In this post, I am going to put Shopify vs Ecwid to the ultimate test as I find out which eCommerce tool is the best overall.
So if you’re looking for a thorough, side-by-side comparison of these two powerful eCommerce tools, you’ve come to the right place.
As I leave no stone unturned, I will put Ecwid vs Shopify to the test in terms of:
- Getting Started: Pricing, domain name, logo, staff accounts, etc.
- Building a Store: Themes/Templates, Store Manager, Website Editor, etc.
- Marketing and Selling: Sales channels, checkouts, payments, shipping, etc.
- Store Management: Orders and payment, reports, analytics, mobile app, etc.
If you’re like me, then you probably hate long intros. So let’s dive right in.
The Introduction: Ecwid vs Shopify
In the green corner we have Shopify.
Although best known for its simplicity, don’t let that fool you. Within that simplicity lurks innovative and dynamic eCommerce features that already 1M+ entrepreneurs swear by.
Shopify has taken the eCommerce world by storm and its not hard to see why:
Shopify makes it so easy for everyone to build an online store, including Mom and Pop stores and thus leveling the playing field to compete with the “big boy” brands.
Some of Shopify’s best features include:
- Modern and flexible templates
- Extensive selection of third-party apps
- Multiple sales channel & integration
- Advanced reporting & analytics
- And lots more…
In the yellow corner, we have Ecwid.
Not far behind, is Ecwid. Founded back in 2009, three years later than Shopify, Ecwid is a game-changer that has broken through the status quo with their flexible selling platform which makes it possible to sell everywhere – and I mean everywhere.
Ecwid’s strength lies in its flexibility and ability to integrate with other tools. Ecwid makes it possible to sell on various channels, including:
- Social media and Marketplaces such as Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Create your own store or embed your Ecwid store to your existing website.
- Sell online and accept payments in-store
- Or even resell and white-label eCommerce solutions to your clients.
Here is the bottom line:
Shopify and Ecwid are two powerful eCommerce platforms that are shaping the future of eCommerce. The question then is not so much about who is best, but about who is best for you.
Got it? Let’s talk now talk about the Ecwid vs. Shopify nitty-gritty stuff.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Complete Comparison
Getting Started: Ecwid vs Shopify
Selling online is hard enough. Getting started and creating a store shouldn’t have to be hard. Now, let’s put these two sides by side and see how they fare. Below is a quick summary for scanners and skimmers;).
|Premium Trial||❌||✔️(14-Day Trial)|
|Free domain name||❌||❌|
|Cheapest Plan Price||$15/month||$9/month|
|Barrier to entry||Very low||Low|
|Bandwidth & Storage||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Transaction Fees||0%||(2.9%) 0% when using Shopify Payments|
|Staff Accounts, Entry Plan||2||2|
|Product limit, Entry Plan||100||Unlimited|
|In-house logo maker||❌||✔️|
Both Shopify and Ecwid are highly cost-effective and provide the best value for money.
Ecwid starts off at a FREE plan where you can sell up to 10 products on your website and includes some very generous features.
Ecwid’s FREE plan doesn’t allow one to sell through other sales channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, etc. But with all things considered, it’s a generous free plan – enough to get your toes wet before voting with your pocket.
Talking about their premium plans, Ecwid offers competitive pricing that even the tightest of budgets can afford. But there is more? Their entry-level plan is actually very generous. It allows you to sell up to 100 products, access multiple sales channels, and embed your store onto your existing website.
In short, their pricing is hard to beat, and it doesn’t get any more expensive with advanced plans either. It is for that reason that we have given their pricing 5 out of 5.
Shopify, on the other end, does not offer a FREE plan. But they do have a 14-day trial to get your toes wet before committing to a Premium Plan.
Even though Shopify generally advertizes their basic plan starting at $29/month, their Premium plans start at $9/month for Shopify Lite plan.
Shopify lite allows you to sell your products on social media, in person, or on your existing website by embedding one or more products with a simple and secure checkout page.
Sidenote: With that pricing, it may be tempting to jump both feet in, but before you do that it’s important to know that the plan doesn’t allow you to build an online store. You can sell online but without a “home” for your brand.
