ecwid and wordpress
Posted May 28, 2020 by Matt Brown

Why I Use Ecwid for WordPress E-Commerce: Ecwid Review by a Developer

A new project is coming your way. The client wants to add e-commerce capabilities to their business. Maybe they already have a website, maybe they don’t. In either case, they want to start reaching new markets and engaging with new people. They’ve heard WordPress is a brilliant content management system, or are already using it. And that’s why they came to you, an expert in WordPress.

For many WordPress developers, the default choice for e-commerce is almost always Woocommerce. There are many, excellent reasons to choose WooCommerce, but is it always the best choice for you and your client?

As a WordPress developer myself, I would suggest that Ecwid E-commerce might be the best choice.

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Why Ecwid Is an Ideal Choice for WordPress Developers

Here are my two big reasons why Ecwid is an ideal choice for WordPress developers:

  1. It’s in your best interests as a web developer, so you want to sell it.
  2. It’s in the best interests of the majority of small business clients, so it’s an easy sell.

Let’s break these two things down.

Why Recommending Ecwid Might Be in Your Best Interests as a WordPress Developer

Revenue. Plain and simple. Ecwid provides an opportunity to increase your revenue streams while reducing the amount of work needed to earn it.

There are a couple of places this comes into play, subscription revenue, and project revenue.

Subscription revenue

With Ecwid, you have the ability to share in the revenue generated by your client subscriptions through either a referral or reseller model. As a referral partner, you generate a 20% lifetime commission on your clients subscription for the eternity of the subscription. As a reseller, you have the opportunity to receive discounts from 30% up to 50% on Ecwid subscriptions that you resell to your clients. Plus, there is a white label option available for resellers.

Either approach gives you ongoing recurring revenue. Even at 20% as a referral partner, that can build up and become a significant portion of your income with no outlay on your part.

ecwid referral


A review of Ecwid’s referral program

Project revenue

As you’re able to roll out e-commerce projects rapidly, it gives you a few project revenue options. And when compared to deploying other e-commerce platforms that integrate neatly with WordPress. Ecwid can be deployed much faster and it’s free for the basic plan.

If you can do it with no subscription cost for small clients, or clients who aren’t totally convinced — you’ll have even more choices. A reduced need for managing instruction manuals for each client can also help to increase your margins.

You could:

  1. Sell cheaper and aim to attract a higher volume of clients whom you generate subscription revenue from.
  2. Sell at the same price as other platforms and take home higher margins.
  3. Sell at a higher price to deploy in shorter time frames.
  4. Resell Ecwid in “custom” plans that incorporate additional services you provide. Such as content management, hosting for the WordPress part of their website, or their domain registration.
  5. Upsell existing clients on an option that can help them start selling online.
  6. Upsell new clients who were not planning on offering e-commerce.
  7. Reduce the cost risk for clients with free e-commerce trials.

Why Ecwid Might Be in Your Clients Best Interest

It doesn’t make sense to recommend a platform to your WordPress clients that isn’t right for them. It’s harder to sell, and they’ll know if you don’t genuinely think it is the best solution for them. To be completely honest, Ecwid won’t be the best e-commerce platform for all projects. For the majority of clients that fall into the small business category though, it should be a top contender.

Why?

Ecwid is simple

Ecwid was founded and continues to be built with small businesses in mind. As a result, the platform is very simple, built so that pretty much anyone with any level of experience can use it. At the same time, the platform is still very powerful under the hood.

ecwid plugin


customer review of Ecwid E-commerce Shopping Cart plugin for WordPress

This simplicity feeds into the next two reasons that Ecwid is a great choice for your clients: trainability and deployability.

Consistent training resources with built-in support

Small business owners don’t have a lot of time to spend learning systems, they need to be able to run through a quick training session and learn the system easily. This isn’t just a one-off thing though. As staff turnover occurs, new team members need to be trained. And, as software updates happen, existing team members may also need a training update.

