Ecwid vs Shopify (2021) — Comparison Review, Full Pros and Cons

Shopify vs Ecwid (image of shopping cart accompanying the two companies' logos).

In this Ecwid vs Shopify comparison I’m going to put two well-known (but quite different) e-commerce solutions to the test.

Read on for an overview of both platforms’ key features, their pros and cons, and why you might consider using one over the other.

By the end of this post, you should have a much clearer idea about which of these two solutions is best for your business.

Let’s start with a key question…


What are Ecwid and Shopify?

The simple answer: Shopify and Ecwid are tools for selling stuff. They allow you to create an online store, upload products to it and manage your inventory on an ongoing basis. 

They’ve got quite different backgrounds, however.

Shopify was initially conceived as a tool that allowed users to create a brand new, standalone online store — i.e., a fully functional website on a domain of your choosing — whereas Ecwid was designed to let people sell products on an existing site by adding a snippet of code to it (hence the name ‘Ecwid’ — ‘e-commerce widget’).

Shopify is designed to let you build a store from scratch, using templates like these.
Shopify is designed to let you build a store from scratch, using templates like these.

In recent years however, the lines have become a bit blurred: you can now embed a Shopify product catalog on an existing site, and use Ecwid to build a standalone online store.

I’ll discuss how both solutions perform these tasks shortly — but first, a quick look at pricing.


Pricing

Ecwid pricing

Ecwid provides four plans — and the good news is, one of them is entirely free. 

The USD prices for the plans are as follows:

  • Free — $0 per month

  • Venture — $15 per month

  • Business — $35 per month

  • Unlimited — $99 per month

(Pricing in other countries varies, however, and in a lot of territories, Ecwid costs a lot more than in the States. For example, the UK prices are around 23% higher.)

Ecwid pricing
Ecwid pricing

The most obvious difference between the plans involves product and category limits — these increase in size as you go up the pricing ladder.

You are limited to 10 products on the free plan; this rises to 100 on ‘Venture’, 2500 on ‘Business’ and, as the name suggests, an unlimited number on the ‘Unlimited’ plan.

The Ecwid feature set also becomes more extensive as you pay more — accessing features like abandoned cart saving, gift cards, point of sale features and more comprehensive support depends on the plan you’re on.

With all Ecwid plans, you can either embed your products on another site or create a basic standalone site, using Ecwid’s ‘Instant Site’ feature.

(If you’re a Wix user, different pring rules apply — you can buy a ‘starter’, ‘premium’ or ‘unlimited’ plan for $7.99, $19.30 or $79 per month respectively. The feature sets for these plans broadly reflect those available on the standard Ecwid plans. You can find out more about Wix and Ecwid pricing here).

Shopify pricing

Shopify provides 5 plans:

  • Lite — $9 per month

  • Basic Shopify — $29 per month

  • Shopify — $79 per month

  • Advanced Shopify — $299 per month

  • Shopify Plus — pricing varies depending on requirements, but typically comes in at around $2000 per month

Shopify pricing
Shopify pricing

All these plans allow you to sell an unlimited number of goods using as many categories as you like — the main differences include the number of user accounts you can have, along with access to professional reporting and real time carrier shipping. The more you pay, the more you get on all counts.

With the exception of ‘Shopify Lite’, all the above plans allow you to create a standalone online store. 

The ‘Lite’ plan is, like Ecwid, more about selling products elsewhere, allowing you to:

  • sell on Facebook

  • use Shopify to sell goods in physical locations (i.e., at point of sale)

  • make use of a Shopify ‘Buy Button’ which allows you to sell products on an existing site.

A free trial of Shopify lets you evaluate the product and get a sense of your requirements — this is normally 14 days, but can be extended upon request. You can access this free trial via this link

A quick note about the ‘Shopify Plus’ plan: this is designed with larger companies in mind — i.e., those with very particular needs regarding security and uptime, or advanced requirements when it comes to integrating Shopify with internal systems (CRM tools, databases etc.).

Discounts

Both Ecwid and Shopify offer discounts if you pay upfront for a year’s service.

In the case of Ecwid, paying yearly gives you a 16.6% discount; Shopify offers 10% and 20% discounts respectively if you pay upfront for 1 or 2 years’ service.

Pricing, of course, is just one part of the picture — let’s drill down now into the specific e-commerce features you get with Ecwid and Shopify.


