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Ecwid Offers Quality Themes, but They Don’t Compare to Shopify’sEcwid offers 70+ well-designed but simple themes (or “templates”) that are divided into 12 categories. Each one basically follows the same design philosophy (a big hero image and a snappy header), but they’re varied enough to make them feel unique. This is a good thing, as Ecwid doesn’t actually offer that many options to customize its themes (more on this in the Features section). Shopify, on the other hand, offers 80+ premium themes, plus a handful of free ones. To be honest, if I were only reviewing the free themes, Shopify would struggle to surpass Ecwid, at least in terms of design quality. It’s also the case with either platform that if you decide to switch themes, most of your customizations will get lost, so I don’t recommend changing themes halfway through. Despite the similarities, there are two important differences that give Shopify the overwhelming victory in this category. First of all, Shopify’s templates are a lot more customizable. If you wanted, you could design a site that looks nothing like your starting theme. But perhaps more importantly, Shopify’s paid templates are far better designed than any of Ecwid’s. This quality doesn’t come cheap, though. The best Shopify premium themes cost over $300. Still, considering their key role in establishing your business’s visual identity, they’re well worth the investment. There are also hundreds of third-party Shopify templates available that might be both cheaper and better suited for your needs. Shopify’s templates are mobile-responsive, and you’ll be able to edit your template’s mobile view separately without affecting your layout. Ecwid’s templates are also mobile-friendly, but they tend not to translate to mobile screens quite as well.
Features and Ease of Use
Ecwid Is a Little Easier To Use, but Shopify’s Features Are UnrivaledEcwid’s editor is great if you don’t have any website building experience and you’re looking to get online fast, but your site won’t be very original. After you choose your theme, the editor will show a list of eight site sections: Headline & Cover Image, Store, Company’s Mission, Customer Testimonials, About, Location, and Contact Information. If you click on any of these sections, you’ll be able to choose from a list of pre-made layouts, and change most of the default colors, typography, and images. Shopify is almost the polar opposite – thanks to its versatile block editor, you can customize any Shopify theme to fit your vision. The editor itself is surprisingly easy to use, and it gives you a lot more control over the minute details, so you might spend a little more time getting everything just right. Of course, design features won’t be your only priority when comparing these online store builders, so how do their e-commerce features stack up? Ecwid’s free plan lets you start with 10 products. For unlimited products, you must sign up for Ecwid’s aptly named Unlimited plan, which also gives you simultaneous selling on multiple sites, invoicing tools, custom checkout fields for your customers (such as messages or special instructions), subscription features, and more. That said, every one of Ecwid’s Business Plan features is available on Shopify’s Basic Plan. Not only that, but Shopify’s low-tier plan also comes with a ton of additional features like staff accounts, automated processes, fraud analysis tools, international domains, and much more. There are three important area where Ecwid offers built-in features that Shopify doesn’t: advanced invoicing tools, custom fields, and digital product selling. This would be a way bigger deal, however, if it weren’t for the fact that Shopify offers apps that can do those exact things for free – so the only real difference is spending a little more time on its app store.
Both Platforms Offer Powerful Apps, but Shopify Has MoreShopify and Ecwid both have extensive app markets. With either one, you’ll get a large selection of free and paid apps of varying quality. These apps can be used to expand your site’s functionality or connect you to third-party software. If you want to install an app, all you have to do is head to the relevant app market, choose an app you like, and click on “Install app.” You can rate an app out of five stars and read other customers’ reviews, though it’s worth mentioning that due to Ecwid’s smaller user base, Shopify offers a broader sample size. So far so similar, but there’s one notable difference that earns Shopify the win in this section: while Ecwid’s app market contains hundreds of options, Shopify offers close to 8,000 apps.
Ecwid’s Marketing Tools Are More IntuitiveMarketing features are another area where Shopify and Ecwid are pretty similar. Both platforms offer a marketing dashboard where you can create social media or email marketing campaigns. If you’re a fan of the latter, you need to consider that Shopify’s email marketing is much cheaper – you can send up to one thousand free emails a month, and you’ll only pay $1 for each additional thousand. Ecwid, on the other hand, doesn’t have any restrictions, but it only offers email marketing on the Business plan and up. The disparity in the number of apps each platform makes available also means there are bound to be some marketing integrations Shopify has that Ecwid doesn’t. That being said, unless you have something hyper-specific in mind, Ecwid’s marketing apps collectively offer more than enough functionality for most businesses, and they’re also way easier to use. This makes creating and executing a successful marketing campaign an achievable goal for every business, even if you have little to no prior experience.
SEO Isn’t either Platform’s Strong Suit, but Shopify Offers More ToolsI have to be honest, I was a little disappointed when it came to these platforms’ SEO capabilities. Both Shopify and Ecwid offer basic built-in SEO tools (meta descriptions, URL editing, etc.). Besides that, they offer e-commerce-specific tools like tag editing for products and collections. These tools aren’t bad. In fact, a knowledgeable SEO specialist can do wonders with just these tools. But they’re also pretty standard these days, so nothing really stands out. That being said, Shopify’s app marketplace is brimming with more advanced SEO tools, and it provides helpful resources and guides to improve your store’s search engine ranking. Just for that, Shopify takes the SEO crown.
Shopify Can Be More Expensive, but It Offers Better ValueRight out of the gate, Ecwid has a huge advantage over Shopify: it offers a free plan, while Shopify only offers a 14-day free trial on its paid plans. You can theoretically build and run a completely functional online store with Ecwid’s free plan, so long as you aren’t too ambitious. Although Ecwid’s free plan is a great way for small businesses to get started with e-commerce, I wouldn’t actually recommend it if you’re trying to start a serious business. Ecwid’s free plan gives you access to its full suite of social media marketing tools and a basic online store with a maximum of 10 products. On the flip side, you can’t edit your site’s SEO – or even link a custom domain to your site. Both Shopify and Ecwid offer three paid plans. With Shopify, that’s Basic ( ), Shopify ( ), and Advanced ( ), whereas with Ecwid, it’s Venture ($15), Business ($35), and Unlimited ($99). If you only look at the equivalent pricing tiers, Shopify definitely seems the more costly option, but that’s offset by the fact that even Shopify’s Basic plan includes almost every feature that Ecwid’s Unlimited plan does. What’s more, Shopify offers 50% off every annual plan, whereas Ecwid only provides a 17% discount. With Shopify’s fully functional 14-day free trial, you’ll be able to design your store, add products, and connect apps – which is more than enough to take Shopify for a spin and decide if it’s the best option for you. And while Shopify might be more expensive than Ecwid, it offers far more value for your money on every tier. Still not sure? See how Shopify’s Basic compares with Ecwid’s Venture plan in the table below.
|Number of products||Unlimited||100|
|Social media marketing||With Apps||✔|
|Abandoned cart recovery||✔||✘|
Ecwid Offers More Support Channels for Premium PlansBoth Ecwid and Shopify offer ticket support 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday. In addition to this, each platform comes with a comprehensive, easy-to-understand knowledge base. In order to gauge the quality of support, I sent a ticket with the following questions to both platforms:
- I want to build a simple website with an online store to sell 3 products. Which plan should I choose?
- Also, if I want to switch to WordPress in the future, will I be able to export my site content?