This article will review the differences between Ecwid and Shopify, and tell you which is best for your business.
So, you’re setting up an online store? Maybe you already have a website and want to start selling online, or are looking to start from scratch. Either way, we’re here to help!
Ecwid is an ecommerce plugin which lets you add ecommerce functions to a website. It’s a popular and successful platform – since its founding in 2009, it has gained over 1 million online merchants.
Shopify is an ecommerce platform which lets you create your very own online store. It’s popular with online sellers and their customers – since 2006, there’s been a grand total of $82 billion sold through Shopify!
These are very different ecommerce tools. Overall, Shopify is the best all-around ecommerce builder on the market, but Ecwid is perfect for those who just want to add a bit of ecommerce flair to an existing site.
At the end of the day, your choice will really depend on your own needs and preferences. If you’re finding it hard to choose, prepare to be enlightened!
We’ve researched, tested, and tried both Shopify and Ecwid, and rolled out this comparison to make your life easier. This article will break down Ecwid and Shopify in all the important areas, from ease of use to pricing.
- No need to start from scratch – it’s quick and easy to turn your existing website into an online store
- Multichannel selling – extensive tools for selling and managing sales across multiple stores
- Beginner friendly – you don’t need coding skills to use Ecwid, and it won’t take hours of your time
- Limited design – very restrictive design choices, making customization difficult
- Small-scale tools – Ecwid is great for small businesses, but can’t support a lot of growth
- Basic free plan – very basic and limited tools on the free plan; for example, no access to the app market
- Excellent multi-channel integration – allows you to sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Powerful inventory system – Shopify’s inventory management tools will help you easily run your online store
- High quality – top ecommerce builder for sales features and customer satisfaction
- Transaction fees – Shopify enforces transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments, its own in-house payment gateway
- Design inflexibility – if you decide to switch themes once your store is live, you’ll need to do some reformatting
- Limited trial period – the free trial only lasts for 14 days
Ecwid and Shopify are two major players in the ecommerce world. However, they’re very different in the ways they work, and how they’re meant to be used.
Ecwid is an ecommerce plugin, meaning you add it to an existing website to unlock the wonders of ecommerce functionality. This is perfect for small businesses experiencing growth, who want to add an online store to engage customers and expand their operations.
Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform, which lets you create an online store and become the ruler of your very own ecommerce kingdom. Shopify comes packed with tools to help you grow your business, making it ideal for stores both large and small.
You don’t need coding or tech skills to use Shopify – it has everything you need to make building your store as seamless as possible.
You can create a one-page website with any of Ecwid’s plans, but it’s nothing compared to what you can build with Shopify.
Ecwid’s ‘Starter Site’ is a very basic website builder you can use to create a landing page for your store. This is a handy add-on feature, but Ecwid is not designed for building websites.
Instead, Ecwid is best for those at personal and small business levels, who want to add ecommerce and start selling through an existing website.
Shopify is best for anyone wanting to set up a totally new store online, and grow their business using the powerful ecommerce tools available.
Once you’ve had the grand idea for your online store, you don’t want to waste any time. Of course, you can’t rush perfection, but you can speed it up with an easy to use selling platform!
Ecwid is extremely easy to use, and is very beginner friendly – all you have to do is integrate it with your website. You don’t need to worry about coding, hosting, updating, or even installing anything.
Adding Ecwid to your website is straightforward – you just need to add a widget to your site’s backend. It’s even easier to integrate if you have a website with a builder like Wix – you can simply download the Ecwid plugin with a couple of clicks!
Websites which have special Ecwid plugins include:
This means you can go to the app store, select Ecwid, and voila – your website is reborn with ecommerce tools. You can also add Ecwid easily to Etsy, eBay, and Facebook.
If your website isn’t in Ecwid’s list of integrations – for example, if your website is custom made – then you will need to use code to add your Ecwid store. This is simply a matter of following Ecwid’s instructions, then copying and pasting the right code across.
