EKM vs ShopWired (2020) – Comparing the Biggest UK based Ecommerce Platforms

EKM and ShopWired are the two biggest and most popular UK based ecommerce platforms but how do they compare?

EKM vs ShopWired: What is the Difference?

EKM is a fully hosted ecommerce platform, with a customisable feature set that is primarily focused on B2C ecommerce businesses. ShopWired is also a fully hosted ecommerce platform but the selection of apps and extensions available, mean that it can be used for B2C or B2B business, it also has dropshipping features.

Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to services via a link in this post, I do receive a small commission. BUT and I cannot stress this enough, in no way does this influence my review of any platform, if I don’t like something then I will say so!

Pricing

For this comparison, I will just be looking at the basic packages that both of these platforms offer. If you want to know more about either platforms larger packages then please take a look at their individual reviews, where I go into this in more detail.

ekm ecommerce logo

Basic

£32.49/m

Up to 500 Products
Up to £50k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
Standard UK Support
69 Free Themes
1 Employee Account

Pro

Pro

£29.95/m

Up to 750 Products
Up to £75k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
Standard UK Support
15 Free Themes
2 Admin Accounts

There really isn’t much to choose when it comes to the pricing of the basic packages that both these platforms offer. ShopWired does give you a larger allowance when it comes to number of products and turnover for a slightly lower monthly price.

Both EKM and ShopWired use a tiered pricing structure, which means that as your turnover increases, you will be moved up to one of their larger packages but this does give you more resources, support and features to help your business continue to grow.

Free Trial

Both platforms offer you a free trial, so that you can test the platform out, to see if it is right for you and your business.

As an EKM partner, if you take out a trial using any of the links in this post. You will get an exclusive 28 day free trial. With EKM, you do need to give your payment details before you can begin the trial and if you wish to cancel, you do need to contact them before your trial period expires.

ShopWired offer a free 14 day trial and you don’t need to input any payment information before you start, all you need is an email address.

Features

As two of the UK’s leading ecommerce platforms, it is expected that they both offer their users a variety of different features to help them build a successful online business but how do they compare?

EKM

EKM comes with a lot of features, some of these are automatically installed on the core platform, while others can be installed from the features section of the dashboard.

The installable features operate in a very similar way to an app as they are one click install/uninstall and this makes it very easy to customise the features that are on your ecommerce website. Below is a summary of the features that you have access to on the basic package.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Free 03 Business Phone Number
  • Facebook Messenger for Live Chat
  • Customer Reviews
  • Related Products
  • Promo Stickers
  • Product Attributes
  • Recently Viewed Products

Marketing & SEO

  • Email Marketing built in
  • ChannelGrabber (Cross platform selling)
  • Google Tools (inc Analytics & Shopping)
  • Loyalty Points
  • Discount Manager
  • Social Share
  • WordPress Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Order Breakdown
  • Best and Worst Selling Products
  • Search Statistics
  • Web Statistics (Premium)

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Nochex
  • Barclaycard EPDQ

With EKM, the majority of the installable features are free to use and only a small number are either tied to larger packages or require additional payment to use.

EKM Features

They also have selection of over 15 apps that integrate with third party software such as Linnworks and Royal Mail Click and Drop.

EKM Evolution Mode

One of the main features of EKM is their evolution mode. Which is run by the evolution team, that is made up of ecommerce specialists including designers and marketing specialists who review your store on an annual basis (monthly on the Advanced package) and make suggestions for how your site can be improved.

The best thing about the Evolution Mode is that if you approve some or all of these improvements, the team will implement them on your website free of charge.

