Shopify vs BigCommerce: A Comprehensive Comparison

Categories: General
Shopify vs BigCommerce: A Comprehensive Comparison

Table of Content

Shopify and BigCommerce are two big players in the eCommerce website builder market. As the owner of an eCommerce shop, the decision on the platform to use is one of the most critical decisions you need to make. Your website basically serves as your storefront and will have a major impact on whether your customers want to browse, buy, or leave altogether.

It also affects your online store’s day-to-day operations and management when it comes to adding new items to your list, offering customer service, collecting payments, and more. Your platform needs to be designed to satisfy both your needs and your customers.

Shopify was created in 2004 and is one of today’s leading all-in-one eCommerce platforms. BigCommerce, established in 2009, is a strong eCommerce website solution. Shopify has many years of experience, but that doesn’t make BigCommerce any less eligible. BigCommerce came to the party very soon, showing no signs of slowing down.

In this article, I will compare Shopify against BigCommerce in many aspects so that you can make an informed decision for yourself about which one to choose. Now, let’s jump right into the details.

Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Pricing comparison

Pricing
Pricing

This is typically the single most important aspect for any retailer when it comes to BigCommerce vs. Shopify. Each solution has a variety of options, catering to different types of customers and price ranges. The real monthly rates are somewhat close between the two – meaning that store owners need to examine the features provided to find the right option for their business model.

Shopify pricing plans

Shopify’s pricing plans
Shopify’s pricing plans

Shopify has three plans for subscribers, including two sub-genres. Previously, they had given a 14-day free trial. However, this provision has recently been revised to include an additional 90-day period for qualified parties. This is a groundbreaking opportunity for those wanting to try out the eCommerce world.

There are major price cuts for an annual subscription (10 percent discount) or a two-year subscription (20 percent discount). This will be a much better choice for sellers who feel secure with their business ideas and want to lower their costs.

Shopify Lite: $9 a month

With its rock-bottom monthly offer of $9, the Lite option is a little different from any other on this list as it doesn’t come with a standalone online store. Instead, this tier gives you the option to use a simple Shop Buy button. Essentially an embeddable widget, this feature allows entrepreneurs to sell through their blogs, Facebook pages, or even offline – if they choose to manage inventory and orders through a physical point of sale (POS). This package comes with an extra account to help you run a brick-and-mortar store.

Basic Shopify: $29 a month ($26.10 annually or $23.20 biannually)

This package offers you the opportunity to create an online store with a standalone customizable website – complete with blogging capabilities. You can list as many items as you want. Basic Shopify offers its users up to two staff accounts – that is, if you have employees, they can have access to specific administrative tasks. In addition, inventories can be distributed to four physical locations – such as department outlets, pop-ups, and everywhere else goods may be sold. This functionality also provides 24/7 support.

Shopify: $79 a month ($71.10 annually or $63.20 biannually)

Built on all the features of the Basic plan, the Shopify plan extends the limits for both staff accounts and locations to five. It also provides advanced reporting features that offer insight into market trends, consumer habits, and much more. It also offers better rates on transaction fees and credit card fees than the Basic plan.

Advanced Shopify: $299 a month ($269.10 annually or $239.20 biannually)

This Advanced package offers everything from lower-level plans, in addition to providing an advanced report builder – which helps you to customize existing reports. With this plan, your customers will also be satisfied with real-time shipping rates.

Shopify Plus:

There is no fixed price here, and you will need to ask for a quote like with the BigCommerce Enterprise. The estimates are roughly $2000 per month. This enterprise-grade option provides a range of exclusive features. Several enhancements (such as Enhanced API support, enhanced security features, dedicated SSL/IP address, and guaranteed uptime for the server) are provided in order to assist with the large sales volumes that these users demand.

BigCommerce pricing plans

BigCommerce’s Pricing Plans
BigCommerce’s Pricing Plans

BigCommerce offers three main pricing plans. These are explained below, followed by an extended business-level alternative. In addition to offering a free trial of 15 days, BigCommerce has begun to help new traders by introducing a free trial of three months for all plans.

It is worth remembering the annual revenue turnarounds for any of the following BigCommerce plans. In other words, if the shop owner reaches the sales limit of the plan over one year, they will automatically be upgraded to the next level. For example, if you sign up for the BigCommerce Standard plan, and generate more than $50k in sales in your first year, you will be moved to the BigCommerce Plus tier.

BigCommerce Standard: $29.95 a month (no annual discount)

BigCommerce Standard offers just what it promises; it gives owners the freedom to develop their own shop. This entry-level plan has an annual threshold of $50k. With this package, you can sell both digital and physical products in your store. Although it doesn’t come with any marketing applications, features such as technical reporting, real-time shipping pricing, and gift cards/coupons are available.

BigCommerce Plus: $79.95 a month ($71.95 monthly with annual purchasing)

Suitable for medium-sized shops, this option has an annual threshold of $150k. The more advanced system has added additional proprietary features to assist in the development, management, promotion, and growth of a store. This involves, but is not limited to, consumer segmentation and abandoned cart recovery – an amazing way of saving lost revenue. I will address this feature more deeply below in the Features section.

