Do you want to skip the read and get right to my winner? Shopify wins this Shopify vs BigCommerce eCommerce Platform Test.
Introduction: Why even consider BigCommerce or Shopify for your next eCommerce platform?
We’ve all heard the line “bigger is better,” but does it hold true where website builders are concerned?
Today, we’re putting two bigwigs up for a side-by-side comparison in this category – industry titans Shopify versus BigCommerce.
In this Shopify vs Big Commerce platform comparison, we look at how both stack up in terms of ease of use, features, functionality, and pricing. In doing so, we hope to help those looking for a viable eCommerce platform to make better, more informed decisions about which one to work with.
We'll also tackle the plarforms' enterprise solutions – Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce Enterprise.
Before we dig into the details of this Shopify vs BigCommerce head-to-head, let’s have an overview of these two industry giants:
Shopify got started a little earlier: 2004 in Ontario, Canada, to be exact. Official figures claim that it currently hosts over a million web stores and eCommerce hubs in 175 countries as of end-February 2021.
Industry watchers, however, say that there could be over 3.5 million currently online. That’s not surprising, seeing how Shopify is practically a household name in the eCommerce sector. Why? User-friendly functionality: a drag-and-drop building platform that offers numerous eCommerce solutions at one’s fingertips.
BigCommerce is a fully-hosted software as a service (SaaS) eCommerce platform responsible for building and hosting 96,748 websites and online stores.
That sounds modest when you look at the competition but look at the calibre of their big-ticket clients. For example, Ben & Jerry’s, Martha Stewart, and Toyota aren’t exactly names you can turn your nose up at.
People appreciate the platform because it doesn’t just offer you a site builder. It’s also an all-in-one eCommerce platform with all the tools you need to build a successful online business, regardless of whether you’re a start-up or a large enterprise.
Ease of use:
When considering whether to use Shopify vs BigCommerce as your online selling platform, ease of use is a primary criterion. We will consider this factor and start with our side by side comparisons:
“Something for everybody” is probably what Shopify had in mind when they created their site builder. Anyone can use it from initial log-in without any major issues or concerns.
Our beef with BigCommerce is that you need to sit down and learn how to use it before you can start building. As a result, it isn't the easiest software to use and play around with.
Winner – Shopify! within this ‘Ease of Use' Shopify vs Big Commerce comparison.
Features and Flexibility:
In terms of features and flexibility when considering Shopify vs BigCommerce, the former has the edge. Here are a few key pointers on both.
So what do Shopify versus BigCommerce offer at their most basic subscription levels?
- Access to Shopify’s drag-and-drop site builder
- Unlimited number of products
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Secure checkout
- 2 Staff Accounts
- Built-in SEO tools
- Users can sell on Amazon and eBay, even at the most basic.
- Social media integration
- SSL certificates are free across all subscription packages
- 0.5 to 2.0% transaction fees
- Access to BigCommerce’s site builder
- Unlimited number of products
- Bandwidth + storage are unlimited
- Social media integration
- Secure checkout
- Even in the lowest subscription tier, users can sell on Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, and even Facebook and Instagram marketplaces
- Free sitewide HTTPS and dedicated SSL across all subscription packages
- Zero transaction fees
Themes and Templates:
Who creates the better-looking website? Read our Shopify vs Big Commerce summary on themes and templates here:
What BigCommerce offers actually casts Shopify in the shade because the more popular platform has over 100 available themes – free and premium. The premium templates are cheaper than BigCommerce’s, with prices starting at $99. You can also customise them based on your specs.
As of January 2021, BigCommerce offers twelve free thematic templates and 150 premium [paid] templates.
Specifically, prices for paid templates range between $150 to $300. Steep, we grant you, but you’re told right off the bat that these have three to four variants each, which makes customising the overall look of your page a lot easier.
The buck doesn't stop at creating a template-based website. It's important to reflect your brand identity!
So, which provides better customisation in Shopify vs Big Commerce?
