with how smoothly Ecwid integrates with this platform via its plugin.
Ecwid is also compatible with the following solutions:
- Squarespace (read our Squarespace review)
- Strikingly (read our Strikingly review)
- SITE123 (read our SITE123 review)
- Wix (read our Wix review)
- Weebly (read our Weebly review)
- GoDaddy (read our GoDaddy website builder review)
However, you should be aware that with Ecwid, you can only build a one-page site showcasing your digital shop. Naturally, the functionality is nowhere near as comprehensive as Shopify, but it does the job.
You can also set specific shipping rates and edit the various design elements comprising your sales page.
For greater control of the overall design, you'll need to be well-versed in web coding as you'll have to modify the CSS stylesheets to bring your vision to life. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, web designers don't have access to their HTML code.
Shopify POS vs Ecwid: POS
Unlike other comprehensive e-commerce builders, Shopify offers a point-of-sale functionality enabling entrepreneurs to sell products in-house. Business owners can utilize their own iOS devices or purchase tills, barcode scanners, receipt printers, etc. to get started with in-person selling.
You can still use POS features with lesser plans, but you'll be limited to what you can do.
Just like Shopify, Ecwid also offers its users point of sale options. You can utilize Ecwid's card reader (powered by Paypal) which integrates with ease with the following POS brands:
However, if you want to use more than just a mobile device and make the most of the full range of Ecwid's POS hardware, you'll need to purchase the most expensive Ecwid payment plan.
You should also be aware, if Square's your choice of POS integration, you'll have to be operating your business from one of the following countries:
- The US
- The UK
Ecwid vs Shopify: Advantages of Using Shopify Over Ecwid
One of the best things about using Shopify is the sheer number of professional-looking templates available to you. These are amazing for creating and launching online stores that reflect your brand.
You should note: when you purchase the ‘Basic Shopify' plan (or higher), you'll get full access to your CSS and HTML editor, so you have the freedom to bring your entire vision to life (if you know a thing or two about coding!)
Shopify also calculates shipping costs automatically based on the country you're shipping to and the weights of your products. Entrepreneurs also love how easy it is to optimize their online store for SEO. You can edit the meta descriptions, text on the page, subheadings, titles, URL's, image alt texts, etc.
In comparison to Ecwid, it's far easier to create a clean looking URL. You can ensure they remain relatively short and contain the keyword you're trying to rank for. Whereas, with Ecwid, you don't have a choice! They generate a URL for you, and that's the one you have to use. As such, the onus is on you to create an SEO-friendly title to ensure it's included in web page's URL.
Shopify users can also utilize the ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages' format. This encourages web pages to load faster when customers access their site using a mobile device. Not only does this provide a better customer experience but it's also great for SEO. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Ecwid doesn't offer this feature.
So, Shopify is the better choice for:
- Creating fully–fledged standalone stores
- Hosting an unlimited number of products
- Choosing from a wider selection of payment gateways
- Integrating point of sale with Shopify for offline selling
- Abandoned cart functionality on every plan
- A host of dropshipping options
- Multi-currency selling solutions
- Lots of helpful apps and integrations
- Some significant savings on shipping costs
- Decent SEO to help you stand out online.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Advantages of Using Ecwid Over Shopify
One of the significant drawbacks to using Shopify is that you're only allowed to list three options per product. So, if you're selling merchandise with a lot of variations (colors, sizes, shapes, designs, etc.), this poses a difficulty. Obviously, you can download and use third-party apps to work around this, but users often describe this solution as ‘complicated.'
Whereas, Ecwid doesn't limit the number of product options to such a small amount. Ecwid also enables entrepreneurs to request and store the info they need from their customers to process customized orders (for example, a button to upload a photo or a text box to insert the copy for their engraving, etc.) Please note, you'll need to invest in one of Ecwid's paid plans to access this feature.
One of the other benefits of Ecwid is that you can present your storefront in 45 different languages. This isn't something you can do as simply with Shopify. Ecwid also creates a mobile app for your store which you can then publish for customers to download via the Apple Appstore and/or Google Play.
As you’ll see in this ECwid and Shopify review, each product has a lot to offer, from inventory management to tutorials on how to use your site with Android apps. However, Ecwid is ahead of the curve if:
- You want to get started with a free plan
- There’s an existing website you want to turn into an online store.
