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Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Business

Ecommerce platform guide

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Business

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Business
Pauls Smiltiņš

By Pauls Smiltiņš

12 min read

Are you looking to start your online business but not sure which ecommerce platform to use?

Navigating the plethora of options available in the ecommerce landscape can be daunting. But don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through it all. Today, we’ll look closer at two popular choices—Bigcommerce and Shopify.

Of course, besides these two giants, there are other platforms available. If you want to learn more about alternatives, check out our list of best ecommerce platforms for dropshiping.

In this blog, we’ll compare Bigcommerce vs. Shopify to help you make an informed decision that best suits your business needs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the nuances of pricing, app integration, ease of use, and much more.

Sounds good? Let’s roll!

BigCommerce vs. Shopify at a glance

BigCommerce and Shopify are two great ecommerce platforms allowing users to create polished web stores. Shopify is known for its easy-to-use interface, customization options, and strong app ecosystem. At the same time, BigCommerce offers an all-in-one package with a wide array of built-in features.

Who is BigCommerce best for?

BigCommerce caters to users who prioritize an all-in-one ecommerce solution with a user-friendly interface. It’s an ideal choice for small businesses seeking a hassle-free experience and a platform that empowers them to focus more on running their store and less on technical complexities.

Tailored for users in search of an all-encompassing platform, BigCommerce ensures a seamless experience, platform reliability, and continual support in store management.

a screenshot of a videoSource: BigCommerce

Who is Shopify best for?

Shopify, on the other hand, appeals to businesses of all sizes with its scalability and advanced ecommerce capabilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced entrepreneur, Shopify provides the tools you need to build and grow your online store, making it a versatile option for a wide range of users.

Offering flexibility, Shopify enables the sale of both physical and digital products across various channels, including social media, online marketplaces, and in-person venues, ensuring scalability as businesses expand.

a green and white store with a green awningSource: Shopify

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BigCommerce vs. Shopify: an in-depth comparison

Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty for an in-depth overview of these ecommerce website builders.

Ease of use

Ease of use is a crucial factor to consider when selecting the right platform, as it can significantly impact the speed and efficiency of launching your ecommerce store. BigCommerce and Shopify offer distinct experiences tailored to different user preferences and skill levels.

a woman sitting at a table with a laptopSource: Pexels

BigCommerce is designed as a standalone ecommerce platform, offering a user-friendly interface suitable for users of all technical levels. Its guided setup wizard streamlines the process of storefront creation, making it particularly appealing for beginners. However, while BigCommerce ensures a fully functional ecommerce site, it may not be as intuitive as some competitors, requiring a learning curve to master some of its more advanced features.

On the other hand, Shopify also provides a user-friendly platform, albeit with a potentially longer learning curve due to its various interfaces. Despite this, Shopify’s advanced ecommerce tools facilitate seamless business scaling. While Shopify’s base platform is easier to navigate, its scalability relies heavily on integrating third-party apps from the Shopify app store.

BigCommerce may offer a quicker path to setting up a complete online store, while Shopify provides a more straightforward base platform with extensive scalability options through third-party integrations.

Costs

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer similar pricing plans structured to accommodate various business needs.

Beginning with their basic plans, priced at $39 per month, both platforms provide essential features for online stores, with slight differences, such as staff accounts and transaction fees. While Shopify imposes a 2% transaction fee when not using Shopify Payments, BigCommerce waives transaction fees altogether.

Moving to their mid-tier plans, priced at $79 per month, both platforms introduce additional tools to increase customer engagement and streamline operations. Shopify’s plan includes more staff accounts and inventory locations, while BigCommerce offers features like stored credit cards and loyalty programs.

For more advanced needs, both platforms offer premium plans priced at $399 per month. These plans unlock advanced reporting and customization options, each platform offering unique features such as Google customer reviews for BigCommerce and custom pricing by market for Shopify.