E-commerce features

Both Ecwid and Shopify provide all the basics that you’d expect from an online store builder, allowing you to host a catalogue of goods, create shipping rules and accept online payments. 

However, there are some key differences which are worth exploring in a bit more depth.

Payment gateways and transaction fees

A payment gateway is the software that processes your customer’s transactions securely. There are lots of companies that offer payment gateway services — well-known ones include Paypal, Stripe and Worldpay.

Ecwid and Shopify work with a very wide range of payment gateways — around 75 in the case of Ecwid, over 100 in the case of Shopify. 

Shopify differs in a key respect however in that it also offers its own payment gateway, ‘Shopify Payments.’ This is extremely easy to set up, and using it means that there are no transaction fees to worry about (you will still need to factor in the usual credit card processing fees, but Shopify won’t take a cut of your sales).

However, Shopify Payments can only be used if you are selling from certain countries (see our Shopify review for a full list). If your country isn’t on the list, you must use a third-party payment gateway, and you will be charged a percentage of sales for doing so (varying from 0.5% to 2% depending on the plan you’re on). This will be on top of any fees charged by your chosen payment gateway provider.

With Ecwid, you must make use of a third-party payment gateway to process transactions. On the plus side, you won’t be charged for doing so — but on the down side, you will have to factor in a little bit of time to configure your chosen payment gateway. 

Product limits

Shopify is considerably more generous than Ecwid when it comes to the number of products you can host in your store: you can host an unlimited number, regardless of the plan you’re on.

With Ecwid, you are limited to 10 products on the free plan; 100 on its $15 per month ‘Venture’ plan; and 2500 on its $35 per month ‘Business’ plan. Only the $99 ‘Unlimited’ plan, as its name suggests, lets you upload an unrestricted number of products. 

Product options

With Shopify, you are limited to just three product options per product.

For example, if you were selling a birthday card on Shopify, you could allow users to choose card size, card colour and envelope type — but if you wanted to allow them to choose envelope colour as well, you wouldn’t be able to. 

Adding product options in Shopify

Now, there are workarounds available — you can buy a Shopify app that removes the limitations; combine two options into one; create separate products; or do some coding to add more options…but it would be better if the built-in limits weren’t so restrictive in the first place.

Ecwid, by contrast, is much more straightforward in this regard and doesn’t limit product options at all.

Another issue with Shopify’s product options is that allowing your customers to provide bespoke information for items — for example, some text for an engraving — is not possible without either adding some code to a product template, or investing in an app.

Again, Ecwid works better here — as long as you’re on a paid-for plan, you can just add a simple text box or file upload button to your products to capture any additional information that you might need to fulfil an order.

For many users, Shopify’s three 3 options and its limitations around data capture won’t really pose problems, but for users who do have requirements in this area, and want to create a standalone hosted e-commerce site, I’d suggest taking a look at BigCommerce, which is more flexible in this regard.

So when it comes to flexibility around product options, it’s a clear win for Ecwid.

Product categories

Most online stores are likely to make use of different product collections / categories — for example, in a car parts store you might expect to find collections containing tyres, exhaust pipes, batteries, headlights and so on.

Setting up collections in Shopify and Ecwid is straightforward enough, but Shopify’s approach is, in my view, better, because not only can you add products manually to collections, you can create ones which are automatically populated with products based on on conditions you supply. 

In other words, you can create ‘smart categories’ with Shopify (the company refers to these as ‘automated collections’).

This involves using various criteria to populate a collection —for example, product title, tags, price or weight. So, using our car parts store example again, to populate an ‘exhausts’ collection, you could just tell Shopify to automatically add any product with the word ‘exhaust’ in its title to it.

This is particularly useful functionality to have handy if your store contains a very large number of products, but you will have to remember to use consistent naming conventions for your product titles to make it work.

Although Ecwid does let you use filters to help speed up category assignment, it doesn’t yet provide similar ‘smart collection’ functionality, so Shopify definitely has an edge here.

Selling digital goods

Both Ecwid and Shopify allow you to sell either physical or digital goods (e-books, music, video and so on).

In the case of Shopify, you can do this on any plan, but it involves installing a free ‘Digital Downloads’ app. Although this is not particularly complicated, it would be better — as is the case with Ecwid — if you could just sell digital goods out of the box.