- You want to avoid charges for third-party payment gateways
- You want to avoid limits on product options
- You want to capture bespoke information with SSL security easily
- You’re selling digital files
- Your company wants more real-time shipping quotes
- GDPR compliant cookie banners are important to you
- Product image management is something you’re concerned about
Ecwid vs Shopify: Ease of Use
Ease of use is a common concern to consider when you’re choosing an ecommerce website builder. You need a solution that’s simple to use so you can adjust your store’s design according to your needs. Ecwid is one of the top options on the market for simplicity, offering a beginner-friendly approach that appeals to all kinds of store owners.
You can quickly integrate Ecwid with your website, and there’s no need to worry about any coding or hosting issues. The simplicity of Ecwid as a solution to get stores up and running is one of its main selling points. Adding the widget to your site backend also means that you don’t have to learn how to use a new system. You can stick with Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, WordPress, and so on.
All you need to do to get started is go to the app store on the site builder that you’re already using and choose Ecwid to get started. Within minutes, you’ll have access to a variety of eCommerce tools. There’s even the option to add Ecwid to your Facebook, or Etsy store.
If you have a custom-made website and you can’t access Ecwid from a marketplace, you will need to use code to implement your new store – however, this is pretty straight forward too. For most users, it’ll simply involve copying and pasting the right information into the right section of your site. Ecwid will tell you how to do everything.
On the other hand, Shopify can seem a lot more daunting at first glance, because you’re building an online store from scratch. However, the truth is that Shopify can be just as easy to use as Ecwid. Because Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution, there’s no need to worry about coding, hosting, or update management – everything is handled for you.
There’s a little more work to do when you’re building a store with Shopify, because you won’t have an existing website. However, the system will walk you through each step, so you shouldn’t have any issues. Plus, Shopify has a huge community full of people to help you out too.
As online store solutions grow, Shopify is extremely straightforward. All you need to do is select a theme that you want to use and customize it to suit your purposes. From there, Shopify will guide you through the process of adding your products. You can also check the reports on the back-end of your system to see how your sales are going.
Another thing that makes Shopify so useful, is that it comes with a huge marketplace full of apps that you can instantly add to your store’s functionality. This means that you can implement things like dropshipping tools or new SEO solutions in seconds.
Although Ecwid is a little simpler if you already have a website pre-built, Shopify does make life easier for scaling and growing your store in the long-term.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Design Flexibility
Although templates and themes do make life a little easier for people building an online store, it’s worth remembering that you don’t want your website to look the same as every other site on the market. That means that you’re going to do need to do a little more customization.
Ecwid isn’t actually a store builder – it’s a plugin, which means that you’ll handle customization in a slightly different way. Instead of asking you to pick a theme and start building your store, Ecwid comes with a set theme that integrates into your existing website. Your store colors should automatically fit perfectly with the colors of your original site.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of customization in a tool like this. Your Ecwid site will be designed to look great immediately, fitting with your existing website theme. If you want to make changes, you can edit basic things about the storefront – but that’s it. You can change the size of various images, tweak layout choices, and add new descriptions – but that’s about it.
Your customization options are pre-determined, and if you want to get into making some significant changes, you’ll need to get involved with CSS. Though you can use CSS to create your own theme from scratch – this isn’t going to be easy if you don’t know much about code.
It’s also possible to use apps like the Decorator and Store Designer app from Ecwid if you’re a paying customer, but again, using these tools may not give you all of the options you’d like.
Alternatively, your customization journey on Shopify begins with you choosing a theme you adore, from a huge selection of great options. There are free or premium themes available, depending on what you need, and you can also sort through themes according to your industry.
You get different features based on the industry of your choice. For instance, there are unique features available for restaurants and bars. Shopify also gives you tons of control over how your storefront is going to look. You can edit every part of the theme, adjusting the way images appear and picking different colors. There’s also the option to determine how your store will look on mobile screens.
For people with significant coding issues, you can access CSS and HTML to get a more granular level of control over the things you customize too. There’s even an image editor so you can add filters to the pictures you upload.