BigCommerce Pro: $299.95 a month ($269.96 monthly with annual purchasing)

More suitable for operations that are already up and running, BigCommerce Pro offers owners additional features to monitor and track marketing progress. Another main feature of this tier is the application for filtering the data. In addition, this prime option allows store owners to install their own third-party SSL certificates to configure their security domains. Catering to large companies, this package has an annual threshold of $400k.

BigCommerce Enterprise: Price by request only

This option applies mainly to eCommerce operators already generating a huge amount of revenue. It’s more for those who want their own VIP service. Since there is no official listed price, anyone requesting this service must ask for a custom quote. In addition to improved capabilities for tailored filtration solutions, more technical maneuverability, and an account manager to assist online development. Since the decision to move to Enterprise is a big one, feel free to find out some additional details on the BigCommerce site.

Shopify vs BigCommerce: Basic benefits

In a raw head-to-head, it seems that BigCommerce has a few specific features that Shopify doesn’t have. These include automated currency conversion, real-time shipping quotes from carriers, a web builder, professional reporting functions, and a built-in rating and review system.

Now, while Shopify does not provide any version of the rating and review services directly via any of its five plans, it does have a Product Review app that serves the same function. Also, Shopify connects to a wide range of other third-party applications that offer enhanced functionality to your Shopify store.

An important point is that Shopify has no sales limits on its subscribers. So, while you will be upgraded to BigCommerce Plus if reaching the annual threshold of $50k with BigCommerce Basic, you can have an unlimited amount of revenue with Shopify Basic without having to pay another cent.

Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Transaction fees

Transaction fee
Transaction fee

The transaction cost of simply doing business is crucial because it directly affects the profit margin of each sale. BigCommerce takes a strong lead on this issue; there are no transaction fees whatsoever under any and all of their plans.

The thing is, Shopify also charges a 0 percent transaction fee but only if the seller uses the Shopify Payment gateway. Unfortunately, this alternative is not widely available. I hope you are in the supported group; that is, based in one of the following lists of countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong SAR China
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Singapore
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Puerto Rico

If a Shopify seller collects payments from their customers through an external portal (for example, Paypal), there will be transaction fees depending on the plan they sign up for:

  • Shopify Lite: 2% of the transaction
  • Basic Shopify: 2% of the transaction
  • Shopify: 1% of the transaction
  • Advanced Shopify: 0.5% of the transaction

Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Theme design

Theme design
Theme design

Free templates

Each platform offers a variety of free templates: BigCommerce offers 12, while Shopify supplies 11. Each of these themes has a variety of sub-genres – so things are more complex than someone else being required to stick with one of eight or twelve designs.

These variations within a given template are substantially more perceptible to Shopify users than to BigCommerce. One article reported that the free themes of BigCommerce are so close beyond distinction in the color scheme that they found the total number to be 5 rather than 12.

BigCommerce, on the flip side, offers a new ‘page builder’ feature that makes it very simple to edit via drag-and-drop interface – simple to manage multiple page editing. Shopify does have a similar feature editor for home pages, but this program, Buildify, costs $12.99 a month in addition to daily use costs. All in all, BigCommerce allows store owners the freedom to edit, while Shopify limits this option.

Although there’s nothing wrong with using a free template, you might be going to need a theme with more functionality to showcase your products. Similar to their free templates, BigCommerce has a lot of paid designs that are quite similar – only differentiating in terms of color. BigCommerce provides about 130 themes whose costs range from $150 to $300. Shopify comes in much cheaper with 64 templates ranging from $140 to $180.

Shopify vs BigCommerce: Features

Features
Features

Both platforms provide a number of features for its subscribers to monitor and operate a store in whatever way they want. They help with product creation, search engine optimization, inventory management, and accept different forms of payment. Now, while the features addressed below are included, this list does not include all available features.

Payment Gateways

The ability to receive payments for services or products is a fundamental requirement for any online store. To ensure that your cash flow is not interrupted, both Shopify and BigCommerce have established integrations with every gateway – such as 2Checkout, PayPal, and Quickbook.

BigCommerce provides more than 60 of these third-party variations where Shopify brings in more than 100. While better deals are found with the preferred options of each platform (PayPal or Shopify Payments are good choices for Shopify while Braintree and PayPal are for BigCommerce), it is always great to have a safety net of other choices in case there are issues with a primary source.

Winner: There’s no winner here. You will have tons of options for payment processors no matter which platform you select.

Product Options

Some products are easy to describe to customers. Others can take a little more effort. For those using Shopify, their products are limited to a total of three variations per product. categorizations are materials, colors, and sizes. If you want to provide more options for your customers, you will have to manually add those options.

Approaching this from a totally different direction, BigCommerce offers more than 200 product options. This ensures that almost every difference in the product can be clarified or illustrated in-depth.

Winner: BigCommerce is clearly the winner in this area.

Product Categories

When it comes to filtering products, both Shopify and BigCommerce have a fairly simple, user-friendly setup. However, Shopify differentiates itself from a ‘smart category’ that can automatically add products to the selected parameters. Users can easily manage their inventories using terms such as price, weight, keywords, tags, etc. – this feature is more useful for merchants with large volumes of products.

