E-commerce is one of the best things that happened to the internet. Without it, many people would never have found the means to put up their businesses. It is one of the most affordable ways to jumpstart a business, and it is for this reason that many companies now offer easy ways to create online stores.
Two of the most popular companies that do this are Shopify and Ecwid. These are websites that allow you to create your online store from scratch, and all you need to do is to pay a monthly subscription to maintain it.
Now, putting up an online store is easy only because you do not need to learn how to write a computer program, and yet it also requires a lot of hard work. So, before you decide which platform to use, we will take a look at the two and help you decide which one works best for you.
Ecwid vs Shopify: What Kind of E-commerce Platform Suits You?
Shopify is a known platform. It is so popular that even Kylie Jenner uses it to sell her line of cosmetics. It is an e-commerce solution for beginners and for experts alike.
Here, you can create a functional online store in seconds, and the cost of the monthly subscription is worth it.
With Shopify, you can not only build a store, but you can also create a blog. Although the blog is not as powerful as that of WordPress, it works great for SEO purposes, and for providing your consumers with information that can add value to their lives.
Once you create your online store, Shopify provides you with the capability to create static pages. These are FAQ pages, Terms and Conditions, About Us, and so much more.
These are important pages to make your store look professional, and will also help you set expectations with your consumers. Usually, you can set the links to these pages on your store’s footer section.
There are thousands of apps that can help you add a lot of functions on your store. Shopify is supported by hundreds of developers, and many of these are free.
For example, you will find apps that pop-up and show a wheel of fortune. You can set the content of this wheel of fortune to make a customer win a prize. You decide what prize to give, and you can also decide the frequency of wins.
Shopify is a partner for many online payment systems. These are also called payment processors. Examples of these are Skill, PayPal, and 2Checkout. If you do not want to use them, you can use the default Shopify payment gateway.
However, you will be charged between 2.4% to 2.0% per transaction.
Like Shopify, Ecwid is an e-commerce solution that lets you build an online store in less than an hour. If you have an existing website, you can still register for an account and start using the features of Ecwid.
Ecwid was created to be compatible with other web developer sites. It is highly popular among those who have already built a store with WordPress, as the only thing they have to do is to integrate the two.
Ecwid is also compatible with Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, SITE 123, and many other website-building platforms.
The term Ecwid stands for e-commerce widget. By this, we know that it is not exactly a platform that can let you build from scratch like Shopify, but more of a supporting system if you already have a site. It is because of this that you can also use Ecwid if what you want is to sell on Facebook.
Ecwid only lets you create one page in the Free Plan. This page will be your online store’s landing page, and the rest of the links will lead your consumers to your already existing website.
Its main function, really, is to have a single system that connects multiple platforms into one. You can use the widget on your Facebook Page, your WordPress blog or store, FourSquare, and other sales channels.
But that is not all; you can also build and customize your own online store with Ecwid if you subscribe to the second highest plan, which will cost you $15 per month.
Comparison of POS Systems
Both Shopify and Ecwid offer a point of sale feature or POS. If you go to any brick-and-mortar store, you will see that machine where cashiers scan or punch your purchases. That is a POS. It records transactions, calculates the total cost plus tax, allows you to print receipts, and allows you to pull inventory data from your sales.
A POS for an online store is one that you need to download on your mobile phone. What it does is it allows you to charge your customers physically. If you met someone at a party, and you managed to sell to this person, but she does not want to buy from your online store, you can charge her credit card from your phone.
Here are the benefits of Shopify POS:
- Secure system
- Multi-channel selling
- 24/7 support
- Allows you to create and use promo codes and discounts
- In-person Selling
- Can be used by multiple staff members
- Inventory Management
Here are the benefits of Ecwid POS:
- Full synchronization with your stores
- Accepts offline payments
- Multi-channel selling
- Integration with Clover, Square and Vend POS systems
- Can use PayPal as a payment processor
Clearly, Shopify has more to offer in the POS system. It is also cheaper. You can only get the Shopify POS functionality if you subscribe for the plan that would cost you $79 per month, In Ecwid, you must get the Unlimited Plan to be able to use the POS, which costs $99 per month.
Shopify’s Advantage Over Ecwid
To help you decide why Shopify is a great option over Ecwid, we need to look at its advantages over the other. Note that here, we will be comparing the most expensive plans.
Here are some of the best things about Shopify that you cannot do with Ecwid:
With a Shopify store, you can get your own custom domain name for your store. A domain is a name that customers type on the URL bar of a browser. Usually, it ends with a .COM, .NET, or others.
Shopify can give you this for free, provided that the website name you want to use is still available. Sometimes, you need to pay for it if it is already being sold by a domain registrar. In Ecwid, you cannot this.
Ecwid will randomly give you a URL; you cannot choose what you want.
Free SSL Certificate
Shopify will give you a certificate that shows your store is secure. You can use this to show to potential customers that their financial and personal information is safe and secure. Ecwid does not provide this, and you need to buy get this from SSL authorities, which will set you back about $10.
Customer support for Shopify is 24/7 no matter what your account type is. In Ecwid, you can only get full priority support if you subscribe to the most expensive plan of $99 per month. With Shopify, you can expect to get serviced either on chat or email anytime you want.