Shopify may sound more daunting because you’re creating an entire online store yourself, but really, that just makes it more impressive how easy it really is!
There is certainly more that goes into building with Shopify, but you’re guided every step of the way, and Shopify’s systems are streamlined and easy to use. Just like Ecwid, you don’t need to think about hosting, coding, or managing updates with Shopify – all that is taken care of for you.
Simply select a theme you love, customize it, add your products, and track your sales through built-in analytics.
Customizing is easy and adding products is a breeze. Once you’ve set up your online store, Shopify makes your life easier by automating important and time-consuming tasks.
It has the tools to track your inventory and give you real-time shipping quotes from your chosen couriers, and provides tons of apps to help you out. Shopify makes scaling your store a natural step, rather than an uphill battle.
They say variety is the spice of life, and it’s no different for website design. Nobody wants to visit five online stores which all look exactly the same – how customers remember you will depend largely on your design.
Because it’s a plugin, Ecwid doesn’t work in the same way as a builder.
Rather than having you pick a theme, then build your store off that, Ecwid comes with a set store design which integrates with your existing website. For example, your store colors will automatically reflect your original website’s colors!
In contrast, your Shopify journey begins with picking a theme you love. There are over 60 themes to choose from, ranging from free up to $180. These themes cover a variety of industries, such as furniture, electronics, and food and drink.
You get different features depending on the industry you choose, and you can switch themes at any time (although you will need to do some reformatting to keep your site looking its best)!
With Shopify, your theme comes first, and forms the basis of your online store. With Ecwid, your design is led by your website’s existing theme, and any further design tweaks come afterwards.
Ecwid is designed to look great as soon as it hits your website – for example, it comes optimized to fit desktop and mobile screens automatically. But what about making your own changes?
You can edit the basic design of your Ecwid storefront, but don’t expect creative wonders. It has limited customization, including changing the size of product images, tweaking the layout of your products and their descriptions, and editing navigation and color palette.
All these customizations come from predetermined options. For example, you can choose from small, medium, or large for your product images, but you can’t resize them to your own preferences.
This is great for simple customization – you can preview changes as you go, and play around to see how different options will look. But for in-depth or advanced changes, you’ll need to work a bit harder.
For real personalization, you’ll need to use CSS (cascading style sheets) to edit your themes and colors. You can use CSS to create your own custom theme, but this is only best for those who are comfortable using code.
If coding is the last thing you want to do, you can use apps instead. The Store Designer app and the Decorator app both give paying Ecwid customers the option of editing their store’s design.
When you make design changes in your Ecwid dashboard, they’re automatically applied and synced across all your platforms. For example, changes you make to your Ecwid landing page will also apply to your store on your Wix website.
Meanwhile, Shopify gives you tons of control over the design of your storefront. Not only can you change themes easily any time you like, you can even customize how your store looks on mobile screens.
You can edit every part of your theme, from colors to image layouts. Choose free stock images to use on your storefront for a professional look. Shopify even has an image editor, so you can crop, resize and add filters to your images once you’ve uploaded them.
For those of you with coding skills, you can put them to good use with access to all your HTML and CSS. This gives you ultimate control over your store’s customization.
One of the best things about Shopify is you can preview the changes you’re making to your store in real time, so you can see straight away what effect your edits are having on your design. This is a great feature, as it saves you a lot of time going back and forth between your dashboard and your storefront.
Shopify is all about building your brand, so it makes sense that it gives you all the tools to make your store’s design exactly how you want it.
When you create your online store with Ecwid, you don’t actually need to build anything – you’ve already got your website, so you just need to set up your store in your Ecwid control panel. This is where you add products and manage orders.
If you’re building a “Starter Site” with Ecwid, this shouldn’t take long, as it’s just a simple, single-page store.
Shopify will take longer to build, as you’re creating your online store from scratch. You’ll need to choose a theme, customize it, and set up the mechanics of your store (such as adding products and shipping options).
