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Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: The Ultimate Comparison for Online Sellers

Ecommerce platform guide

WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: The Ultimate Comparison for Online Sellers

WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: The Ultimate Comparison for Online Sellers
Sandra Ķempele

By Sandra Ķempele

14 min read

Are you looking to kickstart your online business and wondering which ecommerce platform to go for? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll give you an overview of WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce to help you make an informed decision. 

WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin, and BigCommerce, a standalone ecommerce platform, both offer unique features that can greatly impact the success of your online store. In this blog post, we’ll break down essential aspects such as user-friendliness, site design features, payment processing, and key integrations.

Now, let’s delve into the key differences and benefits of each to help you determine which is the best ecommerce platform for your online business.

WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce at a glance

To start with, let’s look at the strengths of WooCommerce and BigCommerce, two popular ecommerce platforms that cater to a wide range of online businesses.

Who is WooCommerce best for?

WooCommerce is best for users with technical skills seeking highly customizable online stores. With WooCommerce, you can create tailored ecommerce solutions, making it ideal for self-starters and businesses who value flexibility and customization.

Who is BigCommerce best for?

BigCommerce is best for users looking for an all-in-one ecommerce platform. It’s ideal for businesses seeking a hassle-free experience, platform stability, and ongoing assistance in managing their online store. It’s particularly suitable for small businesses who want a more hands-off approach to technical aspects of their ecommerce store.

a person looking at a laptop screenSource: Pexels

WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: an in-depth comparison

In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the features of WooCommerce and BigCommerce to provide a more comprehensive analysis. Understanding the nuances of each platform is essential in making an informed decision for your ecommerce business. Let’s dive in!

When it comes to choosing between BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce, ease of use is an important factor that can significantly influence the speed at which you can bring your ecommerce store to life and start selling.

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WooCommerce

WooCommerce’s user-friendliness largely depends on your familiarity with WordPress. If you have a WordPress site, adding the WooCommerce plugin is an easy, seamless process. However, for beginners who are new to using WordPress CMS (content management system), there might be a steeper learning curve, especially when navigating themes, plugins, and updates.

When setting up a WooCommerce store, you first need to install WordPress, then add the WooCommerce plugin, and configure store settings. The time needed can vary significantly based on your familiarity with WordPress and the extent of customization you’re seeking.

The strength of WooCommerce lies in its flexibility. It allows you to tailor your ecommerce store to your exact specifications, offering a vast array of themes and plugins. However, this level of personalization can also mean a more complex setup process, needing more time and effort to get everything configured to your liking.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is designed as a standalone ecommerce platform, offering a user-friendly interface suitable for users of all levels of technical expertise. It doesn’t rely on WordPress, making it a great choice for those unfamiliar with WordPress and new to ecommerce in general.

When it comes to setting up a storefront, BigCommerce comes with a guided setup wizard. That streamlines the process of adding new products, coming up with your store’s design, and configuring settings.

Overall, BigCommerce is a more beginner-friendly option. It offers a quicker path to getting your online store up and running and is a good choice for those who prioritize ease of use. WooCommerce may require more time and effort, especially for beginners, due to its reliance on WordPress and its extensive customization options.

a screenshot of a product pageSource: BigCommerce

When launching and maintaining an ecommerce website, it’s important to understand the cost implications of your chosen platform. WooCommerce and BigCommerce have distinct cost structures, each with its own factors to consider.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free open-source WordPress plugin, making it a cost-effective choice if you have an existing WordPress site. You can set up a basic ecommerce website without any additional software expenses.

The main costs associated with WooCommerce are web hosting and a domain name. For web hosting, a popular provider like Bluehost offers plans starting as low as $2.99/month and going up to $12.95/month for more advanced features. Shared hosting plans may start at a lower cost, but for a high-performance online store, you might opt for a managed WooCommerce hosting provider, which can be more expensive.

While there are many free themes available for WooCommerce, it’s a good idea to invest in premium plugins and themes to enhance your store’s functionality.

WooCommerce transaction fees depend on sales volume, but you’ll also need to consider fees charged by payment processors like PayPal or Stripe. 

All in all, you’re looking at an approximate range of $150 per year for a basic WooCommerce online store. This estimate assumes using a free WordPress theme and not including any optional extras like premium WooCommerce themes or paid plugins.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers a tiered subscription model, with its Standard plan at $29.50/month, Plus plan at $79.50/month, and Pro plan at $299.95/month, catering to different business needs and scales. The cost depends on your business and the required features, but standard plans include hosting and essential ecommerce features.

BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees, which can be hugely beneficial for businesses with a high sales volume. Plus, BigCommerce provides a good selection of free themes, with a wide range of premium themes available for purchase.

In terms of additional features, BigCommerce has an app marketplace where you can find paid integrations. Many of them offer free trial periods, allowing you to test functionality and decide whether they meet your requirements before committing to a subscription.

The right site design is crucial for creating an appealing online store that reflects your brand. Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce offer various options for site design, including customization capabilities.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce takes full advantage of the expansive WordPress ecosystem. That means you’ll have access to thousands of themes, both free and premium. These themes cover a diverse spectrum of industries and aesthetics, ensuring there’s something to suit your brand. Whether you’re delving into fashion or electronics, you’ll likely find a theme that speaks to your style.

For ecommerce stores, Astra, Botiga, and Storefront are among the most popular WooCommerce themes that come with several layout and color options, multiple widget regions, and a responsive design. In addition, you can choose from popular paid ecommerce themes like OceanWP and Zakra that range from $39 to $129.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: WooCommerce

WooCommerce’s compatibility with various plugins means you can elevate your site’s design and functionality to the next level. For example, you can add eye-catching product sliders and advanced product pages to enhance the shopping experience for your customers. However, bear in mind that such customization might need a certain level of technical expertise.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce presents a curated selection of professionally designed themes categorized by industry and use case. While BigCommerce themes might not offer the same level of customization as WordPress themes, they strike a good balance between flexibility and ease of use. 

a screenshot of a websiteSource: BigCommerce

BigCommerce themes are purpose-built with ecommerce best practices at their core and work well across devices, from desktop to mobile. All free or premium designs come with a fully responsive one-page checkout and an editor that simplifies the process of making design adjustments. Whether you want to change button colors, update fonts, or modify the checkout header, you can do so with ease.

Beyond the default Cornerstone theme offered by BigCommerce, an array of premium themes is available, with prices ranging from $150 to $300. Among these, Peak, priced at $195, stands out to high-volume sellers, while Vogue Fashion, positioned at the premium end of the spectrum for $297, is known for catering to fashion brands.

a screenshot of a computerSource: BigCommerce

When starting an online business, the ability to extend your store’s functionality through third-party apps and integrations can significantly impact your success. Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce offer a wide range of options, allowing you to tailor your online presence to your needs.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce boasts a wide array of plugins, both free and premium. These plugins cover everything from streamlining payment gateways and optimizing shipping logistics to fine-tuning your site’s performance on search engines.

What’s more, WooCommerce offers integrations with email marketing platforms to nurture customer relationships, analytics tools to dissect performance metrics, and social media apps to expand your online presence.

Here’s where WooCommerce stands out—the ability to create a bespoke ecommerce solution that’s as unique as your brand. With the right combination of plugins, your customization options become virtually limitless. You can add advanced product customization features or unlock membership functionality to build a loyal customer base.

But that’s not all. WooCommerce also supports seamless integration with Printful. So, you can effortlessly weave Printful’s powerful print-on-demand and dropshipping services into your WooCommerce store.

Once you’ve set up your store, WooCommerce offers detailed tracking tools to monitor your revenue, track sales by product, category, or date, and gain insights into your top-performing products. You can also view real-time sales data directly from your dashboard.

a screenshot of a sales reportSource: WooCommerce

Finally, WooCommerce provides plugins that can help you optimize your conversion rates. These tools make it easier to track abandoned carts and implement strategies to improve your store’s overall efficiency.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce also provides a wide range of apps and integrations designed to supercharge your online store. This mostly includes apps that span various areas crucial to your ecommerce success, including marketing features, analytics, shipping, and even accounting.

What sets BigCommerce’s app store apart is its focus on the unique needs of online retailers. The apps are purpose-built with ecommerce functionality in mind. Whether you seek assistance with personalized product recommendations or an improved checkout experience, BigCommerce’s app store has got you covered.

Just like its counterpart, BigCommerce also supports Printful integration. You can effortlessly introduce custom print or embroidery products to your product lineup, all while enjoying the benefits of streamlined order fulfillment and inventory management.

BigCommerce takes compatibility seriously when it comes to its app store offerings. Each app offers seamless integration with the platform, reducing the risk of conflicts or vulnerabilities that can sometimes arise with third-party integrations. So you can rest assured that your BigCommerce store operates smoothly without hiccups or downtime.

There are also built-in features within the BigCommerce dashboard that provide detailed analytics reports on website traffic, sales, and revenue. Plus, you can monitor your store’s sales performance in real time.

a screenshot of a data analysisSource: BigCommerce

With BigCommerce, you can also access customer behavior analytics, offering insights into customer engagement, browsing patterns, and purchase history. That means you can create personalized marketing campaigns and make business decisions based on shopper behavior. 

