Weebly eCommerce Review
Weebly eCommerce is pretty comprehensive when it comes to drag & drop website builders.
They’ve been improving every year and we think they’ve reached a point where they can truly help you build a robust ecommerce online store. In our review, we’ll dig deep into the details of what they offer you.
Review by Jeremy Wong
Last Updated on August 21, 2017
The Weebly eCommerce tools are one of the better ones offered by drag and drop website builders in the market today.
Not only are there plenty of options available, in our view, Weebly is also one of the easiest website builders for you to quickly and efficiently build a website without climbing a steep learning curve (see our full Weebly review here).
In this Weebly eCommerce review, we’ll go into some of the online store features that Weebly offers, and how they can help you grow your business if you are selling products online.
Weebly has 4 pricing plans and each of them is slightly different when it comes to ecommerce offerings. We’ll go over these plans to help you assess what you get in return for each plan.
We’ll also discuss what ecommerce features are missing that they should consider adding to their platform to make them even more helpful to you and your online store.
Overall, what you’ll find is that outside of pure online store builders such as Shopify or Bigcommerce (which are both dedicated purely to helping people build online stores), Weebly’s eCommerce tools are one of the better ones available amongst the drag and drop website builder community.
Weebly currently powers over 441,000 online stores.
What we set out to do is empower smaller merchants to have the same checkout experience as Amazon. Let’s give them the tools to effectively compete. – David Rusenko, Weebly CEO & Co-Founder
Click on the following links to read the specific sections:
- Product, Storefront and Category Pages
- Fully Integrated Shopping Cart
- Payment Options
- Other Features (Mobile, Search, Shipping, Tax, Inventory, Digital Products, Importing, Coupon Builder, Exports, Gift Cards, Abandoned Cart Recovery
- What’s Missing from Weebly?
- Weebly eCommerce Pricing – Is it Worth the Investment?
- Conclusion / Recommendation
KEY FEATURES (AND HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU)
1. Product, Storefront and Category Pages
A) Product Pages
One of the key things that make Weebly eCommerce stand out is their ability to allow you to create standalone, dedicated Product Pages for each of your products.
(i) Product Images
On these Product Pages, you can insert multiple images, with the main image and “sub-images” below the main image in a gallery where your shoppers can click on to see.
When you hover your mouse cursor over the main image, it will show you a zoomed-in version of the image, allowing your prospective customers to see your product in detail. The overall experience of this feature is very smooth and functions very well.
(ii) Multiple Product Variations
Weebly allows you to have full control over product variations to give your customers the ability to choose from various variations of the same product. You can customize this in Weebly Editor and add multiple product options for your customers to select.
For instance, a common example is the ability for someone to purchase a large, green, collared shirt. Weebly gives you full control to display variations (size, color, type) of your products, which is a very powerful and flexible feature in our view.
The example that I provided above (large, green collared shirt) is only an example. You can setup whatever product variations you want to suit your needs.
After you’ve configured your own product options, they will show up on your Product Page so your customers can select whichever variation they want to purchase from you.
This is a very nice Weebly eCommerce feature and will give you a lot of flexibility to run your online store.
(iii) Sales Option, Product Description, and Social Sharing
Weebly gives you a sales option, which displays the discounted price next to the crossed-out regular price. This is a very effective tactic to draw on people’s love for sales, and Weebly gives you this display option.
You can also add your own custom product description in your Product Page, and you have the ability to do some basic styling such as bold, underline, italicize, and insert numerical or bullet points. Crafting an attractive product description can really help you sell more products.
Weebly has also enabled social sharing buttons for each Product Page, making it very painless and easy for your shoppers to share your products with their friends and family through their social network accounts. They just have to click on one of the buttons and your product will be shared. This is a very powerful way to broaden your product reach, and this feature is free with Weebly eCommerce.
(iv) Drag and Drop Zones
Directly below the main image and the product variation controls, you have a full drag and drop zone where you can insert various Weebly elements into this area, such as more text description, slideshows, image gallery, maps, videos, contact forms, etc.
This enables you to add more details to your products, or even display product videos which are very powerful ways to engage your shoppers in convincing them to purchase.
B) Storefront Page
One of the nice options from Weebly is that you can insert a Storefront Page where you can pick and choose what products you want to display on this Page.
This allows you to highlight selected products to showcase to your shoppers which are particularly helpful in highlighting your best sellers, seasonal items or promotional sales. Your shoppers can click on any one of them to get to the product pages. A very effective way to direct your shoppers to relevant product pages.
