Choosing a platform for online business may become a real challenge if you are not a web development pro. That is why we decided to make this process a little bit easier for you.
We’ve surveyed experts in marketing, web and business developers about two popular eCommerce platforms: Shopify themes and Bigcommerce themes. Which one fits better what type of store, when it's best to use Shopify, and when should one use BigCommerce?
10+ insights, including a comment by popular tech vlogger Jimmy a Geek, will make this question clear for you.
Of course, you will not find here “cure for all eCommerce diseases”, because everything depends on your type of business and your requirements. But let’s make it clear and highlight points that really matter when you are choosing between Shopify and BigCommerce:
- Are you a wholesaler, merchant or enterprise?
- What annual revenue your business has: less or more than $75K?
- What is your sphere in business: mainstream, virtual products or crafts, boutique store?
Answers for these questions will show that the remaining questions simply vanish, for example, are you going to launch site on your own or you are going to hire a team of developers?
The bigger and more complicated your business is the more chances for BigCommerce to win in this competition for you. The easier, faster and SEO-friendlier solution you need, the more chances Shopify wins. But there’s a lot of nuances that will be mentioned by our experts below.
David Mercer, a best-selling author in coding, web and business books, Founder of SME Pals, provided us with a short release from his research How to Make a Website (Complete Beginner’s Guide) where he said:
In general, stores that aim to sell high volumes of products through multiple channels will get the most from Bigcommerce:
- Mainstream - books, electronics, etc
- Virtual products, subscriptions, memberships, stores, etc
- Multi-channel, catalogs, directories, etc
- Mail order
- Online only
Bigcommerce offers excellent usability, design and a great range of features, and is well reviewed and liked. If you have medium development skills and enjoy customizing, then this is the right platform for you.
Shopify is the most popular online shopping cart solution, and this comes down to the fact that it’s really easy to use (even for people who are allergic to technology and web), and is technically superior. So, for example, it is known that the speed of a store often has a significant impact on conversion rate, and Shopify is the fastest platform.
Choose Shopify if your priority is to capture a specific niche market and dominate it, or sell high-value items to focused target markets, like:
- Boutique store
- Arts & crafts
- Expensive, high end, luxury items
- Bricks & mortar store.
In some cases, we should agree with Christopher Chorley, SEO & digital marketing consultant, Managing Director at CN Marketing Solutions, who said that you might have an idea of what you think will be the right choice for your store, but you won’t truly know until you try and test both of them yourself. Set up your website through free trials offered by both Shopify and Bigcommerce and see how well they perform.
And finally here are all insights of our experts. It’s time for you to choose a perfect platform.
I mainly used the BigCommerce for the Omni Channel Retail Business thanks to the Square POS integration with BigCommerce which help me to manage my inventory and cash flow both for Online Store and Offline Store.
Second also BigCommerce allow me to use multiple currencies such as $USD with Rwandan Francs as same time.
Third BigCommerce integration with QuickBooks make my Bookkeeping very easy.
But if you want to build a Online Store fast with professional UI/UX than you can easily built with Shopify Themes for around $50 compare to BigCommerce Themes which cost over $200.
Also if you want to rank your Online Store on the Search Engine than no one can beat the Shopify in terms of page load speed which affect the SEO and rank the Shopify Online Store website higher.
Before investing in a new website, it’s good to take time to investigate what CMS platform will best meet the needs of your business. The list of pros and cons will completely depend on your business objectives. For example, the answer is almost always Shopify for small businesses.
Let’s back up and take a general look and compare these two platforms:
WEB DESIGN THEMES:
Shopify’s themes are very well designed and frequently updated. Shopify makes use of independent designers to create very modern and professional themes. Out of the gate if you plan on using themes instead of paying extra for custom development, the point goes to Shopify.
To be fair, in early 2016 BigCommerce introduced paid for premium themes which close the gap if you would like to take a look. Nonetheless, Shopify themes in general seem sleeker.