Moving on to other plans. Here is what I love about Shopify plans:
The only difference between Shopify’s entry-level plan and their advanced plans is 1. advanced reporting & analytics, 2. shipping rates discounts and, 3. automatic shipping rates. And so their entry-level plans are not feature-deprived in any way – you get almost everything Shopify has to offer.
Which plan is right for you: If you’re starting an online business or moving your existing business online, Shopify’s basic plan ($29/month) will most likely meet most of your needs. And then you can consider upgrading to the Shopify plan ($79/month) as your business grows.
Both Ecwid and Shopify don’t offer a free domain with their Premium plans, something very common among eCommerce platforms. With Shopify, you can buy one through their in-house domain name registry at $14/year while Ecwid doesn’t offer an in-house domain name registry.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Pricing – Summary
Yes, Shopify doesn’t have a free plan but considering that their plans start at $9/month, I think you can appreciate that they genuinely want to remove any kind of barriers to entry for selling online.
Honestly, both Shopify and Ecwid offer highly competitive pricing packed with essential features designed to best serve you as you start out and grow with you as you expand. You’d be hard-pressed to find any better pricing with even better features.
Which is why I have given them both a perfect score for getting started, specifically pricing. I have tested many products and I must say, Ecwid and Shopify are among the best when it comes to value for money – simply doesn’t get any better.
Building a Store: Ecwid vs Shopify
Once we get started, we want to build a store, fast. Do these eCommerce platforms offer tools to help us do that? What about themes, are they responsive and customizable? Is it fairly easy to navigate and find your way around? In this section, that’s what we’ll be taking a look at.
Come with me.
Scanners and Skimmers, I didn’t forget about you;) Here is a nice and sweet summary:
|Number of themes/Templates||75+, all free||70+ (9 free & the rest paid)|
|Mobile Responsive themes||✔️||✔️|
|Can you switch themes later?||✔️||❌|
|Control panel||Clean, modern & streamlined||clean, modern & minimal|
|Website editor/front end||Simple and intuitive editor||Intuitive and streamlined editor|
|Integrations with third parties?||✔️Plenty||✔️Plenty|
|Support & Help||Excellent|
✔️Help center & FAQs
✔️Help center & FAQs
✔️Phone, via callback
This is one area where Shopify and Ecwid differ quite a bit.
Ecwid was originally built as an eCommerce plugin to add an online store to your existing site hosted on another platform (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, Wix, etc). As such, the online store built through their platform takes on the theme and colors of your existing website. So your themes colors and branding will all depend on your existing website design schemes.
However, they have since added a free customizable one-page website builder called instant site.
Instant site builder comes with customizable content blocks and 75+ design themes to let you create a unique website. The tool is not ground-breaking by any means but fairly decent for a quick and customizable online store.
Shopify offers 70+ free and paid themes to explore. Themes are professionally designed and modern, so you won’t face any problems to find the right look and feel for your brand.
Pro tip: Always take few minutes to browse and preview few themes before deciding on the one you like, because once you choose and start adding your content, you can’t change a theme midway without having to repopulate your content once again.
In a nutshell, Shopify and Ecwid offer plenty of flexibility to customize your store. If you need further customization, you may have to consider one of Shopify’s 2500+ apps that you can help you with that, and that can be pricey.
Control Panel: Functionality
The Control panel is like your brick-and-mortar store office area. If it’s full of clutter and hard to navigate, that can severely affect productivity and ability to serve your customers.
Here is a look at Shopify’s control panel:
It’s simplistic, clean and easy to navigate. Lets face it, it really doesn’t get any minimalistic.
I have used this panel a thousand times but I also had to use it for the first time. And I have to say I can’t remember ever struggling to find anything.
Here is Ecwid’s control panel:
I am sure you would rightly say the same thing about Ecwid’s control panel. It’s also clean, minimalistic, and such a breeze to navigate.
In conclusion, both Shopify and Ecwid’s control panels are such a breath of fresh air. From their panels, you can manage orders, add & customize products, run marketing campaigns and a lot more.
