Shopify and BigCommerce are the renowned leaders in the eCommerce niche. These popular website builders are quite expensive, but they provide the utmost range of options to clients aiming at effective business development and customer attraction. People willing to create large-scale websites frequently have to choose between these services, because they are considered the best in the market (even though, both of them have their nuances).
Shopify is the world’s most well-known and credible eCommerce software. Its powerful feature set, professional industry-specific templates and abundance of options have made it popular with users around the world. BigCommerce is a worthy representative of the eCommerce web building niche, which is known for its extensive template collection and powerful external integration options for better web store performance.
Website Builders Comparison Chart
|Best for:||Powerful and full-featured eCommerce projects||Large-scale eCommerce websites|
|Templates:||Lot of free and paid responsive designs||Multiple free and paid responsive templates|
|Technical Support:||Live Chat, Forum, Help Center, eCommerce University||Huge Knowledge Base, Online Forum, Live Chat, Phone Support|
|Blogging Options:||High end blogging platform||Integrated blogging functionality|
|SEO Options:||Powerful SEO settings||Basic SEO settings|
|Pricing:||From $9/mo||From $29.95/mo|
|More info:||Shopify Review →||BigCommerce Review →|
Shopify and BigCommerce are direct competitors and this is what makes their comparison so interesting, useful and, maybe, even unpredictable. It’s impossible to define the leader, while testing the systems right from the start. So, let’s see what each of these services has to offer and which of them will prove to be the winner.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: General Overview
Shopify positions itself as the most popular eCommerce software in the world and it definitely deserves this title. The system comes with a set of features that make it possible to start quality web stores, granting access to multiple design customization tools, widgets and useful integrations.
Founded in 2004, Shopify has soon evolved into the leader of the eCommerce web design niche. As of today, the number of the system subscribers has reached 3 600 518 users, while that of live websites it powers has exceeded 1 596 587 projects. Shopify is used to start all types of web stores, but it’s definitely the best choice, when it comes to the development of large-scale eCommerce projects.
BigCommerce is a quality SaaS platform, the specialization of which goes down to the development and management of high quality eCommerce projects. The website builder delivers multiple features provided out-of-the-box. They are used to start all types of web stores, irrespective of their specialization, size and target audience.
The platform was first introduced to the market in 2009 to be used for professional eCommerce website development. It’s not the easiest system you can find out there, so, it takes time and effort to get used to its dashboard and integrated functionality. According to recent statistics, the number of the system subscribers has exceeded 154 747 websites, while that of live projects accessible on the web now constitutes 49 666 web stores and it keeps increasing with every passing year.
Thus, Shopify and BigCommerce are two quality eCommerce web design platforms. They are used to start small-to-large online stores, providing a truly impressive set of features. Shopify, however, definitely has much more to offer. Being founded earlier than its competitor, the software excels at powerful integrated eCommerce functionality, making it possible to start feature-laden online stores.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which One Is Easier to Use?
Shopify is not the easiest software found out there, but it is still quite convenient and handy for everyone, irrespective of its impressive integrated functionality. The dashboard of the system is so understandable and convenient that it is impossible to get lost or spoil something here. Well-chosen dashboard fonts, minimalistic design and almost ideal hierarchy of sections make it possible to call this website builder convenient and pleasant to use.
All the elements, sections and categories are on their places, while the detailed guide helps users explore the system with minimum effort and time investment. The tutorial will be of great help to users, who have never had any web design experience before yet face the need to get a decent eCommerce website. It will guide them through the major sections of the web development process, focusing the attention on the most important points.
Users will be able to set up all the required web store parameters here, including marketing, web store settings, SEO characteristics etc. To simplify the process of website development, you’ll get access to Shopify Storefront Editor right after you sign up for the system.
Entrepreneurs, who are constantly busy managing their businesses, will certainly appreciate an opportunity to upload and use iOS and Android applications, which are absolutely free. What’s important, all the edits you make in the mobile version of your website are automatically synchronized with the online store and Shopify POS.
