One thing’s for sure. Developing tech continues to drive ecommerce growth. And quite exponentially to say the least, with ecommerce platforms taking center stage.
Of course, the numbers of digital merchants progressively taking up ecommerce platforms have been impressive. But, have you ever felt that the industry could perhaps do better? That we’re actually yet to achieve optimal growth?
Well, that’s what the team at Webflow believes. While many players in the industry continue praising developing tech, Bryant Chou- the chief technology officer- believes we haven’t seen anything yet.
According to him, the bulk of online enterprises are built on old platforms that are increasingly redundant in the mobile age.
And here’s how Webflow chose to respond…
Webflow Ecommerce Review: Overview
Webflow has been around the block since 2013 when it was launched by Chou along with Sergie Magdalin and Vlad Magdalin.
Through the years, we’ve known it as visual CMS solution that merges professional code-free design functionalities with the user-friendliness of typical website builders. It essentially offered a Photoshop-centric design environment for building websites.
So far, that approach has arguably worked well for the company, considering Webflow’s current user base of over half a million website owners.
Despite this success, the team behind Webflow decided to expand further, and try their luck in the ecommerce platform space. And so, Webflow Ecommerce was consequently launched in March 2018 to cater to small business needs that are yet to be met.
First came the Beta version, which seemingly adjusted the whole Webflow framework. The provider systematically morphed into a platform with the following solutions:
- Webflow Ecommerce: Managing and growing online stores.
- Webflow Editor: Site customization features.
- Webflow CMS: Powers the whole content management framework.
- Webflow Interactions: Provides a wide range of graphical features for animations.
- Webflow Designer: Makes you an actual web designer without complex coding.
- Webflow Hosting: Deals with domains and overall web hosting.
From this list alone, I bet you now get the idea behind their new set of products. Webflow is simply seeking to facilitate small businesses with a full stack of digital ecommerce solutions.
Now, that’s exciting you’ve got to admit. But then again, it’s no easy task. It takes an extensively large amount of resources to build and support such a versatile platform. That’s why it’s understandable that although the first Beta ecommerce solution was considerably broad, it still lacked a couple of features here and there.
But, you know what? Webflow’s development team reportedly collected feedback from a wide range of users. They promised to use that to improve subsequent software versions.
So, I was quite curious about the changes we’d see along the way. Thankfully, I didn’t wait so long since the ecommerce platform was recently updated in November 2018.
According to Webflow, their new public Beta version is now more robust, with a rich array of functionalities for building and managing online stores.
Or is it?
Well, let’s find out. This Webflow Ecommerce review covers all the primary features you get on the public Beta version, the corresponding pricing structure, plus any notable weaknesses.
Webflow Ecommerce Review: Features
Webflow Design and Customization of Online Stores
The Webflow Ecommerce stack starts off with a visual website builder, which is seemingly engineered with a comprehensive framework that supports the entire site creation process- from design and editing to customization and publishing.
One thing I like about this particular model is its flexibility. It doesn’t limit you to a standard ecommerce structure. Instead, you have the freedom to be creative and set up any type of custom web page you might think of.
If you like blogging, for instance, you’re allowed to create your own dynamic blog- complete with ecommerce functionalities. And that includes integrating various product listings into your posts.
You can also capitalize on it to swiftly build unique marketing and conversion pages. It comes with a rich array of elements that you can add to relevant pages, before customizing them to capture and convert customers.
Well, you can start from scratch and build your entire ecommerce store from the ground up. Or, you could take advantage of Webflow’s templates as a shortcut to conveniently achieve a professionally-designed website. Your options here are diverse, thanks to a marketplace that features both free and paid layouts for online stores.
And yes, they are also quite flexible. You can edit them extensively to adjust the whole design, and subsequently publish a uniquely branded store.
If you’re creating product pages, for example, Webflow allows you to tweak even the underlying product scheme, and possibly change its overall structure. In other words, you can extend the default product fields by introducing special subcategories and descriptions.
That said, a thoughtful way to draw attention to specific items would be assigning a unique accent color, then perhaps combining it with microscopy and custom images.
Then when it comes to product organization, you might want to consider a dynamic but simple-to-navigate arrangement pattern. And no, it doesn’t have to be a typical grid. That’s arguably a bit too boring by now. Besides, Webflow allows you to creatively play around with ideas that might excite your site visitors.
As a matter of fact, it doesn’t restrict your items to the products’ pages. You can distribute them to multiple site sections to enhance your lead conversion funnel.
And speaking of conversion, you’ll notice that Webflow Ecommerce goes beyond products to provide additional tools for designing and customizing your store’s cart. You can make the whole process intuitive and fun for your customers by adopting one of the default cart designs, then maybe combining it with special animations.
Now, it goes without saying that a great shopping cart requires an equally attractive checkout page. Thankfully, Webflow allows you to modify even the checkout page to complement your entire store. Its visual canvas grants you the same level of flexibility here as other web pages.
Webflow Online Store Management
After setting up an ecommerce site, comes the often tedious process of managing the entire store. Now, Webflow seeks to eliminate the challenges by simplifying the whole framework through a well-streamlined pipeline for managing customers, orders, payments, and inventory.
When customers make purchases, for instance, the orders are immediately transferred to your client-friendly Editor. This is essentially where you not only view pending orders, but also follow up on the corresponding customer information, then track the subsequent progress.
Now, hang on a minute. What about the payment process?
Well, of course, the system will also generate the payment details applying to each order. But, here’s the kicker- it turns out that Webflow supports only one payment gateway.
Ok, I know you’d probably prefer going with PayPal if you were restricted to a single option. But, unfortunately, that’s not the case here.
Although PayPal is the most expansive online payment solution so far, Webflow is yet to integrate it into the platform. The company has only been able to partner with Stripe to facilitate online transactions.
