Ecwid stands for e-commerce widget. You aren’t going to find a simpler way to add selling to your existing website. Just paste a little bit of code into your website and you have a professional looking store that already perfectly matches your existing website with no additional work, HTML or code expertise needed. The real beauty of this powerful widget is that it works with all hosting, including free options like Tumblr and Blogger and is very flexible.
For a live example, check out Cliff Aliperti‘s Ecwid powered store:
- Here’s the main page of the store: http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/store/
- Here’s a hub type page where he’s gathered all the items related to one star in particular in one location: http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/hub-pages/joan-bennett-information/
- Here’s a example a one of his Photo ID guide style pages: http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/movie-cards-collectibles-index/1935-1939/1935-gallaher-signed-portraits-tobacco-cards/
Notice how it allows him to embed product galleries, specific categories, search results and individual products seamlessly into blog posts and pages on his blog. When you first sign up for the free Ecwid account they set you up with a variety of test products so the simplest way to see how this would work with your site is preview and play with these test items on your live site.
On the customer end, the resulting store from Ecwid is beautiful and easy to use. There is really no other tool out there that so easily integrates into existing websites. But while I really want to be able to recommend this as the ultimate option, it has a few flaws to offset its otherwise great features.
- Very easy install. Copy and paste a few lines of code into your existing website and you’ve added a store without having to redesign anything. If you have multiple websites it’s simple to add your store to each of them without much fuss. All listings and sales management is done on the Ecwid website and then automatically updates to your site or sites.
- Looks great without any need for customization. Once you paste in the code, you’ll have a slick looking store perfectly integrated with the website you’ve already got. No need to customize a template or otherwise play with CSS to make it match your brand or website. If you’ve spent any time fighting to make a storefront look like your existing website before, you’ll love how straightforward this is. (Of course, the option to style with CSS is also available if you prefer.)
- Calculated shipping based on live carrier rates. The good news is that Ecwid offers calculated shipping based on the live rates of just about every carrier. This allows you to list items by weight without having to figure out shipping costs in advance and automatically offer combined shipping discounts. This feature is clunky, however, and works best when selling only items of the same type. If you sell a wide variety of products, these shipping options have so little flexibility you’ll be forced to use flat rate. Shipping profiles would go a long way to improve this feature.
- Flexible both in display and portability. As I mentioned above, it’s easy to use Ecwid to feature individual items, galleries and specific category listings in blog posts, on custom pages or even on different blogs and websites. This feature gives you an unparalleled option for integrating your products and store into the rest of your website.
- An excellent option for the sale of digital goods. Upload your digital files and Ecwid will even handle digital delivery upon sale. If you are looking for a solution for selling music, services, advertising, ebooks or other downloadables on your site, this may be the very best option out there. But you’ll need to upgrade to their paid account for encrypted download links as the free account doesn’t offer encryption.
- Automatically creates both mobile and Facebook versions of your store. Having a mobile friendly version of your site is important in this smartphone world and not having to do anything extra or fancy to get it is even better.
- Free account is very limited. You’ll need to upgrade to Ecwid’s paid service to get access to features like coupon codes or the ability to list more than 100 products.
- Designed more for the seller who only sells one type of thing or very similar items. This may not be a disadvantage if you always sell the same sort of things. For instance, if you are always selling books or collectibles of a similar size and weight, this could be the perfect solution for you. If, however, you sell a wide variety of items, you’ll quickly run into issues. Most settings are global with no ability to change for specific items forcing sellers with a more diverse catalog into more creative workarounds.
- Their paid option is the same as most web store options for less features. Ecwid’s paid option is the same monthly cost as many of the full fledged web store e-commerce solutions out there. For me, not having the ability to create coupon codes with the free account was a dealbreaker but I couldn’t justify their monthly paid service. It seems especially steep when you consider that their price is comparable to Vendio‘s paid service but you aren’t getting the eBay and Amazon integration. Taken at face value, their paid service provides significantly less for the same price as some of the full featured e-commerce giants. If your business is suited to their basic free account, Ecwid is a fantastic option. But if you have more complicated selling needs or need additional features, you’ll need to ask yourself if Ecwid’s ease of integration is worth paying as much for Ecwid as for a full featured web store.
Have you used Ecwid on your site? What do you like about it? What could they improve?
Looking for more places to sell your stuff? The following post is an adapted excerpt from the ebook Beyond Amazon, eBay, and Etsy: free and low cost alternative marketplaces, shopping cart solutions and e-commerce storefronts.