To ensure that everything looks great, Shopify will allow you to preview every change you make to your store in real-time, so there aren’t any nasty surprises to worry about. For those who want excellent customization options, it’s hard to go wrong with Shopify.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Ecommerce Features
Ecwid and Shopify are both tools that you can use for selling products online. If you need a comprehensive ecommerce platform, then you’re definitely in the right place. However, the two solutions will offer a different experience to each small business.
Let’s start with payment gateways, for instance. Both Shopify and Ecwid have a lot of options to help you take payments from your customers, Ecwid offers a little over 70 payment gateways, while Shopify offers over 100. Shopify also differs in the fact that it offers it’s own payment gateway – Shopify payments. This is an easy to set up service that allows you to avoid all transaction fees. You will still need to factor in the usual fees for credit card processing, however.
You can only really use Shopify payments if you’re selling from specific countries. This might be a little problematic for some people, as it means using a third-party payment gateway if your country isn’t on the list. If you are using a third-party solution, there are transaction fees of around 0.5% to 2% to consider, depending on your plan.
Ecwid, on the other hand, requires you to use a third-party gateway for all payments and transactions. You won’t be charged for this, but you will need to factor in a little bit of time to configure the gateway. Other eCommerce elements to keep in mind when you’re comparing Ecwid and Shopify include:
- Product limits: Shopify is a lot more generous than Ecwid when it comes to hosting products. You can literally sell an unlimited number of products with absolutely no issues. Ecwid gives you access to 10 products for the free plan, 100 on the next one up, and you only get unlimited products on the high cost $99 plan.
- Product options: You can set up to three options on each product you sell with Shopify. For instance, you could have different sizes or colors. Ecwid is a lot more flexible in this regard. You have the freedom to give your customers all the different options they could think of. Shopify does have workarounds available for this problem, such as adding third-party apps into the mix, but that is a little complex when all you want to do is give additional variations of an item to your audience.
- Product categories: Most stores will have different product categories or collections to consider as part of their online store. Setting up collections in Ecwid and Shopify is pretty simple, so you can go either route in most cases. However, Shopify is a little simpler because you can add products to collections manually and create options that are automatically populated with products based on the conditions you supply. You can create your smart categories with a bunch of criteria, which is great if you have a store that sells a lot of products, but it does require a bit more work. Ecwid lets you use filters to spread categories out- but it’s not as smart as Shopify.
- Digital goods: Both Shopify and Ecwid won’t limit you exclusively to selling physical products. You can sell digital goods like music and eBooks too. This is possible on any plan with Shopify, provided that you have the right app in place. Ecwid does give you bigger limits when it comes to the file sizes that you can access. You can sell up to 25GB files depending on your needs, while Shopify only supports 5GB.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Other Important features
There are plenty of great eCommerce tools built into both Shopify and Ecwid for store owners to explore. For instance, if you’re worried about someone leaving your eCommerce website or Shopify store before they’ve purchased something, you can access abandoned cart saving features.
The abandoned cart recovery solutions on Shopify and Ecwid allow you to save your customer’s shopping cart so they can come back to it later. Abandoned cart recovery emails are available from both solutions, although Shopify does offer its functionality at a slightly lower price plan. You can access email abandoned card recovery options on any Shopify plan – even the Lite plan.
Alternatively, you have to be on a plan costing $35 or more to unlock the same functionality with Ecwid, which is a bit of a pain.
Offline selling Point of Sale Functionality
Point of Sale functionality is another thing that business leaders can access with both Shopify and Ecwid. This basically means that you’re not limited to selling your products online, you can also sell through pop up stores and physical locations as well.
Ecwid requires you to tap into third-party services when you want to unlock POS functionality. The options range from Square and Clover to Paypal and Shopkeep. The good news is that this does mean you can choose the hardware and software that seems to fit best for you.
Shopify provides it’s point of sale solution already baked into the selling experience, and it’s a bit easier and cheaper to access for that purpose. If you’re living in a country like the US or UK, you can order hardware for your point of sale system from Shopify, or you can buy from a reseller that’s authorized with Shopify instead.
The features that you get for POS selling from Shopify are pretty decent and cater to the needs of most merchants. For instance, you can sell in multiple locations, give printed receipts, define staff permissions and roles, facilitate exchanges, facilitate online buying and collect in store functionality, attribute sales to specific staff members and more.
