While creating a website is fairly easy these days, you can’t really say the same thing when it comes to ecommerce - especially if you have an existing website.
Website builders like Wix or Squarespace are certainly easy to use and offer decent ecommerce features. But they’re not exactly useful (or cost-effective) if all you’re looking to do is add an online store to your current website.
The same goes for more powerful ecommerce tools like Shopify. Its cheapest plan with unlimited items starts at $29 per month. And while its Shopify Lite plan does let you add ‘Buy Buttons’ to your existing site, the in-site functionality is pretty limited.
Ecwid: A store plug-in with a freemium option
Chances are that you are looking for something in between: an ecommerce store that fits in seamlessly with your site, starts at less than $20 per month, and doesn’t take a cut of your sales.
Ecwid (part of the Canadian ecommerce company Lightspeed) seems to be able to do just that. Unlike other online store builders, its store ‘plug-in’ can be used with any type of existing website. Most importantly: you can use its basic plan free of charge (freemium model).
What’s more, Ecwid won’t charge any additional transaction fees when you make a sale, making it one of the more affordable ecommerce solutions for smaller stores.
Now there even is an option to use Ecwid without an existing website called Instant Site. It allows you to create your online store really easily, however, it's limited to a one-page website so it's only really suitable for very small stores.
So let’s review Ecwid’s features and see if it’s worth our time and money.
More than meets the eye
At first glance, Ecwid might look a little more basic than other ecommerce platforms. But, a closer peek under the hood reveals some surprisingly advanced features.
For one thing, its direct integrations with additional sales channels like Instagram, Facebook, Google Shopping, and Amazon (US) rival those of Shopify and Wix. There's even an integration with TikTok that lets you tag products in posts. It also integrates with multichannel app Codisto, making it possible to connect your store to eBay and Amazon in other countries. What’s more, Ecwid offers point-of-sales (POS) integrations for physical stores via Square, Clover and other POS providers.
Creating a multilingual site is also possible, as Ecwid allows you to display translations if you choose. It provides localized storefronts for 53 languages, based on the visitor’s browser language. Ecwid automatically translates store labels (e.g. ‘Add to cart’, ‘Product information’), while manual translations for product names and descriptions can be easily added in the backend. Incredibly, there’s no extra app (or cost) needed to enable this, as is the case with other platforms like Shopify.
Other useful features include discount shipping labels, email automations, and an extensive app market for enhancing your store (e.g. displaying multiple currencies, adding product search bars, or even dropshipping).
All in all, it’s a very complete solution - see our detailed Ecwid review table below to learn more.
Is Ecwid SEO-friendly?
Ecwid uses SEO-friendly URLs. They used to include special characters (“#”) that not only looked ugly but also made it harder to rank your store in Google. Thanks to this change search engines will have no issues indexing your store’s content.
There’s just one important thing to be aware of. Ecwid automatically generates URLs for product pages based on the product title. If you change the title of a product, a new URL will be created. The old one will continue to work, but it won’t be redirected to the new URL - which means you’ll have duplicate pages. That’s not great from an SEO perspective, so our advice would be to avoid changing product titles if you can.
Installing Ecwid couldn’t be easier. You simply create a new page on your website and paste the HTML code they provide.
If you have a website builder like Wix, it takes just a couple of clicks to connect your website with your Ecwid store through the Wix App Market - no code needed. You’ll even be able to manage the Ecwid backend (products, orders, settings etc) from within your Wix dashboard - there’s no need to be logged into both.
Check out the video below that shows you how to set it up on a Weebly website.
Their Freemium package, which is limited to 10 items.
Sell up to 100 items of both physical and digital products
Allows you to add up to 2,500 items, use more integrations and phone support.
Has it all: no limits on your store items, includes even custom development.
Pros and Cons of Ecwid
Easy to use
Despite its long list of features, Ecwid is one of the easier ecommerce solutions to navigate. Thanks to its clearly-structured backend and detailed knowledge base, it’s very quick to get a store up and running – especially compared to other ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce.
Excellent option for existing websites
As a widget that easily connects to other CMSs and website builders, Ecwid is ideal for those who want to add an online store to their already-developed website.
Free for up to 10 items
While other ecommerce platforms might let you trial their solution for free for a limited time, Ecwid is one of the few that will let you actually sell products without any fee, as long as you’re only selling a handful of products.
