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If you’ve just begun selling online, you may not need incredibly robust merchant services solutions that also often come with a hefty price tag. That’s where a solution like Ecwid comes in. Ecwid is one of many options on the market for adding shopping capabilities to your business website or social media pages. Ecwid is also unique among its competitors in its usability, simplicity and affordability.
» MORE: Best POS systems
One of the things that set Ecwid apart is its wide range of pricing options — including a forever free version. Be forewarned, upselling works and Ecwid knows it. No matter which Ecwid pricing tier you choose, you’ll be upsold for benefits only offered in higher tiers.
At first glance, you might notice that Ecwid’s prices are lower than its competitors. Ecwid is designed to be added to an existing, well-designed website. It’s plug-and-play.
Many Ecwid competitors, such as Wix and Squarespace, also include the ability to build a full website. Ecwid doesn’t have that option. Most people who use Ecwid are already paying for website hosting and are adding the cost of Ecwid on top of that price.
All Ecwid pricing plans are available month-to-month, meaning you’re not locked into any contract. However, if you opt to be billed annually instead of monthly, you’ll get a 17% discount or two free months. There are also no setup, transaction, bandwidth or storage fees with Ecwid.
Another bonus to Ecwid pricing: You can add your Ecwid store to any website, no matter you’re hosting platform and no matter your tier. Available plug-in sites Ecwid works with include (but aren’t limited to):
Ecwid doesn’t just offer a free trial, it offers a “forever free” version of its product. With this version, you can try out the Ecwid product for as long as you need before deciding if this plan provides everything you need, whether you need to upgrade to a paid plan or whether a different solution altogether is a better fit.
Here are the features included in a free Ecwid plan:
The basic plug-in to create an online store on any website.
A starter site, a one-page website that has your store built-in.
Two product categories for physical goods.
Listing for up to 10 products.
No transaction fees, except for payment processing.
Sell simultaneously on multiple sites.
Ecwid’s first paid option is its Venture plan, which costs $15 a month — and for that small amount, users get quite a few benefits.
Here are the features available to Ecwid Venture members:
All of the amenities available to free Ecwid users.
10,000 product categories.
Listings for 100 products.
Ability to sell digital goods (100 MB per file).
An app for mobile store management.
Access to a Facebook and Instagram store.
Ability to take in-person payments with PayPal Here.
Sale, promotional and bulk discount pricing.
Automated tax calculation.
Ability to track orders.
Access to App Market with extensions.
Advanced SEO tools.
Google Shopping integration.
Live chat support.
For a small jump in Ecwid pricing, you get a whole lot more benefits with the Ecwid Business plan.
Here’s what features are available at the $35-a-month tier:
All the features available in lower tiers.
Digital goods at 1 GB per file.
Ability to sell on marketplaces.
Abandoned cart saver and automated abandoned cart recovery.
Wholesale pricing groups.
Up to two staff accounts.
The top tier for Ecwid pricing is the Unlimited plan, which costs $99 per month.
The following amenities are available to Unlimited tier customers:
All of the features available in previous Ecwid plans.
Digital goods at 10 GB per file.
Square POS integration (for clients in the U.S., UK, Canada, Japan and Australia).
Additional POS options (Clover).
Your own, branded iOS and Android shopping app (if you opt for the annual Unlimited plan).
Unlimited staff accounts.
Ecwid offers its customers a lot in terms of capabilities, and it all depends on which Ecwid pricing tier you choose. Below are a few of the unique features that are a selling point for Ecwid.
Starting with the Ecwid Venture plan, which costs $15 per month, customers get access to the Ecwid app and a mobile POS feature. This gives you the ability to manage your store on the go and sell products in person using the Ecwid app and a PayPal card reader.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available on iOS, so you’ll need to have an iPhone or iPad to make this feature worth it. The Ecwid website states that an Android app is coming soon.
As part of this program, Ecwid has partnered with PayPal Here, meaning you might be eligible for a free PayPal credit card reader. Also, consider upgrading to be able to work with chip and contactless payments as well.
Add-ons and plug-ins
Ecwid has an entire page on its website dedicated to the add-ons, apps and plug-ins that are compatible with its sites.
Here are just a few:
McAfee SECURE Trustmark.
There are over 50 payment processors available to use with Ecwid, including:
You can see the full list of compatible payment processors on the Ecwid website. With so many payment processing partners, chances are good that your processor of choice is compatible with Ecwid. It’s worth noting here that while Ecwid does not charge transaction fees, you will still incur payment processing fees from whichever solution you work with.
Dropshipping has become a popular form of e-commerce. Because Ecwid can be connected to so many different plug-ins and apps, there are multiple options for using Ecwid for dropshipping.
If you’re operating a complicated, dynamic e-commerce business, Ecwid has multiple options to make that easier. With a dropshipping plug-in, it’s simple to coordinate with different suppliers and customers, track fulfillment, schedule shipping and sync your data across platforms.
Customer service and technical support
Like most modern SaaS companies, Ecwid doesn’t have stellar reviews for its customer service, but it does offer multiple options for technical support. And, of course, the more you pay, the more support you can get.
Beyond the email, chat and phone support systems, Ecwid also offers a host of tools and resources on its website to help you successfully set up and use its product. These include a blog, help center, guides, videos and more.
Here’s a refresher on what type of customer support you’ll receive with each Ecwid plan.
