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BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY

BigCommerce vs Shopify

SEPTEMBER 2021

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If launching an e-commerce store is on your to-do list, you are bound to run into a dilemma: BigCommerce or Shopify?

Both platforms are amazing in their own right but there remain certain factors that make the difference in users’ choices. In this article, we explore the differences between BigCommerce and Shopify from pricing, ease of use, design options to features, and essentially every aspect you would consider when launching an e-commerce store.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

Before you choose Either Basic or Premium Shopify, or whether BigCommerce with its HTML options suits you best, you’ll need to examine the positives and negatives of each.

Some tools offer free themes and SSL certificates, while others provide superb sales tools and noteworthy back-end usability.

Shopify Pros

  • Ideal for including sales features to your site
  • Offers several plans with different user that users can choose from including Shopify Plus and Advanced Shopify
  • Robust back-end with options for increased functionality, plugin tools, and extensions
  • Large user community including Shopify experts ready to help you out
  • Inventory system rich in features to help manage your transactions
  • Supports multi-channel selling on social media platforms and other environments
  • 24-hour support

Shopify Cons

  • Restricted scalability; you will need third-party apps to compensate for this e.g. multi-currency apps
  • Customers will be charged transaction fees to use payment options other than Shopify Payments
  • The site must be reformatted every time you change templates
  • Limited blogging features compared to other platforms
  • URL structures are not ideal for SEO

Now let’s take a look at BigCommerce

BigCommerce Pros

  • Wide variety of built-in online selling features
  • Zero transaction fees which means more money for you
  • Several SEO features to improve your online ranking
  • Offers scalability for that want to grow quickly online
  • Multi-channel selling capabilities

BigCommerce Cons

  • Not easy to use for beginners because of complex terminology
  • Requires background knowledge of programming to maximize effectively
  • Payment plans have annual thresholds which if crossed, mean more payment
  • Not easy to create multi-lingual stores
  • The interface can be difficult for new users to navigate

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Costs

Pricing is usually the first factor to consider when making a purchase. It matters little how good that product is if you can’t afford it, however, with BigCommerce and Shopify, you are bound to find something that fits your budget.

Shopify is overall cheaper to get started with given that it eliminates the need for a separate website to serve as your online store.
The cheapest Shopify plan gives you a “buy” button which you can add to your existing site or any site and social media platform. You can create new products in your Shopify panel and get a separate buy button for each.

You will part with around $30/month for a fully-fledged online store with Shopify or BigCommerce.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Features

It is worth noting from the start that both platforms provide all standard e-commerce features you will require and so before comparison, you should know that they both offer the following:

  • Unlimited number of products in your store
  • Unlimited orders
  • Unlimited disk space
  • Unlimited bandwidth – your store can handle any number of visitors
  • 24/7 live chat and phone support
  • Full-featured online store with shopping cart functionality
  • Visual and drag-and-drop tools for building your store
  • Point of sale – so you can operate in brick and mortar model
  • Optimization for mobile devices
  • Credit card processing and multiple gateway systems
  • Shipping integration

 

As can be seen, the list is endless, although once you take a look under the hood, you will find they aren’t so different. Just like cars, despite the many manufacturers and models, they all have four wheels and do kind of the same thing.

Shopify is your go-to for built-in tools for drop shipping and it also provides a multi-lingual setup.

BigCommerce is superior when it comes to multilayered hosting security and DDOS protection and your products have a higher chance of landing on product comparison sites.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Themes and Design

Site functionality is crucial to your e-commerce business but also the visual appeal of the site must be considered to retain customers and make sales.

Shopify offers more than 100 designs and themes from which you can choose, these include free and paid, and they are categorized according to business niches to help you find one that suits your business. The Shopify user experience is not too far from that of another CMS such as WordPress

BigCommerce offers exceptional design features and user capabilities on top of amazing themes you can choose from. The interface is quite different and unique compared to other players. It may prove cumbersome performing a task like adding a product, but BigCommerce offers more advanced additional options especially with customization.

As themes go, both platforms provide a vast catalog of free and paid options, all responsive and fully customizable, some quite pricey up to $300.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Apps and Add-ons

Shopify’s app store houses more than 500 apps including those by third-party developers which let you add virtually any function imaginable to your store. There are extensions to help with optimizing conversions, SEO, marketing, social media integration, customer support and so much more. Most extensions are free with the premium costing between $15 - $50 per month. Oberlo is a dropshipping product importer app which allows store owners to effortlessly import dropshipping products with a single click, enabling you to have products for your store the day you sign up. You don’t need to buy bulk inventory, and you won’t have to spend on manufacturing your own products and the best part is that it’s free. There are also other free apps such as Sales notification, a Sales conversion notification app which enables you to encourage purchases through sales notifications thus increasing turnover.

BigCommerce provides a similar range of apps and extensions, free and paid, to allow store owners to add features and functions with a few clicks of the mouse. Sellers can integrate with Vend, a Point of sale, inventory, reporting and customer management tool, so their sales, inventory, and customer data are synced seamlessly across both platforms online and offline. Another useful app is Marsello, a marketing automation and loyalty software that enables sellers to run personalized, data-driven campaigns at scale.

Overall, the Shopify app store has a slight advantage over BigCommerce, although, in terms of functionality, BigCommerce matches Shopify on most fronts.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Payment Processing

Besides supporting both online and offline sales, modern e-commerce platforms also strive to provide a range of channels for processing payments.

BigCommerce offers more than 65 pre-integrated gateways that users can choose from, supporting payments in over 100 countries and territories through more than 250 local payment gateways. As such, customers have several ways to buy.

BigCommerce provides a one-click setup for its payment processing options; it accepts all major credit card and payment options from Apple to Stripe and beyond.

Shopify allows for integration with over 100 payment providers but sadly they all attract transaction fees except for Shopify’s payment service which is free to use. Despite having a surcharge attached to it, Shopify payments let you sell in multiple countries across the globe and is easy to use eliminating the need for other payment gateways. However, customers may still require payment options that are convenient for them outside Shopify payments.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Ease of Use

Aside from pricing plans and shipping rates, it is important that an e-commerce store is easy to use or navigate and that users can get support on any issues they may encounter. Shopify and BigCommerce offer quite similar support options in terms of user/customer support including forum communities, live chat, FAQ pages as well as phone support.

BigCommerce offers 24/7 assistance over the phone, live chat, and email although, before that, you will be asked to fill out a form and review some DIY suggestions.

Shopify offers 24/7 support and will also suggest several DIY alternatives before you can directly contact the support team

Conclusion

There is no clear winner in this so either could work for you depending on your needs and the resources available.

Shopify allows for more integration with third-party extensions and also has a large and vibrant community of designers, developers, and freelancers who are well versed in using the platform and can assist you. It is slightly more beginner-friendly especially if it is your first time setting up an e-commerce store by yourself.

BigCommerce offers useful advanced features without the need for apps and extensions or upgrades.

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