With retail eCommerce sales across the globe reaching $3.53 trillion in 2019, and revenues expected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2022, fledgling entrepreneurs must select the right platform and build a robust foundation to level up their game in 2021 and beyond.
However, while creating an eCommerce store, you will come across several prominent eCommerce platforms, including BigCommerce and Shopify, that help you build, maintain, and market your online store, making it difficult to settle on one.
Want to start an online store but fretting over which eCommerce platform’s best for you?
Let’s take a look at BigCommerce vs Shopify in terms of features, support, ease of use, pricing, integrations, and much more.
Spoiler: if you scroll to the end, I’ll tell you which I like the most 😃
A brief overview
BigCommerce has various eCommerce features that make it the perfect platform for big businesses with even bigger goals. It’s virtually impossible to outgrow the built-in tools. But, on the other hand, it can be overwhelming if you are new to digital sales.
Ideally, BigCommerce is well suited for established companies that want to develop their eCommerce capabilities rapidly. All in all, BigCommerce appeals to wholesale businesses with less than 50 employees and annual revenues that reach up to $50 million. It has an eCommerce market share of a little over 2 percent.
On the other hand, the Shopify eCommerce platform comes with exceptional customer support, as well as an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that can help individuals new to the world of online sales. It is a worthwhile option if businesses looking to integrate their existing online sales with a point-of-sale system.
Fashion apparel and retail stores typically with less than 50 employees and annual revenues of around $50 million use Shopify’s platform. It has over 9% eCommerce market share. Some of Shopify’s users are well-known fashion brands like Fashion Nova and Rebecca Minkoff.
An eCommerce platform’s functionality must include everything from its virtual store builder to the content management system (CMS) to analytics reports that aid customer retention. Let’s explore the most attractive features of the Big 2 to help you choose the right one.
BigCommerce offers these features:
- Hosting: A secure hosting service with unlimited bandwidth optimizes the search engine and enhances the site performance.
- Multi-channel sales: Apart from your online store, you can sell on eBay, Amazon, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Device optimization: It enables website optimization automatically across multiple devices such as smartphones, desktops, and tablets.
- Shipping options: You can avail of bulk discounts with significant shipping companies, e.g., FedEx, USPS, and DHL.
- Security: Customer data and credit card information have multiple protection layers, which include Secure Sockets Layer certificate encryption.
The reporting and analytics include data on the average order value, conversion rate data, shopping cart abandonment rate, purchase funnel, and in-store searches. These help you formulate and align your pricing strategies.
BigCommerce offers over 100 paid website themes and 12 free ones that cost up to $245. They are all well-designed, and you can filter by industry, layout, and price.
Shopify offers the following comparable baseline features:
- Hosting: This fully hosted onsite solution means that you don’t have to manage or buy additional software, hire a developer to create a website, or pay for hosting.
- Product management: The eCommerce content management system instantly adds the product descriptions and inventory items
- Integrated email: Customer activities at your eCommerce store can activate automated emails that can also be a single message to promote an advertising campaign.
- Customer tracking: You can easily monitor the customer life cycle on your website to generate actionable data and insights on sales, inventory needs, and customer acquisition.
Shopify Exchange also allows you to buy existing online stores. You can choose one based on its revenue history, price, type of business or industry, and age. You can also create exciting podcasts on Shopify to provide relevant content to your visitors.
Furthermore, Shopify’s analytics and reporting are more simplified as compared to BigCommerce. You can incorporate Google Analytics to get the granular sales and performance data to update your eCommerce marketing.
Features winner: BigCommerce
BigCommerce tops the chart here. While Shopify comprises the baseline functionalities that you will need, the breadth and depth of BigCommerce’s features are unparalleled.
Customer support is crucial for the initial setup. Users also need ongoing service as required to customize their eCommerce platform to meet the evolving needs.
BigCommerce offers 24/7 customer support through phone, email, and chat, but you will first be encouraged to leverage its online resources. For example, getting the answer to a common question such as “How can I sell on Google Shopping?” or “How can I up my eCommerce store’s data?”
BigCommerce provides additional useful resources to help address their customers’ concerns more effectively.
- User documentation
- Developer documentation
A robust users’ community is an excellent place to understand and learn about the advanced capabilities of BigCommerce and exchange what they’ve learned. Read the updates and latest news, submit your ideas for unique features, and deliver feedback on other users’ recommendations.
Users and developers can access isolated documentation and centers for its theme designs and application programming interface (API).
Shopify’s customer support is rated as the best eCommerce platform amongst others. You can speak to a customer service representative on call 24/7, leverage the Shopify chat support, or submit a complaint ticket online at their customer support portal.
Shopify provides several guides that can help you begin your eCommerce sales process and keep them running efficiently. Additionally, you can access other resources such as the training videos, an updated changelog, etc. The Shopify community has around 650,000 users, with about 2,000 users online at all times.
There are free webinar topics that aim to communicate more about how to leverage the Shopify platform.
Support winner: Shopify
Shopify leads the game when it comes to customer support. The platforms significantly overlap in customer service, but Shopify outshines at assisting eCommerce novices in starting their online sales journey.
Ease of use
You, your customers, and your employees need your online store and eCommerce platform to be easy-to-use. Else, your features or cost won’t matter because usability is fundamental to customers.
BigCommerce is well-known for its problematic usage of complicated terminology. Some of its features can at times get in your way.
The initial setup of the platform is user-friendly. However, as you begin to develop your website, you’ll have to answer a few questions before the store builder can create a tailored website for your business.
