As WordPress is such as popular of option for building website, it is not surprising that people want to add an online store to their site. Two great options for this are the Ecwid and WooCommerce plugins, but which one is better?
Ecwid vs Woocommerce: What is the Difference?
Ecwid is a fully hosted ecommerce platform, that via their plugin brings their complete dashboard including product pages and checkout directly into a WordPress website, with all transactions being processed on their PCI compliant servers. WooCommerce adds ecommerce functionality directly into a WordPress website by using the existing WordPress code to create all the ecommerce related pages for your website and they are all hosted on your servers.
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On the surface, Ecwid does seem the more expensive option due to WooCommerce being completely free to use but there is more to this than meets the eye because the Ecwid plans include:
This somewhat evens the playing field, especially when you start factoring in the price of premium plugins and themes that may be required for WooCommerce.
But what is the difference between the Ecwid Plans? The main difference is the amount of products you can list:
You also get access to more features and support on the bigger plans as well, which helps you to run your store more effectively. The prices above are also if you pay monthly, if you pay for Ecwid annually, you get a discount equivalent to two months off a year.
Now it is completely true that the WooCommerce plugins completely free to install and use on your WordPress site but as you will see below, as standard it is very light when it comes to features and you may need to invest in paid plugins to get the functionality you want and these can range from a few dollars a year to over $100 a year.
It also depends on your specific requirements for your store but you may have a much larger initial investment when it comes to building a store using WooCommerce.
Whether you use Ecwid or WooCommerce, you will still have to pay for hosting for your WordPress site and depending on your traffic levels, this can range from around $5/m to over $100/m.
You don’t get a free trial with either platform BUT both of them can be used for free as I mentioned above.
To get started with Ecwid, you can either click on this link or click the banner below and you will be able to set up your free store and then install and activate the free plugin from the WordPress plugin library.
To get started with WooCommerce, simply go to the WordPress plugin library and install and activate the free plugin.
As mentioned above, Ecwid comes with a lot of features that are built into the platform, even with the free plan but as you move up to the larger plans, even more features are included with the subscription and below is a breakdown of what is available and any features that are only available on the Business and/or Unlimited plans will be marked with an *.
- One Tap Checkout (with Apple Pay)
- Schedule Order Pickup
- Sell Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
- Gift Cards
- Secure Checkout
- Product Variations*
Marketing & SEO
- Sell on Facebook & Instagram
- Facebook, Google, Pinterest & Snapchat Marketing
- Mailchimp & Automated Email Marketing*
- Abandoned Cart Emails*
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Number of Visitors
- Conversion Rate
- Apple Pay (via Stripe)
As you can see, Ecwid offers a lot of features as part of their platform and all of these are available to use when you integrate Ecwid with WordPress. The only feature that I would say is missing is the ability for customers to leave product reviews.
If you want to see a more detailed breakdown of the features offered by Ecwid, then 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.
The WooCommerce plugin is very basic when it comes to features and doesn’t offer much more than a very basic shopping cart for WordPress and below is all the features that are available as standard:
- Sell Physical & Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
Marketing & SEO
- Blog (WordPress)
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Sales by:
- Registered vs Guest Customers
- Stripe (plugin)
- Klarna (plugin)
- Amazon Pay (plugin)
WordPress Plugin Library
Now this doesn’t look great for WooCommerce BUT this is where the WordPress plugin comes in, searching WooCommerce returns a result of over 7,000 plugins that can be used and these offer all different kinds of functionality from Marketing & SEO to payment gateways and ecommerce tools.
There are also many many other things you can do including creating an online marketplace, booking website and membership websites. Pretty much everything you could think of you can do with WooCommerce.
Outside of the free WordPress library, there are also thousands of paid plugins for WooCommerce that offer many more premium features. This also includes paid versions of the free plugins.
Themes & Design
As the main focus of this post is to compare these as plugins for WordPress, then theme selection really doesn’t come into it for Ecwid it works with any WordPress theme and has great integration with the new Gutenberg editor as the Ecwid widgets can be installed as blocks.
This integration with Gutenberg means that it is very easy to build a custom homepage for your website or shop section using different widgets. There are a selection of ones specific for the Ecwid plugin but you can use any widgets that you have available.
There is a store homepage widget and you can either select which products are displayed by changing them in storefront category under the product management section or you can opt to display a selected category.