ShopWired

As with EKM, ShopWired offer a range of features that are installed as standard and additional ones that can be installed in the form of an app or an extension. Below is a summary of the features that are available with the ShopWired Pro package.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Multi-buy Offers
  • Product Extras
  • Multi-Currency
  • Product Reviews
  • Ebay Integration
  • Digital Downloads
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Reward Points

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Feed
  • MailChimp Integration
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Create Sales
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Gross Profit Report
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Payment Methods
  • Sales by Month
  • Failed Searches
  • Visitors

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Stripe
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Barclaycard EPDQ
  • Nochex

The only downside with the ShopWired apps are that on the basic package, some of the apps are charged monthly. None of the ones mentioned above are but if you want to integrate with your accounting software, then you will have to pay. With the larger accounts, you do get the apps included with your monthly price.

ShopWired App Selection

To use any of the ShopWired extensions, you will need to code them into your site or pay the guys at ShopWired a one off fee to do it for you. Some are pretty easy to install and you can do them yourself by just following the documentation, some are a bit more tricky as they need CSS doing in order to work properly.

Theme Selection

EKM have a very large choice of 69 themes to choose from and the best part is that they are all free to use. But if none of these are suitable, then you can have a bespoke theme made by EKM for £1999.99 + vat.

ShopWired updated their themes in 2020 and all their new themes come on the version 3 platform. In total, there are 15 free, mobile responsive themes to choose from.

Support

One of the features that helps both of these platforms stand out from the crowd is the quality of their support.

EKM

EKM do go the extra mile when you are getting started with the platform as you get an introductory phone call to help you get started with and also ask any questions.

It is also very easy to contact the EKM support team as there is a live chat icon in your dashboard along with their phone number and support pin. On the basic plan, phone support is only available during business hours here in the UK. 24/7 support is offered on the larger packages.

ShopWired

ShopWired also have very good support options, when getting started, you receive a welcome email that gives you a point of contact within the ShopWired team.

Within your dashboard, there is a live chat option and also a link to the ShopWired help guides. It also doesn’t take much to find their contact phone number either, as with EKM, phone support is only offered during business hours. But email support is also available and they do reply to you as soon as they can.

Hosting & Performance

On paper, there is little to choose between the there platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • Most Importantly Fast Servers

But I want to know how they perform in the real world, not just how good they say their hosting is. So I put them to the test, I took three of their customer example sites. To have a fair comparison, they were all in the same industries and had similar levels of content on the sites. I then ran them through Pingdom’s speed tool, once a day for three days to get some good data.

ekm ecommerce logo

Average Load Time

1.30 Seconds

Website 1: 1.63 Seconds
Website 2: 1.33 Seconds
Website 3: 0.95 Seconds

Average Load Time

Average Load Time

1.44 Seconds

Website 1: 1.43 Seconds
Website 2: 1.12 Seconds
Website 3: 1.78 Seconds

There really isn’t anything to pick between the two platform when it comes to their hosting and performance as they both comfortably averaged under the golden two second window and across all of the tests that I ran, they were all consistent with each other.

Ease of Use

When it comes to features and performance, there really isn’t much to choose between the two platforms. But how easy are they to use?

Getting Started

EKM

Getting started with EKM does have a couple of additional steps over most platforms, as I mentioned above, you do need to give your payment information before you can get started. Once you have done this though, it is very simple.

On the first sign in to your dashboard, you will be greeted by a very well designed set up guide that takes you through nearly all of the important steps you need to do in order to get your ecommerce store set up properly, the only thing missing is to set up your legal pages.

EKM Set Up Dashboard

The EKM dashboard itself is also pretty easy to use, they have opted for a top navigation bar with 7 main sections. Navigating your way around the dashboard is very simple to do but there is one section that takes a little getting used to.

That is the shop section as there is a lot going on and it is not clearly defined as to what the main purpose of this section is as that there are a couple of things you can do in there.

The first is that you can add and edit products and categories, the second is that you can change design and content elements on your site as well. To me, there is a bit too much going on in there.

EKM Navigation

ShopWired

Getting started with ShopWired is really easy, all you need is your email address, create a password and you are good to go.

On your first sign in to ShopWired, you are greeted by a very good set up guide that takes you through nearly all of the important sections to setting up your ecommerce website. Once again, the only thing missing is the prompt to set up your terms and conditions and privacy policy.

