Ecwid and Shopify are two of the most popular options when it comes to building an online store but which platform is best for your ecommerce business?
Well, that is what we are going to be looking at in our in-depth Ecwid vs Shopify comparison where we look at the important factors to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform to see which one comes out on top.
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When it comes to pricing, both Ecwid and Shopify offer a selection of plans to cover businesses of all sizes and you can see a summary of these plans below:
As is quite clearly evident from the tables above, Ecwid is cheaper on a monthly basis than Shopify but there are also some other differences between the pricing than the monthly subscription fee.
The primary difference between the Ecwid packages is the number of products you are allowed to sell:
- Venture Package – up to 100 products
- Business Package – up to 2,500 products
- Unlimited Package – unlimited products
Ecwid also limits the number of features that are available on each package, with only the Unlimited package giving you all the tools and features that Ecwid offers.
At this point, it is worth talking about the free Ecwid plan, which basically takes the place of a free trial and it lets you try the platform out with real customers before committing to a paid plan but it is limited to 10 products and you only get a very limited selection of tools and features, which is understandable on a free plan!
Ecwid also offers a discount equivalent to 2 months free if you pay for the plans annually, which is a big saving, especially on the Business and Unlimited packages!
Shopify includes most of its features with all packages, with only the Advanced package benefitting from an Advanced Reports Builder and Auto Calculated Shipping but the big difference in Shopify’s pricing comes in the form of transaction fees.
This is an additional fee that is charged if you use third-party payment gateways such as PayPal and Amazon Pay and they are:
- Shopify Basic – 2%
- Shopify Standard – 1%
- Shopify Advanced – 0.5%
If you use the Shopify Payments payment gateway, you are not charged these additional fees, which can make calculating the exact cost of your Shopify store a little more challenging but tools like our Shopify fee calculator can make this easier.
Shopify offers all users a 14-Day Free Trial to test the platform out before committing to one of their paid plans.
The business plan from Ecwid comes loaded with a really good selection of features, which are all focused on ecommerce and helping your website start generating sales, including:
- One Tap Checkout (with Apple Pay)
- Schedule Order Pickup
- Sell Digital Products
- Gift Cards
- Secure Checkout
- Product Filters & Variations
- Store Management App
Marketing & SEO
- Discount Coupons
- Sell on Facebook
- Sell on Instagram
- Sell on Etsy, Amazon & Ebay
- Abandoned Cart Emails
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URLs
- Number of Visitors
- Conversion Rate
- Apple Pay (via Stripe)
As you can see, there are lots of features available and there is a big focus on being able to sell your products via multiple platforms and using Ecwid as a central point to manage it all.
One of the main plus points of Ecwid is that you can use Ecwid to add ecommerce functionality to existing websites. So if you have a WordPress or Wix website and want to add all the advantages that come with a fully hosted shopping cart, you can easily integrate Ecwid into your website and start selling.
To see a complete breakdown of all the features that Ecwid has to offer, check out our full Ecwid Review.
Ecwid App Market
While Ecwid does come with a good selection of features, there are still some gaps that need to be filled and that is where the App Market comes into play. All of the apps within the market are made by third-party developers, which means that many of them do require you to pay for them.
As Shopify is a purpose-built ecommerce platform, it is not surprising that it comes loaded with some really good ecommerce features. Even on the basic Shopify plan, some of the features that are included are:
- Dropshipping Integration
- Flexible Shipping Rates
- Product Reviews
- Digital Products
- Gift Vouchers
- Shopify Management App
Marketing & SEO
- Google Adwords Credit
- Sell on Facebook
- Discount Codes
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Auto-Generated Sitemap
- Social Share
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URLs
- Product Reports
- Traffic Sources
- Google Analytics
- Day, Week and Monthly Reports
- Shopify Payments
- PayPal Express Checkout
- Amazon Pay
To see a complete breakdown of all the features that Shopify has to offer, check out our full Shopify Review.
Shopify App Store
If the standard features of the Shopify platform aren’t enough for you, then you can always check out their App Store. There are over 3,000 apps to choose from, ranging from sales and marketing to finance and security.
Obviously, due to the large number of apps that are available, it is nearly impossible for me to start listing them. Now while this selection is great, not all of them are free to use. The majority have free packages or trial periods but to get full access to all the features, you will need to go on to a paid package.
