Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Which Ecommerce Platform Reigns Supreme?

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By Ben Timlons

In this digitally dominated age, the success of any online business often hinges on the choice of an ecommerce platform. Two giants that reign supreme in this arena are Shopify and BigCommerce. As leading solutions, they offer robust features to help businesses scale and grow. But how do they fare against each other? This comprehensive comparison will provide a clear perspective on the topic.

Explore more useful Shopify tips, news, and updates on the Shopify Guide here.

Brief Overview of Shopify and BigCommerce

Shopify, a Canadian-based ecommerce platform, has been a game-changer since its inception in 2006. It offers businesses a variety of customizable themes, a user-friendly interface, and a multitude of plugins to enhance the online shopping experience. Its versatility has made it a popular choice among businesses, from small startups to large enterprises. Shopify’s robustness can be evaluated further by comparing it with other platforms such as Shopify vs Woocommerce or Shopify vs Magento.

On the other hand, BigCommerce, established in 2009, is an Australian-born platform that has carved a niche in the ecommerce industry. It boasts of a rich set of built-in features, advanced SEO capabilities, and a wide range of integration options. BigCommerce is often lauded for its scalability, making it a preferred choice for businesses that anticipate rapid growth.

This article aims to dissect the pros and cons of each platform and delve into key comparison areas such as pricing, ease of use, design flexibility, ecommerce features, payment options and fees, SEO capabilities, and customer support. By providing an in-depth analysis, we hope to guide businesses in choosing the platform that best aligns with their unique needs and goals. The journey towards ecommerce success begins here.

What is Shopify?

Understanding Shopify

In the world of ecommerce, Shopify has emerged as a formidable force. This platform is an all-in-one solution that enables merchants to start, grow, and manage a business. The beauty of Shopify lies in its simplicity – it allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products without needing to have coding or technical skills.

This ecommerce giant boasts a multitude of features to help businesses flourish online. From creating your store, to managing your products, inventory, payments, and shipping, Shopify has it all covered. It also provides an extensive app marketplace, offering over 4,200 applications to augment your store’s functionality.

Pros of Using Shopify

The advantages of utilizing Shopify as your ecommerce platform are numerous. Firstly, it offers a user-friendly interface, making it accessible to users of all tech levels. Its wide array of themes allows businesses to create a unique and aesthetically pleasing storefront.

Another significant benefit of Shopify is its robust ecommerce features. It comes equipped with everything you need to manage your business, from SEO tools, to comprehensive analytics, and an extensive app marketplace.

Shopify also excels in scalability. As your business grows, the platform can effortlessly adapt to your changing needs, making it an ideal choice for both small businesses and large enterprises alike.

Lastly, Shopify offers 24/7 customer support, ensuring that help is available whenever you need it.

Cons of Using Shopify

Notwithstanding its numerous benefits, Shopify does have a few drawbacks. One significant downside is its transaction fees. Unless you are using Shopify’s own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, you’ll be subject to additional transaction fees.

Additionally, while Shopify’s themes are high-quality, there is a limited number of free themes. This means that to create a truly unique storefront, you may need to invest in a premium theme.

Finally, some users find that Shopify’s advanced features can require a learning curve, making it less accessible to complete tech novices.

In comparing Shopify with other platforms like Shopify vs Magento or Shopify vs Woocommerce, these pros and cons become even more significant in determining which platform best suits your business needs.

What is BigCommerce?

Understanding BigCommerce

In the bustling panorama of ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce stands as a formidable contender. Founded in 2009, BigCommerce is a Texas-based company that provides a SaaS ecommerce platform to businesses of all sizes. With its robust feature set, it empowers businesses to build, innovate, and grow their online presence.

As a comprehensive solution, BigCommerce allows businesses to set up an online store, manage inventory, handle payments, and even integrate with other essential services. It’s a platform that offers a complete suite of tools designed to help businesses succeed in the digital marketplace.

Pros of Using BigCommerce

There are several compelling reasons why businesses might choose BigCommerce as their ecommerce platform.

1. Versatile and Scalable: BigCommerce is designed to grow with your business. It can handle everything from small startups to large enterprises.

2. Rich Feature Set: BigCommerce comes packed with a multitude of in-built features including SEO tools, analytics, and multi-channel selling across various platforms such as Amazon and eBay.