C) Category Pages
Weebly also allows you to categorize your products into different categories so your shoppers can start narrowing their search to get to what they want to see.
You can create multiple categories, and pick and choose which product to insert into each category.
Overall, enabling you to create Product Pages, Storefront Page and Category Pages, Weebly eCommerce gives you the much-needed flexibility to shape your website into a very interactive and full-featured online store.
Adding a Product Page, Storefront Page or Category Page is quite simple:
2. Fully Integrated Shopping Cart
When you turn on your eCommerce function in Weebly, a shopping cart menu item will show up on the menu bar, and indicates to your shoppers how many product items they have inserted into the shopping cart.
When they go through the checkout process, your shoppers will remain in your store as they fill in their information, while having their Order Summary displayed on the same page to remind the what they are about to purchase.
If you upgrade to Weebly’s Business or Performance plans (more details about pricing below), the entire process will be under your custom domain name. If you choose not to upgrade to these specific plans, the checkout process, while will still be styled the same way as the rest of your website (to make sure you shoppers have a consistent experience), will be using a Weebly sub-domain.
For example, if you are using the Business or Performance plans, on the checkout page, the URL will read (example):
www.yourdomain.com/checkout (“yourdomain.com” will just be your own custom domain)
If you choose not to use the Business or Performance lans, the checkout page URL will be:
youraccount.checkout.weebly.com (“youraccount” is just your Weebly account name)
So if you subscribe to Weebly’s Business or Performance plans, your shoppers will not know that your website is powered by Weebly and you retain full control over the branding and checkout experience – your shoppers will be comforted by the fact that they are still on your website and not re-directed somewhere else.
This is an important factor to consider, as when your shoppers are ready to purchase, you want to minimize any uncertainty they may have if they are re-directed to an unfamiliar URL such as youraccount.checkout.weebly.com
This is worth a mention – typically if you have an online store and you want to conduct financial transactions (selling products) under your own domain name, you will need to purchase a SSL Certificate (which secures your shopping cart – this is the difference between just seeing “HTTP” in front of a domain name (unsecured) versus “HTTPS” (secured))
An SSL Certificate typically costs $70 and above per year (source: GoDaddy.com). If you upgrade to Business or Performance plans, Weebly gives your custom domain name an SSL certificate so your customers can safely and securely purchase from you
This is the main reason why if you choose not to use these specific plans, your shopping cart has to be hosted on Weebly’s secure checkout by using their subdomain (youraccount.checkout.weebly.com)
3. Payment Options
Aside from pure online store builders (Shopify, Bigcommerce), Weebly gives you the most payment processing options amongst its peers. Their setup process is fully integrated within Weebly so setting up your processor just takes a few clicks.
Weebly allows you to choose from 4 different leading payment processors:
(i) PayPal (Requires Weebly Business or Performance plans – see more information below)
PayPal goes without saying, is probably the most well-known payment processor. Using them conveys a sense of trust to your shoppers due to PayPal’s brand. This is a basic option that all website builders provide.
One downside of PayPal (for some people) is that upon final confirmation of purchase, your shoppers will actually have to leave your Weebly site to make the payment.
(ii) Stripe (Can be used with all Weebly plans)
Stripe is a fast growing payment processor which allows you to deposit money directly into your bank account. The application process for a Stripe account is fast and painless, so you can get up and running in a day.
The entire check out process, from beginning to the end, your shoppers remains on your site the entire time and the check out cart is branded as your own shopping cart. This helps preserve branding and re-directing your shoppers to another site.
It takes 7 days to transfer money directly into your bank account, mainly due to Stripe needing to hold a reserve just in case if your customers have any complaints or chargebacks. Similarly, if you were to withdraw money from PayPal to your bank account, it will take 5 – 7 business days for processing as well.
However, at the time of this review article, Stripe is not available to all countries around the world. They are available to merchants in the US, Canada, Australia, some countries in Europe, and some countries in Asia .
They are expanding geographically, but at this point, merchants outside of these countries will have to use PayPal or Authorize.net (limited – see below). Click here to see updates on where Stripe is available.
Just to be clear, you can still sell to international customers, you just have to be based in the mentioned countries to be able to use Stripe for your store.
(iii) Square (Requires Weebly Business or Performance plans – see more information below)
Square is a very fast growing payment processor and you probably know of them as the tiny credit card processor that plugs into a smartphone so people can make payments with their mobile phones (so you can accept payments in person).
Your funds are deposited into your bank account in 1 – 2 business days which is much faster than Stripe.
Just like Stripe, your customers’ entire checkout process from the beginning to the end will remain on your website and is branded as your own shopping cart.
