When it comes to eCommerce platforms, BigCommerce and Shopify are the two of the biggest names in the business. There are almost 1.5 million Shopify stores and over 90,000 BigCommerce stores, which means that you are likely to interact with these two platforms on almost a daily basis.
But when setting up your own online store for your business, should you choose Shopify or BigCommerce? Does one offer any significant advantages over the other? These are very important questions to ask as you start your online store if you want to be as successful as possible, and we’re going to answer them in this article.
Things To Consider For BigCommerce Vs. Shopify
Before we dive into the battle of BigCommerce vs Shopify, we need to talk about the different areas that we’ll be comparing. These three areas are the most important factors in making the right decision for your business.
As we go through these categories, think about what is most important to your business right now. If ease-of-use is the most important thing to you, you may need to focus more on the user experience category. If your budget is extremely tight, pricing plans and reducing transaction fees may be more important to you. Every business is different, so it’s important that you choose based on what your needs are at the moment.
As we start comparing Shopify and BigCommerce, we will talk about features in marketing, sales, SEO, payment options, and any other features that cause one of these platforms to stand out.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce are eCommerce platforms, so they share many of the same features. However, there are a few significant differences–specifically in the payment options–that may make one a better fit for you, which is what we’ll be focusing on.
For many businesses—especially smaller businesses without a dedicated tech team to manage their website—user experience may be the most important factor in making a decision. User experience includes things like ease-of-use, design flexibility, and customer support through phone and live chat.
Ease-of-use can play a major role in whether you’re able to take full advantage of an eCommerce platform’s features, so the user experience is often just as important as the features that BigCommerce and Shopify offer.
Finally, we need to look at the available pricing options. Every merchant has a budget, and it can often be the deciding factor between Shopify and BigCommerce. We are going to look at all of the available pricing options for BigCommerce and Shopify so you can get an idea of how each platform might fit into your company’s budget.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market, and it’s easy to see why it has so many fans. Shopify offers a wide range of built-in features and pricing options to accommodate from the smallest mom-and-pop shops to the biggest companies.
Let’s dive into everything Shopify has to offer so you can see if it’s right for you.
One of the coolest Shopify features is its customizable buy button. This feature gives you the ability to add a button to your existing website that will instantly turn it into an online store. Using the buy button keeps you from having to set up a dedicated web store if you are only selling a couple of products.
Shopify also has the ability to integrate all your sales channels into their platform, which means that you won’t have to separately manage sales from social media, eBay, Amazon, the Shopify POS, and your online store. You can also use the Shopify platform to manage product promotions on various sales channels, giving you more control over who sees your promotions.
Another excellent feature is the Shopify Payments tool, which accepts many different payment methods and can accept 133 different currencies. Shopify Payments comes with your Shopify subscription, but credit card sales include transaction fees of 30 cents per sale plus a percentage that varies from 2.4% to 2.9% depending on your subscription level. These fees are in addition to the credit card processing fees imposed by the credit card companies.
Shopify also offers SEO features to improve your visibility on search engines as well as abandoned cart recovery on all its full-featured plans. Some of Shopify’s features require integration with third-party apps to work properly, which some merchants view as a downside to the eCommerce platform.
Speaking of time savings, one of Shopify’s best features is how easy to use it is. When it comes to user experience, Shopify offers the simplest and quickest setup out there.
With over 70 professionally designed themes, it’s quick and easy to make a beautiful store. This includes both paid and free themes. After you’ve picked your online store’s theme, you can use Shopify’s drag-and-drop store builder to further customize your eCommerce store until it looks exactly like you want it, which gives you full control over the store experience.
Adding products is also a breeze on Shopify. It’s easy to add photos, a description, and product variants to the store. There is a maximum of 100 possible variants per product. Shopify will automatically keep track of your inventory and stop selling any product that is out of stock.
Finally, Shopify has very good customer support that is available 24/7. Even though Shopify has clearly put a ton of effort into being one of the easiest-to-use eCommerce platforms available, it’s still possible that you could run into difficulties. With 24/7 customer support on the phone and live chat, you can get those problems worked out quickly without compromising the effectiveness of your store.
Shopify pricing plans vary depending on your needs. For the basic Shopify plan, you’ll be looking at a price of $29 per month. Basic Shopify includes 2 staff accounts, 4 warehouse locations, and 2.9% transaction fees for credit card payments through Shopify Payments.
The second Shopify plan is $79 per month, and it includes 5 staff accounts, 5 warehouse locations, professional reports, 2.6% credit card fees, and additional global selling features like foreign language pages.
Much larger businesses can opt for the $299 per month plan or can contact Shopify for more information about Shopify Plus pricing plans. Shopify Plus plans offer features geared toward high-volume businesses.