As Ecwid is a software-as-a-service application, everything is managed in the cloud and each website is essentially the same. Ecwid develops documentation and help resources to accompany each update, and major changes usually have a guide available to help your clients understand the changes. To top it off, clients can get support directly from Ecwid in their dashboard.

To bring it back to the key point here, new employees can be quickly upskilled from within Ecwid itself. And existing employees don’t need special attention each time an update is installed, everything they need is right there in the Ecwid dashboard.

Ecwid can be deployed in minutes

It’s entirely possible to set up Ecwid, including payments and shipping configurations in less than 5 minutes, ready to begin adding products. There aren’t many other platforms that can make this kind of claim for e-commerce.

Being able to get a client selling on their existing website (or on a new Ecwid hosted site) in 5 minutes, and selling across their Facebook and Instagram accounts almost as fast means you can accelerate deployment of your entire service suite. Clients love web developers that offer fast turnarounds. Ecwid allows you to give them exactly that.


Ecwid merchants can sell their products on Facebook (Image: ANNA Cake Couture)

Ecwid is adaptable

Small businesses change more frequently than big corporations, and tend to be more significantly affected in emergency situations.

As COVID-19 has demonstrated, the ability to quickly pivot is necessary. Using Ecwid, it has been possible to add e-commerce capabilities to client websites (or launch a website for the first time) in a matter of minutes. Restaurants, cafes, butchers, bakers and other businesses have been able to rapidly begin taking pickup orders online without needing to enter an agreement with major aggregators like Menulog and UberEats.

In a different situation, a business that I worked with in the past deployed a “Coming soon” page while we worked on their overall site design. That coming soon page had Ecwid embedded in it, allowing customers to order while the rest of the website was in the works.

It doesn’t really matter what the scenario, as businesses adapt, Ecwid can adapt with them.

ecwid online ordering


Urban Soul Foods is one of many restaurants that used Ecwid to switch to online ordering during COVID-19

Ecwid is portable

Most e-commerce platforms become a “hub” for your online sales. Yes, integrations with Facebook, Instagram, eBay, Amazon and others are available on most platforms now. But those platforms lock clients into keeping their website with that specific platform. It can become a real headache if they need to migrate between e-commerce systems in order to meet the needs of their business, and while Ecwid is no exception to this, Ecwid is portable.

Ecwid has been built to serve as a “hub” like other systems. And at the same time, it has been built to do this without locking businesses into a particular website system. Instead, it is portable and travels with the business.

Deploying an e-commerce website without an existing website? No problem, use the Ecwid Instant Site. Starting a new WordPress site? No problem, bring your Ecwid store with you without any downtime. Switch WordPress developers and lose access to their old site for some reason? No problem. Build a new one and Ecwid will come with the business. If your client decides to leave WordPress for another content management system, that doesn’t matter either. Ecwid will bring their e-commerce sales and integrate seamlessly.


An Ecwid store on a WordPress website (Image: The Letter Box)

Ecwid can handle the pressure

One of the big challenges for small businesses, especially as they grow, is hosting stability. As developers, we often see new clients who have a website hosted on a cheap shared hosting platform that isn’t optimised for their content management system. This is fine while their traffic is low, but when they have a traffic spike, or their traffic starts to increase overall, there are problems.

More traffic means more server load. This brings the risk of servers returning error 500 messages. Many shared hosts will limit or suspend websites that put too much load on the server and so all of a sudden, success becomes failure with a website unable to load at a time of peak demand.

Utilising Ecwid for the e-commerce functions of a website means the heavier load is processed by Ecwid servers instead of the client’s web server. Ecwid engineers invest countless hours optimising, upgrading, streamlining and improving both the hardware and the code that powers Ecwid stores. Efforts like these result in a stable platform that doesn’t crash under pressure. That alone is worth every cent of an Ecwid subscription.

