eCommerce

Comparing BigCommerce vs Shopify: Which is Right for You?

BigCommerce vs Shopify is researched on a laptop.
A cellphone decorated as a storefront displaying products.

There’s not always a clear winner when choosing between eCommerce hosting platforms. The debate between BigCommerce and Shopify has gone on for years. As a large competitor to Shopify, BigCommerce offers a significant advantage in allowing users to create and manage multiple stores from a single account. However, with more than 4.6 million live websites powered by Shopify, the rival platform has a range of features that make it one of the most popular global eCommerce solutions.

While BigCommerce and Shopify offer robust solutions to online merchants, choosing the right option is pivotal to the success of your online store. In this comparison, we’ll explore the strengths and weaknesses of each. From transaction fees to customization options, we uncover which platform best fits different business types and sizes.

Shopify vs BigCommerce: A Quick Overview

Both platforms offer a range of customizable templates, important SEO features, and multiple payment gateway options. They cater to companies of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. However, differences emerge when examining their pricing structures, ease of use, and third-party integrations.

An online store.

Shopify

Shopify is a comprehensive yet user-friendly platform offering broad customization through themes and apps. Merchants value Shopify for its reliability and the ability to create a personalized, professional online shopping experience without technical expertise. Shopify simplifies the setup of payment processing and selling on social media.

Although Shopify’s pricing is competitive, it might not be the most affordable for all businesses. Monthly plans, apps, premium themes, and extra charges can escalate expenses significantly, especially if you require advanced features.

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BigCommerce

Like Shopify, BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform that provides businesses with an end-to-end solution for creating, managing, and scaling online stores. The SaaS (Software as a Service) product is hosted in the cloud and accessible via a web browser, allowing you to manage your store from anywhere.

With BigCommerce, you can customize your storefront using drag-and-drop templates or advanced CSS and HTML editing. You’ll also benefit from a secure shopping cart, inventory management, and the ability to sell across multiple channels. The BigCommerce standout feature is the ‘multi-storefront’ capability, enabling merchants to manage multiple shops under a single subscription.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Key Features Explained

Although one platform may provide a better financial deal than another, it might not have all the features your business requires. Consider your future goals. If you want significant growth, ensure the platform meets future needs and present realities. Changing platforms down the line due to excessive costs or inadequate functionality is inconvenient and costly.

To effectively compare BigCommerce and Shopify, evaluate the monthly subscription costs, transaction fees, and charges for add-ons and premium themes. Also, the features of each plan should be assessed to determine which provides the best deal.

A bill with a green dollar sign.

Pricing & Payments

BigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce offers three pricing plans based on your annual sales volume. All plans include unlimited staff accounts, products, file storage, and bandwidth. Even the entry-level plan with BigCommerce includes features such as real-time shipping quotes, coupons and gift cards, reporting, product reviews, a built-in blog, multi-currency support, and the ability to take in-person payments.

In addition to these features, here’s what each plan includes:

Standard

  • $29 per month (when billed annually)
  • Maximum $50k online sales per year (on a trailing 12-month basis)
  • Up to four inventory locations
  • Up to three storefronts
  • $30 per month per additional storefront

Plus

  • $79 per month (when billed annually)
  • Maximum $180k online sales per year (on a trailing 12-month basis)
  • Up to five inventory locations
  • Up to five storefronts
  • $50 per month per additional storefront
  • Abandoned cart saver
  • Customer groups and segmentation

Pro

  • $299 per month (when billed annually)
  • Maximum $400k online sales per year (on a trailing 12-month basis)
  • Up to five inventory locations
  • Up to eight storefronts
  • $100 per month per additional storefront
  • Abandoned cart saver
  • Customer groups and segmentation
  • Google customer reviews
  • Product filtering

BigCommerce offers 65 pre-integrated online payment solutions. Unlike Shopify, it does not charge an additional processing fee when using an external payment gateway. Payment integration is easy and quick since they are built into the platform and PCI-compliant.

In addition, BigCommerce allows you to accept digital wallet payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay. Payment processing services are available in 230 countries and over 140 currencies. However, remember that per-transaction fees will vary depending on your service provider.

Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify’s pricing plans are based not on sales volume but on features. Where BigCommerce offers unlimited staff access accounts on all plans, Shopify limits staff accounts. Additionally, Shopify does not have multi-storefront features unless you sign up for the enterprise-level Shopify Plus.

However, Shopify’s plans include abandoned cart recovery and ten inventory locations. In addition, all plans include unlimited products, analytics, gift cards, customer segmentation, and the ability to take in-person payments.

Although Shopify supports integration with numerous payment gateways, it charges an extra fee for using them. Shopify Payments is Shopify’s payment processor, enabling you to take customer payments directly on your store without an external payment processing integration. Shopify Payments accepts various payment methods, including all major credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. With Shopify Payments, you still pay a per-transaction fee; however, you will be exempt from the extra costs imposed when using a third-party processor.

