Ecwid vs Shopify: Comparison
This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Ecwid and Shopify are both popular and affordable ecommerce platforms for small businesses. When comparing the two, we evaluated pricing plans to see how much you get for your dollar. We also compared each of the platform’s site builder, sales and product features, marketing tools, and ease of use.
While Ecwid has a forever-free plan and great discount offerings, Shopify won in every criteria in our evaluation other than pricing. We found that Shopify’s robust sales and marketing features far outweigh the money you will save with Ecwid.
Based on our Ecwid vs Shopify evaluation, we recommend:
- Ecwid: Best for businesses with existing websites or narrow inventory of products
- Shopify: Best for businesses with online sales as a main profit driver
Ecwid vs Shopify Quick Comparison
4.42 out of 5
4.68 out of 5
Businesses with existing websites
Small businesses or startups
$39–$399; Shopify Starter plan available ($5)
Additional Sales Channels
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Etsy, and more
Ease of Use
Yes, third-party integration (only available at $99/month plan)
Yes; free and paid options
Third-party (no additional fees)
Shopify Pay (no additional fees) or third-party (0.5%–2% additional fee)
Digital Product Sales
Yes (25GB size limit)
Yes, with an app (5GB size limit)
10–Unlimited, based on plan
Unlimited ($35 & $99/month plans only)
Three per product
Online Store and Website Builder
Landing page; embed in existing website
Email (free users), live chat and phone (paid subscribers)
24/7 email, live chat, and phone
When to Use Ecwid
What We Like
- Easy to use
- Shipping calculator even on a free plan
- Available widgets/apps for Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and GoDaddy sites
- Weak SEO tools
- Cannot create a full-blown website with Ecwid alone
- Limited customer support
Where Ecwid Beats Shopify
- Forever-free plan (one of our top picks for best free ecommerce platforms)
- Free embeddable Buy Now button: Ecwid provides it for free and can adapt to a website’s theme; Shopify doesn’t have an equivalent feature for this
- Shipping calculators even under its free plan, included across all paid tiers
- Unlimited product variants
- Native digital downloads up to 25GB
- Sell on multiple channels for $15 a month for up to 100 products
If you have an existing website and plan to add an online store you can easily create one or integrate a checkout into existing Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and GoDaddy sites with Ecwid. It has a feature that adapts the store to your existing website theme, without the need for custom coding. Plus, it provides easy-to-follow instructions per website platform on its website.
If you are a business that has a narrow product inventory or a hobbyist that sells as a side hustle, Ecwid offers a free plan that is a great option for selling fewer than 10 products. If you want to sell on social channels, you can easily do so for only $15/month under Ecwid’s first-level entry plan.
When to Use Shopify
What We Like
- User-friendly interface
- Scalable platform
- Extensive app marketplace for third-party integrations
- Advanced features (reports, fraud analysis, gift cards, and real-time shipping rates) only available on higher-tier plans
- Incurs transaction fees if not using Shopify Payments
- Shipping calculator requires an annual plan
Where Shopify Beats Ecwid:
- Native POS: Shopify POS
- One-click checkout option: Shop Pay
- Shipping discounts: Shopify Shipping and partner couriers
- Marketing tools: Abandoned cart recovery even on first-level entry plan
- Built-in email marketing tool: Shopify email
- Extensive app marketplace: Shopify App Store
Shopify is a popular and top-rated ecommerce platform among users and experts for a reason. It works, nearly anyone can learn to use it effectively, and it is designed to grow at pace with your company. It is our best ecommerce platform for small businesses.
Starting at $39 per month, Shopify is also extremely affordable. Whether you are a startup, a growing online business, or an established one, if you want to build an online store, Shopify is the best choice.
When to Use an Alternative
$16+ ($23+ for online store)
Ecwid vs Shopify: Pricing & Payments
5 out of 5
4.06 out of 5
Online Store Plans
Buy Now Button
Third-party (no additional fees)
Shopify Payments (no additional fees) or third-party (0.5%–2% additional fee)
One-click Checkout Option
Both platforms provide affordable pricing plans, an embeddable buy now button you can use on webpages, and third-party payment processing. Ecwid wins in this criteria because of its forever-free plan and zero transaction fees. Shopify doesn’t provide a free plan but offers a 14-day free trial, and if you use its built-in payment provider, Shopify Payments, your transaction fees are waived.
