Ecwid is one of the most unique ecommerce platforms in the world. It allows user to build a website where you can sell products and process orders.
It also offers a completely free plan, which is the focus of this review to see if it is any good?
If you want to see the review of the paid plans, then check out my full Ecwid Review.
Total out of 5
Free Plan, No Credit Card Required
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Ecwid Free Package Features
Now as this is a free package, it is understandable that Ecwid only offers limited features but what do you get with this plan?
- List Up To 10 Products
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- No Transaction Fee
- Add Store to Any Website
- Instant Website Builder
- Mobile Responsive Checkout
- Email Support
- Gift Cards
- Social Media Advertising
- Facebook Pixel
- On Tap Checkout (Apple Pay via Stripe)
- GDPR Compliance
- Google Analytics Integration
- Secure Checkout
For a free plan, this is a good amount of resources and should be enough to get most ecommerce websites up and running but there are some notable things that you cannot do on the free package:
- You can’t use your own domain name with Ecwid’s Instant Website Builder
- You can’t install any apps from the App Market
- No Social Selling, Facebook shop, Instagram etc
- No stock management (unable set the quantity available for sale)
Ecwid Payment Gateways
One of the very good points with the Ecwid free plan is the selection of payment gateways that you can use, including:
- Apple Pay (via Stripe)
There is only one notable name missing from the selection and that is Klarna.
Do Ecwid charge transaction fees?
No, you will not be charged any transaction fees using Ecwid, even the free package.
Ecwid Website Integration
One of the best features of Ecwids free plan is that you can integrate it with other platforms, this is great if you have an existing WordPress or Wix site and want to add a secure shopping cart to your site at no extra cost.
Ecwid can be integrated with many other platforms such as Squarespace or Joomla but this is by using the buy button functionality.
Ecwid and WordPress
If you are looking for a WooCommerce alternative, then Ecwids free plan and WordPress plugin could be a very good option. The integration is also very good as the plugin brings the complete Ecwid dashboard into your WordPress one, meaning that you can manage everything from one place.
Ecwid and Wix
As with WordPress, Ecwid has very good integration with the Wix website builder in the form of an App, that is free to use and can be used with any Wix plan.
Ecwid Theme Selection & Customisation
Ecwids theme selection looks very good on paper as there are over 70 to choose from but in reality, they aren’t complete themes.
Instead, they are different styled headers with different fonts. Meaning that outside of the header, whichever theme you choose, your website will have the same look and feel.
Fortunately, there are a few customisation options with Ecwid, which allows you to make it fit your business and brand a little better.
Within the main theme editor, you can change the order in which the pre-built sections appear on your homepage, you can also choose to hide any sections that you don’t want but unfortunately there isn’t any additional sections that you can add to your homepage.
Whichever theme you choose, you can alter the fonts, colours of font and button aesthetics to help the store fit your business a little bit better.
Outside of the main editing, there are a few customisation options for your product and category pages. There are actually more options here than in the main theme editor when it comes to layout options etc. This is very useful if you do use Ecwid with another website builder as you can make your product pages look really good.
Overall, theme customisation is pretty good in Ecwid but it is definitely not its strong suit and the likes of WordPress and Wix offer considerably more design options.
On the free Ecwid package, you are limited to email ticket support. If you want more support such as live chat or phone, then you are going to have to upgrade to a paid package.
Ecwid Web Hosting and Performance
Ecwid offers a very good hosting environment for all of their sites and if you are integrating with a third party website builder, this is where all of the cart and checkout pages are hosted and you get:
- Hosted on Amazon Web Services
- PCI Level 1 PCI DSS
- Cloudfront CDN
- Secure Checkout
- Unlimited Bandwidth
Now this all sounds great but how well does it work in the real world. Well to test it out, I took one of their customer example sites built using their website builder and my own demo site and ran them through Pingdom’s Speed Test Tool and Google’s Page Speed Insights, once a day for three days to see how well they performed.