You can also options to change the layout of category, product list and individual product pages, so you can make it look and feel how you want. You can also customise the colour of the buttons, text, price and links.
One of the best features of the Ecwid plugin is that it can be used with any WordPress theme.
WooCommerce has over 1000 to choose from in the WordPress theme library, these are primarily made by third-party developers and will have varying degrees of WooCommerce integration but many of them work perfectly. There are over 8,500 premium themes available on Themeforest starting form only a couple of dollars.
The amount of customisation you can do in WooCommerce very much comes down to the theme that you are using, some themes allow a lot of customisation where as others are quite limited.
One good development with the Gutenberg editor is that you can now add WooCommerce widgets to other pages within your site. So if you want to build a custom homepage or add WooCommerce elements to blog posts or other pages, you now can do.
This gives the plugin a lot more versatility and could make converting visitors to buyers via blog posts much easier.
Running an ecommerce website can be challenging at times and you require some help, so what support do you get from these platforms?
Ecwid – due to being effectively a fully hosted ecommerce platform, you do get a good level of support from the Ecwid team. For the majority of users, the live chat and email ticket support is going to be the best method of contacting them.
For users on the Business or Unlimited packages, you do get phone support but this is only available between 2pm and 10pm pacific time, which due to time differences makes this not great for users in other parts of the world. But it is still there if you need it.
WooCommerce – due to being open source and free, the level of support for WooCommerce isn’t anywhere near as good as you get with Ecwid However, if you are a registered customer of WooCommerce then you can contact their support team via support tickets and they will help as soon as they can. They also have very good documentation on the WooCommerce website.
There is also a support forum on WordPress where you can ask questions about the plugin and generally you will get a helpful reply either from one of the WooCommerce team or someone else on the forum. The same extends to plugins as long as you ask in the right place.
The one good thing about WooCommerce being so popular is the amount of information and guides out there to help you set up plugins or do things within the platform. A quick Google search will give you the answer to most of your problems.
Hosting & Performance
Doing a performance test is really quite difficult for both of these plugins as much of the performance is down to a combination of the quality of your hosting and also how your WordPress site is configured but I did my best to try and do a comparison for you.
As Ecwid operates using their hosting rather than yours to power the ecommerce elements of your website, it is worth taking a look at how good their hosting is and it is pretty good! You get:
- Hosted on Amazon Web Services
- PCI Level 1 PCI DSS
- Cloudfront CDN
- Secure Checkout
- Unlimited Bandwidth
This all really good and it gives you peace of mind that all of the ecommerce aspects of your site a protected by good quality hosting. With WooCommerce, all of this comes down to your hosting and this means you need to have good quality, secure web hosting in order for it all to work properly.
To do a comparison between these two plugins, I did do some testing. I created a demo site with just WordPress installed and the Storefront theme. I removed all other plugins and installed Ecwid and ran it through Pingdom’s speed tool and then repeated this with WooCommerce and got the following results.
For both tests, both plugins were populated with sample product data.
So there isn’t much difference between the two plugins but this is very much a simplified test and there are lots of elements that can massively effect how quickly a WordPress site will load such as:
- Quality of Hosting
- Number of Plugins Installed
- Quality of Plugins Installed
- Theme Used
- Level of Optimisation (code, images etc)
Ecwid vs WooCommerce 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 that is what I am going to be looking at in this section.
To get started with Ecwid, you first need to go to the Ecwid website and sign up and go through the initial process on their website. Once you have signed up, you then need to bring Ecwid into your WordPress site and this is very simple to do.
Just search in the WordPress plugin library for Ecwid and install the Ecwid plugin, just make sure it is the official one by Ecwid Ecommerce. You will then be prompted to connect your Ecwid dashboard to your WordPress site and this is all done with a click of a button.
Once this is done, it will import the Ecwid dashboard into your WordPress one and it looks exactly the same as it does in Ecwid. At this point, you don’t really need to access your dashboard via the Ecwid website, instead you can do it all via your WordPress dashboard.
Navigating around the Ecwid plugin is really easy and as you can see in the image above. When you click on the Ecwid heading in your WordPress dashboard, it will bring up the complete Ecwid dashboard (exactly the same as you would see if accessed directly through Ecwid) and it is very well laid out with clearly labelled headings.
