Ecwid has been an interesting competitor in the WordPress market since it’s launch in 2009. While Ecwid isn’t truly a WordPress plugin, it does integrate with WordPress sites and provides a managed shopping solution (similar to Cart66 Cloud). At its heart, Ecwid is a SaaS solution for eCommerce stores: all store management takes place within your Ecwid account, including inventory and product management, as well as payment processing. Your store and content is then displayed on your site or mirrored anywhere you choose, such as in your Facebook store as well as within your primary website. While this makes inventory management easy, as all “stores” draw their information from a central source, it does limit flexibility since developers are limited by the Ecwid API for customizations and changes.
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- Base and Ancillary Costs
- Overview and Usability
- Customer Experience
- Built-in Payment and Shipping Options
- Reporting and Inventory Management
- Other Features and Comments
- Ecwid Review Wrap-up
- Read More
Base and Ancillary Costs #
Pricing for Ecwid is tiered based on the number of products in your store and your store’s needs. Free plans are available for stores with ten or fewer products, and plans increase in cost up to $82.50 per month for stores with greater than 2500 products. All plans come with varied payment and shipping options, but you’ll need to upgrade for more products, and support or marketing tools (such as coupons and discounts which are not included in the free plan). However, the free plan is a great place to start if you’d like to check out how the software works. If you’d like to see a demo instead, they also have one available as well as a full feature list.
Since theming costs will be up to you, store costs will range from free to $82.50 per month ($990 per year).
Overview and Usability #
Since Ecwid is a hosted solution, some of your setup will have to be done within your WordPress admin, and the rest will be done in your Ecwid account. Basic appearance settings are handled within the WordPress integration plugin, while tax and shipping options, as well as product and order creation and management are handled from the Ecwid backend. You can also check out the guide for WordPress installation for help.
The first thing you’ll have to do get started is register for an Ecwid account, and go through the setup steps listed in your account when you log in:
Obviously, we’ll be selecting WordPress in our case, and we’re directed to download the WordPress plugin:
After you’ve grabbed your store ID, you can put in in the Ecwid > General settings in your WordPress admin:
Once your Ecwid account is connected to your WordPress site, you can then configure your store’s appearance in the WordPress backend under Ecwid > Appearance:
If you want to change the way your store looks, set up a category structure for products, or change other options, you’ll need to log in to your Ecwid account to do so. Most options are under System Settings, such as the ability to enable or disable guest checkout and more.
Tax options allow you to create tax rates based on regions where you’ll be selling and shipping. You can configure a general tax, then set rates by region (for example, set a physical goods tax and a virtual goods tax). You can set as many taxes as necessary, and divide each rate into separate regions.
Product setup and configuration is also done from your Ecwid admin rather than within WordPress. Before setting up products, I’d try to set up categories under Catalog > Categories, as there’s no way to bulk-edit product details and you’ll have to go back and set up categories for each product later if you don’t have them done in advance. You can also set up sub-categories if you’d like to break up large categories like “Home”.
You can also set product types, which each have certain attributes. For example, a “clothing” type product will have space for brands, gender, colors and more. Adding product types prior to configuring products will also help you out so that you don’t have to go back and edit each product later.
Once your product categories and types are set up, I’d then move on to product addition. Simple product addition is pretty easy to figure out, as it contains many of the same fields and options as other eCommerce solutions. You only have one description for Ecwid products versus a short and long description in some other WordPress plugins, but other features and fields are very comparable to other platforms. You do gain the ability to set Brands under “Attributes”, which I know is a must-have for some store owners, and you can set related products for cross-sells. Ecwid also allows you to set up a product image gallery for each product. While this won’t change to reflect selections for variable products, you can label each image appropriately.
You can also get fine-tuned control over product options, such as the ability to set individual stock levels and low stock notifications for each variation. However, this is only available to Business account users.
Variable product addition is also pretty easy, but will not allow you to manage inventory for each variation with some accounts. To create a variable product, you’ll simply go through the same setup as a simple product, but will then add product options under the “Options” tab. Options are what will change about the product, such as color or size. You can then add selections for each option, which would be the individual colors, such as red and blue, or the sizes, such as small or medium.
Shortcodes and Widgets
Ecwid comes with four built-in widgets. Two will add the “Shopping Bag” (cart) to your site’s frontend (each with a different style), while the others add a product search and product categories list.
Customer Experience #
Ecwid displays products based on category by default, and there are no widgets or options to display new products, featured products, or best sellers. You can use the free Ecwid Product Advisor plugin to show random products, bestsellers, as well as on-sale and latest products using a shortcode or widget instead if you’re looking for this functionality.
Categories and subcategories are fixed at the top of the page, and users can navigate using this tabbed menu, or can drill down to what they’re looking for by clicking on the appropriate categories, subcategories, and items:
Navigation will be intuitive for most customers, and the tabbed menu provides breadcrumbs for customers that want to return a level after drilling down for a product. Simple and variable product pages are clean and display product information, attributes, and related products (if selected):
Customers can easily add products to the shopping bag, and you can optionally force customers to view their shopping bag with product addition. You can also float the shopping bag below the catalog, or place it in a widget. When customers view their bag, then can adjust quantities, product variations (size, etc) and remove items if needed:
From the bag, customers can view a cart estimated total and proceed to checkout. The checkout process for Ecwid is not a one-step checkout, which has the potential to lower conversions as it provides more opportunity for the customer to abandon the purchase. However, it is easy to follow and quick to complete, so it shouldn’t pose too many difficulties to customers while they complete their transactions.