Ecwid is also more generous when it comes to the limit it places on file sizes — you can sell files up to 25GB in size, while Shopify’s equivalent limit is 5GB. You can use third-party apps in conjunction with your Shopify store to increase this — but you’ll usually need to pay extra for the privilege.

So if you’re dealing with large files, a bit of a win for Ecwid here.

Point of sale (POS)

Point of sale, or POS, lets you use your online store solution to sell in physical locations like markets, pop-up shops or even retail outlets. Both Shopify and Ecwid come with quite a few POS features, but they work in different ways.

With Ecwid, you use third-party services to gain POS functionality — Square, Clover, Vend or Paypal. The sort of point of sale hardware you can use (card readers, barcode scanners and so on) varies by provider and according to which country you’re based in. But if you already use one of those services to take payments, you may find Ecwid a very nice fit indeed.

Ecwid card reader for POS.
Ecwid card reader for POS.

With Shopify, POS is ‘baked in’ and is thus arguably a bit easier and cheaper to set up. If you live in the US, Canada, the UK or Ireland, you can order any POS hardware online directly from Shopify; if you live outside these countries you’ll need to find an authorized reseller.

The standard Shopify POS features are reasonably good and will cater adequately for most merchants, but it’s worth noting that Shopify recently reconfigured their POS offering so that in order to unlock all its potential, you have to pay for a $89 per month ‘Shopify POS Pro’ add-on. Doing so allows you to:

  • work with an unlimited number of POS staff
  • facilitate ‘buy online, collect in store’
  • facilitate exchanges
  • provide custom printed receipts
  • define staff roles and permissions
  • attribute sales to individual staff members.
Shopify's point-of-sale (POS) hardware.
Shopify’s point-of-sale (POS) hardware.

Abandoned cart saving

Something worth paying particular attention to when it comes to e-commerce platform selection is abandoned cart recovery functionality.

This allows you to automatically email store visitors who added something to their cart but didn’t complete their purchase. (Typically, you’d include a discount code in this email to encourage recipients to go ahead with the purchase).

Abandoned cart recovery emails typically have a success rate of around 15% to 28% — so this functionality is very important.

Both Shopify and Ecwid allow you to send abandoned cart recovery emails easily, but Shopify arguably has a slight edge here, simply because it provides the feature at a lower price point — as with POS, this feature is included on all Shopify plans, even the $9 ‘Lite’ plan.

Ecwid users have to be on a $35+ plan or higher to avail of it (but if you’re interested in Ecwid, and anticipate a reasonable amount of traffic to your site, it’s probably worth the investment).

Dropshipping in Ecwid vs Shopify

Many users are drawn to solutions like Ecwid and Shopify because they want to start a dropshipping business.

Dropshipping is a way of selling goods without stocking anything — you take an order, send it to a supplier, and they fulfil the order. 

The advantage of this selling model is that you don’t have to invest in lots of stock to set up your online business — rather, your money can go straight into marketing your business.

The disadvantage is that dropshipping is very competitive — there are lots of people at this game — and it can be hard to find suppliers of goods that are produced ethically (as many of them are made in the Far East, where working conditions can be very poor).

Neither Shopify nor Ecwid facilitate dropshipping ‘out of the box’ but the good news is that it’s still really easy to dropship with both platforms — you just need to add an app to your store.

Dropshipping apps in the Shopify app store.
Dropshipping apps in the Shopify app store.

Dropshipping in Shopify is simply a case of adding an app like Oberlo to your store (there are many others available), picking some goods you’d like to sell, and putting your site live.

Similarly, you can also dropship with Ecwid using apps such as Wholesale2B. 

It’s probably fair to say though — that thanks to its significantly better stocked app-store (more on which later), there are more dropshipping options available to Shopify merchants.

Multi-currency selling

You generally get more online sales if you sell in the currency used by your store visitors. 

So, if you’re selling your products in a lot of different countries, it’s a good idea to let your potential customers choose their own currency.

To a degree, Shopify lets you do this out of the box: its free ‘Debut’ and ‘Brooklyn’ themes comes with a currency selector built in. (If you’re using another Shopify theme, you’ll have to add some code to your site to enable the selector.)

What’s more useful than a currency selector however is automatic currency conversion, where IP addresses are used to work out visitor locations and present prices in the relevant currency.

