Do you want to skip the read and get right to my winner? 3dcart by Shift4Shop is the Winner within this 3dcart vs BigCommerce eCommerce comparison platform test.
Introduction: Why consider 3dcart or BigCommerce as your site-building platform?
The online marketplace has grown exponentially over the past year. As a result, developers are in a mad rush to offer users better, more eCommerce-savvy building platforms.
In this review, we pit 3dcart vs BigCommerce as the site builder of choice for many eCommerce companies. Let's take a deeper look into what both platforms offer, how much they charge, and how effective (and efficient) they are for the end-user.
Pros and Cons for 3dcart vs BigCommerce:
Before we get into the details, let’s look at the tale of the tape between 3dcart vs BigCommerce:
But first, look at these platforms in a nutshell:
Since its acquisition by payment tech company Shift4 Payments, it has changed its name to Shift4 Shop. However, for this comparison, we’ll stick to the old name for now. 3dcart is one of the oldest eCommerce-specific platforms online, having started in 1997. Its user footprint is somewhat modest at 17,500 online stores worldwide.
On the other hand, Texas-based BigCommerce has been around since 2009. It presently boasts a user footprint made up of 96,748 websites and online stores.
Ease of Use:
3dcart offers a streamlined-looking UI, and everything is in its proper place. However, as you’re working, the typography starts glitching (hence inconsistent font types and sizes), and image quality gets wonky. Throw in the lack of an UNDO button, and you may feel that you’re getting screwed as you can’t revert even the smallest mistakes.
We have issues with the learning curve for BigCommerce. While it touts itself as an easy to use site builder, it takes a while before you can actually navigate confidently through its UI. However, once you get yourself in the swing of the workflow, it’s easy enough to use, and you can get your site up and running.
Winner – BigCommerce! within our ‘Ease of Use' 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison. 3dcart looks easy to use, but we don’t like the inconsistencies in terms of typography and graphic quality.
Features and Flexibility:
Not bad at all: even with its free subscription package, 3dcart pulls out all the stops when it comes to features and functionality. The feature-rich platform offers an extensive array of tools ranging from its basic site builder to a full roster of third-party apps designed in partnership with the platform to enhance the user experience.
It goes without saying that BigCommerce comes out swinging in the 3dcart vs BigCommerce debate. The platform comes with a drag-and-drop UI, an extensive range of eCommerce tools, including solutions for online marketing and international transactions.
Themes and Templates:
Free users will find themselves spoilt for choice. There are over five dozen free templates that they can use once they sign up for 3dcart. As one upgrades to a paid subscription, premium templates are made available to enhance their online stores.
The platform currently offers its users twelve free thematic templates and 150 premium [paid] templates, with paid templates priced between $150 to $300. It may cost you a pretty penny, but given how each template has at least three design/colour variants, it’s something to consider if you want to give your page a dynamic look.
Right off the bat, 3dcart brings out a well-considered suite for customization, including an option in the editing bar that allows you to tweak the HTML/CSS of your site to create a unique look. This extends to customizing product pages' functionality to enable customers to get a better look at each item, improving chances for browsing to turn into a sale.
The BigCommerce UI is already pre-loaded with customization tools for your website/store and your product lineup. Interestingly, if none of these work for you, numerous easy-to-understand online tutorials will help you transform your online store both on the front and back ends.
3rd Party Integrations:
3dcart actively collaborates with over 350 third-party developers to create integrated functions and widgets to improve site performance, visibility, and conversion rates. Some interesting integrations include a fraud detector,
The platform offers a surprisingly extensive range of third-party apps that include solutions for enhanced productivity, inventory management, online marketing, accounting, shipping and delivery management, and even international taxation.
Since its acquisition by Shift4, 3dcart offers reliable and scalable hosting with 99.99% uptime via a content delivery network (CDN) with multiple data centres throughout the United States.
BigCommerce uses the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure to host its sites, which ensures 99.99% uptime and fast loading time and optimal security. It also boasts of being one of the few hosting services in the industry compliant with the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 online service quality standard. Also, users are given unlimited bandwidth and file storage.
We’re a bit askance of how a manual backup process is still what 3dcart recommends to users. While the instructions are easy enough, having to back everything in your store up to different *.csv files can be challenging, time-consuming, and exhausting.
Unfortunately, BigCommerce doesn’t have an automatic backup function built into its UI. Instead, it recommends third-party app Rewind to enable users to back their data up. Other options are available via its app market.
Surprisingly, 3dcart offers a free migration process that easily allows users to shift their sites from a different platform. All they need to do is fill out the form, discuss their needs with an assigned tech support specialist, and they’re well on their way to doing business via a new hub on 3dcart.
Migration is a cinch for BigCommerce. The platform offers several native migration apps that enable users to move their product catalogues and price lists from several competitor platforms.