3. No Transaction Fees: Unlike some platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce does not charge transaction fees, which can lead to significant savings for businesses with high volume sales.

4. Excellent SEO Capabilities: With a strong focus on SEO, BigCommerce offers advanced features like editable robots.txt files and customizable URLs, which can help businesses rank higher in search engine results.

Cons of Using BigCommerce

Despite its many advantages, BigCommerce may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Here are some potential drawbacks to consider.

1. Complexity: BigCommerce’s extensive feature set can be overwhelming for beginners. It may require a steeper learning curve compared to other platforms like Shopify or Wix.

2. Pricing: While BigCommerce offers a lot of value, it is not the cheapest platform on the market.

3. Limited Free Themes: Compared to platforms like Shopify or Squarespace, BigCommerce offers a smaller selection of free themes.

In summary, BigCommerce is a powerful ecommerce platform that offers a wide array of features designed to help businesses excel online. However, its complexity and pricing may not suit all businesses, particularly small startups or those on a tight budget. It’s important for businesses to weigh these pros and cons before making a decision.

Key Comparison Areas

Pricing and Plans

When it comes to pricing and plans, both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a variety of options to suit businesses of all sizes. Shopify’s plans start at $29 per month for the Basic Shopify plan and go up to $299 per month for the Advanced Shopify plan. BigCommerce, on the other hand, offers plans starting at $29.95 per month for the Standard plan and up to $299.95 per month for the Pro plan. Both platforms also offer custom pricing for enterprise-level businesses.

Ease of Use

In terms of ease of use, both platforms are designed to be user-friendly, even for those with little to no technical expertise. However, some users have found Shopify to be slightly more intuitive and easier to navigate, particularly for beginners. BigCommerce, while also user-friendly, may require a slightly steeper learning curve due to its more robust feature set.

Themes and Design Flexibility

Themes and design flexibility are crucial factors in creating a visually appealing and functional ecommerce store. Shopify offers over 70 professional themes, with a mix of free and paid options. BigCommerce also offers a variety of themes, though the number is slightly less than Shopify. Both platforms offer the flexibility to customize themes to match your brand identity.

Ecommerce Features

When it comes to ecommerce features, both platforms are packed with a wealth of tools to help you sell your products online. This includes inventory management, product options, SEO tools, and marketing features. However, BigCommerce tends to offer more built-in features, while Shopify often requires third-party apps to achieve the same functionality.

Payment Options and Fees

In the battle of payment options and fees, both platforms offer numerous payment gateways. Shopify, however, charges transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments, its own payment gateway. BigCommerce, however, does not charge any additional transaction fees regardless of the payment gateway used.

SEO Capabilities

SEO capabilities are essential for driving organic traffic to your online store. Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer robust SEO features, including customizable URLs, meta descriptions, and title tags. However, some users have found BigCommerce’s SEO features to be slightly more comprehensive.

Customer Support

Lastly, when it comes to customer support, both platforms offer 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat. However, Shopify’s support has been reported to be more responsive and helpful by some users.

Comparisons to other ecommerce platforms such as Shopify vs Magento and Shopify vs WooCommerce can also provide valuable insights for businesses deciding between different ecommerce platforms.

User Reviews

Understanding the experiences of past and present users can provide a wealth of insight into the true value and performance of these platforms. Let’s delve into the user reviews for both Shopify and BigCommerce.

Shopify User Reviews

Shopify has amassed a vast array of user reviews, with many praising the platform for its ease of use and excellent customer service. Users often commend its user-friendly interface, which allows even novices to set up an online store with minimal effort. Moreover, the variety of available themes and customization options have been highlighted as a significant advantage.

However, some criticisms have been levied against Shopify. Notable among them is the additional transaction fee for non-Shopify payment gateways, a point of contention for some users. Some also find Shopify’s pricing structure to be less competitive compared to other platforms such as shopify vs woocommerce and shopify vs wix.

BigCommerce User Reviews

BigCommerce, like its counterpart, has accumulated numerous user reviews. It has been lauded for its robust built-in features and scalability, with users expressing their appreciation for the platform’s capacity to support growing businesses. Moreover, BigCommerce’s flexible API and no transaction fees policy have earned it commendations from users.

