How do you decide which is better, BigCommerce or Shopify?

Making a decision between these two ecommerce platforms is not straightforward. Without a doubt, they are two of the best platforms available, and they share a lot of similarities. While the similarities between BigCommerce and Shopify are obvious, there are some significant differences that should be considered before making a final decision.

And it's best to make a well-informed decision.

Making the decision to use an ecommerce platform is a significant investment. It doesn't matter which one you choose because it will serve as your company's mission control, as virtually every aspect of your business will need to be managed from the platform.

So, what information do you require in order to make an informed decision?

In this article, you'll learn how BigCommerce and Shopify stack up against one another in every way. By the end of this article, you should be prepared to sign up for your preferred platform and begin developing your business with confidence.

The Differences Between BigCommerce and Shopify: The Fundamentals

Since its founding in 2009, BigCommerce has grown to serve more than 60,000 stores, 2,000+ mid-market businesses, and 30 Fortune 1000 companies worldwide. The company employs more than 800 people who are dedicated to providing an excellent ecommerce platform.

Shopify was founded in 2006 and now serves more than 1 million merchants in over 100 countries around the world. In addition, the company employs a whopping 7,000 people who are all dedicated to developing a comprehensive ecommerce and retail technology business solution.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify provide merchants with the ability to create ecommerce websites, accept payments, sell products through multiple online sales channels, manage inventory, and perform a variety of other tasks.

However, it is immediately apparent that Shopify is by far the larger organisation. This size enables it to develop and manage a greater number of tools and features. This is a theme that will continue to be explored throughout the remainder of this article.

Even so, bigger isn't always better, so let's take a closer look at what we have!

Choose between Shopify and BigCommerce: which is the best option for your company?

Specifically, we'll be comparing Shopify and BigCommerce in nine key areas:

1. Pricing plans

2. Payment gateways

3. Sales limits

4. Themes and templates

5. App stores

6. Reporting and analytics

7. Mobile apps

8. Point of sale (POS)

9. Dropshipping

First up?

Prices of BigCommerce and Shopify are compared in this section.

Costs are frequently one of the most important factors to consider when starting a new business. So, what is the cost of using these platforms? Here's a quick comparison of BigCommerce and Shopify pricing structures.

BigCommerce has four pricing plans:

Bigcommerce Standard: $29.95 per month

Bigcommerce Plus: $79.95 per month

Bigcommerce Pro: $299.95 per month

Bigcommerce Enterprise: Custom plans for large businesses.

You can save 10% on the Plus and Pro plans by purchasing a one-year subscription upfront.

Shopify has 4 equivalent pricing plans:

Basic Shopify Plan: $29 per month

Shopify: $79 per month

Advanced Shopify: $299 per month

Shopify Plus: Custom plans for enterprises.

Alternatively, Shopify also offers an additional plan called ‘Shopify Lite' for only $9 per month — however, this does not include an ecommerce website. Instead, this plan provides merchants with access to all of Shopify's sales channels, allowing you to sell online through a buy button that you can embed on social media platforms as well as your existing website, among other things.

Shopify, like BigCommerce, offers a 10 percent discount on annual plans and a 20 percent discount when you purchase a two-year subscription in advance.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify provide a free two-week trial period (15 days and 14 days, respectively).

Generally speaking, the pricing for BigCommerce and Shopify are very similar.

Payment Gateways: BigCommerce vs. Shopify (Part 2)

If you want to sell online, you'll need a payment processing gateway, such as Stripe or PayPal.

BigCommerce integrates with 65 popular payment gateways, whereas Shopify integrates with more than 100 payment gateways, including its own, which is known as Shopify Payments. BigCommerce and Shopify are both hosted on the same platform.

However, if you choose not to use Shopify Payments and instead use a third-party payment gateway, Shopify will charge you a transaction fee. These fees are determined by your plan and are as follows:

Basic Shopify – 2%

Shopify (regular) – 1%

Shopify Advanced – 0.5%

BigCommerce, on the other hand, does not charge any transaction fees, regardless of which payment gateway you choose to use.