This is only available in Shopify if you’re on a Shopify Plus plan (which will set you back at least $2000 per month) or using a third-party app — the Bold Multi-Currency app is a good choice (and thankfully, it’s free).

Shopify’s currency selector.
Shopify’s currency selector.

Alternatively, you can make use of a free ‘geolocation’ app for Shopify which, based on IP address, prompts users to manually change their currency choice. Better than nothing, but still not as good as automatic currency conversion.

Selling multiple currencies using Ecwid also involves using an app — the appropriately named ‘Currency Converter’ app, which costs $4.49 per month.

The Currency Converter app makes it very easy to display prices in local currencies automatically — my only gripe with it is that the original currency gets displayed again, along with the local one, at the final stage of the purchase, which may put some buyers off. But overall it’s fine.

The bottom line on multi-currency selling with Shopify and Ecwid is that it’s doable with both platforms — but it would be better, as is the case with competitor BigCommerce, if it was a fully-fledged core feature that didn’t require the installation of third-party apps.

Tax rules

Ecwid and Shopify are both ahead of the pack when it comes to tax rules — you can set both platforms up so that they detect your store visitors’ locations automatically and apply the relevant tax rate at checkout. 

Helpfully this applies not just to physical products but digital ones too — both solutions cater adequately for the EU’s VAT MOSS requirements, something that can’t be said for all other competing platforms.

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Shipping

Both Shopify and Ecwid give you a comprehensive set of shipping options — you can opt to add flat rates, free shipping, rates based on weight, in-person pickup etc.

When it comes to providing real-time rates from carriers to your customers, however, there are some differences to be aware of.

Ecwid has a built-in integration with the following carrier companies to automatically show their shipping rates for customers’ orders at checkout:

  • UPS (US)

  • USPS (US)

  • FedEx (US)

  • Canada Post (Canada)

  • Royal Mail (UK)

  • Brasil Correios (Brazil)

  • MDS Collivery (South Africa)

  • Australia Post (Australia)

  • EMS Russian Post (Russia)

Shopify offers less options on this front, providing real-time shipping rates for fewer carriers (in fewer countries):

  • USPS (US)

  • UPS (US, not available in Puerto Rico)

  • DHL Express (US)

  • Canada Post (Canada)

  • Sendle (Australia)

And, if you want to use provide quotes from a different shipping carrier with Shopify, you’ll have to be prepared to pay quite a lot for it: this functionality is only available on its $299 ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan or higher.

However, if you do live in one of the countries that Shopify caters for built-in real-time carrier quotes, you can avail of quite significant discounts in shipping costs (depending on plan). These can go as high as 90% in some cases.

These discounts mean that depending on your country of operation, there may be an advantage using Shopify over Ecwid when it comes to real-time shipping quotes.

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Embedding products on other sites with Ecwid and Shopify

As discussed above, Ecwid is, first and foremost, a tool for adding e-commerce features to an existing website; by contrast, Shopify is more geared towards building brand new, fully-fledged e-commerce websites. 

But with the introduction of Shopify’s “Buy Buttons,” technically you can use Shopify to add a shopping cart to an existing website too (and its ‘Lite’ plan is provided with this in mind).

The Shopify 'Buy Button.'
The Shopify ‘Buy Button.’

The difference between using a Shopify Buy Button and integrating Ecwid on your site is that with Ecwid, you get all the functionality of an online store — your site visitors can make use of product search, multi-currency selling, category filtering, product sorting and other key e-commerce features. And everything happens on your site, including checkout, which makes for a smooth buying process.

Shopify ‘Buy Buttons’ — although useful and easy to set up — only really let you display individual products or collections, and when your customers check out, they’re taken to a separate Shopify web page. 

For me, the main argument for using Shopify Buy Buttons is that from just $9 per month, you get not just product embedding functionality, but abandoned cart saving and POS functionality too — these are features that you have to pay more for in Ecwid. However, they don’t facilitate multi-currency selling, which could be a big drawback for any merchants wishing to sell internationally.

So as things stand, I feel Ecwid is a considerably more powerful tool for adding e-commerce to an existing site. 


Creating standalone e-commerce stores in Shopify and Ecwid

While Ecwid is a better option for adding online selling features to an existing website, there’s no question that Shopify is the better option for users who want to build a brand new, fully-featured, standalone online store.

