As WordPress is such as popular of option for building website, it is not surprising that people want to add an online store to their site. Two great options for this are the Ecwid and WooCommerce plugins, but which one is better?
Ecwid is a fully hosted ecommerce solution, which integrates directly with your WordPress website and allows you to offer your customers a completely secure checkout. WooCommerce is an open source plugin, brought to you by the team behind WordPress and it allows you to create product, category and checkout pages for your website.
Even though both plugins allow you to sell through your site, they do so in different ways:
- Ecwid allows you to use all of the features of their ecommerce platform directly within your WordPress website but all of your product, category and checkout pages are hosted on Ecwid’s secure servers.
- WooCommerce uses the existing WordPress code to create all the ecommerce related pages for your website and they are all hosted on your servers.
There are also lots of other differences such as pricing, features and what they are like to use, which is all covered in this comparison.
Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to services via a link in this post, I do receive a small commission. BUT and I cannot stress this enough, in no way does this influence my review of any platform, if I don’t like something then I will say so!
Up to 100 Products
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
Live Chat & Email Support
1 Staff Account
Dependent on Hosting
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
Dependent on Hosting
Dependent on Hosting
No Dedicated Support
Ecwid do offer a free package for up to 10 products and offer a reasonable amount of features but from the Venture package upwards, you get much more in terms of features and resources, meaning that these are the better option for a proper ecommerce set up. You will still need to pay for hosting for your WordPress site.
While WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin is completely free to use, you will have to pay for web hosting in order to have a WordPress site and this all depends on the hosting company and your requirements. You may also need to pay for plugins if there are specific features that you require.
You don’t get a free trial with either platform BUT both of them can be used for free as I mentioned above. With Ecwid, you can sign up to their free package to test the system out and with WooCommerce, you just need to install the plugin on your WordPress site and you are good to go.
The Ecwid platform comes with a lot of great ecommerce features built into the platform, including:
- One Tap Checkout (with Apple Pay)
- Schedule Order Pickup
- Sell Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
- Gift Cards
- Secure Checkout
Marketing & SEO
- Sell on Facebook
- Sell on Instagram
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Number of Visitors
- Conversion Rate
- Apple Pay (via Stripe)
These are a summary of the features included with the Venture package but you do get more tools such as abandoned cart recovery, product filters, product variations and a multi lingual storefront on the business and unlimited packages.
Ecwid App Market
While Ecwid does come with a good selection of features, there are still some gaps that need to be filled and that is where the App Market comes into play. All of the apps within the market are made by third-party developers, which means that many of them do require you to pay for them.
This is where comparing WooCommerce with the other two platforms isn’t easy as the WooCommerce plugin adds a basic ecommerce checkout to the WordPress system and in its standard form, it doesn’t come with that many features as you will see below.
- Sell Physical & Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
Marketing & SEO
- Blog (WordPress)
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Sales by:
- Registered vs Guest Customers
- Amazon Pay
WordPress Plugin Library
Now this doesn’t look great for WooCommerce BUT this is where the WordPress plugin comes in, searching WooCommerce returns a result of over 7,000 plugins that can be used and these offer all different kinds of functionality from Marketing & SEO to payment gateways and ecommerce tools.
There are also many many other things you can do including creating an online marketplace, booking website and membership websites. Pretty much everything you could think of you can do with WooCommerce.
Outside of the free WordPress library, there are also thousands of paid plugins for WooCommerce that offer many more premium features. This also includes paid versions of the free plugins.
Ecwid – As the main focus of this post is to compare these as plugins for WordPress, then theme selection really doesn’t come into it for Ecwid as the plugin works with every WordPress theme.
WooCommerce has over 1000 to choose from in the WordPress theme library, these are primarily made by third-party developers and will have varying degrees of WooCommerce integration but many of them work perfectly. There are over 8,500 premium themes available on Themeforest starting form only a couple of dollars.
Running an ecommerce website can be challenging at times and you require some help, so what support do you get from these platforms?
Ecwid – due to being effectively a fully hosted ecommerce platform, you do get a good level of support from the Ecwid team. For the majority of users, the live chat and email ticket support is going to be the best method of contacting them.