This is surprisingly hard to come by in an ecommerce platform. Ecwid’s intuitive translation system is a much better alternative to the complicated (and pricier) workarounds required by other solutions.
Limited design options for non-technical users
Unless you have knowledge of HTML or CSS, you might find it tricky to get the designs of your store and product pages exactly as you want.
Basic stand-alone store builder
While the Instant Site feature is useful, the lack of templates and single-page format means that it’s really only possible to build a simple site – extra features such as a blog, contact page or subscription form are off-limits (at least for now).
Our Ecwid Review in Detail
Ease of use
There are a lot of options available, but the interface is well organized and beginner-friendly. Ecwid explains the steps you need to take with its handy checklist of pre-launch tips.
Choice and flexibility of templates
With their clean and simple design, Ecwid’s product pages fit into almost any kind of website. Customizing layouts is also simple, as you’re not overwhelmed with endless options. An interesting option is the Color Adaptive Mode option that automatically tries to pick the right colors for your store, using your website’s styles. You also have the added bonus of being able to edit the CSS to create your own theme.
If you’re using Instant Site, you have the option to customize layouts, colors and fonts via a visual editor. However, a wider selection of free themes to choose from would be nice to have.
Ecwid used to be pretty poor in terms of SEO. The introduction of auto-generated SEO-friendly URLs is an improvement; however, be wary of changing product titles, as this will automatically change the URL and duplicate the page (which is not ideal for SEO). While meta titles and descriptions are also automatically generated, they can be manually edited. Unfortunately, SEO features aren’t available on the Free plan.
Mainly image galleries but you can also embed videos into your product descriptions (e.g. via YouTube). There are even fields for you to add product ribbons and subheadings. As the editor also accepts HTML code you are pretty free in what you can add there.
Amazingly, Ecwid has no limits on the number of options (e.g. size, color, material) and variants (e.g. yellow small, green medium) your products have. However, inventory tracking for variants is only available on the Business and Unlimited plans.
If you’re embedding Ecwid on your site, visitors can access the checkout by clicking the ‘Go to checkout’ button after adding an item, or the shopping bag icon in the footer of the page. It’s also fairly easy to add a shopping bag icon to your site header with just a few clicks or embedded HTML (depending on the platform you’re using). Aside from displaying standard checkout information (items, subtotals, shipping costs etc), you can also show suggested products.
This feature can be added via the Ecwid App Market.
Add a SKU number of your choosing. You can even add your own attributes via the editor.
Checkout, payment & shipping
Ecwid features direct integrations with more than 50+ payment systems like Stripe, Square, Apple Pay, Authorize.net, HSBC, 2Checkout, AFTERPAY and, of course, Paypal. You have to be aware that many of these payment gateways will incur extra monthly charges. But it’s always possible to start using Paypal, which can be used on a per-transaction basis. Manual payments such as invoices or cash on delivery are also possible.
Sale of digital goods
This feature is only available on the Venture plan or higher. Ecwid will handle the file delivery automatically.
Ecwid protects sensitive data using an SSL encryption.
Customer log-in area
Ecwid automatically creates an email-based account when a customer makes a purchase. This allows customers to view and manage their orders, wish lists, and access special member discounts. By default, account sign-ins are passwordless, requiring customers to click on a ‘sign-on’ link that gets emailed to them (although you can request to change to password-based sign-ins). Single sign-on is available if your store is on a WordPress website, and there are apps to enable social login with a Facebook or Google account.
There are many possibilities: free shipping, absolute discount (e.g. $10 off), percent discount (e.g. 15% off) or combinations of free shipping and a monetary discount. You can also set expiration dates, and automatically add coupons to any event-triggered email (e.g. abandoned cart reminders, inactive customer emails).
Shipping cost settings
There are several different options to handle shipping charges. You can use a flat rate fee, set up a customizable calculator that uses factors like weight or number of items, or receive shipping charges directly from the carrier thanks to direct integrations with USPS, FedEx, UPS, Australia Post, Canada Post, and others. In addition, you can also offer in-store or curbside pickup.
Using Ecwid’s zone setting you can create your own sets of countries or states. For these sets you can specify shipping charges as well as the VAT rate. Basically, this enables you to specify shipping rates and tax rates very granularly and is particularly interesting if you want to ship internationally or if you are from the US and need to specify different tax rates for different states. The great news is that there is an automatic tax calculator for the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe (available only on paid plans). An integration with TaxJar can also help with managing more complex tax set-ups if you’re US-based.