Built-in Payment and Shipping Options #
The number of shipping and payment integrations built into Ecwid is pretty impressive. You can set shipping rates or calculate them based on your carrier, and can select from several payment methods and processors to integrate into your Ecwid store.
Ecwid has several payment solutions bundled into the core product, such as Authorize.net SIM, First Data, Sage Pay, iDeal (Mollie) for our Dutch friends, and others. Stripe is also included, which is a huge bonus for us as we’re big fans of using Stripe for payment processing (though this isn’t advertised for US customers and I was pleasantly surprised to discover it). You can also accept offline payments and PayPal.
Ecwid also contains a lot of built-in shipping methods, and you can create several methods to fit your store’s needs. You can obtain carrier-calculated rates from various carriers, including FedEx, UPS, and others. If you don’t have an account with a carrier, you can use the default Ecwid account for fairly accurate estimates based on a default package size, or you can use your carrier account information.
You can also set flat-rate shipping based on a set amount or an order percentage and include a delivery estimate. Using a flat rate will also allow you to create a free shipping method, though this cannot be tied to the order total and will always be presented as an option. Ecwid also allows you to set a rate table based on subtotal or weight.
Finally, you can also adjust shipping on a per-product basis, which is great if you have products you want to set free shipping for without enabling it for the entire catalog:
Reporting and Inventory Management #
Ecwid has built-in order management so that you can view sales, but has no built-in reporting options.
Inventory management is easy and functional within the Ecwid admin. While setting up a product, you can choose whether inventory should be unlimited or set inventory levels and optionally set a low-stock level for notifications.
To effectively manage inventory for variable products, you’ll need at least a Business level account ($29.50 per month), as you can’t manage inventory based on product options with lower level accounts.
My experiences with Ecwid were good, as I received a couple of on-boarding emails after creating my free account which offered a free set-up consultation and encouragement in finishing store setup.
All users have access to the knowledge base and community forums for support. The knowledge base does a good job of covering setup and general questions, but I found Ecwid to be pretty easy to use after playing around with all settings for a couple of hours. They state that their goal is to make a product so user friendly that a guide isn’t necessary, and I think the product comes close.
In order to access ticketed or live chat support you’ll have to set up a paid account. All paid account have access to community and email support, but only business plans and above have access to live chat. Unlimited plans ( > 2500 products) also provide access to desktop sharing and store setup consulting.
Other Features and Comments #
One negative I noticed was that occasionally small blank boxes pop up, like the ones below. Not sure where these are coming from or if it could be fixed, as the problem was intermittent and it wasn’t a huge issue so I didn’t take the time to diagnose it. Note: Check out this comment, which states that this issue is being fixed.
Another consideration is the fact that Ecwid is AJAX powered, which typically doesn’t help your site’s SEO since search engines can’t index all content. As one of the huge benefits of using WordPress is the fact that it’s SEO-friendly, this can be a downer. However, this will help store speed for clients using less than optimal hosting services. As always, everything has an opportunity cost 🙂 .
So now on to some positives: Ecwid has the ability to set a minimum and maximum subtotal for checkout built-in. Under System Settings > General > Cart in the Ecwid admin, you can optionally set values for minimum and maximum subtotals. Ecwid also boasts a built-in CSV exporter for orders, products, and customers, and a CSV importer for products.
Ecwid Review Wrap-up #
Ecwid is a great platform for non-technical users. It’s easy to install and set up, and provides some pretty robust options for payments and shipping. I see it as a great solution for store owners that want an easy, all-in-one solution, and benefit from the ability to mirror their store in multiple places, such as on a website and Facebook store (especially if they already have a site and want to add store functionality). However, there are some trade-offs to consider. First, Ecwid doesn’t support recurring billing, so subscription and membership products are out the window. You’ll also be trading flexibility and the potential for customizations by using a hosted cart solution, as developers are limited to using the API for changes rather than diving into the software itself. You also lose out on the fact that search engines gobble up WordPress content, and plugins that use custom post types for products enable this process rather than block it (as Ecwid does in part). In addition, you have to consider that moving data between Ecwid and other solutions may not be as easy as a truly WordPress-based solution.
On the whole, Ecwid is a solid solution for basic stores selling physical and digital goods, and will work well for users that want to sell products from multiple avenues, but lacks the flexibility of other solutions.
Read more: #
- We’ve added Ecwid to our spreadsheet comparing eCommerce Platforms for WordPress if you’d like to see how it stacks up to other solutions.
- Want to use Ecwid on a Facebook store? Check this tutorial on using Ecwid with Facebook.
- Practical eCommerce featured Ecwid in an article on distributed commerce and how it’s changing online shopping.
- Here’s a presentation on using Ecwid for eCommerce with WordPress.
- You could also read these other Ecwid reviews: Website Tool Tester, Practical eCommerce, and WinkPress.
- Ecwid has a good FAQ I’d recommend checking out for questions we may not have covered, as well as a guide for new users.
Like this Ecwid Review? Check out our WordPress eCommerce Platforms Guide.
p>Full Disclosure: The author of this article also works for SkyVerge, who develops WooCommerce extensions. Despite this fact, every effort was made to be impartial and write this review from a neutral perspective.
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