This is a resounding victory for BigCommerce. In any case, it is important to keep in mind that integrating and managing third-party gateways can be difficult, especially if one is not particularly tech-savvy in nature. In order to make this process easier for merchants, Shopify Payments was created with a minimal amount of setup required.

BigCommerce does offer a streamlined and highly recommended payment gateway, PayPal powered by BrainTree, which is integrated into the platform. However, it is still an integration, which means it is arguably less streamlined than Shopify's proprietary offering in some ways.

Shopify Payments enables your customers to pay you using any of the major methods as well as Shopify Payments. Unless you have a strong preference for another payment gateway, there is really no reason not to use the service provided by Stripe.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference.

If you want to use a specific third-party payment gateway, BigCommerce allows you to do so without incurring additional charges. Shopify Payments, on the other hand, is the best option if you want to keep things as simple as possible.

3. Sales Capacity Differences Between BigCommerce and Shopify

Let's get right to the point: BigCommerce has annual sales caps for each of its plans, which are as follows:

Bigcommerce Standard: $50,000

Bigcommerce Plus: $180,000

Bigcommerce Pro: $400,000

Bigcommerce Enterprise: Negotiable

In short, if you hit these limits, you’ll be forced to upgrade to the next plan.

Shopify does not impose any sales limits on any of its plans, allowing you to remain on your current plan indefinitely or upgrade whenever it is convenient for you.

4. Themes for BigCommerce vs. Themes for Shopify

For both BigCommerce and Shopify, you can choose from a variety of free and paid website themes that you can customise to make your store look exactly how you want it to. The following is a comparison of the two platforms:

BigCommerce offers 12 free themes and 130 premium themes (which range in price from $165 to $250).

Shopify has eight free themes and 64 paid themes (which range in price from $120 to $180).

BigCommerce is the winner in terms of sheer volume, but many of the themes are simply variations of one another, rather than standalone themes. The image below, for example, shows several different versions of the Clariss theme that are strikingly similar to one another.

Although Shopify has fewer themes available, they’re more varied.

Overall, both platforms offer a diverse selection of professional themes, but Shopify appears to offer a greater variety of layouts than Squarespace.

5. Comparison of BigCommerce and Shopify Apps

Shopify and BigCommerce have their own app stores, which are separate from one another. A variety of proprietary and third-party applications are available for download from these app stores, allowing you to enhance the functionality of your website.

Pop-ups, live chat, bundled products, and social media feeds, for example, can all be added to your site through the use of apps.

More than 6,000 Shopify apps and integrations are available in the Shopify app store, whereas BigCommerce's app store contains approximately 850 apps and integrations.

Because of its size, Shopify is the clear winner in this contest. Because the platform has a significantly larger user base, third-party developers are more likely to develop tools specifically for the platform.

As a matter of fact, the Shopify app store is so expansive that there is an app for virtually everything and anything you can imagine.

6. BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Which Is Better? Reporting and Analytical Services

After all, knowledge is power, and in an extremely competitive environment such as ecommerce, data is more important than ever.

In order to better understand your customer retention rate and average order value, consider the following examples: Furthermore, as your company grows, you will most likely need to generate financial reports to keep track of things like revenue, profit, and taxes.

So let's take a look at the reporting and analytics tools available on Shopify and BigCommerce.

Both platforms offer a comprehensive set of tools that allow for in-depth investigation.

The professional reporting tools offered by BigCommerce, on the other hand, are available on all plans. Shopify, on the other hand, staggers the release of its reporting tools in order to encourage you to upgrade as your business grows. Consequently, the Basic Shopify plan offers straightforward navigation and analytics capabilities that are only moderately sophisticated.

In any case, Google Analytics integrations are built into both platforms, allowing you to create custom reports and track key performance indicators (KPIs).

