The e-commerce platform you choose can play an important role in the success of your business. This article will compare two popular e-commerce platforms, Shopify and Ecwid. It is essential to take the time to determine your target sales channels, consumer base, the functionality you need, and of course, the budget you are working with. Being armed with this information will help you pick the best platform for your store.
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. Founded in Canada in 2006, Shopify was purpose-built to be an all-in-one, easy-to-use, complete commerce platform. Currently, more than 1.75 million businesses in 175 countries trust Shopify with their e-commerce sales. Shopify processed $79.5 billion dollars in order value in 2021, and as of May 2022, there are 5.6 million live websites running Shopify.
A less-popular platform, Ecwid was launched in 2009 as an e-commerce plug-in for content platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace. Ecwid means “e-commerce widget”, highlighting that it was developed to be added to a website rather than work as a stand-alone e-commerce platform. Lightspeed acquired Ecwid in 2021. As of August 2022, there are 183,252 live websites using Ecwid, translating into a 21% year-over-year increase in 2022. The majority of Ecwid stores are based in the United States (31.7%), followed by the United Kingdom (7%), Canada (3.8%) and Australia (3.1%).
Shopify vs Ecwid
Shopify and Ecwid have some similarities: They are fully hosted, all-in-one platforms that let you sell online and offline to a global audience through a variety of channels including traditional e-commerce, social, and bricks and mortar using their POS systems. Both are configured to allow B2C and B2B selling and provide comprehensive tools to manage everything from payments to products, inventory and orders. Finally, both Shopify and Ecwid are good choices for beginners as they are relatively easy to use and set up.
Is Ecwid better than Shopify?
While the platforms do share commonalities, they also have significant differences. Today, Ecwid can be used as a stand-alone, e-commerce platform, and Shopify can be integrated into an existing site. However, their origin stories play an important role in how the platforms have developed over the years.
Let’s examine 5 differences between Shopify and Ecwid which will help you decide which one is best for your e-commerce business.
1. Product Functionality
Shopify has no product limits with any of its plans. Whether you choose Basic, Advanced, or Shopify Plus, you can upload as many products as you want.
Ecwid, on the other hand, puts a cap on how many products you can add to your store. The free plan gives you a maximum of 10, while the Venture plan allows 100. Only the Unlimited plan removes product limits, but it is cost-prohibitive at $99.00 a month. Compare this to the Basic Shopify plan which is only $29.00 a month, making Shopify the better choice if you have a store with multiple products or one that you plan to scale and diversify.
Organizing products into categories or collections makes it easier for customers to find them, offering a clean user experience. You can create collections with Shopify or Ecwid, but it is simpler with Shopify.
With Shopify, you can set selection conditions to automatically include matching products. You can also manually create collections. With Ecwid, you create smart categories with criteria. This is a good feature to have if you have a store with many products, but it is harder to implement than on Shopify. You can add filters to your collections, but this too is not as intelligent as Shopify’s version, which lets you easily specify whether products need to meet all conditions to be included in a collection.
Ecwid and Shopify have similar product options, accessible in different ways. Ecwid has no product option limits as part of its default setting, offering an unlimited number regardless of the plan you choose. Conversely, Shopify’s default setting allows you to have three options for each product you sell. You can add variants using metafields. This can be accessed via your Shopify admin settings. You can also install a third-party app from the Shopify app store, but this will add costs to your plan.
Capturing Custom Data
Being able to easily capture custom data is an area where Ecwid is better than Shopify. With Ecwid you can simply add an ‘extra information’ field on a product page or at checkout. Giving customers the option to add things like a note on how to fulfill a custom order creates a bespoke experience that can strengthen the customer relationship. Creating a similar text field with Shopify is somewhat more complicated: you will need to add code or an app to fulfill this function.
When looking at payment gateways, both Shopify and Ecwid are great choices. Ecwid offers more than 70 payment gateways, while Shopify boasts over 100 payment providers around the globe, including its product Shopify Payments, which removes third-party transaction fees for orders processed through Shopify Payments, Shop Pay, Shop Pay Installments, and Paypal Express.
2. Building a Stand-Alone E-Commerce Store
You can build an e-commerce store with Shopify or Ecwid. That said, from its origins in 2006, Shopify was purpose-built to be a complete commerce platform, whereas Ecwid was originally designed as a widget to add e-commerce functionality to existing content platforms. Because of this, Shopify is the stronger choice if you are looking for a user-friendly, robust, e-commerce platform that can grow and scale your business.
Overall design look & feel
Whether you are launching your first e-commerce store, or are an enterprise-level business, There are currently 114 official Shopify themes to choose from. You don’t need to be a designer or developer to build a store: you pick a theme, customize the look and feel of your store with the online store builder, and add features and additional functionality with apps, resulting in a highly sophisticated e-commerce experience that you can easily scale as your business grows. You can use your domain name, and connect it to Shopify from your store admin panel. If you have a large e-commerce site that needs more customization, contact Digifist, a Shopify Plus agency.
Ecwid was originally built to be an e-commerce add-on, so sites are less sophisticated and not as customizable. Ecwid comes with a set theme that is built to integrate with your existing site, adopting its colours, and overall look and feel. You can customize simple, predetermined widgets on your store front, such as adding or hiding different blocks like “About us”, "Customer Feedback" or “Contact Details”, changing fonts, and adding or hiding buttons. To adjust the store design you will need to modify the CSS, which can prove difficult if you don’t understand how to work with code.
SaaS vs Open Source
Shopify is a software as a service (SaaS) platform, making it incredibly user-friendly. To use Shopify, you simply access it via the internet, freeing you from installing and maintaining software, or from needing to understand code to build and run your store. Shopify is hosted, and secure and offers automatic updating. This means you don’t need to worry about your site going down because of a missing update.