Washington D.C Server: 1.00 Sec
San Francisco Server: 1.63 Sec
Google Mobile: 25/100
Google Desktop: 42/100
Load times for Ecwid are very good, with both tests averaging less than 2 seconds but the Google scores aren’t great and there is definitely some room for improvement there.
I also did some testing of WordPress, Wix and Squarespace sites that are using Ecwid for their checkout and what I found was that Ecwid had no noticeable, negative effect on the platform/sites performance.
How Easy is Ecwid to Use?
Features are one thing, being easy to use is another! That is why, when I test a platform, I also see how easy it is to use and I look at 4 main areas:
- Getting Started
- Settings and Configuration
- Adding and Managing Products
- Managing Orders
Signing up to the free Ecwid plan is very simple as all you need is an email address, create a password and store name and you are good to go.
Once you have completed the sign up process, you will be taken through to the Ecwid admin dashboard, which will look very similar to the image above and on your first sign in, you will be greeted by a short set up guide.
This is very easy to follow and as you can see from the first step, Ecwid does encourage integration with other platforms or social media. If you are planning on using the Instant Website Builder, then you can ignore the first step.
Navigating the Dashboard
The Ecwid dashboard is very easy to use and it doesn’t take long to learn where everything is. The sidebar navigation menu is clearly labelled and it is easy to move from one section of the dashboard to another.
When you are on the free plan, you will see that some sections of the site aren’t accessible, this is because they are only available to users on a paid plan. However, if you want to upgrade, it is very easy and quick to do so as there are plenty of prompts around.
Settings & Configuration
As with much of the Ecwid system, configuring your sites settings is a very easy process, especially as Payment and Shipping have their own headings in the main navigation menu.
Within the main General Settings, there are options to configure your stores regional settings and by default these are set to the US, with the time zone being EST, the currency being the USD but a little confusingly, the weights and measurements are metric?
But it is easy to change all of these settings with a couple of clicks. There are also plenty of options for company information such as Company Name, Email Address and Store Address plus options to configure your tax and legal settings.
Adding and Managing Products
When it comes to managing your inventory, I like to look at three aspects of this:
- Adding a New Product
- Organising the Product Inventory
- Managing Inventory
The first part is very simple to do with Ecwid (a recurring theme throughout the platform!), they have opted for a tabbed layout for their product page but on the free package some of these aren’t accessible, including:
- Variations (under Options)
- Files (for digital products)
You may also notice some stars in the image below, these are features that aren’t available on the free package and the only one that really does detract from the Ecwid free plan is the Stock Control as you have no way of setting stock quantity.
Outside of this though, you do get enough features to set up a physical products and you can include options such as sizes and text fields if you sell products that can be personalised, which is a very good feature on a free package.
Organising your products is also really simple to do, Ecwid have gone for the tried and tested category method and you can create sub-categories which enables you to create a good hierarchy for your products.
Managing your inventory isn’t the best in Ecwid, as they don’t have any kind of bulk editor but as you can only list 10 products and can’t set stock quantities, this isn’t too much of an issue.
The Ecwid order management system is one of the easiest to use from all of the testing and reviews that I have done. Pretty much everything can be done from the order overview page.
With a couple of clicks, you can print off orders, update order statuses and update payment statuses. You can also export your orders in CSV format or directly to a chosen Google sheet for analysis. Whether you have a small or large number of orders, the Ecwid order management system will do the job.
Is Ecwid the best free Ecommerce Platform?
It is very hard to argue against Ecwid, you get a fully hosted ecommerce website that you can use for life, for free!
Yes, the features are limited on the free package and the Instant Website Builder isn’t the best but for free, you really cannot complain, especially if you are going to be integrating Ecwid with WordPress or Wix.
The only two things that let the free package down are not being able to use your own domain name and not being able to set product quantities but other than that, it is definitely worth checking out!