Currently, you have to be a merchant based in the US, Canada, Australia or Japan in order to use Square. But you can still sell to international customers, but you just have to be based in the countries mentioned.
(iv) Authorize.net (Requires Weebly Business or Performance plans – see more information below)
Authorize.net is also very reputable payment transaction processor online. However, applying for an account can take a while and understanding their vast number of features can be confusing. So if you are a smaller business, we would suggest you consider either Stripe or PayPal.
Having said that, we are not saying that Authorize.net is inferior in any way, but mainly due to our limited knowledge with this payment processor. They are very large, reputable organization.
Like Stripe, the entire checkout process from the beginning to the end will remain on your website and is branded as your own shopping cart.
Currently at the time of this article, Authorize.net is only available in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and rest of Europe. If you are outside of these geographic locations, PayPal may be your only option here.
Just to be clear, you can still sell to international customers, you just have to be based in the mentioned countries to be able to use Authorize.net for your store.
4. Other Weebly eCommerce Features
There are other practical and flexible eCommerce tools from Weebly:
(i) Mobile Ready (available to all plans)
Weebly built in a mobile shopping cart for all their websites that show up on mobile devices (which are smaller than desktops), so that your shoppers can also purchase from their phones or tablets if they choose to. The checkout process is also secure (as mentioned above). So it’s nice that Weebly has catered to this as mobile shopping is definitely a growing trend.
Weebly also has iPhone or Android mobile apps so that you can monitor and update your online store at all times while you are on the go. You can add new products, photos, descriptions, product variations / options and update prices while you are away from your computer. You can also get instant notifications to your phone whenever someone purchases something from you!
(ii) Filtered Product Search (available to Weebly Pro, Business and Performance plan users)
Weebly’s filtered product search allows your shoppers to find the most relevant products quickly. You can search by filtering products by attributes like price, color, or whatever product variation you have set up (see our detailed discussion on product variation above).
The faster you can help your customers get to the product they want, the higher probability they will purchase from you. This Weebly feature, if used properly, can help you grow your sales.
(iii) Flexible Shipping Options (available to Business and Performance plan users)
If you subscribe to the Business or Performance plans, you have the option to fine tune your shipping rates based on price, weight and also define shipping carriers (e.g. UPS, USPS, Fedex) and delivery time frame (ground, 3-day, overnight).
You can adjust the shipping rates based on geographical locations, and dig into sub-regions such as by state or province.
You can even offer free shipping on select orders.
(iv) Detailed Tax Control (available to Business and Performance plan users)
Don’t forget taxes! With Weebly, they provide and maintain the current city, state and province level tax rates for the US and Canada for you.
If you are located in the US, they even have an Automatic Tax Calculator that will do all the heavy lifting for you. You just have to insert a US address and the relevant taxes will all be calculated for you. That’s pretty handy!
If you are outside of the US or Canada, you have the flexibility to manually define your own tax rates.
(v) Inventory Tracking & Management (available to Business and Performance plan users)
You can display and track your level of inventory for each of your product. But showing how many units per product is left available, you can let your shoppers know if you still have plenty of product in stock, or if you are temporarily out of stock.
(vi) Sell Digital Products (available to Business and Performance plan users)
If you are selling digital products (e-books, music, software, or other non-physical products), Weebly eCommerce allows you to do this.
Your digital product files are delivered via email with a secure link, so your customers can download their purchases that way.
(vii) Importing Products from Etsy, Shopify or from CSV File (available to all plans)
Weebly has made it easy if you want to import products externally (either from Etsy, Shopify or from a CSV file).
Just select the one you want to import from and upload the files. Etsy and Shopify allow you to export your product details into a CSV file (think of it like an Excel spreadsheet), so you don’t have to manually re-create a lot of the information.
If you are not using Etsy or Shopify, most other online store builders can export your product details into a CSV file, so you can upload it into Weebly.
This makes switching from other platforms to Weebly eCommerce much easier and faster process.
(viii) Coupon Builder (available to Business and Performance plan users)
Weebly has a Coupon Builder that allows you to create and manage a couponing system directly in your Weebly store dashboard. You can create coupons by code, date, and quantity. The coupons can be dollar-based or can be a percentage of the sale.
You can also restrict the coupons to be only used for specific products, for orders over a certain dollar amount and only for certain product categories. You can even set up coupons to grant your customers free shipping!
In our view, this is a very comprehensive coupon building engine that gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of coupon set up, compared to some other e-commerce online store builders.