Ecwid is secure

As with stability, Ecwid’s team invests heavily in security for the platform. It is a closed-source platform, and as WordPress developers, we don’t necessarily like that. However, it’s not really about us is it? It’s about what is going to be best for the specific client we are working with. And generally, small businesses don’t really care about security. They should, but they tend to be stretched so thin that it isn’t on their radar.

Extra costs to WordPress for web application firewalls, ongoing security patches, malware remediation, and of course, the extra load that malicious attacks can place on their web servers all add up, especially when e-commerce is involved. Ecwid saves a lot of time, money and heartache by putting security in the hands of the expert engineers that develop the platform. As a WordPress developer, I like to think I know a lot about WordPress security and ensuring client websites are sufficiently hardened against attacks. But at the end of the day, I’ll never be as good as the Ecwid security team is.

If you take e-commerce out of the WordPress equation, it reduces the number of plugins you are going to need. This in turn reduces the number of potential vulnerabilities in the software and reduces costs to clients.

Let’s say their WordPress site got hacked while using WooCommerce. There is most likely going to be data breach concerns, privacy issues, notifications to customers, and reporting to government authorities. It’s a big deal.

What about if their WordPress website got hacked while using Ecwid? No problem, Ecwid security is separated from WordPress and uses separate authentication, keeping customer data safe. Even in the event that a malicious attack completely trashed the WordPress website and you couldn’t recover from their backups, Ecwid has your back. You can switch on the Ecwid Instant Site for your client and they can keep on selling like nothing happened while you build a new WordPress site for them.


An example of Ecwid Instant Site

Ecwid is virtually maintenance free

WordPress is constantly striving to improve the update process, but, there is always the risk of something breaking. A minor theme change and after the next WooCommerce update, your clients get warnings about out of date template files that need resolving.

There are systems aimed at improving the management of WordPress maintenance. GoDaddy Plus, WPMUdev Hub, and others. However, they can’t guarantee everything will go right. I’ve had corrupted updates occur using these platforms, themes break, servers returning error messages. And doing updates manually doesn’t avoid these problems either. Then there are staging sites and migrating to production. In the development world, this is par for the course, but it doesn’t have to be.

Maintenance on a WordPress website running Ecwid for e-commerce is about as close to maintenance nirvana as I’ve found.

Ecwid updates very rarely require any developer intervention, which just leaves WordPress. Without e-commerce plugins, there is much less to update and much less to break. If something does break, it’s usually easier to identify and fix.

Talk about a weight off your shoulders!

Ecwid is affordable

WordPress itself is quite light on a web server, but it can become very CPU and memory intensive when e-commerce is added. And with that, it brings a cost. I’ve seen many times where clients like Tone ProShop were spending a lot on powerful hosting for their e-commerce website and even then, they still experienced server errors during traffic spikes. When we switch clients like these over to WordPress with Ecwid, we almost always see their combined hosting cost plus Ecwid subscription cost come down to less than what they were spending on hosting alone.

Factor in other cost reductions like maintenance, web application firewalls and malware remediation, and costs often come down even further.

Being able to start with a free subscription and then upgrade (or downgrade again) as needed keeps costs down and allows clients to spend only what they absolutely need. Mix in your deployment fees and clients can walk away with a cost effective up-front solution that has low ongoing costs.

Summing it Up

Ecwid is a powerful, but simple e-commerce tool that flexes with the needs of your small business clients. As a platform, it offers a unique approach to the e-commerce space that you, as a WordPress developer, can leverage to generate more revenue in your business.

Compared to other e-commerce platforms, Ecwid is ideally suited to the needs of small businesses and hits their pain points head on. It won’t be the perfect solution for every client, but it will be the best option for most businesses in the small business space. What this means for you — the ability to truly leverage Ecwid E-commerce to build up your clients while building your own business at the same time.

About the author
Matt Brown founded TerraMedia in 2008 to help small businesses and nonprofits grow online with WordPress and digital marketing.
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