EKM Review – Is the UK’s Biggest Hosted Ecommerce Platform any good?

EKM Homepage

EKM, formerly EKMPowershop are the UK's largest hosted ecommerce platform and have helped over 50,000 small businesses start selling online. But are they any good?

When I review a hosted ecommerce platform I look at five main areas that are important for any online business which are:

  1. Pricing
  2. Performance and Security
  3. Themes
  4. Features
  5. Ease of use

Now before I get into the review, I want to let you know that this post does contain affiliate links which means that if you click one of the links and purchase their service then I receive a referral commission. However, this partnership does not impact the honesty of my review, if I don't like something then I will say so!

1. Pricing

EKM openly state that they aim to be the best, not the cheapest and focusing on quality rather than price is not a bad stance to take. They offer 4 different packages that should cater for nearly every size of business:

Basic Package
£29.99
+ vat a month

Up to 500 Products

Up to £50,000 Annual Turnover

Free SSL Certificate

No Transaction Fees

Intro Call from Account Manager

Health Report Analytics

Basic Evolution Mode

Standard UK Support

Standard Package
£64.99
+ vat a month

Unlimited Products

Up to £150,000 Annual Turnover

Free SSL Certificate

No Transaction Fees

Account Manager for 6 Months

Full Analytics

Standard Evolution Mode

Priority UK Support

Advanced Package
£194.99
+ vat a month

Unlimited Products

Up to £1 Million Annual Turnover

Free SSL Certificate

No Transaction Fees

Full Time Account Manager

Full Analytics

Monthly Evolution Mode

24/7 Emergency UK Support

If you are a large enterprise then you can opt for the EKM Pro Package which costs £549.99 + vat a month but gives you access to the best EKM has to offer including a Strategic account manager and Enterprise level performance.

2. Performance & Security

When it comes to the performance of a platform, anyone can claim that their sites are super quick but I like to put their claims to the test, so I did. I took three of the sites from their examples page and tested them using Pingdom's speed tool once a day for three days and then averaged the results, which you can see below:

Website 1: 1.63 Seconds
Website 2: 1.33 Seconds
Website 3: 0.95 Seconds

As you can see, EKM stores are not slow and they all come in under that golden 2 second time with one averaging less than 1 second load time. The average across the three sites came in at 1.3 seconds which is really impressive and definitely up there as one of the fastest ecommerce platforms.

One thing I really like is that you get a free SSL certificate included with every package, which is something that I think all ecommerce platforms should come with as it is something that is expected on ecommerce sites. They also say that their platform only accepts PCI compliant payments, which I can only assume means that their servers are PCI compliant, although this is not specifically mentioned.

Payment Gateways

Getting paid is a hugely important part of an ecommerce store and they support all the major payment gateways used here in the UK, including PayPal Express Checkout, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Klarna, Worldpay, Sagepay and Nochex. There are also a selection of offline payment methods you can use as well.

No additional transaction fees are charged by the platform, so the only ones you pay are through your payment gateway.

3. Themes

This is one thing that EKM have definitely nailed! With a selection of 69 free themes for you to choose from, there is no industry sector or niche that isn't really catered for. All of the themes I tested were also 100% mobile responsive which is a much for any ecommerce store in today's world. They also have themes that offer a variety of styling elements such as central logo, side menus, dark themes and light themes, they are also well designed so your site won't look like it was built by an amateur. If you want a bespoke built website then you can for £1999.99 + vat.

EKM Themes

Customisation

When it comes to customisation, they use a live editor which can be used to customise design elements or web content and see how it looks straight away, which is a really useful tool and makes altering the design a lot easier for those who have no web design experience. It does take a little bit of time to really understand how the live editor works but EKM have you covered with good documentation. When not in the live editor, you can also change parts of the sites design and it comes with a basic logo maker to help you create a logo if you haven't already got one, which I think is a nice touch. You can also edit some design elements for other pages such as the product and checkout pages. If you have experience of HTML and CSS then you can add custom coding into your site.

4. Features

While features is what EKM call their apps, I am going to look at the overall features you get, not just the ones in app form.

The features work in the same way as apps in the you can install and remove them with one click, which makes adding extra features to your store really easy. There are a lot of different apps on offer but the ones that really caught my eye were:

  • Free 03 Contact Number - usually something that you have to do externally through a VOIP provider but will be included with your package. Should be noted this is only to receive calls, if you want to call out on this number then charges do apply.
  • Facebook Messenger - add live chat in the form of Facebook Messenger to you website.
  • Product Attributes - add information such as size, colour etc separately from your description
  • WordPress blog - add the best blogging software to your website so that you can create content that will bring customers to your site.

They also have what is called evolution mode, which sounds good! But what it actually is, is that they are constantly working on improving their platform so that it is the best that it can be, whether it is performance or features. Depending on your package, these are either applied annually or monthly, either way you know that your site will be the best it can be.

5. Ease of Use

It is a little bit of a mantra of mine but software should be ease to use, you want it to help your business and make your life easier not give you a headache. While I found EKM easy to use, it is not as easy as some others. One thing that did take a while to get used to was the main toolbar at the top of your admin area, some things were not where I thought they should be. For example, the Shop takes you to the live builder where as to me it should take you to where you manage your stock etc as there is a design tab further down which is where I would expect all the design related elements to be.

EKM Sample Store

Adding and Managing Stock

Adding new products and categories is really simple, there is direct links in the shop area of the admin area. The work flow for adding information to your products is also very logical and easy to use. The same can be said for adding categories.

Managing your stock however is something that I found really difficult to do on EKM. There are two ways to do this and in my opinion neither is really that good. You can do it by clicking directly on the product in the shop are of the admin or your can install a feature called advanced inventory manager. This is the easier, especially if you have a large amount of products but to access it you need to go into features then click on the feature to use it. You then get all your inventory presented in a file type layout. This is one of the things that to me really needs addressing as it is the most complicated system I have used.

Managing Orders

Fortunately EKM have managed to make processing orders really easy, in fact it is one of the best I have used. Especially if you have large numbers of orders as you can batch print directly from the orders page, you can also change the orders status of multiple orders at the same time. When it comes to printing off packing slips, you can select up to four different designs which is nice. You can also buy packing slips with removable sticky labels, which makes processing orders much easier direct from EKM.

Conclusion

What I Like
  • Theme selection
  • Number of apps, sorry features
  • Free SSL certificate
  • General ease of using the admin area
  • Dedicated account manager on larger packages
  • UK based support
  • How easy it is to manage your orders
What I Don't Like
  • Having to give your payment details before being able to start the free trial
  • Turnover limited packages
  • Awkward stock management system

Want to try EKM for yourself?

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