The right plan for your business depends on how many products you plan on selling and how many different channels you want to sell on. You can launch a mini online store for free with Ecwid, or grow an enterprise-level virtual megamall with Shopify for just under $300 per month.
Ecwid has four pricing plans: Free ($0), Venture ($15/month), Business ($35/month), and Unlimited ($99/month). It earned a perfect score because of its forever-free plan with no added transaction fees.
Ecwid Pricing Plans
Using Ecwid’s free plan, you can launch a storefront with up to 10 items and add this storefront to as many websites as you like (such as WordPress, Wix, and more). However, you won’t get access to the two biggest social selling giants: Facebook and Instagram. We like that it’s perpetually free, as opposed to Shopify’s 14-day trial period, because it sometimes takes longer than that to truly understand what the service can do for you. Plus, it’s a great option for sellers with a very narrow inventory.
Meanwhile, simply getting access to Facebook and Instagram selling platforms is worth the $15 monthly fee you’ll pay for the Venture plan. In addition to these sales channels and the features included in Ecwid’s free plan, you’ll unlock useful features like inventory management, SEO tools, and automated tax calculations.
The Venture plan is a good fit for hobbyists and makers who are in online retail as a side hustle. There is no comparable pricing tier for Shopify—it falls right in between its $9 Lite plan and the $29 Shopify Basic plan. If you’re looking to sell stuff online for under $20 per month, Venture is the plan you need.
In the Business tier ($35), your inventory capacity expands to up to 2,500 products, and you get the tools necessary to run a high-level online retail operation. Features such as wholesale pricing, eBay integration, and automated abandoned cart recovery become crucial tools when you start doing larger sales volume.
If you plan on doing more than just casual, low-volume sales, the Business tier is where you want to be. Its closest comparable Shopify plan is Basic Shopify for $29 per month. Of the two, Basic Shopify is probably the better bet because it has roughly the same features but allows you to sell unlimited products and gives you perks like staff accounts and POS integration.
The top-tier, $99 Unlimited plan includes every feature available in Ecwid. In addition to selling unlimited items on every available platform, you get access to every tool found in the abovementioned plans, plus perks reserved for Ecwid’s best clients. The most notable and useful of these tools is the branded mobile app version of your store, which is an invaluable tool for retaining your best customers and getting new ones. This plan also provides integration with Square POS, unlimited staff accounts, prioritized customer support, and other advanced features.
While the top-tier Ecwid plan is not as robust as Shopify’s Enterprise plans, the mobile shopping app is a rare feature that Ecwid offers for a very affordable price.
Shopify offers three subscription plans: Basic Shopify ($39/month), Shopify ($105/month), and Advanced Shopify ($399/month). It also has a Shopify Starter plan at $5/month, which offers a checkout link and allows you to sell through social media channels.
Ecwid beats Shopify when it comes to pricing because Shopify lacks a forever-free plan, and it charges additional transaction fees if you use a third-party payment processor.
However, Shopify still offers great value for its price.
Since our Last Update: Shopify Rate Increase
January 24, 2023 Shopify announced a price increase for its software subscriptions.
This new pricing is effective immediately for new sellers. Current Shopify subscribers can lock in their current rates by opting for an annual subscription before the new pricing takes effect for current sellers on April 23, 2023.
Shopify Pricing Plans
Basic Shopify provides access to Shopify’s core features, which include an online store and the ability to sell unlimited products throughout virtually any selling channel on the internet. If you’re serious about selling merchandise online, Basic Shopify is probably the best place to start. In addition to everything included in Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify includes access to its vast Shopify App store, which expands what you can do with your store nearly infinitely.
Under the Shopify plan, you gain access to tools like professional level reporting, as well as enhancements to its POS, like register shifts and unlimited staff PINs for logging in and tracking activity. If you will be selling in-person in addition to your online shop, this plan is a good option.
Shopify’s plans are meant to grow with your business. For that reason, this median tier might be the best option for businesses that have achieved a natural growth rate and sales rhythm. Alternatively, a company experiencing rapid growth may prefer the Shopify Advanced plan.
