When it comes to building your e-commerce store, it’s crucial to choose a platform that can scale and grow as your business grows.
A reliable platform that gives you all the tools needed to manage your store, and provide your customers with excellent service, will go a long way toward ensuring they walk away happy with their purchase and—more importantly—come back.
In the world of eCommerce, two very popular platforms are Shopify and BigCommerce.
Shopify is a well-established platform, offering their hosted platform since 2004, while BigCommerce is a relatively young company, that started offering their platform as an eCommerce solution in 2009.
Both platforms have a lot to offer to existing store owners as well as those who are just starting out.
In this article, we review the benefits of both platforms with an in-depth look inside BigCommerce vs Shopify. That way, you can use the best eCommerce platform that's right for your online store.
Brief Overview: BigCommerce vs Shopify
Which should you use? Shopify or BigCommerce? Which is the best online store software for you?
Both BigCommerce and Shopify are hosted platforms, meaning you don’t need to spend extra money on hosting and installing additional software.
In terms of features, both platforms offer an easy-to-use admin interface where you can add your products, customize the look of your store, manage your entire inventory, manage shipping and process orders.
They also offer a set of marketing features which include email marketing, social media integration, blogging abilities, and abandoned cart reminders.
Now, let's take a closer look at each platform (beginning with BigCommerce, then dig into the details of Shopify):
1. BigCommerce - An In-Depth Look
BigCommerce is a hosted e-commerce platform that recently underwent a major rebrand, improved on existing features, and introduced plenty of new ones.
It's the only online store software that integrates directly with Google’s Merchant Center, which allows users to promote their products on Google Shopping.
Some of the main features of BigCommerce include:
- Free and paid responsive themes that are easy to customize
- Secure shopping cart
- Integration with major payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more
- Plenty of marketing tools that include the ability to sell on multiple platforms like Amazon Marketplace, Facebook, eBay, Pinterest, integration with various email providers, and more
- Inventory management, shipping, and returns systems
- Multi-currency support
- Dropshipping & warehouse integration
This online store platform makes a bold claim of offering all the features needed to grow and accelerate your business. It offers plans that are suitable for both large, well-established businesses and fast-growing brands.
Let’s take a look at the core features of BigCommerce:
BigCommerce Themes and Design Options
When it comes to themes, BigCommerce currently offers 91 themes to choose from, both free and paid. Paid themes range in prices from $145 to $235 and they are divided into several categories that cater to a variety of niches.
There are also plenty of premium third-party BigCommcere themes on our marketplace that can be used for different purposes. They come with great features that will help you create an attractive storefront quickly. Browse through our curated selection of the best BigCommerce themes:
It’s worth mentioning that all the themes have been optimized for mobile devices and come with plenty of customization options for tweaking the color scheme of your site, choosing a different font, adding your own logo, favicon, and more. You’ll also find features such as product quick look, mega menus, a featured products carousel, and the ability to create wishlists.
You can use one of these professional BigCommerce themes to design your online store, learn how:
- BigCommerceHow to Use a BigCommerce Theme to Design Your Online StoreBrenda Barron
- BigCommerce15+ BigCommerce Design Tips for Better eCommerce WebsitesBrenda Barron
BigCommerce comes with advanced SEO features designed to help drive traffic to your store. For starters, you can modify product name and description, optimize product images, and enter keywords specific to each product. You can also take advantage of the possibility to list products on the biggest product comparison engines such as Nextag, PriceGrabber, Shopping.com, and others.
On top of that, BigCommerce uses their own content delivery network to optimize the loading times of your store. Other features that will help your search engine ranking include mobile-optimized themes, site wide HTTPS, automatic sitemaps, microdata, and more.
When it comes to accepting payments, BigCommerce integrates with over 60 payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe. You can also collect offline payments and process them in multiple currencies and completely customize your shipping rates.
Why You Should Consider Using BigCommerce
BigCommerce’s primary focus is on offering all the tools you need to accelerate your business. As such, it is very conversion driven and comes with impressive features that backup their claim.
The platform allows you to create various promotions and coupons to increase sales on top of allowing you to sell on various third-party marketplaces directly from your BigCommerce store.
Each BigCommerce customer will get AdWords credits so you can begin advertising your store along with the ability to use the built-in social media apps and capture email addresses from your customers.
In terms of inventory management, you can easily assign different categories for your products and process all the incoming orders. Thanks to integration with third-party shipping providers such as ShipperHQ, you can even manage product sourcing and fulfillment.
Finally, BigCommerce offers integration with other apps and software that will make managing your day-to-day store operations easier. Some of the integrations include QuickBooks, Olark LiveChat, Optimizely, and more.
Customer Service and Support
Customer service and support is another area where BigCommerce aims to give all the tools and support you might need. The admin dashboard provides easy access to their support portal, a plethora of online tutorials, and how-to videos. You’ll also get access to your own dedicated consultant and 24/7 chat, email, and US-based phone support.
BigCommerce currently offers 4 pricing plans.
Their Standard plan is priced at $29.95/month and comes with the following features:
- Unlimited products
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Multiple sales channel availability
- The ability to accept credit cards and PayPal
- No transaction fees
- 24/7 Live agent support
According to their website, this plan is best-suited for businesses that earn up to $50,000 in revenue per year.