ShopWired have gone for a more traditional sidebar layout and it works really well. All the sections are clearly labelled and the same goes for the subsections as well.

ShopWired Setup Tutorial

This makes navigating around the admin area a very pleasant experience and it doesn’t take much time to know where everything is located.

Customising your Theme

EKM

Customising your theme in EKM can feel like a bit of a disjointed process, this is because the design elements are split over two sections within the EKM dashboard.

In the main design section, you can change the theme, edit the layout and change the themes colours but if you want to change the logo, images or text, you need to do this in the Shop section.

EKM Customise Theme

This makes it a little frustrating to use, as you are jumping from one section to another and this is a shame as overall, the theme customisation options within EKM are actually really good.

ShopWired

Unfortunately, theme customisation is something that does let the ShopWired platform down as you are quite limited as to what you can actually do. Which is a real shame as their themes are really well designed and have so much potential, if only you could do more with them!

ShopWired Customise Theme

You are pretty much limited to changing colours and editing some of the text on your site. That is you want to delve into the websites code and change things in there but most people don’t want to do that. I really feel that this is one area where ShopWired need to improve.

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

EKM

I feel like I keep talking about the same thing here! But the shop section of the dashboard has a bit too much going on in it and I would like the shop section to just be focused on managing your inventory.

In the shop section, you can add new products and categories and this is nice and simple to do. Clicking either button brings a pop up menu that uses a tabbed layout for all of the important sections. Organising your products into categories and sub-categories is also very easy to do.

EKM Add Product

The issue for me comes when you want to manage your inventory and to do this easily, you definitely need to install the advanced inventory manager app. Without this, it really isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially if you have a large inventory. Luckily installing this app makes managing your inventory a lot easier but to me this should be in place as standard.

ShopWired

ShopWired have made their inventory management nice and simple.

They have used a single page layout for both their add product and create category pages. I do like this as you just work your way down the page filling out all of the relevant information.

ShopWired Create Product

As I just mentioned, they use a category and optional sub-category system to enable you to organise your products and works really well.

Managing your inventory is also nice and easy to do, you can either edit products one by one or you can use the manage stock page to quickly update stock quantities, this is great if you need to update a large inventory.

Managing Orders

EKM

From the main order management page within EKM, you can easily print off orders and update statuses in bulk or individually. This makes it really easy to manage your orders and there are even different template types you can use for your order invoices.

You can also buy packing slips with a sticky address label for these templates directly from EKM.

The only thing that is not quite straightforward is if you want to export your orders as you need to install the import/export features and then go into the features to export your orders, this can’t be done from the order overview page.

ShopWired

Once again, ShopWired have made things very simple with their order management system as you can easily print off invoices, update statuses and export your order via CSV format in bulk or individually, directly from the order overview page.

Summary

EKM Summary

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

EKM Pros

• Excellent Support
• Evolution Mode
• Theme Selection
• Advanced Inventory Manager
• Very Good Performance
• Number of Free Features (Apps)

EKM Cons

• Theme Customisation is a bit disjointed
• Credit Card info required before trial

4.5

ShopWired Summary

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

ShopWired Pros

• Excellent Support
• Easy to use Dashboard
• Product Management
• Quality of Themes
• Order Management System
• Very Good Performance

ShopWired Cons

• Limited Theme Customisation
• Having to code in extensions

4.3

Conclusion

Choosing between these two platforms is not an easy decision to make as they are both great options for building an ecommerce store and there are only a couple of real differences between the two.

EKM is a great all round platform as it does everything well, it does have a few quirks but there are some pretty easy workarounds for these. Plus you get the Evolution Mode, which is a great addition.

ShopWired is a very easy platform to learn and use and keeping their product and order management processes very simple definitely helps. The main drawback with ShopWired is the theme customisation as it is very limited.

Honestly, I would give both of these platforms a try for yourself to see which one suits you and your business better.

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