Its extensive range of templates, CMS, blogging features and extensive app store all allow you to create not just a store but a professional, multi-page website.

Whilst Ecwid does now boast a feature — ‘Instant Site’ — which lets you build a standalone store, it’s pretty basic, allowing you to create a one-page site featuring your products alongside information about your business. The aesthetics are good, and the results can be pretty impressive, but ultimately it’s not a substitute for a proper website.

Example of an Ecwid ‘Instant SIte
Example of an Ecwid ‘Instant Site

The main advantage of the ‘Instant Site’ feature is that it allows you to put something together and sell products really quickly; and it is a great option for anyone needing a holding site or landing page whilst a more comprehensive website is being constructed. 

But ultimately it’s not going to compete with Shopify when it comes to functionality — not least because you can’t host a blog on it (blogging being a key way to drive traffic to your site, and by extension, generating sales).

Shopify themes.
Shopify themes.

So, if your main aim is to build a standalone online store, Shopify is definitely the better product to go for.

Have you seen our Shopify video review?

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Integrations and apps

If you’d like to beef up the functionality of a Shopify or Ecwid site, or integrate another tool with either platform, you can make use of their respective app stores.

These contain a selection of apps that add particular pieces of functionality (dropshipping, reporting, popups etc.) along with integrations with other key business apps and services. A mixture of paid-for and free apps is available.

In the case of Ecwid however, you’re dealing with quite a limited selection of apps — you’re looking at a couple of hundred apps, which are dwarfed by the 4000+ available for Shopify. 

This means that although integrations for some pretty important apps like Xero, Freshbooks and Printful exist for Ecwid, you’ll generally find it easier to integrate Shopify with a wider range of well-known apps.

That said, Ecwid integrates with Zapier, a popular ‘syncing app’ that allows you to create your own integrations between Ecwid and a host of well-known applications. The only issue with this is that Zapier brings a set of additional fees to proceedings, plus you’ll need to spend a bit of time configuring it to work with Ecwid and whatever app you want to connect.

So overall, a win here for Shopify — its app store is better stocked and brings a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to integrating other tools with your online store.

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SEO features

Search engine optimisation in Shopify is generally very strong: it’s easy to tweak all the major SEO components — headers, page titles, URLs, meta data and so on (if you’re new to SEO, you might want to check out our introduction to the topic here).

Although Ecwid performs reasonably well on all these fronts too (so long as you’re on a paid plan), it’s worth singling out two areas where Shopify outperforms Ecwid in SEO terms: URL creation and AMP format. 

In terms of URL creation, you can create ‘cleaner’ URLs with Shopify. Although they are not quite as short as search engines like (being prefixed by identifiers such as ‘posts’ and ‘products’), it’s easy to ensure that Shopify URLs are relatively simple in nature and contain your product keywords — something that is recommended by Google and other search engines.

In Ecwid, by contrast, you are stuck with whatever is generated by the system for you. Now, if you ensure that your product title is SEO-friendly, it will be included in your Ecwid URL, which is something — but the Shopify approach is unquestionably more flexible and better from an SEO point of view.

Another edge that Shopify has over Ecwid involves something called AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages format. Pages in this format basically load faster on smartphones, leading to an improved mobile experience for users, and potentially some SEO benefits (search engines are believed to reward faster-loading pages over sluggish ones by ranking them slightly higher in search).

With the addition of a third-party app in Shopify, it’s possible to display all your site content in AMP format — this is not possible with Ecwid.


GDPR

Please note: I am not a lawyer, so the below observations should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Since May 2018, business and website owners have a lot of additional legal responsibilities as a result of the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules.

There are many legal steps that the GDPR requires business owners to take to ensure compliance, and fairly serious penalties for not doing so (to the point where it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer about precisely what to do), but the key ones for prospective Shopify and Ecwid users are probably as follows:

  • Display adequate privacy and cookie notices on your website

  • Process and store data securely

  • Get explicit consent from people signing up to mailing lists that it is okay to send them e-newsletters

  • Provide a means to opt in or revoke consent to use of non-essential cookies on a website (and to log that consent).

Now, meeting the first three requirements with either Ecwid or Shopify is fairly straightforward (although you will have a bit of legwork to do in terms of creating GDPR compliant privacy policies and data capture forms).