Getting started with WooCommerce is pretty easy as all you need to do is go to the WordPress plugin library and search for, install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. Once this is done, there is a quick start up wizard that takes you through most of the important steps you need to do in order to get WooCommerce ready to start taking orders.
The WooCommerce dashboard is much simpler than the Ecwid one as there are far fewer options but this can soon change once you start installing additional plugins to use with WooCommerce.
Navigating the WooCommerce dashboard isn’t as easy as Ecwid, as not all of the sub-headings are displayed when you go into the plugin. This is because they appear in a pop out menu and they also put a lot of things under the settings section such as payment gateways and delivery methods, rather than giving them their own separate heading.
Adding and Managing Stock
Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:
- Adding products
- Organising your Products
- Managing your inventory
The add new product section on Ecwid is very nicely laid out and easy to use. They have gone for a tabbed layout and it gives you lots of options when it comes to adding a new product. The layout has a really good work flow and the clear display means that you are less likely to miss adding important information to your product listing.
The only thing I don’t like about the create a new product in Ecwid is that you cannot edit the URL and while the auto generated URL’s a pretty good, for all the products, they do include a random number sequence at the end. My personal preference would be to remove these to make the URL’s look as good as possible.
To help you organise your products, Ecwid have gone for the tried and tested category model, which allows you to create both parent and sub-categories.
One relatively recent addition to Ecwid is a bulk editor for your inventory and this has improved the workflow and usability of Ecwid a lot! As the new tool allows you to quickly and easily edit your product info such as title, SKU, price and stock levels all from one simple screen.
The add new product page in WooCommerce is very easy to use and is based around the classic post/page creator in WordPress. There is the options to add full and short descriptions as well as a main featured images and additional images.
To add product information, there is a tabbed section below the main description that allows you to add pricing, inventory and delivery information along with any product attributes that you have created.
Organising your products is also very easy and uses a category system that allows you to make both parent and sub-categories which makes create a very good hierarchy for your products. The add product page is very simple, all you need to do is name that category. If you want to, you can add a description and images to the categories.
You can manage a lot of your inventory directly from the product overview page using the quick edit option including price, quantity, category, SKU number, sale price and product title and URL. This makes updating your inventory very quick and simple to do.
Ecwid – The order management system in Ecwid is really easy as everything can be done directly from the order overview page, including printing off the invoices, updating order statuses and updating payment status. You can also export all of your order information, either via CSV format or directly to a Google sheet of your choice, if you want to analyse the data.
WooCommerce – In the core WooCommerce plugin, the order management process is pretty poor as you can only update order statuses. The PDF Invoices and Packing Slips plugin changes this though and it is free to use, this allows you to print invoices and packing slips directly from the order overview page for individual or bulk orders. If you want to export your orders in CSV format, then you will need to install an additional plugin.
• Multi Channel Selling
• Order Management
• Works with any theme
• Product Options
• Layout Display for Product and Category Pages
• No individual product review
• Apps can be expensive
• Free to install and use
• Number of themes to choose from
• Same goes for the plugins
• Lots of online resources
• Easy to use admin dashboard
• Needs additional plugins to work properly
• No real support
• Can be expensive if you need to use paid plugins
Both of these plugins are great options for adding ecommerce functionality to your WordPress website but which one is the better option?
Overall, I feel that Ecwid a more complete package out of the box and brings many benefits to the table, such as:
And that is why I think that for many Ecommerce stores, Ecwid would be the better solution as it can prove to be a more stable and reliable option than WooCommerce, plus you can sell via other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and manage it all in one place.
Now I am not saying that WooCommerce is bad, far from it but it can be a problematic and sometimes expensive option at times. This is is due to needing multiple plugins just to add basic functionality to WooCommerce and plugin updates can sometimes lead to sites breaking.
And that is talking from experience but when done right WooCommerce can be a powerful tool, especially if you are planning to build more than a standard B2C ecommerce website as the WooCommerce plugin can be used as a base for many interesting options, such as multi-vendor marketplaces.
But you don’t have to take my word for it! You can try both of these plugins out for yourself. To try Ecwid, you will need to sign up to their free plan (which you can do by clicking the link below) before you can test it out.
Try Ecwid for Free!
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Free to Install and Use!