Shopify VS Bigcommerce

Shopify VS Bigcommerce

Welcome to another round of Shopify comparisons , in this guide we will look at Shopify VS Bigcommerce.

When you search the words “shopping cart” you’ll see Shopify at the top of the Google search results page. Shopify is known as one of the best  carts on the market , but when you get beyond the glossy marketing part, is it as well-built and easy to use as it appears to be? Bigcommerce is also a popular option which claims to offer merchants a user-friendly interface and access to a robust variety of features. But does Bigcommerce deliver? So how one compare to the other one … Shopify VS Bigcommerce , who wins? We let you decide.

This guide is the result of hours of homework on both online shopping platforms (Shopify and Bigcommerce). We have cherry-picked important information you’ll want to know about such as cost, customer support, features, ease of use, user testimonials, and much more. Read on to learn more about which online shopping cart platform is the right one to support your e-commerce store.

Web-Hosted VS Licensed

Bigcommerce and Shopify are both web-hosted, cloud-based online shopping carts. For your store to work, using either cart, you will only need a computer with a good internet connection, and of course, a browser.

Pricing

I guess most of you guys will agree with me that price is an essential factor to consider when choosing an online shopping store. Actually, ou won’t have to do any research to learn that there are lots of users who grumble about Shopify’s transaction fees. Yeah, I am also with them, since I think as much of the money you earn should stay in your pockets as much as possible. But hey, it’s a good thing that Shopify has removed transaction fees for those users who sign up for its new payment processor, so there is a pretty easy workaround if you’re smitten with the online shopping cart.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify Pricing

Shopify and Bigcommerce offer free trial, and no credit card is required for the trial periods (15 days for Bigcommerce, 14 days for Shopify) and doesn’t charge for setting up or canceling plans.

Bigcommerce Pricing

Bigcommerce Pricing

As far as monthly prices go, both platforms are competitive, offering bandwidth, a number of products, and unlimited online storage. Their comparative plans are identical in price (at $29 and $79 per month, for the mid-range plans). Both platforms offer their version of Enterprise plans, though we’ll be basing our comparison on their lower level plans only.

Transaction Fees

Bigcommerce charges 0% on all their plans; Shopify charges 0% on all plans also but only if you use their Stripe powered ‘Shopify Payments’ option. If you won’t use Shopify Payments, transaction fees will apply and these vary with the kind of plan you’re currently on (2% for ‘Basic’; 1% for ‘Shopify’ and 0.5% for ‘Advanced Shopify’). One more thing to take note of is that since Shopify Payments is powered by Stripe, it can only currently be used in the US, UK, and Canada.

Advanced Shopify and Bigcommerce Enterprise

A quick word now about Advanced Shopify and Bigcommerce Enterprise: these are corporate level plans aimed at large organizations that require advanced functionalities, such as:

  • Guaranteed server uptime
  • ‘White glove’ level of support
  • Dedicated SSL / IP address
  • API support

The pricing for these plans depends on your need and business requirements. For more information about these plans, you should contact Shopify or Bigcommerce directly to discuss your business requirements and how much the relevant fees would be.

Annual Discounts

Both platforms provide a 10% discount if you pay upfront for a year’s service. However, Shopify goes one further as it can give you a 20% discount if you pay upfront for two years.

Annual Sales Limits

Another factor to consider is sales limits – with Bigcommerce, your sales are limited to $50K on the ‘standard’ plan, $125K on the ‘plus’ plan and $1M on the ‘pro’ plan. These sales limits are negotiable on Bigcommerce Enterprise.

No such limits exist on Shopify plans, so Shopify is the clear winner here.

Conclusion on Pricing

It is clear that the winner in this category is Shopify. Big commerce imposes a transaction fee on their starter plan $29.95/month. As for the monthly prices and feature set being offered at each level, each platform was on fairly equal footing.

However, when deciding between Shopify vs Bigcommerce there is a lot more to consider than just pricing, as we’ll see below.

Web Design

Web Design

Shopify easily dominates the web design category as it offers more free themes and in my opinion, better-designed ones compared to Bigcommerce’s offerings. Shopify has hundreds of themes that can help your business look better and savvier, so you’re ready for your first sale. You may also tweak templates and access HTML via both platforms’ admins. Bigcommerce comes with a Style Editor, but it requires that you know how to code in order to apply substantial changes. But then again, it’s less likely that you’ll want to make serious changes or modifications to most of Shopify’s gorgeous skins.

Bigcommerce offers 60 (at last count) clean  frontend themes, 40 of which are responsive. You may tap into the Bigcommerce design and developer network.

Conclusion on Web Design

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer eye-pleasing and thoughtful style editors. Bigcommerce allows you to make select edits directly on your online store’s frontend interface. But Shopify’s recently rolled out admin (style editor) underwent a major change that made it a really great CMS (content management system) – it will make your life easier and save you more time.

Key Features

Key Features

If you’re looking for an online shopping platform that comes lean and light right off the bat, then Bigcommerce is not for you. Otherwise, we think that you’ll be better off with what Bigcommerce offers in the features department: It has more options than you may need like a rule that you can set for BOGO discounts, per-staff permissions for adding/editing listings in eBay, gift wrap for the holiday season, sales tax reports that are sortable by date, and many more.

It’s not that we’re downplaying Shopify. Yeah, it also offers plenty of features out of the box, but we didn’t see quite as many extras as we found with Bigcommerce. Moreover, you may need to pay for third-party integrations with Shopify which are already loaded in Bigcommerce when you sign up.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Shopify and Bigcommerce each offer easy to use admins (style editor). If you’ve posted to a blogger, a WordPress blog, or have sold on Etsy in the past, you’re not going to have many problems getting a feel for how to choose your theme, change store settings, and load products and images to your admin with either platform. Both online shopping store platform will walk you through the setup process and extend a helping hand via 24/7 phone support, forums, a Knowledge Base, and much more.