The fun part of running an online store is, well, the selling part! But this can also be a big job, especially if you don’t have a team of people to help out. That’s where your ecommerce platform can step up and give you a hand.
Ecwid comes with store management tools to help you run your business. You get a number of ecommerce features you need for selling online, including:
- Inventory tracking
- Product options and variants
- Promotion and discount creation
- Sell physical and digital products
- Shipping options
- Abandoned cart saver
- Multichannel integration
- Unlimited bandwidth
A lot of these are the basic, but essential features needed to successfully and smoothly run an online store. Inventory management is a must, and unless you’ve got meticulous record-keeping skills and a lot of time on your hands, this is a job worth delegating to the machines.
Multichannel selling is super important for capturing customers – people won’t always come to you, but if they can check out right there on your Facebook page, you’ll be raking in the sales.
Ecwid gives you a decent coverage of major sales features – definitely enough for a small business, and to support growth.
Shopify, meanwhile, has everything you need to fulfill your store’s needs. It offers a much wider and more advanced selection of features; it still covers the basics, of course, but combines those with in-depth and powerful tools.
These features include:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Sell physical and digital products
- Powerful inventory management
- Sell unlimited products
- Automatic shipping rates
- Abandoned checkout recovery
- Multiple shipping options
- Automatic tax handling
- Customer accounts
- Multichannel selling
Shopify’s inventory tracks your stock levels, and automatically stops selling items once they’re sold out. It totally supports your multichannel selling, syncing across all your platforms, and you can track those sales with built-in reports.
You can offer free shipping and real-time updates to your customers, and get discounted rates from your chosen carriers. Even with tons of orders rolling in, you can roll them out easily, preparing orders in bulk and printing labels yourself to save on costs.
Shopify also offers a feature called Shopify Lite, a separate plan that costs $9 per month. Shopify Lite lies in direct competition with Ecwid, as it lets you sell online without building an online store yourself.
Instead, you can sell your products through social media, or embed a Buy Button into an existing site. If you have a card reader, you can even use the Lite plan to sell products in person with the Shopify Point of Sale app.
Seems like Shopify has every base covered! The platform gives you the tools you need to not only successfully run your business, but also manage it smoothly and seamlessly.
Ecwid has an App Market where you can find extra tools to add to your store, extending your site’s functionality and helping your business grow. Ecwid’s recommended apps include LiveChat, Product Labels, and Advanced Discount Rules.
You can search the Ecwid App Market by category or price, or by looking up what you want directly using the search bar.
Shopify really shines when it comes to apps.
It has an impressive number of apps in the Shopify App Store, from inventory management to customer support. While Shopify has great tools already built-in, you will want to add apps to really give your store a boost.
Use the search bar to find what you’re looking for, browse by category or collection, or even look through staff picks or trending apps. Some are made in-house by Shopify itself, while others are developed by third parties.
With so many to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect app integration for your business in the Shopify App Store!
Costs and Differences
Surely, all these great features don’t come for free?
The truth is, with Ecwid, some of them do – but most of them don’t. We’ll go into Ecwid’s price plans in more depth later, but here’s the quick and dirty version: Ecwid has four price plans, ranging from free up to $99 per month.
On the free plan, you get the most basic features – an online store (but no Facebook or Instagram stores), a mobile responsive shopping cart, a limit of 10 products to sell, plus unlimited bandwidth and the option to sell through multiple sites.
You can’t install apps from the App Market on Ecwid’s free plan.
For more advanced features – such as discount coupons, inventory management, digital goods, Facebook and Instagram stores, and automatic tax calculations – you’ll need to be at least on the $15 per month Venture plan.
You get the idea – the more you pay, the more advanced features you get. For the all-important abandoned cart saver, for example, you need the $35 per month Business plan, and to sell an unlimited amount of products, you have to upgrade to the $99 per month Unlimited plan.
Shopify has three pricing plans, ranging from $29 to $299 per month. Straight away, you can sell an unlimited number of products for just $29 per month, as well as access multichannel selling, discount codes, inventory management, and abandoned cart recovery.