Shopify customer support options are on the top notch level. Subscribers can choose between multiple ways of getting in touch with the support team, depending upon the complexity of the problem they face. The system grants access to the extensive community forum with hundreds of categories and branches for user discussions.
A notable advantage is the Help Center YouTube channel, where Shopify users can view video tutorials providing visual presentation of system-related materials. All in all, the tech support of the service works pretty well. It quickly reacts to user questions and answers them correspondingly.
BigCommerce is mainly focused on eCommerce website design yet the system offers a dashboard with lots of industry-specific menu points, sections and categories. It’s not difficult to browse the system and explore its major sections, even though, it may take some time to find out all the nuances.
The website builder has a search filter option, which is available in the dashboard and helps find the required tools and information needed to start and manage a decent website.
As to the customer support options, the system uses live chat, forum and a truly impressive quantity of text and video materials. Phone and email support are provided here as well.
Free webinars are regularly held in terms of the system and there is also BigCommerce University that offers a collection of video tutorials on all the aspects of working with the service. These features may be found in the “Help” section, where you can use the filter option to narrow down the search.
Speaking about ease of use, website builders have similar feature sets for online store settings, but Shopify looks more appropriate here. The system developers have taken care of users’ convenience, making its interface and dashboard logical, intuitive and understandable.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: Design and Flexibility
Shopify and BigCommerce both offer powerful integrated eCommerce functionality. The platforms rank high in terms of web store development and promotion and there are many options and tools to choose from here. To define the system, which overcomes its competitor in terms of functionality, flexibility and design customization, it makes sense to compare their main parameters and specifications. This is exactly what we are going to do right away.
Shopify definitely excels at functionality and flexibility. The eCommerce software abounds in features and options that make it possible to launch and then manage online stores of diverse specialization, size and type. You can equally design a small or mid-sized online store with Shopify as well as a hypermarket offering thousands of products for sale.
By using the advanced Point-of-Sale or POS tool, you will be able to sell the products not only online, but also offline, accepting orders in both modes, sharing web store management rights, using internal and external card terminals and integrating with other Shopify applications. This notably boosts the performance of your online store, helps build customer base and maximize the revenue.
Shopify makes it possible to design and manage appealing show windows, create the unlimited products lists with quality images and detailed reviews, add customer testimonials etc.
The advanced Augmented Reality tool helps present the detailed visualization of products. Whatever product you are interested in, you will be able to view its characteristics and parameters from different sides to get the understanding of all the specific features.
Shopify marketing options make it possible to to track web store statistics, compare the results and undertake special measures to maximize your web store efficacy. The recently implemented Live View mode feature lets you control the performance and profitability of your eCommerce website in the real time regime.
The system also grants access to customer profiles to let you manage and sort them out by various parameters (location, order statuses, shopping activity, account info etc.). Detailed analysis of these data helps select the right promotion strategy and set up successful marketing campaigns.
Shopify developers have undertaken special security measures to protect their clients’ safety and confidentiality of personal and payment information. To prevent the attacks of scammers, you can use the recently implemented Fraud Protection tool, SSL Certification feature, Tag and Chip Reader that can be synchronized with Shopify POS and other security measures the system offers.
BigCommerce offers an extensive selection of eCommerce features and tools needed to launch and manage full-featured small-to-large online stores. The system pays much attention to details: product return management, gift packaging, discount system settings, product and client search filter options, notifications as well as special features associated with the detailed server settings (SSL, DNS, logs etc.).
Web store owners can create and update product lists as often as they need, manage inventory tools, initiate discounts and sell gift vouchers, assign special parameters to products offered for sale, set up and adjust marketing and SEO optimization features.
It is possible to fill out the major SEO fields like keywords, descriptions, meta tags etc. To find out website statistics, you can make use of Google Analytics to be able to define problems and fix them on time. To make web store performance even more powerful, you can also track your product statuses, check out the database of the system to find out the orders, clients or items you are interested in, view active and abandoned orders, create new product categories and set up their parameters.