When your business takes off like a rocket, you’ll need every ecommerce tool Shopify has in its arsenal. Advanced Shopify is where you find that. In addition to everything mentioned above, this pricing tier gives you an advanced report builder, calculated third-party shipping rates, and a discount on Shopify credit card payment rates.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Site Builder & Maintenance
4.25 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
Yes, Ecwid Instant Site (single page)
Yes, store + website pages (such as a blog)
Yes, around 70 free
Yes, free and paid
Limited sections available
App Marketplace / Add-ons
Shopify edges out Ecwid slightly when it comes to building an online store. While Ecwid’s site builder is very easy to use and offers a variety of themes, we find its single-page Instant Site very limiting in terms of customization. With Shopify, you can create a full online store, complete with website pages such as a blog, about, and contact. Its drag-and-drop site builder is also very intuitive and provides much more design flexibility.
If you don’t have an existing site to embed your Ecwid store, you use the platform’s landing page feature called Ecwid Instant Site. You can use it to link to your product pages to sell or display your product catalog.
Setting up the Instant Site takes less than an hour. It provides different content modules called site blocks that let you present your business and products. As you can see from the image below, site sections are limited to what is listed. You can rearrange their order or hide some of them, but you cannot add anything that is not listed on the left side of your site builder.
Shopify upgraded its WYSIWYG site editor to the new drag-and-drop builder with the launch of its Online Store 2.0 (OS 2.0) theme. It offers 10 free themes and close to 90 paid themes starting at $180, all of which include multiple styles and are mobile-commerce ready (if not mobile-first).
Your store also comes with a content management system (CMS), allowing you to set up your store and include website pages such as about, contact, and blog pages.
What we like about Shopify’s site builder is that we can customize the online store to a certain extent without the need for coding knowledge. It is a far cry from the limited design freedom you get from Ecwid.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Sales & Product Features
4.63 out of 5
5 out of 5
In-store and Mobile Sales
Sell on the Go app (for iOS only); third-party integrations (at $99/month plan)
Social Sales Channels
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok (paid plans)
Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube
Sell on Marketplaces
Amazon and eBay (under $35/month plan)
Amazon and eBay
10 to unlimited, based on plan
Unlimited ($35 and $99/month plans only)
Three per product
Yes, under a paid plan (25GB size limit)
Yes, using a third-party app-free or paid (5GB size limit)
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Starting at $35/month plan
Across all plans
Integrated Shipping Solutions
Real-time Shipping Calculator
Starting at $35/month plan
Starting at $299/month plan
Shopify Shipping (up to 74%)
Third-party, starting at $35/month plan
Shopify Email, across all plans
Both platforms provide comprehensive product features and robust marketing tools, but Ecwid only does most of them in higher paid plans. Although Shopify has lesser product limits and only unlocks a shipping calculator on its highest plan, it still wins with its abandoned cart saver feature, shipping discounts, and built-in email marketing tool. Shopify also comes with a free mobile POS system across all its ecommerce plans.
Ecwid allows you to sell in person by integrating with POS systems like Clover, Vend, and Alice. However, you need to be on its highest plan ($99/month) to be able to do so. You can use the bundled mobile POS system powered by PayPal or Square; however, it only works in limited countries.
Its ecommerce mobile app, Sell on the Go, is only designed for iOS devices. With the app, you can sell in person such as pop-ups, fairs, and cash on delivery orders.
Ecwid’s main drawback is the enforcement of product limits on each plan. You only unlock the ability to sell unlimited products on the highest plan ($99/month), compared to Shopify, where you get this feature even on the basic tier ($29/month).
However, Ecwid provides unlimited product variants, has a bigger file size limit for digital goods (up to 25GB), and provides custom fields on its checkout pages. Shopify has limits on these features, but workarounds are available with the help of an app or third-party extension.
Setting up product categories isn’t as intuitive as with Shopify, as you need to set them up in a different section of your Ecwid dashboard instead of product pages. While it does let you assign products to categories in bulk, we still find Shopify’s smart categories easier to deal with.