Website Editor: Ease of Use
This is about customizing your storefront and making it your own. It also includes adding and displaying your products. How do these two platforms perform? Let us find out.
First, lets start with Ecwid:
Any storefront has to begin with filling your store with products, right? Ecwid also understands that really well. To add products its not a complicated exercise at all. Its straightforward and intuitive.
From the product add page you can add media, attributes and variants, tax & shipping and also edit SEO meta data such as meta title & description and also URL slug for your product.
Since Ecwid is an eCommerce plugin, customizing your storefront such as your homepage, product page, etc. will have to be done via where you’re hosting your site (e.g. Wix, WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, etc.). Unless you’re using Ecwid’s instant site builder, then you can access the editor through the dashboard.
Sidenote: When I say Ecwid is an eCommerce plugin I mean you can integrate it with other website builders to add an online store to your existing website. Shopify, on the other end, is a self-hosted online store builder and you can’t integrate it with other website builders like Wix, WordPress, Weebly, etc.
Like Ecwid, Shopify makes it easy to add and customize your products.
Simplicity is at the core of everything Shopify does and that’s reflected through their website editor.
From their editor you can customize and own your store’s feel and look. From my experience with Shopify, I have loved every single part of their editor except one thing:
Third-Party Apps & Integration
Part of what makes Shopify and Ecwid so powerful is their third-party apps and integration with other tools.
From store design to sales & conversion, to shipping and to reporting & productivity, Shopify seems to have apps for every category. And yes it does. It’s hard to imagine being unable to find an app for certain tasks from their collection of 2500+ free and paid apps.
The downside with heavy reliance on third-party apps is obviously the cost to the user. Although I should point out that there are plenty of free apps you can use. For example, I use a freemium app called PageFly – landing page builder – to customize my pages even more. Best part? I am using their free plan and don’t have to pay a cent for it.
Ecwid is not far behind as well. In fact, part of what makes it so unique is the ability to integrate with so many platforms. In addition to their already impressive reach, you can also connect it with Zapier and have access to +1000 additional apps.
In short, both Shopify and Ecwid built-in features are robust to begin with but if you need additional integration and functionality it shouldn’t be a problem to find an app to help with that.
Support & Help
Shopify’s Premium plans come with 24/7 email, chat and phone support. In addition, Shopify’s community forums and help center is well organized and you’ll most likely find help before even getting in touch with live support.
|Help center/Knowledge base||✔️||✔️|
|Social media support||✔️||✔️|
|24/7 live chat||✔️||✔️|
|Phone||Yes, through callback||Yes, through callback|
Ecwid’s help center also features a vast collection of helpful guides, videos and tutorials. In addition, Ecwid offers chat and phone support but currently not available with a free plan. The phone support is also not available with their entry-level plan.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Building a Store – Summary
Ecwid and Shopify are little different when it comes to building an online store. First, Ecwid is best for exisiting websites that wish to add online store and therefore goes on assumptions that there is already a website built. While with Shopify, you built your store from scratch.
However, all things considered, both Ecwid and Shopify make it uber easy to set up/connect your online store fast. Should you get stuck along the way, there’s plenty of support to help.
Marketing and Selling: Ecwid vs Shopify
Building a store, as cool as it is, it’s only a means to an end. And that end is getting your product in front of the right customers – marketing – and convincing them to buy – selling.
This is undoubtedly the most important part of eCommerce. If I cannot market my product, I cannot sell it and if I can’t sell it then everything else I did beforehand doesn’t really matter.
So, without any further due, let’s go right in.
|Subscription-based||Third-party apps||Third-party apps|
|Point of Sales (POS)||✔️||✔️|
|Email marketing||Mailchimp||Shopify email (+10 more options)|
|Shipping||flat-rate, order pickup, custom rates & carrier-calculated||flat-rate, order pickup, local delivery, custom rates, carrier-calculated|
|SEO & Blog||✔️||✔️|
As you can see from the table below, both platforms feature more than plenty of sales channels to expand your reach and serve new customers.
|Website, online store||✔️||✔️|
Both allow you to sell online. Both allow you to sell on social media. Both allow you to sell on marketplaces. And they both also allow POS, a system that allows you to sell online and be paid in person (or be paid online and let customers collect in-store).