Shopify is big on design customization options, but it can be iffy when it comes to customising the UX for your customers. Product customisation, for example, is limited and doesn’t exactly let you maximise the marketing potential.
The BigCommerce UI is already pre-loaded with customisation 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:
Having the ability to connect functional apps to boost your online store is a positive step. Which between Shopify vs Big Commerce has better integration capability?
With over 5,758 apps currently available on its App Store, Shopify has all the bases covered, from social media integration to payment and shipping options.
Need anything to enhance the productivity of your website/online store? BigCommerce's numerous integrations ensure that there's an app for that. The platform offers a full roster of third-party apps ranging from productivity enhancers and inventory management tools to online marketing tools for both email and social media, accounting and taxation solutions, as well as inventory and shipping facilities.
How do Shopify vs Big Commerce perform in hosting services?
Shopify sites are a bit old-school as these are hosted across a content delivery network (CDN) with servers located in different international locations. However, like BigCommerce, all subscription packages allow for unlimited bandwidth and storage.
A self-hosted service with 99.99% uptime – that's what BigCommerce is in a nutshell. BigCommerce uses the Google Cloud platform infrastructure to host its sites, ensuring that sites load quickly. Also, this technology ensures security is uncompromised, and sites are protected from denial-of-service attacks.
When you own a website, anything can happen. So what do Shopify vs Big Commerce offer for backups?
Shopify has an automatic back-up system that backs up information from individual sites daily. While this can reduce any worries for temporary glitches, it can be a hassle for sites that have a rapid daily turnover.
Because BigCommerce doesn’t have a native import/export function, back-ups for individual website accounts are best done with a third-party solution. The platform recommends Rewind for this purpose, though several site backup solutions are available in its Apps and Integrations section.
Shopify has its own proprietary tool that helps users move in sites and stores built on other platforms. This Store Importer can be downloaded from the Shopify App Center, and directions are given as to how to move sites depending on their native platforms.
Interestingly enough, BigCommerce doesn’t have an automatic backup facility. Instead you will have to source a 3rd party tool to move product catalogues and price lists from competitor platforms.
Winner – BigCommerce! within this ‘Features and Flexibility' Shopify to Bigcommerce comparison. If you Shopify versus BigCommerce's out-of-the-box features, the latter wins.
Whether you choose Shopify versus BigCommerce, or any other platform, eCommerce tools' availability is absolutely crucial to making the most of your online presence. Both platforms offer extensive choices, including outstanding enterprise plans in Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce Enterprise.
Here are some that those looking to establish an online store will certainly benefit from with Shopify vs Big Commerce:
- Easy product management: Add image and product descriptions without hassle.
- Real-time inventory management: efficient stock monitoring.
- Secure log-in process
- Brand-awareness: Boosting via a quick updating facility for both a user’s online store and blog.
- Excellent financial processing tools: Including integration with over 70 payment processors
- Customer analytics: A tool for analysing customer behaviour
- Abandoned cart recovery: Lets you recover from customers who leave their shopping carts behind without checkout.
- Multiple payment channels, including a native gateway – Shopify Payments.
There’s a lot going for BigCommerce in terms of eCommerce tools. Its standouts include:
- Unlimited product options: The platform enables you to create product rules as well as unlimited product options.
- Supports physical and digital goods: Enables users to sell non-tangible products
- Order process management system: This lets you monitor each order's status, along with invoices and packing information.
- Inventory management: Lets you see an overview of stock details per item.
- Abandoned cart recovery feature: Automatically sends emails to customers who leave their carts without checking out.
- Best-sellers list: A facility for creating bestsellers lists to help identify and reward frequent customers.
- Product reviews: Allows users to post reviews.
Winner – Draw! within our ‘eCommerce Tools' Bigcommerce vs Shopify comparison. Both platforms even offer parallel enterprise solutions in Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce Enterprise.