Conversely, Ecwid is open-source PHP. Many developers use PHP to build websites. Open-source can be good for a platform because there is an opportunity for frequent updates and iterations. However, it is more complicated to maintain as your site will not update automatically. You need to ensure security patches and updates are done on time to prevent your site from going down. This is an added layer of responsibility as well as an ongoing cost that you won’t have with Shopify because if you don’t understand PHP you will be consistently on the hook for paying a developer to make it happen.
Marketing & SEO
A well-thought-out marketing plan and attention to SEO are crucial to standing out in the competitive e-commerce space. Comparing Shopify vs Ecwid, as a Shopify merchant, you have access to a powerful suite of marketing and customer engagement tools, including a professional blogging template, and the ability to create custom email campaigns. You also have SEO tools to edit title tags, product details and meta descriptions on your site, and can create product ads on social sites like Facebook.
Ecwid offers options for marketing and SEO but they are not as versatile or well-developed as Shopify. Ecwid allows you to create email campaigns but does not offer a blog template, which is a missed opportunity to engage customers. As with Shopify, you can create ads to deploy on sites like Google and Facebook and review data from your marketing channels in a single dashboard. SEO tools are basic but can be enhanced by adding a plug-in like Yoast or integrating the store with SEO-friendly content platforms like WordPress and Squarespace.
3. Selling in Multiple Currencies
E-commerce offers access to a global marketplace. Shopify and Ecwid both allow you to sell internationally in different ways, with Shopify once again proving to be the more dynamic platform.
Shopify has developed and built Shopify Markets. Designed to make selling internationally easy, Shopify Markets lets you choose the areas around the world you want to sell in, then helps you set up, launch, optimize, manage, and grow your international business. Customers can view prices, pay for their orders, and receive refunds all in their local currency. In addition, if you are a Shopify Plus merchant, you have access to a feature that will automatically adjust the currency on your site for the IP address of the website browser. If you are not a Plus merchant, there are third-party apps that will do the same thing.
As mentioned, Ecwid also allows worldwide selling, but it is a simplified, less user-friendly experience. You will need to download the Currency Converter or Auto Currency Switcher app. With these apps, customers can see prices in their native currency based on their browsing location. There is a monthly cost for the app, which will be added to your base subscription price. Additionally, and importantly, Ecwid does not support checkout in all currencies. This means that while a customer may be able to view the cost of a product in their currency, they may not be able to pay with it, potentially causing abandoned carts and lost sales.
Dropshipping is when a merchant accepts customer orders without having stock on hand. Customer orders are passed on to a supplier for fulfillment and shipping. Dropshipping is a great option for new merchants who want to test the waters without having to worry about the hassle of keeping stock, managing inventory and shipping products.
Shopify is serious about setting its dropshipping merchants up for success. The company has invested considerable resources to ensure the platform provides both merchants and customers with a seamless, easy-to-use dropshipping experience. Shopify has more than 280 dropshipping apps and integrations, giving you a wide variety of options to build your dropshipping store. You can even access a guide on product trends and how to find products to sell online to help you build your perfect store.
Ecwid can be used for dropshipping, but is far more limited. Currently, Ecwid only supports 12 dropshipping integrations, including Printful, Sprocket and Alibaba, curtailing your options and scalability. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to manage time and money, dropshipping with Shopify is your better choice.
5. Point of Sale (POS)
Lightspeed is well known as a leading point-of-sale (POS) system provider that serves the retail and restaurant industries. Its cloud-based POS system is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Lightspeed POS has several features including fast checkout features and customizable receipts and can accept all payment types from credit card to contactless payment.
Shopify also has its own Shopify POS. With it, you can turn any mobile device into a POS system, customize the terminal to the needs of your business, and enjoy built-in payment processing.
You can integrate Lightspeed POS with Shopify. However, because this is a complex task, it’s recommended that you hire a Shopify expert to help you.
Ecwid vs Shopify Pricing
Shopify and Ecwid both offer a variety of pricing plans. When comparing features and price points, Ecwid is not cheaper than Shopify. What matters most is that you are choosing the best platform and plan for the needs of your business.
Shopify offers 3 pricing tiers and Shopify Plus:
- Basic Shopify Plan at $29.00 per month: This plan is recommended for new e-commerce businesses that may have occasional in-person sales.
- Shopify Plan at $79.00 per month: This is the perfect choice for growing businesses selling online or in person
- Advanced Shopify Plan at $299.00 per month: This plan is recommended for businesses that are scaling and need advanced reporting.
- Shopify Plus - This is Shopify’s enterprise commerce platform and is a great choice for large businesses selling B2B or B2C online and in person. Pricing starts at $2000.00 a month with the total cost based on overall sales volume. For more information about Plus pricing, contact DigiFist, a Shopify Plus agency.
Ecwid has 4 plans, including a free plan which allows you to create a one-page e-commerce website with up to 2 product categories and 10 products. The other plans are:
- Venture at $19.00 per month: Venture builds on the Free plan, offering additional features like selling on Facebook and Instagram, granting access to the App Market and upping your product availability from 10 to 100 products.
- Business at $39.00 per month: This plan gives you everything in Venture plus features like 2 staff accounts, an abandoned cart saver, and the option to sell up to 2500 products.
- Unlimited at $99.00 per month: This is Ecwid’s largest plan and the only one that offers unlimited products. With Unlimited, you get everything in the Business plan plus additional features like POS integration and the ability to sell via branded mobile apps.
Migrating from Ecwid to Shopify
Shopify was purpose-built to be a complete commerce solution and is the platform of choice if you want to sell B2B or B2C to markets worldwide, both online and in person. If you need help migrating from Ecwid to Shopify or are ready to open your Shopify store, contact DigiFist, we are a Shopify Plus agency and are happy to help.