As far as BigCommerce makes it possible to create and sell the unlimited number of products, using the CSV file import/export feature proves to be a useful option. It will help save your effort and time. The system also has a convenient return/exchange policy most users appreciate.
Mind that the service doesn’t allow website code editing, scripts adding etc. Extra applications will compensate for the lack of even the most exotic functionality. There are many of them here. All in all, functionality is almost flawless. There is everything you could see in other services here and even more.
When it tackles the eCommerce aspect, Shopify tends to offer more out-of-the-box services, which make it a definite leader of the comparison in this respect. The software is chock-full of marketing and web store promotion features, design customization options, security measures and customer engagement solutions.
Shopify blogging platform is quite powerful as it makes it possible to create and connect a feature-laden blog to your web store. The software allows managing your blog with regard to your needs, adding and editing new posts, setting up article Future Publishing features, creating impressive show windows and new categories based on the business niche you specialize in. It’s up to you to set up and manage your blog parameters, filling it with niche-related content to boost your web store performance and design.
BigCommerce also comes with integrated blogging functionality yet blogs launched with the system are not quite feature-laden. It’s possible to integrate a blog into your eCommerce project to drive user attention and to bring its performance to the brand new level. A blog is an important element of any eCommerce website that lets you boost user engagement rate and generate more traffic.
To sum it up, both systems make it possible to create blogs in order to enhance your web store functionality. Shopify comes with a more extensive set of blog-related features, while BigCommerce somewhat lags behind it. However, each platform comes with integrated blogging engines and you can make use of them anytime you have such an intention.
Shopify deserves user attention due to its extensive synchronization and integration options. There are multiple external services to synchronize your Shopify account with. Amazon Marketplace, Xero and Quickbooks are some of the best samples. Integration with these platforms will eventually boost your target audience, increase the amount of sales and web store performance in general. Additionally, the software grants access to its integrated App Market. This is where you can choose from multiple free and paid widgets/applications to match your eCommerce needs and requirements.
BigCommerce is also known for powerful integration options. When using the system, you can sell products via social media systems and numerous platforms, such as PriceGrabber, Beso, eBay, Shopzilla, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Pinterest etc. The system subscribers can pick from more than 600 add-ons and widgets to further integrate the selected extensions into your digital store. This is where you can find quality widgets for effective Google Analytics or Glew to ensure detailed reporting. Live Chat and ZenDesk integration is available here as well to let you instantly get in touch with customers. Finally, it is possible to integrate your web store with CRM or wholesale B2B solutions.
As to the integration options, Shopify provides more opportunities to find and add the required services into your online store. The choice should basically depend upon the intentions you have and objectives you pursue, but get ready that BigCommerce cannot provide deep flexibility and integration opportunities.
Shopify offers a pretty extensive collection of eCommerce templates, which definitely attracts user attention from the very first sight – so professional, quality and versatile it is. Currently, the number of free themes the system offers constitutes 9 designs, while that of paid templates has reached 64. Each of them features excellent quality and rich customization options. Paid themes are more versatile and visually-appealing. Whatever design you will go for, it can be customized in detail by changing the blocks, fonts, color schemes, editing footer, header, slideshow design etc. It’s also possible to edit the template code directly in the dashboard or apply the advanced Liquid tool to create outstanding and unique designs. When using the tool, you can get access to multiple technical tips, how-to guides, Liquid language resources and other helpful means of boosting template quality.
BigCommerce also boasts a pretty nice selection of eCommerce templates. You can now get access to 94 paid responsive themes (their cost ranges from $145 and up to $235) and 7 free designs. The quality of both template types is high. You can work with a template code by downloading it to your computer (dashboard code editing option is not available here).
To simplify the template choice, all the themes are organized into thematic categories. There is also a convenient search filter option you can make use of to find the required template based on its main parameters. Template downloading option is enabled here as well. Each theme comes with a preview option to let you see it in detail prior to making the final choice.
