Shopify vs BigCommerce
Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the biggest contenders in the eCommerce platform market.
As an eCommerce store owner, the decision on which platform to use is one of the most vital decisions you will make. Your platform essentially acts as your storefront and will have a huge effect on whether your shoppers choose to browse your site, make a purchase, or leave all together. It also impacts the day to day operations and management of your online store when it comes to adding new products to your line, tending to customer support, receiving payments, and so much more. Your platform needs to be built to meet your needs as well as your customers. We understand how impactful this decision can be and we’re here to help.
At IWD Agency - we know the ins and outs of both platforms, so get in touch if you have any questions or need some help.
Shopify was founded in 2004, and is one of the top all-in-one eCommerce platforms around today. BigCommerce, founded in 2009 is a powerful eCommerce builder. Shopify does have a handful of years on these guys, but that does not make them any less qualified. BigCommerce came to the party very quickly and shows no signs of slowing down.
Let's discuss a few areas of importance when it comes to making your decision.
Shopify boasts a $9/month plan called Shopify Lite. Shopify Lite allows you to personalize the shopping experience with Messenger chat support on your online store and Facebook page. Customers can buy your products directly in chat, and track their orders in real time. It is also a feature that allows you to add a “Buy” button to your current website, converting it to an eCommerce store almost instantly.
The biggest difference between Shopify Lite and their other plans, is that you’re not getting a full online store with a shopping cart. In order to have these offerings, you will need to purchase a higher plan through Shopify or use BigCommerce.
Shopify and BigCommerce’s price plans are almost identical and offer roughly the same range of features and limitations. Products, file storage, bandwidth, are all unlimited on both platforms, with the biggest noticeable difference being that Shopify limits the number of staff accounts to 2, while BigCommerce has no limit at all.
Shopify’s basic plan is $29 per month. Upgraded tiers are priced at $79/month and $299/month. BigCommerce’s pricing plans are $29.95/month for their standard plan, $79.95/month for the plus plan and $299.95 for the pro plan.
Both platforms offer Enterprise plans as well. However, neither advertise these prices on their websites, as they are based on the size of your store and revenue. We can help you figure these out if needed - just hit us up.
The other difference to note between Shopify and BigCommerce’s pricing is related to upgrading from one plan to the next. With BigCommerce, if you hit a certain sales cap in the trailing 12 months, you will be moved to the next advanced plan. For example, if you are on the standard plan, and your revenue surpasses 50K you are moved to the next BigCommerce Plus Plan. If revenue exceeds 150K on the plus plan, you are moved to BigCommerce’s Pro plan. This is no high-five, congratulatory free upgrade, it comes at your expense. You are forced to move to the next plan. So if you’re making more money selling through BigCommerce, so is BigCommerce.
Shopify has no limits on the amount of sales for your store. The choice to upgrade to a different plan is done so on your own time. If a lower tier plan is working for you, you have all the liberty to continue growing your store at that level.
Either way, we’d recommend giving them both a trial - they both offer free trials.
But overall, both platforms are priced almost identically, with the main difference being that Shopify offers a $9/month plan - a great low-cost option to get your eCommerce foot in the door.
Speaking of pricing...don’t forget to consider the fees involved with each sale that you make.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce charge the typical debit/credit card processing fees which are in the range of 2.4% - 2.9% + 30c per transaction.
Shopify however, in addition to these, also charges 0.5 - 2% in fees if the user’s selected payment provider is anything outside of their own solution, called Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe. These may not seem like large percentages, but as your business scales, these can quickly add up.
BigCommerce on the other hand does not charge these additional fees. Dependent on the level of your sales, these can be quite the savings, especially when you start hitting those high sales goals. It allows you to keep more of your hard earned profits reinvested in your business.
Both platforms come with every standard eCommerce feature you'd expect to be included right out the box. Nothing is missing that should be there. A newcomer can pretty quickly craft a basic online store that’s fully functional at least with a basic theme and framework. You create an account, login, add your products and can pretty much be on your way in a few hours.
BigCommerce offers an extensive catalog of designs and themes, with an array of free and paid options to choose from - all of them responsive and fully customizable. BigCommerce does offer more product variances and options than Shopify does. For example - Shopify only allows 3 Product options - size, color, finish, etc. per a product. BigCommerce does not have this restriction.
Shopify however, does nudge BigCommerce out with their slightly more beginner-friendly platform, quality of their setup selections, along with a bit more flexibility and ease of use. They offer more design and theme options to their users with a mixture of free and paid options. These are categorized in such a way that makes it quick and easy to find one suitable for your product and brand. Shopify was created from the ground up to be as simple and easy as possible to get an eCommerce store up and running.
Although both Shopify and BigCommerce offer plenty out-of-the-box features, extensions and add-ons will be integral as you start and continue growing your eCommerce store. Add-ons for SEO, customer retention, accounting and taxes, optimizing conversions, marketing and sales channels - you name it - they both offer wide varieties of free and paid options, which are developed in house and by 3rd party developers.
Shopify does offer significantly more functionality options to their users in their App Store. However, it can be debated that BigCommerce offers additional functionality that doesn’t require apps that Shopify would need. For example, unlimited staff accounts, in-depth B2B functionality with different price list options, and the ability to offer pricing at different prices in different currencies, with all the transactions and exchanges settled in the same currency. Yes most of these can be added with Shopify apps, however, these costs should be factored in to get your Shopify account to this point.
Shopify goes above and beyond with their support lines - whether it be over the phone, live chat or email. They even have a library of helpful guides, and a community forum. Merchants are never left on their own to troubleshoot or resolve issues that arise. Someone is available 24/7 and information is very easily accessible.
BigCommerce too, offers 24/7 live agent support regardless of the plan you’re on. A phone number is easily found on their website for speaking to a consultant and requesting some technical perspective. They also offer FAQson Plans, Store Setup and your Account,along with a Help center, community contributors, blogs, guides, and even webinars. BigCommerce has your back.
So which is better?
Overall, as we can see, these top of the line eCommerce platforms are two of the best you’ll come across. Shopify was built on simplicity. So it’s quick and easy to get up and running. But with simplicity, comes additional functionality needs. Whereas BigCommerce, is slightly more robust overall, which can cause complexity.
Which eCommerce platform are you siding with?
We know this decision can be confusing. If you still need some help or would like to get further into the weeds, reach out to us. Whatever that next step is for you - we’re here to help you get there. Just get in touch...