We're listing WooCommerce first because the odds are good that, if you've been considering Ecwid, you're already looking at WooCommerce as well. It's similar in functionality in the sense that it's a plugin to add eCommerce to an existing site, although WooCommerce is specifically for WordPress and not for other site builders. Still, with the popularity of WordPress, WooCommerce has a massive userbase even if it can't be used on outside websites. WooCommerce also doesn't provide an equivalent to the free Ecwid Starter Site, instead focusing purely on bringing eCommerce to WordPress.
Many online sellers love WooCommerce because of its relative ease of use, expandability via plugins, and free price tag. Just remember that in order to use it, you'll need to pay for WordPress hosting, find themes and plugins that are compatible with WooCommerce, and keep a close eye on your setup to ensure everything is working correctly. In fact, the biggest disadvantage of WooCommerce is the strong variation in quality, price, and support for the different plugins you'll need, along with the usual issues inherent in running an open-source platform for your store. It's best if you have some level of technical knowledge to ensure everything keeps working.
WooCommerce includes much more eCommerce functionality than Ecwid, and can be expanded with other plugins.
Considering how much more you can do with WooCommerce than with Ecwid, its value is clear, even if you strictly compare it to the free Ecwid plan.
If you want any custom features for your website, it's much easier to find a great WordPress/WooCommerce developer than to find one for Ecwid.
Magento is another eCommerce platform business owners often look at when planning their websites. It's similar to WooCommerce in that it's free and open-source, but also has a hosted option available. Magento is known as a more heavy-duty eCommerce platform and some business owners choose it because they plan to scale up and want to choose a permanent solution early on. Likewise, you may be considering it if you've decided both Ecwid and WooCommerce are a bit too small-scale for your ambitions.
Magento is definitely a powerful and feature-rich eCommerce platform, but it does have some significant issues that you may struggle with. It's definitely not user-friendly for beginners, and businesses get the most from it when they're able to devote staff and resources to in-house development. It often slows down to a crawl when a store has a large number of products, and doesn't handle traffic particularly well, either. It takes a lot of work and good server hardware to mitigate these problems, which is why Magento is more functional for larger businesses.
Magento has so many more features than Ecwid that it's hard to count them all.
Magento is open source, with numerous developers available to design your store and add custom features, as long as you can afford their prices.
Magento is made for bigger stores, which makes it hard to use for new businesses, but a better choice than Ecwid for growth.
Volusion is different from the previously described solutions because it's SaaS, meaning Software as a Service. SaaS platforms include web hosting, software updates, and everything else that a website owner would need to handle on their own if they were using a self-hosted platform like WordPress or Magento. With SaaS eCommerce software, you simply create your account, log in, and go.
Volusion is considered to be one of the easiest eCommerce platforms to use, with clear workflows for everything. However, some users feel it's a bit too simplified, making it harder to perform advanced configurations. It does include a good number of features, but some important functionality is locked behind higher-tier plans.
Volusion has better eCommerce functionality than Ecwid, although it doesn't have as many features as some other solutions on this page.
The website you can build with Volusion is far superior to the free site available with Ecwid
Volusion gives you more features for your money than Ecwid.
Even if you haven't heard of some of the other eCommerce solutions in this list, you've probably heard of Shopify. It's one of the most famous SaaS eCommerce platforms available today, and it definitely has its upsides. Shopify is easy to use and can create a much better website than Ecwid, and has more features too.
However, there are some important issues you should know about before you decide to use Shopify. It does have a decent feature count, but many important ones are missing and will need to be added to your store with third-party apps that can add up to significant costs. It also charges transaction fees for every sale unless you use Shopify Payments, its proprietary payment processor. Unfortunately, Shopify Payments may not be available to your business, as it's inappropriate for certain industries and only works in a few countries, and Shopify has also been known to suspend its use without warning. Be careful!
Shopify has more features than Ecwid, although you're likely to need additional paid apps to get full functionality.
Shopify stores are much better than free Ecwid sites, since you'll be able to create a multi-page site with your choice of several themes.
Shopify's pricing is not the best, but you do get more for your money than with Ecwid.
BigCommerce is another popular SaaS eCommerce platform that is superior to Volusion and Shopify in several ways — it has more features, no transaction fees, and less of a need for extra-charge apps. It does have the steepest learning curve of any eCommerce software on this page besides Magento (and possibly WooCommerce, depending on how comfortable you are with WordPress).
BigCommerce's biggest disadvantage is in its pricing. Business owners lost a lot of trust in BigCommerce when it adjusted its plans a few years ago and vastly increased everyone's monthly fee, and while time has passed, the concern remains that a similar event may take place in the future. BigCommerce also uses a restrictive revenue tier system (as does Volusion) that forces an upgrade to the next plan once a certain sales number is met over the course of a year. While many SaaS eCommerce platforms use such a system, BigCommerce's tiers are low enough that businesses often need to upgrade before they feel they are ready.
BigCommerce has more features than Ecwid, and also more than Shopify or Volusion.
BigCommerce only has a limited number of themes, but it allows for creation of a much more professional website than Ecwid.
You get far more features for each plan than with Ecwid, making BigCommerce a better deal.
Shift4Shop is a feature-rich SaaS eCommerce platform that has the advantages of all the other platforms in this list, without any of the disadvantages. Since it's SaaS, it's more convenient than WooCommerce and Magento (and in the latter case, much more stable and easier to use), and has more features than the other SaaS software we've covered so far. Shift4Shop also has no transaction fees like you'll find in Shopify, and has more built-in features to reduce the need for apps and keep your budget predictable.
Best yet, Shift4Shop offers a completely free End-to-End eCommerce plan that includes hundreds of pro-level features and is fully scalable for any size business. Anyone from startup to enterprise can use the free plan and get everything Shift4Shop has to offer, and the only requirement is to use Shift4 Payments.
With Shift4Shop, you'll have all the best eCommerce tools and features available to help you build and grow your business and reach your goals, including robust inventory management, industry-leading SEO, a complete suite of marketing tools, and much more. It's simply the best alternative to Ecwid and the best choice for your business overall.
Shift4Shop has the most features of any SaaS eCommerce platform and far more than Ecwid.
Your hosting, security, software updates, and all the other technical details are included as part of the package, without sacrificing by using a limited free site.
Shift4Shop's free plan includes hundreds of features that most software reserves for its most expensive plans and is completely unlimited, making it vastly superior to Ecwid's extremely restricted free plan.
Many of Shift4Shop's features are absent from Ecwid entirely even though they're important for selling online, like a returns system and shipping label printing.
With Shift4Shop, you can build a complete website with all the functionality of an online store, including category pages, as many content pages as you need (for your policies, "About Us" page, and more), a built-in blog, and more.
Shift4Shop's theme store includes a wide selection of free and premium eCommerce themes offering a variety of looks and features perfect for any brand, with a better selection than the other listed SaaS platforms.
Shift4Shop is made for cutting-edge SEO, including both built-in optimizations and the freedom to customize URLs and anything else you need to adjust.