The Plus Plan is priced at $79.95/month and geared for businesses that earn up to $150,000 in revenue per year. It comes with the features included in the Standard plan plus:
- Real-time carrier shipping
- An abandoned cart saver
- Advanced customer segmentation
The Pro plan includes everything from the Plus plan and is suited for businesses that earn up to $400,000/year in sales. It’s priced at $245.95 and gives you the ability to enable Google Reviews, and add the filtered search feature to your store.
Finally, their Enterprise plan is recommended for high-volume businesses and large brands. It requires you to call their support team for custom pricing. This plan comes with a dedicated SSL certificate and IP address as well as priority support.
Now let's take a deep look into Shopify and see how it compares to BigCommerce:
2. Shopify - An In-Depth Look
Like BigCommerce, Shopify is a hosted platform that allows you to quickly create your online store.
One of the advantages of Shopify is the ability to use their “Shopify Button," which is a widget similar to PayPal’s buttons that you can embed on an existing website or in your company’s Facebook page.
The main features of the Shopify online store platform include:
- A large selection of themes available from Shopify and plenty more professional Shopify themes available on our ThemeForest marketplace with responsive designs.
- Integration with over 70 payment gateways + Shopify Payments
- Marketing and SEO features such as integration with email providers, social media, and the ability to sell on Facebook.
- Inventory management
- Mobile app so you can manage your store on the go
Shopify Themes and Design Options
Shopify offers both free and paid themes ranging from $100 to $180. Similarly to BigCommerce, the themes are organized according to specific industry and can be easily customized.
There are also plenty more fresh Shopify online store themes on ThemeForest that include features such as newsletter integration, lookbook, quick-view options for products, zoom in capabilities and 360-degree view, complete customization control, mega-menus, social sharing, and much more.
Browse through our curated selection of the best Shopify themes for making your online store:
When it comes to SEO, the Shopify online store platform follows all the best SEO practices and automatically generates a valid .XML map for your store. You can also optimize product descriptions, titles, and images.
The platform uses dedicated servers which help with page loading times and include an SSL certificate on each plan, free of charge.
We mentioned that Shopify integrates with over 70 payment gateways but the platform also gives you the option to use Shopify Payments, which allows you to accept credit card payments on your site without having to go through a third-party service first.
Why You Should Consider Shopify
Shopify’s biggest selling point is their hassle-free approach. You can set up a full-fledged online store with ease as well as take advantage of their Lite plan and the Shopify Button if you’re not ready to launch your store just yet.
You can offer discount codes and gift cards to your customers and promote your presence on social media while building your email list at the same time. The platform itself offers an intuitive dashboard and allows you to use their drag and drop website builder.
In terms of third-party app integration, Shopify offers integration with tools such as QuickBooks, ShipStation, MailChimp, ZenDesk, and more. They also offer a set of free tools such as their Logo Maker, Invoice Generator, Business Card Maker, Profit Margin Calculator, and more.
Shopify comes with detailed documentation and a vibrant support community as well as a 24/7 support team.
Shopify offers three pricing tiers.
The lowest priced plan is priced at $29 and includes the following features:
- Unlimited number of products
- 2 staff members
- Print shiping labels
- Fraud analysis
- Manual order creation
- Discount codes
- SSL certificates
The next tier is priced at $79 dollars and gives the ability to add professional reports, add 5 team members, and automatic abandoned cart recovery email.
The most expensive plan is priced at $299 and includes everything from their Shopify plan along with the ability to use third-party shipping rates and advanced reporting.
Which One Should You Choose? (BigCommerce vs Shopify)
Both BigCommerce and Shopify come with features that make them an attractive choice for business owners that want to start their online store. However, there are some disadvantages as well that you need to consider before making your final decision.
1. BigCommerce Pros and Cons
Even though BigCommerce is younger than Shopify, it packs quite a punch in terms of features. Here are the platform’s biggest pros and cons:
- Powerful marketing features which include the ability to sell on third-party platforms out of the box
- POS integration
- No transaction fees
- Single page checkout
- Mobile responsive themes
- Comprehensive support
- Affordable credit card processing fees
- Fewer themes to choose from
- Fewer apps to choose from when it comes to third-party integrations
- No mobile app
2. Shopify Pros and Cons
Shopify comes with its own set of pros and cons:
- Large selection of themes
- Large selection of third-party apps
- POS integration
- More payment gateways available
- Better product categorization where you can create product collections
- Their most expensive plan is pricier than BigCommerce
- No native ability to sell on third-party marketplaces
- Abandoned cart email recovery has an hourly limit in place
- Limited product variations
- Using an external payment gateway includes a transaction fee ranging from 2.0% to 0.5%
BigCommerce or Shopify?
All things considered, both Shopify and BigCommerce prove to be the leading eCommerce platforms. They both come with a powerful set of features, although it’s worth mentioning that BigCommerce offers more features on their lower-priced plans than Shopify does. BigCommerce also offers better reporting on the low-tiered pricing and doesn’t add transaction fees.
Shopify, on the other hand, has more themes to choose from and offers interesting free tools aimed at small businesses who are just getting started online to start creating their own brand. You can also manage your store from your phone or a tablet which comes in handy when you’re working on the go.
Build an Online Store With BigCommerce or Shopify
The final choice depends entirely on your preferences and the overall goals you have for your online store. If you’re interested in growing your store and promoting it on as many channels as possible, consider trying out BigCommerce and browse through our BigCommcer theme selection to get started.
If you’re just getting started and want to start with a well-designed store that you can manage from anywhere, take a look at our Shopify eCommerce themes and sign up for one of Shopify’s plans.