Posted February 29, 2016 by Daniella, Ecwid Enthusiast and Entrepreneur

Five Awesome Ecwid Hacks You Need to Know About

Hacking is not always a bad thing. Other than illegally infiltrating computers to gain unauthorized access to data, hacking also means thinking outside the box to use what you already know in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

I am a passionate web designer, teacher and entrepreneur, demonstrates how you can use Ecwid to hack into diversified online sales for free.

These hacks include creating an eBay-style marketplace, enabling clients to book reservations, and offering customizable products. Here are some excellent time- and money-saving Ecwid tricks you can quickly and easily implement in your online store today.

1. Use Ecwid to Build a Marketplace Like eBay

Following a long search for an efficient multi-vendor marketplace solution, I finally launched an online marketplace, lean startup style. I had spent days and weeks looking for a free marketplace solution.

I wanted my sellers to be able to manage their stores independently and to have access to their intuitive seller backends without the need for extensive online sales knowledge. Having been an eBay seller for over six years, I was looking for a more user-friendly solution, especially since some of the sellers would be newbies. Finding the ideal solution was not an easy task to accomplish. I was starting to lose hope, but then I came across Ecwid.

eatrie, an ethnic and specialty food marketplace using Ecwid

Using Ecwid as a multi-vendor marketplace is ideal if:

  • You would like to find a new way to monetize your niche blog
  • You want your sellers to have their own sales backends
  • Some of your sellers have never sold online before
  • If your business model is based on sales commissions (though there are other ways to monetize an online marketplace).

How to Build a Marketplace Like eBay with Ecwid

  1. Have your sellers upload their products to their individual Ecwid stores and ask them to send you their store code.
  2. Add the code from each of your sellers’ stores to your website.
  3. Do make sure the store codes are on different pages as you cannot integrate multiple stores to one page (only one store will show, the rest will be code).

To do this in WordPress for example, you can display each store as a blog post:

eatrie’s store area

In Wix, Weebly or Squarespace you could create images with links that lead to individual pages containing the store code for each shop.

If it is absolutely essential for you to integrate multiple stores to the same page, then vote for this option on Ecwid’s Idea forum.

However, the lean solution provided above is an excellent workaround that is much cheaper, and much more efficient than the thirty five other solutions I (seriously) analyzed and compared before choosing Ecwid.

Tip: If you are dealing with sellers who have no online sales experience, have them check out this tutorial on how to build an Ecwid store in under 5 minutes and save yourself the explanation time.

2. Allow your Clients to Book your Services Online

You may have noticed that Ecwid offers a “Date picker” input type in their options. This can allow your clients to choose a date to meet you and benefit from your services. But how can they know if you are free?

You probably want the booking process to be as automated as possible to save time and to avoid unnecessary emails and phone calls. The answer to this issue is easy — all you have to do is integrate your synced electronic calendar to your product page.

Using Ecwid to accept bookings is ideal for:

Small businesses or individuals who take appointments such as:

  • DJ’s
  • Caterers
  • Babysitters
  • Hairdressers
  • House cleaners
  • Gardening services
  • Handyman services
  • Interior decorators
  • Rental services

Freelancers selling services such as:

  • Consultations
  • Personal assistance
  • Proofreading, editing, translations, website design

Teachers or businesses offering classes, in-person or on Skype, such as:

  • Gourmet cooking classes
  • Advanced computer courses
  • Tutoring…

Tip: The bonus here is that you get paid before your client arrives. Your policy can state that  you do not reimburse those who do not inform you of cancellations 24 hours in advance, thus saving time and money.

How to Allow your Clients to Book your Services Online

1. Start by adding your service to Ecwid then head over to options and add a “Date picker” input type and name the option “Date.”

2. Add a second option named “Time” that consists of a simple text field. This is where your client can let you know the time at which they wish to meet with you. Make sure both of these options are marked as required options.

3. The next thing you need to do is add your electronic calendar to the description. If you have a Google Calendar for example, get the code for your calendar and paste it into your product description (make sure you click on <> on the far right to add code).