Effective payment processing is vital for any online business, ensuring smooth transactions and customer satisfaction. Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce offer multiple payment processing options, but they differ in terms of integration, flexibility, and associated costs. 

a hand holding a credit cardSource: Pexels

WooCommerce

The only payment solution fully integrated into WooCommerce is WooPayments. It’s free to download and accepts credit and debit cards and local payment options. With this extension, you can monitor cash flow, address disputes, and oversee revenue, all conveniently from your store’s dashboard, without needing to log into a third-party platform.

WooCommerce also provides other popular payment processing options like PayPal, Stripe, and Square. It’s also easy to set up Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay. You can configure different payment gateways for different regions or products and customize the checkout process.

The fees depend on the specific payment gateway you choose. WooCommerce doesn’t charge additional transaction fees, but different payment processors have their own fee structures.

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BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers similar payment gateway options, including PayPal, Stripe, and Square. The selection is comprehensive and includes regional and global options.

Unlike WooCommerce, BigCommerce has many built-in features, reducing the need to integrate additional plugins for payment (like WooPayments). That simplifies the setup process and ensures compatibility with most payment gateways.

BigCommerce provides customization options for payment settings, helping you tailor your checkout process. While it may not offer the same level of control as WooCommerce, it covers the essential customization needs of most businesses.

As with WooCommerce, BigCommerce doesn’t impose additional fees, but it’s important to research the transaction costs of your chosen payment processor. Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce support international transactions and offer region-specific payment processing options, making them suitable for businesses targeting a global audience.

a man sitting on a couch holding a credit cardSource: Pexels

Having reliable support from your chosen ecommerce website builder is essential. Let’s compare how WooCommerce and BigCommerce offer customer support during the initial setup phase and when using the platform to run your online business.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce offers extensive online documentation, tutorials, and guides that cover every aspect of setting up and managing your ecommerce store. That’s especially helpful for those looking to troubleshoot issues independently. 

There’s also an active WooCommerce support forum on Facebook and a dedicated Slack channel where users can seek advice, share experiences, and get answers to their questions. WooCommerce also organizes local meetups and weekly live shows to help connect with fellow store owners, learn from their successes and challenges, and build a support network.

a purple rectangle with white textWooCommerce live global show. Source: Meetup

Given WooCommerce’s popularity with WordPress users, you can also find many third-party developers and agencies that offer professional support with tailoring your WooCommerce platform to your precise needs.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce provides dedicated support teams that offer assistance through live chat, email, and phone. They also provide online training resources like webinars and tutorials that help facilitate the learning process.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is the customer support throughout your business’s life cycle. The BigCommerce support team quickly addresses technical issues, assists with customization, and provides guidance on platform updates. This level of personalized support ensures you’re never left in the dark when facing challenges or seeking ways to optimize your store.

Staying ahead of the curve is key to ecommerce success. Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce provide the flexibility to adapt to changing consumer trends. Keep an eye on what’s currently trending in the market, whether it’s sustainable products or the latest tech accessories. Integrating trending products into your store offer can help attract a broader audience and drive sales.

If you’d like to cater to the growing demand for personalized items, consider offering best selling print-on-demand products like custom apparel and wall art. Custom t-shirts are versatile, and you can tap into niche markets by creating unique designs that resonate with your audience. 

Take time to explore niches where you can find products that are in demand and have healthy profit margins, or check these dropshipping products with high profit margins to get started. Research suppliers and products carefully to ensure quality and reliability, and leverage the features of WooCommerce or BigCommerce to manage your online shop efficiently.

WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: Which is your pick?

As we conclude our comparison of BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce, let’s summarize the key takeaways to help you decide which platform to choose.

If you’re tech-savvy and looking for flexibility and customization, WooCommerce is your best bet. With its vast plugin ecosystem and community support, you have the tools to craft your ecommerce store just the way you envision it. However, be prepared for a bit of a learning curve if you’re new to ecommerce and have no experience setting up a WordPress website. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution with a user-friendly interface, BigCommerce is a solid choice. It’s designed for small businesses seeking a hassle-free experience, and its built-in features make it easy to get your store up and running in no time.

Both ecommerce platforms have their strengths and cater to various needs. As you embark on your ecommerce adventure, consider your comfort with technical aspects and customization requirements. Good luck and happy selling!

Read also: Shopify vs. WooCommerce—Which Is Best for Your Online Store?

author

By Sandra Ķempele on Feb 5, 2024

Sandra Ķempele

Guest author

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.