BigCommerce provides the most comprehensive and robust toolset of any eCommerce builder today (note that I said builder and not platform). You likely won’t need to purchase additional add-ons like many do when using Shopify; and all these tools are included in your subscription price. That being said, like any other tool, when you have more features and complexity there’s a lot more management work involved. If you need simple, stick to Shopify. Otherwise, the point goes to BigCommerce.
Supply and demand – the more developers the easier to find a true expert and the lower their premium. When it comes to these builders, only a small percentage of developers have experience working in the ecosystems. Shopify takes the point here as there is a far greater following and they have done an absolutely incredible job of supporting developers and resellers. For example, Shopify has dedicated support and resources for developers. They also make it easy for Shopify customers to find these experts making it more enticing for both parties to be involved.
Online retailers are no longer building sites from scratch, and are turning to these platforms to host their shops. These platforms allow individuals with no knowledge of HTML or CSS set up their online store in mere minutes.
Both Bigcommerce and Shopify have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a Bigcommerce Vs Shopify run-through of what you can expect from each platform to make the right decision for your online business.
The Design Differences
When it comes to customizing the look, Shopify is easy hands down. You can certainly customize the look of Bigcommerce but it is a bit difficult and a bit more involved, and if you decide to hire a designer – significantly more expensive.
Simplicity of Use
Both platforms are extremely powerful but for straightforward, ease of use, it is better to go with Shopify. Shopify has simplified the processes as much as possible and has decided to impress the users by just working. Bigcommerce, on the other hand, looks like it was designed by a marketing team looking for another feather in their cap.
Bigcommerce wins here hands down. Shopify has just the simplest of product management options (which may as well suit your needs), but if you are selling anything that requires your customer to select an option to opt for Bigcommerce. It is much simpler to manage products and inventory.
As already mentioned, the marketing team designed the interface for Bigcommerce and the biggest advantage of this is the back-end reporting. It is very powerful and easier to use. Shopify includes the basics and will probably suit most users, but if you are looking for information and graphs go for Bigcommerce.
Since you will be using your shopping cart quite frequently, make sure to consider aesthetics as part of your decision. Unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to compare. The simplicity and cleanliness of Shopify will win your heart, and the application interface of Bigcommerce will greatly appeal to you.
Stability and Longevity
Shopify takes the cake on this one. Bigcommerce is still a new product, and Shopify has been doing it long enough to successfully take away the points.
Both of them offer free trials – although Shopify is offering a trial double the time period of Bigcommerce. Both of them are priced pretty much the same and that won’t change anytime soon.
Try them both!
Honestly, you might have an idea of what you think will be the right choice for your store, but you won’t truly know until you try and test both of them yourself. Set up your website through free trials offered by both Shopify and Bigcommerce and see how well they perform.
Shopify is like WordPress. Comes basic out of the box and you deploy add ons to meet your needs
Bigcommerce is like Hubspot. Comes robust out of the box but takes a bit more configuration to be operational.
Shopify’s value is unmatched, with attractive pricing and sophisticated features. Shopify offers more than 100 beautifully designed mobile-friendly templates, unlimited bandwidth and tech support customers rave about. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the ability to customize the templates easily. The amount of detail you can tweak and alter is second to none, which is why it’s among the best ecommerce sites for small business.
Bigcommerce gives Shopify a run for its money, offering unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, 24/7 customer service and straightforward set-up and administrative tools. They also offer a wealth of conversion tools like product reviews, wish lists and more. But where Bigcommerce falls short compared to our top pick is in its versatility with template customization and shipping features. Still, BigCommerce is one of the best out there for small and large businesses alike.
Sadie Cornelius, We Rock Your Web
There are different contexts in which certain ecommerce options may make the most sense:
If you are doing less than $75M of revenue, are primarily focused on one continent, and don’t want to have to build and maintain a dev team to support your site, and don’t have highly complex legacy systems or customization needs, Shopify is usually going to be your answer. And even if you are bigger than that and/or need more customization, there are many situations where Shopify makes sense. Their system scales well, their app and partner integration ecosystem is super valuable, and it’s far easier for non-technical people to make changes to the site vs. most other platforms.
