New Feature for Ecwid Merchants: Starter Site

Jul 23, 2014 by Matt Kuritsyn, Ecwid Team
Posted Jul 23, 2014 by Matt Kuritsyn, Ecwid Team

One of the unique Ecwid features is that you can add it to any DIY sitebuilder, blog, custom-build web site or a Facebook page with a few lines of code. If you have any web presence, you can embed your Ecwid store on it. Today, we’re glad to announce a new Ecwid feature that allows you to start selling online in minutes even if you don’t yet have a web site. Please welcome Starter Site — a nice mobile friendly one-page web site with a built-in Ecwid store.

A quick way to start selling online

We always strive to make Ecwid the best e-commerce solution for small businesses and for those merchants who are just starting to sell online. Ecwid is feature rich, easy to use and can be installed on any sitebuilder or blog platform in a few minutes, so beginners can launch their first online shop with almost zero investment. Today, we have more than 500,000 registered merchants around the world. More and more, musicians, writers, hand crafters, coffee shops owners, photographers and various other businesses choose Ecwid to build their online store. Some merchants do not have any web presence, yet they want to start selling as soon as possible. To help them start selling online quickly, we created Starter Site.

See Starter Site in action in our demo store: mdemo.ecwid.com

Starter Site is a basic one-page web site with a built-in shopping cart. This feature is now available to every Ecwid user out-of-the-box: create an Ecwid account, add a few products to your store and voila — you already have a nice ready-to-go web page with your store onboard. Give your Starter Site a name in your Ecwid Control Panel (e.g. “mysuperstore”) and go check out your new site at mysuperstore.ecwid.com. Well, “mysuperstore” is apparently already in use by me, so please choose something else. By the way, “thebeststoreintheworld” is available, so hurry up! Paid Ecwid users can further brand their Starter Site by assigning a custom domain name, so the store address will read as “www.mysuperstore.com” .

Starter Site

ready-to-go mobile friendly storefront

Mobile commerce is on the rise and we at Ecwid believe that every online store should have a mobile-ready storefront. It is especially important for those starting their businesses online — while you don’t have much traffic and many sales, it’s crucial to keep every single customer regardless of the device they’re using to access your store.

That’s why Starter Site and Ecwid are mobile-optimized and look good on any device: laptops, tablets, or smartphones.
Starter Site on iPhone

If you added your store to your existing website and don’t use Starter Site as your main web presence, you can still use Starter Site as your separate mobile storefront. It is convenient if your website isn’t responsive and doesn’t look good on mobile devices.

If you have Ecwid embedded on a website with a mobile ready layout, you don’t need to do anything — thanks to Ecwid responsive design your store will adapt to any device automatically.

As your store grows…

Starter Site is available for all Ecwid merchants, so you already have your own Starter Site that will always work for you. However, as your store grows, you’ll want to add extra pages, custom navigation, forums/feedback/contact us sections, blogs/news and so on  that will be the time for you to create your own web site. And that’s great! Ecwid is ready to grow with you: with Ecwid, you can copy your whole store to a new web site and start selling there in a few clicks. Your products, sales and store settings will remain intact. That is where one of the unique Ecwid features comes to the scene: you can easily add your Ecwid store to several web sites at the same time and keep all your products, orders, customers and store settings synchronized across your storefronts. So, when you’re ready to go with your own web site, you’ll embed your storefront and continue selling with no downtime.

To build your own web site and extend your online presence with new pages and features, we recommend using one of the various sitebuilder/CMS solutions, to which you can add your Ecwid store:

Embed Ecwid on your site

Whether you just started selling online or are an experienced web guru, Ecwid provides you with an easy way to create an online shop and start selling in minutes.

FAQ

What is Starter Site? How can I get one?

Starter Site is a basic one-page web site with Ecwid’s cart and checkout onboard, which is fully hosted and maintained by Ecwid. It’s available for every existing and new Ecwid user, so you can start selling as soon as you create an Ecwid account. No extra actions required — if you have an Ecwid account, you already have your Starter Site.

Starter Site provides a fast and simple web presence for those Ecwid users who don’t have their own web site. If you have your own web site, blog or prefer to sell from Facebook, you don’t need Starter Site — just continue using Ecwid. Business as usual. If you’re in the beginning of creating your business online and don’t yet have your own web presence, Starter Site will be your first site.