However, it is worth noting that the Shopify team changedchange the POS offering recently, so if you want to access all the features, you need to pay extra for a Shopify POS Pro system.
Dropshipping with Ecwid and Shopify
Beyond selling online and offline, you can also access different kinds of business model with both Shopify and Ecwid. If you’re starting a dropshipping business so that you don’t have to stock products and fulfil your own orders, you can access a lot of useful functionality with both of these tools. The dropshipping model is a very appealing option for a lot of customers, because you don’t have to invest a lot into things like stock for your online business.
The problem with dropshipping is that it does require a lot of effort too make your business really stand out. Because it’s so easy to start selling through dropshipping, there’s a lot of competition out there, so you’re going to need to work hard. It can also be quite difficult to find goods that are really good quality and produced in ethical conditions.
Although Ecwid and Shopify don’t give you dropshipping functionality out of the box, they both provide easy access to the functionality. For instance, with Shopify all you need to do is download an app like Oberlo from the app marketplace and you can start searching for suppliers straight away. The same solutions are available through Ecwid with Wholesale2be and similar add—ons.
Shopify definitely stands out for dropshipping functionality however, as Oberlo is one of the most popular tools on the market for this type of business plan.
If you’re selling on an international basis, then you can access features to facilitate this with both Shopify and Ecwid. Shopify actually allows you to sell in different currencies straight out of the box. You can choose themes that have currency selector tools built in, so your customer can pick the currency that works best for them.
It’s also useful to access a feature that allows your site to adjust currency for the IP address of the website browser automatically. However, this is only going to be an option for you on Shopify if you’re using the Plus plan – which can be very expensive. You can also use a third-party app if you want a cheaper strategy.
Selling through multiple currencies on Ecwid also requires you to use an app like currency converter, which is pretty affordable, at less than $5 per month. This app shows the prices that are suitable for your customers based on their geographical location automatically. However, you will see the original currency alongside the local one too.
Either way, the bottom line is that both Shopify and Ecwid will allow you to sell on a global or international basis depending on your needs. Of course, there are better solutions out there if you’re willing to pay for them though.
Notably, both Ecwid and Shopify are streets ahead of the pack when it comes to things like tax management too. You can arrange for both platforms to automatically detect the location of your store visitors, so you can apply the right tax rate at the checkout automatically.
This is a very useful feature for both tools, and it works with both physical and digital products, so you don’t have to panic as much about VAT fees.
Both Shopify and Ecwid are pretty flexible when it comes to shipping. You can add flat rates, rates based on weight, or free shipping to your products, depending on your needs. There’s also the option to implement things like in-person pickup. When it comes to providing real-time rates from carriers to customers, there are a few differences between Ecwid and Shopify, however.
Ecwid has built-in integrations with a host of carrier companies, including UPS, USPS, FedEx, Royal Mail, Canada Post, MDS Collivery, Australia post and EMS Russian post. You can virtually choose to sell your products anywhere in the world without much of a problem.
There’s not as much choice available from Shopify. Your real-time shipping rates are only available from UPS, USPS, DHL Express, Sendle, and Canada Post. You also need to pay a lot of money to access quotes from different shipping carriers, because you’ll need the “Advanced Shopify” plan.
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the countries served by Shopify for real-time carrier quotes, the good news is that you should be able to access some decent discounts in shipping costs, depending on the plan you choose. Some discounts can even go as high as 90%.
The discounts for Shopify are clearly much higher than those for Ecwid when it comes to shipping, but you have fewer options from an international perspective.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Payment Options and Fees
So, how do Shopify and Ecwid compare when it comes to payment options and potential fees. Do you have a huge range of options to choose from, so you can keep your customers happy? How much do you have to worry about in terms of transaction fees?
The good news is that both Ecwid and Shopify offer a fair few options for payment processing. There are about 50 payment gateways available through Ecwid, including PayPal, Square, WePay, and Stripe. All of these options will allow you to accept payments from a range of customers in different countries and regions. You can also take offline payments with cash on delivery and wire transfers.
The great thing about Ecwid is that it’s not going to charge you any transaction fees when you successfully make a sale. However, you will need to check the payment fees of the processor you choose. Remember that most payment gateways will charge you processing fees for handling your transaction. However, the higher your Ecwid plan is, the less you’ll pay, thanks to handy discounts.
