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Shopify vs BigCommerce – Website Builders Compared

November 16, 2018

12:27 pm

Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the biggest ecommerce companies in the world. They’re both devoted to helping people like you sell stuff easily and successfully, both on- and offline.

While they claim to do the same thing, we found in our testing that Shopify is a better all-round ecommerce platform than BigCommerce. While BigCommerce certainly isn’t bad, it can’t match Shopify’s excellent website design features or its help and support options.

Want to get into the detail of why Shopify is better than BigCommerce? We’ll explain everything in the rest of this guide, including:

Shopify or BigCommerce: Which Is Best?

On the surface, they might look similar. However, there are some big differences between Shopify and BigCommerce that are worth bearing in mind before picking one to be your ecommerce platform.

ShopifyBigCommerce
Total Score4.5 stars4 stars
Website Features4 stars4 stars
Sales Features5 stars4 stars
Design Flexibility4 stars3 stars
Help & Support4 stars3 stars
Value For Money4 stars4 stars
Customer Score5 stars4 stars
Ease Of Use4 stars3 stars
Compare PricesSee DealsSee Deals

 

Shopify logo thumbnail Shopify Review

As we mentioned above, Shopify is our favorite ecommerce platform. It excels across the board in our testing, especially so when it comes to its sales features.

You’ll be able to integrate loads of different sales channels into its platform, including everything from eBay and Amazon to Instagram and even real-life sales. Fortunately, Shopify’s straightforward and intuitive UI and reporting tools ensure that all of this functionality is easy to manage and optimize.

Shopify also has brilliantly-designed online store templates and a variety of customization options, which will help make websites unique – BigCommerce’s designs, on the other hand, aren’t quite as slick.

Shopify also has a comprehensive app store which can help augment the already sizable list of features on offer. For example, you can add apps which let customers track the progress of their orders.

Pros

  • Loads of easy-to-use features on offer
  • Great design options and website templates
  • Extensive app store

Cons

  • High-end packages can be more expensive than BigCommerce
  • Charges transaction fees unless you use its Shopify Payments integrated payment processor

Build Your Dream Ecommerce Site With Shopify

Want to know more? Read our full Shopify review

bigcommerce logo thumbnail best ecommerce website builder BigCommerce Review

While Shopify is our favorite ecommerce builder, BigCommerce does run it very close for the top spot. Unfortunately, it lets itself down in a couple of key areas when compared to Shopify.

Let’s start with the positives, though. BigCommerce is an excellent sales platform that can build you an impressively-featured online store and help you manage lots of disparate sales channels. It also has a large roster of built-in features – product reviews and coupon codes, for example – which on some rivals would have to be installed via an app store. This makes the whole experience of setting up your store easier.

BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees, either, and will let you use a variety of payment processors to help your site function – unlike Shopify.

However, it’s not all good news. While your BigCommerce online store will be replete with features and functionality, it won’t look as good as a Shopify store, let alone a Squarespace one. Simply put, BigCommerce’s templates aren’t as good, and its customization tools aren’t as extensive as Shopify’s. We also found BigCommerce’s help and support functions to be lacking when compared to Shopify.

Pros

  • Functions as an excellent multi-channel sales platform
  • Lots of built-in functionality, as well as an extensive app store
  • No transaction fees

Cons

  • Limited website customization
  • Places a cap on the total value of sales you can make
  • Help and support needs improvement

Get Your Business Online With BigCommerce

Want to know more? Read our full BigCommerce Review

Shopify vs BigCommerce Pricing Plans Compared

Shopify and BigCommerce both offer 14-day free trials, three pricing plan tiers, and the option of custom pricing plans for high volume or high value merchants.

Shopify’s cheapest plan, called Basic Shopify, starts from $29 per month. With this pricing plan. you’ll be able to run a fully-functioning online store: you’ll get access to all the sales channels offered by Shopify, the Shopify POS app for offline sales, and abandoned cart recovery.

BigCommerce’s cheapest plan is called Standard and costs $29.95 per month. There aren’t any transaction fees, but there is a $50k cap on the value of online sales you can make per year. However, you’ll get access to real time shipping quotes, access to coupons, discounts and gift cards, and all the sales channels supported by BigCommerce.

Confusingly, Shopify’s middle plan is simply called Shopify, and costs $79 per month. BigCommerce’s middle plan is called Plus and costs $79.95 per month.

With Shopify’s plan, you get slightly cheaper credit card rates, and the ability to sell gift cards. The big changes come in the point of sale functions: you’ll now be able to manage register shifts, as well as support peripherals such as barcode scanners or receipt printers.

BigCommerce’s Plus plan gives you abandoned cart recovery, lifts the sales cap to $150k per month, and will allow you to store credit card details. Shopify’s plan certainly offers more features compared to its bargain-basement option.

The most expensive plans are called Advanced Shopify and BigCommerce Pro. Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month, while BigCommerce Pro costs $249.95 per month.

The Shopify plan will give you improved reporting tools, third-party calculated shipping rates, cheaper credit card rates, and up to 15 staff accounts. BigCommerce Pro gives you Google customer reviews, improved on-site search functions, and a $400k sales limit. Both these plans feel like they’re designed to move you onto the custom ShopifyPlus or BigCommerce Enterprise plans.

All told, Shopify’s low and middle tier plans offer better value than BigCommerce’s, but BigCommerce Pro is better value than Advanced Shopify.

Shopify logo thumbnail Shopify Has Better Website Features

Simply put, Shopify lets you build a better-looking website than BigCommerce. It has a better online storefront editor than BigCommerce, allowing for more customization and editing.

Shopify also offers more website templates – 220 to BigCommerce’s 126. What’s more, 22 of Shopify’s templates are free, compared to seven from BigCommerce. We also thought that Shopify’s templates were better looking and easier for users to navigate than BigCommerce’s.

Shopify vs bigcommerce tiny They’re Tied On Sales Features

This was always going to be close, given how these two are the leading ecommerce platforms on the market. Both offer a wide range of sales channels, including eBay, Amazon, and social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Shopify is slightly better when it comes to offline point-of-sale transactions, thanks to its Shopify Payments processing tool, but that might not be ideal for everyone.

BigCommerce is able to reel in Shopify, simply because many features which can help supplement the sales journey – such as customer reviews and coupon codes – come built-in.

Shopify logo thumbnail Shopify Is Easier To Use

Shopify is delightfully simple to use, with intuitive menus and a straightforward design. BigCommerce, on the other hand, isn’t bad, but it can’t quite match Shopify for pure simplicity.

Finding your way round Shopify’s menus is a piece of cake thanks to the useful setup tour you’re given. This simplicity will help you save time, and probably money, further down the line.

Shopify logo thumbnail Shopify Has Better Help and Support

The help and support offered to customers by Shopify is one area where it starts to pull away from BigCommerce. It’s online knowledge base is packed with detail that BigCommerce’s simply cannot match.

While BigCommerce’s support staff were keen to pick up the phone and guide us through the early days of our site, it felt like they were over-compensating. We were able to create a shop easily with Shopify’s builder, without having to look at its support pages once.

Shopify logo thumbnail Shopify Is Our Favorite Ecommerce Platform

Shopify is our favorite ecommerce platform. Its simple and easy to use design masks an ecommerce platform with remarkable depth and excellent customization options.

BigCommerce is a good option, but its customer support and design options can’t match those of its rival.

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Tom Fogden is a writer for Tech.co with a range of experience in the world of tech publishing. Tom covers everything from cybersecurity, to social media and website builders when he's not reviewing the latest phones, gadgets, or occasionally even technology books.