SEO and Mobility:
In the Shopify vs BigCommerce decision stakes, the SEO & Mobility features cannot be ignored. The good news is that both offer advantages for your online presence. Here are highlights of the Shopify versus BigCommerce SEO & Mobile functionality;
BigCommerce takes pride in adhering to the most recent SEO best practices, enabling users to make individual pages on their sites search-engine friendly. You can enter data on the following:
- Metadata (page title, meta descriptions)
- URL structure
- Product and category description
- Robots.txt file
Moreover, BigCommerce SEO automatically generates:
- Canonical tags
- 301 redirects
- Google AMP
BigCommerce scores hugely on the mobile front, as sites are automatically optimised for mobile screens, and page loading time on smaller devices is practically instantaneous.
Also, the BigCommerce Mobile App for Android and iOS users 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.
BigCommerce shows a good load time of 2.4 seconds (and slightly slower on mobile), well within the industry standard.
SEO tools are also built into the Shopify UI. Here are some SEO tweaks you can perform with Shopify’s “under the hood” SEO:
- Titles and URLs can be optimised;
- Meta descriptions can be customised;
- Headings editable from H1 to H6;
- 301 redirects automatically generated;
- Site-wide SSL certification;
- Canonical tags automatically generated;
- Automatically-generated sitemaps.
Stores built on Shopify work smoothly on both desktop and mobile screens. For those who need to be up and about, downloading the Shopify Mobile App to Android and iOS phones or tablets is a great help. You may not be able to make changes on your site, but you can check on orders and inventory on the go.
Loading in 1.3 seconds on desktop and slightly slower (just marginally) on mobile. As a result, shops built with and hosted on Shopify are currently ranked first across the board.
Winner – Draw! within our ‘SEO and Mobility' Shopify vs BigCommerce comparison. If you look closely at the Shopify vs Big Commerce SEO & Mobility comparison above, they're level in terms of SEO features.
Support and Resources:
A Shopify BigCommerce comparison with respect to Support and Resources places Shopify in a stronger position. Know the ins and outs in our Shopify versus BigCommerce summary below:
Need technical assistance ASAP? This is where Shopify shines! Specifically, it offers 24/7 customer support through:
- Live chat, and
- Social media.
However, if you aren’t in a hurry, their online help centre is a great resource. In addition, Shopify has what we’d like to call an “ask the experts” option. You can actually get help from a dedicated pool of design and technical professionals who can give relevant advice or [paid] assistance for site improvements.
Having a dedicated and regularly updated knowledge base is practically pro forma for any eCommerce site builder, and BigCommerce’s is highly informative and very well-researched.
It also doubles as a marketing tool for those curious about the platform but haven’t quite decided, presenting the qualities that make it a good eCommerce builder.
Likewise, the platform offers 24/7 customer service through phone, email, live chat, and a dedicated community forum.
Unfortunately, we take issue with the community forum's content; yes, the information is helpful, but some entries go as far back as the platform's earliest years!
Winner – Shopify! within our ‘Support and Resources' Shopify vs Big Commerce comparison. While we like BigCommerce's 24/7 support capability, up-to-date and diverse resources mark Shopify as winner in this section of Shopify versus BigCommerce match-up.
So far, we've compared features and functionalities in this Shopify vs BigCommerce pair-off. Now, let's look at the Shopify vs BigCommerce pricing options!
These articles will also review in-depth the Enterprise plans of each platform: Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce Enterprise.
Shopify offers three pricing packages beginning at $29 per month for the Basic plan up to the feature-packed Advanced Shopify Plan at $299 per month.
While all Shopify plans offer the builder, 24/7 support, SEO tools, and sales channels, those on Basic Shopify and Shopify have no access to analytics. We also don’t like how the platform charges up to 2% in transaction fees – but that’s negligible because it doesn’t have a sales threshold like BigCommerce.
Shopify Plus, the platform's B2B solution, is priced according to your requirements.
As stated on their terms of service page, the platform offers a 14-day trial, letting you wade through Shopify first before committing.