Once you are through with the initial setup, you’ll doubt the BigCommerce dashboard’s capabilities that comprise various features that make it hard to navigate.
Furthermore, theme customization can be challenging as the editor needs command-line actions to update. Speed is also a concern because BigCommerce web pages at times load more slowly on smartphone devices, which can affect your search engine rankings.
As soon as you choose your plan, you’ll have an operational eCommerce store that you can fine-tune and adjust instead of developing one from scratch.
The ready-made templates on the platform enable you to keep your store’s design and structure consistent. The toolbars and dashboards are relatively easy to navigate.
Furthermore, you can quickly sell products on Instagram and Facebook. You can instantly adjust the inventory levels if you make a sale offline. While Shopify’s baseline features are not as comprehensive as BigCommerce, but the customer support level allows you to maximize your eCommerce platform efforts.
Ease of use winner: Shopify
Shopify outdoes BigCommerce in terms of ease of use. Your employees and eCommerce store’s management will ultimately learn all the features of BigCommerce. But it’ll be quite the learning curve.
However, if you want to set up an eCommerce website, run it on your own, routine business operations, Shopify should be your go-to option.
All eCommerce platforms have standard baseline costs: transaction fees, monthly subscription, and add-on plug-ins and integrations. Research each of them thoroughly to avoid future surprises.
BigCommerce pricing essentially has four plans:
- Standard: Includes an exclusive eCommerce store, Amazon and eBay sales channels, and infinite products, bandwidth, staff accounts, and file storage – $29.95/month.
- Plus: Adds an abandoned cart saver, customer groups, segmentation, stored credit cards, and a persistent cart – $79.95/month.
- Pro: Adds faceted search, Google customer reviews, product filtering, and SSL security – $299.95/month.
- Enterprise: Adds product filtering and custom facets, API support, price lists, and unlimited API-related calls – quota-based.
BigCommerce doesn’t offer a credit card processing option, so you need to partner with a third-party vendor.
Shopify plans are as follows:
- Shopify Lite: This allows you to include products to your site, sell via Facebook, manually process credit card-enabled sales, and chat with customers through Facebook Messenger with the Shopify smartphone application – $9/month.
- Basic Shopify: This comprises an eCommerce blog and website, two staff accounts, unlimited products, conduct in-person sales meetings at four locations or manage inventory, discount codes, free SSL certificate, gift cards, 24/7 customer support, and abandoned cart recovery – $29/month.
- Shopify: Includes professional reports, five locations, five staff accounts, and USPS Priority Mail Cubic – $79/month
- Advanced Shopify: This includes an advanced report builder, eight locations, 15 staff accounts, and third-party estimated shipping rates – $299/month
- Shopify Plus: This is designed for best-selling eCommerce merchants who make thousands of sales/minute.
Shopify transaction fees start from 2.4% to $0.30/sale if you use them for credit card processing. Using a third-party credit card processor will have you paying the standard fee plus 0.5% – 2.0% of every transaction based on your plan.
Pricing winner: Shopify
Shopify pricing plans win, despite charging a fee for the transaction if you leverage a credit card processor by a third party.
Shopify Lite doesn’t require a massive investment. The $29 per month plan comes with features that are not available in BigCommerce plans unless you select its $79.95 per month plan.
Integration with other software
No eCommerce platform can perform every task and function for you right out of the box. However, there are various third-party software applications and integrations to help you tailor the processes to meet your precise requirements.
The BigCommerce application marketplace has more than 750 integration and apps available. While some companies, such as QuickBooks and Mailchimp Online, are free, others are paid.
The most popular paid application is ShipStation. It is free to install and download but costs $9 per month after a free trial of 60-day.
Available application categories include:
- Catalog and order management
- Analytics and reporting
- Product sourcing
- Shipping and fulfillment
- Sales channel
While BigCommerce offers applications available for all business aspects, many users report that a few don’t have enough variety.
The Shopify application store has around 2,500 apps, and more than 1,000 are free. You can find an app or service to print free marketing barcode labels, advanced inventory management, an order printer, process automation – all that is free.
Other application categories include:
- Customer support
- Store design
Users recurrently comment on the number of Shopify applications that make it probable to customize their sales processes and online stores.
Integration winner: Shopify
Shopify wins here due to the third-party apps available on the platform. The BigCommerce alternative offers more free applications than combined BigCommerce’s free and paid apps.
Which should you use: BigCommerce or Shopify?
My favorite eCommerce platform is Shopify. It’s super simple to set up a stunning store and it comes with a TON of integrations.
However, choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business is an intricate yet fundamental decision. Leveraging BigCommerce or Shopify is a great way to experiment with a SaaS platform. However, not all platforms are a good fit for every business.
As you evaluate your alternatives, you will find various standard functionality and features. These platforms may seem like they are all the same, but both of them vary immensely.
Now that you are well-informed about the main differences between Shopify and BigCommerce, it’s imperative to get to the decision-making part: which platform should you leverage?
Before you decide on Shopify or BigCommerce, it’s recommended to consider your overall eCommerce goals and distinct business needs.
First off, it essentially depends on your eCommerce store and business requirements. You need to ask yourself what you want in an eCommerce platform and which one is best suited to your business needs.
Shopify and BigCommerce are well-established eCommerce platforms – and for the right reasons. Both are robust tools designed to seamlessly meet your online store needs while providing the end user an exceptional experience.
Weigh the benefits and costs of your final decision, and this can give you an upfront idea of which of these platforms make the most sense to you.
Which eCommerce platform is your favorite?