In short, Shopify offers a lot more important features on its cheapest plan than Ecwid does. Shopify doesn’t have a free plan, but it does give you everything you need to run a successful store right off the bat.
Now that we’ve dipped our toe into the swirling waters of pricing, let’s plunge headfirst into payment options and fees. How many payment options do you have to choose from? Will Ecwid or Shopify charge you transaction fees? Let’s find out!
Getting paid is the fun part of selling, but you need to pick and set up your payment gateway first.
Ecwid supports over 50 payment gateways in total, but the main ones are:
Gateways like these allow you to accept online payments – just make sure to pick one which is supported in your country or region. You can also accept offline payments, such as cash on delivery or wire transfers.
Shopify supports over 100 payment gateways, so there should be something for everyone! The major gateways in this vast list are:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
Shopify also supports manual payments such as cash on delivery, as well as alternative payments like cryptocurrency (BitPay, for example).
Shopify also has its own inhouse payment gateway, called Shopify Payments. This means you don’t have to deal with third-party providers – instead, it’s already fully integrated with your online store.
Ecwid won’t charge you any transaction fees when you make a sale. However, make sure you check the terms and conditions of the payment provider you choose, as they can charge you fees.
These fees are called processing fees, and are charged by the payment gateway for handling your transaction. For example, WePay can charge up to 2.9% + $0.30 of the transaction total. The higher your Ecwid plan, the lower the processing fee is.
Different payment providers charge different fees, so always make sure you check.
Shopify charges transaction fees on its third party payment providers, on top of any processing fees charged by that provider. Transaction fees don’t apply to manual payments, such as cash on delivery, or POS (Point of Sale) orders.
However, Shopify doesn’t charge transaction fees if you use its inhouse payment gateway, Shopify Payments.
Shopify Payments also offers lower processing fees through partnerships with providers like PayPal. So if you want a fee-free, low rate option, this is something worth considering.
Back in the day, you had to signal for help in morse code, or wait for a messenger to deliver your plea – and hope he was on a fast horse. Fortunately, neither of these options are included in Ecwid or Shopify’s help and support options.
You’ll get help much faster with Ecwid’s support. It has a range of systems in place, including:
- Live chat (premium plans only)
- Phone support (premium plans only)
- Email support
- Help Center
- Video Guides
- Community forum
- Priority support (highest plan only)
If you’re on the free plan, your main source of support will be email, or the Ecwid Help Center. This has helpful guides, videos, and the go-to article “Ecwid 101”, which walks you through all the Ecwid basics.
For next-level support, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan. This unlocks live chat and phone support, and if you’re on the highest plan, you also get priority support for faster solutions.
Shopify also provides a great range of support options to give you a speedy and stress-free experience. These include:
- 24/7 phone support
- Social media support
- 24/7 live chat support
- Help Center
- Community forum
- Email support
- Video tutorials
- Advanced specialist support (highest plan only)
With this many support options, it’s obvious Shopify wants to help you succeed. When you request help in the editor of your site, Shopify takes you straight to a relevant page in the help center. This is a great feature, saving you time and stress searching for the right article.
Combine that with 24/7 phone and live chat support, and there really should be something for everyone here. When you sign up to Shopify Plus, Shopify’s custom plan, you even get a dedicated support agent to help you out.
It’s the elephant in the room, and is often the deciding factor when it comes to choosing, well, most things. When you’re looking at booking a holiday, you don’t just pick the sandiest, most beautiful beach with the sparkliest sea – unless your pockets are deeper than the Indian Ocean, you check the price first.
Website builders may not be quite as exotic as booking a luxury holiday, but the costs can add up.
The first is the free plan, which is a big win for a lot of people. There are then three paid plans starting with the $15 per month Venture plan, working up to the $35 per month Business plan, and peaking with the $99 per month Unlimited plan.
