What is Ecwid, and how does it work?
Ecwid is a tool for building your own online store. It’s a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) tool, meaning that you don’t own the software, but pay a monthly fee to use it.
Much like other e-commerce platforms, Ecwid allows you to set up ‘catalogs’ of products, and add photos, pricing, weight etc. for each. You can define shipping rates, accept credit card payments and so on – all the key stuff that you’d expect to be able to do using an e-commerce solution. All this is done via a web browser — there’s nothing to install locally.
Ecwid differs significantly from competing products like Shopify, Squarespace and Bigcommerce however in that it is not really designed to let you create a standalone e-commerce website; rather, it’s designed to allow you add an online store to an existing online presence.
(That said, Ecwid has recently added some new functionality, called ‘Instant Sites’, that does let you create a basic, one-page standalone offering. I’ll discuss this in more depth later on in the review.)
Ecwid works by giving you a ‘widget’ that gets placed on other sites — hence the name Ecwid: it’s short for ‘E-commerce Widget’. You get a few lines of HTML code (the widget) to add to an existing website or social media profile, and your store is displayed wherever you’ve inserted this code.
But how much does this functionality cost?