How can I brand my Starter Site?

Your Starter Site looks great as soon as you create an Ecwid account and add a few products to your store. Still, you may want to customize your Starter Site’s look and feel to make it more representative of your business. You can update the Starter Site settings in your Ecwid Control Panel at System Settings —> General —> Starter Site.

Set your own name for your Starter Site

1. Starter Site URL
Your Starter Site link by default appears as “store[store id].ecwid.com” where store id is your store’s unique ID. We recommend you change the URL address to something you like so your store has a unique domain. Of course, you’re not limited to Ecwid’s domain when naming your site. Ecwid paid users can assign their own domain to their Ecwid Starter Site so that the site URL will look like www.thebeststoreintheworld.com — you will find the instructions on the Starter Site setting page.

2. Starter Site logo
Navigate to the Starter Site settings page and upload the picture that will be displayed in the header of your Starter Site.

3. Advanced design modifications of the Starter Site
As any Ecwid storefront, your Starter Site is super flexible when it comes to design customization. You can change styles of any text, buttons and other blocks of your storefront by means of CSS modifications. Find more details on the matter in our Help center.

Where can I find a mobile version of my Ecwid store?

One of the key Ecwid features — responsive design — makes every Ecwid storefront look good on any device your customers use. Ecwid automatically detects when a screen is narrow and adjusts accordingly, ensuring that the online store displays optimally. So, if your site itself is mobile-friendly, you can embed your Ecwid store on it, and your store will become mobile-friendly. If you don’t have a mobile-optimized web site, you can use Ecwid Starter Site as a mobile version of your store. Starter Site looks cool on any device, so you will just need to provide your mobile customers with a link to your Starter Site and you’re done.

Where is the old “simple-store” version of my Ecwid storefront?

Many Ecwid users remember so-called “simple-store” version — a simple stand alone web page with a product browser, cart and checkout. Those who don’t have their own web site probably even used simple-store version as the main storefront. From this point of view, the simple-store is an ancestor of Starter Site.

Starter Site is a better simple store. It’s a simple store on steroids: Starter Site looks better, it is more responsive and resides on cleaner URLs which improves your customers’ experience and drives engagement. All product and category links automatically migrate to the corresponding Starter Site links to ensure a smooth transition. So, you may consider this transition as an instant upgrade of your simple-store site to a nice-looking one-page web site with all of your products, store settings and shopping cart features remaining intact.

What happened to the plain HTML version of my store for mobile devices (Mobile catalog)?

The mobile catalog version has been upgraded to Starter Site as well.

Previously, every Ecwid store had one more representation of Ecwid storefront — a lightweight plain HTML version of Ecwid store, which we also used to call “mobile catalog for feature phones”. Some of you placed a link to your Ecwid HTML catalog on your sites for the visitors with old mobile phones. This purpose defined the look and functionality of that HTML version — it was a very basic version of your shop with plain texts, buttons and navigation. It lacked great Ecwid features available on regular storefronts and slowly became obsolete.

The market for users of “feature phones” has been cannibalized by users with smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Moreover, the studies indicated that most of these users don’t browse web on their devices. So, it’s time to move on. We upgraded the old mobile catalogs to Starter Site — no actions are required from your side. You can rest assured all of your links and navigation will continue working well. We redirected all of the mobile catalog pages to the corresponding pages of your Starter Site, so all of your customers will get to the desired page with no trouble.

I want to add more features to my Starter Site: more pages, a contact form, a blog, etc. What should I do?

Starter Site was designed to provide a quick and painless way to start selling for those who don’t have a web site yet. A merchant can register an Ecwid account and start selling online in minutes — that’s why it’s so easy-to-use and lighting fast.

To extend and personalize your web presence, you may want to add extra features or content (e.g. a blog, contact form or custom menu). At this point, you should consider using one of the sitebuilders or CMS systems widely available on the web (e.g. Yola , Wix, WordPress, Joomla or others). That would be an easy switch for you since Ecwid is compatible with any sitebuilder. You’ll get access to the new site building features while keeping all of your store products and settings intact. Just add your existing Ecwid store to your new site and continue selling with no downtime.

About The Author
Matt is a product manager at Ecwid. He works with the Ecwid dev team and helps them shipping the right features for Ecwid merchants. Outside of work, Matt likes travelling and climbing the mountains.

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