For users on the Business or Unlimited packages, you do get phone support but this is only available between 2pm and 10pm pacific time, which due to time differences makes this not great for users in other parts of the world. But it is still there if you need it.
WooCommerce – due to being open source and free, the level of support for WooCommerce isn’t anywhere near as good as you get with Ecwid However, if you are a registered customer of WooCommerce then you can contact their support team via support tickets and they will help as soon as they can. They also have very good documentation on the WooCommerce website.
There is also a support forum on WordPress where you can ask questions about the plugin and generally you will get a helpful reply either from one of the WooCommerce team or someone else on the forum. The same extends to plugins as long as you ask in the right place.
The one good thing about WooCommerce being so popular is the amount of information and guides out there to help you set up plugins or do things within the platform. A quick Google search will give you the answer to most of your problems.
Hosting & Performance
Doing a performance test is really quite difficult for both of these plugins as much of the performance is down to a combination of the quality of your hosting and also how your WordPress site is configured but I did my best to try and do a comparison for you.
As Ecwid operates using their hosting rather than yours to power the ecommerce elements of your website, it is worth taking a look at how good their hosting is and it is pretty good! You get:
- Hosted on Amazon Web Services
- PCI Level 1 PCI DSS
- Cloudfront CDN
- Secure Checkout
- Unlimited Bandwidth
This all really good and it gives you peace of mind that all of the ecommerce aspects of your site a protected by good quality hosting. With WooCommerce, all of this comes down to your hosting and this means you need to have good quality, secure web hosting in order for it all to work properly.
To do a comparison between these two plugins, I did do some testing. I created a demo site with just WordPress installed and the Storefront theme. I removed all other plugins and installed Ecwid and ran it through Pingdom’s speed tool and then repeated this with WooCommerce and got the following results.
For both tests, both plugins were populated with sample product data.
So there isn’t much difference between the two plugins but this is very much a simplified test and there are lots of elements that can massively effect how quickly a WordPress site will load such as:
- Quality of Hosting
- Number of Plugins Installed
- Quality of Plugins Installed
- Theme Used
- Level of Optimisation (code, images etc)
To get the most out of WordPress a good host is a must and I have created a list of recommended ecommerce web hosts.
Ecwid vs WooCommerce Video
Ease of Use
Facts and figures are one thing but what are these platforms like to use and how do they compare to each other? Well that is what I am going to be looking at in this section.
To get started with Ecwid, you first need to go to the Ecwid website and sign up and go through the initial process on their website. Once you have signed up, you then need to bring Ecwid into your WordPress site and this is very simple to do.
Just search in the WordPress plugin library for Ecwid and install the Ecwid plugin, just make sure it is the official one by Ecwid Ecommerce. You will then be prompted to connect your Ecwid dashboard to your WordPress site and this is all done with a click of a button.
Once this is done, it will import the Ecwid dashboard into your WordPress one and it looks exactly the same as it does in Ecwid. At this point, you don’t really need to access your dashboard via the Ecwid website, instead you can do it all via your WordPress dashboard.
Navigating around the Ecwid plugin is really easy and as you can see in the image above. When you click on the Ecwid heading in your WordPress dashboard, it will bring up the complete Ecwid dashboard (exactly the same as you would see if accessed directly through Ecwid) and it is very well laid out with clearly labelled headings.
Getting started with WooCommerce is pretty easy as all you need to do is go to the WordPress plugin library and search for, install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. Once this is done, there is a quick start up wizard that takes you through most of the important steps you need to do in order to get WooCommerce ready to start taking orders.
The WooCommerce dashboard is much simpler than the Ecwid one as there are far fewer options but this can soon change once you start installing additional plugins to use with WooCommerce.
Navigating the WooCommerce dashboard isn’t as easy as Ecwid, as not all of the sub-headings are displayed when you go into the plugin. This is because they appear in a pop out menu and they also put a lot of things under the settings section such as payment gateways and delivery methods, rather than giving them their own separate heading.
