BigCommerce vs Shopify: The never-ending battle of evolution12 min read
Along with the continuous technological improvement of humankind, participating in eCommerce is no stranger to any business in the transition to multi-industry digitization on a world scale. The eCommerce market is booming, and individuals, companies and organizations want an online store to connect with customers/end users. Starting an eCommerce business also means facing every new trend that seems to be a basic necessity and high expectations from eCommerce platforms. The cult names of e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, or Magento are on the list of choices. In addition to a solid business strategy, investors must carefully choose an eCommerce platform to determine the project’s success. That is the reason for the appearance of the eCommerce Platform.
However, in the framework of this article, we purposely want to bring a direct comparison between the two prominent big names, the most mentioned in the battle for market popularity, to mention are BigCommerce and Shopify. Compare the two and highlight their key differences to help you make your decision a little easier. We look at customer support, pricing, ease of use, design and flexibility, selling features – basically everything a person intends to launch an eCommerce store wants to know.
Let’s dive in with an important question!
BigCommerce vs Shopify: Overview
Shopify was developed by an online merchant
Shopify Inc. is a Canadian multinational eCommerce company founded in 2006 and now powering over 1,000,000 businesses. Shopify started with the idea of three young men: Tobias Lutke, Scott Lake and Daniel Weinand when they were trying to open a ski equipment store. At that time, they did not intend to create an eCommerce platform but simply were not satisfied with the existing tools on the market.
The company reports that it has more than 1,700,000 businesses in about 175 countries using its platform as of May 2021. As of 2021, Shopify is the largest publicly traded Canadian company by market capitalization. Total revenue for the full year 2020 is US$2.929 billion.
On the plus side, Shopify learns a lot from other platforms, like Magento or WooCommerce, and comes with innovative solutions to overcome many of its drawbacks – making it easy to use even for non-tech savvy users. Shopify is a platform that has all the features needed for a successful business. It handles both the eCommerce and point of sale side of the process. It allows you to start from scratch without having to be an expert.
BigCommerce – business professionals born late.
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 and has over 600 employees with headquarters in Austin, Texas by Australian Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper. The company’s background covers online store creation, search engine optimization, hosting, marketing and security from small businesses to enterprise size.
BigCommerce is famous for its world-leading cloud eCommerce platform. The platform is also known for its low total cost of ownership and very flexible APIs. Businesses including B2B and B2C customers can use this platform as it makes it easier to create different catalogs or price lists for different customer groups.
The idea behind BigCommerce is to help sellers sell more at every stage of their business with a drag and drop code-free presentation. Using the platform is like renting and customizing a storefront in a development model. It means you have complete control over sales, design, marketing and other business-wise. However, you can leave technical issues like store building, security, infrastructure, and plumbing to the BigCommerce team. They have “software as a service” (SaaS) and a supportable hosting system.
BigCommerce vs Shopify: Quick Comparison
There’s no denying that BigCommerce and Shopify have both earned their spots at the top of the e-commerce bundle. But once you’ve narrowed it down to these powerful platforms, it’s hard to know which will be the best fit for your online store.
That’s why we’ve conducted extensive research on both platforms, tested each of them ourselves, and invited daily groups of people to test them. Not only that, we’ve analyzed, tested, and compared BigCommerce and Shopify highlights, sales features, design, customer support, pricing plans, and more.
Before diving into the details, let’s take a quick look at the overall assessment of the two platforms (the information is taken from a trusted survey by Website Builder Expert):
BigCommerce vs Shopify: Detailed comparison
While both BigCommerce, as well as Shopify, are great in their own right, there are some differences that make both of these platforms better suited to specific situations and types of users.
The main idea behind both tools is that you can use them to build an online store without having to code anything. You choose a template from the range offered, upload your product, set a price, and at least you’re – in theory – ready. However, choosing your eCommerce platform should not be based solely on the platform’s brand or online reviews. You will need to consider other factors including included features, ease of user, payment gateways, SEO options, design templates, as well as overall price and value… So, consider these points when comparing BigCommerce vs Shopify and choose the right eCommerce platform for your business.