Meeting the fourth requirement is harder, however.  Whenever you use non-essential third party cookies on a website — for example a Facebook Ads pixel or a Google Analytics tag — you are legally obliged to give EU visitors to your website the option to switch these off before they continue to browse your store (even if your site is based outside the EU). 

You are also obliged to log EU users’ consent to any non-essential cookies being used, and give them the option to revoke that consent at a later stage. Cookie banners are usually used to facilitate this, but the old ‘By using this site you are consenting to cookie usage…’ statement on a banner is not good enough any more — you need something more sophisticated.

Out of the box there is no way to facilitate this kind of GDPR cookie consent for third party scripts on Shopify, meaning that many (if not the vast majority of) users end up breaking the law as soon as they add a third-party cookie to their website. 

The good news is that there quite a few apps in Shopify’s app store which provide GDPR-compliant banners and cookie consent functionality (note that some seem considerably better than others — if in doubt about how robust a particular Shopify GPDR app is, consult a lawyer!). 

Alternatively, with a bit of configuration, products like CookiePro or Cookiebot can be used to capture cookie consent for Shopify sites.

When it comes to Ecwid, the good news is that there’s a built-in cookie consent feature, which allows you to display a cookie notification message and allow users to either accept or decline use of cookies (these include Facebook cookies, Google cookies, Pinterest cookies and Snapchat cookies). Ecwid also provides a way for your site visitors to revoke consent at a later stage.

So, although you can definitely make a Shopify site GDPR compliant, I’d give Ecwid the win here for making coookie consent features a built-in feature.


Interface and ease of use

Ecwid and Shopify have pretty similar content management systems: you use a main menu on the left which you use to access all the main features. Any product uploading or management is done on the right hand side of the interface.

One area where Ecwid’s CMS outperforms Shopify’s involves image management — in Shopify, you have to ensure that all your products share the aspect same ratio before uploading (not doing this makes for a very messy looking store). This can mean a lot of photo editing in Photoshop before you can upload all your products.

Ecwid simply allows you to apply an image ratio globally to all your product pictures — a huge time saver.

Additionally, both platforms provide you with a mobile app (for both iOS and Android) which allows you to perform key tasks on the go — view orders, manage inventory etc. (The mobile apps are available in more languages in Shopify, however).

Overall, I’d say that both platforms are easy to use and anyone with modest experience of computing shouldn’t expect too much of a learning curve from either.


Reporting

Reporting is a bit of a strange one in Ecwid — you need to install a third-party app to obtain basic statistics about your store traffic and sales. Several are available, but not all of these are free. 

The stats available to you in Shopify are available ‘out of the box’ — you just go to the ‘Analytics’ section of your Shopify control panel to view them. However, unless you are on a $79+ Shopify plan, you don’t get access to full reports — just a basic dashboard.

The other option with both Ecwid and Shopify is to use Google Analytics to track traffic, behaviour and sales — but you will need to spend a bit of time configuring this (and it helps to be familiar with the platform).

Ultimately both Ecwid and Shopify could do a bit better in the analytics department. 

(For the record, neither app is as good as BigCommerce when it comes to offering a comprehensive reporting option out of the box / at a low price point. See our BigCommerce review for more details).


Customer support

Both Shopify and Ecwid offer email and live chat customer support on their entry-level plans; moving up to their mid range plans (the $29 ‘Basic’ Shopify plan or the $35 Ecwid ‘Business’ plan) gives you phone support too. 

It’s important to note that if you want to use the Ecwid free plan, no support is provided at all.

It’s good to see phone support included on Shopify and Ecwid plans; not all competing online store building tools provide it (notably Squarespace).


Ecwid vs Shopify: conclusion

If you’re starting your store entirely from scratch, and online selling is the main focus of your project, then it’s hard to argue against Shopify — an established solution that will let you build a fully-specced, elegant standalone online store. Although Ecwid, thanks to its ‘Instant Site’ feature, does now provide you with a way to build a standalone site too, the functionality provided by it is nowhere near as comprehensive as what you’ll get from Shopify.

However, if you already have a website, or are particularly wedded to using a particular platform (for example WordPress or Squarespace), then Ecwid is the more obvious choice here. It allows you to add full selling capabilities to an existing online presence with a minimum of fuss, and provides you with all the tools you need to turn any website into an online store. 