However, BigCommerce is not without its share of criticisms. Some users have pointed out its less intuitive interface and higher learning curve, especially for individuals new to ecommerce. Additionally, the lack of free themes has also been a point of dissatisfaction among certain users.

In sum, both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. User reviews for both Shopify and BigCommerce underscore the importance of evaluating your specific needs and preferences when choosing an ecommerce platform.

Making The Decision: Shopify vs BigCommerce

Who Should Choose Shopify?

Shopify should be the platform of choice for those seeking a user-friendly interface with an emphasis on simplicity. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs who are just dipping their toes into the world of online commerce. Its streamlined setup process, combined with a wide variety of themes and customization options, allows for quick and easy storefront creation.

If you’re a small business owner looking to expand your online presence without getting bogged down in complex technicalities, Shopify may be the ideal solution for you. The platform is also a fantastic fit for dropshipping businesses due to its seamless integration with apps like Oberlo.

Furthermore, for businesses that already have a physical store and want to expand online, Shopify offers a Point of Sale (POS) system that is integrated with the online store. It’s noteworthy that Shopify’s pricing plans are also quite flexible, thus accommodating a broad range of budgets.

Additionally, if you are considering other platforms for comparison, our insightful articles on shopify vs squarespace and shopify vs woocommerce would be beneficial.

Who Should Choose BigCommerce?

On the other hand, BigCommerce is a robust platform made for businesses that are scaling rapidly. It’s an excellent fit for medium to large businesses that require advanced features and more comprehensive eCommerce capabilities.

BigCommerce is a powerful choice if you’re planning to host a large catalog of products and need an eCommerce platform with robust SEO tools to enhance your online visibility. It’s an all-in-one platform, meaning you won’t need to rely on third-party apps as much as you would with Shopify.

BigCommerce really stands out with its built-in features that are geared towards larger businesses. For instance, it provides native support for various currencies and languages, making it an attractive option for businesses with a global customer base.

Moreover, it offers unlimited staff accounts, which is a huge plus for larger teams. While BigCommerce might have a steeper learning curve than Shopify, it offers a higher ceiling in terms of capabilities and growth potential.

Thus, if your business is scaling quickly and you need an eCommerce platform that can keep pace, BigCommerce could be just the ticket.

In conclusion, both platforms have their strengths, and the decision should be based on the specific needs and scale of your business.

Final Thoughts

Summary of Shopify vs BigCommerce Comparison

As we draw the curtains on this comprehensive comparison between Shopify and BigCommerce, it is apparent that both platforms offer robust ecommerce solutions, each with its own unique attributes and potential drawbacks.

Shopify, with its ease of use and plethora of themes, has carved out a niche for itself as the go-to platform for beginners and small businesses. Its flexible pricing plans accommodate various budget sizes and its expansive app marketplace allows for extensive customization. However, the additional transaction fees for non-Shopify payments and the need for apps for advanced features might deter some users.

On the other hand, BigCommerce stands tall as a feature-rich platform, offering an impressive array of inbuilt features, thus reducing the dependence on external apps. Its SEO capabilities are considered superior and it does not charge additional transaction fees, which is a definite advantage for larger businesses. But, its complexity and slightly higher pricing can be a barrier for novices or those with a stringent budget.

Here’s a concise comparison:

| | Shopify | BigCommerce |
| Ease of Use | Excellent | Good |
| Pricing | Flexible, suited for all budgets | Slightly higher, more suited for large businesses |
| Themes and Design Flexibility | Wide range of themes | Lesser variety but high quality |
| Ecommerce Features | Requires more external apps | More inbuilt features |
| Payment Options and Fees | Additional fees apply for non-Shopify payments | No additional transaction fees |
| SEO Capabilities | Good | Superior |
| Customer Support | Excellent | Excellent |

Whether you should opt for Shopify or BigCommerce ultimately boils down to your specific needs, budget constraints, and ecommerce ambitions. We recommend trying out the free trials offered by both platforms to get a hands-on experience before making the final decision.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other comparisons like Shopify vs WooCommerce and Shopify vs Wix for more insights on the best ecommerce platform for your business.

In the dynamic world of ecommerce, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have their strengths and weaknesses, but they remain two of the most formidable contenders in the ecommerce platform arena. It’s all about finding the right platform that fits your business like a glove. Happy selling!