Here’s a breakdown of BigCommerce plans:

  • Standard plan: Starting at $39/month or $29/month if billed annually, the Standard plan of BigCommerce offers essential ecommerce features along with hosting and mobile app support

  • Plus plan: Priced at $105/month or $79/month annually, the Plus plan of BigCommerce caters to businesses requiring additional features like extra storefronts and more available inventory locations

  • Pro plan: The Pro plan, priced at $399/month or $299/month annually, provides advanced features like unlimited API calls and price lists tailored to larger enterprises

a screenshot of a phoneSource: BigCommerce

Here’s a breakdown of Shopify plans:

  • Basic plan: Priced at $39/month or $29/month if billed annually, the Basic Shopify plan offers a custom domain, one staff account, standard analytics, and 24/7 support

  • Shopify plan: Costing $105/month or $79/month annually, the Shopify plan provides additional benefits such as five extra staff accounts, shipping discounts of up to 88%, lower transaction fees, and deeper insights into customer behavior and site analytics

  • Advanced plan: Priced at $399/month or $299/month if billed annually, the Advanced plan offers advanced reporting, the lowest transaction fees, and automation features to streamline manual work

screens screenshot of a phoneSource: Shopify

It’s important to mention that BigCommerce mandates plan upgrades based on annual sales volume, with different tiers accommodating varying revenue levels. For anyone who wants to sell products without maintaining an online store, Shopify provides a Starter plan priced at $5 per month, which is ideal for embedding buy buttons on personal websites.

Site design features

A visually appealing and functional website is essential for attracting and retaining customers. Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer a wide range of design features to help you create a professional-looking online store.

Both offer a variety of responsive themes, each presenting 12 free ones, customizable to suit various industries. While both platforms provide mobile-friendly designs, Shopify is recognized for its advanced theme design and usability.

Shopify theme store offers a limited selection of free themes among its 186 templates, with one-time fees ranging from $140 to $400. Shopify’s user-friendly drag-and-drop interface enables easy customization without coding skills, complemented by advanced customization options and robust security features like SSL certificates and PCI compliance.

a green shoe on a plantSource: Shopify

Interested? Check out our blog post on the 8 Best Shopify Themes for Dropshipping.

Similarly, BigCommerce provides professionally designed themes categorized by industry, balancing flexibility and ease of use. BigCommerce’s theme marketplace offers premium themes at different prices, starting at $100 and going up to $300. That said, BigCommerce premium options far surpass the free themes in quality and functionality.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: BigCommerce

Additionally, BigCommerce offers a visual merchandising tool that allows users to customize their storefronts with drag-and-drop functionality, enhancing the overall shopping experience for customers.

Apps and integrations

The ability to extend your store’s functionality through third-party apps and integrations is crucial for ecommerce success. Fortunately, both BigCommerce and Shopify offer a wide range of options to choose from.

BigCommerce’s app store is distinguished by its focus on ecommerce-specific needs, featuring purpose-built apps spanning marketing, analytics, shipping, and accounting. These apps seamlessly integrate with the platform, ensuring smooth operation without conflicts or vulnerabilities.

Additionally, BigCommerce offers integrations with popular tools and services such as Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and QuickBooks, enabling users to streamline their operations and grow their businesses effectively.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: BigCommerce

If you want to learn more, check out these 11 BigCommerce Apps to Help You Sell More.

Shopify boasts an extensive app store with over 8,000 app integrations covering various aspects of your Shopify store needs. Shopify’s app store offers a wide range of tools and services, including marketing, inventory management, and customer support, empowering users to customize their stores and optimize their operations.

The app store encompasses various integrations such as Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Bold Product Options, and many more.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Shopify

For more insight, here are the 31 Best Shopify Apps to Boost Your Ecommerce Store in 2024.

Selling made easy with Printful

Both platforms offer print-on-demand (POD) integration with services like Printful, enabling effortless creation and sale of custom merchandise without inventory overhead. Partnering with Printful, you’ll have an in-house team of 1,000+ experts to ensure your product meets the highest standards.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Printful

Why consider the POD business model?

Similar to dropshipping, POD entails selling third-party products on your storefront without maintaining inventory, thus eliminating overhead costs. However, what sets POD companies, like Printful, apart is their capacity for product customization. With Printful, you can unleash unlimited design possibilities, creating custom merchandise that elevates your brand.

Payment processing

Both Shopify and BigCommerce prioritize seamless payment processing to enhance the shopping experience for online customers.

a person holding a credit card and using a laptopSource: Pexels

Shopify offers over 100 payment providers, including popular options like Apple Pay and PayPal, ensuring customers can use their preferred payment methods. It simplifies payment management through its backend dashboard and recommends its native payment processor, Shopify Payments, which eliminates third-party transaction fees.

BigCommerce provides 65 online payment options, covering a comprehensive range of regional and global preferences, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square. BigCommerce provides essential customization options for payment settings, ensuring compatibility with most payment gateways without imposing additional fees.

Both platforms support international transactions and provide region-specific payment processing options, catering to businesses targeting a global audience. While Shopify stands out for its extensive payment provider options and seamless integration with Shopify Payments, BigCommerce offers a robust selection of pre-integrated payment gateways.