You can see the key features for each plan in the table below:
|Monthly price paid annually||$0||$12.50||$29.17||$82.50|
10 product limit
Free starter site
Sell on multiple websites
|Everything from Free plan
100 product limit
Sell digital goods
Access to App Market
|Everything from Venture plan
2,500 product limit
Abandoned cart saver
Automated abandoned cart recovery
Staff accounts (2 max)
Everything from Business plan
Point of Sale
Square POS integration
Branded shopping app
|Best For||Launching your online store||Managing your online store and encouraging growth||Expanding your online store||Scaling your ecommerce business and diversifying sales|
Ecwid’s free plan has the most basic features, with a 10 product limit and no access to the Ecwid App Market. It’s perfectly fine for launching your online store, but you’ll soon want to upgrade in order to unlock some of those advanced features.
The Venture plan gives you the real tools you’ll need to easily run your business. Inventory management, multichannel selling, and access to the App Market are all essential features in this plan. If you’re taking selling seriously, this is the minimum plan you’ll need to run and grow your online store.
The Business plan gives you more advanced features, such as automated abandoned cart recovery, product dimensions, and staff accounts. The 2,500 product limit is a nice jump up from the Venture plan’s 100 maximum. This plan is for anyone aiming for a serious expansion.
The Unlimited plan is the highest, and offers the most specialized features. It’s the best choice for businesses looking expand into online, mobile, and retail sales. Tools such as Point of Sale (POS), as well as the removal of the product limit, will help you diversify and scale your online store.
Shopify has three price plans, plus a custom level of pricing called Shopify Plus. The three main plans start at $29 per month, increasing to $79 per month for the middle plan, and reaching $299 on the highest plan.
All Shopify plans come with a 14 day free trial, so you can try before you buy.
You can compare these plans and their key features in the table below:
|Plan||Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Monthly price paid annually||$26.10||$71.10||$269.10|
Abandoned cart recovery
Staff accounts (2 max)
Print shipping labels
Shopify POS app
Access to Shopify App Center
|Everything from Shopify plan
Staff accounts (5 max)
|Everything from Advanced Shopify plan
Staff accounts (15 max)
Advanced report builder
Third-party calculated shipping rates
|Best For||Launching a full-fledged online store||Growing your online store||Scaling up an established business|
Shopify’s prices may start out higher than Ecwid’s, but it jumps straight in with all the features you need to smoothly and successfully run your online store. The lowest Basic Shopify plan gives you features that are only included on Ecwid’s most expensive plan, such as two staff accounts and unlimited products.
The Shopify plan is perfect for any business serious about growth, providing you with professional reports and increased discounts on shipping and credit card rates.
The features of the Advanced Shopify plan reflect its price – you get third-party calculated shipping rates, as well as an advanced report builder. This plan is designed for established businesses looking to push growth and sustain scalability for their long-term plans.
Shopify also has an extra plan, Shopify Lite, which costs $9 per month and lets you add ecommerce functionality to an existing website.
Sound familiar? That’s right, Shopify Lite lies in direct competition with Ecwid, letting you add a ‘Buy Button’ to your website, sell on social media, or even sell in person using Shopify’s Point of Sale app. What’s more, you keep these features when you upgrade to the Basic Shopify plan.
You can clearly see from the prices and features offered by Shopify and Ecwid that the two are targeting different business sizes.
Ecwid is best suited for small-scale stores, or those just starting out. There is room for growth, but not much – ambitious sellers will quickly hit a glass ceiling with Ecwid’s plans.
You’ll find yourself needing to upgrade much more frequently with Ecwid, so make sure you’re not just drawn in by its free plan – check out its higher prices too, as you’ll be paying for these in the future. Shopify focuses on long-term growth, meaning you won’t need to upgrade nearly as often.
Shopify is suitable for businesses of all sizes, but definitely has more of a focus on long-term growth. Its price plans are more expensive, but you get better value for your money in the long run.