If you’re under $75M in sales but do require more customization or sell across multiple continents, and you want non-technical people to be able make changes to the site, BigCommerce could be a good middle-ground. BigCommerce is easier out of the box than Magento or Demandware. It also offers unlimited API calls. And it offers better options for using leading payments and POS providers like PayPal and Square, without any added fees.
Codal is a digital agency that is partnered with both Shopify and BigCommerce, so we are faced with these types of questions everyday by our clients. While it really depends on specific business aspects, below is what we see are best fits for these 3 categories:
If you’re a wholesaler selling in bulk, BigCommerce might be a better option for you, as it has a lot more options for pricing and different variants. On Shopify, you would have to purchase an app that may still need customizations.
Merchants That Sell Not Only Through Their Website:
If you’re a merchant that sells through Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google Shopping, Instagram, and that often sells at pop-up stores, or trade shows, it is likely that Shopify is better. The Shopify Plus POS allows merchants to sell literally anywhere, while still managing customer data, inventory, and orders. While it is also easy to set up sales for other channels on BigCommerce, Shopify’s Plus platform has over 20 official channels that they can sell on, and with the Shopify Plus Buy Button, merchants can literally sell their products anywhere.
If You’re an Enterprise:
If you’re an enterprise merchant, you may be better off with Shopify, as their enterprise eCommerce platform, Shopify Plus, is believed to be stronger than BigCommerce’s. For being an enterprise platform, is it extremely easy to use, page speed is faster than BigCommerce, they have an amazing support team, they offer unlimited bandwidth, and it has an enormous ecosystem of plugins/app’s and solutions/technology agency partners.
There are a number of aspects that make BigCommerce more suitable for scaling, mid-market brands than Shopify, although both platforms can also serve SMBs. Those differentiators include, but are not limited to:
Cost efficiency via built-in features: BigCommerce’s approach to SaaS allows features, updates and partner integrations to be rolled out to all merchants on the platform through their normal subscription, rather than them having to pay for (or custom build) apps and plug-ins that rack up prohibitive costs toward their operating overhead. A solid example is the recently-announced BigCommerce for WordPress functionality.
Stronger customer support: There’s a customer-first mentality baked into BigCommerce’s DNA. Shopify has hundreds of thousands of upstart merchants constantly competing for support and engineering resources. BigCommerce’s dedicated customer support and success teams understand the unique challenges and needs for scaling businesses and are structured in a way that gives all merchants the attention and tailored strategic services they deserve.
Greater choice in payments: BigCommerce offers online stores a wide range of payment options, from PayPal to Square to Visa Checkout to Klarna. As stores grow and become true enterprises, merchants need to be able to provide that choice and flexibility to customers without worrying about lock-in, technical complexity or compliance issues.
Shopify is the ultimate content management system for e-commerce, especially for consumer packaged goods (CPG). The admin is incredibly easy to use and connects to a myriad of sales channels, payment processors, and affiliate programs primed for CPG selling, also on the backend you can create private api connections with automatic shipping fulfillment providers. Shopify content delivery network ensures that your website loads quickly and reliably worldwide. Shopify is the program to use for CPG e-commerce; and if you have advanced website design, such as GSAP animations.
David Barbour, сo-founder of Vivio Life Sciences
I have used practically every eCommerce platform in existence over the years and honestly, BigCommerce doesn't hold a candle to Shopify.
It may be a fine platform to start a brand new, unproven eCommerce site, but if you're successful at all, BigCommerce is definitely not the platform to use. The monthly charges for using the BigCommerce shopping cart correspond to the gross dollar volume a website does. The more you sell, the more they charge per month, as if they had some role in your success.
Shopify has more app availability, it is far easier to modify the look of your site and they do not charge you based on how much business your website does. It's really no-contest between the two.
Dave Hermansen, CEO at StoreCoach