Pro tip: If you plump for a 1-year annual contract, prices will be slashed by 10% while a 2-year annual contract awards a 20% discount.
If you look at the prices closely, BigCommerce’s packages are, essentially, a dollar higher than Shopify’s. It may not seem like much, and we really needed to get down to brass tacks to see who offered the better deal. But, a few notes:
- Up to 10% discount if you pay for your plan annually;
- Pro subscribers getting $400,000 and $1 million a month in online sales are charged an additional $150 monthly per $200,000 in sales;
- Sales thresholds are based on a 12-month rollover period;
- Comparable Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce enterprise plan features; and
- 15-day free trial offered, as stated on their terms of service page,
Winner – Draw! within our ‘Pricing' category for Shopify vs. BigCommerce comparison. BigCommerce offers more ‘out of the box’ features if taking out its cheapest plan. However, Shopify does not set sales limits and has lower transaction fees.
|eCommerce Solution||Battle Score||Visit Official Website|
|Shopify||5 / 6||www.shopify.com|
|BigCommerce||4 / 6||www.bigcommerce.com|
To wrap up this Shopify vs BigCommerce comparison, it's too close to call. Evidently, both Shopify versus BigCommerce have nearly similar advantages and disadvantages. However, while BigCommerce provides more features out-of-the-box and doesn't charge transaction fees, its cost skyrockets if you figure in “online sales per year.” Shopify has more flexible pricing options suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.
Ultimately, all things considered in this Shopify versus BigCommerce race, we opt for Shopify as the winner.
Our Shopify vs BigCommerce Conclusion and Recommendation:
Now, answering the No. 1 question – which is better Shopify or BigCommerce? Shopify wins by a hairline – we'll explain below.
What is BigCommerce best used for?
We love how generous BigCommerce is with its built-in features. You can enjoy more functionality even at the most basic pricing tier in BigCommerce versus Shopify. However, what worries us is the potential escalation of fees as your sales soar.
But overall, BigCommerce impresses as an eCommerce solution for its outstanding sales and SEO features.
What is Shopify best used for?
Nevertheless, when considering Shopify vs BigCommerce side by side, we find that Shopify provides greater flexibility of the two. There's a pricing package for just about anyone, from those with lightweight requirements (Shopify Lite) to those with high-volume ones (Shopify Plus).
Moreover, it's easier to use and more straightforward to customise.
That said, between Shopify versus BigCommerce, Shopify promises better overall support for business growth and scalability.
Shopify Versus BigCommerce Alternatives:
Here's a list of the best Shopify vs BigCommerce alternatives to create a an online store:
|1||Shopify (and Shopify Plus)||Best All-In-One eCommerce solution|
|2||Squarespace||Best for design and creatives|
|3||Square Online||Best for ease of use|
|4||Webflow||Best for advanced design tools|
|5||WooCommerce||Best for Wordpress Users|
|6||BigCommerce||Best for medium to large stores|
|7||Wix||Good for general use|
|8||Big Cartel||Best for very simple sites|
|9||Ecwid||Best for adding to an existing website|
|10||Volusion||Best for advanced analytics|
Hopefully, this Shopify vs BigCommerce comparison article has spelt out what each platform has in store for your business. At the end of the day, our aim is to help you make a better-informed decision!
A word of advice, though. Not all businesses are alike, and therefore, whatever our recommendation is may not be the perfect fit for you. Therefore, we urge you to dig deeper and research your options. We have a wealth of eCommerce reviews that could help point you on the right path.
Still, struggling over Shopify vs Big Commerce?
Testing them both out with a free trial is highly encouraged!
That’s all for now:
If you've read our Shopify vs Big Commerce comparison up to here, we are grateful. To assess major Shopify versus BigCommerce highlights in terms of Pros and Cons for these two powerful website builders, please click on the following links;
Remember to always keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other shopify plus vs bigcommerce enterprise alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;
- Wix vs BigCommerce
- Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Magento
- BigCommerce vs Squarespace
- BigCommerce vs Magento 2
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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.