Apart from designs offered in the online store, you can buy the theme from one of the multiple service partners. The choice is really impressive. If you are not satisfied with the available template selection for some reason, BigCommerce allows using the integrated Stencil Theme Editor – the advanced point-and-click interface, which lets you modify storefront design without any line of coding.
Shopify and BigCommerce both offer quite a rich set of templates. Shopify, however, excels at template quality and versatility. It offers more free designs, while paid ones are a bit more affordable than those provided by BigCommerce. The software also stands out from the crowd due to its advanced Liquid tool that ensures deep, flexible and unique web store customization.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: General Pricing Comparison
Shopify offers quite moderate pricing policy, which fits any budget and project requirements. The software comes with the 14-day trial that lets you test the integrated functionality of the service absolutely for free. Having checked the features the system offers for its premium subscribers, you may pick one of the paid plans to sign up for it. Currently the system offers the following plans:
- Shopify Lite ($9/mo) – sales tracking and “Buy” Button, 70+ payment gateways, unlimited product amount, global tax and currency support settings etc.;
- Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – website and blog integration, free SSL Certificate connection etc.;
- Shopify ($79/mo) – gift cards, professional reporting option etc.;
- Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – real-time carrier shipping, advanced report builder etc.
If you are not satisfied with the feature set of the plan you have chosen for some reason, the system offers the 14-day money back refund guarantee. Mind, however, that the system charges commission fees for the transactions made with it. It additionally takes 0.5% – 2% fee of the general cost of your online store sales. The higher the plan is, the lower the percentage proves to be.
BigCommerce pricing policy is somewhat more expensive as compared to Shopify. Just like the software, however, the website builder offers a 14-day trial that lets you explore and test the functionality of the system at no cost at all. Having checked the features the plans encompass, you will be able to pick the one that absolutely comes up to your eCommerce needs and business preferences. Have a look at them now:
- Standard Plan ($29.95/mo) – branded online store creation, eBay and Amazon synchronization, POS software, Google Shopping, Facebook/Instagram integration, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited number of products to add, unlimited storage, real time shipping quotes, BigCommerce mobile app, single-pay checkout, integrated blog, professional reporting tools, multi-currency support etc. The plan works great for small shops with revenue not exceeding $50,000 per year.
- Plus Plan ($79.95/mo) – above listed features plus customer groups and segmentation, abandoned shopping cart saver, stored credit cards etc. It is good for medium web stores with revenue that does not exceed $150,000 per year.
- Pro Plan ($299.95/mo) – custom SSL connection, Google Customer reviews, faceted search (product filtering) etc. The plan is a nice pick for shops with revenues not exceeding $400,000 per year.
- Enterprise (the cost is discussed individually with the sales manager based on your eCommerce requirements, business type and complexity).
Mind that BigCommerce has the artificial yearly profit limit, which constitutes $50,000, $150,000 and $400,000 based on the age of the plans. The maximum yearly profit limit implied by the system constitutes $1 million. Each $200,000 of profit will additionally cost you $250/mo. This is available only in terms of the ”Pro” plan. What’s more, BigCommerce has an exclusive Enterprise Plan, the cost of which is variable and should be discussed with the system managers individually.
Speaking about pricing policy, Shopify works better for those users, who care about the maximum profit. If you are sure that your profit will exceed $1 million, then BigCommerce is hardly a good choice for you. What’s more, the average cost of the paid apps is much lower in Shopify, which makes it a more cost-effective solution for ordinary users.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Shopify is a SEO-friendly eCommerce software. Web stores it powers generally rank high in the search engine results, if all the parameters are set up correctly. To complete the task, you should reach the dashboard of the system to fill out the required SEO-related fields there. These include meta tags (descriptions, titles, keywords) for all web pages and for the website in general. You can also fill out ALT tags for proper image optimization here. Additionally, there is access to the set of integrated statistics tracking and analytic tools to watch your web store performance. Shopify automatically generates the sitemap of your web store, when you just start working on its development. This is what most non-techies value a lot about the platform.