4. Add a small explanation in the description for your clients on how to make a reservation (let them know they have to check your calendar before they book with you to make sure you are free). And there you have it!

If you do some basic research online you may notice that solutions enabling the ability to accept online bookings can range between $45 and $300 per month. Most small business or freelancers do not have that kind of money. You now know you can do this for free on Ecwid.

Tip: If you only have a certain amount of spaces available (for a class for example) you can make the stock level correspond to the amount of places you have to offer. The product will state you have no spaces left once the stock reaches zero.

Tip: If you own a small business, collect your clients emails in person and tell them they can make online reservations to save time. You could also offer a discount coupon to encourage first time online reservations!

3. Accept Online Room Reservations

Got extra space in your house that you do not use? Why not rent out that spare room through a Facebook page? Combined with targeted ads, you can growth-hack your way to getting your empty space to make you money.

All you need to know is that each of the rooms you have to rent out has its own calendar.

Using Ecwid to rent space is ideal for:

Bed and breakfasts, motels, companies, and anyone who wants to rent out spare space (that can mean a bedroom but also a garage for bands looking for a place to jam, your backyard for people looking for event space environment, your kitchen for those in need of one, or even a bathroom for people who just can’t find one in the new city they are visiting!). Simply make sure you do this in accordance with local regulations.

How to Accept Online Room Reservations

1. Sign into Ecwid and create a product with the name of the room. Add a “Date” field in the options and a text field called “Time.”

2. Create a Google calendar for each room or space you rent out and add the code from the calendar to your product description and you are done.

Tip: You can add other options with or without extra costs such as cleaning fees, rentals items or meals.

Think Outside the Box when Selling Intangible Goods

You may have noticed you can sell downloadable goods with the paid version of Ecwid. Why not use this awesome feature to sell more than just e-books!

This solution is ideal if:

You sell downloadable products such as (e-books but also):

  • Generic logos
  • Icons
  • Photos
  • Templates
  • Your own music
  • Code
  • Video files
  • Video games
  • Software

How to Sell Intangible Goods

1. Open a paid Ecwid account (all you need is a venture plan) and add your downloadable product:

2. Your client will automatically receive their product once their payment is sent to you.

5. Sell Customizable Goods

Suppose you have a product that can be customized and you want to streamline the choice process for your client. Did you know Ecwid can do this?

I have a client who spent hours searching for a free solution that would combine some sort of survey and payment method. From PayPal buttons to solutions that cost more than $250 a month, nothing tickled his fancy until I introduced him to Ecwid.

Using Ecwid to allow clients to personalise products is ideal for:

  • Those who have a product that can be customized
  • Those wishing to combine a survey and a payment method

How to Sell Customizable Goods

Simply create as many option fields you need to receive all the information you require from your client.

For example, if you sell customizable tea packages, you can add an option called “Tea Base” with the choice of green, white, black or oolong tea. The second option can be an added flavour such as cinnamon, hibiscus, lime, lavender, or rose. The third option may be a text area where your client can add a personalised slogan to their product label. The last option could be the amount they wish to receive (50g at the base price, or 100g for a certain amount more than the base price for example).

Once the order is placed, you will receive your usual automatic email from Ecwid containing all the customised product information.

Why not get Crazy and Mix it Up?!

Why not create a local Fiverr by using Ecwid as a marketplace where freelancers from your city or region can sell their (downloadable) services and work together locally?

Do you dream of creating the next Airbnb? Why not use Ecwid? Combine the marketplace hack with the room renting functionality to create a local or a more-targeted Airbnb!

Got a lot of junk you do not use? How about renting your stuff out with an Ecwid shop? Add a date, time, and pickup location for people to rent your things and start making a profit from your clutter. Leverage Kijiji, Craigslist, and Facebook sales pages to growth-hack your way to rental heaven.

Ecwid is a super-flexible and easy-to-learn shopping cart solution.

All you need is a little imagination to take it above and beyond the already incredible platform it is!

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