New Kid on the Block
In 2018, Square announced its acquisition of Weebly. So in this Weebly review, we will put the spotlight on the synergy of a powerful website builder and a reliable Point of Sale (POS) provider. After Square took over, Weebly has undergone major revamps. And when we say major, we definitely saw a 360-degree turn from the basic UI up to its functionality.
Weebly is converted into a full-fledged eCommerce site builder where both small and large business can exist. Even before the Square Weebly acquisition, the website builder is drastically improving and taking the ranks of its major rival – WordPress.
Weebly PROS and CONS
We can tell you that Weebly is a fantastic CMS even before Square’s arrival. But now that it’s converted into an eCommerce platform, did Weebly retain the glitz?
-Easy to use drag-and-drop editor
-Comes with a mobile app where you can edit your site on the go
-All the themes are mobile responsive
-Integrated tax and shipping calculator
-Perfect for both physical and digital products
-No offline payment gateways available
-Limited payment gateways
We’re proud to have used Weebly even before it became a place for online stores. With this, we have the right footing to tell you if the website builder has improved or not. Based on our initial observation, the features are authentic to Weebly – practical but solid.
For Weebly users in the past, the facelift doesn’t have many surprises. Still, it’s worth noting that the functionality has gone a long way.
So what can you expect from Weebly and Square? Here are some of the key features:
Drag-and-drop. If you’ve used Weebly before Square’s acquisition, you’ll know about its easy-to-use website builder. The platform retained this but with more add-ons and functionality.
Product pages. You can create standalone product pages with the image zoom and multiple images feature. You can also manage product variations on each page.
Social sharing. Weebly makes it easy to integrate social sharing buttons so customers can share and refer the products. There’s also the old-time video streaming feature that adds value to product pages.
Mobile-ready storefront. This feature allows you to choose the products you want to feature for promotion. It’s directed to increase sales for specific items without the need for nerve-racking codes.
Image editor. It’s important to make your product photos appealing. With the use of Weebly’s improved photo editor, you can exploit 29 filters, focal points, and other features.
Product management and inventory
When it comes to managing your products, we have to look at the great, the good, and the not-so-bad part of Weebly. The great thing is that you can create product variants. You can also import your products from a CSV file. And to widen your reach, you can also transfer the products from Etsy and Shopify. A fully integrated shopping cart is also available once you sign up.
Also, the customers can highlight your products based on colors, size, price, and so on. There are over 250 variants on the Business package that you can utilize.
As for the front-end side, the product images are stunning. You can edit it inside Weebly and post it with an integrated smooth zoom function. Basically, the drag-and-drop zones make everything a breeze.
Inventory is also easy since you can check which products are running low in stock, out of stock, and not selling. As for digital goods, the item will be delivered through a secured link courtesy of Weebly.
When it’s time for bookkeeping, Weebly also has you covered. You can use the QuickBooks integration or export the data in a CSV file. You can also create coupon codes, gift cards, and send abandoned cart recovery emails.
Web design and templates
From what we saw, Weebly still has the “OK” themes – not so impressive, but not too ugly either. You can surely find some eye-catching templates but not all that’s available in the Weebly platform are diamonds. But compared to the old Weebly themes, the new ones after Square’s take over are fresher and considerably modern. You can always source eCommerce themes from third-party providers.
We think what offsets this little caveat is the fact that Weebly is available across devices. You can edit your website on an iPad, tablet, or even a smartphone. There are apps specifically made to run on Weebly mobile which checks the statistics and comment response on the built-in blog.
You can also tweak the site’s API for more functionality and customization. Although Weebly’s default editor is too straightforward – or bland at times – it’s way better than what Squarespace and Wix have to offer.
With the drag-and-drop editor, you can see what the website will look like in the front-end. This is a big advantage over Weebly’s main competitor WordPress.
Weebly payment options
Compared to its competitors, Weebly is lacking on payment gateways. To be fair, the platform is still on the transition period less than a year after being converted as an eCommerce site builder.
Right now, you can process credit card payments courtesy of Square, Stripe, and Authorize.net. For online payments, you can integrate PayPal Express and Authorize.net. There are no offline or manual payment methods, let alone additional online money gateways like Venmo or Amazon Payments. Take note that the availability of these payment gateways depends on the package you’ll avail.
To avail PayPal and Square, you need a Business or Performance plan while Stripe is built-in across all Weebly packages. Take note that although there are no Weebly transaction fees, the payment gateway will have a specific rate.
Marketing and SEO
Like its competitors, Weebly allows you to edit title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and alt texts. You can also run a blog on which Weebly has been an expert ever since. The basics are covered, but for those who want to perform in-depth methods, the platform may prove to be limited.
Anyway, marketing is a greener pasture in Weebly. There’s an abandoned cart recovery feature together with gift card emailing to encourage your customers to purchase more.
We just wish that customizing the checkout page design will be possible in the future. This way, you can add more branding whenever your customer plans to finalize his or her purchase.
Lastly, you can’t bypass the customer account feature on Weebly. The guest checkout feature isn’t available and anyone who wants to purchase will have to create an account first. However, not all visitors would want to go through this hassle. It can be a deal-breaker at some point.
One thing that online stores will enjoy is the fact that this platform is powered by Square. Aside from the SSL certificate that you’ll get from the eCommerce packages, Square is PCI compliant. Also, all the information that will be communicated to the online store will be encrypted. This applies to all methods of access, be it a public Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, and even EDGE.
As an account holder, you no longer have to seek individual PCI compliance since Square has done it for you. Although Weebly is a bit short in payment gateways, it’s not lacking security features.
In all fairness to Weebly, they have a very responsive phone and live chat support. This is added peace of mind for store owners and users whenever they encounter issues.
You can also refer to their help center in case the matter isn’t urgent. There are self-help videos, articles, Q & As, instructions, and other resources that solve common user issues.
Weebly also has a community where you can ask questions about eCommerce, mobile apps, editor, SEO, themes, growth, and a ton of topics. Everything is neatly filed for your convenience.
Weebly pricing for online store packages (paid annually)
Although you’ll have to deal with some shortcomings on the features, the pricing offsets some of it. Still, I believe that this isn’t a pay-peanuts-get-monkeys scheme. Weebly is still working on additional features which is something we can forgive at this period.
Weebly is already hosted so you no longer have to pay for anything else unless you need premium add-ons. All the eCommerce packages also have unlimited storage unlike Wix with very limited resources. However, take note that the Pro account has a 3% transaction fee.
Some missing pieces…
Weebly is worth the try, but in the future, it would be great to fill some missing pieces. This includes multi-channel integration so you can sell in other websites like Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram. Also, an extensive checkout option would increase conversion.
Lastly, it would be better to improve the eCommerce Analytics feature. It helps to have advanced statistics for large stores and those who are planning their marketing efforts based on customer behavior.
Nevertheless, we’d like to give this Weebly review a positive note: Weebly is improving! After all, 4 out of 5 stars isn’t really that bad considering the numerous competitors vying for the same recognition.