There are thousands of apps in the Shopify marketplace. You can use these to make your store look beautiful, make it functional, and create automated programs like discounts, promos, and shipping calculation.
The advantage of Shopify over Ecwid is that Shopify has more apps than the other. Also, most of the apps found on Shopify are free, while many on the Ecwid app marketplace are not.
Automated Abandoned Cart Recovery
This feature is available on any Shopify plan. On Ecwid, you will only get this if you are at the third tier of subscription, which will cost you $35 per month.
This feature simply provides you with the details of a customer who was about to make a purchase and then decides to leave it. In it, you will see the customer’s name, shipping address, and email address.
You can use this information to send them an email reminder about their abandoned purchase, and try to convince them to continue shopping or complete the payment. You can also send them promotions to convince them to complete the purchase.
Advanced Report Builder
Ecwid does not offer advanced analytics like Shopify. In Shopify, you get lots of data that can help you make better business decisions. For example, Shopify tells you where your traffic is coming from, how many people are browsing on your store right now, and so much more.
The basic Shopify plan provides you with all these, and you will get more data analytics if you are subscribed to the most expensive plan, the Advanced Shopify Plan, which costs $299 per month.
Shopify Shipping and Labels
In Shopify, you can print your shipping labels from the admin page. And if you use it, you can ship your products through USPS, UPS, and DHL.
If you use this service, you can get really huge discounts for shipping up to 74%. This feature is available even in the basic plan. Ecwid does not offer this kind of shipping discount.
Ecwid’s Advantages Over Shopify
Now, we need to take a look at the reasons why you need to choose Ecwid over Shopify.
Compatibility and Integration
This is where Ecwid makes a big difference. Pretty much, you can use the widget in many popular web platforms. What this means is that you can integrate it with your other websites, so there is uniformity in their look and prices, and you can also use it on social media.
Here are some places where you can integrate Ecwid:
- Any website
- Google Shopping
Take note, however, that you cannot do this at the free plan. At the very least, you must be at the next level, which is the Venture Plan.
Free Starter Site
New sellers will love this. There is a FREE Plan that will not cost you anything. Shopify, on the other hand, only has a 14-day free trial, and then you have to start paying your monthly fees after that.
With Ecwid’s starter plan, you can get the following services:
- Add up to 10 products
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Create an online store
- Integrate the store with your other sites like WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, Wix, and so much more.
- Forever free
- No transaction fees
- Mobile shopping cart
In Shopify, you can test its full functionality during the 14-day free trial. The issue with the FREE Plan of Ecwid is that you cannot accept payments.
In Shopify, you can get a Lite Plan for only $13 per month, and you can get the same Ecwid Venture Plan services.
While Shopify offers support should something go wrong with your site, it does not offer free site customization. If you want your store to look different, you have to pay for the services.
In Ecwid, you can request for your website to be customized if you are in the Business and Unlimited Plans. In Business, the Ecwid staff will customize your site for work the can be done for two hours. In the Unlimited Plan, they will customize your site for work that can be completed in 12 hours. These are free.
You cannot customize your site if you are in the Free Venture plans.
This is probably the greatest advantage of Ecwid. You do not have to pay for transaction fees. In Shopify, you need to pay between 0.5% and 2.0% if you use the services of other payment processors.
If you use Shopify’s payment processor, you will pay between 2.4% + $0.30 and 2.9% + $0.30 if you receive payments with credit cards online. If you use the POS system and make in-person sales, you will pay between 2.4% and 2.7% of the transaction cost.
In Ecwid, you only have to pay for the monthly subscription. You can integrate the store with many payment processors, but you have to know that these payment processors will still charge you a fee.
In Shopify, you will pay a transaction fee twice: one for Shopify and one for the payment processor.
Shopify has three plans. These are Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. If you are just starting out, a Basic plan will suit you will. It allows you to create an online store that is fully functional. The only things you will not have on a Basic Plan are advanced features, which you do not likely need.
The cost of the Basic plan is $29 per month, but you can already start selling, you can process payments, and you can design your store and add staff accounts.
The great thing about Ecwid is that it has a FREE plan. With this, you can create your store widget, create a one-page online store, and create a mobile shopping cart.
The problem with this free plan is that it does not really give you a lot of juice. Basically, you can create a starter store that has so many limitations.
If you want to build a store that has a lot of features, you must start at the Venture Plan, which will cost you $15 per month.
Which One Should You Choose?
As a last piece of advice, here is how you should make a decision.
Choose Ecwid if:
- You need a store that you can integrate with your other websites
- You only need a widget that you can add to your existing websites
- You do not want to incur extra monthly costs
- You do not want to pay transaction fees for sales you made
Choose Shopify if:
- You want an independent online store
- You want a store that carries your brand name in the URL or domain name
- You are OK with paying a monthly subscription
- You want a store that has static pages
- You want many apps that you can integrate into your store for free
Remember, Ecwid only has two main advantages over Shopify: it is free, and it can be integrated into many existing web developer sites. For the rest, Shopify still reigns supreme.