Ever since we launched Snipcart, we heard numerous times about Ecwid, a popular e-commerce platform that's been around for a while. Like many other solutions (ours, Selz, etc.), Ecwid enables shopping directly on your own website, as opposed to trapping you inside a closed website builder platform. It even allows you to sell on a bunch of different sales channels.
Since our products share a similar mission, we've received a few relevant questions from users on a quest for their perfect e-commerce solution:
How does Snipcart differ from Ecwid? Is it as easy to use on my website as Ecwid is?
In this Snipcart vs. Ecwid review, we'll try to provide an honest answer to these questions. We'll do so by highlighting marketing & technical differences, and defining which types of users best fits each solution. So let's get to it.
What is Ecwid?
Launched in 2009, Ecwid is a simple e-commerce platform for merchants who want to sell on their sites, social channels, marketplaces or even on-the-go. So it aims at diversifying sales channels for merchants, but also at providing a free way for up-and-coming merchants to sell online.
With a few simple lines of code and helpful integration wizards, you can add a full storefront to any of your web properties. You can then manage all of your e-commerce operations and settings inside an Ecwid control panel.
What is Snipcart?
See the GitHub repo for this custom cart example.
At the end of 2019, the team released Snipcart v3.0, enabling even more template customization flexibility for developers and ditching any tech dependencies (bye-bye jQuery!).
How much do they cost?
Ecwid offers 4 different plans for merchants, the most popular and promoted being their FREE plan (where your only charges are payment gateway fees). It lets you sell up to 10 different products exclusively on your site (no social), with limited access to their whole features set. Hence, it operates on a freemium model. We'll discuss its specifics further down the post.
2% + payment gateway fees (2.9% + 30 cents)/transaction
With Snipcart's standard pricing, you pay 2% of monthly transactions, plus payment gateway fees. If, say, you were using Stripe as a gateway for your Snipcart, your total pricing would be: 4.9% + 30 cents / transaction.
Note: The 2% can't go under 10$ per month. We also offer custom-tailored monthly pricing for merchants with high-volume & seasonal sales. See our pricing page for details.
Ecwid & Snipcart review: use cases both e-commerce solutions handle
While they don't target the exact same user base and don't operate the same way on a technical level, Snipcart & Ecwid share many similarities.
In a way, they even share one fundamental goal: allowing merchants to enable e-commerce on any website without trapping them into a closed ecosystem. This can be done thanks to a simple injection of code in the source code of your website. Obviously, the two platforms will greatly reduce headaches and problems when migrating your site later on. They're also perfect for enabling e-commerce on an existing site, quickly.
Both solutions allow you to sell products on different web properties with no external URL checkout redirection, and manage your operations from a single place. And both offer real-time shipping estimations so your customers don't get bad shipping fees surprises during or after checkout.
Each of them can be used to add products and a shopping cart system to an existing site. With both of them, you:
Get control and freedom over your own website (design/development/hosting)*
Get your online shop up and running in minutes only
Get access to a complete merchant dashboard for e-commerce operations management
Sell products on an international scale
Process secure online transactions
Can offer customer accounts
Offer a responsive shopping experience
*Ecwid also offers a simple site builder for merchants without a site.
You'll have the ability to translate shopping cart and storefront into most languages (45 languages for Ecwid / locales for Snipcart). And Snipcart & Ecwid are already integrated with different shipping providers and payment gateways to run your e-commerce business. Snipcart also lets developers manually integrate with any payment gateway. This is done through the custom payment gateway feature.
Important distinctions between Ecwid & Snipcart
Snipcart only supports credit cards and deferred payments. For merchants (or customers) who prefer other "old school-ish" payment methods to the commonly used credit cards, Ecwid supports:
Snipcart is forever free in development and test mode only. Charges apply as soon as live transactions begin.
With Ecwid, of course, there's no denying that selling actual stuff on your site for FREE—well, just the payment gateway fees—is pretty cool!
And their free plan will probably do the trick if you're just starting out, and don't need the following:
Abandoned cart saver
Automated tax calculations
Android and iOS store management app
Social media tools
The above are only accessible on paid plans with Ecwid (15-99$/month).