Well, Stripe might not be as huge as PayPal, but it can accept payments in more than 130 countries. It’s also admirably secure, with features like Stripe Radar’s machine learning for fraud prevention and analysis. Then to top it off, it goes beyond regular payments to provide refund support plus dispute resolution.
Unfortunately, only merchants in 26 countries can open and run Stripe accounts. The rest have to wait until Webflow develops support for other gateways.
On the flipside, at least the system can automatically calculate and charge VAT plus sales tax for buyers based in Australia, the EU, Canada, and the U.S. But that’s pretty much all for now. Other regions have to hang on until Webflow introduces a feature for manual tax rate rules.
Fair enough. But, do these restrictions extend to the shipping process?
Fortunately not. Although Webflow is still working to introduce more order fulfillment functionalities, it’s quite versatile when it comes to product shipping.
For starters, it allows you to define the shipping rules along with the corresponding delivery regions for each product order. Then it goes ahead to facilitate varying shipping methods and rates.
In fact, you can set it to automatically calculate order shipping rates based on item weight, quantity, and price, plus total order cost percentage. It also possible to proceed with static per-order or per-item rates- including free.
Finally, when it comes to the actual product delivery, one service you’ll find to be quite handy is Zapier. The link it shares with Webflow allows you to choose and leverage multiple Shipping solutions from Zapier’s extensive range of integrations.
Webflow Upcoming Features
So far, we’ve mentioned a number of weaknesses here and there. But, let’s be honest- this platform makes up for all that with its wide array of ecommerce-optimized features. And considering it’s still in the Beta stage, you can already tell that Webflow is certainly headed in the right direction.
That said, some of the features its developers are planning to introduce in the near future include:
- Abandoned-cart recovery emails
- Additional first-party integrations for taxes, fulfillment, shipping, etc.
- Customer accounts and management
- More sales reporting and analytics insights
- Digital products and subscriptions
- Sales, promotions, and discounts
- Amazon PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay support
- Extensive product variants
Webflow Ecommerce Review: Pricing
Going by its list of web solutions, it’s pretty evident that Webflow is targeting a wide range of users who have varying needs. Not just small business.
As a result, its pricing plans have been grouped into two primary categories:
- Site Plans- These serve users interested in custom websites and ecommerce stores.
- Account Plans- They provide resources for creating and managing web design projects for clients.
Webflow Site Plans
There are two types of site plans: Website plans and Ecommerce plans.
Website plans, to begin with, only provide features for hosting sites. The three packages include:
- Basic- $15 per month billed monthly, or $12 per month billed annually.
Ideal for CMS-free simple websites.
- CMS- $20 per month billed monthly, or $16 per month billed annually.
Ideal for blogs and other sites that heavily utilize CMS.
- Business- $42 per month billed monthly, or $35 per month billed annually
Ideal for high traffic sites used in marketing.
Ecommerce plans, on the other hand, is the zone for digital sellers. And this is basically where you get the Webflow Ecommerce platform.
The packages include:
- Standard- $39 per month billed monthly, or $36 per month billed annually.
For businesses that are starting.
- Plus- $79 per month billed monthly, or $72 per month billed annually.
For established businesses enjoying high traffic.
- Advanced- $235 per month billed monthly, or $212 per month billed annually
For facilitating increased business growth.
Webflow Account Plans
There are two categories of Account plans- Individual plans and Team plans.
Individual plans, for starters, support single users in conducting and managing web design projects. The packages include:
The packages include:
Website staging for beginners
- Lite- $24 per month billed monthly, or $16 per month billed annually.
Code exporting for growing designers
- Pro- $42 per month billed monthly, or $35 per month billed annually
For advanced designers and freelancers
Then, finally, Team plans provide features to facilitate collaboration between web designers. The packages include:
- Team- $42 per month billed monthly, or $35 per month billed annually.
For collaboration between two designers per team
- Enterprise- Negotiable
For bulk hosting projects
Webflow Ecommerce Review: Customer Support
All things considered, Webflow comes with a rather simple set of tools. Needless to say, you might need some help before you finally learn the ropes.
Thankfully, there’s a comprehensive knowledge base with adequate guidelines on pretty much all the ecommerce functionalities. The Webflow University features a decent collection of video tutorials on some of the rather complex elements.
And that’s not all. Webflow also provides courses and eBooks to train web designers on coding and leveraging various tools.
So far, Webflow has been doing a good job at introducing its users to the new ecommerce platform. There’s an entire section of the site dedicated to neat animations explaining the whole framework.
Well, if you feel a little chatty, you could check out its active community forum. It’s a good place to share ideas and reach out to other like-minded individuals.
In case you’re having trouble setting up a website or managing your ecommerce store, you can save yourself a headache by simply hiring a relevant expert to handle everything. Webflow’s experts’ section connects you with talented individuals and agencies that deal with website marketing, migration, development, and design.
That said, you might also experience potentially serious glitches that need Webflow’s direct involvement. Sadly, regular users can only get in touch with the customer support team through a web contact form. Webflow claims that their agents are available from Monday to Friday 6AM-6PM PST.
Well, at least subscribed users, on the other hand, qualify for priority support.
Who Should Consider Webflow as an Ecommerce Platform?
So far, Webflow Ecommerce is seemingly optimized for small businesses. Its tools are not advanced enough to handle mid-sized and large enterprises- unlike its website development features, which can comfortably serve large teams.
In all fairness, however, it’s still too early to make a conclusive verdict. The baby is not even fully out of the womb yet.
We can only wait until it gains traction to make a more accurate conclusion. Come to think of it, anything is possible in the near future. Webflow might even morph into something else altogether.
For now, we can only sit and wait to test out additional features as they roll out.