Winner – BigCommerce! within our ‘Features and Flexibility' 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison.
SEO and Mobility:
The platform offers several SEO options to help rank your site. Among them include custom meta tags, autogenerated sitemap, 301 page redirects, enabling AMP for product pages, and a “product page rich snippets” section.
BigCommerce enables users to take advantage of the most recent SEO best practices, enabling them to make individual pages on their sites search-engine friendly by using an SEO box in the back end for additional metadata. Titles and URLs are automatically optimised, and having site-wide SSL certification definitely helps sites become more search engine-worthy.
3dcart is actually strong where mobile commerce is concerned. It optimises code for faster loading speeds on handheld devices, Google AMP for accelerating product pages, and AJAX implementation. It also enables users to manage their stores whilst on the go.
BigCommerce scores hugely on the mobile front, as sites are automatically optimised for mobile screens. For mobile users, the BigCommerce Mobile App for Android and iOS enables store owners to access all their stores with a single log-in, monitor store performance, and manage their catalogues, orders, and customer database whilst on the go. It should be noted, though, that some app features such as creating draft orders are currently available only for Android.
We can’t help but feel a little disappointed: it took four seconds for the 3dcart page we were testing to load – and that’s .8 seconds slower than the 3.2-second global average.
BigCommerce has a respectable loading time of 2.4 seconds, well within the acceptable range.
Winner – Draw! within our ‘Ease of Use' 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison.
The 3dcart interface enables users to create a shopping cart experience that customers will appreciate and encourage them to return frequently. Speedy checkouts, flexible payment processing, taxation facilities, and online security are the hallmarks that help 3dcart stand out in an increasingly competitive industry.
BigCommerce offers numerous eCommerce solutions, including creating product rules, selling digital products like tickets and film downloads, and easy to use order process management system, a facility for creating bestsellers’ lists, and a reward system for frequent customers.
Winner – Draw! within our ‘Support and Resources' 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison.
Support and Resources:
3dcart shines in this category with a wealth of resources for educating novice online entrepreneurs and enabling old hands to improve their existing knowledge and skills through various courses, tutorials, and even consultations with its roster of experts. Tech support-wise, you would do well to visit their extensive support page to file a ticket or use the built-in support chat widget built into the UI to ask for help.
BigCommerce’s online knowledge base is well researched and frequently updated by experts. Likewise, it offers 24/7 customer service through phone (and freephone options are available in several countries), email, live chat, and a dedicated community forum.
Winner – Draw! within our ‘Support and Resources' 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison.
Enterprise-grade site-building tools for free? Sign us up! Ever since it teamed up with Shift4 to become Shift4 Shop, 3dcart’s free edition has given emerging businesses a leg-up online. And their paid packages aren’t too shabby, either: priced between $29 to 299 monthly, they offer an extensive range of tools and inclusions to make building an online store so much easier. Plus, no transaction fees are charged.
The platform charges between $29.95 to 299.95 a month for subscriptions. However, you should watch out for the following:
- You only get up to a 10% discount if you pay for your plan annually;
- If you’re on the Pro subscription and making between $400,000 and $1 million a month in online sales, expect to be charged an additional $150 monthly per $200,000 in sales; and
- Sales thresholds are based on a 12-month rollover period.
Winner – 3dcart! within our ‘Ease of Use' 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison. It was close, but we’re giving this one to 3dcart – mainly because they don’t charge transaction fees.
Comparison Winner: Who wins the 3dcart vs BigCommerce battle?
While both platforms have parallel features, we are giving this one to 3dcart as the comparison winner.
Its acquisition by Shift4 has given it so much more value. It enabled it to give its users more bang for their buck when creating high-performing online stores.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
What is 3dcart best for?
3dcart – aka Shift4 Shop – is a great choice for both businesses that are just starting up and for those who are scaling up their operations.
What is BigCommerce best for?
BigCommerce remains the best platform for bigger online stores. Given that some inclusions and integrations come at a premium price, this may probably not be an option for businesses on a tight budget.
Final Word for our 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison:
We have given you an unbiased look at two platforms for site-building. Yet while we have voted in favour of Shift4 Shop, we suggest that you shop around and see which platform offers the best possible deal and inclusions for your online business.
That’s all for now:
If you've read our 3dcart vs BigCommerce comparison up to here, we are grateful. Remember to always keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other 3dcart vs BigCommerce alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;
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Not only the best tea/coffee maker on the team Sophie is our Chief Editor. Skilled across multiple marketing skill areas Sophie is our all rounder and a great asset to the team. Sophie is a website building trainer and tech writer who takes pride in helping small businesses and startups build their websites and launch their eCommerce platforms. Sophie is also the practical joker of the team and always wears a smile on her face. In her spare time she likes to spend her time with family. She loves going on holidays and spending time with friends.