Social selling & marketplaces
Ecwid allows you to sell on social media and marketplaces too. If your target audience responds well to social marketing & shopping, that might be a big plus for you! Right now, Snipcart does not support these use cases.
Note: We're definitely interested in experimenting with these sales channels. But we've never gotten any requests for integrating them. So since we're still a small team, we tend to prioritize key features adding direct value to our merchants' online businesses!
Apps & extensions
Ecwid also offers, like many other e-commerce platforms we reviewed (WooCommerce, Shopify Buy Button), an app marketplace to enable more features for your Ecwid store. Again, the difference with Snipcart is that you either already have access to the features you want, or you code a little to extend Snipcart—with APIs & webhooks—and get it working.
Here's a quick overview of some features you'd need to get through paid apps or a bigger plan on Ecwid that Snipcart offers natively in its standard pricing:
Simple and advanced discount scenarios
Subscriptions and recurring payments
Abandoned carts retrieval
Real-time shipping estimates
Sales & orders analytics + reports
Integration & performance: technical differences
With Ecwid, you start by injecting a whole "Product Browser" widget, which creates a listing of your products, and individual product pages.
You then add 3 other code widgets (Categories, Additional Shopping Bag, and Search box).
These 4 widgets make up Ecwid's "storefront". You'll also find CMS-specific widgets for WordPress, Wix, Joomla, etc.
If you want to quickly add a product to a page, you can also add simple buy buttons to any page/content with Ecwid.
So your products are handled and created directly in the Ecwid control panel, then automatically added to your Product Browser and storefront. Ecwid injects products and specific, full layouts on your site that make for a relatively pre-defined shopping UX (see earlier .gif). It also triggers more scripts and necessitates more resources and load time for your content to show in the browser.
Snipcart, on the other hand, lets you decide how you want to organize the whole shopping experience: from product listing, pages, buy buttons, cart behaviour, checkout, etc.
Store & cart customization
Ecwid's storefront is customizable using CSS, pre-made templates, paid Ecwid themes, or Ecwid Chameleon skins (matches WordPress users' theme branding). All of the design elements present in the storefront can be removed or changed using CSS.
However, the cart summary and checkout pages themselves pretty much end up looking the same throughout Ecwid sites. If you're okay with the product grid view, product detail pages, and checkout pages flow, this might not be an issue for you.
Snipcart, on the other end, offers way more customization possibilities over the shopping UX. It doesn't force any layouts on your own site and lets you customize the shopping cart's look, feel, and behaviour to your liking. To which extent you're ready to put the time & effort on customization is up to you.
So there's a notion of control and development freedom that's much more present with Snipcart. And that's not better nor worse: we believe they're just different solutions for different people. We'll elaborate in the final section.
So this might be a bit of a hiccup if driving organic traffic and earning relevant rankings in search engines is important to your online marketing strategy.
On the other hand, Snipcart doesn't affect how your content and pages are displayed at all. You're totally in control of meta tags, URLs, title tags, link/navigation structure, etc. So if the developer building your site and Snipcart store knows what he's doing when it comes to SEO, you're good!
Conclusion: Ecwid vs. Snipcart review
In the end, we believe that while they may share a few similarities, both solutions are simply not aimed at the same "persona." Starting merchants who seek low costs & zero risks, to test different e-commerce waters for instance, will find value in Ecwid for sure. Its ease of use (no developer needed) and super simple onboarding will definitely please them.
But merchants looking to create a more authentic, custom online store and optimize the shopping experience on their e-commerce site might find it limiting in some ways. They might prefer to team up with a developer and use Snipcart to set up the authentic e-commerce experience they are really after.
Ecwid will allow you to easily try a bunch of cool different stuff with almost zero risks: selling on a site, selling on social media, on marketplaces, on your mobile phone, etc.
Snipcart, on the other hand, will allow you to focus more seriously on one thing: creating a solid, unique, and scalable e-commerce experience on your site.
And now, you pick what's best for you!
Here's hoping this post sheds some light on the fundamental differences between Ecwid and Snipcart. If you enjoyed it and found it valuable, take a second to share it on Twitter. If you believe we've missed some key points, by all means, let us know! We'd also love to know your thoughts and experiences with either Snipcart or Ecwid in the comments.