Facebook and Google, popular marketing platforms, are natively and easily accessible through the Marketing tab on Ecwid’s interface. You can create ad campaigns in just a few minutes. You can also create discount coupons and issue gift cards. There are marketing apps like Mailchimp in Ecwid’s App Market, but it is in no way comparable to the extensive choices available in Shopify’s App Store.
Shopify has a forever free plan, Shopify POS Lite, available across all of its ecommerce tiers. Under this plan, you can already have unlimited users, sell unlimited products, and process unlimited transactions. You can get mobile chip readers for $49 and dock readers for $39. This is a perfect set-up for running temporary stores such as pop-up shops and farmers market locations. If you operate a brick-and-mortar shop, you can sign up for the Shopify POS Pro, which costs $89/month per location. Read our in-depth Shopify POS review.
Shopify’s a great option if you want to sell an unlimited number of products. Product categories can also be set up using smart tags, helping you to easily segment products into categories. However, Shopify loses to Ecwid when it comes to setting up product options and variants—you can only configure up to three product options and 100 product variants on your products. You also need to use an app (such as Digital Downloads, which is free) to be able to sell digital goods. Custom checkout fields are also not built in and would need an app to be enabled.
What Shopify lacks in product management features, it more than makes up for with its marketing tools. Shopify has built-in marketing tools that are accessible even on its first-entry level plans, such as the abandoned cart saver. Shopify Email, its native email marketing program, lets you send up to 2,500 free emails each month. These features are commonly available either as a paid extension in Ecwid and other ecommerce platforms or can only be unlocked on higher paid plans.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Ease of Use
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
Onboarding and Setup
Yes; easy-to-follow setup wizard
Yes; easy-to-follow setup wizard
Yes; active and helpful community members
24/7 live chat, 24/5 (weekdays) email, and phone (only via callback, weekdays 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time)
24/7 chat, email, and phone
If you don’t have much knowledge of or experience with ecommerce tools, both Ecwid and Shopify should still be very easy to learn and use. Both services offer a wealth of tools to help you learn the ropes.
However, Shopify wins in this criteria because of its 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support. It is reassuring to know that you can easily ask for help, no matter what time of the day, when you run into issues with your online store.
When you create your free Ecwid account, the interface walks you through the critical steps necessary to get your store up and running. If you pay attention to the prompts and follow the instructions, there’s no reason you can’t build and launch your store within an hour. Getting to know the rest of the back end happens naturally just by clicking around the interface.
Ecwid’s Help Center has hundreds of articles that cover every subject, from getting started and setting up your accounts to managing, promoting, and personalizing your store. However, the amount of personal support you get is directly proportional to how much you’re paying.
If you have a free account, Ecwid does not offer customer support. If you have the Venture or Business Plans, you get access to live chat. Phone service is available to Business and Unlimited subscribers, while Unlimited customers get prioritized support for your issues. However, users must request a scheduled call-back in the user control panel rather than contacting customer support 24/7.
All of Shopify’s tools are accessible within a few clicks on the main interface, and the workflow is meant to be as intuitive as possible. This makes the platform quite user-friendly, even for those who have never used Shopify. If you ever do have a problem with one of Shopify’s tools, it’s easy to find a full and detailed explanation of every feature in Shopify’s Help Center.
Shopify’s Help Center encourages you to try and look for answers to your questions by searching their articles and tips before handing you over to support staff. You can reach them directly via live chat, email, and phone. We also appreciate that Shopify’s customer support button is displayed prominently throughout its website. When we tried to reach out to its support team via chat, we encountered professional and competent support staff that were patient in addressing our concerns and were helpful with just about any issue.
Ecwid vs Shopify: Expert Score
Both are popular ecommerce platforms with a majority of excellent user reviews and great expert feedback. Shopify gives more bang for your buck because most of an online store’s core features (essential tools for you to build, operate, and grow your business) are included across all tiers. With Ecwid, you need to upgrade plans to unlock more features.
As ecommerce software experts, we have tried, tested, and experienced more than a dozen ecommerce website builders and have found Ecwid to be one of the most intuitive platforms to work with. Even non-techies won’t find it hard to manage the store’s backend. Front-end customer experience is also smooth and hassle-free. See more in our guide to setting up Ecwid.