Shopify has slightly more payment gateway options to choose from, including PayPal, Stripe, Amazon, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. There’s the option for manual payments like cash on delivery, and you can even accept cryptocurrency too. Shopify also comes with its own handy in-house service for payment processing, called Shopify Payments. This means that you don’t have to deal with any third-party providers.
Unlike Ecwid, Shopify does charge transaction fees, on top of the processing fees that you need to pay to third-party payment providers. This is a bit of an extra issue for people who have been considering using Shopify in the past. The only way you can avoid transaction fees with Shopify is using the in-house payment gateway.
Shopify Payments eliminates the transaction fees, and it also offers slightly lower processing fees thanks to partnerships with leading solutions like PayPal. It could really be worth considering Shopify Payments if you want to save plenty of cash.
Shopify vs Ecwid Pricing
There are three pricing plans for you to choose from:
- The Basic Shopify Plan ($29 per month): This provides all the basics you need to kickstart your online selling venture.
- The Shopify Plan ($79 per month): This bundle's better suited to entrepreneurs looking to grow their business
- The Advanced Shopify Plan ($299 per month): This is by far the most advanced plan and is useful for scaling businesses.
Be sure to check out this article for more info on Shopify's pricing structure.
Extra Shopify Costs
As we've alluded to throughout this review, you can purchase ‘apps' to improve the overall functionality of your online store. However, these often cost a little extra.
You can also upgrade to paid-for Shopify themes, these are crafted by talented web designers and tend to look a tad more sophisticated. To purchase one of these you're looking at an average one-off fee of around $140-$180.
There are four price plans available:
- The Free Plan: This is ideal for newbies looking to launch an online business
- The Venture Plan (£15 per month): Access to various features that enable you to manage your digital store
- The Business Plan (£35 per month): This bundle provides you with more advanced e-commerce solutions.
- The Unlimited Plan (£99 per month): As the name aptly suggests, this is Ecwid's most comprehensive package for selling online.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Customer Support
Customer support is often a clincher for consumers, so we thought it best to make a quick comparison.
Ecwid‘s customer support options are somewhat limited, and the quality of the support given depends on the plan you're on.
For example, the free program allows you access to Ecwid's support team via email. Alternatively, if you have an issue, you can check out their blog. Over there you'll find tons of guides and tips for making the most out of their software. You can also put your questions to the Ecwid community and wait for a response.
However, if you have a paid-for Ecwid plan, you're also entitled to live chat and priority telephone support where you can request a call-back. That ensures one of Ecwid's support team get back to you at a convenient time.
As you may have already heard, Shopify‘s customer service is A-grade stuff. Their forum is incredible. There are tons of topics where you can get answers to your questions- that's in addition to their exceptionally informative blog.
Moreover, Shopify's advanced live chat is fantastic for anyone wanting a near-on instant response with answers that genuinely help!
Ecwid vs Shopify: Which Should I Choose?
All in all, if you're after a quick and easy solution to launching an online store, Shopify is the software for you. Whereas, Ecwid‘s (usually) best if you just want a plugin enabling you to sell products from a website that's already live.
It saves you having to go through the hassle of designing a new site to host an online store. This is also a better option if you're taking multichannel selling seriously. You can have your store up and running near-on anywhere online providing you're able to and have then permission to modify the web code.
Both Ecwid and Shopify get the job done for those looking to sell online, the difference is in the way that they support your store, and it’s growth.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Conclusion
If you’re creating a store from scratch and you want to offer excellent experiences for your target audience, Shopify has you covered. This tried and tested solution works well to give you a great store with plenty of bandwidth for growth. Alongside other solutions like BigCommerce and WooCommerce, it’s one of the most appealing products on the market.
On the other hand, if you already have a website and you want to stick with it, then Ecwid is the better choice for customizing the technology that you already have. Ecwid allows you to add product images, prices, and selling functionalities to the existing online presence that you already own, without requiring a lot of extra coding knowledge or difficult setup.
Both solutions have various pros and cons to consider, it’s up to you to determine which strategy makes the most sense for your business, and the digital assets you may already have.
Have you got any experience or have any opinions on either Shopify or Ecwid? If so, we'd love to hear them in the comments section below. Speak soon!