Shopify ‘Buy Buttons,’ whilst allowing you to do some simple selling on existing websites, don’t really provide the full online store experience or features that Ecwid can bring to a website that’s already live.

I’ll sum up with a few more reasons why you might pick one of these tools over the other.

Reasons to choose Ecwid over Shopify

  • A totally free plan is available which is well-featured, and may meet the needs of anyone who just wants to sell a couple of products on their website.

  • It allows you to turn any website into a fully-featured online store — Shopify’s Buy Buttons, whilst useful, don’t bring as much functionality to the table.

  • There are no charges for using a third-party payment gateway (Shopify applies a transaction fee if you don’t use its built-in payment gateway).

  • There are no limits on product options (Shopify only facilitates 3 out of the box).

  • Ecwid makes capturing bespoke information easier (text for engravings, files for images etc.)

    .
  • Selling digital files is easier with Ecwid, and the file size limit is more generous (25GB to Shopify’s 5GB).

  • Product image management is easier in Ecwid.

  • Thanks to more integrations with more carriers (in more countries), there are more options available when it comes to real-time carrier shipping quotes.

  • You can create GDPR-compliant cookie banners out of the box with Ecwid.

Reasons to choose Shopify over Ecwid

  • You can create a fully-fledged, standalone online store with it.

  • You can host an unlimited number of products on any plan.

  • A wider selection of payment gateways is available for Shopify, including a built-in one.

  • Point-of-sale is more tightly integrated with Shopify than with Ecwid — you don’t need to integrate a third-party platform to gain POS features.

  • Abandoned cart saving functionality is available on all plans (with Ecwid, you have to be on a $35+ plan to avail of it).

  • There are more dropshipping options available for Shopify than Ecwid.

  • Multi-currency selling options are more comprehensive.

  • There are considerably more apps and integrations available for Shopify than Ecwid.

  • So long as you’re based in the right country, and happy to use a certain carrier, you can avail of some very significant reductions in shipping costs with Shopify.

  • The SEO features in Shopify are a bit stronger.


Now…over to you!

Got any questions about Ecwid or Shopify? Just leave your query in the comments section below. We’ll do our very best to help!


Alternatives to Ecwid and Shopify

If you’re looking for a hosted solution for your online store, we’d recommend BigCommerce as a really good alternative to Shopify. You can read our BigCommerce review here, or check out our e-commerce platform reviews section for more online store reviews and comparisons.

Other hosted solutions for e-commerce include Squarespace, Wix and Jimdo. See our Squarespace review, Wix review and Jimdo review respectively for more information on these products.

(Our WordPress vs Wix, Wix vs Squarespace and Wix vs Shopify comparison reviews might also be of interest).

If you are running a WordPress site and want a store that ‘slots into’ your site in a similar fashion to Ecwid, then WooCommerce is definitely worth a look too.


Related content

For more information about Shopify and Ecwid, check out:


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Comments (14)

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Thank you, this is super helpful. I’m wondering if you’re familiar with using Clover POS with either Shopify or Ecwid. My client needs a new website with a few pages in addition to an online store of around 400 products. We want to be able to migrate the inventory from Clover to the online store, BUT still have some ability to control the design. Do recommend on over the other? And, for Shopify do you know the best way to integrate with Clover?

Hi Nancy, many thanks for the kind words!

There is an official integration for Clover with Ecwid – details here:

https://support.ecwid.com/hc/en-us/articles/207102159-Ecwid-for-Clover-POS

Shopify POS is more of an ‘out of the box’ affair, so there’s less of an emphasis on integrations with other POS systems. That said, they do exist — I found one syncing tool which might help here:

https://www.skuiq.com/shopify-clover-integration/

With regard to store design, your options are more extensive really with Shopify than Ecwid, because Shopify is a template driven system and there are lots available for it. Ecwid is more about slotting into a website that’s already been built and making use of that site’s existing design.

This was a really informative blog post – thank you! Would love to see something comparing ecwid and plugnpaid 🙂

ECWID is already having AMP pages, Check out this https://www.ecwid.com/blog/dont-panic-its-dynamic-how-amp-emails-are-changing-e-commerce.html
I hope I am correct?

Hi there, Ecwid provides AMP for email functionality, which is useful but different. It allows you to send ‘dynamic’ notification emails which automatically update themselves based on an external data source.