This comparison has pitted Ecwid and Shopify against each other in all the important areas. Along the way, we’ve weighed up their features, prices, help and support, design, and more. If you’ve been dazzled by the fierce competition, here’s a recap table to bring this battle into focus:
|Category & Winner||Ecwid||Shopify|
|Ease of Use
|Ecwid is a plugin, so all you need to do is add it to your existing website! It’s a quick and easy way of selling online.||Shopify is easy to use, but it’s a more powerful platform than Ecwid, meaning there’s more to do. It’s not quite as quick and easy to set up.|
|Ecwid will automatically adapt your store to match your website’s design. You have limited customization options; for deeper changes, you’ll need to code or install apps.||Shopify has over 60 themes to choose from, and you can customize them as much as you like. Coding is possible, but not essential.|
|Ecwid is extremely quick to set up, especially if you’re using a supported builder like Wix. Simply install the Ecwid plugin, or copy over code if you have a custom site.||Shopify helps you build an online store from scratch, so it takes longer to set up than Ecwid.|
|Ecommerce Tools and Features
|There’s a good range of ecommerce tools on offer – mostly basic features, with a few advanced tools available too. You have to upgrade to a higher plan to unlock the better features.||Shopify has an in-depth range of ecommerce tools, designed to help your business succeed long-term. All essential features are included, plus tailored and intuitive tools designed to make managing your store seamless.|
|Payment Options and Fees
|No transaction fees; only third-party processing fees are charged for transactions. Around 50 payment options available.||Transaction fees applied, unless using inhouse payment gateway Shopify Payments. Processing fees also apply. Over 100 payment options to choose from.|
|Help and Support
|Free plan offers email support and the Ecwid help Center, containing guides, videos, and a community forum.
Premium plans offer live chat and phone support; highest plan provides priority support.
|All plans receive 24/7 phone and live chat support, access to the Help Center and community forum, video tutorials, and social media support. Plus plan members receive specialist support from agents.|
|Four plans: free plan, $15/month Venture plan, $35/month Business plan, $99/month Unlimited plan. Upgrade to increase product limit, gain access to app market, and unlock more advanced features. Save money on annual and longer contract plans.||Three plans: $29/month Basic Shopify plan, $79/month Shopify plan, $299/month Advanced Shopify plan. 14-day free trial. All essential and standard features included on cheapest plan; upgrade for more advanced tools. Save money on annual and longer contract plans.|
Ecwid is best for those who already have a website and want to add some ecommerce flair to it. Its free plan and easy to use system mean you can quickly and easily launch your online store. Best for small scale sellers, Ecwid has basic tools to encourage your online sales.
Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform designed to help you set up your very own online store. It has powerful features to support growth and fuel your business, and has everything in place to look after you in the long run.
These are very different platforms, but overall, we have to give Shopify the winning title. It has more powerful sales tools to make your business run smoothly, and to set your store up for long-term success. Ecwid is great for getting started, but for real growth and profitability, Shopify offers the full package.
Which is best for a small business, Ecwid or Shopify?
We recommend Shopify. While Ecwid’s cheaper prices may be appealing in the short term, Shopify will provide you with a focused, specialized service to grow your brand and business. You can always start off with Ecwid (or even Shopify’s Lite plan), and then move onto Shopify’s $29 per month plan for better features.
If you don’t need to sell online, check out our review of the Best Small Business Website Builders to find the best solution for your business.
My brand is the most important thing for my business – which platform should I choose?
Shopify gives you much more creative control over your online store than Ecwid, so if design is really important to you, then it’s your best choice. You can browse different themes, personalize them, and even switch if you fancy a rebrand later on.
If aesthetics are of the utmost importance, definitely take a look at our Squarespace Ecommerce review and see what this design oriented ecommerce builder has to offer.
Are there rules about what sorts of products I can sell?
No! Both Ecwid and Shopify let you sell whatever you like – every business is unique, and both platforms give you room to pursue whatever channel you’re passionate about! While platforms like Etsy have rules on what you can sell, Ecwid and Shopify leave your business up to you. Whether it’s hand-knitted socks or ebooks, you’re free to sell without restrictions.