Customising the Design
As I mentioned above, Ecwid will work with any WordPress theme and has great integration with the new Gutenberg editor as the Ecwid widgets can be installed as blocks.
This integration with Gutenberg means that it is very easy to build a custom homepage for your website or shop section using different widgets. There are a selection of ones specific for the Ecwid plugin but you can use any widgets that you have available.
There is a store homepage widget and you can either select which products are displayed by changing them in storefront category under the product management section or you can opt to display a selected category.
You can also options to change the layout of category, product list and individual product pages, so you can make it look and feel how you want. You can also customise the colour of the buttons, text, price and links.
The amount of customisation you can do in WooCommerce very much comes down to the theme that you are using, some themes allow a lot of customisation where as others are quite limited.
One good development with the Gutenberg editor is that you can now add WooCommerce widgets to other pages within your site. So if you want to build a custom homepage or add WooCommerce elements to blog posts or other pages, you now can do.
This gives the plugin a lot more versatility and could make converting visitors to buyers via blog posts much easier.
Adding and Managing Stock
Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:
- Adding products
- Organising your Products
- Managing your inventory
The add new product section on Ecwid is very nicely laid out and easy to use. They have gone for a tabbed layout and it gives you lots of options when it comes to adding a new product. The layout has a really good work flow and the clear display means that you are less likely to miss adding important information to your product listing.
The only thing I don’t like about the create a new product in Ecwid is that you cannot edit the URL and while the auto generated URL’s a pretty good, for all the products, they do include a random number sequence at the end. My personal preference would be to remove these to make the URL’s look as good as possible.
To help you organise your products, Ecwid have gone for the tried and tested category model, which allows you to create both parent and sub-categories.
Unfortunately there isn’t any native functionality that lets you manage your inventory directly from the product overview menu, any updates to stock levels needs to be done on a product by product basis. This could be a bit tedious if you have a very large inventory that has to be actively managed.
The add new product page in WooCommerce is very easy to use and is based around the classic post/page creator in WordPress. There is the options to add full and short descriptions as well as a main featured images and additional images.
To add product information, there is a tabbed section below the main description that allows you to add pricing, inventory and delivery information along with any product attributes that you have created.
Organising your products is also very easy and uses a category system that allows you to make both parent and sub-categories which makes create a very good hierarchy for your products. The add product page is very simple, all you need to do is name that category. If you want to, you can add a description and images to the categories.
You can manage a lot of your inventory directly from the product overview page using the quick edit option including price, quantity, category, SKU number, sale price and product title and URL. This makes updating your inventory very quick and simple to do.
Ecwid – The order management system in Ecwid is really easy as everything can be done directly from the order overview page, including printing off the invoices, updating order statuses and updating payment status. You can also export all of your order information, either via CSV format or directly to a Google sheet of your choice, if you want to analyse the data.
WooCommerce – In the core WooCommerce plugin, the order management process is pretty poor as you can only update order statuses. The PDF Invoices and Packing Slips plugin changes this though and it is free to use, this allows you to print invoices and packing slips directly from the order overview page for individual or bulk orders. If you want to export your orders in CSV format, then you will need to install an additional plugin.
• Multi Channel Selling
• Order Management
• Works with any theme
• Product Options
• Layout Display for Product and Category Pages
• No bulk update for Products
• Apps can be expensive
• Free to install and use
• Number of themes to choose from
• Same goes for the plugins
• Lots of online resources
• Easy to use admin dashboard
• Needs additional plugins to work properly
• No real support
• Can be expensive if you need to use paid plugins
Both of these plugins are great options for adding ecommerce functionality to your WordPress website and there is good reason why they have both seen off a lot of competition!
But for me Ecwid just edges it if you just want to sell products on your WordPress site due to it offering all the benefits of a fully hosted ecommerce platform. This can result in less headaches as you don’t need to worry about plugin or theme conflicts as well as keeping them all updated.
If you need more than just basic ecommerce, then WooCommerce is a great option. So if you need a booking or membership site, then it is the better option.
Whatever you decide is important, it is always worth giving both of these plugins a try and see which one you like and fits your business best!
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