They also let you display dynamic content within an email. For example, with Ecwid’s dynamic abandoned cart emails, customers can click through the product carousel, zoom product images, and open product descriptions right without leaving their email program or visiting a website.

Shopify integrates with more payment gateways, but since they’re after the processing revenues as well, Shopify charges an extra percentage on top of the processing fees charged via the merchant account for the gateway. It’s a feature that’s not really a benefit, since Shopify basically prices you to where you’d have to use their processing.

I am a geek so I tend to focus on the technical features. One thing that the review has not touched on is the quality of the APIs. Every marketplace has an API that allows you to automate your drop-shipping. So, for example, automatically adding new products, updating stock levels, pricing, etc. APIs also allow you to synchronize orders back to a drop-shipper.

The more complex the API, the more difficult it is to integrate. Shopify is very clean and well documented. There are a lot of generic plugins and other apps that are built on it. But one thing I found is that it is very bad at batch updates. Let’s say you have 10,000 products to update. With Shopify you have to update them one at a time. To compound that they impose a 2 request/s limit. So it will take almost two hours to complete. BigCommerce has a better way to do this but then you have other tradeoffs.

I talk about drop-shipping automation on my YouTube channel if you want to learn more (warning, lots of geeky stuff 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYyNQkBavu0x19SWIyl8uSA

Who wants to buy apps if you’re already paying for Shopify? Also, you missed the fact that with Ecwid you can also list on eBay, Google Shopping, Shopzilla etc under the $35 monthly business plan which we got for $20 a month prepaid as a special offer, total no brainer and it seamlessly connected to our site as well as eBay and is so simple to use and looks super professional. Shopify is great for the person who needs to get a tee shirt shop (or the like) up there from scratch but we have a pro site established with traffic so Ecwid rocks!

By mnmca, May 26, 2016 for WP 4.5.2
I pay for an ECWID shopping basket and it works well but for the second time my traffic has gone to NIL. Nobody from their team can figure it out. I was told to use wordpress (I run that on mnm.ca/m) and with their plugin the seo is supposed to be automatic. It works great until one day nothing. For the second time all google listings disappear and nothing but error pages show up on the google console. So if you rely on a search engine to get traffic to your site I would advise you to stay away from an ajax shopping basket. The seo is just a nightmare, google still does not properly crawl ajax and relying on the ecwid plugin can cost you big time in losses.

I’m using Ecwid for one year already. I started with the free plan which I believe is among the only e-stores of the internet to offer so much features for free, even if that’s 10 products max. Since I had already a website built in html, I just had to copy paste the code and voila. You can’t imagine what a relief it is to have so simple setup for payment gateways (paypal, stripe even local ones here in europe), to add the products and also have really nice email notifications and so.

Few days ago I switched to the payed plan for 15/month just to have the coupon codes but otherwise is more than enough even with the 10 products, specially for startups who launch 1-2 products, because you have a ready to go shop with 0 expences if you already have the website. Now tell me where do you get that with Shopify or WooCommerce, where only the Paypal and Stripe plugins are costing you few hundred dollars, not to mention extra languages, customisation… pain in the ass believe me. And when you move your store or renew your website to a wordpress for example, you don’t have to worry about losing databases, re-uploading products and all that crap. Again, just copy paste the block of code and you have the store. I can imagine for big shops with hundreds or thousands of products might be a better investment Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce, but for beginners I can’t recommend something better and cheaper than this.
The downside might be that you have to change a bit the css for having customised the buttons, colors and so on, but there’s already some apps that can simply change that visually and you just copy the theme code in the shop administration page.

I believe they will improve a lot, as during one year since I use it they’ve modernised the interface, the invoicing system, email notifications, taxes managing even in Europe for the VAT changes they had lately, multi-language , integration with MailChimp… and many more.
If they would handle more shipping providers here in Europe would be great like DPD which is cheap and reliable but can imagine is a lot of logistical work and takes time.

And somebody here was complaining about support, I can’t really argue about that, but so far I haven’t had issues. Even on the forum they were answering to all questions.

I believe in few years they’ll be among the big players in this market due to the flexibility of the store concept and price.

Ecwid -I have tried it and it is the WORST! Horrible customer service, bad features and BS..I would not even want their service #ecwidworst #ecwiddonotbother