Shopify has rolled out with new drag and drop functionality and a smart WYSIWYG editor. You will like the live editing capabilities being offered by Shopify as it allows you to see the changes in real-time. In Bigcommerce, you’d be able to separate/add products into tabs – you can take it a step at a time. Both user interfaces are easily searchable and broken out into intuitive subheads, also.

Honestly, for us, Bigcommerce delivers more out of the box functionalities. In Shopify, you’ll have to learn some more elements for you to navigate the backend. But hey, it’s worth committing a little extra time if you really wanted a well-functioning online store that takes full advantage of reporting and discounting features. At the end of the day, it boils down to which user interface is the most intuitive for you. Why not try both so you get to know which one is right for you?

Integrations and Add-Ons

Integration & Add-ons

For us, bigger does not always mean better. But in this category (integrations and add-ons), Shopify’s extensive App Store clearly edges out Bigcommerce’s apps. The main reason here is that Shopify offers a slew of apps and the add-ons offered by Shopify are well-crafted – no wonder they earned positive reviews from users. Yeah, Bigcommerce also offers a handful of  smart integrations, including Fresh Books and Google Analytics. But still, it’s beyond compare to Shopify’s more than 40 social media apps and around 100 marketing apps.

But then again, Bigcommerce comes with a slew of extras out of the box that Shopify may charge you to download (tiered pricing and reporting features).

Payment Processing

Payment Gateway

Both platforms offer similar options when it comes to payment gateways or credit card payment processors: the number available varies by country but you will find that both Bigcommerce and Shopify support the major players such as Worldpay, Quickbooks, Paypal, 2Checkout and much more.

Bigcommerce integrates well with more than 60 leading payment processors, including PayPal and Google Checkout, Shopify supports over 70 popular gateways, including Authorize.net and Braintree.

Going with Shopify’s payment processor, Shopify Payments remedies one of its main weak points–transaction fees. They’re waived if you sign up. Given this fact, and their greater number of payment options in general, Shopify is the clear winner here.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Support

Both of these platforms maintain plenty of online customer support: Bigcommerce operates a forum, and has published more than 500 helpful articles, and maintains a Knowledge Base. They also have Facebook and Twitter pages. However, there is a good number of complaints from users about Bigcommerce’s customer support staff – some merchants have said that issues with their stores were not resolved promptly and/or handled poorly by incompetent team members.

In the meantime, Shopify’s customer support is impressive. It includes live chat, a manual, a forum, and a Knowledge Base. This online store platform also maintains its active Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Conclusion on Customer Service and Technical Support

These two companies offer near-identical support plans, so our decision was based on the user community itself. Shopify has a better track record of resolved Customer Support issues that is why we’re giving Shopify the win in this category.

Negative Reviews and Complaints 

We have spent hours culling customer feedback about these two platforms (Shopify and Bigcommerce). The result of our research turned up some negative reports for each of the. Several Shopify users are complaining about the transaction fees, but that fee is now waived via the new Shopify Payments.

Other users don’t like that when a customer is ready to purchase, he or she is redirected to the Shopify domain, or that add-ons can rack up the cost. Some desired one-page checkout.

Overall, we found more negative reviews reported by Bigcommerce’s customers. As previously stated, some claimed to have bad experiences with tech and customer support, including issues left unresolved and lack of access to support after hours on the weekends.

Update: 24/7 phone customer support has recently been added to Bigcommerce’s repertoire of services.

Moreover, other merchants wished for better looking free templates, a blog, and a newsletter.

Update: the blog has been recently added as a built-in feature, and there’s an easier way now to customize stores without knowing HTML.

In light of the several updates and changes from Bigcommerce to address some of their service’s concerns, we’re very nearly at a tie in this category. But still, until we see a track record of success or concrete positive results, Shopify is slightly ahead and a clear winner for this one.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Bigcommerce users reported satisfaction with their service’s lack of transaction fees and unlimited bandwidth, reliable SEO tools, and one-page checkout. Others like its online marketing features and active forum.

In general, Shopify customers like its user-friendliness, and (UX) user experience. I agree – the content management system really can’t get much more straightforward. Many users like the beautiful themes and 24/7 customer support. And for all of these reasons, alongside with Shopify’s excellent uptime record, we give Shopify the win, in the positive reviews bracket.

Final Verdict

If an online store platform wants to garner more positive feedback than Shopify, it needs to offer hundreds of free themes, zero transaction fees regardless of whether or not users sign up for a payment gateway, and an even smoother, more streamlined style editor – if that’s all possible. With advanced reporting tools and feature set, Bigcommerce comes very close on the latter two categories on that list, but its lack of strong themes and having a reputation for poor customer service makes Shopify the winner of our cart comparison.

If Shopify wants to improve or get even better, it should boost the number of feature offerings out of the box, add one-page checkout, ditch the checkout domain redirect, and limit on product variations.

So, which online shopping cart would you choose? If you are in the lookout for a straightforward and beautiful admin, great looking store, and don’t mind paying for a few extras, I’d say, lean towards Shopify. But if you were after the most bang for my buck in terms of features and liked a Bigcommerce theme, then I’d say you may opt for Bigcommerce. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference.

 

Ready to see and try for yourself? Go ahead and sign up for Bigcommerce’s free 15-day trial or Shopify’s 14-day trial,  to decide which shopping cart is the best fit for your online business.

 

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