Build a Web shop in 5 minutes with Ecwid

Russian startup Ecwid says it can let you add a shop to your own website, blog, or Facebook page. The company, whose name is short for “e-commerce widgets,” has been making shopping-cart software for some years and, based on that experience, founder Ruslan Fazlyev is convinced that software like Ecwid is the future of shopping software for small-scale sellers. Such “sellsumers” have a growing presence online as the success of sites like Etsy can attest.

Ecwid is the kind of tool my friend Hilary could use. She recently made a knitted “sock” for an iPhone (pictured) and posted a photo of the delightful item on Facebook. It got an immediate positive reaction from her Facebook friends, and she has started making the socks bedizened with different patterns and colors. If she wants to sell them on a small scale, she can post them on websites like Etsy or Ebay. But if she wants to open a shop of her own, Ecwid would give her that option in the form of a set of free html widgets. The widgets give small-scale sellers the core functionality of a web shop, including product catalog, shopping cart, customer management, payments, delivery and order management.

Ecwid integrates an Ajax shopping interface into almost any website or blog including WordPress, Blogger, etc. as well as many social networking sites like Facebook. Sellers can receive payment via Paypal or Google Checkout and delivery via UPS or DHL among others.

Of Ecwid’s 10,000 beta users, 41 percent are from the US and 35 percent are based in Europe. At TheNextWeb conference today, the company announced that is out of beta and has launched a premium version. Premium costs $17 a month and allows sellers to offer a larger number of products, promotions and other more advanced features.

Competitors include Pavement on Facebook and open source software like Magento (aimed at larger scale shops) and Shopify (subscription model with no free version). Ecwid was launched in Sep 2009. It has a team of 12 and is self-funded.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBsf2ek3op4&hl=en_US&fs=1&]