BigCommerce offers quite standard SEO optimization parameters. It is possible to fill out the major SEO fields like keywords, descriptions, meta tags etc. The system lets you edit product page URLs, if required. To find out website statistics, you can make use of Google Analytics to be able to define problems and fix them on time.
As to the search engine optimization, Shopify definitely prevails over BigCommerce. The software unveils more extensive SEO parameters, making it possible to effectively boost your web store positions in the search engines.
Key Differences Between Shopify and BigCommerce
|Ease of Use:||Shopify is the world known eCommerce software. Its only sphere of application is web store development/promotion and this is where the system doesn’t have any rivals at all. Shopify comes with integrated drag-and-drop editor and intuitive dashboard that helps avail great result with minimum time/effort investment.||BigCommerce is a popular and feature-laden eCommerce website builder. It allows starting and managing all types of web stores that range in size, complexity and integrated functionality. It takes some time to explore and master the website builder, especially for non-techies.|
|Functionality:||The platform delivers access to lots of eCommerce-specific features and tools. They are required for effective product and web store management, sales/clients tracking and proper design customization.||The system comes with multiple features that ensure its quality performance. It abounds in eCommerce tools, blogging options, SEO and marketing features as well as powerful integrations.|
|Design:||Shopify design collection is not quite extensive, but all the templates feature high quality. There are over 70 free and paid themes here, all of which are customizable and responsive.||BigCommerce currently offers 125 free and paid themes, which are responsive, quality and customizable. Code editing is also available here.|
|eCommerce:||As the eCommerce software, Shopify excels at features and tools that help launch and run even large hypermarkets.||The only sphere of the system specialization goes down to eCommerce website development. It lets you launch, manage and promote small to large online stores.|
|Blogging:||The platform offers quite a worthy blogging engine. It lets you connect and customize a feature-laden blog. This helps boost user engagement rate, keeping customers aware of your business news and updates.||The platform comes with integrated blogging functionality. This allows connecting and managing a blog to encourage customers to browse it and stay informed of your business-related info.|
|Small Business:||Shopify can be a good pick for small business websites, which are geared towards further eCommerce application. For this category of projects, Shopify is a top choice.||With BigCommerce, you can start a business website, which has a strong eCommerce focus.|
|Pricing:||The software has a 14-day free trial and four paid subscriptions. Their cost starts from $9/mo.||The website builder offers a 14-day free trial and 4 premium subscriptions. Their cost starts from $29.95/mo.|
|SEO:||Shopify is a SEO-friendly software, which makes it possible to optimize web stores created with it for the search engines by filling out special parameters, using analytic and statistics tracking tools.||BigCommerce delivers basic SEO settings. This is enough to set up major parameters for proper optimization of your web store for the search engines.|
|Customer Support:||Shopify Help Center, Rich Forum, eCommerce University.||Huge Knowledge Base, Online Forum, Live Chat, Phone Support.|
Which Is Better for Online Store: Shopify vs BigCommerce
Shopify and BigCommerce are very close in features and their presentation. They have almost identical quality levels, but there are still many aspects that differ one system from another.
Shopify is the world-popular eCommerce software, which covers a broad spectrum of web store building needs. The platform was created with the needs and skills of inexperienced users in mind, but it also works great for proficient web designers, unveiling extensive eCommerce web building opportunities.
BigCommerce is a website builder with a strong eCommerce focus. The system lets you build all types of online stores, which differ in complexity, size, features and services offered. However, it is desirable to be aware of coding basics to learn the intricacies of using the system.
While BigCommerce is mostly oriented on experienced users, who are familiar with the web design nuances, Shopify works great for all user categories, offering a tremendous eCommerce feature set. This is what makes the platform prevail over its competitor, being a better solution for regular users.