Shopify has a narrow lead. To be fair, Ecwid punches well beyond its weight when it comes to multi-channel selling.
It’s important to mention that Ecwid doesn’t allow marketplace selling (Amazon, eBay & Etsy) on their entry-level paid plan but does allow all other channels starting with their business plan ($29/month).
SEO and Blog
Ecwid doesn’t support any blogging platform since that is provided by your website builder. So the strength and functionality of the blog will depend on where your website is hosted.
If your website is built on WordPress, no need to worry – you’re set up on the best blogging platform on the planet.
If you’re set up on Squarespace or Wix, you’ll have more than enough features to get going.
Although blogging is not Shopify’s strength, it does offer acceptable features to make your blog SEO-friendly. This includes the ability to edit meta title & description, URL handle, and Image alt text.
Although old school as it is, email marketing is still the cheapest and highest converting form of marketing.
Shopify allows you to send automatic cart recovery emails to encourage your customers to come to finish up their purchase. Abandoned cart emails is only a small part of notification emails you can automate with Shopify. Others include:
Included with these features are email templates that you can customize the message, logo,etc.
Sidenote: When you purchase a domain name through Shopify, you can set up an unlimited number of forwarding email addresses. For example, if you own the domain name friedchiken.com, then you can create the email email@example.com for your customers. When customers email firstname.lastname@example.org, their messages are forwarded to your existing personal account, for example, email@example.com. Please note this only includes receiving email and doesn’t apply to sending emails.
For sending email newsletters, you can either take advantage of their new and free (up to 2500 emails/month) newsletter tool called Shopify Email or use one of many third-party email marketing tools, such as:
With regard to email notification, Ecwid takes a step further and allow for these additional custom notifications:
Order confirmation with related products
Customer loyalty appreciation
Inactive customer reminder
Purchase anniversary email
Favorite product email
These automated emails, however, are only available on their Business plan ($29/month), which is similar in pricing to Shopify’s entry-level plan.
For newsletter integrations, Ecwid is limited to Mailchimp or Zappier apps if you want to use another email service.
Social Media Promotions
Being a able to sell on other platforms, including social media platforms, its important. But being able to run dynamic and retargeting ads via pixels on social media is even more important.
What are dynamic retargeting ads? Have you ever visited a website and a few minutes later you start seeing ads from that business on Facebook? Those are retargeting ads. It’s done through what’s called pixels – a piece of unique code that tracks your interaction with a particular website – which then uses that data to follow you around the web.
Both Ecwid and Shopify allow you to connect pixels to your store for conversion tracking.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Marketing & Selling – Summary
As I said before, Ecwid punches well beyond its class when it comes to marketing and sales channels available. Pound for pound, Shopify is having a hard time opening a gap against Ecwid.
I frankly was super impressed with what you could do with Ecwid, even more impressed how they managed to keep their pricing so low with all that they offer.
Simply put, if you have a website and would like to add an online store, Ecwid is a must plugin to check out.
Store Management: Ecwid vs Shopify
Now that we have successfully created a store, set up marketing campaigns and customers are now placing orders in numbers, are we done and can we start enjoying our hard-earned profits?
Not so fast. We aren’t done. Lets talk about how we gonna handle and fulfill all the orders, manage payments, make data-driven decisions to take our business to the next level.
|Shipping carrier options||USPS, UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal mail, Australia post, +3 more||USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post, FBA|
|Schedule order pickup||✔️||✔️|
|3rd-party fulfillment service integration||✔️||✔️|
|Shipping labels||✔️USPS||✔️USPS, UPS, DHL|
|Abandoned cart recovery||✔️||✔️|
|Live carrier cost calculator||✔️||✔️|
|Automatic tax calculator||✔️||✔️|
|Automatic payment capture||✔️||✔️|
|Reports & analytics||✔️||✔️|
Orders & Payments
As soon as the customer places an order, from the dashboard of both platforms you can see the status of the order and the action you need to take to fulfill it.