Also, not all of the apps are made by the Shopify team, many of them are made by third-party developers.
Theme Selection & Customization
Ecwid overhauled its theme customization setup in 2021, with the introduction of the New-Gen Instant Site, which has been designed to give users more control over the design elements of their website.
When it comes to theme selection, the New-Gen Instant Site includes over 30 well-designed, mobile-friendly templates that can work for a variety of different store types.
But the big changes have come in the customization options as users can build custom homepages using blocks and these can be added, removed and rearranged easily and each block has its own settings but unfortunately, this is just limited to the homepage.
Outside of the customizer, there are also design settings for your product and category pages and this adds another level of customization to your store.
Shopify also overhauled its theme selection and customization in 2021 with the introduction of the OS 2.0 upgrade and it was a good one!
Since the upgrade, Shopify has been adding themes on a regular basis and now has over 80 to choose from in the Shopify theme store, with 9 of these being free to use and the paid ones ranging from $180 – $350.
The main change has been with the theme customization and the new tool offers nearly complete full site options.
Users have access to the great selection of blocks for nearly all of the pages of the sites (with only blog pages missing) and this means you can build stunning pages, including your homepage with a few clicks and all blocks have their own settings.
The live customizer can also be used to preview all of these pages before you send them live, which adds a lot of control to the design process and overall, the OS 2.0 upgrade has taken Shopify’s theme customization to a whole new level and offers some of the best options on the market.
Running an ecommerce website can be challenging at times and you require some help, so what support do you get from these platforms?
The level of support available from Ecwid is dependent on the package you are on:
- Venture Package: Email & Live Chat
- Business Package: Email, Live Chat & Phone
- Unlimited Package: Priority Email, Live Chat & Phone
The only issue with the phone support is that it is only available between 2 pm and 10 pm pacific time, which makes it not ideal for people in time zones on the opposite side of the world.
Shopify offers all of their users 24/7 support via live chat, over the phone or via email. You can also contact them via Twitter if you want to. While this is great, it isn’t completely straightforward contacting them as you need to go into the help center, enter a search query and then at the bottom of the page you will see the button that takes you to their contact info page.
Outside of the main support, there is also a Shopify community forum that can be a great source of information as well as a place to ask non-urgent questions. The forum is frequented by Shopify support staff and also very knowledgeable members of the community.
Hosting & Performance
Both platforms offer a very similar setup when it comes to their hosting environment as they both offer:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Data Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- Global CDN’s
- 99%+ Uptime
Unfortunately, we were unable to a direct comparison in terms of performance as there is a lack of examples available to use that use Ecwid for their store but we were able to test Shopify and they performed will in both mobile and desktop for load time and PageSpeed scores.
If you want to see how Shopify compares the competition, then check out our Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post.
Ecwid vs Shopify Video
Ease of Use
Facts and figures are one thing but what are these platforms like to use and how do they compare to each other? Well, we are going to be looking at three main sections for this, which are:
- Getting started with the platforms
- Managing your inventory
- Managing your orders
Getting started with Ecwid is really easy and all you need is your name, email address and to create a password, which once completed will get you signed up to the free plan.
If you want to upgrade to one of the paid plans, this can easily be done in the My Profile section of your dashboard.
For users who are new to the Ecwid platform, they have created a short to-do list to help you get up and running with the platform and it covers most of the main areas such as:
The first step in the to-do list does show where Ecwid’s primary focus is as it is a prompt to add Ecwid to your website or social network, rather than building a website using their ‘instant builder’.
One thing that Ecwid has definitely done a good job on is its ease of use and this is not only our own testing but also from feedback we have had from existing users, it just works and it works well!
Much of this is down to the main admin dashboard which is really easy to navigate around and the main sidebar navigation menu, which has one very neat little touch and that is that they have broken it down into three sections:
A simple thing but it does make it very easy to move from one section to the next but the rest of the admin dashboard is also easy to use as all of the page layouts are not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical.
Getting started with Shopify is also very easy to do as all you need is an email address and to create a password. Once you have filled this out, you will be asked a few questions about the position that your company is in, such as being a start-up or already established and this will help Shopify tailor the experience better for you.
For new users, Shopify does offer a very short setup guide, which is a bit lacking as it doesn’t include everything you need to do in order to take your Shopify store live, such as setting up shipping, which is pretty important for physical products.