Finally, if you already have a website or blog, you can use Shopify Lite, which gives you a buy button and the Shopify POS Lite. This is the perfect option for users that simply want to monetize their blog or site by selling products, but who don’t yet need the full online store that comes with Basic Shopify. Before signing up for any of the Shopify pricing plans, I highly recommend trying out the free trial.
Who Shopify Is Best For
Shopify is an excellent eCommerce platform for merchants of any size, but it is perfect for small businesses that are hoping to scale in the future. The super easy-to-use design guarantees that it won’t require too much technical know-how, but the advanced features for larger businesses leave plenty of room to grow.
If you’re a small merchant that is just starting your eCommerce store or if ease-of-use is your number one priority, you should use Shopify. You won’t have to hire someone just to handle online sales, and you get access to high-quality integrations, payments, and built-in features.
BigCommerce is quickly growing in popularity with merchants due to its range of features, focus on flexibility, and lack of dependence on third-party apps. Let’s take a look at what it offers and how it can help your business sell more products and grow faster.
One of BigCommerce’s biggest selling points is its open platform, which allows the users to access the APIs and customize the site’s functionality to your exact specifications. This open-platform design dramatically improves BigCommerce’s flexibility, but it takes someone with technological know-how to fully access that flexibility.
For the less technologically inclined, BigCommerce offers a drag-and-drop style of website creation that will get your website up and running in no time. BigCommerce also includes free themes for your website that don’t require coding knowledge. When adding products to your store, there is a limit of 600 variants per product. Certain plans also offer abandoned cart recovery.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce can integrate your sales from your social media, in-person point of sale, Amazon, eBay, and eCommerce store into a single platform. It can also accept a broad range of payment options across the various sales channels and compile sales data for easy viewing.
BigCommerce accepts credit cards and many other payment methods, and it does not add any transaction fees in addition to the credit card processing fees when a customer pays with a credit card. Credit card rates are expensive and can add up over time, so this feature can end up saving you a significant amount of money.
Finally, BigCommerce offers advanced SEO features that increase your visibility on search engines. SEO features are getting more and more important every day, and BigCommerce is giving merchants the tools to keep up.
To make website creation easier, BigCommerce comes with free themes and paid themes that are optimized to help your websites convert visitors and run smoothly. These themes are designed to be flexible and easy-to-use and to reduce dependence on third-party apps.
One of BigCommerce’s most attractive features is that it doesn’t require third-party apps to add features like on-page reviews, discounts, store credit, and customer data collection forms. Most users will find that everything they need is included natively within the BigCommerce platform.
Finally, BigCommerce offers excellent customer service and tech support to help you get past any technical snags that you might have. Their representatives are available 24/7 via telephone and real-time live chat, and they offer onboarding support to make sure that you get set up properly.
BigCommerce’s pricing plans and free trial are very similar to Shopify’s. BigCommerce standard is $29.95 per month, and it includes all the functionality of the platform, including no transaction fees, integrated sales channels, 24/7 support, and up to $50k in yearly sales.
For improved marketing features, up to $180k in yearly sales, and abandoned cart recovery, the plus plan costs $79.95 per month. The largest plan is $299.95 per month, and it includes a more complete set of tools and up to $400k in yearly sales. BigCommerce also offers enterprise pricing plans with custom pricing for the biggest businesses.
At every level, BigCommerce pricing plans include unlimited staff accounts. There is no plan smaller than the standard plan for those who want to add selling functionality to their existing blog or website. The best place to start is the free trial, then decide what features you need.
Who BigCommerce Is Best For
BigCommerce offers a broad range of plans, and all of them include fantastic and flexible features for businesses looking to grow. However, the lack of the smallest plan that Shopify offers means that BigCommerce is less suited for businesses that are just breaking into sales with a single product or a couple of products, which is why many find Shopify to be a good alternative to BigCommerce.
However, BigCommerce is more flexible than Shopify in many ways, but that design flexibility comes at the added cost of complexity at times. For those businesses with the technical know-how to adjust it to fit their needs, BigCommerce is a flexible solution. If, however, there is nobody on your team that can handle the technological aspects, I would recommend Shopify.
BigCommerce Vs. Shopify: Which Is Best?
So, should you use Shopify or BigCommerce?
Both BigCommerce and Shopify will help you grow your business by making more sales, improving your sales channel management, and creating an attractive and functional website. So does it really matter which one you pick?
While there are some differences between BigCommerce and Shopify, they offer much of the same functionality, so the most important thing is to pick one that works for you and to learn it as well as possible.
My recommendation is to try the free trial that both Shopify and BigCommerce offer (BigCommerce here and Shopify here). After trying each service, you will be far better poised to make the decision for your business.