Shopify eCommerce plans include:

Basic Plan

  • $19 per month (when billed annually)
  • Two staff access accounts
  • Basic sales reports
  • Online per transaction fee: 2.9% + $0.30
  • In-person per transaction fee: 2.7%
  • Additional per transaction fee for non-Shopify Payments: 2%

Shopify Plan

  • $49 per month (when billed annually)
  • Five staff access accounts
  • Professional sales reports
  • Online per transaction fee: 2.6% + $0.30
  • In-person per transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Additional per transaction fee for non-Shopify Payments: 1%

Advanced Plan

  • $299 per month (when billed annually)
  • 15 staff access accounts
  • Custom report builder
  • Third-party calculated shipping rates.
  • Online transaction fees: 2.4% + $0.30
  • In-person per transaction fee: 2.4%
  • Additional per transaction fee for non-Shopify Payments: 0.5%
A desktop computer with a dollar sign and graph on screen.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify POS

Shopify and BigCommerce allow point-of-sale (POS) transactions through smartphones on any plan. You can efficiently process payments at retail locations, market booths, pop-up stores, or events while automatically syncing order information with your online store’s backend.

To use a POS system with BigCommerce, you must integrate external hardware from third-party providers such as ConnectPOS, Vend, Clover, PayPal Zettle, Square, Hike, or Heartland Retail. On the other hand, when using Shopify Payments, Shopify can provide hardware kits and plans directly to store owners. You can also integrate barcode scanners, receipt printers, tills, and label printers for more comprehensive setups.

Merchants already using a POS service with a given provider will probably value the flexibility provided by BigCommerce. However, if you seek a tightly integrated approach, you might prefer Shopify’s directly integrated POS offering.

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Software Integrations

App integrations and add-ons can enhance your store’s features, functionality, and customization. However, too many features can complicate store maintenance and ease of use.

BigCommerce and Shopify’s App Store include various applications for marketing, SEO, inventory management, accounting, catalog management, SMS marketing, and more. Whether you need advanced analytics, dropshipping solutions, or customer loyalty programs, an app will likely fit your needs.

While BigCommerce offers a large selection of add-ons that can generally meet the needs of most stores, Shopify offers thousands of apps—significantly more than most other eCommerce platforms. Additionally, Shopify’s more extensive user base and popularity means that third-party developers are more likely to create and regularly update apps for this platform.

A man with a lightbulb

Themes and Design

Shopify and BigCommerce offer a limited number of free and over 150 paid themes. Both platforms allow you to customize colors, fonts, and store functionality with a drag-and-drop type editor, which means it’s relatively easy for users without coding knowledge to set up a store. While BigCommerce’s editing functionality is slightly more intuitive than Shopify, many of its themes look similar.

Shopify’s editor lets you work with a greater variety of content blocks, such as adding newsletter signups, contact forms, or blog posts, while BigCommerce is slightly limited.

Despite the many small differences, both platforms offer professional-looking templates to easily set up a sleek digital storefront. Most functions not built into the template can be added through app integrations.

Sales Features

When weighing the choice between BigCommerce and Shopify, the tools available to transform clicks into customers are somewhat different. Both platforms allow you to simplify and streamline operations—but it’s essential to identify your store’s specific needs to select the most suitable for your business.

A brick and mortar storefront.

Inventory and Product Management Features

Both Shopify and BigCommerce are well-regarded for their inventory management capabilities. They have built-in functions that allow stock count tracking and alert you when stock is low. They also offer bulk editing tools and the ability to import and export product information via CSV files—though BigCommerce is slightly more flexible, allowing you to export to both CSV and XML.

BigCommerce stands out with many product variants out of the box. This can be particularly advantageous for stores with a wide array of goods. Shopify typically offers robust options, and you can utilize third-party apps or custom code to extend these capabilities.

Both platforms offer integrations with sales channels like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay. Moreover, they allow you to manage your inventory across different marketplaces from a single dashboard. Shopify has a slight edge in the ease of setting up and synchronizing with these channels through its Shopify Channels feature.

A line graph

Shipping Tools

Shopify and BigCommerce are equally suitable for businesses that require advanced shipping capabilities. Shopify offers a Shopify Shipping suite, which grants merchants access to discounted rates with major carriers. It also allows you to print shipping labels in bulk directly from the Shopify admin. BigCommerce integrates with top carriers as well and allows for negotiated rates, though the extent of the discounts may differ.

While those on Shopify’s top-tier Advanced plan can take advantage of automatic carrier-calculated shipping rates, BigCommerce offers this functionality on all its plans. Both platforms support shipping apps and dropshipping integrations; however, Shopify provides a significantly better selection of shipping integrations than BigCommerce.

