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Old 09-28-2009, 12:42 PM
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Ecwid technical support and business model


Our main goal with Ecwid is to make it possible for our clients to have a top quality web store and yet have very low running costs.

We have analyzed all types of expenses that users of "classic" PHP solutions have either in terms of money or time invested.

The time/money spending factors you have when you use PHP/ASP/whatever e-commerce software were:

1. Server requirements and server compatibility problems.

Server configuration differs from host to host that might result in problems when you install "classic" shopping cart software, like X-Cart.
Moreover, if it's already running fine, no one guarantees that it will continue to be that way after the UNIX admin of your hosting decides to reconfigure or upgrade PHP,MySQL, GDlib or anything else.

There is a solution for that, and the solution is to use X-Cart Hosting or a third party web hosting listed at the X-Cart Marketplace. The admins of those hostings care about X-Cart and make sure that the environment is X-Cart compatible.

But that's not a cheap solution. So, to drive this price component down, Ecwid is hosted at our servers in Amazon EC Cloud Hosting. This takes away all compatibility woes and performance issues. Ecwid is optimized for high speed and load tolerance.

2. Learning curve and technical skills.

Most "classic" e-commerce solutions take quite a while to get acquainted with. Moreover, they might require PHP and even sometimes UNIX knowledge to manage.

Ecwid was designed to make it possible for everyone to use it easily. We also have intentionally not included manual. We think that if it needs a manual - it's too complex already. We tried to make the interfaces obvious and easy to use. Wherever we discover a place that is hard to understand, we'll try to either change the interface or add inline help.

That saves time (and money) for our customers.

3. Design integration.

All PHP software, whether it's a shopping cart, forum or affiliate system is absolutely sure that this software IS the site. The whole site. PHP software does not think about the other software. Or the articles you might have. Or your previous web content. The reality is different. There are a lot of components in most sites. Take www.ecwid.com as an example. It has the forum software you look at right now. It has a bug-tracking software. And both are designed to work as a separate web site. It took us a while to make them look as a native part of www.ecwid.com. It took MONTHS to get the site together.

The only part of our site that took us just 5 minutes to add is Ecwid Demo. We've just added the widgets, that's it. Oh well, it took us one more day to add floating hints showing widget boundaries.

If you take "classic" cart and try to add it to your site, you'll have to make it look like your site.

With Ecwid, you don't. You just add Ecwid - and the rest of your site works as before. If you want to add news, forums, articles, whatever - you just go ahead and do that just like you did before Ecwid.

I know design integration takes lot of time and money. But not with Ecwid.

4. Upgrading.

It's a pain with any customized PHP application. And you usually HAVE TO customize your PHP program. Whoever tried to upgrade a modded PHP software knows that it might require a lot of time or money.

With Ecwid, upgrades are seamless. We just change the software on our servers. And you don't have to change anything on your site. Because if you needed some features added - you've already added them to THE SITE around Ecwid, not Ecwid itself. Ecwid just provides the catalog/shopping experience.

And if we release a new version - you will have it, instantly. With all the features and fixes.

5. Support

Our way of bringing running costs down for our customers is to make a software that does not need technical support. However, there still might be a need to help someone set up Ecwid. With X-Cart, we provide paid private technical support services. And that's good because you always have someone who is ready to help you.

But the problem is: our engineers solve the same problems and answer the same questions again and again. For each customer, separately. That drives costs up and the costs are finally paid by the customers, either in support charges or license fees.

With Ecwid we decided that as our software is hosted at our servers anyway, we can just help all of the customers at once. That saves resources. So, we are not planning to provide paid technical support with Ecwid. We'll just answer questions on forums and that is going to help us reuse the answers. And we hope that community will form and will answer some of the questions instead of the engineers, further helping to increase quality and bring the costs down for all of us.

So please please don't use the "Contact Us" form for technical support needs. Just use the forums. You'll get the answer faster.
  #2  
Old 09-28-2009, 12:57 PM
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... and now we can come to the business model question. "Why free? Where's the catch? Why did you release Ecwid?". I thought I've answered this in FAQ, but I'll answer this once again.

We are a company. A private company and all the funds invested in our software: F-Cart, X-Cart, LiteCommerce, Sales-n-Stats are, for the biggest part, my personal money.