Shopify is certainly no slouch when it comes to ease of use though and it was a contributing factor to its ascension to the top of the world of ecommerce.
As with Ecwid, the dashboard is very well laid out and Shopify has opted for an almost minimalistic approach as you can see in the image below and this means that all of the information available to you is easy to process and none of the pages look cluttered.
The main navigation menu adds to the ease of use as all of the headings are clearly labeled and there aren’t too many in the main menu, the menu is also broken up into two main sections:
- All of the headings to manage your store such as your inventory, order management and marketing sections
- Any sales channels you have active on your Shopify store such as your online store, buy buttons and/or Facebook store
This makes it very easy to find the section that you need and all of the settings are neatly nestled under the settings section at the very bottom of the menu.
Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and there are three main areas to this, which are:
- Adding products
- Organizing your Products
- Managing your inventory
Adding a new product in Ecwid is a simple process and they have gone for a tabbed layout, which gives you lots of options for adding different types of products but it is not over complicated.
The one negative about creating a new product in Ecwid is that you cannot edit the URL and while the auto-generated product URLs are pretty good, they do include a random number sequence at the end, which means they aren’t the cleanest from an SEO perspective.
Organizing your products is also very simple and Ecwid has gone for the tried and tested category model. It is also very easy to create parent and sub-categories as there are separate tabs in the category management page, which is very useful for organizing a large inventory.
To manage your inventory, Ecwid includes a full bulk editor, which allows you to quickly and easily change the:
- Product titles
- SKU codes
- Stock Quantity
There are also other options that can be added/remove using the filter system.
Shopify has stuck to its minimalistic approach with its add new product page as it is a single page layout, that includes all the important sections you need but has kept it very simple to use.
Shopify haven’t kept it quite so simple when it comes to organizing your inventory as they have developed their own collections system, with two main options:
- Manual Collections – these work in a similar way to traditional categories as you manually add the products to the collections
- Automated Collections – these are based on rules that you create and take a little longer to learn how to use them effectively but can be very useful when done correctly
Unfortunately, the Shopify system doesn’t allow for the creation of sub-collections, which makes creating a hierarchy for your products a bit challenging.
Managing your stock is pretty easy to do in Shopify as they have created an inventory page that allows you to quickly and easily update your stock levels.
But they also offer a full bulk editor, which allows you to quickly update many different options including:
- Inventory levels
The options in the editor can also be customized based on a filter system, giving users a lot of control over managing their inventory in bulk.
Ecwid’s order management system is very good and allows quick and easy processing of orders, including:
- Printing Orders Invoices
- Export Orders via CSV or Google Sheet
- Update Payment Status
- Update Fulfilment Status
This can be done in bulk or on individual orders and this complete process is very simple and easy to use.
Shopify’s order management system is ok as it allows users to perform the following actions in bulk:
- Export Orders
- Print Packing Slips
- Change Fulfilment Status
But if you want to bulk print order invoices in Shopify you will need to install an app (if you would like to learn more about this, then check out our How to Print Shopify Orders tutorial).
• Theme Customization
• 24/7 Support
• Easy to use Admin Area
• The App Store
• Good Performance
• Transaction Fees
• Automatic Collection system is a bit complicated
• No option to bulk print invoices
• Multi-Channel Selling
• Order Management
• Free Package
• Product Options
• Layout Display for Product and Category Pages
• Limited content creation options
• Website builder is lacking in some areas
Ecwid vs Shopify – Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform?
Ecwid and Shopify are two of our favorite ecommerce platforms but in a straight head-to-head Shopify does come out on top as they offer a more complete package for building an online store.
This is because Shopify offers a good selection of features as standard, a huge amount of apps that offer a lot of flexibility, an easy-to-use user interface and most importantly a better website builder than Ecwid.
Which was an area Shopify was always strong in but the introduction of the OS 2.0 update has taken this to another level and that is why it is the better option for building an ecommerce website.
Now Ecwid isn’t bad but its strengths really lie in integrating with other software, such as WordPress, whose features compensate for where the Ecwid website builder is lacking. Combine Ecwid with the likes of WordPress and it becomes a very capable set up.
Either way, both platforms are great options for ecommerce websites, their strengths just lie in different areas but it is worth giving both platforms a try for yourself as you may find that one is the better option for your business.
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