While Ecwid offers a robust set of sales and product features, you need to be subscribed to a higher-level plan to unlock certain features that you can get for a more affordable plan with Shopify.
Ecwid is loved by its user base for being intuitive and reasonably priced. While they note that the free and lower-priced tiers are limited, they shared that the platform is good for those who aren’t as web savvy as many Shopify users. The general theme among reviewers was that it was an imperfect but worthy discount alternative to Shopify. Check out our Ecwid review to read more about what users think about the platform.
Shopify turns out to be our top ecommerce platform every time we evaluate ecommerce website builders. The platform continuously updates, upgrades, and introduces new features beneficial to business owners (such as the new drag-and-drop website builder, more social shopping with YouTube and TikTok integrations, and Shopify Pay).
We built a Shopify demo store and were able to develop a full website with no challenges. If you want to grow your business, you can easily add an app from its extensive Shopify App store or go with its built-in email marketing tool like Shopify Email.
We can’t say it enough—if you are serious about your online business, Shopify is going to be the best launching ground for you as it can support your business’ growing needs and yet still be affordable if you are just starting.
The majority of Shopify user reviews we found online comment on how easy the service is to use. In fact, the platform’s ease of use—even for those without tech expertise—is one of the primary points of praise among reviewers. One of the more common complaints is that Shopify is harder to customize on the back-end than other ecommerce platforms. For real Shopify user feedback, visit our Shopify review.
How We Evaluated Ecwid vs Shopify
To help you decide which ecommerce platform is best for your store, we compared Ecwid and Shopify on price, ease of use, store builder and design tools, inventory management, and sales tools. We also added our own expert opinion based on years of experience testing different ecommerce platforms:
15% of Overall Score
We considered the price point of each base plan that offers a complete online store, what plan options are available as your business grows, and payment processing options, including fees, flexibility, and one-click checkout options. Ecwid wins in this comparison because of its forever-free plan.
30% of Overall Score
We considered how easy it is to build and maintain a professional and attractive online store, including available templates, customization options, free domain and SSL certificates, unlimited storage and bandwidth options, and built-in SEO tools and site analytics. Shopify offers a better drag-and-drop site editing tool and lets you build a full online store complete with website pages compared to Ecwid’s single-page Instant Site.
30% of Overall Score
We looked at what kind of product assortments Shopify and Ecwid can accommodate, tools for in-store and mobile, integrated social media, and marketplace selling, and marketing tools. We also consolidated shipping options and PCI compliance. Shopify wins in this category, scoring a perfect score. Despite its product variant limits, workarounds are readily available in its app store.
15% of Overall Score
Because online stores operate 24/7, we prioritized platforms that offer 24/7 customer support and have multiple customer touchpoints, such as phone, email, and chat. Shopify and Ecwid provide comprehensive help centers, but Shopify wins because it provides 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support.
10% of Overall Score
Here, we considered overall value, quality of features, popularity, customer satisfaction, and ease of use. We also factored in our own experience working with each platform and feedback from businesses that use each system. Shopify beats Ecwid in our expert review because of its popularity, ease of use, and industry-leading innovations.
Ecwid vs Shopify Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which is better: Shopify vs Ecwid?
Overall, we find Shopify better because of its full standalone online store, multichannel sales, and built-in management and marketing. However, Ecwid is better if you need to add ecommerce functionality to your existing website or blog. See more in our guide to the best ecommerce platforms.
Is Ecwid cheaper than Shopify?
Yes, Ecwid is more affordable because it offers a forever-free plan. Note, though, that you will end up spending more if you need certain features. Shopify’s paid plans provide better value for money.
Are Shopify and Ecwid good for beginners?
Yes. Both Shopify and Ecwid are user-friendly and can be used by people with little to no technical knowledge or coding. You don’t need to use custom codes to build online stores on their platforms.
In most cases, you’ll want to go with Shopify over Ecwid. Unless you plan to sell a very narrow inventory or need a discount rate, what you get out of Shopify far outweighs what you pay for it. Ecwid is no match for what Shopify offers in terms of third-party apps and web-wide integration. Start a 14-day free trial of Shopify today.
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