It does not happen often I'm turning instantly lyrical about a software program. Happened only a few times in the last 6 years, Typepad, ScreenSteps and Octane come to mind. But it happened again with Ecwid (Ecommerce "Widgets") - a new breed of shopping cart software
When modern turns stale
Our existing webshop - implemented 3 years ago as substitute for Actinic - is an integrated part of our Accounting package from Mamut (Enterprise version). Then fitting the bill as a modern Ecommerce solution, now - compared with the newer cloud computing solutions all around us - more and more sluggish and lately even frustratingly out of date.
As always, you try to "hang-on" as best as possible, and kind of shrug off the restrictions the program keeps putting in your way to add versatility and improvements to the online shopping experience of modern online shoppers. But there comes a moment when you decide: enough is enough, we need another solution. Even if that means adding a bit more work to the bookkeeping by missing the automagicall link between online order and sales ledger.
Searching the internet for a better solution for us brought, of course, a multitude of options. Some fortunately offer a trial webshop or a trial period. Dividing time between normal tasks, other marketing projects and testing these options does tend to make one impatient. But help was at hand by means of a recent blog post by my online friend Martin Malden.
In his "A really good (and simple) shoppingcart for WordPress" Martin exclaimed his pure relief of finding Ecwid
And I completely agree with Martin: it's superb (and free for the first 100 products you have in your "shop"). Opening an account is dead easy, you can even log in with an existing google account.
(Side-note: you do need to know a bit of css coding to understand how to customise the design of your "shop", and some of the documentation could IMHO be improved.)
It's more than a "shop" - it's the ultimate Ecommerce multiple outlet option.
You'll notice I keep placing the word shop between quotes - because it's more than just an online shop where you send your prospect to to do their shopping.
Imagine the following true facts of the last week: there's no promotion of the new "shop" yet, I've not even linked to it from our main website but already have managed to receive an order every single day! Why and how?
Shortening the Decision Cycle
This single product you can buy straight of its landing page - a webpage from our main website dedicated only to our cast iron buffing block, nothing more nothing less. Before Ecwid there was a link to our existing webshop where this product is listed among other maintenance tools we sell.
When someone landed on this page and wanted to order this magnificent eco-friendly tool they had to leave the page, scroll down to the product in the webshop again to buy it. Steps that are now avoided (and we seem to be running out of buffing blocks quickly!)
With Ecwid you can simply copy the html code of any product in your "shop" and paste it in any other webpage, blogpost etc.
Imagine what this does for our other landing pages (simple DIY guides) - they too are already attracting orders.
The minute a visitor adds one of the product to the bag, the actual shopping bag appears. Try it for yourself if you like and then "open the bag".
You'll see a pop-up window with your ordered product, the delivery costs and tax specified, plus check-out options (including Paypal Express Check-out). But there is, for us and our new client, an even more important button there:
Continue Shopping. This brings you, without leaving the page you were on, in the actual complete Ecommerce shop where you can fill your shopping bag with other products. Go on, give it a try. Have a browse!
The actual Ecommerce "shop" I call the "storage house", the back end of the webshop. There you admin the products, the prices, the product images, the Egoods files, the categories (and one product can be attached to more than one category), the delivery costs, the payment options, the outgoing emails to your new (or existing) clients etc etc etc.
The Front End of your webshop can be anywhere. Multiple outlets with either the complete range, one single category or even one single product.
It did take me more than 5 minutes to set it up, and it still does not replace our existing Mamut webshop, but we're getting there. Once all the categories are filled we'll start to redirect everyone to our new Ecommerce solution. And in the meantime the landing pages will no doubt continue to bring in new orders.
(And then we might even venture in the other option Ecwid has: linking our brand new Ecommerce solution with Facebook.)
Martin, thanks again for the tip.