BigCommerce vs. Shopify Point of Sale: Which is Better? (POS)

When you sell in person, point of sale (POS) solutions allow you to process payments and manage your business more efficiently. Apart from that, integrating your ecommerce store with an enterprise point of sale (POS) system is the most efficient way to keep inventory, sales, and customer data records accurate and up to date.

In addition to the Lite plan, which costs $9 per month, Shopify offers an out-of-the-box solution aptly named "Shopify POS." This solution is included with every Shopify plan, including the Lite plan. Shopify also offers a variety of point-of-sale hardware.

It's easy to get up and running with the Lite Plan. However, to take advantage of all the features available with Shopify POS, you'll need to upgrade to the Shopify POS Pro plan, which costs $89 per month (plus tax).

To sell in-person using BigCommerce, you'll need to integrate it with a third-party point-of-sale system, such as Vend, Square, or Clover (for example). Each of these services has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, as well as its own set of pricing options.

Simply put, BigCommerce provides greater flexibility without charging additional fees, whereas Shopify offers a more streamlined approach that eliminates the need for merchants to worry about integrating two different systems together.

8. Comparison of BigCommerce and Shopify Mobile Apps

Shopify and BigCommerce both have mobile apps that can be used to manage your business while on the go. Let's take a closer look at what's going on.

There is a mobile app available from BigCommerce that allows you to do things like receive push notifications for new order confirmations, manage orders, view basic analytics, and communicate with customers.

Shopify provides three business management apps to help you run your company: Shopify, Shopify POS, and Ping.

Shopify's main app offers a plethora of features that are not available in BigCommerce's app. Some of the characteristics are as follows:

Manage orders

Manage products and collections

Run marketing campaigns

Follow up with customers

Create discounts

Review store performance

Customize your store’s theme

Extend your store’s features with apps

The Shopify POS app enables you to manage in-store sales, refunds, and exchanges by taking and processing payments. You can also incorporate apps to assist in the growth of your company, such as customer loyalty apps.

For those who choose BigCommerce, the majority of leading third-party POS solutions will also provide an accompanying mobile app.

Finally, Ping is available through Shopify. This messaging app enables you to communicate with customers via Shopify Chat, Apple Business Chat, and Messenger, all from a single location — this is a game changer when it comes to increasing customer loyalty.

Briefly put, it's fair to say that Shopify makes it far easier to manage your business from a smartphone than it was previously possible.

9. BigCommerce vs. Shopify Dropshipping: Which Is Better?

Dropshipping is a product sourcing and fulfilment method that enables virtually anyone to start selling online in minutes by sourcing and fulfilling their own products.

A dropshipping supplier, rather than purchasing products for sale up front, will store, manage, and ship products to customers on your behalf, allowing you to save time and money.

If you want to sell generic products that feature your original designs and branding, you can dropship print-on-demand products. Examples of these products include clothing, accessories, and homeware.

When starting an online business, dropshipping is a fantastic option because it eliminates the need to invest money in inventory. It's also a great way to quickly and easily add new products to existing product lines.

In the end, which platform is more suitable for dropshipping: Shopify or BigCommerce?

Both platforms provide a variety of dropshipping applications, including well-known services such as AliExpress Dropshipping as well as print-on-demand applications such as Printful and Spocket.

However, as previously stated, Shopify's app store is significantly larger than BigCommerce's app store in terms of total number of apps available. As a result, there are many more dropshipping apps available. 

Summary: Which is better, Shopify or BigCommerce?

Without a doubt, Shopify and BigCommerce are both fantastic commerce platforms that provide a plethora of features to assist you in managing and growing your business.

It is possible that BigCommerce is the right choice for you if you require advanced reporting and analytics right away.

Shopify, on the other hand, is arguably the superior solution due to its lack of sales limits, diverse themes, mobile apps, out-of-the-box POS system, and the large number of third-party apps that are available. Try it out for yourself by signing up for Shopify's 14-day free trial and seeing what you think.


Published on: 7/12/21, 1:00 PM