Proving a fast and friction-free checkout process is not an option if you’re any serious about running a successful online store.
Luckily Ecwid and Shopify have measures in place to expedite the checkout experience. Ecwid supports 60+ online and offline payment solutions while Shopify offers a whopping 100+ payment gateways to choose from.
The most popular ones used and will probably work for your customers as well are PayPal, Stripe and Square. These are the most popular payment providers and also process credit card in case a customer doesn’t have an account with either of them.
Shipping & Taxes
Choosing the right shipping strategy can be challenging, especially if you just got into eCommerce. There are lots of moving parts and different factors may affect your shipping strategy.
Luckily Ecwid and Shopify offer different shipping options based on parameters such as weight-based, location-based, customer-based, flat-rate, product tiered and free shipping.
Pro tip: Free shipping has proven to significantly increase conversion rate by as much as 50%. While these numbers may differ from business to business, one thing that’s agreeable upon is that it significantly improves conversion rate. So, if you can provide free shipping you should strongly consider doing so, even if it means cutting your margins by a few percentages. In the long run, it’ll be a win-win for you and your customers.
Reports and Analytics
From Ecwid’s dashboard, you can see advanced metrics to gauge how your store is performing. These metrics include real-time conversions, product and category sales, traffic sources, store revenue, and plenty more.
Likewise, Shopify also allows you to track products, visitor & location, inventory, marketing, sales reports and other metrics.
|Manage products & Inventory||✔️||✔️|
|Run Marketing Campaigns||✔️||✔️|
|Create Discounts & Coupons||✔️||✔️|
|Review Store Perfomance||✔️||✔️|
|Sell on Sales Channels||✔️||✔️|
|Edit your store||✔️||✔️|
I have tested many eCommerce platform’s mobile apps,and I have to say that Shopify and Ecwid offer the best mobile app experience out of everyone.
Their apps empower you to never miss a beat when you’re on the go. You can almost do everything else you can do on desktop.
How is Ecwid different to other eCommerce platforms?
Ecwid can be added to your existing website, and it doesn’t require any coding for that. Ecwid, unlike other eCommerce platforms, offers a free forever plan that allows you to sell up to 10 products online. So if you have a website already and would like to take it for a test drive, you can do so without ever paying a cent.
Are there any setup fees with Ecwid & Shopify?
None charge any setup fees to start off. Ecwid has no transactional fees on any of its plans. However, Shopify does charge a transactional of 2.9%+$0.3 if you aren’t using Shopify payment.
Can I change my plan later?
Absolutely. You can upgrade or even downgrade your plan anytime.
Summary: Which one is best for me?
Ecwid vs Shopify, I am confident by now you have an idea of what’s best for you. As I have said in the beginning, the question isn’t so much about which is a better option but rather which option is better for you.
Frankly, I love both Shopify and Ecwid and honestly believe they both offer the best bang for your buck. If you choose the right option you shouldn’t have any problems with it in the future.
So here is what I think will be best for you:
|It’s your first time trying to sell online||❌||✔️|
|Small business moving online for the first time||❌||✔️|
|Have an existing website you want to add an online store||✔️||❌|
|eCommerce reseller & white labeling||✔️||❌|
As an eCommerce plugin, Ecwid is undoubtedly great for an existing website, whether built on WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Drupal..you name it. All features and costs considered, Ecwid offers the most cost-effective way to build an online store.
Some, if not all website builders, offer in-house eCommerce plans but they either lack features or their eCommerce entry-level plans are feature-deprived. The solution? Ecwid. You can start off with their free plan and upgrade as your needs expand.
On the other end, if you’re new to eCommerce or you have an existing offline business but would like to open an online store, then I would recommend Shopify. It’s also best if you’re into dropshipping. Looking for more options? See the full list of Shopify alternatives.
Over to you
Now I would like to hear from you. Which one are you going to try, Ecwid or Shopify? Or what do you think of the comparison, is there something you would have loved to see that I didn’t touch on?
Either way, be sure to leave a comment and tell me what you think.