Let’s temporarily call it a competition, BigCommerce vs Shopify has to go through matches about:
- Ease of use
- Themes and designs
- Customer support
One of the first questions – though not necessarily the most important – that potential BigCommerce and Shopify users ask is, “How much do they cost?”
When it comes to ecommerce website builders, the recurring monthly cost of a plan is the most important factor in your budget. That said, there will also be additional costs like credit card fees and transaction fees. We’ll first cover the monthly plan price, then explain the additional costs you’ll face with Shopify and BigCommerce.
Let’s consider that.
On the surface, these prices don’t appear to be very different. But that will change as additional costs arise.
Credit Card Fees
While the transaction fee is between you and your eCommerce platform, the credit card fee is what you pay to the third-party payment processor you use when making a sale. BigCommerce offers over 65 integrations, while Shopify offers over 100.
Shopify recommends its in-house Shopify Payments option and BigCommerce recommends the increasingly popular PayPal – both charge 2.9% + 30 yen per transaction.
Transaction fees are the percentage of revenue the website builder receives from each sale you make. You’ll be happy to know that BigCommerce has no transaction fees on any of its plans. Conversely, for Shopify without Shopify Payments, transaction fees will apply and these fees will vary depending on the type of plan you are using: 2% for ‘Shopify Lite’ and ‘Basic Shopify’; 1% for ‘Shopify’ and 0.5% for ‘Advanced Shopify.
When put on the scale, it seems that both platforms are quite similar in price. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The main pluses of BigCommerce pricing plans compared to Shopify’s are:
- Several more features are offered on its $29 plan compared to Shopify’s equivalent plan.
- No transaction fees apply to any BigCommerce plan, regardless of payment gateway.
The advantages of Shopify fee structure are as follows:
- Unlike BigCommerce, no sales limit applies
- Platform is compatible with about 100 different payment gateways
- The $29 plan includes a bypassed cart saver function.
- It’s also worth noting that Shopify’s $9 Lite plan can help you sell online much cheaper than any of the BigCommerce plans (though only in certain contexts – via the ‘Buy Button’, Facebook page or point of sale situation).
As can be seen, Shopify’s advantage is slightly better than BigCommerce. If you choose Shopify and can use Shopify Payments, it’s great because you will only have to consider credit card transaction fees and this puts the two eCommerce platforms on par as BigCommerce doesn’t charge any fees. If you are outside of Shopify Payments limits, your transaction fees can almost double. However, when deciding between Shopify and BigCommerce, there is more to consider than just pricing, let’s break it down!
2. Ease of use
A platform with a user-friendly interface that saves you more time and effort. Therefore, this is an important key factor to consider when choosing your online platform.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce boast extremely easy setup for new users. This is partly true, but keep in mind that there is actually quite a bit of information to fill an online store. This includes adding individual products and variations, shipping fees, tax information, and more. That’s why both platforms several tools to get you started.
With Shopify, adding products is as simple as filling out a quick form for each item. And there are plenty of suggestions along the way, like this helpful sales tip on comparing prices: BigCommerce, on the other hand, offers more powerful selling features that require a bit more knowledge.
Plus, BigCommerce has made some recent improvements to ease of use. BigCommerce’s drag and drop outperforms Shopify in terms of design flexibility, and all you have to do is pick a page element you like and insert it anywhere you want. Meanwhile, Shopify does not offer the same hands-on editing experience as BigCommerce. With Shopify, you can toggle the order of page elements from a list, but you can’t actually drag and drop any element anywhere you want on the page.
Shopify is easier to operate than BigCommerce, making it a top choice for beginners. BigCommerce is more powerful, but it’s a harder platform to master – although its drag-and-drop builder is certainly helping Shopify earn the title.
Overall, the results are quite similar. However, the only noticeable difference is that BigCommerce offers a bit more flexibility, which also makes it a bit more difficult to use for beginners. So the winner is Shopify. Just because it takes fewer clicks to add products and set things up.
So what do Shopify and BigCommerce bring us? Since we don’t want to be stuck with a passive, featureless website, let’s take a look at their features.
BigCommerce was number one in our research for its selling features. Shopify is not far behind in second place. First things first – both Shopify and BigCommerce offer essential features as standard, such as:
Basic shipping tools – Set shipping locations, modify rates based on order weight or value, and print your own shipping labels.