And yes, it's a business. And yes, I want the invested funds to come back and yes we need to be profitable.

So, why did we release free Ecwid when we already have customers paying us for X-Cart?

Because I believe that what we called "Ecwid" is the best way to help our customers to create web stores. I believe this is our way to generate as much value for you as we can.
And I also believe, that income and money follow the value generated.

And why is Ecwid free ?

Well, consider this: We made Ecwid fast and efficient, requiring very little maintenance. We did that to make Ecwid better for you. But the very same thing saves money for us: it costs us very low to keep Ecwid running.

But I can't say the same about the money and time invested in creating Ecwid. Currently, Ecwid running costs divided by the number of users are very very tiny fraction of Ecwid development costs divided by the same number.

Currently, even if Ecwid were a paid service worth $50/month, we would not turn profit. And why charge anyone if our whole idea was to bring the customers' running costs down? So, Ecwid is free.

However, it is designed to be able to handle a lot of customers. And once we have mass customers, the development costs per user will become very low. We would be able to continue providing free Ecwid to the users who want the basic thing, charge Premium customers, say $20/month - and generate profit. That would make our ultimate goal of providing high quality yet cost effective solution come true.

So that's our plan. Please help it come true by sharing the info about Ecwid.
  #3  
Old 10-02-2009, 01:33 PM
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If ecwid is planning to charge $20/month it is bit a lot. Ecwid might wanna think of lowering monthly price to $5 which is more affordable.
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sambamu View Post
If ecwid is planning to charge $20/month it is bit a lot. Ecwid might wanna think of lowering monthly price to $5 which is more affordable.
Better than $5: we plan to keep free accounts available.

Last edited by ginger; 05-08-2017 at 09:50 AM.
  #5  
Old 10-02-2009, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sambamu View Post
If ecwid is planning to charge $20/month it is bit a lot. Ecwid might wanna think of lowering monthly price to $5 which is more affordable.
I would humbly disagree, $20 a month is as cheap as the basic hosting plus SSL, and should be easily covered by only having one or two sales a month. And if you are not making two sales a month, perhaps you are better off selling on eBay or not selling at all.

In fact I think tiered membership is a great thing, you pay only for features that you use. Start at $5 or Free, pay more as you sell more. Pay a lot more for all bells and whistles. You can count on me!
  #6  
Old 10-02-2009, 08:57 PM
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I would agree with Yrik that even $5 - $15/ month is not unreasonable fee for a first class solution. If you add dedicated IP (needed for SSL certificate to work: at $5/month) and SSL certificate at $10.00/month we already spend $15.00 a month already on top of hosting charges, so is just a matter of who do you give your money to.
  #7  
Old 11-30-2009, 09:15 PM
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heroixmarketing heroixmarketing is offline
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Question Does "Free" Include the back end hosting?

I'm confused by something - Ecwid shopping cart is free - but you use amazon cloud servers for hosting - do we have to pay the amazon cloud fee, or does ecwid pay that? So is it free to run as well as set up?? Thanks.
  #8  
Old 12-01-2009, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heroixmarketing View Post
I'm confused by something - Ecwid shopping cart is free - but you use amazon cloud servers for hosting - do we have to pay the amazon cloud fee, or does ecwid pay that? So is it free to run as well as set up?? Thanks.
You don't need to pay anything. Ecwid shopping cart is free, setup is free and you can use it for free.
You even don't need to puchase hosting, you can use Ecwid with free Google Sites or Blogger.
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2009, 09:50 PM
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Ecwid Made Easy.com Ecwid Made Easy.com is offline
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I think that you have the perfect business model with the FREE and PAID versions.


People who want a basic online shop can use the FREE version and then when their shop grows they are likely to need "extra features" and by that time the shop will be generating money to justify the extra cost.
  #10  
Old 10-10-2013, 08:49 PM
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Hello!
Is there any way to be guided through how to set up a URL to link my customers directly to my ecwid store? I don't want to stop using Ecwid, or have to rebuild a whole new website with online shopping cart elsewhere, but it is killing my sales when my customers who want to type the link into a browser vs. just clicking on it, see how long it is the original URL to my store now is. I am not technologically savvy, and don't even know whether or not this is possible.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 
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