(xi) Quickbooks and CSV Export (available to Business and Performance plan users)
Have to deal with bookkeeping? You bet, especially if you want to run a successful e-commerce online store. Weebly gives you the ability to export your orders / sales into a file that can be directly imported into Quickbooks accounting software which is very handy.
Don’t use Quickbooks? Weebly can export your sales data in a CSV file format (a basic spreadsheet), which is an industry standard file in that can be easily imported into most accounting software.
The ability to export your data will save you a lot of time and administrative work every single month. Even if you are using a bookkeeper, he/she can just get your exported file, and upload it into their accounting software versus manual data entry. The less time your bookkeeper spends, the less he/she charges you.
(xii) Gift Card Products (available to Performance plan users)
If you subscribe to Weebly’s Performance plan, you can setup gift cards so your customers can purchase a certain denomination and the digital gift cards are emailed to whoever they want to gift this card to.
The recipients can then visit your online store and redeem the gift cards for your products. These cards don’t incur additional fees and they never expire!
A customer can just select the dollar amount they want to gift, insert his/her name, insert the recipient’s name and email, and insert a gift message (optional). Once that is done, just add the card to the shopping cart and check out as usual.
Once the purchase is complete, Weebly’s ecommerce platform will automatically email the recipient the gift card with a redemption code and he/she can apply the code to purchases of your products. The recipient of the gift card can use the card multiple times, as long as there is still balance on the card.
(xiii) Abandoned Cart Recovery (available to Performance plan users)
Did you know that studies have shown that out of 100 shoppers that reach the checkout cart, about 69 of them decide not to purchase and leave your website? That’s 2 out of 3 shoppers!
Shoppers abandon shopping carts for a variety of reasons. Maybe they got distracted and left the computer. Maybe they have questions that your website didn’t answer. Maybe they couldn’t find a coupon code (everybody loves a good deal.)
For whatever reason, these shoppers had the intent to purchase but they didn’t.
The abandoned cart recovery tool allows you to automatically email them to start a conversation with them to encourage them to return to your store to complete their purchases. You can also email them a coupon code to motivate them as well.
The beauty of this tools is that studies have shown that a good portion of shoppers does come back! And this tool is engaged automatically without you having to do anything.
Weebly’s ecommerce platform automatically detects abandonment and fire off “recovery emails” to them. You can style and customize your email messages as you please.
How does the system know whom to email?
Well, when your shopper populates his/her email during the checkout process, the Weebly “remembers” the email and so when the purchase wasn’t complete, Weebly knows to email them to nudge them to return.
This tool could literally help you recover a lot of sales that would have fallen through the cracks. It’s well worth the investment in our view, even if you just get a hand full of shoppers to return to complete their purchases.
5. What’s Missing From Weebly?
Now that we can see that Weebly’s eCommerce functions have a lot of tools to effective help you power your online store, are they missing anything really important?
Here are just a couple of thoughts:
A) Integration of newsletter service (auto-responders)
What would be nice is to have a full integration with a newsletter service (such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact) so that when a person purchases a product from you, the customer is automatically added to the newsletter system, and will start receiving newsletter emails from you.
These emails can contain promo codes, product announcements, just staying in touch with the customer to build a relationship with them. This can be a very powerful tool to build customer and brand loyalty so they may return to buy from you again. Squarespace commerce has an integration with Mailchimp.
Just to be clear, Weebly allows you to send automated emails to your customers, including order confirmations, download confirmations (for digital products), product shipped notifications, refund notifications, and cancellation of order notifications. However, what we are referring to, that we hope Weebly includes in future updates, are the ability for you to set up a series of newsletters and marketing materials that can be sent out in a pre-determined sequence to your customers.
[UPDATE – Weebly now has a newsletter feature called Weebly Promote where you can send newsletters to your contact list or customers. This is a good addition to its existing range of ecommerce tools.
Weebly Promote is free, and you have the option of upgrading if you need more “horsepower” relating to running newsletter marketing campaigns.]
B) Live Estimates of Shipping Costs
Shipping costs have always been a bit of a headache for online stores. Research has shown that a lot of times, when “almost” customers are in your checkout cart and they are greeted with a surprise shipping cost, they walk away and you lose the sale.
One of the painful things that merchants face is the ability to provide updated, live estimates of shipping costs for customers directly from the carriers (so the customers know they’re paying for real shipping costs).
If Weebly can somehow integrate live estimates from carriers such UPS, Fedex or USPS, this will provide much comfort to these “almost” customers.
“Pure” ecommerce providers such as Shopify and BigCommerce, or even Squarespace (similar to Weebly than the pure ecommerce builders) include real-time shipping quotes as part of their pricing plans. Having said that, the price points for these plans are higher than Weebly’s Business plan. But at least they provide this function as an option to you.