Allows you to track your inventory and even set a reminder email when it runs low. Note that inventory tracking isn’t available on the Free plan.
Confirmation emails customizable
All outgoing emails to your customers can be customized (e.g. ‘Password Reminder’ or ‘Order Shipped’ emails), although you’ll need HTML and coding knowledge to be able to edit them.
Importing product data
Supports CSV imports. You can also import XCart and LiteCommerce CSV files.
Exporting product data
It also supports CSV exports, plus bulk updates.
This is one area where Ecwid isn’t as strong as its competitors. It doesn’t offer native reporting at all. However, you can install analytics apps like Kliken and MonkeyData for free. Ecommerce tracking can also be added via Google Analytics
Exporting order data
Export as a CSV file.
Ecwid offers helpful tutorials and resources, so you can figure out on your own how the platform works. They offer support via chat and email. Moreover, call backs can be requested from Monday to Friday during business hours. Regular telephone support is available with the Ecwid Business and Unlimited plan (plus the Wix Unlimited plan, in case you’re using Ecwid with Wix).
All in all, we think Ecwid is a great add-on if you want to get involved with eCommerce on your existing website. There’s really a ton of features at a very fair price.
Ecwid is a surprisingly powerful ecommerce tool that can even compete with giants like Shopify in terms of features. It’s affordable and offers some very advanced features: your customers can, for example, attach files to their orders, allowing you to sell customizable products like printed t-shirts.
Fortunately Ecwid fixed some of their SEO issues, which used to be their weak spot. Thanks to their URL improvements it is now much easier to get your store properly indexed in Google. It’s also possible to create deep links to your products: by doing so you can send your visitors directly to the item (e.g. when posting a new product to Facebook). However, these links still include a product number, e.g. “/Mens-Boardshorts-p69981186” and you also don’t have full freedom to customize your product URLs as they’re automatically generated. We’d also like to see them redirecting old pages when a product title gets updated (which automatically creates a new URL), to avoid duplicate content.
They also seem committed to improving their product, with new features constantly being added. At the time of writing, for example, they were beta-testing a recurring payments feature, allowing store owners to sell subscription products such as food boxes or beauty products.
Perhaps the only thing that’s slightly jarring with Ecwid is how the product pages are presented. If you’re slotting your Ecwid store into an existing site, you’ll find that many of the functions you normally see in the top right corner of a store page (e.g. account login, product search, shopping cart) are presented in the footer. It’s different to the user experience most people are used to when buying online, but it’s a small trade-off if you’re looking for an affordable and convenient ecommerce solution. (Plus, if you have some technical knowledge this can always be customized).
All in all, Ecwid is a very powerful option if you already have an existing website that gets a decent amount of traffic that you can direct to your ecommerce pages. For now, we fully recommend Ecwid as a plug-in for existing websites rather than a standalone online store builder. While it’s entirely possible to also build your website with Ecwid, we think the Instant Site feature is too limited right now.
How many payment options does Ecwid offer?
Here are some recent additions:
– American Express Payment Gateway
– First Data E4 Hosted Payment Pages
– ClickAndBuy (for Germany and EU),
– BBVA Bancomer / eGlobal (Mexico)
Furthermore, there is a range of offline payment methods, such as phone orders, checks and purchase orders.
Does Ecwid support Facebook stores?
Shoppers already talk a lot about their product experiences on Facebook. Particularly for smaller retailers with a loyal fan base, it’s now also increasingly becoming a point of sale. Ecwid makes it very easy to integrate the same store you use on your website into your Facebook page in just a few steps. Your Ecwid shop will be located in a new tab on your page.
Apart from selling, you can also get your products liked, recommended and shared through social media. Ecwid also integrates with e.g. TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Latest Review Updates
04 Nov 2021 - TikTok integration added
30 June 2021 - New video review added
20 May 2021 - Full update
11 Feb 2021 – Added support info.
24 Feb 2020 – More payment providers
30 Oct 2019 – Full update
28 Jun 2016 – New tax calculator
17 Mar 2015 – Detailed review table added
09 Dec 2013 – More payment options available
09 May 2013 – Facebook Commerce and social media options added
08 Oct 2012 – Paragraph on SEO added. We removed one star as Ecwid has some weaknesses in this area (thanks to Shopintegrator for making us aware of it).
05 Oct 2012 – Setup video added
24 Sep 2012 – Initial tests