SEO

Both BigCommerce and Shopify have robust SEO features to boost your store’s visibility and drive organic traffic.

BigCommerce provides comprehensive SEO capabilities, including optimized URLs, embedded microdata, and automatic URL adjustments for product renaming. These features empower users to effortlessly improve their search rankings.

On the other hand, Shopify offers flexibility in optimizing content through customizable meta tags, modification of meta titles and descriptions, and editing of URLs for blog posts.

While both platforms support integration with Google Analytics for in-depth analysis of website user behavior, BigCommerce stands out by including professional reporting tools across all plans.

In contrast, Shopify reserves advanced reporting for its more expensive plans. Despite Shopify’s extensive SEO tools, such as structured data markup, mobile optimization, site maps, and URL redirects, BigCommerce’s out-of-the-box SEO features make it a compelling choice.

a man riding a large sign on a ballSource: Yoast

That being said, Shopify offers a wide array of third-party apps for SEO purposes, providing users with additional options to enhance their store’s SEO. Integrations with popular SEO tools like Yoast and Ahrefs will let you optimize your store’s SEO more effectively.

Support

Having reliable support from your ecommerce platform is necessary for resolving issues and optimizing your store’s performance.

a woman wearing headphones standing in an officeSource: Pexels

BigCommerce and Shopify prioritize comprehensive customer support to assist users throughout their ecommerce journey. BigCommerce offers 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email, ensuring assistance is readily available when necessary.

BigCommerce further distinguishes itself by providing dedicated support teams, online training resources such as webinars and tutorials, and personalized assistance throughout the business’s lifecycle. This personalized approach ensures timely resolution of technical issues, customization assistance, and guidance on platform updates.

Similarly, Shopify offers round-the-clock customer support via live chat, phone, and email, covering all aspects of store setup, design, configuration, and troubleshooting. Advanced Shopify subscribers can benefit from improved 24/7 chat support with quicker response times. Additionally, Shopify provides an extensive knowledge base in community forums for users to access additional resources and guidance.

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Things to consider

Domain names

If you want to provide your store with its distinct domain name, which is recommended, you’ll have to invest in acquiring your domain.

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer the option to buy a domain directly from them. BigCommerce typically charges around $12/year, while Shopify offers a domain starting from $14/year.

Alternatively, you can explore the option of purchasing a domain name from a different domain registrar and then importing it into your store.

Shipping

BigCommerce provides a free feature for generating real-time shipping quotes to showcase on your storefront. Additionally, you can create, purchase, and print USPS labels for orders directly from your control panel.

Similarly, Shopify allows you to generate real-time shipping quotes, but it’s limited to users only on the Shopify Plus or the Advanced plan. You can also unlock this feature through Shopify apps with a third-party integration. That being said, Shopify enables users to print shipping labels not only from USPS but also from various other leading carriers, like UPS and DHS, directly through the platform.

It’s important to monitor current market trends, whether it’s the rising popularity of eco-friendly products or the latest fashion boom. Crucially, these platforms offer the flexibility to adapt to evolving consumer preferences. Integrating trending products into your store’s offerings can broaden your audience and boost sales.

To meet the growing demand for personalized items, consider incorporating best-selling print-on-demand products like custom apparel or wall art. You can check out our list of trending products for extra inspiration, as well as dropshipping products with high profit margins.

Explore niche markets with high-demand products and healthy profit margins. Conduct thorough research on suppliers and products to ensure quality and reliability.

What’s your pick?

Choosing between two great ecommerce platforms can be difficult. At the end of the day, you might need just the basics, in which case both will do a stellar job.

Shopify stands out as a feature-rich solution with scalability and advanced ecommerce capabilities, making it ideal for businesses aiming for substantial growth and expansion in the online market.

Alternatively, BigCommerce provides an all-in-one solution with a user-friendly interface, catering specifically to small businesses seeking a hassle-free experience. Its built-in features streamline the process of setting up an online store, ensuring a quick and efficient launch.

Whether you opt for Shopify’s scalability or BigCommerce’s simplicity, evaluate your options carefully and choose the ecommerce platform that sets your online store up for success.

That’s a wrap. Happy selling!

author

By Pauls Smiltiņš on May 9, 2024

Pauls Smiltiņš

Guest author

Pauls is a content writer with a background in the radio. He has a degree in communication sciences, and in his free time, Pauls loves to entertain crowds by playing live music on stage.

Pauls is a content writer with a background in the radio. He has a degree in communication sciences, and in his free time, Pauls loves to entertain crowds by playing live music on stage.