Three employees

Marketing Features

An ecommerce shopping cart in a browser window

Shopify and BigCommerce offer robust tools to help store owners promote their products and brands effectively. Each offers solid SEO features, including customizable headlines, titles, and meta tags. They also support SEO-friendly URL structures.

Shopify provides easy-to-use SEO features that are great for beginners, while BigCommerce offers slightly more advanced SEO options, like the ability to edit robot.txt files and in-depth URL customization.

Shopify has built-in email marketing tools, such as Shopify Email, that allow for direct marketing to customers from the platform. BigCommerce also facilitates email marketing, with integration options for popular email services and more advanced segmentation in some cases. Both platforms also offer strong social media integration and the ability to create discount codes and coupons (which can be a potent marketing tool to drive sales).

BigCommerce has better built-in blogging capabilities, which are critical for content marketing. Shopify’s blogging features are more basic; however, it’s often sufficient for many sellers and can be enhanced with apps.

A customer service agent with headset.

Support and Security

Both platforms offer substantial security to protect your data and that of your customers. All plans include free SSL certificates, and both platforms comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Since Shopify hosts its payment gateway, it handles automatic security updates and 24/7 monitoring for suspicious activity. Shopify Payments also offers fraud analysis features that help merchants identify potentially fraudulent transactions, reducing the risk of chargebacks and financial loss.

Regarding customer support, Shopify offers 24/7 live chat support on all plans. BigCommerce offers 24/7 support on all plans via chat, email, and US-based phone calls for any technical issues.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Which Should You Choose?

The choice between BigCommerce and Shopify will depend on your business’s unique needs and the features you prioritize.

Crown on a plate

Startups and Small Businesses

Shopify is celebrated for its user-friendly interface and easy setup, making it attractive for beginners. On the other hand, BigCommerce offers comprehensive out-of-the-box features, with more advanced options for product management and no transaction fees, which can benefit startups with rapid growth plans and tight margins.

A big win for small businesses is that BigCommerce does not charge additional payment processing fees above per-transaction charges. In addition to these savings, it typically includes a broader range of eCommerce features than standard, so you don’t have to purchase additional extensions.

In contrast, Shopify frequently requires additional app purchases to achieve the same functionality. However, the primary advantages of opting for Shopify include its superior template designs, more robust support for dropshipping, and the absence of sales volume restrictions.

A coin blooming from a flower

Middle Market and Corporations

BigCommerce might edge out Shopify for large businesses due to its robust built-in features. These make it suitable for complex operations and scalability without numerous apps or extensive custom coding. BigCommerce provides advanced SEO settings and extensive product option sets and doesn’t charge transaction fees, which can prove advantageous for high-volume sellers.

However, Shopify Plus—the enterprise version of Shopify—offers powerful tools for large-scale businesses, including advanced automation, extensive integration capabilities, and dedicated support. These can streamline your business operation and save you time on general business tasks.

Customized Payment Processing for Maximum Benefits

Although running a successful eCommerce business requires providing convenient payment options, high transaction fees are a pain point. However, a merchant services provider like PaymentCloud considers every business’s unique needs to customize the optimal solution at the best price. Whether you host your store with BigCommerce, Shopify, or another alternative, PaymentCloud solutions can optimize payment processing for your business.

We also offer a secure payment gateway, direct cart integration, quick processing, and customized POS integration that matches your growth phase. We provide fraud and chargeback prevention, and all solutions are PCI-compliant.

Expand your payment processing capabilities while keeping costs in check—chat with a payment expert today.

Whether you’re a completely new business, or a seasoned veteran looking to sharpen your knowledge about eCommerce, we’re here to help.

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BigCommerce vs Shopify FAQs

What Are the Biggest Problems With BigCommerce and Shopify?

One problem eCommerce store owners face with BigCommerce and Shopify is the scalability costs. BigCommerce imposes sales thresholds that force store upgrades, whereas Shopify’s reliance on third-party apps for advanced features can lead to additional fees. This escalates operational costs for growing businesses seeking enhanced functionality or experiencing increased sales volumes.

Which Is Better: Shopify or BigCommerce?

Picking between Shopify or BigCommerce is subjective and depends on your specific needs. Shopify excels in user-friendliness and design, while BigCommerce offers comprehensive features without extra apps.

Although Shopify’s plans may come with slightly lower costs, additional transaction and app fees may make them more costly. Analyze how each platform can meet your specific needs and the required features to determine your best option.

Can I Transfer My Site From BigCommerce to Shopify?

You can transfer a BigCommerce website to Shopify and vice versa using data export and import features—although it will require you to manually recreate elements that don’t directly transfer, like certain customizations and templates.

The process can be complex, and it’s advisable to seek the assistance of professionals specializing in platform migration to ensure that no critical data is lost and that the transition has minimal effect on your business operations.



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