Weebly is a website designing service that is known for their "drag and drop" features for building your website. Over 20 million websites are designed with Weebly. Also, Weebly websites generate over 1 million web hits every month. Weebly was founded in 2007 and is managed by David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri. The company is intended to compete with companies like Wix. Weebly is known for its "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" approach. Weebly is a basic tool for businesses that want to have a very entry-level e-store. If you choose Weebly as your design medium for your e-store, the website is designed for mobile optimization. Also, Weebly has two plans for e-commerce. The Pro plan will send your customers to a checkout site that is different from your domain name. The business plan will let customers check out within your domain name.
- Business subscription
- Coupon codes
- "Drag and drop"
- Additional features
We weren't all that happy overall with Weebly's e-commerce platform, but we did find some features that we liked.
The Business subscription level offers the following: Here are the things that we really liked about the Business subscription level:
- Unlimited number of products.
- No transaction fee.
- A fully integrated online shop on your own domain.
- Digital goods.
- Easy inventory management.
- Shipping and tax calculator (without shipping notification for customers).
- Coupon codes for marketing campaigns.
We really liked these features with the Business subscription. Of particular importance is the digital goods feature. Digital goods let you create files or other products for customers that are not "physical" in nature. If you own an e-book press, Weebly might be a good way to get your materials out there. The digital goods feature also let you sell résumés and other documents, letting you control the flow of goods by limiting downloads and controlling the amount of time that they are available.
We also liked the coupon codes for marketing campaigns. These are great for SEO increasing opportunities. Additionally, there are ways to include specific products within marketing campaigns, to increase the efficacy of your products for certain sales seasons.
"Drag and Drop"
Ultimately, we really liked the "drag and drop" feature of the web design aspect of Weebly. It is very easy to make your website with Weebly, dragging text boxes into the area of the page that you'd like, as well as images and more.
There are also some other features that, between the Pro and Business level plans, which are also pretty attractive. Here are some of the features that stuck out with us the most:
- High definition with audio and video.
- The ability to password protect new pages on your e-store if you are not yet ready to unleash a new product line.
- Site search within a catalog to find particular products.
- The ability to connect your domain name (even though the Pro plan doesn't let your customers check out under your domain name).
- Header slideshows and a favicon.
- Stats and analytics to understand your customer base better, especially with current customers.
- Limited themes
- Pro plan downfalls
- Social media
Weebly just announced in March that it would be using responsive web themes going forward. Due to this, we found that Weebly had one of the most limited theme libraries in the industry if you want responsive themes. As of right now, Weebly only has three responsive themes in their library:
We would like to see more responsive themes from Weebly, since this has already been the standard in the industry for a little while. Also, we would like to see better demonstrations of the Weebly themes on their website.
Pro Plan Downfalls
For the Pro plan, we didn't like the fact that customers for a business website were sent to a different website to complete their purchase. Here is a sample of the site that your customers would be sent to when they wished to complete their checkout: checkout.mysite.com. We would like to see a better checkout option for customers, especially since you already have an individual domain name.
There are also some other severe limitations on the Pro plan with Weebly. You only can have 100 customers sign up to use your website regularly, and we didn't see an option for guest checkout. Also, there is a cap on the number of items that you can sell. You can only sell 25 items with the Pro plan. Additionally, there is a 3% transaction fee with Weebly's Pro plan.
Social media, with Weebly, is uncertain. We were able to find blog and support articles about installing social media buttons on your pages and product descriptions. Social media integration needs more than just a "share" feature on your product description.
The Bottom Line
We cannot recommend Weebly at this time for e-commerce. It is not scalable enough for different sizes of business. Also, we had some issues with the differences between the Business and Pro level e-commerce pages. We didn't like that the Pro level service package didn't let business owners sell digital goods or manage their inventory.
Overall, we had some questions about the "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" approach. Wix is built with similar technology, but you can get a better looking e-commerce store with Wix in comparison to Weebly. We also felt like the technology with Weebly could be improved to offer better e-commerce solutions to subscribers.