With the free version of Ecwid, users only receive access to email support and the knowledge base. The knowledge base is open to all Ecwid users and includes articles as well as YouTube tutorials.
The Venture plan, which costs $15 per month, offers users email and live chat customer service support. Email and live chat support are available 24 hours a day on weekdays.
Ecwid’s Business plan offers users email, live chat and phone support. Phone support isn’t just a phone number you call and wait on hold, but instead a sign-up process for Ecwid to call you. Not waiting on hold? Sounds like a win.
For the Unlimited plan from Ecwid, users get access to email, live chat and priority phone support.
Like any merchant services provider, there are benefits and drawbacks to Ecwid. Luckily, Ecwid reviews generally seem to indicate that users like the product and the service.
Overall, Ecwid is an easy-to-use, affordable product that’s available and useful to startups and small businesses. While those are simple and direct benefits, it makes Ecwid a worthwhile product for many small-business owners. And, anyone who isn’t sure can test it out by starting with the free plan and jumping to a higher-tier, paid plan later.
A couple of other benefits that users commented on for Ecwid include:
Easy to set up.
Ability to import and export data.
Pre-populated SEO fields.
Easy to use
Small-business owners have to be skilled at so many tasks and it’s not possible to be good at everything. That’s why one of the major selling points of Ecwid is how easy it is to use. The control panel is simple to navigate, there’s a step-by-step guide for setting up your store and adding products is easy.
While many small businesses have moved to sell their inventory entirely online, it’s still nice to have the ability to sell in person. Ecwid’s functionality as a point-of-sale (POS) system makes this possible.
There are a few ways of integrating a physical POS to Ecwid, the easiest of which is to use the PayPal Here plug-in and credit card reader.
If you sell products internationally, Ecwid’s multilingual translation ability will be a huge benefit. Ecwid automatically professionally translates your store pages into the user’s language. Ecwid offers this service in over 50 different languages, even in the free plan.
A small, but important benefit of using Ecwid is that it's constantly working to improve its system and release new features. If there are some features or integrations you don’t have access to now with Ecwid, they could very well be added down the line.
The biggest drawback to Ecwid is that it's unsuited to large businesses. More than anything, that’s due to the simplicity of its product, which is actually a benefit to small-business owners.
Looking at Ecwid reviews, another drawback that came up often was the limited features to the free plan. While that’s certainly a drawback, it’s also understandable that the free plan is only going to come with the most basic features. However, the fact that Ecwid has a free plan at all — and not just a free trial — is still a "pro."
Limited design tools
Part of the beauty of Ecwid is its simplicity. What comes with simplicity is limited choice and control to design.
Ecwid was originally designed to be dropped into an existing website. It has the ability to automatically detect and match site characteristics such as color and fonts. By dropping in a few lines of code, you get what looks like a native page to sell your products.
The drawback is that Ecwid gives you very little control over the design.
Recently, Ecwid released a simple Starter Site, and there’s only one. This Starter Site is essentially a pre-made theme and functions more like other e-commerce platforms, but with limited design options.
The Starter Site allows you to swap out images, adjust alignment and add text. That’s about it. You can add a third-party app to do more, such as changing font color and adjust CSS style sheet. All in all, it’s still pretty limited.
Like many companies today, Ecwid offers limited customer support — and customers complain about this in Ecwid reviews. While higher-tier, paid plans offer phone support, you have to wait for an Ecwid representative to call you back. On lower-tier plans, only email and chat support are available.
Ecwid is pretty unique in that it’s an add-on to an existing website or marketplace page. This can be great for small businesses that are just starting out, but as your business grows and you need more functionality, you may decide that Ecwid isn’t the best choice for your business.
If you’re not sure that Ecwid is right for your business, check out these alternatives to see if one is a better fit.
Shopify is a full-fledged e-commerce platform, meaning you don’t need to cobble together different elements from different providers — Shopify has the capability to both build your website and include all of the e-commerce tools you need to sell products.
Overall, Shopify is a more powerful, customizable solution to creating an e-commerce store. Shopify might be the right product for your business if you don’t have a website, have a larger business or just want more control over the look and style of your e-commerce site. It’s easy to use, offers over 1,200 apps to increase your store’s functionality, is incredibly customizable and offers 24/7 customer service via phone, live chat or email.
Squarespace started out as a website builder, similar to WordPress. On top of offering templates and customization tools for building websites, Squarespace also offers an add-on online storefront for its websites. This add-on is part of a higher-tier membership plan with Squarespace, which costs $30 per month for the website hosting and e-commerce site.
Squarespace is known for building simple, clean and beautiful websites with plenty of customization. If you’re looking for an all-in-one tool, Squarespace might be the right choice for your business.
Similarly to Shopify, BigCommerce allows business owners to set up their own fully functioning online storefront. Big Commerce is a more robust, but also more complicated, tool than Ecwid.
For businesses that are just starting out or already have a website built, BigCommerce might be overly complicated and too robust. For larger businesses or tech-savvy business owners, the variety of tools for building your e-commerce site might be just what you want.
Another pro of BigCommerce, and something it shares with Ecwid, is that it doesn’t charge a payment processing fee. However, it is worth noting that BigCommerce doesn’t offer a mobile app, so you won’t have the same accessibility as you would with Ecwid.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.