[UPDATE – Weebly introduced Real Time Shipping tool, where the shipping rates are calculated in real time based on your customers’ order and shipping address. This solves a huge headache for you, and gives your shoppers confidence that the shipping fees are calculated properly.
The shipping address has to be in the US, Canada or Mexico. The Real Time Shipping tool can be connected with USPS, DHL, FedEx and UPS. This feature is only available to Performance plan users.]
C) Advanced eCommerce Analytics
One helpful tool that Weebly is missing is advanced ecommerce analytics. For some other ecommerce website builders, at the right pricing plan, they will provide you with in-depth statistics so you can better understand the performance of your business.
You can have an overview dashboard that will summarize over a set period of time your revenues, units sold, the number of orders, conversion rates, etc. You can also dig into stats for each of your product, including where the customer came from (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc) and what device he/she used (desktop, tablet, smartphone).
These analytics insights are invaluable as you can gain a better understanding of where your customers are coming from, and which product are they purchasing.
For instance, you can quickly filter through your sales statistics and find out that Product A is your best seller, and the majority of your customers that purchased this product used their smartphones, and they found your website via Facebook. Now, you can craft a plan to either further optimize this sales channel or work on improving other products since this specific product is doing well.
What you do with the information is up to you. But at the very minimum, you should have these data at the tips of your fingers.
Weebly allows you to integrate your store with Google Analytics’ ecommerce tracking function. But the user experience is not as good when compared to advanced ecommerce analytics dashboard that is built into other online store builders such as Shopify, BigCommerce or even Squarespace.
This is something Weebly could introduce to help you improve your business by keeping you better informed of trends and patterns based on your customers.
6. WEEBLY ECOMMERCE PRICING (WORTH IT?)
You can use some of Weebly’s eCommerce features only if you subscribe to at least their Starter plan (you can’t access ecommerce tools with Weebly’s free plan). However, if you upgrade to their Business or Performance plans, you get substantially more powerful features.
As mentioned in various sections above, upgrading to their Business or Performance plans gives you:
- A free SSL certificate (valued at around $70 and above (source: GoDaddy.com)
- Fully integrated shopping cart that uses your own custom domain name throughout the entire checkout experience (beneficial to you as your shoppers never leaves your website through the entire purchase process)
- Inventory control & management
- Full shipping configuration options
- Shipping & Tax calculator
- Discount code engine
- Ability to use PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and Square to power your shopping cart
- 1 free custom domain name for 1 year
- Real time shipping rates (only available to Performance Plan users)
- Abandoned cart recovery (only available to Performance Plan users)
- Gift card products (only available to Performance Plan users)
A few other benefits you get from Weebly’s Business and Performance plans that we didn’t mention above include:
- Unlimited number of products – with Starter or Pro plans, you can only insert up to 10 or 25 products, respectively
- Zero transaction fees – with Starter or Pro plans, for each sale, Weebly charges you 3% of your revenues
Business & Performance Plan Pricing Structure
Weebly’s Business and Performance plans fee structure are as follows:
|Weebly Pricing Plans||1 Month ($/month)||1-Year ($/month)||Savings (%)||2-Years ($/month)||Savings (%)|
Also note that as per Weebly’s Terms of Services, their paid plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee. So if you are not satisfied with their plans, you can always cancel and request a refund. This effectively takes all the financial risks away from you.
Weebly eCommerce Price Comparison
Weebly’s pricing per month is slightly pricier other drag and drop builders that also have good eCommerce tools. Having said that, Weebly’s eCommerce features are some of the best amongst its peers:
- Squarespace Commerce Plans – $40 per month or $26 per month on a 1-year plan (see our review here)
- Jimdo Business Plan – $240 per year (equivalent to $20 per month)
If you were to benchmark Weebly’s eCommerce plan to other pure online store builders:
- Shopify Plans – $29 to 299 per month (see our review here)
- BigCommerce Plans – $29.95 – $249.95 per month (see our review here)
The higher plans for these pure online store builders are much more expensive. But obviously, their tools are much more powerful as well.
Having said that, we feel that the Weebly eCommerce price for their Business and Performance plans are very fairly priced when compared to its peers and others.
As mentioned before and in our main Weebly Review article, Weebly is one of the easiest (if not the most) user-friendly website builders in the market.
Combined with their e-Commerce tools, this positions Weebly as one of the best all around website builders in the market today.
WEEBLY ECOMMERCE REVIEW – CONCLUSION
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