SSL Certificate – Representing Secure Sockets Layer, this certificate protects your store and authenticates it as a safe place to process payments online.
Omnichannel Selling – Sell on multiple platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
But all is expected from the two major e-commerce platforms. So, what makes BigCommerce and Shopify different?
Marketing tools and functions are very helpful when it comes to promoting your business. In this round, let’s move on to the marketing features of BigCommerce and Shopify.
4. Themes and designs
Theme is one of the most important points to consider when choosing your platform. As you can imagine, we cannot objectively decide which looks best as this is purely based on your aesthetic preferences. But there are some other things that we can measure.
Shopify themes come in a variety of industries and styles and range in price from $100 to $180. It’s easy to find your perfect theme by searching through layouts, sizes, and layouts. store, industry, navigation style, etc Whether you’re looking at free or paid options, all Shopify themes are modern and professional. Shopify themes allow great levels of customization. They are easy to personalize and look professional.
Just a few years ago, BigCommerce would have received a much lower rating from us than it does today. The company recently updated its theme offering with some new, professionally designed themes.
BigCommerce themes organized by industry, layout, and price. There are many industries to choose from, although not as many as you get with Shopify. However, BigCommerce’s free themes can be a bit outdated, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking to grow your business in the long run. This will likely require rebranding somewhere down the line and switching to a paid theme. These range in price from $150 to $300.
5. Customer Support
Whether you choose Shopify or BigCommerce, you’ll get access to the following:
- 24/7 phone support
- 24/7 live chat support
- Help Center
- Community forum
- Email support
- Video tutorials
Phone support and 24/7 live chat are the standout tools here, but helpful knowledge centers also make a difference. BigCommerce’s Help Center is full of useful information. But what we really like about Shopify is that there are helpful prompts throughout its site dashboard that link directly to a relevant page in the Shopify knowledge center.
For both platforms, upgrading to the highest plan also unlocks priority support. For Shopify, this means getting access to a dedicated support agency on the Shopify Plus plan. With BigCommerce, you will receive a referral consultant as part of the BigCommerce Enterprise plan and receive priority when requesting phone support.
With BigCommerce you’ll have access to tutorials you’ll have access to 24/7 tutorials by phone, live chat and email. Before you can access an email address or phone number, however, you should fill out a form and consider any DIY suggestions the BigCommerce website may have to offer.
There is an option to “skip this step” if you know you need further assistance. On the plus side, BigCommerce has some of the best support around, with around 90% of issues resolved with the first call.
Shopify support is available 24/7 and also requires you to find DIY solutions to your problem before you have access to any real contact details.
In some places, Shopify’s support strategy is a bit unclear. There is a support phone number for certain countries, but if you’re not in any of the countries on the list, there’s no advice on whom you should contact. Even so, many customers believe that if you’re not too concerned about phone support, you can still get great customer service from Shopify.
BigCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons
While both BigCommerce, as well as Shopify, are great in their own right, there are some differences that make the platform better for specific situations and types of users.
To help you make a sound decision, here are the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms.
Conclusion: Which is better, BigCommerce or Shopify?
The BigCommerce vs Shopify battle is a battle with different winners depending on who judges the fight. They are big competitors, so whichever way you choose, you’re sure to get outstanding service. But there are some important differences, so let’s have a quick recap.
You should use BigCommerce if:
- You want built-in features without the hassle of installing or paying for them separately
- You enjoy more design functions for your store brand
- You run an entirely online business looking to grow across multiple channels
You should use Shopify if
- You want more control over the features of your website
- You want as much choice as possible between third-party apps
- You run a large business with complex inventory
The better platform ultimately comes down to what you are looking for. That said, our testing shows Shopify as the winner for ease of use, customer support, and user satisfaction.
Given the many strengths of each platform, we are unable to announce an overall winner in this match. What is needed is additional research from you. Armed with the insights from this guide. This will allow you to evaluate what each platform has to offer and then make the best decision for your business.
Just remember that we are here to support you every step of the way. Our experts know how to start a highly profitable online store that maximizes your investment. Most importantly, you will learn how to devise strategies to generate a sustainable source of income.