Winner: there’s no winner here. Both platforms have great features for product categorization.

Blogs

Besides being a reliable way to generate interest and spread the word about your store, blogging can be a very powerful way to drive traffic to your website. Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer blogging functionality.

BigCommerce has its Blog Syncing option, where Shopify fills the need with Blogfeeder apps. Both features complete the blog checklist; capable of creating inbound marketing campaigns, providing in-depth content, and creating a better connection with the audience.

Winner: you can create a powerful blogging section with either Shopify or BigCommerce.

Automatic currency conversion

It’s much easier to make a profit abroad if the platform is compatible with the local currency. When a customer sees a price tag with a foreign currency symbol, they are likely to wonder about the exchange rate. This may give rise to concerns and potential withdrawals.

It’s much better to have your shop convert prices to native currency automatically. BigCommerce provides this service via its free themes, while Shopify only offers a service to Shopify Plus members – or to third-party applications such as Bold Multi-Currency.

Winner: BigCommerce is the winner here. You can have access to automatic currency conversion with its least expensive plan.

Abandoned cart recovery

Over 69% of online shopping carts never reach the checkout point. With so many coming so close to the finish line, this feature is a great way to take another swing in saving lost sales. The interest of the customer is already there. So, it could easily be a reminder of pushing them to make a purchasing decision.

BigCommerce estimates that about 15% of lost sales can be recovered from their recovery programs. Shopify only allows users to send one recovery email to avoid spamming. This email is scheduled for a timing system that either follows a customer one hour, six hours, ten hours, or 24 hours after they have abandoned their online shopping cart. Shopify commends the one-hour or 10-hour option, but this is not mandatory.

Winner: Both platforms offer the abandoned cart recovery feature.

Staff Accounts

In short, BigCommerce has the advantage over here. They are offering unlimited staff accounts for all their plans. If you need additional staff to manage their stores, this is not a matter of concern. The Shopify number of staff accounts varies from one plan to another. The Lite plan starts with one staff account, Basic Shopify offers two, Shopify moves the bar to five, and Advanced provides 15.

Winner: It’s BigCommerce here.

App Stores

There are loads of additional applications in BigCommerce and Shopify’s app stores. BigCommerce has about 760 apps while Shopify has 4000 apps. This huge difference is the result of BigCommerce coming up with better-rounded out-of-the-box packages whereas Shopify prefers to start simple and develop a massive base of potential options.

Shopify has an edge over BigCommerce when it comes to apps. There is a Shopify app that helps users manage their stores with all devices. Then there’s Shopify POS, which allows sales to be made in physical locations by providing product synchronization, receiving emails, and accepting credit card payments. In comparison, BigCommerce is only offering one mobile app. It acts in the same way as the Shopify app, providing access to statistics, customer relations, order management, etc.

Winner: It’s Shopify here.

Analytics

Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer their users a wide range of analytical tools. These include tracking and measuring fields such as marketing, search data, finance, abandoned carts, and customers. In addition to these basic parameters, Shopify Plus or Shopify Advanced users have the ability to customize their reporting capabilities.

BigCommerce responds to this with its paid E-commerce Insights report – increasing the depth of information on shopping carts, products, customers, etc. This plan is $49 for BigCommerce Standard and Plus, $99 for Pro, and $249 for their Enterprise Plan.

Winner: Shopify here as you can have access to advanced analytics at a slightly lower cost.

Mobile Usage

BigCommerce and Shopify provide highly responsive mobile displays for both iOS and Android devices. They convert the visuals of a merchant’s online store to a mobile-friendly version so that customers can purchase via their devices.

Winner: Both platforms provide mobile-responsive display so there’s no winner here.

Why choose Shopify?

Why choose Shopify over BigCommerce?
Why choose Shopify over BigCommerce?

Things are not one-sided, however. Shopify establishes its position with dynamic template offerings alongside a much cheaper abandoned cart recovery tool. It also boasts an email marketing feature that’s a bit easier to work with than BigCommerce ‘s options.

This option has many more templates (which are also easier to customize) than BigCommerce, more fonts, more third-party apps, a more streamlined POS (point-of-sale) system, and there are no sales thresholds – so there’s no need to worry about doing too well.

Why choose BigCommerce?

Why choose BigCommerce over Shopify?
Why choose BigCommerce over Shopify?

Simply put, the least expensive plan of BigCommerce, Standard, comes with more features than its Shopify counterpart. This includes tools such as multi-currency selling, cookie consent, comprehensive plan reporting, reviews, page builders, etc.

In addition, BigCommerce supports more product options (200+) than Shopify’s limit of three. They also offer unlimited staff accounts and real-time carrier quotes in their $29 plan relative to this option only as part of Shopify’s $299 plan.

Final Words

I hope this comprehensive review about Shopify vs. BigCommerce has given you valuable information about each platform. Now you can probably make an informed decision about which platform suits you best. Please feel free to leave comments below for a further discussion on this topic. :-)

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